ROB DURSTON PHOTOGRAPHY

Art

Chris Barr – Fine Art Photographer

Good friend, lecturer and fine art photographer Chris Barr joins me today on The Landing here at the MAC in Belfast. Chris teaches and practices both digital and silver based photography in Northern Ireland. His most well known work is probably his projects with travellers based in and around the horse trade. Sit back for an interesting casual chat with Chris.
http://www.christopherbarrphotography.com

 

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Random thoughts? 1/5 Gregory Crewdson

It’s been five (5) years since I started writing down my thoughts about photography, work, personal projects etc.
Below is an unfinished post that I started writing coming up to the first year of the “blog” (never really liked the word “blog”, sounds like a made up word for something no one knew how to describe . . . how about journal(?). I’ve split the post into 5 separate posts now so its a little easier to read.

March 6th 2012

Well, I’m coming up to a year writing this blog thing now; it was something I didn’t want/think I could do for this long.
It’s been good to do; vent a little now and then, give a little insight into my personal as well as work world. I’ve had some positive and negative comments from lots of people. It’s not something I hold against anyone because I respect the fact that others have their own opinions and I also respect someone who can actually voice that opinion without trying to sugar coat it for the recipient.
I have never been a reader. I struggle to make it through a couple of paragraphs and the only time I ever find myself actually reading something in its entirety is when I’m flying somewhere and I pick up a Wired magazine or the likes at the airport. I wish I could sit and read like Olivia; to sit and read a book, a couple hundred pages in a sitting seems like a soothing thing to do. I get antsy after more than 20 minutes in one place unless someone has me genuinely interested in what they have to say.
I’m a visual and technical person as most of you can tell from my images and my ramblings about photographic mathematics and such. I admire other photographers who are keenly skilled in pulling off amazingly technical and visually compelling images, production value is everything. That said, I do like a few “street” photographers like Gary Winogrand and portrait photographers like Walker Evans who besides the fact that one shot on 35mm and the other on 8×10, both had a very candid atmospheres to their images.
I can go on and on about photographers I like; Jeanloup Sieff, Lartigue, Avedon, Penn etc but the ones that really inspire me are just a handful.

Gregory Crewdson is one, for his amazing attention to details and just for sheer volume of production; his works are complete masterpieces that need to be viewed in person to really appreciate the scale of work that he puts into them. There are so many little things going on in his images; each one reading like a small novel, a story of the location and its inhabitants.
Update, GC has just finished his latest body of work called “Cathedral of the Pines”. Its just finished its run at the Gagosian Gallery in New York.
http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/gregory-crewdson–january-28-2016
http://www.aperture.org/crewdson/

The Pickup Truck 2014

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery The Pickup Truck 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm) Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm) Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
The Pickup Truck 2014
Digital pigment print
Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm)
Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm)
Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

The repeating pattern of vertical trees, juxtaposed with the haphazardness of the broken branches on the ground.

 

The Haircut 2014

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery The Haircut 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm) Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm) Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
The Haircut 2014
Digital pigment print
Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm)
Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm)
Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

The almost perfect use of the Fibonacci spiral, focusing you in on the two girls and the outhouse but then letting your eye wander back out and to the right side with the broken down shack and eerie white fog behind it.

 

Beneath the Bridge 2014

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery Beneath the Bridge 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm) Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm) Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Beneath the Bridge 2014
Digital pigment print
Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm)
Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm)
Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

The depth of the image and the use of curves and straight lights as design elements.

The Barn 2013

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery The Barn 2013 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm) Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm) Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
The Barn 2013
Digital pigment print
Image size: 37 1/2 x 50 inches (95.3 x 127 cm)
Framed size: 45 1/16 x 57 9/16 inches (114.5 x 146.2 cm)
Edition of 3, plus 2 APs

The subtle glow of the window light falling on the subject and the perfect balance of composition.

 

Untitled 2007

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery "Untitled" 2007

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Untitled 2007

The alternating light/dark of the subject matter and the use of long exposure to convey the passing of time

 

Untitled 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery "Untitled" Worthington Street 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Untitled 2006

The use of colour and leading lines to draw your eye into the centre of the frame and the car.

 

Untitled 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery "Untitled" 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Untitled 2006

The emphasis of vignetting, bring your attention to the centre of the frame and the subject.

 

Untitled 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery "Untitled" 2006

© Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Untitled 2006

The beautiful use of lighting and snow to keep your eye wandering back between the moose and the man.

 

Gregory Crewdon’s photography for me, epitomizes the real essence of contemporary fine art photography. Its not shy, its bold, amazingly art directed and thought out and with enough wit and curiosity to keep the viewer coming back for more. Overall his images are based on composition, subject matter and lighting; you don’t find bold colours, excessive detail or texture, just whats there and what you need to see to be able to see the story within.
I have always taken influence from movies and cinematography; I love the idea of creating a story with moving image. This translates to Crewdson’s work by doing the same in just one, single frame.
For more on him, there was a documentary made on him here.


