Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 23 Feb 2011
We cordially invite you to join The Focus Project, an international open call for compelling photography, brought to you by JPG and Artists Wanted.
Throughout the course of this inspiring project, selected photographers will be featured right here on our blog and on The Focus Project homepage. Plus, weekly and monthly selections will receive cash prizes totaling over $50,000, and to top it all off, one Grand Prize photographer will be chosen to receive a NYC reception, his/her own Video Documentary produced by Artists Wanted (check out their other featured videos here), a Feature Editorial in JPG Magazine and $10,000 cash.
This month's jury panel includes Stephen Walker, Photo Director of NYLON Magazine, and Conor Risch, Senior Editor of PDN - show them what you've got by clicking here to register!
Share your photos now for multiple chances to earn world-wide acclaim and the funds to fuel your passion: taking incredible photos.
Show us the world through your unique lens. Click here to participate.
Your weekly deadline is THIS SUNDAY 11:59pm EST.
And be sure to check out this week's featured photographers here.
The Focus Project is supported by:
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 22 Feb 2011Al Stiegman wrote in to JPG suggesting a theme based around sunsets because, as he put it, "Everyone's done taken one, so why the heck not?" We have to admit that he has an excellent point.
Photographers are always on the lookout for beauty in the world, making sunsets a great focal point because of the lovely colors they cast. So for this photo challenge, we asked you to look through the likely numerous pictures that you have taken with sunsets, and pick out your favorite.
Below are some of our favorite pictures that were entered in Photo Challenge: My Favorite Sunset:
A Day to Remember by Andris Barbans
Look-off by Dawn White
Courthouse by Bruce Wendler
Sunset Wand by Mike Melnotte
Sunset Tufas by Chris Whitney
Untitled by Joyce Lau
The Sun Sets on Knoxville by Timothy Reeves
Gina at Work by Kevin Launius
Keep Your Eyes to the Sky... by Rachel Mckinnie
Port Coton Sunset by David Keochkerian
Posted by David Ozanich — 22 Feb 2011
This week for the JPG Member Interview we're talking to Jeremy Fraga of Boston.
You live in Boston. Did you grow up there? The city sure influences filmmakers - does it influence your photography?
I grew up In New Bedford, about an hour south of Boston. I would come up to the city when I could to take photos all around downtown and especially on parking garages, but mainly learned photography in high school. I think that any city could influence people the same way Boston might influence artists. To me, it seems inspiration is drawn from life experiences, surroundings, friends and neighborhoods. It's also about the life of the artist and where they reside. I am sure you'd see a difference between an artist who grew up in San Francisco as opposed to Boston.
You attended the New England School of Photography. What were the best things about that program? Any complaints?
The program at NESOP is amazing! If you're very passionate about photography I HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking the school out. It's a great resource to learn and pursue a life working as a professional photographer. As with any other school it is up to you to push yourself after you graduate to make that dream come true. In looking for schools to attend it was NESOP that got me hooked by offering majors and minors in all the different markets of photography. The common complaint from transfer students is that other schools don't teach the more technical side and mainly concentrate on the conceptual.
What's the best tip you learned while at school - something that stays with you when framing a shot?
Trust the Process. It's more so a series of steps than specific tips. Learn from trial and error, utilizing skills you've learned to know how create the shot you want. Take the time, break it down, and pay attention to all the aspects of the frame.
You have a slick and glossy style in many of your shots. What equipment or processing do you use to achieve those looks?
It all starts with a concept. I use mostly hard light to add mood to an image and frequently use rim and hair lights. I am very inspired by the dramatic style of "old hollywood" photography. Recently I have been building miniature sets and lighting models accordingly to drop into a scene. Without a budget for a soundstage and numerous props, the next best thing is to use creativity and technology to achieve the photo I want.
When you are going out to photograph, what do you always take with you?
My sketch book, film camera, flashes with numerous gels, grids, iPod, light stands and a tripod. It depends on the shoot but mainly a lot of gear. It's always better to be over prepared then under, especially when you are shooting with clients or models. It's very important to keep an open mind. Be open to comments from art directors and assistants.
What fascinates you about working on movie sets?
The whole process really! Everything from pre to post production. I am most attracted to films by Hitchcock, Kubrick, Spielberg, and Tarantino. The way the cinematography is used to create the whole mood of the movie. I find myself studying the lighting of scenes that peak my interest and treat many of my own concepts and shots as movie stills. My ultimate goal in is to someday work on movie sets or in poster art.
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 15 Feb 2011We all hope that none of you got your heart broken on Valentines Day, but in case you did, we hope this post is a little comforting. The amazing images that were entered in Photo Challenge: Broken are a testament to the fact that eventually things fall apart and there is usually beauty to be found in the breakdown.
