In Review

What makes a great photographer? There are many elements one must consider in order to establish what makes a photographer great. What kind of work do they do? Who is their inspiration? What is the message they are trying to convey and is it done successfully? Today I visited the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa to view and analyze the exhibition of “Holly King: Edging Towards the Mysterious”. I found that her work inspires and engages the viewer in a way that few are able to achieve. She looks at photography in a way that others would overlook and I believe that this is the basis of her success.

Holly King is a Montreal born Canadian who is both a photographer and an artist. Her landscapes are constructed in the studio using a combination of sculptural props and painted backdrops. [1] She looks at photography as a “celebration of sublime beauty in nature.” and says her work is a “search for a deep silence”[2]. These poetic phrases are fitting for someone who creates such a whimsical and expressive world. King’s work is known both nationally and internationally with exhibits at highly renowned galleries such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Currently, she is a teacher at the Concordia University in Montreal.[3]

The exhibit itself was set out simply with the photos displayed in a linear fashion on the walls of a large room. Each held it’s own spotlight from the ceiling illuminating the photograph against the white walls. While most of the photos were printed on chromogenic surface[4] some were framed while others were borderless as if on a canvas. Though King’s work is self-constructed she is not out to deceive her viewers. In the center of the room were two “look boxes” where one could peer into King’s world and view the landscape as three-dimensional adaptations before they were photographed. It was interesting to be able to see the photographs as well as the landscapes before they were shot. It gave the viewer further insight into King’s personal world without taking away from the art of the photo. One could view her photography in a way never before done, further drawing the viewer directly into the artwork.
Works

  1. Almost Paradise (2012)
    Almost paradise is a high contrast, black and white landscape photo displaying a variety of textures. Like much of King’s work it is incredibly sharp almost as if you can touch the content. She exhibits superb use of reflection in the water and though the sky is a mere white sheet it gives the appearance of an overcast day and a far away feeling like there is more just out of view. The flower petals are the most amazing; their texture gives you a sensual feeling, as though you can feel their softness on your fingertips. This photo captivated me. I felt that I could not look away from it for fear that something would change or I would miss the moment to view it. It was like looking through a looking glass, and not at all like any photo I had ever before seen.
  2. World Beyond the Water (2009) (122cmx183cm)
    This chromogenic print, mounted on dibond draws the viewer directly into the photo. As with “Almost Paradise” the content is extremely sharp to the point of feeling as though you are looking through an open window at a tangible landscape. The smallest details are in sharp focus. It’s interesting how King isolated the blue of the water while keeping the rest of the photo black and white. It created a cool almost winter tone while also retaining the sophistication of a black and white image. To look upon this piece felt magical. It was like looking into another world, one that you can only see in your dreams. The twisting branches and shadows gave a feeling of mystery and nostalgia as I imagined myself amongst the woods, feeling the breeze on my skin.
  3. Basalt Cliff (2014)
    This photographic artwork was possibly the most interesting photo of all.   It contains a simplicity that is highly sensual. I could smell the sea air as I stared at it, and feel the breeze off the water. The waves provided me with a sense of movement though the image itself is of course static. Like her other works, the smallest details are sharp and the contrast is kept high, however unlike the other photos that I examined this photo is in full screaming colour. King uses a variety of textures in this image, from the waves and the water to the rocky edge of the cliff and the piece of wood on the ground. The photo gave me a sense of being in this place with her, though I have never before seen the sea.   The eye is drawn around the entire image as if, once again, peering through a window into King’s world.

 

To conclude my review I would highly recommend the Robert McLaughlin Gallery exhibit “Holly King: Edging Towards the Mysterious” to any photographer or aspiring artist. King’s work is highly inspirational and unique. Never before have I experienced such high emotions from viewing landscapes. Though the world she has created is not real and has been made using sculptures, paintings and studio lights, King’s universe appears more real to the viewer than the one that we currently live in. After looking at her photos you will find yourself longing for the ocean, or a winter forest. You will want the feeling of petals on your skin and dream of the world beyond the photo. This exhibit is more than just a room of photographs. It enhances ones vision and understanding of what it means to be a photographer, a painter, a sculpture or artist. Holly King has successfully put several forms of art into one and the result is nothing short of beautiful.

