Saturday, September 28, 2013

Marilyn Monroe and photography

Norma Jeane Mortenson, as indicated on her birth certificate but baptized as Norma Jean Baker was known as Marilyn Monroe. She was born on June 1st 1926 in Los Angeles.

When Norma Jean was working in the factory of her first husband James « Jim » Dougherty, she was noticed by military photographers. It is David Conover who took her first shot for a military advertisement campaign. Her carrier was launched...

Marilyn Monroe in the 50's

Between 1944 and 1962 (the year of her death) she worked with many photographers who captured her incredible sex appeal but also her fragility. Some of these images are iconic, others less known to the general public.

Check out in this video the work of masters of photography who worked with her on our YouTube Channel

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Portfolio: Cally Whitham

Cally Whitham is a photographer from New Zealand. She discovered photography at a very young age following her father in the countryside. He sketched nature for his paintings while she took photographs. The influence of painting  is still very strong in her approach to photography.

When we asked her if she spent a lot of time editing her images, she replied: " Yes I do. The initial photo is just a part of the process in creating an image. Post production is the place where the image and the vision I had come together. I don't photograph reality but rather create a potential or ideal reality and that potential is added in post production."

Want to read more? Check out the full interview and portfolio: All about Cally Whitham

Friday, September 20, 2013

Portfolio: Lee Jeffries

Lee Jeffries is an English photographer who takes incredible black and white portraits of homeless people. His understanding of depth and light equals the emotion we feel looking at these faces marked by the passage of time and sufferings.

All about photo asked him a few questions:

How long have you been a photographer?
About 5 years now.

Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
My first street photograph was a young girl homeless girl in London. The story is all around the net now. My first real photograph was the woman praying in Rome. That's where the artistry began.

What or who inspires you?
Emotion. People. Empathy for the suffering of others.

How could you describe your style?
My own. If it looks good to me then I'm more than happy. Much more than that though...i have to feel an image. I throw it out if I dont.

What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
Digital. Old beat up Canon 5d mark 1 

Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?
Some take 5 minutes...some take longer...much longer. Depends on my mood. If I'm particularly into an image emotionally I will linger for hours listening to classical music over all the details.

Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
James Nachtwey, Stephan Vanfleteren

Want to read more? Check out the full interview and portfolio: All about Lee Jeffries

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The results are finally here! Check out the list of the winners.

 cash prize sponsored by ATEDGE
Advertising Category: Fabrizio Cestari
Architecture Category: Frank Meyl
Book Category: Mark Edward Harris
Editorial Category: Brooks Kraft
Fine Art Category: Yixiu Guo
Nature Category: Nalda
People Category: Joel Redman 
Special Category: Michael Hitoshi
Advertising Category: Koji Tajima, Japan
Architecture Category: Akira TAKAUE, Japan
Book Category: Patricia Dinu, Italy
Editorial Category: Massimo Barberio, Italy
Fine Art Category: Arman Zhenikeyev, Kazakhstan
Nature Category: Patricia Dinu, Italy
People Category: Carlotta Cardana, United Kingdom
Special Category: Yun Chen, China
cash prize sponsored by American Society of Media Photographers
Ebrahim Noroozi
Polly Chandler
Souvid Datta
Gloriann Liu
Karolina Jonderko
Keith Lanpher
Eric Kruszewski
John Huet
David Oliete
Samanta Sollima
Carson Davis Brown

Don't miss also the 2013 Lucie Awards Gala at Carnegie Hall in NYC on October 27, 2013!
Here are the 2013 Honorees

Humanitarian Award
Lisa Kristine All about Lisa Kristine

Achievement in Fine Art
Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Achievement in Fashion
Victor Skrebneski
Visionary Award
Benedikt Taschen

Achievement in Photojournalism
John H. White

Achievement in Documentary
Li Zhensheng  All about Li Zhensheng

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photo Contests

There are so many photo contests and portfolio reviews that it is really difficult for a photographer to find the competition that is right for him/her. We have created a listing of contests (but only the interesting ones!) on our website All about photo. If you are a professional or an amateur it is really easy to find the contests that are right for you. Furthmore, we have decided to launch a Facebook page called Photo Contests so that you can receive the latest information on your wall.

