Pura vida is a characteristic Costa Rican phrase. The literal translation is “pure life”. However, the expression is used to convey different meanings such as “plenty of life”, “full of life”, “doing great” and also “this is living!”. The phrase can be used in many ways and even as both a greeting or a farewell, as an answer expressing that things are goingwell, or as a way of giving thanks.
It is clearly evident in the Costa Rican attitude towards nature, which is celebrated, appreciated and protected. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the predominant colour in Costa Rica is green. In the rural area you are treated to miles and miles and miles, as far as the eye can see, of green. Many different textures and tones of green, often uninterrupted by any other colour.
Maybe to balance out all that green, the urban areas of Costa Rica, like its capital San José, display bursts of strong and vivid colours. It is an environment one would imagine William Eggleston to be very happy to work in.
One of our assignments for the Digital Darkroom unit (Post Production of Digital Images) was to recreate images of photographers of the Pictorialist movement. According to Wikipedia (the encyclopedia of the Digital Age):
“Pictorialism is the name given to an international style and aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no standard definition of the term, but in general it refers to a style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of “creating” an image rather than simply recording it”.
My best result was with an image by Alvin Langdon Coburn, taken 110 years ago. What do you think, did I nail the assignment? (Mine is on the right, just in case you have doubts!)
With special thanks to my beautiful model Etty Devereaux!
A long exposure on a very windy (and extremely cold) night can produce some interesting results.
For this assignment you have to produce a number of digital photographs on the theme of “Fears and Obsession”. You will need to plan your photo-shoot and consider the type of lighting most suitable for the style of your photos. All work need to be shot in the photographic studio. You will experiment with high-key and low-key lighting and use a reference white/mid gray card, in order to set your White Balance in ACR later. A strong concept and the right props, combined with the appropriate image manipulation techniques, could produce outstanding outcomes. For the final submission you need to choose two digital images and manipulate them in Adobe Photoshop.
For this assignment I opted to depict the actual bodily sensations one feels when experiencing fear or obsession, rather than represent a specific obsession or fear. The images were converted to black-and-white and then given an overall colour to emphasise the feeling depicted, fear being a rather cold emotion and obsession a warm one. With special thanks to my awesome photographic actress/colleague photographer Katerina.
Some time ago I published a picture of Dante, my youngest dog, who is a very willing model. Alfita, my oldest dog who passed away last friday, was a very reluctant one.
At a young age, she would turn her back whenever she saw a picture and walk away. As she grew older, and especially after Dante joined the family, she relented a little. After moving to London in 2011, she finally decided that it was OK to be photographed.
At the ripe age of 15 1/2 she left us to join her family in doggie heaven. We miss you “cosita linda”…….
Your experience of life alters when you do something you have never done before. This image is one of those things I have now done for the first time. This image is my creation from beginning to end: I photographed in on black-and-white film, with an analog camera. I developed the film, printed a contact sheet, picked the image, enlarged it and printed it.
I cannot say I have now ticked off an item of my bucket list, but I have conquered another photographic mountain that at first seem unsurmountable. Next!
The Studio! I have anticipated working in a studio ever since I started my formal study of photography. My current academic endeavours at Kensington & Chelsea College have opened my eyes to other photographic genres, yet deep down I still consider myself a portraitist first and foremost. And studio portraitist is the next frontier for me, to conquer the misteries of artificial light.
For our final project in the Studio Photography unit we had to create two series of four studio created images, one series consisting of still lives, the other of images taken with models in the high glide part of the studio. I opted to combine my two series in a single project about the Four Directions. With the help of my two amazing assistants, colleagues Gesine and Liliana and fellow photographer Rodrigo as my model, I present to you my interpretations of the Four Directions.
One unexpected development of my photography studies has been being asked to pose for the projects of some of my fellow students. So do I consider myself a model now? I would rather say that I am now also a photographic actor, as that combines my two loves, photography and acting. The preceding and following images were taken by my colleague Gesine Garz. Check out her amazing oeuvre!