I think most photographers have an idea about what they define as 'classic' photography, be it still life, portraiture, landscape or nature photography. And sooner or later that photographer is going get their equipment together and take a serious look at that chosen subject, to test themselves against the masters as it were. So here I am, natural light, nature, my camera and tripod and a vision for what I think photographs of succulents should look like, should be.. My initial efforts, not the pictures on show! Were not as successful as I would have liked. The subject of 'form' and the subjects form turned out to be more elusive than expected and did not agree with my vision; meaning I needed to work much harder to define what my vision should be. What does a perfect picture of a succulent look like after all? Should it appear new and pristine or show the ravages of time? Persistence, perseverance, good fortune, the vision becomes clearer and eventually successful images are created. For the first three images selected below; I have brought the camera lens in close to reveal details, line, form, texture and perhaps, a little danger.. the plants defensive tools, spines, sharp spikes and serrated edges; and finally time, age, life lived. I do feel these images have the classic photography feeling I was looking for and are the first succulent pictures to be offered for purchase in Fine Art Photographic Print Editions at my new gallery in a range of sizes, A4 to AO and Custom - Extra Large, here https://kentjohnsonfineart.tumblr.com/
There is a famous anecdote about understanding creativity that still does the rounds in photography circles. The story is usually attributed to Sam Haskins of Cowboy Kate fame;being greeted by his host who is a great fan of his work and it's told like this.. "A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures - they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then on leaving said to the host ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove." Continues after illustration.
Now there is nothing new about the flawed logic that it is the camera that makes the picture, even though the camera itself is an inanimate object with no mind of its own.. And that is as true of today's highly programmed digital cameras as it was of whatever film camera Sam may have chosen to create his iconic pictures with. I think we can all agree it's the chef that makes the meal, not the stove after all and the same goes for the camera; it's the photographer that makes the pictures.
So what caused this old photography anecdote to pop back into my mind? On the one hand I have been reading a fascinating book about how our brain really works, how we think & how we perceive the outside world. In a nutshell we all see a lot less than we assume and the brain is very very good at filling in the gaps.. And then there is the growth of online web sites for booking photography services; with the one I came across most recently referring to itself as the UBER of Photography. This site also prominently featured the stoves, I mean the cameras the photographer will make your pictures with. And I reckon brains are busy filling in some very large gaps.
On the surface these online photography booking systems seem attractive because they attempt to make photography into a fixed commodity, like a car trip from A to B or buying a new stove. Simplistic price points and deliverables give an illusion of choice and control. A final focus on the camera (just one part of a photographer's tool kit) is an easy layman's; no really it's an amateurs most obvious point of photographic reference, much easier than understanding the nature of photography itself. "What camera do you use?" Nikon or Canon.. Not that it probably matters anyway. All in all you have something that feels like it should be all you need to take control of your marketing, and at a price point you can choose for yourself.
Which brings me back to how our brains work. Now I am no neuroscientist, nor am I psychologist with a degree in marketing. I can however tell you that when I go to a life drawing group and put pencil to paper, my eyes and brain tell me I am doing well; until I need to join the last lines together; then unless I have been practising regularly I find out I am not so good a judge of what I saw and put down on paper after all.
My brain fills in gaps, but in the end, I have a gap I cannot fill. This is why I practice my photography every day. If not on commercial jobs, then on personal projects or just photographing things that interest me. This is also why I went to art school and assisted photographers - back in the day - who were much better than me. So I could learn to see what was really there, to reduce the brain fill gaps with what is really there, to learn to see creatively and develop a vision for my craft.
