Archive for photography

Happy Birthday Eadweard Muybridge!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by echostains

Today is the birthday of English photographer Eadweard Muybridge (b.1830 – 1904)  and it is being commemorated on Google.  Muybridge used multiple camera work to capture motion, using what he called his zoopraxiscope which projected motion pictures. He was doing this before the perforated film strip was invented.

He was actually born Edward James Muggeridge and was of Dutch extraction but he changed his name quite a few times in his American career.  He went under the pseudonym Helios, the Greek sun God) on many of his photos.  He named his studio Helios and his son bore this middle name.

Born in Kingston on Thames in 1830, he was to emigrate to the US in 1855 where he started his career as an agent for a publisher and  bookseller.  In 1850 he was involved in a stagecoach accident  in San Francisco and sustained severe head injuries.  He returned to England for a few years after this to recuperate, taking up photography between 1861 – 1866 and using the early photographic process of the wet collodion which was introduced in the 1850s

In 1866  he went back in San Francisco where  he became a successful photographer using mainly architectural and landscape as his subject matter.  He built his reputation with photos of San Francisco and the Yosemite  He quickly became noted for his grand photos of the West and in  1873 he was commissioned to photograph the Madoc War, a US Army’s expedition against the West Coast Indians.

Muybridge is famous for answering a much debated question of the day: do all four of a horses hooves move off the ground at the same time? Former Californian Governor, race horse owner and business Leland Stanford asserted that horses showed their front legs extended forward and their hind legs extended at the rear – as shown in paintings at the time.  This was called ‘unsupported transit’ and in 1872 Leland set out to prove it scientifically  by hiring Muybridge to document it.

Muybridge and Stanford fell out regarding Muybridge’s research on equine locomotion as Stanford published a book called ‘The Horse in Motion’ giving no credit to Muybridge whose photos and research it contained.  This resulted in the Royal Society withdrawing an offer to fund his stop-motion photography.  Muybridge filed a lawsuit against Stanford but lost.

Muybridge’s troubles spilled over into his personal life.  In 1874 he discovered that his wife had taken a Major Harry Larkyns as her lover.  Muybridge got even by shooting him.  He was sent to trial, his defence being the injury he had sustained in the stagecoach accident which had caused him much injury.  Friends even testified that Muybridge’s character dramatically changed from pleasant and genial to erratic and unstable after the accident.  Although the jury dismissed his ‘insanity’ plea, he was acquitted for ‘justifiable homicide’ Stanford stood by him and paid for his criminal defence.

He left the Untied States after his acquittal, taking photographs in Central America and had his son Florado ‘Helios’ Muybridge put in an orphanage, believing Larkyns to be his true father even though in later life the boy bore a strong resemblance to Muybridge.

Muybridge lectured to a sell out audience in 1882 at the Royal institution in London.  Member included the Royal family and the future King Edward V11.  He returned to England for good in 1894, where he published two further books of his work.  He died on 8th of May 1904 in Kingston on Thames.Nude descending staircase by Duchamp Muybridge has inspired a lot of artists as well as making a major contribution to photography.  Thomas Eakins, an American artist who had worked with Muybridge continued the motion studies, incorporating some of his findings into his own artwork.  Thomas Edison owned patents for motion pictures and Surrealist Marcel Duchamp was inspired to paint ‘Nude descending the Staircase No.2’ by Muybridge.  Francis Bacon was a huge fan of Muybridge and a lot of his work was influenced by Muybridge’s photographs.

Eadwaerd Muybridge portrait and more info from here

Muybridge horses and lots of info and images from the EadweardMuybridge site

muybridge_handkerchief image here

Thanks to  for the informative video

Leland pony image here

Nude descending Staircase image from here

PS Update; Happy Birthday Keith Haring!  http://www.haring.com/

PS Happy Birthday Salvador Dali May 11th

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Art I LOVE Andreas Gursky

Posted in ART, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , on July 18, 2011 by echostains

 

99 per cent

I have always been a fan of abstract photography.  I particularly admire the work of German visual artist Andreas Gursky (b. Jan 15 1955 Leipzig)   Primarily he is a photographer – but it’s what he does with these photographs which makes his art so visually arresting.  His landscape colour photography is huge in scale and can be a little disorienting, whilst the vibrant colours of the photographs make his work alive and immediate.

