Archive for the ‘Technique’ Category

You are not Bono

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More and more photographers, photo editors, and all sorts of experts in the field of photography are turning to public speaking as one of the platforms in reaching out. There’s something that can be said about being heard. Scott Berkun, in his blog, wants to land you a fistful of reminders if you’re someone who’s about to go on stage and mentally engage a group of people, first of which, is to tell you bluntly that you are not Bono.

Great tips!

Written by dominiquejames

July 1, 2011 at 1:11 PM

All about Andy Baio’s pixel art

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Neven Mrgan:

I can’t comment with any credibility on the legal issues involved in Andy Baio’s problems with the Kind of Bloop album cover, but I must address one assumption I’m seeing in comments on the story: That cover is NOT the original photo, downsampled. It’s a hand-crafted, precisely drawn interpretation of the source. Anyone who’s ever seriously put pixels to screen will tell you that this is an actual artistic method, one with its own challenges, tricks, and yes, an aesthetic.

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

If you’re in New York City …

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Go see Anton Kawasaki, a.k.a. “that guy with crutches”:

Anton will be talking about his iPhone photos, processes and techniques at the SoHo Apple Store in NYC on Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 7 PM.

Apple Store SoHo:

Since the introduction of the iPhone, Anton Kawasaki has been taking up-close and personal photos that capture intimate moments of New Yorkers on the street. Join him for a special discussion, moderated by iPhoneographer Sion Fullana, and see Anton’s recent work, get valuable tips for taking photos with an iPhone—his camera of choice—and learn about ways to reach a wider audience.

Who is he?

Anton has been an editor, writer, comic book store owner, and much more. He is also a music junkie, Apple Inc. devotee, and soy chai latte addict.  Anton has gotten lots of recognition for his NYC street photography (which he takes exclusively with his iPhone). His work has been featured in published magazines, online sites, and photo exhibitions, and he was recently a winner of the “Ten Best Ten” photo contest that included over 10,000 entries.

By the way, Anton will have a solo Hipstamatic exhibitions that will surely be worth watching out for in San Francisco and New York later this year.

Kind of Bloop: A kind of an album art idea

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Andy Biao wrote on Waxy:

If you feel like it, you’re still welcome to buy digital copies of Kind of Bloop (without the cover art) at Donations can be made to the EFF, and you’ll get a rad 8-bit shirt for joining. And if you have any ideas for an alternate album cover that won’t land me in court, bring it on!

How about using all of the same exact pixels from the album art in question but moving them about in a totally different arrangement to create a radically different new image? Rising out of the ashes, so to speak? Or, are all the pixels, as a whole, copyrighted?

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Doing it in the dark

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Dave Johnson of PC World (syndicated on Macworld) whipped up a bunch of excellent tips on taking pictures at night.

Darkness is kryptonite to your photos—all cameras thrive on light. As the sun sets, your camera craves slower shutter speeds (which lead to blurry photos) or demands the flash (which creates harsh lighting up close and does nothing for subjects that are farther away).

If you gotta do it in the dark, at least take heed and let Dave Johnson’s advise help you get it right.

In addition, here are a couple of tips that might help too.

  • Take the time to learn and then play around with your camera’s full manual controls (if this option is available). Get off the auto mode or the aperture-priority or the shutter-priority mode, or even the low-light and night modes. The ability to manually determine the exposure with the right combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can yield (surprisingly) interesting images. Doing this takes a little bit more than pointing and shooting, but you’ll most likely get far better results if you’re in total control of the in-camera settings.
  • One accessory that is almost essential in night or low-light shooting is a tripod. Get one of these from your friendly neighborhood camera or gadget-and-gizmo store. A tripod will give you the ability to perform long exposures that will let more light in while keeping your camera steady. And with a tripod, you’d be able to do a couple more things that will result in far more interesting images.

And, as they say, practice makes perfect!

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Is a new picture revolution truly upon us?

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Something is going on in the field of photography. A new kind of science in the magic of visuals, both in principle and philosophy, is about to come out of a lab and into your hands. It will be in the form of a new camera that can do what is being touted as the “digital light field photography.”

What is the science of light field photography?

The light field is a core concept in imaging science, representing fundamentally more powerful data than in regular photographs. The light field fully defines how a scene appears. It is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space – it’s all the light rays in a scene. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field.

What can light field photography do for you?

The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.

