My Hungry Heart

FAITH

Posted by shermancharles on April 3, 2008

© Sherman Charles

I spent yesterday evening walking along the Raritan Canal catching the last few rays of light cutting through the bare treeline.
The quiet and fading light usually puts me in a contemplative mood. Last evening the thought that came into mind was faith.
I thought about it’s power, it’s demands. This is not only about religious faith, but the faith it takes to believe,
to be confident, to be secure. That faith is a mighty force. That faith alone could decide your success or failure.
Your joy or sadness. Faith can be a challenge for me. I tend to be too practical sometimes – I call it being a realist (read pessimist).
I tend to think too many times of the things that can go wrong and not dare envision the things that can go right.
Those things, the right things, seem so distant sometimes. They seem like foggy shapes floating on a distant horizon, far from my reach.
A very common thing said amongst champion athletes is the idea of envisioning the win. Seeing yourself crossing the finish line.
Envisioning the ball going throught basket. You have to believe that you can. That this thing is possible.

Sometimes to achieve what we want, what are so afraid to believe is possible, is a little faith. Have the courage to lean on it.

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Photographer type

Posted by shermancharles on March 20, 2008


© Sherman Charles
I ran across this list on one of the photoblogs. Thought it would be interesting to fill it out for myself.

————-

color: yes
black & white: yes

film: no, but wouldn’t mind
digital: yes

available light: when available
lit: when called for
heavily lit: no
over lit: not intentional

large format: no, would be sweet though
medium format: no
35mm: yes
holga/junk: no

shoots men: yes
shoots women: strangely mostly
shoots children: no

studio: no
location: yes

portrait: yes
photojournalist: suck at
fashion: no, but would try
beauty: no, but would try
still life: sometimes
fine art: dabbling
advertising: no, but aiming
outdoor: anytime
automotive: no
food: no
interior: no, but aiming for
sports: no
conceptual: no

travel and leisure-e: no but interested
urban: no
gritty: no
nike: no
high production value: no
low production value: yes
slick: no
raw : yes
grainy : no
saturated : no
captured moment: yes, aim for it
americana: no
weird: not really
stark: no
quirky: no
props: no
lyrical: ??
painterly: maybe
high contrast: sometimes, if it fits
naked: semi but working on it
cool: no
off moment: aim for it
awkward: no, but aim for it
muted color: no
crunchy (super sharp): no, don’t like
great casting: no
tight: no
landscape: yes, mainly seascape
action :no
sets: no
real people : prefer
models : rarely, good ones, never
trashy : no
heroin chic : no
vintage :no

gimmicky: no
kitschy: ?
Lord-of-the-Rings-y (overly digitally processed so people look like video game characters): no, don’t like

Platonish: no

natural: yes
fussy: no
unstyled: yes
overstyled: no
spontaneous: yes, aim for
sluggish: no
energetic: yes
vibrant: sometimes
clever: probably not

cinematic : possibly
snapshotty (as opposed to snap-shoddy): no
faux-testino: no

film noir: yes and me like

square: no

street: suck at

bad: sometimes

awful: rarely I hope
lame: no

man hands: think I have slender fingers

can shoot anything: my way
haute-shit : no

Posted in B&W, Creativity, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

See local

Posted by shermancharles on March 19, 2008

© Rachel Mackow

I went to a local photography gallery in Hopewell, NJ [http://www.gallery14.com] this past weekend to see some work by a few local photographers. While there I grabbed a postcard off a stack lying on a small corner table. The front cover was a beautiful black and white photograph of a forest setting. Wonderful, image titled – “Black cohosh in Fog”. Flipping the card over I learned that it was taken in The Sourland Mountain Reserve in Somerset county. A short 10 minute drive from my house. That evening I logged on to the photographer’s website to view the rest of the portfolio from that series. I was really amazed. I have hiked through the Sourlands often, and always thought it would be an interesting place to photograph but never go around to it. Also I never decided on the approach that I would take. I must say that I was very inspired by what the photographer, Rachel Mackow, had done.

So the moral of this story is to see local. Look around you. Some of us sit around wishing we could travel to exotic locations, and photograph interesting places and people. We may find ourselves very surprised at what lies right around our corner. Develop your creativity to be inspired by the commonplace and find the stories that are right underneath your nose.

Posted in Creativity, Inspiration, NJ, People, Photographer, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The eyes

Posted by shermancharles on March 7, 2008

Portrait of Saudia

© Sherman Charles

I took this photograph two summer ago. I love her eyes.

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Thoughts on creativity

Posted by shermancharles on February 24, 2008

“Ignore everybody”

“A fancy tool just gives the second-rater one more pillar to hide behind. Which is why there are so many hack writers with state-of-the-art laptops”

“Don’t worry about finding inspiration it comes eventually”

The quotes above are all from Hugh MacLeod and included in his brilliant How To Be Creative manifesto. Excellent read for anyone in the creative arts.

