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I’ve been following Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York project for a while now but I had not made an Artists & Inspiration post on it yet. Instead of talking about Humans of New York and writing out a big block of text I have found an equally interesting Chase Jarvis Live video interview you can check out.

Chase Jarvis does occasional CJLive broadcasts featuring other creatives and he had Brandon on for an interview not too long ago.

I’ll leave you with the video available for viewing here:

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The lovely people at diyphotography.net posted an article about photographer Andreas Levers who has started compositing CGI elements into his landscape photographs. Levers’ work falls right in line with the theme of the last few posts which focus on combining multiple mediums to create a piece of artwork.

Monolith

3x3x3

Spheres

I love how minimal Levers’ landscapes are even with the added CGI elements. I suppose you could argue that work like Levers’ isn’t photography anymore because it has CGI in it but really, who cares? As long as you can make what you want to make I don’t think it matters how you got from A to B.

You can check out more of Andreas Levers’ work here on Flickr or here on his website.

I noticed the other day that the good guys over at Flickr made a collection of 20 artists under 20 to feature on their website. Find the link HERE to take a look. Some of these artists I’ve been following for a long time and I’m glad to see they’re finally getting a lot more attention in the online community today.

These artists are a prime example of the peers I compare my own images to online. I feel I have created a few pieces I’m proud of that can stand up to some of theirs although I always wish I had more work that I really really liked. I love the process of creating my work just as much as I love seeing the final product but once an image is printed and on the wall I’m onto the next one.

I am working on a few new projects of my own at the moment but I’d rather not give anything away until I know I can actually pull off some of the things I’m trying to do. If nothing else I’m keeping things challenging.

-Alex

In the past year or so, I have delved full-force into what is known today in photography as the Strobist Movement or the use of small flash units (also called strobes or flash guns) on and off the camera to light a given subject.

This is a movement that has only been around within the last eight to ten years because of advances in technology. David Hobby over at http://strobist.blogspot.com/ is the photographer who really made this new take on photographic lighting so popular. Today, you can purchase a used Canon or Nikon Speedlight for only a few hundred dollars a piece (or less) and quickly get started in learning to manipulate artificial lighting from the ground up.

What’s exciting is that these types of flashes really give studio photographers a run for their money. They’ll do an extremely good job at throwing a decent amount of light considering their cost relative to a full studio setup. Not to mention that it is all completely portable.

I have been able to light and shoot several different setups on-location for museum catalogs and also do some portrait shoots with no more than three flashes, umbrellas, and a roll of seamless backdrop paper. I used to think that small flash units were only a short-term stepping stone towards a big expensive studio setup but it’s clear that they’re here to stay. In today’s day and age, it’s completely feasible to do professional studio photography almost exclusively in small flash units.

This is where David Hobby comes in, he’s been the catalyst for this whole new genre of photography as well as a teacher of professional lighting using strobes. David Hobby comes from an editorial background and brings a perspective that automatically lends itself towards the use of small flashes. Shooting for a paper is often very fast-paced but at the same time it’s important to tell a story or at least create a photograph that lends itself to the story being told. Small flashes enable that kind of down and dirty workflow, setting up, shooting, getting the shot and leaving.

For me, The Strobist blog is very accessible because I have a very similar type of setup and all the posts are lit and shot from inexpensive gear and get amazing results. I don’t mind teachers who use really expensive equipment to light something but it does put a bit of a damper on my confidence level. On Strobist there’s no, “Just take your $6,000 [name brand light] inside a [name brand lighting modifier]  and put it over here as a fill”. Everything is realistic. As a movement I think strobist photography pokes a bit of a hole in the kind of expensive gear you thought you had to buy to get a certain look or quality of light.

Why buy expensive lights when small flashes can cover most of the situations you’re ever going to encounter? There’s no point. Since digital photography arrived, client expectations have risen, everything really should have been done yesterday for cheaper than what you were paid. Small flash units are harmonious with that expectation, they are faster, and cheaper every year which is something I still can’t say for a fully-fledged studio setup. Until then, I think I’ll stick with my flashes.

-Alex

I recently stumbled upon a Photoshop and photography website called Phlearn. Aaron Nace creates all the video tutorials and accounts for virtually all the content on the website. New FREE photoshop tutorials are released regularly to teach viewers more editing techniques while using user submitted images as the canvas. This website is a godsend that I wish I had found back when I first started using Photoshop.

Phlearn is now my preferred online Photoshop tutorial website for a number of reasons:

  • It is headed by Aaron Nace, an established, professional artist and photographer. He is a credible source of information, unlike a lot of the other self-published teachers on the web. I cannot recall how many times I have gone onto YouTube and searched for something about Photoshop, only to find videos with distorted audio or an over-compressed screen cast. In other words — there are a lot of terrible teachers on the web, Aaron has raised the bar high and I never want to learn from someone that can’t do it as well as he can.
  • Aaron also creates more detailed tutorials of his own original images (and they are amazing) for a small price in the form of the Phlearn PRO Tutorial. After watching a ton of the free tutorials, I wanted to buy a PRO tutorial, and I was not disappointed.
  • Aaron is an amazing artist. I’d always rather learn from someone whose work inspires me. Aaron is one of my favorite inspirations because, not only do I love his work, but he shares all the steps he went through to create them too.
  • All the content and tutorials are done by Aaron. It is difficult to find a professional who is willing to share so much information with others online. Having the same tutor for each video makes it much easier to follow along. Some Photoshop tutorial websites accept user submitted tutorials, which is awesome, but that also means you have to adapt to everyone’s different teaching styles. Every tutorial on Phlearn is done in the same teaching style. This attribute of Phlearn is easy to overlook, but that is what creates a separation between Phlearn and everywhere else. Consistency is key to any successful content creator.
  • The website is extremely simple to navigate, you can subscribe to the Phlearn newsletter so that you never miss a sale, and all the free tutorials are on Youtube. Subscribe to the Phlearn channel and never miss a video.

Although I have only recently discovered all the wonderful things that Phlearn has to offer, I wouldn’t think twice about purchasing another Phlearn PRO tutorial. Phlearn is a diamond in the rough and I am so glad I found it.