Ren Ng, Founder and CEO of Lytro on turning the concept of light field photography into reality:

We have something special here. Our mission is to change photography forever, making conventional cameras a thing of the past. Humans have always had a fundamental need to share our stories visually, and from cave paintings to digital cameras we have been on a long search for ways to make a better picture. Light field cameras are the next big step in that picture revolution.

If your head isn’t spinning yet, and you’ve grown marvelously curious in drilling into the core science of it all, you can download and peruse the awesome dissertation from a direct link at Lytro’s website that Ren Ng submitted in 2006 to the Department of Computer Science and the Committee on Graduate Studies of Stanford University “in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.” Clearly, this is where the new imaging science had its genesis.

And now, for that all-important question: What is the art that this science is making possible?

A flickering of daily pictures

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It’s all in every day’s work: the pictures and their captions. Take a look. And if you like it, be sure to let me know.

Oh, by the way, the pictures also tumbles here, day in and day out.

Please feel free to share, and thanks!

Summer Solstice: The long and short of it

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From Moleskine:

The bookmark is at June 21, the summer solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere, the shortest in the southern. Time to see how we are doing with our new year’s resolutions. Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful summer and a happy summer solstice.

Written by dominiquejames

June 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Reading between the lines …

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Miranda Gavin’s Hotshoe blog talks it up on the chatty subject of artist’s statements for photographers:

“An artist (or artist’s) statement is a short text by the artist that helps explain and give a context to the work. It all sounds simple enough but the reality is far from straightforward. One of the recurring debates facing photographers and visual artists in the fine art and art photography arenas today is the language used in artists’ statements.”

This blog post is a clarifying read on the “obfuscatory language in art photography.” Worth reading the whole thing.

Also, David Saxe of Black Star Rising penned a definive statement in a blog form called Why I Don’t Like Artist’s Statements:

“Look at the pictures. It’s not that complicated. The image is a success because the message is understood. So if you need an artist statement to explain what you’re doing, haven’t you already failed?”

A subject, indeed, worth writing a statement about.

Written by dominiquejames

April 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Pictures everywhere! (An interview with Marisse Panlilio of MPGrafx)

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Photo of Marisse Panlilio

Marisse Panlilio of MPGrafx at work on location. (Photo courtesy of MPGrafx.)


Nowadays, pictures are ubiquitous and pervasive at the same time. Often, it doesn’t matter what is pictured. The fact is, pictures are everywhere we look—if and when we choose to look at them at all.

We see pictures gracing almost every page of magazines and newspapers. We see pictures gleaming on every click of the electronic web. We see pictures decorating, as it were, one block of street after another.

Yet, we never really think about how pictures seem to pop up all around us all the time. We’ve simply come to taking for granted that pictures are there where we are.

Of course, pictures don’t just magically appear—here, there and everywhere. It takes some sort of complicated and professional behind-the-scenes machination and maneuvering for each and every single one of them to be placed or installed where they are, where we can all see them.

Photographers are therefore necessarily connected to all sorts of publicly accessible media, outlets, and suppliers—an array of opportunities and possibilities to showcase and display photographs. With the right placement, photographers are able to target specific audiences.

But whatever media outlet a photographer decides to choose (and there are many of them—photographers and media alike), and whatever the aim may be—to inform, to motivate, to sell, or simply to showcase and to enrich, it cannot happen in a vacuum. It has to happen within a framework of the media.

In this sense, consider media and the context with which you are able to view them, as the legal and generally acceptable equivalent of graffiti walls. Sanctioned and allowed, a photographer’s commercial work, whether a single photograph or a group of photographs, acquires a sense of acceptable public presence, legitimacy even, with the transformative process of its legal (and professional) installation, to be openly seen by all and sundry.

We rarely get to see a photographic work in the process of installation. On the streets, it’s usually done at night or at times when there are the least number of people. In galleries and museums, it’s constructed and completed inside a cocoon of an enclosure—a temporary restricted area. On shop windows, it’s presentation is arranged behind shaded covers, even during down times. And in most other cases, it’s fixed-in ambush-style, stealthily putting it up when no one’s looking or paying any mind. Next thing we know, when we look up and look out, there it is—as if it has always been there.

But dressing up a place or an area or a location to show pictures takes careful and deliberate planning, time, effort and logistics. Because of this, any photographer whose work has been publicly displayed must have necessarily known a professional or two who happens to work in this strange, baffling and behind-the-scene line of business. They who work in this seemingly “invisible” industry makes things visible. They who are almost themselves magicians.