We hope it helps!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Most beautiful fine art nudes in black and white

The official date for the birth of photography is considered to be 1839 when the invention of Daguerre and Niepce was presented to the French Academy of Science. But when was taken the first nude photography? Nothing is certain because most of the plates that were found are anonymous but Mr Lerebours, a French optician claims to have taken the first artistic nude  in 1841.

What we know for sure is that it worked really well. Painters used them instead of live models for their paintings while moralists criticized their existence. But it is not until Steichen and Stieglitz that nude photography became works of art in their own right. Artistic nudes became more and more experimental in the open light. Brassaï, Rudomine and Krull used the body as the main subject for their complex images. It took time but nude photography was no longer taboo.  Nudes from Man Ray, Kertesz, Weston, Bellmer and many others, are now considered masterpieces. Here are a few:

The Prayer 1930, Man Ray

 Distortion #40 1933, André Kertész

 Girl under wet silk, 1936-1937, Erwin Blumenfeld

 1936 Charis Wilson, Edward Henry Weston 

Here is a video with the most beautiful fine art nudes in black and white:


 Want to see the full article? Check it out on All about photo

Friday, September 13, 2013

Framing and composition tips

The principles of visual art are the rules, tools and guidelines that artists often use to organize the elements of art in their work. Of course, not everyone follows these rules but most of them does because it is more pleasing for the human eye. Let's take a look at some of these principles and a few other tips to take better shots.

- The Golden Ratio and the Rule of third 


In mathematics and the arts two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to their maximum. Many artists have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing.

We use this ratio to draw imaginary lines on a rectangle image. The lines cut the image in 3 vertical and 3 horizontal identical parts. (red lines on the image) If the subject is in the middle of the image it seems too static. It is always better to try to place your subject on one of these imaginary lines or intersections. Move your subject away from the center to achieve a visual balance.

- Give your subject space on the side that he is looking



For portraits do not put the eyes in the center of the image (also follow the rule of thirds) and compose your portrait so that the subject's eyes are positioned 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame. It is better if you keep the eyes in the upper third. To help you do that try to place the neck in the center.

Also give your subject some room to look into. If the subject is looking in one direction (or if his head is pointing in one direction) it is best to place him on the opposite side of the frame.

- Vertical or horizontal?


Spontaneously we take "landscape" images (horizontal) because the images seem more balanced and more accurate in comparison to our vision. Our eyes scan space from left to right. It is the obvious choice for landscape images and all the actions that require width.

For portraits we usually use "portrait" or vertical framing. But because a vertical framing is called "portrait" everywhere doesn’t mean you have to use it when shooting portraits. Change your framing for every shoot to add variety to the type of shots you take.

Shoot vertically to enhance tall objects or to accentuate height. Shoot horizontally to accentuate width.  

- Use diagonals and leading lines 


When we look at a photograph our eyes are naturally drawn along lines. The use of lines can help direct the viewers attention to a specific part of an image. They can be straight, diagonal or wavy, intentional or unintentional. They affect the way we view the image, dragging us towards the subject or leading us away from it. Lines should enhance your composition not the opposite.

Most of the time they start at the bottom of the frame and guide the eye upwards and inwards, from the foreground to the background of the image to guide your eyes toward the main subject. The roads are a good example of lines that can help us achieve that. They give us a feeling of motion. 


- A few tips about lighting




Lighting is very important and can be sometimes tricky. Here are a few quick facts to help you.

* Check where the lights come from if you want to avoid dark pictures. The sun for example should be in your back or on the side but not just in front of your lens unless you want to make a special effect.

* The broader the light source, the softer the light. The narrower the source, the harder the light.
Hard light comes from a source that's small compared to the subject. In this case it casts hard shadows and has high contrast.
Soft light falling on the subject from a source that's large compared to the subject, wraps light around the subject, filling shadows and lowering contrast.
A large source will wrap light around a small subject filling shadows and lowering contrast. A small source will direct light onto a large subject creating hard shadows and high contrast.

