Lexicon of Dance

Respect is Earned not Given. This is something which I have understood since I was a child, and still something I live by to this day. Threw Hard work do we gain the respect and admiration of others, years of toil and labour to become the professionals in our own individual chosen fields. It has always been a belief of mine that nothing beats dedication, perseverance , and consistency to achieve something which you can be proud of , to stand out above others and earn the respect which I so speak of above. This , I feel very much when I capture moments of the dancers whom I work with. All too well is it understood of how much effort it took to get to their level of elegance, powerful precision, and self discipline as since I was seven years old my father had made sure that “Martial Arts” was in my life. Constant Training for hours on end , competitions, bloody noses and fractured hands ….it was wonderfully fun even if it broke me down physically time and time again. When I see then the body and skill of a dancer it makes me miss Martial Arts, to do something so active which is highly demanding of the human body.
With each shoot that I do I have a sense of awe and respect for the people whom are in the frame of my camera, feel honoured that I can be trusted with the representation of their image unto the world. As such, a sense of Responsibility falls on me. To make the images look Beautiful, preserved in a moment of time , a Lexicon of Dance. It vexes me at times if a person(s) claims that I show little respect for the Art of Dance or to the Dancer(s). This is, as said above contrary to how I think and feel about the craft and its people. This is why the editing often continues until the very early hours of the morning , so that the images are of the best quality and the dancers have a smile on their face, for after all ...these images will last a lifetime and to be a part of documenting their history so that they may look back upon the images as the years roll on by is a pleasure. Why I do this time and time again ,spending every penny on very expensive equipment, and putting my heart into the images or as some have called them “Art”. As a photographer Europe, it is very hard to make money with this unless you are extremely famous. This is very rare. We all have to pay rent, myself included and money burns like a wildfire, even besides this there are so many challenges and times when I wanted to Quit photography due to Finances. But, I do this for the love of the Art and because of my love for being able to represent the image of the Dancers. It has been told that my images (there are far better photographers than myself of course) inspire people to take up Dance, To pick up the Camera, or to keep them going. So then it would seem I have gained a small moderate amount of Respect myself also. To finishing up. Character is also a vital part which I see as a separate segment from Skill itself and hard work, it is about treating each other with an equal measure of professionalism, respect, and consideration of one another. One can not demand Respect or a certain way to be treated by another human being, Demanding or expecting certain things from someone to treat you in a specific way is highly egotistical and shows a fragile persona, a delicate sensibility which must be always placated with showers of compliments and the bending of the knee. Luckily, the people I have worked with have been absolutely Beautiful in every way as I go into a shoot with an open mind and open heart, always ready to make the last shoot better than the last!

Always do what You Love with the Utmost effort!

A late, Happy New Year to you all.

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Portrait Lenses! (50mm)

Portrait Lenses

Portrait Lenses are not the easiest to pick it seems, getting many emails I am always asked which do I use? First of there are many photographers whom are much better than myself and can create pure works of art with Lenses I would never think to use! This, is one of the main and most important points, that every Artist (you must think of yourself as such)has a tool they like best.

The 50mm 1.4or 85mm 1.8 I consider to be always some of the best lenses out there for creating beautiful works which can also give you a wonderful Bokeh effect (Soft Background) . The low light ability of the 1.4 is something which can give you a cinematic style which is hard to achieve with a 2.8 Lens or even worse a 4.0 lens unless you use flash lights. With the 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 which is cheaper at I believe just below 100 Euro you can capture amazing images of people in low light conditions, nightime. For this all you need to do is find a light source such as a public space, a strong lamp or as my friend has done he used even the strong LED lights from a hotel ....the key is to be creative and have fun with it as there are not any set rules, it is only important to get the look you want. The 50mm 1.4 for Ballet can be used during night time but be careful not to make the image too soft 2.0 and above is ok, yet 2.8 would give you enough sharpness providing you do not shoot too close to the model as the edges will be softer away from the centre .

A good trick is to use a tripod to take *2 passes * .

