fine art

“THE 44” – A new Photography Collection with a Purpose…AND a TIGHT Timeline!

Well, March 2nd was one of those landmark days for me, it was my 44th Birthday. Yeap…double 4’s!

I was wondering what exciting idea I could come up with on this day, and at about 11AM, I thought, “Ah Ha!” One of those “Ah Ha” moments: I’ll put together a new photograph collection, but it had to follow rules.

1: All Images MUST be made on the 2nd of March.
2: All images MUST be edited and ready to be published on-line, by Midnight.
3: All images MUST be good – not just snapshots.
4: All images MUST be macro, and also still life / table-top photography.

This proved to be more taxing and difficult than I thought, but I decided to do it, so I HAD TO do it!

Any other “Spondies” out there? Well, you will certainly understand the next statement…

By 1PM, I was already ready for 100mg of Celebrex (or Tramadol, or Diclofenac, or…you fill in the blank with your favorite pain killer!) But ‘bring on the pain‘ – I told myself that I was going to do this: I only turn 44 once, and this was a project that I must complete on time.

Over all, work on the photos ran quite smoothly, from subject to subject. I started out with water-splash-cosmetics photographs of several ESTEE LAUDER Nail Lacquer containers. I then moved on to rock salt; and then sugar, and then an egg, and then the worst thing for a Photographer to run into, came head-on and hit me…I was stuck!  The BIG BLACK HOLE of ‘No Ideas!’  A ‘Mind-Meld’ with an earthworm!  The Hypercane of Nothingness!  Shall I go on…I had nothing in mind.

However, I needed 44 images, and they must follow certain stipulations…

Well, what I discovered was that it was not as easy as I thought it would be; in fact, it was quite challenging because my ‘idea-train’ got derailed.

By 6PM, I was running out of ideas, and I still had 8 photographs to fill the 44-photo prescription for this, “THE 44” collection.  What’s a Photographer supposed to do when this happens?

Instead of dwelling on what I could not think of, I went onto the second task, “minor editing” and resizing. Why “minor editing”?  Because I could not spend the time that I normally spend on a single image.  I had 44 images to view, scrutinize and then edit all before midnight.  Thus, I went into the next task knowing that each image would get only “minor editing” with minimal time spent on each image.

Rule are rules!

By 10PM, the editing of the images I had, was completed. The resizing was also completed. However, I was still stuck! I was still short of 8 photographs.

But then I got very lucky: My youngest daughter was pondering my predicament and had an idea. My mind was cloudy but she was thinking clearly: She suggested that I just go around the house and find “things” to shoot. And that was all I needed to get going again. The solution was easy, but when your mind is cloudy, sometimes the solution that sits right in front of you remains hidden until someone helps you find “a way!”

“Thanks Jenan!!!” ;^ )

Within a matter of 20 minutes I had at least 10 decent photographs in the “can”! I even had a few moments (in between shooting), to watch some of the “Samurai” special on the HISTORY Channel! Awesome!

By 10:30PM I had the final images uploaded to the computer and the editing and resizing began.

Finally, by 11:55 (maybe 57), I had 46 images completed for “THE 44” Photography Collection. COOL! 44 and 2 to spare.

SUCCESS! I was able to follow all my self-imposed rules and complete the project with a couple minutes to spare.

Today (March 3rd), I was busy in the morning and early afternoon with a funeral, a close family friend passed away. And now, at 5PM, I’m about ready to add the 44 photographs of the project, to this journal entry.

Remember that there is no one subject in this Collection. The main focus of this, “THE 44” Collection was to stick to the rules I imposed on it, and also, to complete the project on time. And perhaps most of all, to do something meaningful for myself on my birthday.

I hope you enjoy seeing these photographs.

Photo Nomenclature: “Collection Name + Photograph Number out of 44”
Photo Descriptions are found below each image.

THE 44 - 1 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 1 of 44”
Photo Subject: Suit jacket.

THE 44 - 2 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 2 of 44”
Photo Subject: Yellow belt fabric.

THE 44 - 3 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 3 of 44”
Photo Subject: Various scarf material.

THE 44 - 4 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 4 of 44”
Photo Subject: Various scarf material.

THE 44 - 5 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 5 of 44”
Photo Subject: Wood.

