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Why want artists create? Would be only for the final appreciation and expression?

March 16th, 2020

I think most people will say that artists want to create for the expression sake. Or in other words, to express themselves. But I believe art is more than just the artists expression. Many others would also say that it is as well about the beauty appreciation.

How about art works we would not consider beautiful on its thematic? War, child abuse, social inequality, solitude, madness, corruption, and so on. Why would any artist want to express it? Appreciate it? or enjoy creating works with such theme?

I see the full appreciation of art works are not only on their results but also in their execution. Appreciating shapes, texture, colours but also appreciating the way such shapes, texture and colours were achieved. The artist's tool movement, the artist's hands pressure and some how, the artist's feeling transmitted to the work.

Not that all artists care about enjoy the process itself. There are many who are only interested on finish as soon as possible for the sole final result enjoyment. And those who only appreciate the monetary return. But I would like to talk on an other kind of enjoyment now.

I guess this is what make hand works so special when compared to machinery works, we can feel something special on hand works. Maybe is the rustic characteristic and the memory of old bucolic times, that rustic works may bring to mind.

The more rustic the work look like the more expressive it looks to be. A more real expression that seems to have a stronger and more honest touch on us, instead of the cold and distant expression and appreciation contained in machinery works.

Most people would not be able to tell if they actually feel or see any difference, but I like to think that deep inside they feel it. Otherwise, musician would not waist more money and time playing their expensive and some times big or complicated instrument, they could just play whatever sound they want through a electronic keyboard. We would not have photographers working in darkroom any more, when they could just work their images in front of a computer. Sculptors would not wasting more time on creating figures on rocks, metals or wood, they could just enjoy the benefices of 3D print from a digital work . Painters would forget about the messy, pricey and space they need to store their works when they can just work with digital paint. Isn't it?

There is a fact that many artists still enjoy the hand craft pleasure and appreciation, to touch and feel the actual peace they are work on and there for to a more direct way transfer such appreciation and feelings on the works shapes, texture, colours and so on.

This is why I prefer working with film negatives on darkroom instead on working with digital. Or to play my flute instead of playing a electronic keyboard that makes flute sounds. And even write a letter with my hand sometimes instead of just type it and send a email instead. Because I feel more in touch on the creation and result, appreciating the creation process through the craft, instead of the have the contact of its creation only by a device and maybe the direct contact only on its final result.

And I think this is one of the reason that stimulates me to create, the opportunity to craft.
For those who think this is a rubbish talk, try to hear a grand piano and compare to a electronic keyboard sound. The sound of the real strings vibrating and ring in the piano will make your ears more alive than any electronic sound device.

3 Tips To Help Independent Models Feel Safe When Working With A New Photographer.

March 16th, 2020

Models, specially independent models, must concern about their safety whenever they are going to work with a new photographer or with photographers they don't know well.
There is no reason to be scared when you meet a new photographer, and no reason to think it is a dangerous job since I believe most photographers are good people. But prevent problems and be prepared in case that anything happen is always good.

One of the biggest mistakes models can make is to assume that all professional photographers are actually professional in their behaviour. It doesn't matter how wonderful and recognised is the professional works, it won't stop anybody who have a pervert mind. On the other hand, guys who photograph just as hobby are often more honest and safe than many celebrity photographers. We can't just assume or judge from appearances but every model should follow this safety tips, or any other safety method that works for them.

First of all, a good photographer, professional or not, will want see the model feeling relaxed, because if the model is tense, worried or afraid it will make the photographer's job more difficult. - I know there are photographers who like to verbally frighten models when they can't deliver the expect result or follow the photographer direction, as method to push the model to do her work. I don't want to discuss such methods now. What we all know is that when models are focused on their work with no distraction or worries they deliver a better job. - So be aware if the photographer who you are working with care about how comfortable you are for the job.

Tip number 1: Do your home work.

Whenever you are going to work with a new photographer, always search about him. Look for models he have worked with to ask about how is to work with that photographer. Try to find out if they are honest about payment, work method, safety during the work, if the photographer is not just a guy trying something else with the models, etc. The more people you find, in order to know about the photographer, the better. With internet it becomes easier as never before.

You also should be careful about bad comments. Often models talk bad things about a particular photographer that may be just a wrong impression the model had about him when working together. Sometimes a model can hate a photographer just because she was expecting looking better on the photos (when it wan't the project intention), or just because they found out the photographer is not a professional but a hobbyist. But it doesn't mean the photographer is actually bad. So we sometimes have to identify when the model is the problematic one and not the photographer.

If you don't find anybody who the photographer have worked with, don't be afraid to ask the photographer and then try to find the model's contact. Photographers know, our should expect, models to do their homework.