* Diffusion makes the light source broader and therefor softer. Think about clouds or fog. We usually use reflectors to diffuse harsh lights but you can also use a white fabric.

* Light gets dim fast when you move it away. The rule says that light falls off as the square of the distance. You can use it to vary the light of your background.

* Front lighting de-emphasizes texture but lighting from the side, above, or below emphasizes it. Which means that if you want your model for instance to have less wrinkles, keep the light close to the axis of your lens.

* Light has a temperature. Depending on the time, sunlight can be warm or bluish. You can modify the white balance of your digital camera to play with the tone of the light. If you are using film, filters are a good option.

* Shadows create volume, play with the light, try different things.

* If you don't have enough light, your subject will be blurry if it moves. Use a tripod and increase exposure time. Don't hesitate to play with shutter speed.



Want to read more tips? Read the full article on All about photo 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Portfolio: Clay Lipsky

Clay Lipsky is a fine art photographer who lives in Los Angeles and also works with Aline Smithson as an Art Director for LENSCRATCH.

All about photo asked him a few questions: 

How long have you been a photographer?
From a very young age I have enjoyed taking photos, but I never pursued it seriously. Within the last five years I have rediscovered the medium and enjoying exploring its many paths while also making up for lost time.

What or who inspires you?
I can find inspiration anywhere. Living in Los Angeles provides endless opportunities for creative exploration, from the city to the desert and along the coast.

How could you describe your style?
My career as an art director/designer heavily influences my photography. Much like in graphic design, I enjoy exploring different looks. Overall color and composition are very important to me and will vary greatly depending on what best suits the concept and subject matter. In general I like to find ways to tell stories through images that are cinematic and stylish, like one frame movies.

An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
Photography is becoming more and more vilified in public spaces. It is not unheard of to be harassed or detained for simply taking photographs and documenting the world around us. Often this paranoia is fed under the pretense and illusion of public safety. Information is power and photography is not a crime. "Those who sacrifice liberty for the sake of security deserve neither" - Benjamin Franklin

Want to read more? Check out the full interview and portfolio: All about Clay Lipsky

Happy Birthday Nan Goldin!

Nan Goldin was born on September 12, 1953.

 Self-portrait on the train, Boston - New Haven 1997

She is well known for her provocative color images of an underground world.
Check out her full profile and her video where she explains how she started taking pictures.

All about Nan Goldin

 © by Nan Goldin, courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11, 2001

In Memoriam of that tragic day

No words are strong enough to describe this tragedy. Here is an image of ground zero from the World Trade Center Archive from photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

All about Joel Meyerowitz 


Discover the work of Trini Schultz

Trini Schultz is a fine-art photographer who lives in California with her family but she was born in Peru, South America.  


When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?  

When my dad bought me my first "real" camera. A Pentax K1000. It was a Christmas gift, and I was about 16.  He got me a huge Polaroid camera before that, but it wasn't the same as having an actual 35mm camera.  I loved photography but I didn't think of it as a choice for a career, it was more of a hobby, but family and friends kept telling me I should consider being a photographer. So it wasn't till after I got married and had my second child that I picked up the camera again after many years, and took photography more seriously, and fell in love with it all over again.

Where did you study photography? With whom?  
I took a class at a local community college in black & white developing many years ago, but that was it.  I'm mostly self taught.  Same with photoshopping, taught myself.

What or who inspires you?  
Everyday I'm inspired. Looking at other photographer's work on the internet.  The shapes of the mountains and the clouds.  The way the sun shines thru the window and creates shadows on the walls and floor. Music videos, movies, fashion shows, paintings. I love going to antique shops, so much inspiration and ideas pop up.  Interesting buildings abandoned or new. Artists look at the world with awe and inspiration, every little detail from a dead insect on the floor to fog rolling over the hills, seeing the beauty in it and the potential in them to make an amazing subject on a photograph or a painting.