THE 44 - 6 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 6 of 44”
Photo Subject: MAYSA’ – my cat!

THE 44 - 7 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 7 of 44”
Photo Subject: Cat fur.

THE 44 - 8 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 8 of 44”
Photo Subject: Curtain fabric.

THE 44 - 9 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 9 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER Eye Shadow.

THE 44 - 10 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 10 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER Eye Shadow.

THE 44 - 11 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 11 of 44”
Photo Subject: Egg on CUTCO Fork.

Note: This is one of the last images I did before
I started getting stuck, and I guess, in the process
started to get a little “demented” – I was thinking:
What if I stabbed a AAA-Sized Egg with a very
sharp object – what would that look like
?”
LOLOL!!!
Actually, this was one of the toughest images
to photograph. Silver, metallic objects are so
fantastically difficult to photograph, but this is
essentially how it should look – with no reflections,
and the silver will really look “whitish”.
Cutlery is very cool!

THE 44 - 12 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 12 of 44”
Photo Subject: Cup of hot, black tea with steam,
and salt grains. Salt looks better than sugar, but
can be substituted in photos.

Side Note: LMAO!!! Right before the “tea shots”
I took some salt shots. I poured the salt
into this cup. I then poured the salt back
into the container. However, some salt remained
inside the cup. I quickly forgot about the salted cup
and poured the tea in it for this shot.
After the tea shots, I put the hot tea in the freezer
to cool down. Of course, I wanted to drink the tea!
Nevertheless, I had forgotten that the tea now
was wonderfully salt flavored!
BLAH!!!
I don’t recommend salt flavored tea to anyone.

THE 44 - 13 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 13 of 44”
Photo Subject: Hot tea being poured into a cup.

THE 44 - 14 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 14 of 44”
Photo Subject: This is what it looks like when salt
is sucked into a vacuum nozzle at 1/500th of a second.

THE 44 - 15 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 15 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER NAIL LACQUER and Salt
Crystals.

THE 44 - 16 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 16 of 44”
Photo Subject: Bouncing Salt.

THE 44 - 17 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 17 of 44”
Photo Subject: Bouncing Salt.

THE 44 - 18 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 18 of 44”
Photo Subject: Salt Still Life on Black.

THE 44 - 19 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 19 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER NAIL LACQUER (ELNL) on and in
the water.
Note: This subject is what I spent the most time
working on, the ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 20 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 20 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 21 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 21 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 22 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 22 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 23 of 44, OpB

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 23 of 44 OpB”
Photo Subject: Spiral Notebooks.

THE 44 - 24 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 24 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 25 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 25 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 26 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 26 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 27 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 27 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 28 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 28 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 29 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 29 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 30 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 30 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 31 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 31 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 32 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 32 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 33 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 33 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 34 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 34 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 35 of 44, Option B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 35 of 44, OpB”
Photo Subject: Scarf material.

THE 44 - 36 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 36 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 37 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 37 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 38 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 38 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in B&W.

THE 44 - 39 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 39 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 40 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 40 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 41 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 41 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.
Red drop of NL and its shadow.

THE 44 - 42 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 42 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 43 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 43 of 44”
Photo Subject: Soap Bubbles.

THE 44 - 44 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 44 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.
Note: This may be titled “44”, but it is
the first image I took for this collection.

COLLECTION NOTE: A word about my lighting for anyone interested in gear. I attempted to use the same light source for all of the 44 images: I almost did that. I used my FAVORITE “Lighting Tool” – an 11-Year Old, 600 WATT, SYSTEMS IMAGING Studio Light with BOWENS Snoot. I think these lights were built to last forever! For the final 8 images, I needed some quick mobility, so I used my VIVITAR THYRISTER 2800 Strobe with a DIY Light Reflector.

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REALLY RED ROSE, NO.1

STUDIO FLORA PHOTOGRAPHY

STUDIO FLORA PHOTOGRAPHY

“Life will bring you pain all by itself.  Your responsibility is to create joy.”
 – Milton Erickson, M.D.

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!

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C – Small Colored Light Source Streaks Photography!

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

A small-scale, tabletop version of the Aurora Borealis. Green streaks of light shine and flare over a large cup of ice.