Gursky was taught at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf by German artists by Hilla and Bernd Becher –  well-known for their collaboration on photographic images of industrial buildings and machinery.  Gorsky’s photographs are big, colourful and dynamic and his subject matter includes offices, industrial plants, high-rise buildings, hotels and warehouses. The artist began digitally manipulating and editing his images after 1990, bringing out particular aspects and controlling perspective.

  His work has been called ‘vast’ ‘Splashy’, ‘entertaining and ‘unbelievable’ by art critic Peter Schjeldahl.  But the images compositional and formal considerations have also been likened to paintings. This is what the artist himself had to say about his own work at the Gagosian Gallery USA last year;-

   Space is very important for me but in a more abstract way. Maybe to try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe. I read a picture not for what’s really going on there, I read it more for what is going on in our world generally.
–Andreas Gursky

Kuwait Stock Exchange II

My personal favourite work by Gorsky is 99 Per Cent.  The work started out in a 99 cent discount store. Splashes of colour are separated by columns.  The work is meant to convey the aesthetics and the structures of materialism, so it seems almost ironic that the work (a diptych), sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 2007 for a price of US$3.34 million, making it famous as the most expensive photograph in the world.  Scale plays a part in which way Gursky’s photo’s are exhibited and viewed.  For example 99 Per Cent measures 6 ‘ 9 1/2″ x 11’ (207 x 337 cm) 

Shanghai

These fictional photographs are based on fact (his original photographs), and he has collaged these images, focusing in certain colours, altering and ordering.   We in turn participate in Gursky’s art by translating these facts.  Though his photographs convey consumerism and may have political connotations, these images are still open for us, the viewer to interpret.

Pyongyang

 

More about Gursky here

Gursky quote and Ocean 11 image from here 

Shanghai. 2000 image Kuwait Stock Exchange image from here Pyongyang 1 2007  image from here

other images from here and here

More great photos can be found here

Weird and Wacky ‘Make it Snappy!’

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on May 19, 2011 by echostains

We read so much about Spyware and CCTV cameras being installed as deterrents against crime.  Then there are numerous stories of stalking and identity theft, as well as court cases involving newspapers violating privacy laws.  Most people really value their privacy, but there is also a bit of voyeurism in us all that makes us just want to take a peek at what others are saying and doing (you’d be surprised at how many people you know on Facebook actually read your updates!). 

When I’m out and about and taking photo’s I am always aware that other people may inadvertently be in them.  Some are quite conscious of this and I must admit it’s quite fun to see them pretend they haven’t noticed as they rearrange themselves and turn so that their ‘best side’ will be snapped 😀  Others visibly squirm if they accidentally walk into the path of a video maker  (I definitely fall into this category  and want to run a mile).  But you never know where or when you may be ‘papped’ or by what!  These everyday items look so innocuous, but if you look closely you will spot their real purpose.  Yes – they are all camera’s!

OK, you probably wouldn’t get away with walking round pointing a tin of Spam at people, but what a fun item.  Pin hole cameras are relatively easy and cheap to make and lots of students make these at Uni.  Though the ones I’ve seen are usually made from a wooden box, there is a lot of scope to be creative  with pin hole cameras (like the Spam tin)  The owner/ inventor of this particular camera has taken some very cool photos with it that can be seen  here.  

There are also instructions about how to make one – all from http://chriskeeney.com/spamera

 But for the ultimate spy camera, try this tiny one for size!  There’s no examples of what sort of picture quality you would get with this unfortunately.  Well, it is a spy camera!

If you want inspiration for making pinhole cameras, then see this site here

Spy camera image and info here

Bacon by Lightbulb

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by echostains

I came across this interesting video today about an exhibition of Francis’ Bacon‘s work called ‘Francis Bacon, A Terrible Beauty.  The exhibition, which ran from 28th October 2009 – 7th March 2010 was at the Hugh Lane City Gallery, Dublin Ireland. Although I didn’t manage to get to this exhibition, I have been to the Hugh Lane Gallery and seen Bacon’s studio.  When I used to paint down in my cellar, my space looked very much like this (it’s not a big space and has no natural light, just a bare lightbulb just like Bacon’s).  This particular exhibition as well as celebrating Bacon’s Dublin roots, shows the unusual way in which Bacon worked.  Photographs by John Deakin were found all over Bacon’s studio.  Deakin a friend of Bacon’s was an exceptional photographer, brutally honest and just a bit sleazy (the man himself wasn’t an easy man and could be rather unpredictable)  The photos of a very young Lucien Freud in particular reveal the artist in his bohemian habitat and the crumpled, trodden, paint stained, creased and  ripped negatives and photos show Bacon’s fascination with photographic images –  and how he translated this (including their state) into his work.

