Contrasty

My New Book, Smoke Art, Arthritis and Depression

What does Smoke Art Photography, Arthritis and Depression all have in common?  Well, these are the main topics inside my new book (just published earlier today)!

The description in the photo caption (above) gives a really good indication of my book’s content.

  • My book shows 34 of my smoke art photographs, the Ethereal Dreams & Hope Collection, which includes photos taken between 2007 and June 2011.

Because I have suffered with arthritis for many years, a little over 30 years now, and have coped with long bouts of depression, I wanted this book project to be more than just a book of photographs.  I wanted to mix in words of hope, and together the photos and the words of hope make up this project.

  • I discuss a little about my beginnings with photography.  I also discuss very general details about ankylosing spondylitis, and depression.  I talk about some of my own personal experiences finding out that I have these conditions, and some story about dealing with these medical issue.

Over all, I just want to offer my book as a way to help other people dealing with pain and despair, a way to see things in terms of ‘hope’, and to stress the importance of ‘action’ to make ‘hopes,’ ‘dreams,’ and ‘goals’ to come true.

  • If nothing else comes out of my book, I will be very happy if someone, somewhere, has gotten some reassurance from my words, that things can be better even when living with pain and sadness.  It does not always have to be this way, but much of the effort will be up to you.

Perhaps by reading my book, this can be a small step, at least to see things in terms of ‘hope.’  You may also like seeing my photographs of smoke art – and that would be a real added bonus.

Thank you and take care!

 

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“SHELLS & SANDSTONE” – My new e-Folio

“SHELLS & SANDSTONE” Fine Art Photography, ebook by Nawfal Nur, now available!

Hey, sorry for the blatent self-advertising, but if I don’t toot my own horn, I know for a fact that no one else will, so I hope I’m tooting a loud enough horn to get a least a few folks to hear me.

Hi All!

I have released a new work, out into the world…

You can get to the site where I’m offering this work, by clicking this link:
SHELLS & SANDSTONE

SHELLS & SANDSTONE,  a new e-Folio photography ebook by Nawfal Nur.

"SHELLS & SANDSTONE" by Nawfal Nur, 2010

BLADE BLUE HAND-667, No.1, Edit F

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Title: “BLADE BLUE HAND, 667, No.1, Edit F”
Series: “BLUE HAND”
Number in Series: No. 1.
Genre: Abstract-Geometric-Expressionism
Mediums: Painting & Photography

Painter: Nawfal Nur
Photographer: Nawfal Nur
Art Direction: Nawfal Nur
Model: Nawfal Nur

Investment in Time:
* Prep Time for Equipment Set up: 1/2 Hour.
** Painting: 5 1/2 Hours.
*** Photography: 1/2 Hour.
**** Clean-up: 1 Hour.

Paint Supplies Used:
-1- Schmincke PRIMAcryl (Feinste Künstler-Acrylfarben).
-2- ZIG – KURECOLOR Permanent Alcohol based Ink.
-3- BUNCHO Water Colors.
-4- ALBRECHT DÜRER, Watercolour Pencils by FABER-CASTELL (8200 Series).
-5- Crayola “Brush Tips” Markers.
-6- Artline 70 High Performance Markers.
-7- MonAmi ACCU Liner Permanent Markers (Metallic Series).
-8- Pentel Permanent Markers (N850 Series).
-9- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Eye Pencil – (01 SOFTSMUDGE BLACK).
-10- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Lip Pencil-Crayon – (08 SPICE WRITER).

Camera:
CANON Powershot A620 with Modified Internal Flash Bounce Attachment. Aperture @ f/8.0 and Shutter Speed @ 1/80 sec. (I think…) ;^)

Lighting:
One 600-WATT SYSTEMS IMAGING Studio Flash with 2′ x 2′ BOWENS Softbox. MIRA Hydraulic Light Stands. Modeling on Cont., Power @ 1/16th Output. Distance to Subject, approx., 3-feet.

Additional Lighting or Lighting Aid Gear:
One 3′ x 3′ White Foam core bounce.

Support:
* bogen 3001 Professional Tripod.
** bogen 3025 head.
*** Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket.
**** 3kg weight.

Computer Software:
* PhotoImpact X3.
————————-
As I mentioned in the text of the photo above, this will be my last photo addition to my Photostream at Flickr.

I have made a promise (to myself) to keep the “F-DEPRESSION” Series Images as close to the TOP of my Photostream as possible. Because with each new image addition, the older images get pushed deeper and deeper into the photostream. And that means, that these “F-DEPRESSION” photographs would eventually get lost in the masses of photos.

The ONLY way these images may help someone who is suffering from Depression, Anxiety or Chronic Pain is to see them, feel the shock value, read the text and GET HELP!!! And, that was the main reason I ventured into this very negative and self-expressing Photo & Text Series.