Tip number 2: Let always somebody else knows where you are.

At any work you do, it doesn't matter if it is in a home studio, location or professional studio, always let a friend knows where you are. Because in case you find out the photographer who hired you is a problem, have somebody near to come and pick you up is always better and will make you feel safer.

You can ask the photographer if you can bring a friend with you of course, but many photographers will say "no". Now, don't think the photographer is saying "no" because he is just an ass. Many photographers are as worried about their safety as their models. I would feel worried if a model show up with a body builder angry face trying to intimidate me just to make the model (his friend) feels safer.

An other issue happens when model's friend decide to help during the photo shoot, and try to give unsolicited direction to photographer and model, becoming a big distraction from the achievement that both model and photographer have planed for the shoot. It can also happen the model start to ask to pose with his friend who was not hired to the session. And when it happens the model is out of her focus.

The worst can happen is the model appear with her jealous boyfriend. Often boyfriends are ok about their girlfriends modelling until the day they see the photographer working. And some boyfriends can get aggressive.

Believe me, there are a lot of stories with bad ends because of model's friends in studio during the shoot. So try to understand when photographers don't want nobody else in their studio. But you always can ask for a friend who lives near where the shoot will happens, to be on your guard, or ask a friend to wait for you in a bar, cafe, park or shopping near by, if the shoot doesn't tale more than 2h at least.

Tip number 3: Contact a friend who knows where you are just before start to shoot.

The idea to let a friend know where you are, and inform them you are ok by text message or short call, is to alert him that something is wrong in case you don't send any message after 10 or 20 minutes after meet the photographer and after the end of the shoot. And he can call the police and help you if you get in trouble.

So you got a photo shoot and just before meet the photographer you contact your friend to let they know what time you will meet and that it is actually happening. When you actually meet the photographer you will talk about the shoot, the direction, know the space, plan some details, prepare the outfit and do the make up. This is the time you can know the photographer, see if he is serious about the photography work or trying something else. If you see the photographer is fine, just before the shoot you can send a message to your friend telling him that everything is ok. So he knows you are safe. Otherwise you can ask your friend to come and pick you up, if you feel you are getting in trouble.

Your friend, should also be informed when the shoot is planed to finish, and when you finish the work you should send a message to him to let him know it ended ok. If in case of delay don't forget to let your friend know you will finish 20, 30 or 40 minutes later.

But don't keep using the mobile, receiving calling or distracted with it during the shoot. It is really annoy for the photographer when the photo session flow is interrupted. Only in case of any delay for the end, tell the photographer you have to send a message to let a friend know you "will be late".

These are three very basic tips which I have given to models I planed worked with. Because often they ask if they can bring a friend and often models' friends in studio have being a problem. I tell them about these safety methods to make them feel safe and show them that I care on how they feel and I want them to enjoy the work with no worry. And as I can tell it seems to work for them. Then I hope it works for you too.

You dont make any more art but just the idea of it, by turning things useless

March 16th, 2020

Marshall McLuhan: "We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art."

In a ready made art world how can one transform an object in a work of art? The solution found was to transform the art work in an object. No more illusion or transcendence but pure concept.

In an aestheticised world the object is no longer there but just the idea of it. In other worlds, it becomes meaningless or empt. This also means that we don't have any more pleasure in art, only in the idea of it. Art for art sake is only a sign of absence in a materialist world where everything becomes a commodity. What may be the solution for art in a aesthetised world of emptness and no meaning is to embrace the banality.

Jean Baudrillard: "Ever since the 19th century, art has wanted to be useless. It turned this uselessness in to a reason for prise (which is not true of classical art where, in a world that was not yet real or objective, the usefulness was not even considered)."

By this principle, in order to make any object a work of art all we have to do is to turn it useless, like Duchamp's did with the signed urinal.

What to do after the orgy?

March 16th, 2020

With modern art we have experienced the freedom, and therefore the excess, in art and today we want to keep up the party that has already ended, by playing the same songs, have the same talk and trying keep dancing pretending this is not the end.

Art, or our contemporary world, has explored all aspects of life and its materialistic culture. With monetary access and technology art have being free, and we see a world full of creative and no creative people producing with no limits. Like TV with more then 100 channels offering the most variates option of broadcasting, the internet where we can read and watch all kind of news and information, we become after a while indifferent. Everything, after the full exposition and exploration loose their mystery and consequently their sensuality to become no more than fetch. Meaning we become more interested on the idea of being informed than the information itself, on the idea of have access than the access itself, on the idea of products, sex and art than products, sex and art themselves. We live in a fetched world.

