Dec 13 2019

How to Take a Bad Photo

Photo by Zane Grant

I was going through old writings on here about making good photography. I’ve attempted to explain my thoughts about it and even set up some polls in order to come up with formulas but the data seemed inconclusive. (Referencing HERE and HERE.)(Actually this whole frigging thing is about seeking isn’t it?)

We have some ingredients but we don’t have the recipe. We can say there is a secret sauce of luck and magic when something turns out right. That’s what we are doing here is trying to define that sauce.

This speaks of universal truths in a photo that can transcend time and space. As well as transcend technical skill and experience, and emotional and mental conditioning. And most of the time the truth isn’t “good” or “bad” or is that simple to sort out. Which is why there are so many differences in taste.

If you pick any of the ingredients, let’s say “composition” for arguments sake, who’s to say how good it is? To grade it with a percentage, 51% towards good would still be an F. So objectivity vs subjectivity is really the argument. And these things change over time and space.

That infers that the viewership of an image in a particular time and particular space is what makes makes it “good” or “bad”. It seems moot, but it is correct to say that a photo cannot be “good” or “bad” until someone sees it. Including yourself (the person who shot it).

I know it’s not super useful to say that a bad photo is a bad photo because you showed it to the wrong person at the wrong time. But assuming you nailed the timing lighting composition mystery and wonder, none of that will matter if the person seeing it cannot appreciate any of those things. And that will depend on their relation to you or the subject matter as well as their state of being at the moment.

I’ve said before that a good photo is about the presentation of either the shooter’s story, the subject matter’s story, or a combo of both. Now we can say that a bad photo is one that isn’t telling those stories in a universally truthful way to the right person(s) at the right time.

What if the story is pure fiction though? Is it all fiction! Photography is not real. That’s for another writing. Photography is a recording and I’ll order mine with extra truth gravy on top, otherwise I’m not hungry.

Dec 12 2019

Freedom

Photo by Alex Herzog

Found it. I have been looking for an Android app to edit photos. I recently got a Chromebook ($250) so the hunt became more real for me. There are many and I think I like Snapseed the best. But that’s not what I am talking about. Photopea is the one. It’s not even an app, it is WEB BASED. This means all you need is internet and a browser and you can do all the main things Adobe Photoshop can do.

https://www.photopea.com/

And it is FREE.

I get a lot of questions about how to do stuff and am realizing there are a lot of barriers to entry into the game of publishing. I will start posting some of the tools we use or should be using. I like the Photopea because not a lot of apps have easy to use output controls. You need to output your photos at 300 dpi to have them print correctly.

This is a free Adobe Illustrator alternative. Starting to use this for making graphics.

https://vectr.com/

And this is a free Adobe Indesign alternative. I haven’t laid out a full zine with this yet and it does actually cost money to do more than 3 pages.

https://www.lucidpress.com/

I am really into the idea of web based software. Sure not as many features, but you have seen our layouts and really nothing but photos and photo credits so I don’t need a lot. I have a feeling that I can switch my entire workflow to Chromebook and cloud based computing. More on this as it happens.

Dec 12 2019

Sparklers

Photo by Andrea Sonnenberg

I have lists of ideas for videos, podcasts, interviews, reviews, polls, etc etc. And of course everyone I know has even more ideas for Hamburger Eyes social media, contests, collabs, etc. all for the intention of getting more eyes onto the website. Attention that is.

Within that attention is embedded the dream of “more sales” and not hating on it, this is the arena we have willfully entered. But, as I have been many times before again and again, you get buried by this dream. You get overwhelmed by all this “content” that needs to be made.

Today I was thinking why haven’t I attacked anything on these lists yet. It’s because I just wanna look at cool photos and make some cool zines out of them. That’s it.

I think we forget to keep it simple. I realized that updating this blog is easy. I realized that making these zines is easy. Why make it hard? I guess what I am trying to say is that I have been spending a lot of energy brainstorming in the marketing department when really all the energy should go into creating in the production department.

I agree that we have to step out of our comfort zones to expand horizons, but I also agree that we have to build on our strengths.

The idea is to do more of what your good at. Lots more. So expect more bloggy updates and more zines. You already knew that.

(Just realizing we haven’t posted an “article” since April!)

Apr 22 2019

NZ will never forget

By Chris Leskovsek

15 – 3 – 19

A gunman attacks two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 and injuring another 50. This is believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of New Zealand. Immediately after the attack, the whole country joined as one to support the NZ Muslim community, and start talking about racism and hate. Peaceful marches took place all around the country. 6 days after the attack, people asked and the government announced a total ban on semi automatic guns. I took these photos around to remember that people can unite despite our differences, political beliefs and race to agree that this will never happen again, at least here, in little NZ. Kia kaha (stay strong) CHCH.

1) prime minister, Jacinda Ardern announces the attacks live on national TV, declares state of emergency. – I was in a rural coast town when the attacks happened, i received a text message from someone in Sweden about this and couldn’t believe it. So immediately I peeked over a couple’s caravan at the campground I was staying while they were watching TV.

2) NZ’s national newspaper cover the morning after the attack. The count of dead and injured was not final. It has then increased to 50 dead.

3) girls on the street hugging a muslim girl walking by, showing respect and support. A lot of non-muslim women decided to wear a hijab during the week after, as a sign of respect for the NZ muslim community.