We all have to find for ourselves where we are to be. The internet can’t tell us. Flickr comments can’t tell us. It is our own path that we must seek out and walk. Sounds like a fortune cookie but I really believe it to be true. My own photography got better when I stopped trying to be like everyone else and I started seeing for myself. I started focusing on what I felt came naturally to me. It’s ok to like what you like. It may not be the trend right now, but if it feels real to you, good to you, then it will be worth your exploration. One of the negatives of all this inter-connectedness (newly minted term) is that we have so much access to so much creativity. Generally this is good. We get to appreciate and learn from others. We get to share our own work. The negative comes in when all that creativity becomes noise that deafens our senses and hinders our own development. Noise that blocks the path from mind to soul with doubt, envy, worry and confusion. On flickr I see so many photographers trying to emulate some other photographer’s style. Especially through photoshop. True it can be a learning experience to do this – but for the most part they are focusing on the “what” or the “how” as opposed to the “why”. Creativity is more about the why. Any creative has to define the why of what they do. Walking through a museum, I often ask myself, why did the painter paint this way? Why did he choose this palette? Why this subject? Maybe even why did he paint at all? The Masters – they all had vision that was guided by specific intent. They wanted to paint a specific way, they wanted to use certain colors and paint certain subjects. They manifested their own intent. Their own why. If you don’t pursue your own, all you’re doing is copying the work of someone else. Mastering the how of their work. That may make you a better craftsman, but not a better artist. My father being a musician told me this – in music, being able to play a song that has already been written and played by others is craft, being able to write and play your own that others will want to play, is art.

Posted in Art, Creativity, Inspiration | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

People on Portraiture

Posted by shermancharles on February 6, 2008

© Sherman Charles

A great post on the Conscientious blog asking the question – “What makes a great portrait?” The question was sent out to some in the photography community.

In every portrait session I do I learn something new about portraiture. I am not sure if I am “making” a portrait. Sure I am determining lighting, camera angle, camera settings and lens, all things that determine the resulting image and how that image will be interpreted. A portrait with a shallow depth of field will have a different feel that one that is sharp to infinity. So my choice in these factors is a direct statement on my intent. Now the much more difficult and unpredictable variable is the portrait sitter. The person who is having her portrait taken is really the wildcard in the whole equation. Is she in a good mood, a soulful mood, playful, angry, depressed, overjoyed – and if she is anyone of those things is she going to portray the exact opposite when siting before the camera. Is she honest in what she is portraying? Do I, the photographer, care?

If she is happy can/will she portray someone who is sad? If she is sad, can she portray someone who is happy? Of course this happens all the time. Shuffle through the months entertainment magazines and you will see any number of made-up, stylized portraits of celebrities and socialites that may have very little of that celebrity’s true personality. The photographer and team are hired to photograph with a specific look being the result. Selling more magazines, promoting movie/tv show/record/product. This takes us back to the subject of intent. In my eyes, a portrait is a battle of intents, the photographer vs. the sitter. In those magazines I see more the intent of the art director/creative director/publicist/photographer than anything else. So are those really portraits if they are more sales pitches than anything else? It is confusing. I find myself confused even as I write.

Of course we have the cases where the intent of the sitter wins and the photographer does not think it is a good photograph. Perhaps the person being photographed is not conveying any real emotion, feeling, personality – anything that will make a photograph interesting. However it is a portrait. It is capturing an individual in the way they are. But why isn’t it good? Is that what a portrait is supposed to do? Capture someone in the way they are?
I am not quite sure. But I have seen plenty of good portraits. And they all have that “thing”. I think it’s that intangible thing that escapes definition or description. Like some others said in the Conscientious posting, it’s that thing you see when you see it. You don’t quite know why but it touches you somewhere and you say – “that’s fantastic”.

For myself I think a portrait that I like is more a portrait of me than that of the one who was photographed. I think it speaks more to who I am, my likes and dislikes, my mood and personality, my sense of who I am and what is good. It’s like listening to a song when you’re in a certain mood. Or hearing an old song from years past when you were a much different person than you are now. You remember who you were when that song came out. So you liking that song then speaks of who you were then. Conversely how you feel about it now speaks of who you are today.

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New

Posted by shermancharles on January 28, 2008

© Sherman Charles

Posted in Coast, NJ, photograph, Seascape | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dan Winters Unpublished

Posted by shermancharles on January 28, 2008

© Dan Winters

Editorial and celebrity photographer Dan Winters has provided ten never before published photographs from his personal archives. Truly inspiring work. I think my two favorites would have to Sandra Bullock and his father. The image of his father is striking, biblical if you may.

Posted in B&W, Inspiration, photograph, Photographer, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Recent …

Posted by shermancharles on January 1, 2008

Three recent portraits


© Sherman Charles


© Sherman Charles


© Sherman Charles

Posted in B&W, People, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Great Quote

Posted by shermancharles on December 28, 2007

“Life doesn’t happen in perfect light” – Randy Olson

World renowned photographer photojournalist in Toyota Land Cruiser commercial.

http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/minisite/landcruiser/experience/ 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

 
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