Below are some of our favorite pictures that were entered in Photo Challenge: Broken:
Cook Bank Building and Star Trails, Rhyolite, Nevada by Jim Shoemaker
Hiking by Caroline Penris
Breaking Point by Jim Hill
Dispersal of Life:Cold Universe by Paul Andrews
Mother Nature Has Been Here by Linda Houghton
In by Photography Seven
Eleanor Rigby by Mariel Clayton
Cuts by Marina Tillo
Stitches by Gina Kelly
His Spirit by Pamela Haberman
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 10 Feb 2011The third and final theme for issue 28 of JPG Magazine has been officially announced! For this theme we want you to take a trip down memory lane and by capturing the keepsakes that you hold dear. So dig out the items that have significance in your life and show them to us for the theme Mementos!
The other two themes that will accompany it are Growing Up and Anticipation. Enter your photos and get your votes in to help us make this issue of JPG Magazine!
Here are some great pictures that have already been entered in the themes!
From the theme Growing Up:
Family First... by A Zee Dee
Spirit, Age 13 by Leah Nash
From the theme Anticipation:
Shaun White 2 by Aaron Lucy
Waiting for Dinner by Marj Kline
From the theme Mementos:
...A Few of My Favorite Things... by Penny Nannini
Color by Janell Dedera
Posted by David Ozanich — 9 Feb 2011
This week we have an especially interesting JPG Member interview. We talked with Florida National Guard member (and consummate photographer) Alex Manne. He spoke with us about studying photography as well as his experiences shooting war zones during his three deployments to the Middle East.
Reading your biography on your website, you say you've served three tours in the Middle East - two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. What was an average day like for you?
I was in Afghanistan for 8 months. It was my third deployment, the second of which I volunteered. On an average day, I would train, plan with, mentor and combat advise our partnered Afghan force. Later on in the deployment, we would meet with local government leaders and different village elders to talk about making their security better and empowering them to take care of their own people. With this, I got to interact with the population and had exposure to parts of Afghanistan foreigners have never been to. It was a great experience most will never know. I'm extremely fortunate.
You say you got your start being a "paprazzi" for your friends. How does this informal style of photography influence the photos you take in combat zones?
First, I ALWAYS had both my cameras or at least one on me. Being in a combat zone is mostly being in the unknown. Things just happen and happen suddenly. The day I don't have my camera is the day I could miss something special. Second, I'm a big fan of people being natural, in natural situations so I shoot very candidly. You can capture some special, REAL moments that way. However, Afghans are pretty keen. They take notice of the cameras. They surprisingly love to be photographed, especially the kids. They seemed to be fascinated by it actually.
What did your fellow soldiers make of your $12,000 of camera equipment. Were you the only photographer in your unit? Does National Guard have restrictions on what you can and can't shoot (with a camera)?
At first, everyone could not believe I would risk damaging my own equipment. But they started seeing the photos and then understood why I risked it. Soon after they were always reminding me to get photographs of them when we would go out. Everyone needs their "cool guy" shots. I was always hearing that their wives, families and friends back home loved having so many photos of them. Sadly, some soldiers can go a whole deployment with only a few photos of themselves and the places they've been. These photos are their legacy to show their kids and grandkids one day. Some people don't think about that. Ironically, I don't have that many shots of myself.
I'm not actually assigned as a photographer. I have a regular MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). Which sometimes made it difficult to get the best shots and be in the best spots because I had to focus on security and doing my job first. However, my photography skills ultimately served a purpose to our mission. As someone who is not assigned as a photographer, there are no restrictions, other than using good judgement, to what I can shoot. However, the army has restrictions and guidelines on what I can make public.
What equipment do you use?
14-24mm 2.8 AF-S ED (my favorite)
24-70mm 2.8 AF-S
70-200mm 2.8 AF-S ED VR
400mm 2.8 AF-S ED VR
SB-900 AF Speedlight Flash
SB-600 AF Speedlight Flash
32 GB Scandisk Extreme Pro
16 GB (x2) Scandisk Extreme
8 GB Scandisk Extreme
All my own personal equipment. B&H better love me.
You are enrolled in a photography program in college. How does that affect your style? Do you have a more "formal" approach now than in your early "paparazzi" days?
I was only enrolled for one semester in a great program at the University of North Florida before I started getting ready to deploy. Other than creating a great appreciation for film, it didn't affect my shooting style. Getting out there out and shooting constantly, and especially looking at other people's work affected my approach which is now more photojournalistic. Still I just keep it simple. I "shoot what I see" and try to capture the moment as I see it. I don't try to get fancy or creative. Though I think having formal training would have forced me to approach subject matter differently than I'm used to.
What's a tip you learned in school that stays with you as you frame shots?
I learned 2 important things that one semester. First, always use manual settings. Do as the pros do. The other was a great tip for producing great B&W photographs - If you have any pure blacks and pure whites in the photo, you're good.
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 8 Feb 2011In terms of composition, what makes a great photograph? Many times it's the lines that are created by your subject matter that help turn a good photograph into a great one.
For this photo challenge, we asked you to look for things that are in order and work them strategically into your image. There were many fantastic submissions, so it was no easy task picking our favorites.