[1] http://rmg.on.ca/exhibitions/holly-king/

[2] http://rmg.on.ca/exhibitions/holly-king/

[3] http://rmg.on.ca/exhibitions/holly-king/

[4] prints according to the descriptive wall palques

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Canada Day!

Fireworks marked

As most of you know yesterday we celebrated Canada’s 148th birthday!! Those of you not in Canada might not have known this but here in Canada it is a huge celebration.  It commemorates the day that Canada became it’s own country back in 1867.  Even the oldest person wasn’t alive back then and it’s a very big day for us.  We also like it because it’s a holiday and we get the day off!  Usually the festivities include rides and food trucks and games and Canadian beer and last but not least fireworks! All located at your local lake, in this case Lake Ontario.  It’s wonderful fun and makes me so happy each year to be a Canadian and sit and watch the fireworks go off and reflect on my country’s history. Enjoy these Canada Day firework photos below!

Fireworks Fireworks2 Fireworks3 Fireworks4 Fireworks5 Fireworks6 Fireworks7 Fireworks8 Fireworks9

https://www.behance.net/gallery/27605019/Canada-Day-Classics?

A chipmunk Story

First and foremost I apologize readers that I have not posted in such a long time.  I have continued photographing everything but nothing seemed to fit what I wanted to share with you next.  This story is one that I feel everyone would enjoy and is about two chipmunks I met while I was away this past weekend at my boyfriend’s family cottage.

I met the chipmunk first on the table as I came out of the cottage. He was sniffing around gathering the crumbs left from our breakfast.  My camera was on the table as well so I slowly crept to the side of the table and lifted my camera carefully.  The chipmunk at that very moment leapt off the table and I thought that my chance at capturing this little creature on camera had gone.  As I put the strap around my neck however I noticed him on the other side looking at me. Slowly I knelt down and took the picture. I followed him for about 10 minutes until I saw his friend on the deck as well! Just as I was about to capture the two of them together though the second chipmunk pushed the other one off the deck!! Then he turned around almost as if he were posing for the camera! Little rascal.  Luckily I found the first chipmunk later completely unscathed snacking on a large seed. Photos below demonstrating the adventure of the Chipmunk Story.
Chipmunk1Chipmunk 3Chimnk 2  chipmunk eating

https://www.behance.net/gallery/27518377/A-chip-and-Dale-story?

Using Social Media

You may be wondering at the point of my posts throughout the last few months. I realize that they seem kind of random and some of them might even be boring. You see each post was an assignment for a Using Social Media class that I have been taking. At first glace this may seem like something useless and silly; I mean, anyone born after 1970 knows how to use Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit. I admit that this is what I thought at first as well, but there is actually a lot more to using social media than you might think. Reader, I’m about to blow your mind, in this class I learned so much that I had never even thought of before! I began to notice things on the sites I was already using and my eyes were being opened to ones that I had never even thought of before. Using Social Media is a fine art in itself because to use for business or to create fame you have to know how to use it RIGHT.

The first thing that I learned, or rather that I noticed, is that you need to be on many different sites some of which that you may never have heard of. This site for example was not on my radar before the class began. We made the account the first day and began our journey as bloggers creating profiles on other media sites such as twitter and aboutme and LinkedIn, all of which are connected to this blogging site. I had never thought of myself as a blogger and wanted my name to be known more for my photography than my presence on the Internet but this was about to change.

As we made more profiles I learned that we need to keep a sense of consistency with the pictures we used as well as the names. Obviously from a business stand point you would assume that consistency would be clear but it wasn’t for me. I thought that as long as I used the same name I could be creative with my pictures displaying uniqueness on each site. WRONG. The more I thought about it and observed I realized that people don’t actually read that much. You may not even be reading this far down the page. People react to pictures and images rather than word and consistency with images tells them that you are indeed the person they searched for.

The third thing that I noticed was that you need to post ALL THE TIME. The more you post the more people will see and share your stuff and the more followers you will gain. If I was to post one blog post on this site and then never again for months and months then you wouldn’t follow me would you Reader? You would be bored that I had nothing to say and you had no interesting news to read or images to look at. But, since I post almost weekly you have decided that I have lots to say and there will always be something at least mildly interesting on the page. This is what attracts people.

