I was recently offered the opportunity to try out Canvas Champ, a service through which you can turn your own photos into canvas prints. I found the service easy to use and am liking the product I ended up with:
I got a 12″ x 8″ canvas print of this photo from my April birthday trip to Channel Islands. The order was simple to place. The order was processed quickly and I received the product via delivery within two weeks of placing the order.
Some of the things I liked:
I always love seeing what kind of images I can get when I take photos of windows in my neighborhood, getting both the storefront display and the reflection of what’s in the background behind me. Here’s a set, unedited in any way.
Several years ago I participated in a wonderful photography project called I Live Here: SF. I was one of the first to participate, seeing a post on a blog looking for people willing to be photographed and to share their “San Francisco story”. That was when I met Julie. Julie went on to photograph so many wonderful local people in so many different settings in San Francisco. The collection she came up with was amazing and it was exhibited as a solo exhibit at SOMArts as well as put up for awhile at San Francisco City Hall. I was thinking about this project recently because I went to SOMArts for something else and I wanted to take a look back at my part in the project.
The Photo Shoot
The full photo shoot, done in my North Beach apartment (where I lived at the time) and around the neighborhood there can be seen on Flickr. A few of my favorite shots:
Check out this cool camera feature. You tell the camera to only pull put a certain tint (like blue) and then you take a picture and the photo is black and white except for the items in the image that are blue. These blue items are in my living room, which is decorated mostly in blue, purple and grey.
I’ve lived in San Francisco for more than seven years and I’ve lived near the Fillmore Jazz District for almost three years but for some reason I didn’t ever make it to the famous Yoshi’s restaurant and jazz club until really recently. I swear there are just so many places to see in San Francisco that there are always ones I miss out on for awhile even though I stay pretty active!
In any case, I actually still haven’t seen a show at Yoshi’s but I did go have dinner there (which you might have noticed in my post a few days ago on recent SF eats) and I checked out the art exhibit in the lobby which is about Sonny Buxton. Buxton is a local jazz radio personality and important member of the jazz community. He’s worked with many big jazz artists and was recently the recipient of the 2013 Jazz Hero award.
In addition to the Buxton photo exhibit there are some other music related art items on display in the lobby of the restaurant / club.
That piece of colorful musical art was one of my favorite pieces in the exhibit area!
I’m having way too much fun manipulating photos. I have a pair I want to share. The first photo is the image as it was taken by the camera. The second photo is the same image and all that I did was hit “sharpen” about a million times and this is what it became.
Over on Crochet Concupiscence I’m doing a 365 Project where I wear crochet every day and photograph my outfit in a fashion style post. Mostly I’m doing this to show off contemporary crochet but as an aside I want to use this project to get better at both taking and editing photos. I know very little about this but I’m having a lot of fun learning. Right now my favorite free online tool for editing photos is Fotoflexer.
Mostly I just use the editor to make the colors on a photo look a little bit better or to make the image a little bit sharper. But I’m discovering that you can do some really fun art things with this tool. For example, I played with the Pop Art feature, changing the fade on it, to turn a basic image into a fun art image. Look:
This morning I woke up earlier than I would have liked. It was one of those mornings when you’re still too tired to get up and do anything but you’re not quite tired enough to actually go back to sleep. I tried reading for awhile (am almost done with The Knitting Circle) but decided that wasn’t feeling right so I switched over to watching a documentary on Netflix instead. The documentary was called Naked States and was about the work of a photographer named Spencer Tunick. Thought-provoking little piece of art.
Tunick had a goal of going around the country and taking photographs of nude people in public spaces in ever single state in the continental United States. He didn’t seem to set any specific goals about how many people would show up to be photographed or where specifically he wanted to capture his images. Some of the things he did seem to establish as goals or parameters for himself included:
- The nudity would be total nudity and wouldn’t include things like shoes, jewelry or hats in the images.
- He would get the people for each shoot by going around the area when he arrived and asking people to participate.
- The shots would be done early in the morning in public spaces. Some of these would be famous spaces (like the Boston Public Library) but many would be random, urban, industrial spots that he found. He didn’t want to do “pretty” shots or a lot of nature shots.
- The images would provide a lot of contrast in them. He poses large people with small people, black with white, etc.
- At some point he did seem to want to get a lot of people involved. He achieved this when he shot at a Phish concert and had more than 1000 naked people participate.
The documentary shows Tunick going around completing this project. It shows some of the positive and negative reactions that he experienced in different places. I loved that it showed some realistic footage of how people in various areas would react but didn’t stereotype things too much. For example, it showed people in places like North Dakota saying that this was a weird thing to do but it didn’t make them out to be hokey rednecks who couldn’t handle it which a video like this totally could have erred in doing.
The content of the video is interesting. It’s interesting to see how the different models felt about themselves while participating in a public nude art session. It’s interesting to see who shows up. It’s interesting to ponder the many questions that arise in terms of the controversy surrounding public nudity and the various strong stances that people take about it. What I really liked about the documentary, however, was that it showed a lot of insight into the creative process.
Naked States shows how an art project goes from an idea to a gallery show. It shows how you have to believe in your own artwork, go out there and create it, promote it while staying true to the vision of it and then eventually network it into a show. It shows how people who are helping you may get frustrated with you, bicker with you, doubt you. It shows, in other words, what it’s like to be a working artist today. It’s a cool flick. I’d Netflix it again.
One of my favorite things about social networking is that you can learn about stuff that you might never have discovered on your own. Case in point – someone I know posted a question about lomography and I got curious about what that is so I started looking into it. It turns out that it’s a form of photography that got popular in the 1990’s and actually looks like it’s really cool.
What I’ve learned about lomography so far:
- It uses a specific, unique type of camera. In this way it is kind of like Polaroid photography where the camera itself helps make it fall into the niche that it is in.
- It is astoundingly colorful. I don’t know if this is because of the camera or the film or the way that the film is processed or what but the pictures are always really colorful and I love the look that they have because of this.
- It’s all about spontaneous shooting. It’s not about figuring out specific shutter speeds or waiting to capture the ideal moment. It’s about “shooting from the hip”, photographing people who might not want you to do so and playing around with what you’re doing. I love this idea!
- Lomographers love close-ups. This is a very human art because the best pictures are pictures of people taken as close to them as you can get.
And if you know more about this cool art then please tell me in the comments or shoot me an email because I’d love to learn more about it!
Yesterday’s photo was of the big cross on Mt. Davidson. What I didn’t mention was that the cross is in the middle of a eucalyptus grove. So pretty: