Being amongst one’s best friends

Last weekend I went to a pet fair.

I know there are a lot of people that don’t really like to have pets (or any animals around them, for that matter), But I do, so I went there.

bulldog

How can you say no to this face?

And I wasn’t planning to shoot anything.
Pet breeders don’t like to have some random bucko come out of nowhere with a big SLR and any non kit-looking lens. They get REALLY nervous. (As I had the chance to feel first hand, with the cat ones).
But I get them. They spend a lot of time and money to come up with animals with certain desired characteristics, and it’s their source of income. Obviously they don’t want their results copied by everyone, because then there won’t be anything unique about their work.
As a photographer, I feel the same. Continue reading

The end of an Era

Today is a very sad day for photography, in it’s whole.

Eastman Kodak has filed for bankruptcy today.For all it’s existence, Eastman Kodak was, probably, the biggest name in photo-sensitive film, in all formats, for photography and cinema.

It has been unconfortable to watch the last few years of struggle in a market of proprietary sensors, where no manufacturer or customer is very interested in the old model with the separation between machine (the camera) and medium (film).

I will miss your films, old friend! And will never forget that you changed the world like nothing else has!

>You have failed me for the last time!

>

Dear Nissin Di622,

Your shambly TTL system almost ruined my assignment yesterday.
We had some manual fun in the past, but now you’re going to be my 4th choice and last resort.

The SB-24s are WAAAAY more reliable, fast and useful than you, despite being almost as old as me.

But let’s still be friends!

Best regards,
JFM Photo

PS: So, does anyone have a cheap SB-800 willing to sell?

>These aren’t the Blues you’re looking for…

>

But worry not, they’re the next best thing.

More, after the jump.


Some Background

Back in the 70′s this guy Dan Aykroyd (you might have heard of, or seen him somewhere) was working with this  other guy named John Belushi (ditto) on that one live comedy show broadcasting from NY.

Since both were into the Blues (John only after being introduced to by Dan), they got together with a whole set of other musicians to form The Blues Brothers. “Joliet” Jake Blues and his brother Elwood Blues (aliases of, respectively, John and Dan) released a couple of VERY sucessfull albums, revived the audience’s interest in Blues and Soul music styles and toured the US until Belushi’s early demise in 1982.
After that, severall other artists have been cast to fill in the lead vocals, including John’s brother Jim Belushi and John Goodman, and the band still ocasionally goes on tour, influencing younger generations into the some of the few all-american tunes still popular today.

Back to the Point!


…And their influence has been so great, indeed, that it reached across oceans!
Such an example are The Boogie Brothers, whom I had the privilege to shoot last saturday, at Cinema São Jorge, in Lisboa, PT.

Black suit, black tie, sunglasses and black hat, the original garment of Jake and Elwood, these guys gave a great show.
The moment they started playing the Peter Gun Theme, the boogie was on!

 

You can check the rest of the gallery here.

>Far away, but close to mind

>Boston.com, a REALLY cool place to find some of the best photojournalism being made today, just published pictures of a toxic flood in Hungary.

So, thanks to the news sharig power of twitter, I found out today of the aforementioned spill, in the village of Kolontar.

Usually, people tend not to be too worried about  stuff going on on countries far, far away. But I’ve met friends for Hungary. And suddently I realized that every overseas disaster means that someone I know may be greatly affected.

And that, boys and girls, is how you become aware of world’s problems!

>Neither Sh*tting, nor getting off the Pot! (slightly NSFW)

>Or: “How I got screwed thanks to YouTube!”

Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XIBeing a freelancer is a hard-time job.
Brian Ach’s featured article on JPG Magazine offers a good, down-to-earth view on what it takes to be one, and you should read it.

It can be rewarding, but sometimes you kinda get screwed.

More, inside.


So, here’s my most recent disappointment in being a freelancer:

Last weekend, there was a two day venue at my college -Arraial do Caloiro do IST- one of the biggest college music festivals of Lisbon.

Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XVIII

On the last concert, by the PT band Diabo na Cruz, I witnessed (and shot, obviously!) some rock history in the making, as they smashed a couple of mic-stands and “mooned” everyone as a way of protesting against being cut off on the last seconds of the concert.

Since this was not something you see everyday around these parts, I rushed to the laptop for some quick editing on the scene, and mailed proofs to a bunch of printed publications.

A music magazine, Blitz, became interested and asked for my personal contact. Waited in vain for the call that never came.
Next day, they published a video made with a cell phone, grabbed from YouTube. Evidently, this was made without compensation to the guy who “filmed” it.

So here’s the lesson about the printing press: They’ll screw you if they can.  Having staff photogs means they will not want to pay any extras, unless they really have to. (Nowadays, at least)
This holds true everywhere. The TIME’s philosophies are long dead, and we’re now in a dog-eat-dog world, getting screwed by microstocks and the like.

So, keep it in mind when considering the career choice of freelance/wire/assignment photographer. Unless you’re ready to be beaten senseless to the ground, go for another niche. If you ARE ready, welcome to the party! (And see you on the next big one ;)

For every ounce of reward, there’s a metric ton of stress.

And now, since there’s no one interested in publishing’em, here they are. Enjoy!

Arraial do Caloiro 2010 I Arraial do Caloiro 2010 II Arraial do Caloiro 2010 III Arraial do Caloiro 2010 IV Arraial do Caloiro 2010 V Arraial do Caloiro 2010 VI Arraial do Caloiro 2010 VII Arraial do Caloiro 2010 VIII Arraial do Caloiro 2010 IX Arraial do Caloiro 2010 X Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XII Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XIII Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XIV Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XV Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XVI Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XVII Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XIX Arraial do Caloiro 2010 XX

>Expanding Business

>Economy is progressively rising again, and new business opportunities are surfacing.

Henceforth, and if you haven’t noticed yet, the frequent contact I have with Erasmus students in my city have led to the broadening of what JFM Photo has to offer.
Namely, novelty souvenirs!

Expanding Business

These license plates are the first step.

If you care about the strobist info, peer in…

 So, first things first.
Since I’m advertising a product, I need a product photo.

Easiest way to do it: seamless background. In my case, overblown white paper.

Now something is playing in my favor.
The license plates are, by definition, highly contrasty. This allows to overblow the overall background and the plate background, keeping the essential details.
So, it’s all about angles of light, to prevent the specular reflections that would kill all the detail. However, to keep it interesting, and having two equal plates, the bottom one does catch those speculars, adding a bit of reflection without becoming distracting.
Also, eliminating all the shadows felt unnecessary. They give a sense of deepness that I enjoyed.

Long story short, SB-24 on a shoot-thru ‘brolly, silver reflector to even-out light distribution a bit, spare battery keeping “main” plate vertical, and we’re done.
All prepped in about 5mins.

Expanding Business (setup)

See you next time, and sorry for the lack of updates.

JF