In one recent and successfully completed project, I had the opportunity to meet, interact, and work with just such a professional. Her name is Marisse Panlilio of MPGrafx. For our project, she expertly “handled” the media that securely held and prominently displayed the photographs on several two-front show windows, as well as the printing of collaterals that were hand-distributed.

Marisse has been working as a media producer and installer for professional creative artists (often serving as a bridge to their clients as well) for more than 10 years now. Also, within her sphere of interest and expertise, she’s a supplier and an experienced technical director for all sorts of events and functions such as concerts, shows, and private parties.

I caught up with Marisse Panlilio recently for a brief Q&A:

Dominique James: Tell me a bit about MPGrafx. How did you get it started and what sort of services do you offer?

Marisse Panlilio: I started MPGrafx as a business after I retired in 2003. I bought my wide-format printer in 2006. Since then, our offerings and services has expanded to include not only to large-format poster printing but also other several alternative media prints and installations such as vehicle wrapping and signs.

DJ: What did you have to do in order to be able to put up MPGrafx? What kind of education, training and experience are required?

MP: I studied graphic design with specialty in print at the Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey. I’m a certified wrap installer.

DJ: What are the biggest challenges or the difficulties that you encounter in your line of work?

MP: In this field, competition is very stiff. However, it is obvious that there is still a lack of qualified or experienced wrap installers. For instance, I have to make sure that I have to personally train my assistants. For me, conducting on-the-job training, and sharing my skills and knowledge, is one of the best forms of experience.

DJ: Who are some of the biggest clients you’ve worked with so far?

MP: My list of clients include Red Ribbon, Western Union, GMA Pinoy TV, TFC, Max’s of Manila, Fiesta Grill, Philam Merchandising, NJ State Library, to name a few.

DJ: What do clients usually tell you with the kind of professional work and world-class service that you provide? What feedback do you get?

MP: I make sure that I provide exceptional service and use only exceptional quality materials on our products. Clients appreciate the fact that we go way beyond our commitments, thereby going over and above their expectations. I take pleasure in delighting my clients.

DJ: What makes you and your company different from the others who provide similar products or services?

MP: I follow a very simple formula—my policy is to always provide world-class service using the highest quality materials at the best price.

DJ: What is your style or approach in dealing with the many different people whom you encounter in your business dealings?

MP: My years of experience has taught me to be understand the needs and goals of my clients, and to be always flexible in order to accommodate all types of requirements. This is how we earn their trust. To me, their accolades for the work we do speak volumes.

DJ: If you have the chance to establish the same business today, if you were going to start all over again, will you still do it? Why or why not?

MP: Yes, I would definitely be very happy to do the whole thing all over again.

DJ: What are the things in your line of work that people are always surprised to find out and discover? What are the things that they never expect from you?

MP: Clients and associates are almost always surprised that I am a certified wrap installer—that I studied for it and I can professionally cover uneven, rough, curved, angled, and all sorts of surfaces such as that of vehicles.

DJ: You seem to be a workaholic, and people see you working all the time; what would you consider are your peak working hours? Do you ever take days off from your work to relax? How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

MP: When it comes to creative work such as designing the presentation of photos and graphic elements for printing, I work best during late nights up until the wee hours of the morning. I feel my creative juices flowing freely during these times. When installing the materials for display, I work during the hours that are most convenient to the client, and whenever and whatever the practicality of the situation calls for. We make sure to factor into the work schedule not only the convenience of people we work with but also even such considerations as the weather and the seasons required for proper job installations. You can definitely say that this is not a routine job. On my free days, I love taking long drives with my partner and my two 4-legged boys.

DJ: What advise can you offer the many working creative professionals, specially photographers, with whom you work with?

MP: My best advise is to earn the trust and respect of clients through professional experience. The strong record of one’s sterling accomplishments will always speak for itself and carry one through. Also, the love of and commitment to one’s work is essential.

[Note: For free professional advise and guidance on your large-format printing requirements, installation and wrapping service requirements, and also on creative visual design, contact Marisse Panlilio via email at For free professional advise and consultation on advertising and commercial photography and visual media design, contact Dominique James at Also, you can view and purchase the fine art photographs of Dominique James online at Zatista’s website. Thank you.]

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