  1. Set the camera on tripod, shoot the environment at f/1.4 to f/2.
  2. Without moving the camera or tripod then ask the model to stand where you wish and take the same image but with a setting of f/2.8 to f/4.0.
  3. Composite later in Photoshop the two images placing the layer with the person on top of the "First Pass", then use a mask to remove the parts where the you want the background to be soft. This way you will get a character in sharp focus but a background which is much softer, best of both! Note however, it does take some skill and practice , not to mention aesthetic taste.

Oh So much writing ! If you can afford the 85mm 1.8 then get it! Anything from 70mm -200mm produces compression which is where the background and the foreground are represented in an true way. If you use a lens that is below 50mm you will make the "Model" look not as accurate, the shape of the head will distort and look un natural thus perspective is not as it should be to the human eye.

The reason why I have only talked of a 50mm 1.4 is because the 70-200mm can be very expensive. The 50mm 1.4 or the cheaper but almost as good 50mm 1.8 can produce amazing results and I have even used it in my Ballet Photography (the f/1.4 model)! The great thing also it is light and easy to move around with (But always buy a UV filter to protect the lens from Damage or a polarizing filter which can produce great results) .

The advice above is what works for me, it really is what is best for the individual but I hope my advice helps as people always ask about equipment. It does not matter which camera you use or brand the 50mm 1.4 is really one of the best Prime lenses out there! But saying this.....I have also found that the Tamron 50mm F1.4 Art Lens is amazing, just more expensive, of course if yo can afford the L series lenses then get them as they are the best but the difference is not as vast as you might think between the cheaper lenses and the much more expensive ones. The main difference is in the body...the cheaper ones are primarily plastic, the very expensive ones are metal and thus much more durable!

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People of a Crude Disposition

Berlin is strange place, more so than any other which I have been to in all my years of travel. As there are an abundant amount of nice people so are there many people whom I consider to be the missing link in Humanity, knuckles dragging on hard floors, grunting, and occasionally the beating of the Chest. A metaphore of course yet somehow it holds true in my head and girls/women are not excluded from this. Is it so hard nowdays to be polite and kind, yet be intelligent and strong? To have qualities which make a person what is deemed as balanced (note I do note Believe in the notion of Good nor Evil but use it in a general passing sense), to be mindful of one self.

What vexes me is something very simple, when ever I am with people they will say how "Soft" I am, always helping others, thinking about other people first and their lives as if this is a quality which is not favourable or good. I think very much the opposite and see this quality which I have as yes a potential danger to myself as people can abuse this of me, yet also my best quality and one which I try to (with failure) to encourage in others. Compassion has always been the Only realy rule which in my life I have had, it leads to Empathy and Love, respect for others. The world is full of people that are Sour, and the youth now becomes more like this growing up with the thought that apathy is something that is a must.

I will always believe that Compassion is the way to live this life.

Be good to one another!

Venice Travel

It has been a long time since I have been abroad to such a place which is captivating in the most old fashioned way, that old world charm reaches to you with warm hands, does not want to let go. As such are the memories of Venice which swim in my head and beating against the skull, maybe urging me to return there and soon. Have you ever felt this pull to a different place? Surely many people always do, yet the sad thing is if I was to move there or Japan as this also is a place which is close to my heart , then I might become bored of it, see it in a light which is different and thus monotony would kick in causing me once again to search for another place. "The Grass is always greener on the other side" - Seems to apply to me quite often it seems.

But to live life without travel would be death to the soul, as a person without literature and books also becomes a Dull blade with borderline stupidity.

Next journey , I hope Croatia !

New Start

Finally! The new website is here as I move to square space from another provider which I was really not happy with at all . Really it drove me inane that the provider could not bring together both a blog and a portfolio. For the blog side I did not care if I had the ability to add images, whats the point? Writing is what a blog should be for and a website or portfolio is more for the visual aspect. 

Great thing is Also I can Now focus in detail on the Photography side as well as my Art and maybe merge the two elements together as I always wanted in a single site.