Colin Davidson for Artists & Illustrators Magazine

We shot a small gig for Artists & Illustrators magazine from London. Our subject was none other than the extremely talented Colin Davidson. It was a simple shoot; just capture the man in his space with his tools of the trade.
If you get the chance check out his work, do it. He is speaking in Dublin, January 16th, 2013 at the RHA lecture series, here.

Colin Davidson in his loft studio

Colin Davidson in his loft studio


A beautiful inspirational video for artists from Paul Caponigro


White Horse

Some of you might follow me on Facebook and might have seen some recent images I posted of a few of our horses, Molly and Apache.

Before & After

Before & After

I’ve been asked by a few followers to show my workflow on achieving the look and feel of them, so I’m going to dissect one of them.
Here we have the untouched image.

Unretouched colour image

Unretouched colour image

Just sort of a foggy, dreary overcast sort of feeling; flat light and low contrast.

Then with a few global corrections and b&w conversion in Lightroom.

basic global corrections and b&w conversion in Lightroom

basic global corrections and b&w conversion in Lightroom

The boost in contrast along with the black and white conversion and some heavy vignetting, really begin to draw your eye in towards Molly. Her muscles and facial features start to stand out dramatically.

Now when I take it into Photoshop,

2nd stage retouching Photoshop adjustment layers and masks

2nd stage retouching
Photoshop adjustment layers and masks

I can selectively darken and lighten area using adjustment layers and layer masks. I boost the contrast some more while still keeping the highlights from totally losing it. I’m not too worried about the shadows blocking up because this was a very low contrast predominantly light image to begin with. At this point I’m quite happy with the image and it stands on its own fine.
Although if I wanted to play with it some more I could.

If I wanted to give this the feeling of an old Polaroid T55 negative that I might have taken on location then solarized it during processing, it might look something like this.

3rd stage retouchingCropping and Photoshop T55 solarizing effect[

3rd stage retouching
Cropping and Photoshop T55 solarizing effect[


Now in Photoshop I crop it down roughly to a 4×5 negative size. I then layer it with another image from a set of images I use specifically for this purpose. Then by using different layer blending modes I choose the desired effect. At this point I add a layer mask and continue to paint in or out with a Wacom, different sections of the layered image to further the effect.

I hope you enjoy the images and keeping shooting.

Please feel free to comment.


Sorry I had to pull the last post down . . . .

The client has decided to take the campaign in a different direction. I will be using the images in some form for a self promotion but I won’t be posting them up until the dust settles.

In the mean time, here’s a pretty picture to look at while you’re waiting.

The Giants Causeway - Morning Mist

The Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, under a shroud of morning mist.


Just for fun

A couple of quick shots of some flowers before we get pummeled with projects this week. I wanted to have something that I could maybe print up for Olivia’s mother to hang in her house. Not sure if they work for her but maybe for us if she doesn’t like them.

The quality out of this lens and film combination is very sweet and smooth.


Apocalyptic Calotypes

I had a little break in shooting so what should I do besides feed the horses?

Shoot more.

I had E.E. Kelly come into the studio, looking to do something different and I think I delivered. I was looking to create a more sinister, end of the world feel; maybe something like Sandra Bullock if she starred in Mad Max as Max.

We shoot a couple of frames in the studio, showing the starkness of the shaven head and the strength of her body with just one light and some negative fill. Then we went outside into the “zone”. Olivier had been burning some rubbish, like he usually does, and it made for a very moody surrounding. Dust, smoke and fire with all the rubble made the two frames we shot feel like we were in another time for a moment. That is until the locals started pouring in when they heard there was a girl being photographed. Both images were shot on Harman Direct Positive, wide open at f4.7 and process in standard b&w chemicals.


Calotype

I have been asked recently to submit to about a dozen different photo competitions and exhibitions. The only thing is that since my last show two years ago, I haven’t really worked on any personal projects for myself.

Recently I’ve taken up going backwards in time. I’m ditching the digital and capturing images like we used to in the olden days, on silver based emulsions. Below are a couple of test images I created using the calotype method. It involves exposing photographic paper instead of film to create a paper negative. From that you can scan the image into Photoshop and play with it from there.

These images though are a little different. They are actually the positive prints right from the camera. The silver media is a positive print paper; very smooth and very very contrasty. By using a couple of different techniques I’m able to better control the contrast and lower it to a more natural feeling of a true black and white image. More experimenting to come and hopefully I’ll have something I feel is worthy of a new exhibition.