INGREDIENTS FOR THIS PHOTOGRAPH:  a.)  a tabletop, b.) dark room, c.) some sort of BLACK material for the background – I used a black plastic material, d.) sturdy tripod, e.) camera, f.) small light source(s) – I used penlights, g.) some sort of transparent colored material – gels, colored plastic, etc., h.) a large metal cup – I like the Zebra brand metal cups made in Thailand (very nice), i.) ice cubes filled to the top of the cup, j.) patience! 

This is an example of what you can do with long-exposures, small light sources, and some experimentation, in order to get colored light streaks in your photographs.

This is an “available” light photograph, meaning, that I used what small light sources were available to me, to create the streaks of green light during a long (1-second) shutter speed.

Don’t expect amazing results at first:  It may take a few (or 20) tries until you get good patterns that are pleasing, and enough streaks to fill the frame.

A flashlight (torchlight) with a colored bulb, or covered with colored transparent plastic material (gels), even powerful, colored LED lights may work well to create the special light necesary for this work.

Of course, “tripod” your camera and get it ready to go:  On this shot, I used a 1-Second shutter with an f/8.0 aperture.  

You may need to punch up the contrast and saturation of the streaks to make your final touches on the photograph:  I used Paint Shop Pro to saturate the colors, and this is a personal preference.

You don’t need to use green…use any color, use several colors, combine final images, GO CRAZY!

 

“The Magic Pill” – RA DAY, 6 July 2008, Edit F

“The Magic Pill.” Well, there’s really NO “magic pill”, but for me with combating Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), my weapon of choice is Voltaren, thus the big-“V”. It is an OK choice for AS.

However, there are OVER 100 types of Arthritis out there now!!! One source claims 171 types of Arthritis exist. Thus, depending on what you have, certain drugs may or may not relieve the swelling and pain.

Here in Malaysia, there is a launching of National RA Day…6th July. This is good because it will help bring awareness to the general public as well as help those who suffer from arthritis, and in this case, Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I wanted to do my part to spread the word, make people aware, and do something creative with my art photography to advertise the National RA Day.

If you are concerned about, experience RA, or know someone who suffers from RA, then please, get yourself educated on this disease so you can help yourself, or someone you care about!

What I couldn’t quite understand, however, was why would they hold an Arthritis talk-event in the early morning, and 8:30am is early for many of us, because it takes longer than that, some days, to start feeling halfway human and moving looser.  1PM  or 2PM would be a better time to have an Arthritis event, well, in my general opinion.

On a different note:  If you publish a blog from Flickr, DON’T believe it when it says it failed to publish the blog.  It told me that three times, and I came to WordPress and it was published three times.

Bane in the Face of Finding Happiness

Metaltocracy by Nawfal Nur

Metaltocracy
by Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

“Conformity and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men and of the human frame,
A mechanized automaton.”
{Percy Bysshe Shelley – Source: Queen Mab, 1813}

“Truth is the bane of the Truthful.”
{Anon}

Evolving an Online Policy…

Dance Photography by Nawfal Nur - Bharata Natyam Hand Gesture

Bharata Natyam Dance, Hand Gesture
Indian Classical Style
South Indian Classical Dance
Nikon F5 (film – shot back in the day…) with
natural lighting and use of a large (like 4’x3′) fill card material.

Evolving an Online Policy…

After some extra time thinking and planning my online photography policy, and where I spend my time showing my photography, I have not totally discarded the vanity sites (believe it or not). Even though, in one of my previous entries, it appeared I was heading down that road, I have just modified my position. This, I would consider, is evolving.

At the photography websites that I perceive as being more vanity than business, I have reduced the numbers of contacts I have. I see people with hundreds, if not, thousands of contacts/friends at these sites. Speaking for myself, I simply can not keep track of so many contacts’ photographic works: It would complicate life too much for me.

Therefore, my new policy has become to keep only those people who I truly want to keep a “photographic-tab” on. People whose photography is of interest to me.

Of the contacts I have kept, there is a handful of people who I authentically consider friends, and I have my own definition of what makes a “friend” – your definition will most likely differ.

But moreover, my friends are people who I really want to keep up with, whose work I respect, whose work is interesting to me, whose work shows vast potential, and whose work inspires me to do work myself.

My friends also reciprocate, and they comment constructively on my work and they push me to continue working on the subjects that I excel at. There is a considerable give and take among my small listing of friends. And, there is considerable mutual respect.

