In recent years, I have been fortunate to be able to spend time indulging in some of my favourite pastimes - travelling, camping, photography and enjoying good food and wine. They go so well together. Because I have travelled so much and accumulated a large catalogue of images, the processing has been basic and loaded up onto my website as quickly as possible. Hence I have a site almost entirely comprised of what amounts to stock images apart from a few Photo Stories that I have put together. There is no portfolio of my best work .
I now need to start over in terms of developing my photographic style, showing those images that I really love, telling stories with my imagery and developing an online persona. So I have commenced a Unit with University of Tasmania called Photography and Social Media. One of the requirements of this course is that I keep a digital diary in the form of a blog. As I already have a Blog here on my Business Site www.cheridesailly.com, I have decided to use it for my course work.
For those of you who have followed my occasional blogs, come along for the ride if you like. I am undertaking this unit to help me better understand and utilise social media platforms in order to get my work out there in a public arena. I also wish to use it to follow and learn from artists, designers and crafts people from a variety of backgrounds and interests.
In the final 10 images that I have selected here I have endeavoured to stay true to social documentary style photography. That is minimal post processing in order to maintain the integrity of the story. I have discussed in my previous blog entry that I used Lightroom to catalogue, select and process my images. The processing included adjustments to basic contrast, highlight, shadows, white balance and sharpening. Little or no saturation was applied. In fact I often had to reduce saturation and luminence a little because the colours were so vibrant that they were going out of gamma.
Over the course of the festival I published photos on my Cheri Desailly Instagram site. After the first couple of days, organisers and artists started to recognised me from my self portraits on the site and greeted me where ever I went. I had requests from artists for photos and even a commission from one to photograph a large public art sculpture that he has done here in Brisbane. The manufacturer of the acrylic paints used by most of the artists has also contacted me for photos. All of the artists, volunteers and organisers use instagram, as do their fans. I have attracted a following from all over the world and I must admit that the likes and comments that keep popping up on my iphone are akin to instant gratification. I am finding it much more difficult to attract people on my public Cheri Desailly Facebook site.
Here are my final 10. Thank you to tutor Jess Lewis for your very helpful critique.
Part of a larger work by Drapl and Treas on the exterior of the old burnt out Skating Rink in Red Hill. Treas is not keen on having his photo taken, preferring an element of anonymity in the tradition of street artists.
Drapl working on the large work by Drapl and Treas on the exterior of the old burnt out Skating Rink in Red Hill. "This is the most realistic portrait I have done" said Drapl.
The Great South East Team came to The Brisbane Street Art Festival.
Sirmano's Sugar Skulls brightened up the bar in the old GPO, Fortitude Valley.
Buttons has become well known for her artworks and said that she has been "heavily influenced by Japanese culture". This latest piece is in the stairwell of the old GPO in Fortitude Valley.
The Entrance to Jugglers Art Space where four young street artists were painting the walls. Jugglers Inc "supports emerging across a broad range of genre". http://www.jugglers.org.au
The negative part of a larger work at the Brightside in Fortitude Valley., Hounds on the Hunt, is by well known local artist and sculptor, Cezary Stulgis.
Sofles was amazingly fast and efficient at completing this very large mural at the Brightside in Fortitude Valley. He did no preliminary sketching and unlike other artists, appeared to have no plan on paper or iphone to refer to.
Ekear painted the roller door at the Kerbside Bar in Fortitude Valley. It is a great addition to a street with a number of other works.
A fitting finale to The Brisbane Street Art Festival. Australian Guido Van Helten is a world renowned artist, famous for his grand works. This mural will be finished in the next few days and is on the side of a building under construction in Woolloongabba.
I have definitely settled on this topic, The Brisbane Street Art Festival, and to that end I have been out for the past 10 days and a couple of evenings photographing street artists at work. It has been a great experience and after the first couple of days and some posts on instagram, I was greeted like an old friend by organisers, volunteers and artists.
Instagram has proven to be the perfect social media platform for this type of photography. All of the artists, venues, organisers and followers use instagram. I have tried to upload at least one photo a day with the aim of not just taking a photo of someone else's art work but rather put my own take on the photo. using people and other props. to good effect I think. The photos have been well received and, to date, I have built up quite a following. I have had a fast learning curve on the use of instagram and enjoy the instant feedback when posting a photo. This particular genre of art has a very big audience worldwide.
In attempting to present the art work and artists in a different way I have taken over 1200 photos. I'm sure there were plenty of amused shoppers in the Fortitude Valley Mall when I was sprawled out on the ground photographing Jasper painting his mural on the Burrito Shack and the owner of The Brightside Bar didn't mind at all when I was climbing up on to stools and then bench tops to get "that shot". Exposures were often difficult and sometimes with very high iso (up to 6400). Fortunately my Nikon D800 is a very good low light camera. some of the images were indoors in dark narrow hallways or under bright lights and others were on very large walls and difficult even at 16mm to fit the whole image. I often went back to the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) and zoomed in on just part of an image, of a hand and spray can, a brush or other things like a ladder. The most used lenses have been a Nikkor 16-35mm F4 and a lovely old Nikkor 35-70mm F2.8. There has been occasional use of a 50mm F1.8 in very low light situations at night and yesterday I used my 70-200mm F2.8 to get a close uo of Guido Van Helten who was up high on a massive wall in Woolloongabba.
The process of elimination - After backing up my raw files, I use Lightroom to catalogue sort and process my images, only straying to photoshop where extra work or creativity on the image is warranted. On import I rename the images Year/month/day_camera generated filename. I then trash those that are poorly exposed or blurred (unless the blurring is intentional). I use a star rating system, to reduce the images down to a usable number with the best being 5 stars. Set up a Collection for the particular project I am working on, sometimes also using flags and colours to further reduce to the final images. Because I am also publishing the images selected mostly suit square format. Because Instagram recently allowed for different formats, I haved strayed occasionally where I felt another format would make a stronger image. Below are examples of images I have used. Note that I have been frustrated by the lack of control in arranging my images in this blog.
Diz at The Met 3Diz painting a wall at the Met in Fortitude Valley, Queensland as part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival Xato Stencils at the Old GPOXato Stencils at the Old GPO,Fortitude Valley as part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival Drapl up a ladderDrapl is a Brisbane based artist collaborating here with Treas to complete a very large mural on the old Skating Rink at Red Hill in Brisbane. Part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival Kasper at the Burrito Shack 1Kasper creating one of his beautiful stories - part of "Kasper's World" - on the Burrito Shack, Fortitude Valley mall during the Brisbane Street Art Festival Fuzeillear at Lost BoysFuzeillear working on a beautifully evocative piece at the Lost Boys in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane as part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival. Drapl up a ladderDrapl is a Brisbane based artist collaborating here with Treas to complete a very large mural on the old Skating Rink at Red Hill in Brisbane. Part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival
Ekear's Roller DoorEkaer's great work on the roller dooor at Kerbside in fortitude Valley as part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival. Negative part of Hounds on the HuntPart of a larger work, Hounds on the Hunt by Cezary Stulgis at entrance to the Brightside bar in Fortitude Valley. Part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival. Guido Van Helten 1Guido Van Helten, australian internationally based artist, working on a massive wall in Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Queensland
Buttons at the old GPO 1Cherie Buttons, Brisbane based artist painting a large mural in the stairwell of the old GPO in Fortitude Valley during the Brisbane Street Art Festival Treas Spreading StardustTreas is a Brisbane based artist collaborating here with Drapl to complete a very large mural on the old Skating Rink at Red Hill in Brisbane. Part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival Cezary's DogOne of Cezary Stulgis' great doberman paintings is on the back door at the Brightside bar in Fortitude Valley. Part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival.
I have been giving a lot of thought to who and what inspires me to do Street/Social Documentary photography. I have always been interested in what other people are doing around me going about their everyday lives. I tend to photograph everyday ordinary things and events and particularly like to photograph crafts people and artists. We look back with great interest at photographs taken 50 years ago and forget that others will do the same in another 50 years.
I like to capture people so intent on what they are doing that they are often unaware of anything else. That fleeting smile, a big sigh, agony and laughter - it's all there. The difficulty is then in getting a good quality photo where you have no control over the light the environment and the tricky situations in which I often find myself. Street photography is like that. Not all of my photography is surreptitious. Usually my subjects are fully aware that I am taking there photos and are comfortable enough with me to drop their guard and allow their personalities to shine through. My photo story at this link Impressions of Uganda demonstrates a number of facets of social documentary and street photography.
Henri Cartier Bresson has been called the father of modern street photography and remains my greatest inspiration. He liked to show how "life offers itself" to the photographer and established the principle of "the decisive moment" in modern street photography. Like Bresson I love to show the chaos and I prefer to use colour for further emphasis, only straying to monochrome occasionally.
I love John Free's work and that he is also a great teacher of the genre. Yanidel is another great source of inspiration. He is mostly known for his street photography in Paris. He uses his blog and RSS feeds to great effect, sharing his extensive knowledge through the blog rather than via workshops.
Inspiration comes from a number of sources. In previous blog entries I have referred to that great anonymous street artist, Banksey. I have also been fortunate to see and to photograph some street art in Paris, both legal and illegal. Below are some examples.
I am delighted to now be finding and enjoying our local street art right here in Brisbane. On discovering that the Brisbane Street Art Festival commenced last Saturday, I embarked on a complete change of direction for Project 2 of my uni subject, Photography and Social Media.
Hold the phone! Another theme has just popped up. This morning I discovered that the Brisbane Street Art Festival started yesterday and is on all week. Spent a couple of hours photographing Real and Meks who were putting together an amazing piece of work. I really have to consider this theme as an alternative as I love photographing artists at work. Here's a couple of images from today.
Reals & Meks - Street ArtistsStreet Artists, Real and Meks working on a piece for the Brisbane Street Arts Festival 2016 Street Artist - RealsStreet Artists, Real of Real and Meks, working on a piece for the Brisbane Street Arts Festival 2016
My other project has the potential to get too big and so this is a real alternative for me.
On reading the outline for Project 2, the first idea that leapt into my mind was about issues surrounding Ageing and Technology. I have an elderly mother, Margaret, who has for many years used a computer. As her health declined and she was more and more confined to home, the computer allowed her to stay there for longer. She did her supermarket shopping online and ordered meals online from a variety of suppliers. The ability to maintain communication with her friends and play canasta with them online also helped to keep her from being too isolated.
When Mum moved into a nursing home almost six years ago, she took a new computer with her and, at 86, uses Skype, email and Facebook to communicate with family and friends. Mum has grandchildren overseas and relatives in other states. She competently communicates with them and staff who have left the home regularly. Much to the annoyance of her GP, Mum also researches her health issues and medications on line and knows all the tricky questions to ask.
Mum is now trying to learn to use an Ipad and it is clear that learning knew technology becomes harder with age. Her old computer still uses a Windows XP operating system and navigating the Ipad has not, to date, been very successful. Moving on to Windows 10 and a laptop is going to be challenging. Cconstantly changing technology and continuing support for the elderly so that they don't become isolated in an increasingly technological world is going to become a very big issue. The baby boomer generation will be much more technological savvy and those who have rejected the likes of social media and not kept up, will find it difficult to function in this environment in the near future.
While I am still using the theme "Ageing and Technology", The photo below and some others I have since taken, have caused me to rethink the emphasis. As you can see computers are not the only pieces of technology that my mother relies on to maintain some quality of life. In this picture of Mum in her Nursing Home room you can see a computer, an Ipad to the left of the TV, a stand for her high tech wireless earphone, an old DVD and video recorder and a HDD recorder. Mum is almost completely deaf. She wears hearing aids and uses a telephone that is designed for the hearing impaired. Apart from the Ipad she controls all of the other items without assistance.
Watching TVOld lady in wheelchair watching TV and wearing earphones.