One of the key components of this type of work (body art), and one that I experienced firsthand, is that IT (the artwork) IS NOT LASTING!

Paint – Photograph – Wash – Rinse – Repeat the Wash & Rinse. Then, the painting is gone for ever! The final product, the actual artpiece is the Body Painted Photograph Portrait: The photograph – that is the lasting art work. The Painting is just part of the preparation! Get it!

This is NOT Airbrush, so the artwork is NOT smooth or finely detailed. I used Acrylic and Watercolours, along with Art Markers and applied them normally, and also with brush and artist’s knife. Some parts of the artwork are smooth and other textured. As the paints dry, the work cracks, so speed is important.

It was extremely painful for me to stand for that length of time – the arthritic A.S. types like myself usually can’t sit-stand-walk-or lie down for very long periods. However, I had to see if I could do it. After the completion of this work, it felt like someone had tortured me (kind of), like someone had been hitting the bottom of my feet with a metal ruler. If you have A.S., you may know that feeling: It’s No fun!!!

5 and 1/2 hours for one Right Arm! It’s the first work like this I’ve done. And, I can say that it was a really good experience and quite interesting to attempt painting oneself and working the camera. Strange feeling!

FROM NOW ON, PLEASE VISIT ME AT:

“BEHIND THE LENS!” (My Photography Journal where I’ve been writing, and where I’ve been exhibiting my Photography, since 2005).

smokephotographist.wordpress.com/

Nawfal Nur
“Behind the Lens!”
smokephotographist.wordpress.com/
27 Nov 2008

PS: “667” refers to what I ‘have seen’ termed as, “Neighbor of the Beast!” HOWEVER, my interpretation is different than probably the person who thought up this novel saying. Here’s how I see it:

“This world is Where the Wicked NEVER Rest, and the Righteous Struggle to just Stand their Ground!” Therefore, I am a ‘neighbor of the beast’ – evil that surrounds us all, daily – it is there, you don’t have to go far to find it.

Of course, perhaps it is much better to pretend that the world is a perfect place, so that you can sleep well at night, but this is just what people who don’t do anything to change it, want you to believe! Or, perhaps, it is what people who have it “made” want others to believe because they have all the resources available to them to ‘escape’ most of the evil that perpetuates itself daily, and around the world.

All you have to do is pick up a newspaper: There must be a lot of “evil” out there, or, the newspapers would NOT be so thick! News of Disasters, Crimes, Chaos, wars, famine, cruelty, and Injustice…this shit sells the News! I STOPPED reading the news a couple of years ago because it just perpetuates in a bad way, whatever stuff you got going on, that isn’t so good.

It is time to go…

Good night Moon!

Good night People!

pss: BTW: The “667” tattoo, I designed by computer software, but I may just have to ink myself with it one of these days!

Tie Painting v.5-B

Tie Painting v.5-B, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Painted Tie Painting.
Still Life Photography.
Abstract Expressionism Painting.
———————————————

This is a photograph that “ties” (no pun intended) together my liking for Still Life Photography and Abstract Expressionism Painting. This photograph is also one of the few, first images I’ve edited with Paint Shop Pro’s new program, X2.

I may be an anomaly in the general scope of photography, but I really do prefer Paint Shop Pro over Photo Shop.

The key, however, is still to create the best photograph possible in the camera. If the end results of the “camera-creation” are poor; then the end results after editing with software will be nowhere near what they could have been.

I fiddle around a lot with positioning lighting and moving subject and tripod around. I take many photos until I get approximately the image that I need with dark blacks and details still in the highlights; and also, I attempt to get a fairly decent gradation between the extremes. If I have to take my soft-box’ed studio flash off the light stand, and then hand hold it to get my ideal lighting, then I’ll do it. In fact, that’s what I had to do with this image: the lighting was too uneven when the light was sitting on the light stand.

Whatever it takes – do it.

Of course, this final result was a matter of experimentation, of adventure and creating change. And of course, help from X2.

Sometimes, I don’t really know what the final image will look like until I see it. You often hear photographers saying that they have an image in their mind and then work on the photograph to get it to nearly match their mind’s eye. I do that sometimes; however, more times than not (lately), I’m not sure what the final image is going to look like. I work with the image until I have that, “Ah Ha!” moment.

Then, I stop.

LOST SHOES, Edit C: Finding Subjects to shoot, Even in Bad Situations.

LOST SHOES, Edit C, by Nawfal Nur

 

TITLE:  “LOST SHOES, Edit C”
Creation Year: 2008
Original Photograph:  2000
Camera:  NIKON F90X
Film:  KONICA CENTURIA 200 ASA
Time of Day:  Mid-Day, High Sun – Harsh Lighting.
Scanner:  UMAX ASTRA 5600

There’s an interesting story behind the photograph, “LOST SHOES, Edit C,” at least I think so, because I experienced it; and in addition to that, I learned that some bad situations offer good opportunities…for photography at least.