In addition, as Brooks Jensen said recently in a LensWork podcast, he’d much rather appeal to the small minority of folks who appreciate [and respect] fine art photography, than to the 6-billion other people who may not have any interest in the work that goes into the art of Art Photography (or something to that effect!)

Right ON, Brooks! I totally agree with you on that point!

The main point is, IF you have been having these same thoughts, dilemmas, or time constraints with showing your work online, then perhaps it is time to evolve your own online policy…one that works specifically for your needs and fulfills your goals.

Good Luck!

Getting Dust-Free

Gold Case with Dust

BEFORE SHOT: Gold Case before editing the dust & fluff.

Here is the “dust-free” image (below). Six hours later, of cloning and other tools used, to get rid of the dust and fluff from this product. There are a few more things I would change to get rid of manufacturer defects and even smaller dust spots, but I’ve had enough! Even a “perfectionist” has their limits.

I forgot to mention, that yes, I always use micro-fiber cloth and air blower to get rid of AS MUCH DUST AS POSSIBLE, but dust is a rather evil creation and has the tendency of coming back over and over and over again. Sometimes, you just have no choice than to shoot the image and clean up with some software solution, after the fact.

Estee Lauder Gold Cosmetics Case as

AFTER SHOT: GOLD CASE after editing dust and fluff.

Homemade \

LIGHTING: A single flash setup. METZ 32Z-2 Flash with homemade “Tupperware” diffuser coated with metallic black and silver paint. I also used a single sheet of A4 white paper (80gms weight thickness) to flag-diffuse light in areas where it was blowing out the highlights. I attempt to keep lighting as ‘simple’ as possible, when possible.

Was there any particular reason to paint the diffuser with black and silver metallic paint? No, not really, it is all experimental for sure. The inside of the device is silver metallic and the outside, sides are black metallic.

The goal was to make a translucent light modifier to use with this METZ flash, to get a wider spread at closer distance that gives off a good, softer, dispersed light source. I cannot use the METZ “Winder” Mode with this (not enough power), but I can use the “A”perture settings, and still place the light within 12-inches from the subject. This flash modifier is good for Cat (Pet) Portraiture (see below).  You can see the squarish highlight in Jamilah’s eye – a very nice catch-light.

When it comes to small flashes I’d take METZ over any other type of flash, any day of the week, and TWICE on Sunday.  Someday, I may check out their bigger flash units and Wireless Triggers.  I find METZ to be  über-Dependable!

Jamilah Bee Portrait taken using Homemade Light Diffuser - Modifier.

“Vanity” or “Business” Photography Sites…

I’ve been thinking about the time spent on the Internet regarding my photography. For those of you who are pursuing Photography as a business, this may be something that you ponder also.

“How much of your time is spent at the so-called, “Vanity” Photography Sites?”

I looked up the etymology of the word “vanity” as I am interested in the origins of words.

Vanity

c.1230, “that which is vain, futile, or worthless,” from O.Fr. vanite, from L. vanitatem (nom. vanitas) “emptiness, foolish pride,” from vanus “empty, vain, idle” (see vain). Meaning “self-conceited” is attested from c.1340. Vanity table is attested from 1936. Vanity Fair is from “Pilgrim’s Progress” (1678).

After considering the history and meaning of the word “vanity“, I thought again about the use of time spent on vanity photography websites, and I had to ask myself the question, “Why the hell am I doing this?

There is so much wasted time slipping by putting up my photographs at these sites. And for what purpose? To gain praise from other photographers; so in turn, I will traverse the ‘slow-assed ‘ broadband service here, to visit other peoples’ galleries, and to give them the obligatory “Atta’boys“.

For me, after some careful consideration, and knowing that time is relatively short, it didn’t make much sense.

After all, if you want to make photography part of your “income-life”, then the majority of time spent on your photography should be networking with “Art Buyers”, not other “Art Makers”. Marketing your work to art buyers is where the majority of your marketing time should be spent.

Sure, it is good to get feedback from your peers about your photo work. These vanity photography sites do serve a certain purpose in that instance. However, very quickly, your time spent adding photos, adding “friends”, getting comments, sending comments, etc., can quickly suck the marketing time out of you, time better spent in other places.

I might as well mention it here because all kinds of people will have all kinds of different criteria when labeling photography sites as “vanity sites,” or “otherwise.”

