Archive for May, 2011
My on going project ‘On the Table’ started with a random shot, while visiting Israel and meeting friends for lunch in one of the most colorful neighborhood in Tel Aviv. I always try that the shot will tell something about the place I am in, location wise and cultural wise but also reflect my state of mind at that moment. I am starting a series of posts and will be a guest blogger for ‘Spotted by Locals’ for the next few months. Hopefully, this project will make it one day to all 41 cities ‘Spotted by Locals’ is covering.
Sit back and relax. Here comes my first one;
I love coffee! In fact, I’m quite addicted to caffeine.
People who know me, will know not to call me in the morning, only after I drink my first cup of coffee (or second). I’m also very specific and quite picky about the way it is made. (Sorry!) This shot was taken in Paris few days ago. I was staying in a friend’s place for six days and tried to live it as Parisians do! My friend, who is also a photographer, made us these two cups of coffees, as a good start for the day. I love the shape of the coffee plate, the way they almost touch each other and the reflection of his living room rug, through the glass table.
I left my heart in Paris…
…And it wasn’t a hard thing to do.
I think the trigger was the new Woody Allen’s movie I just saw ‘Midnight in Paris’, recognizing some of the places and locations I have just visited on this trip. I love watching movies and recognize the locations, knowing I was actually walking on those streets, eating in that and that restaurant or saw the same views the hero of the movie was looking at. It happens to me a lot when I watch a movie about New York. I remember the first movie I watched on the first Summer I lived in New York, a movie that showed some iconic places and locations on the Upper West side and it made me feel like a REAL New Yorker. I had the same feeling watching ‘Midnight in Paris’ right from the start when Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) were standing on a bridge, looking at the water lilies in Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, a place I have just visited few hours earlier.
I left my heart in Paris… or was it because what the movie said: ‘Paris in the morning is beautiful, Paris in the afternoon is charming, Paris in the evening is enchanting, but Paris after midnight is Magic’
As a travel photographer, I am always inspired to take candid shots of the places and the locations I visit. In contrast with the Fashion Photography arena, where usually everything should be just perfect and beautiful, and in contrast with the Documentary Photography arena, where everything is so honest, bold and sometimes ‘in your face’, I juggle between the desire to show the reality around me while also making it pretty and aesthetic. I’m driven by the wish to create ‘A Portrait of a City’ and its’ various layers. (with a tendency for aesthetic and interesting)
Ask any artist, and he/she will tell you that one of the things they are always looking for is inspiration; the inspiration to create. And inspiration can come in so many different ways. In my latest visit to Paris, I was quite inspired by the permanent collection of various Impressionist Painters in Musee d’Orsay, also known as the ‘Temple of Impressionism’. I always had a great admiration for the European Impressionist painters, and among my favorite are Edgar Degas, Camille Pissaro and Claude Monet.
After paying a visit to Musee d’Orsay, it was very natural for me to continue and visit the Claude Monet foundation in Giverny (where he lived from 1886 till his death in 1926) and see with my own eyes the water lilies, the garden, and the Japanese bridge which all played an important role in his later paintings. Since I was inspired by the exhibit I saw and the beautiful brushstrokes techniques, and although I don’t usually photograph flowers or plants, (hardly ever do I photograph flowers just like that) it was quite obvious for me that I was going to shoot Monet’s garden in an unconventional way. I wanted to photograph the garden in such a way that will relate to Monet and his art, a way that will ‘talk’ in the language of impressionism, in brushstrokes. Therefore, I chose to use the lensbaby SLR lens with a pre cut star-shape aperture disk, to create a sort of brushstroke affect in the photos.
The lensbaby is a creative effects SLR lens that creates a Sweet Spot of focus surrounded by a graduated blur. A swivel ball allows tilting the lens depending on the effect you want to create. (Blur, lesser blur, circles, etc’) The aperture is controlled by a set of disks that come with the optics and they are held in place by shielded magnets and can be easily changed. The wider the aperture in the lensbaby, the more blur it gets and a smaller sweet spot, where the photo is sharpest. The exposure is easily controlled with shutter speed and ISO adjustments in the camera. It can also be balanced by swapping out aperture disks.
As pictures might often be ‘too honest’, using the lensbaby allowed me to deconstruct the image, to shape it in order to create a new truth, a new reality, an Impressionistic photo.
If you visit Giverny, I highly recommend (beside visiting Claude Monet’s house and gardens) to spend some time walking around the village, see some old Churches from Middle Ages time, visit Mills that some of them can be found in Monet’s paintings or spend the night at one of the Castles (Chateau) and feel like you are living in one of Claude Monet’s Impressionistic picture.