Now what? What to do after the orgy? How to face the emptiness feeling after the limitless enjoyment?
It looks like nobody knows, so they keep with the empt and useless talk since they have no more to talk about, the dull replayed music because there is nothing else to play, the same tired and indifferent dance, pretending the party is still on but it doesn't matter how hard we pretend, after the orgy all that is left is the empt dull after result.

Even the after party talk, fun and memories of the good, bad and silly moments has become nostalgic. We have so long make fun of the nostalgic orgy, of its pretending, that it is not funny any more.

We have lost all the mystery and seduction illusion world we once had to rely and believe only on this that Baudrillard calls the final illusion of reality or hyper-reality. The indifferent people, culture and mind we become that bring us back to the "inhuman rituals and phantasmagoria of the cultures preceding our own".

The rustic mode or the handicraft look by accident

March 16th, 2020

After improving my film stop and fixer chemical mix storing in order to make it last longer, I conducted a test to find out how long it can last and how many negatives I would be able to work with them, without make any change on them.

For those who don't know, the Stop is a solution where we bath the film negative after developing process, so it will stop the developing reaction faster making the develop time more precise and the image result more curate. And the Fixer is a bath to fix the image emulation on the negative by making it no more sensible to light.

After about 2 moths using the same Fixer mix I notice a black dust in it when I used for my latest negative developed. It couldn't come from no where outside the bottle because it is sealed to avoid contact to the air and to avoid evaporation. I was then intrigued because I have never seeing such thing during my 4 years working with my film negatives and prints in darkroom.

Later on, with the help of a couple of fellas, I learned my new storing technique was so efficient that I could use the mix much longer without it looses too much of it solution power. To the point where after a while, the negatives silver salt start to accumulate in the solution, becoming visible to the naked eye.

Worst than that, it also become visible on the following negatives it will bath. So the result I got from my last negative was surprising.

The accumulated silver salts made the image much more noisy than expected, but I enjoyed the result because the noise was very aleatory on their position and size. To me it feels more rustic and artesian, I don't know why.

I still can filter the silver salts and keep using the same solution mix but I am serious thinking on develop more photographs as it is to obtain more nice aleatory noise on the image.

So you love photography.You must be a creep then.

June 14th, 2014

So you love photography.You must be a creep then.

Photographers or creators in general are observers. But photographers differs from other kind of creators since they don't just observe. Usually creators take notes or mental notes and go home to work on writing, painting, sculpture or whatever else. Photographers observe with their cameras and lenses as if it were a binocular.

In fact the lens is a kind of telescope with which we can look at details, nearer or in a special manner. Photographers hide their faces behind their cameras, as if the camera was a disguise, pointing that telescope to things and people. And they get curious about what or how can they see thing through it.

I can't help thinking how creep it is. Specially street photographers wandering and look around at things and people through their lenses. And I have being called as "creep guy" once when photographing in the street. I don't get offended and if you are a photographers you shouldn't be offended aether. If you can't help stop looking at you viewfinder and waistlevel, you must be a damn creep.

"Any photographer who says he's not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar" (Helmut Newton)

How photographers fool clients. Or how clients fool themselves

June 13th, 2014

One of the most frequent subjects among photographers is the client perception on what is a amateur and what is a professional photographer. Because every photographer hear at least once a month somebody asking "do you have those big cameras?"

Yeas, a lot of people use the camera body size as parameter, and this is silly because the camera size doesn't tell anything at all about it's quality. It doesn't even tell if it is developed or appropriated for professional use or not.

Here is a hilarious story from Jason Chambers, telling how a police officer assumed Jason was doing professional work in the park just because of the size of his camera:

"Bigger is better (PRO) happened to me yesterday.

I’m sitting in our local park with my gripped D300, SB700 Speedlight, and a Nikor 16-35mm f/4 when a police man asks me if I have a permit from the city to be doing professional photography in the park. I tell him I’m not doing professional photographer in the park, I’m not doing any photography in the park, I’m just sitting. “Why do you have that camera?” “Just in case something catches my eye.” “Well, you need a permit.” Now, there is another guy in the park taking pictures. He has a Nikon D800e and a Nikor 24mm f/1.4 and I ask if that guy has a permit. The police man says no, he doesn’t need one because he isn’t a professional photographer. I try telling the officer that that guy has three times the megapixels I have, a lens that cost twice as much as mine, and his camera is at least five years newer and much more expensive than mine. And the answer I get is….
“Yes, but yours is bigger”

I guess no matter how good the D800e is, mine goes to 11."

Bear in mind that there are many respectable photographers shooting high fashion with small cameras, and a lot of amateurs just learning about photography with huge cameras on their hands (because they think the bigger the better).

On the photographer point of view there are also the good client and the bad client. The bad client is the one who who makes you spend money on what you don't actually need just to convince them you are a good professional, doesn't matter how impressive is the photographer's portfolio. On the other hands they are easy to be fooled by bad professionals.