That being the case, I won’t mention the ones I consider vanity sites because I’ll probably get at least 50% of my readers saying: “You’re Crazy! That’s not a ‘vanity’ site, I don’t care how many people comment on my photographs with statements like, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘What a hot babe!’, ‘Incredible Color’, ‘Amazing!’ , or, ‘Your focusing is spot-on!'”

But come on…Most people love to be praised for their photography, even if comments don’t say much about the technical details and intricacies about making a photograph.

And I’m fairly positive that most people probably don’t like comments like, “Wow, that’s a CRAP Photo!

LOLOL!

You don’t often see those types of comments at the vanity sites unless if the “CRAP Photo” commenter wants a “CRAP Photo” comment given in return, or being barred/blacklisted by the other person.

The funny thing is, however, that sometimes, “Wow, that’s a CRAP Photo” is so much closer to the true description of a photograph, rather than, “Wow, that’s really a swell photo!

So, what’s the point in giving inflated, and/or, false comments like that at these vanity photography sites?

What is important, is that if you spend the time at a vanity photography site, that you get something in return. Learning something new about photography from more learned photographers would be the most obvious benefit from these sites. That would be gained through constructive conversation about photography.

That does not always happen…

AT THESE VANITY WEB SITES…It is obviously no fun to be a selfless giver of good will and a constructive commenter to other photographers, and then in the end, you get NOTHING in return from all those “friends” you give nice, and or, actual constructive comments to.

There should be some sort of “reciprocal commenting:”

1570, from L. reciprocus “returning the same way, alternating,” from pre-L. *reco-proco-, from *recus (from re- “back” + -cus, adjective formation) + *procus (from pro- “forward” + -cus, adjective formation). The verb reciprocate “to return, requite” is recorded from 1820.

This thing that I term, “reciprocal commenting” happens quite regularly at these vanity photography sites, and that is nice.

Ye giveth, and ye shall receiveth!

HOWEVER, you will see many people at these vanity sites who love to receive comments, but rarely give return, reciprocal comments.

You will soon become fed up with these types of people, as it quickly becomes apparent that the ‘balance of commenting‘ has become overly side heavy in favor of those who don’t return the favor.

And you know, this can’t be tolerated in terms of Physics, or the stability of the world, because for every action there MUST be an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, I see these people who love to receive comments, love the attention, and rarely, if ever, return equal comments, as being like black holes: comments are eagerly sucked in from all parts of the universe, or at least, the vanity photography Internet universe, but no comments ever escape and return to the givers.

So, this post has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous all too quickly. Nevertheless, there is a point here.

Be very clear on where you want to spend your valuable time regarding your photography. If you only want to pursue photography as a hobby, then perhaps sharing photographs on photo sharing websites is an ideal way of pursuing and sharing your interest in photography. There is a value received by seeing multitudes of photographs from thousands and millions of photographers from all over the world. It is an interesting way to see the world, to comment on other peoples’ photographs and to learn new things through an incredible amount of visual input. There’s nothing wrong with that!

However, if your goal is to earn money and become a working photographer, wanting to channel your marketing time more effectively to network with art buyers and potential clients, then perhaps networking websites (on the Internet), and ‘real world’ distribution of photo samples would be a better use of your “free time,” which should be considered an oxymoron – there is no such thing as free time – your time is something that you can never get back, so use it wisely!

Here is a partial selection of one of my Marketing Portfolios at Facebook. This is a site that I feel is worth some time if you are a photographer. The results are not coming fast, but you have a considerable chance of hooking up with photo buyers, or someone who may know someone who may want your imagery. AND, you can search out people strategically who you could connect with and form a mutual, beneficial alliance.

Nawfal Nur\'s Photography Portfolios at Facebook.

There are a few details I could mention about Facebook, but will save that for another time. I’m going to leave these ideas behind for my readers to ponder: To agree or disagree. The important thing is that you decide for yourself where your time is best spent.

I’m not in any way saying that Facebook is lacking vanity from its content. There’s plenty of vanity to go around in the Internet world. However, it’s HOW you structure your profile at Facebook that makes the difference between if you are there to gain attention, friends, fans…or, if you are there to network and improve your business, no matter what business you are doing.

Good luck!

