October 16, 2010

Atlanta Photo Alliance Strikes Gold or at Least ROY G. BIV

What an amazing collection of images presented by the inspiring photographer who took them! Jay Maisel confessed that 2 or 3 of his images were altered and bore the initials A.I. on them at the end of his presentation. He must have shown us 500-750 striking, thought-provoking works in the course of his three hour presentation.

I thought I would pass on some of the tips that resonated most with me. And, I like his quotes…

“The light in Brooklyn is just as good as the light in Florence” began Maisel, and he presented many images taken at home, on his street, from his building and of his family in NYC. I found this book of his on amazon, but have not looked at it.

And, speaking of something very close to home, Maisel showed us a partial picture of the FedEx logo. I see it everyday many times. And, I was shocked. Here is an image I took, and a link to info about the creator of this very cool logo. Study this before clicking the link and try to guess what is really cool about the logo that you may not have noticed before. Here's the link, but use your eye first. (Doesn't the logo stick out?)

His big themes for the evening were gesture and color. He said there has to be a trigger for getting you to take the image. Gesture is the motion of a person or object that makes you think to take the photograph or presents it in a unique way for you to push the shutter. Maisel had many people shots that illustrated this. The image of his daughter not wanting to be photographed in hair curlers is an example. Can you picture her face?

Throughout the talk he interwove images with a screen, fence or curtain in between the subject and the camera. Sometimes the atmosphere (rain, smoke, fog or snow) was the screen. In these shots the device often became the subject. To the right the fountain underneath became the subject through the water. His photographs are magnificent and intriguing to figure out. I couldn’t look away. I like this mysterious element of his work. His art was so beautiful. I did think of the Slumdog Millionaire movie while watching his presentation. If you haven't seen this movie rent it.

Cartier Bresson was there on some level. Maisel said, “Try to find a stage and people will come.” He stands in front of a vibrant background waiting for a new subject to fall into the frame. He said that he does this a lot on 42nd street because there are so many folks. And, for photographing people he recommends a big smile and positive, outgoing attitude. He also suggested using your brain and avoiding certain people that look like they might not want their photograph taken. Maisel referred to Paul Graham's color event, like the decisive moment. Click on his page and you will see immediately what Maisel was referring to.

Maisel recommended studying art, not just photography. During his talk he referenced complementary and monochromatic schemes from the color wheel.

He said walk 180º around the subject just to check that you really have the best view. Jay Maisel recommended hearing Duane Michals speak if we had the opportunity. I recommend hearing Jay Maisel. Three hours was short! He carries a 28mm - 300mm lens on his camera and always has the camera with him.


Marlene said...

Interesting, but no amount of learning will help me with photos. I will content myself to view photos by those that can do them justice.

MagMoment said...

You are right... Jay's target was the serious photographer. But, any artist can learn by studying other medium. And, we are all taking photographs of our art now... So, travel 180º or move your object around in the room to get a different view.

Briole Photography said...

He sounds like a really interesting photographer! Thanks for sharing, great blog post!