You also have to be careful WHAT you post and the way you word things. Its true what they say, the Internet never forgets. It remembers even more than elephants. A good rule is “if you can’t say it to their face, don’t post about it online”. It could come back to bite you one day.

You see using social media has more rules that a person might think. You can’t just do whatever you like all willy nilly and expect that people will instantly love you. It takes hard work and dedication! That’s probably the most important thing that I learned. I hope that you like the posts Reader, there will be many more to come! And I hope that you’ll like those too.

As the class comes to a close I find myself looking at social media in a new light and wondering how I could have used it before without fully observing the rules. I hope that learning what I did will help me in the future to establish myself as a professional and well-known photographer. Maybe it could even help you Reader.

Your Online Reputation

Here’s a scary fact and an important one to remember: “The Internet never forgets”.  So since it never forgets it might be a good idea not to tell it any secrets.   Now that might sound like something really easy but stop for a second and think about everything that you have ever posted on the internet.  Was there something there that you might WANT the Internet to forget?  Here’s some tips that I learned to manage your online reputation to make your life a little bit easier.

1. Be consistent.  If you have many profiles and are trying to get people to know who you are then make sure that every profile is the same.  This means that you have the same picture and header on each one so that when people find you they know instantly that you are the person they were searching.

2. Think about what you’re posting beforehand.  If you wouldnt say it to someone’s face, then don’t put it on the internet.  Once it’s on the Internet it can be shown to millions of people world wide. Things that are rude or even political can ruin a reputation so just avoid them and THINK.

3. Change your privacy settings.  Some things you might want to share with your friends but not your clients. Keep personal profiles personal and separate from your public profiles. You can change this in setting son any social media site that you use.

4. Check your online reputation frequently.  This assures that you wont be surprised if something appears about you that you dont want.  You can do this on your Google account under reputation management and even create alerts for when new things appear about you.  But be careful because it doesnt always appear right away so you’ll still need to check up on it yourself.

 

To find out more check your google account settings to see what you can do. You can also find tips on Wikihow and other sites.  Good Luck!

Podcasting

I was met with an interesting task today: podcasting.  It’s something that I haven’t done before although I am familiar with the topic.  For those of you who might still be wondering, “podcasting” is the action of making an audible file available to the public.  Kind of like the radio  but it’s on the internet.  We were not given a topic but simply asked to go out either individually or in groups of 2 or 3 and create this Podcast.  Of course a lot of us including myself had no idea what to say.  Should it be funny? Informative? Should I sing a song? To be perfectly honest it isnt something that I wanted to participate in at all; but alas thus was the assignment and so it was something that I had to do.  I grouped myself with a friend I made in the class, Shahira and using her knowledge of the sport basketball (and with a little  help from Google) we created our podcast.

SportsTalk with Millie and Shahira is an “in-real-time” podcast about the scores of last nights basketball games and the games to watch out for tonight.  It is about 1 minute in length, with Millie (myself) as the announcer and Shahira as the sports expert. It was extremely easy to do and in the end was informative and humorous at the same time.  Here’s the link to check it out!

 

A Not-so-Ancient Tale

I should note before I begin that the two models I chose for this project do not know each other and are not in a romantic relationship.  If you look at the portraits, at first glance, you may think that they are involved but you’re not quite sure are you.  It adds a mystery and a wonder to the project much like you might find in a Shakespearean play long ago.  The tale of two lovers, or are they lovers after all? The man looks so distant, but the woman so playful and innocent.  The princess has no care in the world but the man, why does he look to the distance with such disdain?

That tale was not always the plan for the “A Not-so-Ancient Tale” project.  At first there was no tale at all. I simply thought that the outfits were pretty and as it happened they matched each other perfectly.   Since Shakespeare is my inspiration for most of my work I don’t find it surprising that he made his way into this project as well. I chose to make the photos black and white because I think that it added more mystery to them as well made the photos appear older, as though the story might actually be old.  Black and white is so beautiful and it made the story even more apparent as I changed the pictures.

My theme is a combination of Black and white, Wedding and Prince and Princess.  It is all three because I think that the portraits equally display all three things. I think that it was a very good choice for the portrait project and hope that you enjoy them!

 

 

https://www.behance.net/gallery/24598817/A-Not-so-Ancient-Tale

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