EGG CONTAINERS, v1, Edit A

EGG CONTAINERS, v1, Edit A, fb, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Title: “Egg Containers, v.1, Edit A”
Portfolio: “URBAN FRAGMENTS of GEORGETOWN”
Copyright 2008 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved

**Art Photography Prints & Art Cards Available at:**
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nawfalnur

VITA LIFT

VITA LIFT, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

Men’s Products.
Still Life.
Table Top.
Macro.

Fine Art.

Uploaded by fine-grain on 17 Apr 08, 2.50PM MYT.

Well, it’s not the typical white background macro-product-personal-care shot that you usually see on the walls in the Cosmetics Department at the Mall.

I guess, it wasn’t meant for that type of setting. As I’ve mentioned before (maybe more times than I know), I tend to approach all my macro work from an Art Photography slant. I like manipulating color and perspective and interpreting the subject in my own way. Maybe 70% of my shots (like this) are initiated because I like the shape and color of the subject. I want to see what I can creatively do with it to get an image.

I also don’t have the ‘fantastic equipment‘ that the Product Shooters have. So there! Cat’s out of the bag! Well, actually, I have five cats and they can’t all fit in my camera bag, but maybe one or two. Nevertheless, they are out of the bag.

Not often do I mention the equipment used to make a shot. However, I guess if you are a viewer who likes this shot, you may enjoy knowing that a ‘halfway decent‘ product-style shot, can be made with minimal equipment.

I used my Canon Powershot A620 Camera.
1 – SYSTEMS IMAGING 600-Watt Studio Flash with BOWENS Snoot.
1 – VIVITAR Macroflash.

Of course, a DSLR would offer more options, more flexibility, more details, more resolution and better dynamic range; but, if you want to be a better Photographer, you can’t wait for the “dream camera” to magically appear before you begin working and practicing.  You need to work with the tools you have. The “dream camera” will come later.

At the present, I’m making images and applying the same methodology used by a Paleontologist with a toothbrush in hand, delicately clearing debris from tiny fossils preserved in sandstone. In other words, basically using less sophisticated equipment by necessity, but getting decent results.

So, get out there and practice. Use the tools you have. Develop your skills, and better things will surely come your way.

Regards!

March Castle Ruins, v5, Edit C

 

March Castle Ruins, v5, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

This image is a “constructed image” of a Sci-Fi, or, Medieval type of Genre. All parts of the photograph are real, except the water.

The castle ruins and red sandstone landmass, are models that I made (sculpted/formed) and painted. The surface is made to look weather-worn and ancient.

The photograph title reflects that I made this image in March of this year (2007).

Lighting for this “macro-landscape” setting is tricky, but not so difficult if well thought out.

The important thing for me when doing these types of multi-medium artworks is that when I construct it, the parts of the image becomes a story, or a History.

ARTHRiTiS SUCKS! A.S. HLA-B27 Since 1988- Edit B

ARTHRiTiS SUCKS! A.S. HLA-B27 Since 1988- Edit B, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

ARTHRiTiS SUCKS! A.S. HLA-B27 Since 1988- Edit B

Genre: Social Awareness Photography – Fine Art.
Series: “ARTHRiTiS SUCKS!”
Self Portrait.

Tattoos on my hand giving details: The first one is obvious, “Arthritis SUCKS!” Especially when you started getting it when you are in your early 20’s. A.S. (Ankylosing Spondylitis) usually hits young men in their late teens or early 20’s.

I was diagnosed with A.S. when I was 23 years old (in 1988), but I knew there was something wrong with my joints before that. “HLA-B27” is the genetic marker that makes someone more prone to AS and other autoimmune diseases referred to as the “seronegative spondyloarthropathies”.

That’s my Fina Acoustic Electric Guitar, and anyone who has Arthritis and plays guitar will know how painful maintaining fine finger dexterity can be at times. Any activity where flexibility and dexterity are important is a major issue for the “Arthritic.”

So, this image, and my FUSION photo, are my contributions to the Public Service of sharing some “knowledge” and “experiences” with Arthritis and A.S.

One common misconception that many people have is that Arthritis is a disease of the really, really, incredibly aged….Ah, well, that just isn’t the case with some types of Arthritis.

Maybe I’ll continue this “ARTHRITIS SUCKS!” Series as ideas click in my mind.