In the year 2000, I went on a very long bus ride to Kelantan, a state in Malaysia that borders Thailand.  It was like a 10-hour trip…Did I mentioned that it was quite a long, long bus ride!  I had never been to Kelantan before, but welcomed the opportunity.  I was the semi-official photographer for the Penang Bola (Soccer) Club on this trip.  I thought that I could also work on some cultural photographs while in Kelantan:  The trip was a win-win situation!  ;^)

About 6-hours into the bus ride, the tour bus starts chugging up the hill, hot steam and black smoke coming out of every orifice that a bus has, and it basically dies, right there, in the middle of Nowhere, Kelantan! 

It’s mid-day, hot like crazy, no-one around, and the nearest bathroom, more like an ancient outhouse, was the only facilities available anywhere near to the breakdown site.

We were going to be there awhile…tick-tock, tick-tock, tick tock…2-Hours Later!  It was that kind of a wait.  I was bored…I wanted to use my time properly and find a subject to photograph to commemorate the breakdown.  The only touristy thing to do was visit the outhouse, and that was checked off my list of things to do in Nowhere, Kelantan.  What else?

The scorching sun had dried up the red clay that flanked both sides of the two lane highway.  And, there wasn’t much in the way of subject matter to hold my attention, that was, until I noticed these two shoes.  The shoes were just sitting there in the hot clay…teenager’s basketball shoes, but there were no kids around.  It’s almost like the person got plucked right out of the shoes, and the shoes were left behind. 

The shoes had been abandoned, they were LOST!  I was starting to put a connection between the LOST SHOES, and the poor broken down bus.  Maybe, that spot was some sort of mysterious zone where things go wrong, haywire, lost, and just stop working and are abandoned.  Don’t know….it was a mystery.  I didn’t bring my CSI kit with me to do a thorough going over, but I definitely smelled a mystery brewing.

At least my camera was still functioning, and I got a shot to celebrate the experience of the broken down bus and my long journey to Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. 

Remember to keep your eyes open for interesting subjects, especially when you find yourself lost, in a bad situation, or even stuck out in nowhere, and waiting for a bus to be fixed!  What you find may amaze you.

Ball-Splash-IMG_1922

Ball-Splash-IMG_1922, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv (recurring phrase or theme in a work of art).” Henri Cartier-Bresson

This shot combines Physics (waves, collisions), Art (form, color, design), and Photography (High-Speed, Stop Action, Macro). This is a prime example of Action & Reaction, Cause & Effect. The Waves in this image are, I suspect, the “recurring phrase” that holds the water droplet image together, and links it to my other water droplet images.

NWD

NWD, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Layers of Abstraction to make a single image: It is not really layers at all. A riddle or reality?

A Few Series I’m Working On!

A Few Fine Art Series in the Works!

Ethereal“, “ONE Glass” and “Penang Trees” are fine art photography series, which I have been paying particular attention to over the past several weeks.

Click on the photograph (above), and the link will take you to the Artist Statements for these three series. I thought I would provide a little more information behind the works. If you are interested, please have a look.

Thank You!

 

ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues, Edit C

ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Series: “ONE Glass”.
Title: “ONE Glass – Sarong Material-Blues”.

This is the third work in my “ONE Glass” Series. This is another ‘high-key’ sample from the collection.

Again, the glass blends into the bright, seamless background; but in this case, the sarong material kind of looks like it has transformed into a solid, thus, making up the rest of the container (as if there is no glass). Only when you see the rim of the wine glass, do you really notice the glass again.

Lots of Details to Consider – Product Shot: ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow, Frame 77, Edit C-NP

ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow, Frame 77, Edit C-NP, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

ESTEE – Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow.
In my humble opinion:  Makeup containers made of lots of different materials are probably some of the toughest subjects to photograph well – and by no means am I saying mine is perfect.

Here’s what makes this type of shot so tough:

1) Lots of Color. EyeShadow colors: The photo MUST match the real thing.
2) A mirrored subject.
3) A subject with Gold (or Silver) Reflective Surface.
4) A subject with translucent glass or plastic.
5) A subject where texture may be important.
6) To retain and “edge” to the glass or plastic when shooting against white seamless.
7) No dust, hair, scratches, deformed makeup or “oddities”.

The Photographer must look out for all of these characteristics & requirements.

Lighting:
1) One Systems Imaging, 600 Watt-Seconds Compact Flash with NO Attachments.
2) One 20 Watt Twister Light.
3) One 30 Watt Twister Light.