How could you describe your style?
Surreal or conceptual photography.  i love fashion photography too so I would like to experiment more with editorial type of photography as well, especially now that my daughter is studying costume/fashion design.

Discover the full interview and portfolio on All about photo

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lucie Awards

Congratulations to Lisa Kristine who will receive the Humanitarian Award at the Lucie Awards in New York City on October 27. 

All about photo supports her incredible work! 
If you don't know her, don't hesitate to listen to her on TED: "Lisa Kristine: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery"
Lisa Kristine's portfolio and video

Registration for the PhotoNOLA 2013 Portfolio Reviews opens tomorrow!

Don't miss this opportunity to show your work!
All you have to do is to register online and be ready to go to New Orleans Friday, December 13 & Saturday, December 14.

Want more details? All about the portfolio reviews

Top 10: Best photography books of 2013 (until now)

There are so many good books out there... Unfortunately we cannot buy them all. Depending on our preferences and needs we all make different choices. It was hard to make ours but we have decided that the 10 fine art photography books that we would recommend you to buy are:

1 - Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis

 If you like the work of Sebastiao Salgado there is absolutely no doubt that you will love his latest book. What does one discover in Genesis? The ancient animal species and volcanoes of the Galápagos; penguins, sea lions, cormorants, and whales of the Antarctic and South Atlantic; Brazilian alligators and jaguars; African lions, leopards, and elephants; the isolated Zo’é tribe deep in the Amazon jungle; the Stone Age Kurowai people of West Papua; nomadic Dinka cattle farmers in Sudan; Nenet nomads and their reindeer herds in the Arctic Circle; Mentawai jungle communities on islands west of Sumatra; the icebergs of the Antarctic; the volcanoes of Central Africa and the Kamchatka Peninsula; Saharan deserts; the Negro and Juruá rivers in the Amazon; the ravines of the Grand Canyon; the glaciers of Alaska... and beyond. Having gone, quite literally in some cases, where no man has gone before, and having spent so much time, energy, and passion dedicated to the making of this work, Salgado likens Genesis to “my love letter to the planet.” 

2 - Garry Winogrand

If you have missed the exhibition of Garry Winogrand or want to keep a souvenir of this incredible event the book of the SFMOMA is a must have. When he died suddenly at age 56, Winogrand left behind thousands of rolls of exposed but undeveloped film and unedited contact sheets — some 250,000 frames in total. Nearly 100 of these pictures have been printed for the first time for this long-awaited retrospective of his work. By presenting such archival discoveries alongside celebrated pictures, Garry Winogrand reframes a career that was, like the artist's America, both epic and unresolved. This exhibition has been jointly organized by SFMOMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jeu de Paume in Paris, and Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid.

All about Gary Winogrand

3 - Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light


Even if you already have a book with Bill Brandt's work, you won't regret buying this one. The MOMA did a fantastic work with the quality of reproductions and texts. Bill Brandt was the preeminent British photographer of the twentieth century, a founding father of photography's modernist tradition whose half-century-long career defies neat categorization. This publication presents the photographer's entire oeuvre, with special emphasis on his investigation of English life in the 1930s and his innovative late nudes. The Museum of Modern Art has been exhibiting and collecting Brandt's photographs since the late 1940s, and has recently more than doubled its collection of vintage prints of his work, which forms the core of this selection.

All about Bill Brandt

4 - Untold: The stories behind the photographs


Steve McCurry's iconic images have made him one of the world?s most popular photographers for more than 30 years. Now, for the first time, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs will tell the stories behind over 200 stunning images taken by McCurry from across the globe, including Afghanistan, India, Tibet, Kuwait, the USA, and beyond. In the finest documentary tradition, Untoldincludes never before seen ephemera from McCurry's personal archive, including beautifully reproduced snapshots from assignments, notes, journals, portraits, maps and more. The book is organized chronologically and includes both his known works and lesser-known photographs, while focusing on a broad range of themes. Each section opens with an essay, giving a new insight into the ideas, development and resulting importance of his work. This is the most personal book that McCurry has ever published, and offers a unique insight into photojournalism sure to fascinate any aspiring or experienced photographer.

All about Steve McCurry

5 - A Message for You: Guy Bourdin


Both volumes are beautifully packaged and contain a box to keep them together. It is a book about his favorite model Nicolle Meyer who also gives her memories. If you like the work of Guy Bourdin this is certainly a must-have! With the eye of a painter Guy Bourdin created images containing fascinating stories, compositions and colours. Using fashion photography as his medium, Bourdin explored the provocative and the sublime with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humour. Famed for his suggestive narratives and surreal aesthetics, Bourdin radically broke conventions of commercial photography and in the process captured the imagination of a generation.



6 -  A Period of Juvenile Prosperity: Mike Brodie



We heard a lot of Mike Brodie this year with two exhibitions, one in NY and one in LA. If you didn't see the show this book is for you. At 17 Mike Brodie hopped his first train close to his home in Pensacola, FL thinking he would visit a friend in Mobile, AL. Instead the train went in the opposite direction to Jacksonville, FL. Days later, Brodie rode the same train home, arriving back where he started. Nonetheless, it sparked something and Brodie began to wander across the U.S. by any means that were free - walking, hitchhiking and train hopping. Shortly after, Brodie found a Polaroid camera stuffed behind a carseat. With no training in photography and coke-bottle glasses, the instant camera was an opening for Brodie to document his experiences. As a way of staying in touch with his transient community,Brodie shared his pictures on various websites gaining the moniker The Polaroid Kidd [sic].

All about Mike Brodie

7 - Imogen Cunningham


Throughout her long life, Imogen Cunningham was tireless and exemplary in her pursuit of new developments in photography and in the expansion of her own practice. An inspiration to several successive generations, she reinvented the genres of botanical photography, street photography, nudes and portraiture, and expanded the possibilities of the double exposure. This publication celebrates the rich diversity of this modernist pioneer, covering Cunningham's entire seven-decade career--from her abstract shots of plants and nudes and optical illusions created using techniques such as inverted positive/negative images and double exposure, to her iconic portraits for Vanity Fair of artists, dancers, actors, musicians and writers such as Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Martha Graham, Frida Kahlo, Gertrude Stein, Morris Graves and Merce Cunningham.

All about Imogen Cunningham

8 - We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim


This book traces the career of Chim, famed photojournalist and cofounder of Magnum Photos, who dedicated much of his life to documenting war and its aftermath. Born Dawid Szymin in Warsaw, Chim began his career in the early 1930s photographing for leftist magazines in Paris. In 1936, one of these magazines, Regards, sent him to the front lines of the civil war in Spain, along with comrades Robert Capa and Gerda Taro.

All about Chim

9 - Edward Weston 



You probably already have a book from Edward Weston on your shelves but even if you do (and especially if you don't) this one is worth buying. It is a complete compilation of his work from his early years to the lasts. You can see his nudes, abstract nature, portraits, factory settings and nature landscapes. The Life and Art of Edward Weston Few photographers have created such a legacy as Edward Weston (1886-1958). After a decade of successfully making photographs with painterly soft-focus techniques, Weston became the key pioneer of the school of precise and sharp presentation, dubbed "Straight Photography." Through the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, Weston was a major force in pushing forward the art of photography. His photographs are monuments of sensual realism, perfectly composed images of stillness that sear with passion and intensity.

All about Edward Weston

10 - Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door


Several exhibitions have put Abelardo Morell's work in the spotlight this year. Whether you are familiar with his work or not, don't hesitate to add this book to your private collection. Born in Havana, Cuba, Morell came to the United States as a teenager in 1962 and later studied photography, earning an MFA from Yale University. He gained attention for intimate, black-and-white pictures of domestic objects from a child’s point of view, inspired by the birth of his son in 1986, as well as images in which he turns a room into a giant camera obscura, projecting exterior views onto interior spaces; and photographs of books that revel in their sensory materiality.

All about Abelardo Morell