Below are some of the pictures that we thought really stood out in this photo challenge:
Executive Decision by Rhyan Emery Taylor
White (Closet Series) by Margo Duvall
Three Little Pumpkins by McEntire1
Still Life No.3 by Bat 2
Color Reflections by Gail O'Bannon
Bowls by Brad
A Singular Man by Gerard Sexton
Volo di Linea (air-line) by Lowison
Fencing a Fence by René Damen
Blue Brisoliel by Sam Iqab
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 3 Feb 2011
This issue features so much greatness that I don't know if it will fit in a blog post, but I'll do my best to share with you exactly why you must check out Issue 25 of JPG Magazine.
For this issue we worked with Patrick Sansone, who curated the Inspired by a Song theme. He's one of the talented people in the bands Wilco and The Autumn Defense, and also an amazing photographer. Check out his story in the magazine that features images from his book, 100 Polaroids, and hear how the music he creates influences his photography.
This issue also features Traditions from around the world and touching stories about our contributors' personal Heroes. You'll also find Nathan Perkel's story about deaf athletes, which will move you beyond words.
What else, you say? How about a project that recreates famous paintings from the Victorian era, where it takes Klaus Enrique Gerdes about 3 days to create one amazing photograph? If that doesn't do it for you, be sure to check out the 84-year-old woman that is far more flexible than anyone on the JPG staff.
You'll find all this and more in this issue of JPG Magazine, so check it out today!
Posted by David Ozanich — 3 Feb 2011
This week we're talking to JPG Member Julie Stiefel. She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.
How did you get interested in photography?
My interest in photography began in my teen years. At the time a good friend had a darkroom where we would spend hours mixing chemicals, fiddling with exposures, and printing loads of 35mm black and white prints. Color processing was also a part of our darkroom experience, but at the time B & W offered more chances for experimentation.
Where do you live? Does that influence your subject matter?
The rural landscape of west-central New Jersey (yes, RURAL, in NJ!) offers an intriguing variety of subject matter! We have it all - farms and farm animals, wild critters, decay, nature, and ready access to NYC and everything in between. Sometimes a walk down the hill to our creek, a walk up the mountain we live on, or simply a quick shot out the front windows allows for some terrific photo ops!
How do you choose your subject matter - much of your work seems concerned with
Yes, the preponderance of my work is concerned with inanimate objects. Living in the NJ "sticks" for 30 years and the sparse population kind of forces the direction of my work. My home responsibilities also contribute to the scope of my work, elderly live-in parents take a lot of time/care.
Humor plays a very important role in my photographic work. Life is often fraught with problems/pain. I try to share my abundant humor with those around me and photography is one way to do that.
Also, the simple - and unsurpassed - beauty of God's artwork in nature draws me in. Sometimes I will hammer away at (read as: beat to death) trying to portray the depth of beauty that only the naked eye can see. Impossible, of course, but I strive...
Many of your photoshave a "vintage" (for lack of a better word) feel to them. What
cameras, or techniques, do you use to achieve that?
Ah, the sheer fun of "vintage" work! I absolutely LOVE the textures, noise, colors, and sometimes really odd results achieved in this area!
For my ttv shots I use an Argus twin lens camera to focus through and a CANON S5IS to actually take the photo through the focusing tube. I find that this dinosaur of a point-and-shoot is perfect for this purpose.
As for my other "vintage" images, I use a CANON EOS Rebel XTI with one of three lens - a CANON 75 - 300mm zoom, a CANON 28 - 135mm IS zoom, or a CANON 50mm 1.8 prime. Occasionally my handy CANON PowerShot SX130IS is pressed into service.
I use a variety of editing software with PhotoShop being my primary tool, though I use a handful of online editing programs. I love to experiment with what is a constantly changing and improving plethora of techniques.
Do any other photographers or artists influence your work?
The first and foremost influence in my work is the Master Artist, God. Most of what I have learned over the four years as a JPG member has come from the hundreds of talented photographers who share their work here on JPG. Techniques and ideas jump out at me and I simply run with them.
As often as he is used as an influential artist, I LOVE the work of Ansel Adams. He portrays nature as close to "naked eye" beauty as any I have seen.
Posted by Darlene Bouchard — 1 Feb 2011Every new year when the clock strikes midnight, many of us take stock of our lives and make a commitment toward something we want to improve. For this photo challenge, we asked you to take that commitment one step further by documenting what exactly that change is.
It's February now, which means that a little over 60 percent of the people who made a New Year's resolution have kept it. We sure hope that the people who entered our photo challenge are among the people who have! Best of luck to all of you in keeping that commitment throughout 2011!
Below are just a few of our favorite submissions to Photo Challenge: Your 2011 Resolution:
Take a Step Back by Mary Costa
Untitled by Korin Fisher
Going Without by Catherine Hadler
I Will Live a Little This Year by The Socialite
Spend More Quality Time With My Wife by Steven King
Ugliest Four Letter Word in the English Language by Theresa Thompson
I Love Film by Liz Brown
Focus by Debrah Leonard
Sing Your Own Song by Francisco Little
I Resolve to Reach for the Stars by Flash Flood