I kept part of the shadow to retain a little of the 3-D Feel, and made the background seamless.

It ended up with more of a “artsy / painterly” feel to it; and that’s OK, but I was actually intending to do a straight Product shot.

Gloriosa – My Favorite Flower (At this Time…)

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig01-Edit B-WPz

I don’t actually have much to say regarding this photo-journal entry, but I wanted to show you some of my studio flower work.

This is definitely one of those times where I’ll just let my pictures say a few words.

I do, however, want to tell you how lucky I feel that this beautiful species grows wild on the other side of my fence, among weeds, and piles of bricks long forgotten by some building contractor, some time, long ago.

The Gloriosa Lily is a remarkable flower that is very well suited to tropical life, in the wild, and it doesn’t need anyone to take care of it. The “technical books” say it likes rich soil and the roots need shade. But I’ll tell ya, it grows just wonderfully without help, and where it’s growing must be its perfect spot.

So, with that little bit said, here is my Studio Collection of the Gloriosa Lily, my favorite flower…at this time. Hope you enjoy seeing my interpretations of this wonderful flower.

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig15, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig17, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig19, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig25, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig213, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig285, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig271, Edit C-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig249, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig237, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig233, Edit D-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig229, Edit B-wpz

GLORIOSA LILY-Orig221, Edit B-wpz

*** Thanks for taking a look! ***

 

MENARA MAXIS – Kuala Lumpur’s Built Environment

Menara MAXIS, by Nawfal Nur, 2003, All Rights Reserved

 

MENARA1
MAXIS, v.2
© 2003 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo Taken from Nikko Hotel

Chances are that if you travel to Kuala Lumpur, one of the first things that stands out are the Petronas Towers. You start seeing the towers from many miles away from the city (with clear skies). These towers are difficult to miss: They stand 452 meters (1,483 feet), with 88 floors, and a skybridge holds the two towers together at the 41st and 42nd floors.

When you stand outdoors in downtown Kuala Lumpur, many people, especially tourists will automatically be drawn to the Petronas Towers, ignoring, possibly, every other piece of architecture in the surrounding built environs.

If looking for a landmark to keep your bearings in Kuala Lumpur, the Towers make for a good indicator of where you are, and if you want to go to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), just head in the direction of the tallest towers in the city.

Now with that all said, you may be thinking that this is yet another photograph of the “Towers”, and some other building just stepped in the way as I triggered the shutter button…Wrong! This is actually a photograph of the Menara Maxis (the cool looking building in the foreground).

I purposely took the photograph to position the Towers in the background. This perspective is unusual as the Petronas Towers are typically the center of attention in Kuala Lumpur architecture photography. This composition may seem blasphemous to some; but
sometimes, rules of composition are meant to be broken, or at least, experimented with.

In this photograph, the Towers are put to work as a backdrop for the building in front, the Menara Maxis. The over all architectural designs, the lighting styles, the size differentials, and the flow of lines are different enough between the two structures (the Petronas Towers being two structures, but spoke of as one whole building here), and these design characteristics keep them visually separated without needing to blur (by camera or software) the Towers in the background.

The composition is made whole with foreground and background. The cropping is kept close and vertically panoramic, thus forcing the viewer’s attention on these structures only. This compo-cropping strategy may also create an illusion, making the buildings appear impressively tall – even though they are impressive and tall anyway.

Though dwarfed by the Petronas Towers, the Menara Maxis is quite an imposing building on its own, standing at 212 meters (696 feet) tall, and with 49 floors. The architect of the building was Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, and construction finished in 1998. The Menara Maxis is a stunning building in daylight, but even more interesting flooded by a sea of illumination at nighttime.

I think the Menara Maxis is a really super design and great addition to the Kuala Lumpur skyline.


1Menara means Tower.

 

Aluminum Queen at Nighttime

Aluminum Queen at Nighttime, by Nawfal Nur, submitted for 11th Issue of JPG

This image is titled, “Aluminum Queen at Nighttime,” and I have submitted it to the 11th Issue of JPG Magazine for their consideration.  Part of the choosing process is by votes – so, chances are if a photo gets a good number of votes, it has a better chance of publication.  That being the case, if you get the opportunity to go see the bigger view of my image, and you like it, please vote for it as well, (click on the image above to see the larger view).

I submitted this image to the “Dreamscapes” theme as I thought it was appropriate.

This sculpture, made of recyclable aluminum cans and bubble wrap sheets, looks sort
of eerie against the very deep blue, nighttime sky.  This look was created with a long
exposure (30 secs approx).

It looks like the “Queen” is reaching out to grab someone, and I guess this scene could,
mind you, be conjured up in some nightmare.

Thanks for having a look and voting!