4) I lit a candle for to mourn the dead. Each stone represents a dead.

5) Sir Dove-Myer Robinson statue in Aotea square filled with love messages of peace and support

6) 2 minute silence to commemorate the dead via big screens installed nationwide. A few days after the attacks.

7) thousands gather in a national vigil at Auckland domain 5 days after the atrack

8) Kiwi reporter wearing a hijab transmitting on live tv at vigil

9) man reading how the attacks happened

10 – 14) Photos taken during various marches against racism and white supremacy in Auckland.

15) Magazine covers outside a dairy shop in Auckland weeks after the attacks.

16) Perhaps my favorite photograph, while walking through a march against racism, I noticed this old man walking towards the crowd with this policeman holding his hand. At the beginning I thought he was lost or something happened to him. After taking this photo and noting a reporter that also approached him to talk, he tells me ‘Im 95, and I have seen a lot of suffering in my life, so I came here because I didn’t wanted to leave this world without seeing the beginning of change for a better tomorrow’. I thought, what an amazing person. Days after I took this photo, his story showed up on some locals newspaper. He turned out to be a 95 years old WWII veteran. Lost his wife and only daughter years ago. Has no other family nor relatives. But he was interested in change and peace. His name is John Sato (https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/385640/veteran-95-takes-bus-to-join-anti-racism-rally)
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All photos taken the same night of the attacks and the following 6 days of national mourning in Auckland, NZ

By Chris Leskovsek

Apr 03 2019

Communication

Photo by Thatcher Keats

In last the post, we discussed the idea that publications may get spoiled with social media. But we came to the conclusion that it doesn’t spoil anything.

Then the conversation found it’s way to cooking times. How long do your images bake before ready for consumption? It’s obviously different for everyone and it also depends what your working on.

Sitting a little longer on photos could lead to things like tighter processing, smarter edits, bigger ideas and concepts.

In school we would work 6 months on a portfolio. On assignment, you could shoot 10 days for a 3 page editorial. More like 1 or 2 pages and then work with multiple editors to get it right.

In today’s world you shoot it and post it within seconds. I have lost my way in this rabbit hole, a lot of people have, which is why I like to have open dialogues lately.

It’s our job/duty to shoot stuff in our own particular way and communicate our messages and way of life before the Kardashians take over. Actually we are already way too late.

Therefore, speed and volume seem to be great allies to us.

On the other hand, a slower more methodical approach may be more effective.

Again, depends what you’re working on. I’m sure we will have to use a combination of both.

Apr 02 2019

Sightings

Photo by Mike Vos

I was blogging the other day about IG again. I know I know we heard it all before.

In summary, I was saying that I think I figured out one the main problems for me. That is spoiling my prints, zines, and books by showing the photos first on Instagram.

The easy solve is to only post photos that have been published already.

The whole concept of social media is to be sharing in real time though, so this defeats the purpose. But what is your main purpose is what I’m getting at it.

Nick sent me a message talking about the fact that back in the day, magazines didn’t want your photos if they have been seen before.

He was submitting to Transworld who published skating, surfing, bmx, and snowboarding magazines. Coincidentally, I worked there in the mid 90’s as their darkroom guy.

And he is right. If you sent photos in, it was assumed you have never shared them anywhere with anyone.

Even after publishing, photogs might use a different frame for an ad or even reshoot something differently but this was heavily frowned upon. It was considered “double dipping”.

Of course the internet changed all this. And we are talking about action sports, where new tricks were still be invented and new spots discovered every day back then.

For H.E., I post only photos that we have published. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t already been posted or published somewhere else.

For my personal stuff, this is where the tension is. If I am visiting NY, it’s fun posting my adventures in these foreign lands. But when I get home and wanna make a new book, oh shit all that stuff is already on IG and thus spoiling the surprise.

It probably isn’t ruining it really, but when editing layouts it is kinda deflating, for me anyways.

Again, I figured out that I’ll just post stuff after I published it, or use story mode more often. This is a pointless conversation if you aren’t printing and publishing on a regular basis. (Which you should be if you are reading this.)

I’m an over thinker. But the sooner we can figure out the flow, the sooner we can get to work.

The sooner we can figure out the outcome, the sooner we can figure out the income.

I think I just wrote my first quotable nugget.

Mar 31 2019

Setups

Photo by Adi Segal

We’ve talked about it before but I wanna get back into it. What’s your favorite daily driver setup?

Of course we have different setups for different occasions. But I did some flying around the country this past month and it made think about alot of things.

I try to pride myself as a simple one lense one camera guy, but times are changing I guess.

I have a whole dslr setup for assignments, commissions, and client based work but that usually sits in a bag in the closet most days.

When I’m leaving the house on a daily basis, for the past few years, it’s usually my phone and a point and shoot that I don’t really like and am about to return, or my heavy dslr with a giant lense.

Recently, I have fallen in love with an M43 setup. Specifically, the Panasonic Lumix GX85.

I don’t want a zoom and I don’t want a bunch of extra lenses, so I think the next time I get in a plane, its gonna be the GX85 with the 20mm (40mm equivalent) plus Ricoh GR II or III.

I finally got to play with a Ricoh, its great. The III with no flash doesn’t bother me if I have the GX85 close by.

What are you guys feeling these days?