Thanks to  video

PLUS

 

There are already 3 wonderful and very different poems in this challenge!  Please read – and see what you can do 🙂

Out and About Manchester

Posted in ART, OUT AND ABOUT MANCHESTER with tags , , on April 10, 2010 by echostains

decorated building off Tib st

Just a few pictures that we took today when we were out and about Manchester. Some of them are quite abstract, and it would probably help if we had a decent camera.  No matter though, we enjoyed taking them.  Some of them surprised us at how glamorous they look – compared to real thing.  They say the camera never lies…….but I don’t know so much.

details

On the side of a house in a small street off Tib Street, we were confronted with a very usual mosaic. 

more fragments

It is made of fragmented tiles,    Some of them have  Tib Street related memorabilia on, others writing.  All are very beautiful and rather incongruous!

Manchester wheel

The Manchester wheel spinning around in the darkness.  A lot of cities have these now, and I do wonder why?  The old Manchester Ship canal looks rather glamorous at night.  There is a point on these banks where you can look for miles through the bridges.

mysterious disc

I couldn’t resist this woven ‘disc’ that I saw on wire between two buildings.  No idea why this was, or what linked the buildings apart from the fact that they are apartments.  But I was struck by the abstract quality of the scene.

Gaga Gargoyle

It’s a bit scary walking around the cathedral in the dark.  Lots of strange people lurk, so you have to be quick.  this is a gargoyle taken from an unusual angle – not one of the strange people!

My art experiments – Pretend playing in the pretend snow

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, DESIGN with tags , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by echostains

nothing to see really

Time for some more art experiments: I was going through some  pics taken when the snow was about (shhhhhh,  better whisper in case it hears me and comes back …) and I thought I’d have a bit of fun with the images.  These are the pics I took – yes, nothing special to write home about, BUT…….

a miserable vista of snowy delight

It’s amazing what lurks under the surface of that snow…so I did a bit of excavation work…..

 

cleared a few paths…..

snow has many layers - this has three

Cropped, super imposed and filled (no fancy footwork here).  Just when I’d cleared the snow away, I decided to add some more.  But I wasn’t happy with the composition at all, so a quick crop…

I give you - 'See amid the Winters Snow 1'

And ‘See Amidst the Winter’s Snow’ was born.  Here are a couple of variations…  old comic book colours maybe – but there wasn’t anything comical about that snow! 

'See Amidst the Winter's Snow' and feel that icy blast

 

and finally this one which I warmed up slightly with what looks like something out of the Blitz-

Neuclear Blitz anyone?

As you can see from the original composition, the portrait formated pic didn’t really take off.  So – waste not want not, I say – I decided to merge reverse images of the same shot and go with this;-

'See Amid the Winters Snow' reversal

 I think that the last image would make an interesting  painting,  if I turned the top roofs into tall chimney pots, contrasting Victorian industry with modern day living  –  progress marching through the constancy of the weather – I might be on to something.  Some things will always be with us.

Happy Birthday Man Ray!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by echostains

Man Ray with Dali

Man Ray with Dali

It’s American Surrealist photographer Man Ray’s birthday today.  Born in 1890 -1976: original name Emmanuel Radnitzky, is best known for his work as a photographer though he thought of himself as a painter.

Kiki 'Queen of Montparnasse'

Kiki 'Queen of Montparnasse'

He contributed to the Surrealist and Dada movements and was reknown as a fashion and portrait photographer.  He liked to refer to  these as his ‘photograms’ or ‘Rayograms’.

manray_noire-and-blanche

manray_noire-and-blanche

This avant- garde artist has been highly influential in a number of fields including  film, sculpture, collage and even performance and conceptual art. 

Man Ray glass tears

Man Ray glass tears

For more of his work, including his biography see HERE

For more of my birthday blogs;-

Rubens

Gauguin

Dali

Leonardo da Vinci

Hart Benton

Turner

Van Gogh

Morris

Pollock

Chagall

Kahlo

Modigliani

Degas

Hopper

Marcel Duchamp

Aubrey Beardsley