While cameras may be a commodity; photography never will be. There are just too many variables. And as the saying goes, "if you are not sure where you are going, you might end up somewhere else". Thrill of the unknown journey aside.. when it comes to choosing a photographer, take a good look at their portfolio or website; keep an eye out for consistency; if you don't know what you are looking at, or for, enlist specialised help - editors or designers. When you find a photographer with the photographic vision that suits you. Give them a call or send them an email, I can assure you, they will be very happy to hear from you; and you will be making the best decision you can to get the most Fantastic Pictures possible!
know my partner likes my photography and she does have a pretty good
eye. But then she doesn’t normally look at my shots and say
something like "that's a really great picture, we should print
it and hang it on the wall", though lately I have been hearing
that sentiment quite a bit. Now praise from our family and friends should be
usually be taken with care - it's a classic isn't it, of course your
Mum loves your work! But then 2016 saw me as a finalist in Australian
Life and as a semi finalist in The Moran Prize photography
competitions. Now that’s peer review at a very high level; and then
a college friend from way back saw one of my abstracts on Facebook
and wondered if she could buy the picture. Yes you can; insert smiley
face. OK something good is going on here.
these NEW pictures I am talking about are actually somewhat different
to the pictures you are used to seeing here on the blog or on the
website. Though if you have even taken a look through my Flickr..
then you would probably know about the style of shots I am now
featuring on Kent Johnson - Fine Art Photography. I have chosen five
broad subjects, Abstract, Nature, Landscape, Black & White,
Cityscape and People. The pictures are beautiful, interesting, bold,
entertaining and should enhance any environment, business, home, you
name it. I am planing on adding three new works a week, they will be themed and I will do a brief write up here on what its all
about, then you can jump across to the site and check them out.
I have launched the site with just nine images, six of which have never been
presented before. The first three, (bottom of page) are
Road/Travel/Abstract – Blue Red Yellow. The next set are graphic
gritty and grainy black and white details of Sydney's iconic Harbour
Bridge, more abstract energy. The current top row as of
writing are nature at the beach, the blue thread of a single blue
bottles tentacle curls across the sand, a study in texture and line.
The next a spiny sea urchin on a tidal yellow rock shelf, natures beauty and
simplicity and a little geometry too.. and Finally, a marooned blue bottle, its striking colours and form looking very much like the
alien it is when washed up on the sand.
Please drop by the
new site and take a look, use the social media buttons to share any images you like, and let me know what you think in the comments or
drop me a line. The pictures are all for sale as limited editions, if
you see one you would like to buy just let me know. I am not doing a
'checkout', I don't really like them, just send me an email, we will communicate, it's not
just as good, its even better! I look forward the great things with this new and beautiful photography.
Everyone says you should be a model. You have wondered for for years and now; you are finally going to give modelling a go. You are going to put yourself out there and find out if its true, but before that can happen, it's time for your first model portfolio photoshoot. Time to get some great shots to start your career with and you want to get them right! So here's some tips on things to do and what to avoid. Scroll Down and Read on!
ONE - No real Headshot! OK you want to have fun with your pictures and that is a great idea but you also need shots that show what your face really looks like. A party shot with your friends or your friends cropped out just won't cut it - that's where the real headshot comes in. Nice and tight. Highlighting your fabulousness. Especially when starting out, your headshot is your business card, the picture that everyone will remember you by, so make that picture a stunning one of unforgettable you!
TWO - Portraits rarely make good portfolio shots! This is a tricky one because essentially your portfolio says who you are but it says YOU in a FASHION way, not a Mum & Dad or me with my family and friends way. Usually the BEST person for this is a Fashion photographer and not a portrait or wedding photographer, although there are of course exceptions. Do your research. You can read my article about Modelling Portfolio Headshots HERE.
THREE - Avoid heavily themed photoshoots. Of course we all love seeing pictures of people dressed as their favourite Cosplay character or super seductress, however it is not really the look you are after in your modelling portfolio especially at the beginning. Stay with the mainstream looks which are Fashion, Fitness, Health & Beauty.. Don't worry you can still book that themed shoot when it happens, get paid for it and have shots for your portfolio as well. Everything in good time.
FOUR - Avoid not looking like who you are.. You are you and there is no-one else like you! This believe it or not is your greatest strength. It might just be worth remembering that before they became famous, famous models were just themselves.. Work on shots that show YOU at your best, work with the best photographers you can; they will be able to help you to find your strengths as a model.