The good client is the one who says "it doesn't matter how you do it, as far you do it like I saw in your portfolio". The confident client who knows what they want.

Is The Artist Mind Naturally Unrealistic?

May 19th, 2014

Sometimes we see people making a lot of question about artists mind and their perception on reality, in order to archive such diverse interpretation of the world on their works.

I believe it has nothing to do with the mind be realistic or not. After all nobody has direct contact with reality. All that we experience from outside our body are actually interpretation from our senses, from what we see, what we hear, what we feel on our sking, what we smell and what we taste.

People has different nuances on this filtration and interpretation of information we constantly receive, some more and others less.

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to Permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or "feeling into." Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the Places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience.” ― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell

So the answer is yeas. Artists have the tendency of have a certain difference of the worlds perception. But it doesn't mean he is special because we all are born with a wider perception and information reception from the world around, but while we grow up most people will close it down, because their perception becomes blocked by certain education and thoughts on perception, and among oder pre determinated avaliation, specially when their is convenience on perceive certain things the way we feel more confortable about our situation, reaction and judgements in our padronised paranoid over rushed society.

Contemporary art has lost the desire of illusion

May 11th, 2014

This is right. It is what many philosophers have being saying or questioning now a days, that art has become not more than quotation.

Is today's art just reproduction or reappropriation? In other words, can we say every thing has become art? Put your pen on a pedestal and it is now art, or take a photo of it with a vintage plugin effect, or just make a super realistic drawing and it is art.

It happened because the world has become aesthetic, our home, our tools, our clothes and even our appearance. Everything has become a object of appreciation. Post-modern art doesn't seems to anticipate as it used to be on past movements. It has become about resuscitation of its own form by appropriating or reproducing others contemporary or past works.

Of course I am being superficial when talking about it. I am not the philosophers who have came to such conclusion but as photographer deeply interested on art I think it is a subject interesting to think about.

So as they say, there is no more illusion but just reality or super reality reproduced on past forms. If everything is art, art is annulling it self. In other worlds, it means there is no more art because in order to something exist it has to have another thing opposing to it, the other side which is not it and determine its limits. If everything is aesthetic there is nothing that can not be recognised as art when presented as artistic. If art has annulling itself it means art has become null and insignificant on the artistic point of view.

It is right if you argue that art from every period have being spired on past works. But today it means more than just inspiration. It means reproduction on a monetary point of view. Its only value become the market.

It is anguishing thinking about such speeches and writings. What comes next? Is this the final destination for the art world? The only way to go is back home? Or we ar just stocked while we don't find a path, which is somewhere to be discovered, that will allow us to keep going, just as happened on the past?

Whatever the answer is, I think it is all about society on which art represents. It is all about society influences, vision, tradition and anxieties. This is what we should keep our eyes I believe.

Fomapan 400 become my official street photography film negative

May 6th, 2014

Fomapan 400 become my official street photography film negative

I have being looking for grainy contrasty film negatives, because I prefer the aggressive and textured surface image quality, specially for street photography and some kind of portraits, than the clean shiny image that became popular influenced, I suspect, by commercial materialistic quality that we see in advertise, and migrated to contemporary photography art, more often than never.

I used to photograph the streets with Ilford HP5 when I was in Ireland. But in Germany Ilford products are more expensive, so I experimented some others brands until find Kentmere, which is also from Ilford but much cheaper. What attracted me to Kentmere 400 was the stony agressive texture I could get developing with Ilfotec HC.

Later on I was reading about Fomapan 400 and searching some examples in the internet I kind of enjoyed its grain but also the texture quality specially for portrait. It is just different, maybe because it still uses a old formula.

After reading several comments about "too much grain on 35mm" and "how it scan bad", among other issues related to it Real ISO, I decided to try because there were very good examples I could find in the internet.

The result of my first 35mm Fomapan 400 developed in Rodinal was better than I expected, not as much grain as I have seen on examples in the net. I actually would prefer more grain at firts but after analysing it I realised the grain characteristic would not look good if it appeared as strong as Kentmere 400, that has bigger grains. It also scanned fairly well.

The main reasons to change from Kentmere 400 to Fomapan 400 are actually two. First of all, the Fomapan highlights looks much nicer. Then It has an old look style that I appreciate a lot. And this old film look is enough to convince me change from the stony big grain Kentmere look. An other possible reason is the look it delivers in low light or artificial bulb light. But I could not confirm it so well.

The best of all is its price. Just a few cents less than Kentmere but a quite considerable difference when we buy packs of 20 at once.

I just love it! But I am still discovering and experimenting with it.


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