FIVE - Leave the landscape pictures to the landscape photographers. What does that mean? Make sure the picture is about you and not a beautiful seascape sunset shot that you happen to be a little bit of over there, somewhere... (Not that there's anything wrong with great landscape pictures). Or some crazy spot where you blend in almost completely. Again, do your research BEFORE the shoot, check out the photographers work, you will see right away how they place their subject (the model) in their photographs. If you are shooting on location, you want to find a photographer who understands how to make you the key element in the composition, no matter where the picture is taken.
Kent Johnson is a Sydney based Fashion and model portfolio photographer. He has been published in numerous Australian Fashion Magazines and has had his photography exhibited in major photographic exhibitions. To see more of Kent's Fashion work click here, to learn more about his Modelling portfolio's click here.
Wow what can I say, what a great gal! We created all these shots in one afternoon at a favourite harbour beach location. It's got a bit of everything, beach,, bush, some classic old architecture, the sea! Well the sea in the harbour. It even has amazing marine life too. And it was Bridget's first trip to this park so not only did she have a great time on her first ever photoshoot she loved the location as well. She is also very happy with the results and wrote this very kind review over on my Facebook page here.
"I think Kent's clear skill at photography and his sense of artistic creativity make him a perfect choice as a photographer, be it for the fashion industry or for personal portrait photography. Besides being a world class photographer with a deep knowledge of art and fashion, Kent has a lovely personality and is definitely a fun and friendly guy to work with. I really enjoyed my shoot with Kent and would recommend him to anyone in need of a great photographer!"
It's not everyday my subject and her family fly in from Mexico for a portrait photoshoot. However, when it's such a very special occasion, your daughters sweet fifteen, she loves the Sydney Opera House and you love to travel; well there is only one thing you can do. Jump on that plane and head for Sydney! While the shoot itself only required a couple of hours on location (at the best time of day), there was plenty of planing and preparation beforehand. Location shots emailed back and forth, morning or afternoon? Weather checks closer to the date and only a few days from which to get our shots. And this is not just a portrait, it really is a capital F Fashion Portrait. The Quinceañera dress is as central to the picture as the location and of course our Sweet Fifteen subject (yes 15 not 16, this is for Mexico). So in a portrait situation like this, being a fashion photographer and portrait, well it certainly helps. I hope you all like these pictures as much we all do. Thier favourite was blown up very large for the birthday party later on back in Mexico. Of course no matter the occasion, if you would love a special portrait to keep those memories alive forever, call me to discuss you project.
Kent Johnson, Sydney Australia - 0433 796 863.
Running in track spikes in the Special XV Quinceañera dress, Sydney Opera House in the background.
I am please to announce that I am part of a curated exhibition here in Sydney this Thursday the 3rd of November! I know this Thursday is a very busy art evening, however do come along and see my work my work 'Fast Food From the Freeway' as part of the Click exhibition at Badger & Fox Gallery. The show is a mix of classic photography and contemporary including my friend and mentor Brett Hilder and friend MikiNobu Komatsu. The three of us cover Cuba, Sydney & Brisbane so lots to see right there, please join us, I look forward to seeing you there. The rest of the show really is a who's who of photography so it's not to be missed even if you cannot make the opening night festivities.
I love shooting on location but I do prefer it when the light is soft. That would usually mean early morning or late afternoon during the summer. On this shoot we did have to reschedule due to heavy rain from a few days earlier and even had to dodge some rain on the day - but the sun did come out to play as required - so we had soft lovely light; and managed to get our shots before Tayla's mum flew back to Melbourne. It's always great to have a strong support network. These pictures were predominately made as film and TVC casting shots and we went with a fresh fitness feel, keeping the background simple and focusing the attention where it should be, on Tayla.
What to you get when you mix two beautiful models styled Biker Chick Chic with Gothic overtones and plenty of black leather and silver studded handbags? You get a hot fashion accessories marketing campaign with plenty of strong pictures and lots of options for publishing on Social Media. These are shot with both studio strobes and daylight studio; the warmer toned are the full studio flash shots. Product still life images were also created using the props from the shoot (old STROBE lighting consoles!) Just a small taste of the large quantity of quality fashion imagery this photo shoot produced! Book your Fashion Accessories photo shoot today! 0433 796 863