This is the test episode.
This is only a test.
I hope this works.
This is the test episode.
This is only a test.
I hope this works.
For my first end of semester photography assignment at sfai, I decided to shoot portraits. Though, not in a studio with lighting equipment or even with models. I wanted this to be more about the person, and maybe just a little bit about the photographs. After all, part of the class was to make sure we learned how to use the camera, the film and make the prints. But really, we were there to make art.
I shot the series on Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film and printed the final shots on Kodak Polymax FD fiber based paper. I decided on this paper due to its amazing grey scale reproduction and silver-like look. The prints came out looking like they had a billion shades of grey. For showing them on the site, I scanned the prints and not the negatives to try and capture my end results from that specific time. I’m quite happy with the scans, however the actual prints themselves, I feel, look much richer. But such is the digital age. I can’t control your screen resolutions and brightness settings, but since you all seem to have LCD monitors these days, I think I have a good idea of how you see my photos.
The above is a good example of the amount of detail that can be extracted off of a black and white negative on the gelatin silver print. I even used a filed down film carrier on the enlarger to show the black edges of the negative itself. This was to teach myself to not rely on cropping and instead focused on composing the shots in-camera.
I had a classmate, Christina, who also was working on her final assignment. I asked if it was okay to shoot her for my assignment and she agreed. I let her know that I would just follow her around, get to know her and how she worked, while capturing it with my camera. It was quite the experience. Following and getting to know another photographer, another person. Observing them, and capturing tiny moments that show who they really were and what they enjoyed. No make up or lighting equipment, no guidance or staging, just capturing the reality of their existence. Every nuance, gesture, face, imperfection, feature that makes them who they are when they are just doing their thing.
Christina was working on her own project; photographing the polar bear club swimmers in San Francisco near Ghirardelli Square.
I had a follow up session, this time without her being a photographer, just herself. Same location but different types of images. More playful. You’ll see those later.
But for now, if you’d like to see the first set of portraits I shot during this project, click here to enter the full gallery.
Later that year, after submitting them, both sets ended up being featured in the Still Lights Gallery.
Taken with the Hasselblad 501C/M using the Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 lens. On Fuji Pro 160 S medium format film.
Finally! After about a month of building and 7 days in submission at Apple, my 3 iOS apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch are live!
A while ago I saw a couple of photographers, including Scott Bourne from Photofocus use the iPad as a way to sell their work via the App Store. I really liked the idea and thought they were onto something. All of these photographers were selling their work through companies that build and publish apps for them for a cut of the sales. I was immediately interested.
I looked into using one of these companies, but didn’t like not being able to sell under my own name in the App Store. I also wanted my apps to look a little different. So I decided to just build them on my own.
About a year ago I started reading books on how to build your own app, watched tons of tutorial videos (filmed by 9 year old boys – that’s an ego boost), downloaded Xcode and began working. A few months went by and I had a horrible looking (but semi functional) app. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t just make the app do what I wanted it to do via Objective-C. I had the idea, the images and the execution down, I just lacked the actual source code for the app.
So I did what any good San Franciscan would do: I posted an ad on craiglist and found an amazing developer, Chris Bruce, who was available to help. A week later he had a fully working source code for the bare bones app. With this code, I then created all the images, home screens, metadata and sell text (edited by the talented Lauren Dupuis). I added it all to the app via Xcode and uploaded to iTunes Connect. Built them for distribution and submitted them for sale.
I wanted each one to be a sort of self published, mini-photo book. I think the iPad and iPhone are a perfect device to show off your art. But rather than having to physically bring my own device to people to show them my work, distributing via the App Store was the perfect way to go. With hundreds of millions of devices out there in the world, the results feel like having a virtual book published in a giant virtual retail store.
Then to give it a bit more value, I enabled the end user to save the images locally so that they can be used as wallpaper on their mobile device. Formatting each image to specifically fit the device it was being viewed on was very important. All of this for just 99¢ each.
Since these apps are universal, they will work on any apple device. You only have to buy it once, and you can use it with your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. With these devices having different screen resolutions, I had to create a set of images formatted to perfectly fit each of their screens. For example, if you launch my apps on an iPhone 4, the images will be shown and saved in the Retina Display resolution of 960×640; but when launching on an iPad, they are show and saved at 1024×1024.
Why the square ratio for the iPad? This device is the only one that has the ability to rotate the home and lock screens to be used in portrait or landscape mode. If you set an image optimized for just one of these orientations, it won’t work as well in the other. Black spaces occur in those cases, whereas the square ratio fills the screen perfectly without leaving any areas uncovered. It also creates 2 different looks, since you can see more of the image in landscape on the sides; or more on the top and bottom if viewed in portrait. Like so:
All in all, I feel that this method of distributing art to end users is something that has the potential to be huge. I have always wanted to have a full on photo book published and I feel that this is a great start. If you’re interested in the App, just click here to be taken straight to the App Store. I plan on releasing at least 2 other photo books in the future, and even city-specific books from any future traveling, but I’ll have to see how those turn out. Stay tuned!
I’ve rejiggered the store a bit today. I added new photos from the Edinburgh in HDR Set, Aerials, Muir Woods and Big Sur.
You can also access it any time by clicking on The Store in the menu bar above.
And remember, shipping is a flat rate of just $5, no matter how many pictures you purchase at once. I like easy math and whole numbers in prices, don’t you?
New to the gallery, a collection of HDR photos taken in Edinburgh, Scotland.
These were from the same trip where I was “ticketed for terrorism” a couple of years ago. I took the train up to Scotland from Warrington on two separate occasions during my stay in the UK. On the first visit I was welcomed with sunny weather, bright blue skies and lots of people walking the streets. During this “day 1” visit I explored every bit I could, taking tons of photos along the way. Those images, just like with any others I take during a first visit to someplace new and exciting, came out rather “touristy”. Not in a bad way though. In fact, I’ll be posting those later on as part of a new category of photographs altogether.
The second visit to Edinburgh was quite different. I was welcomed with cold, rainy weather filled with dramatic skies and significantly less people walking about. Also, since I had now been here before, my eye for the place was different. The city felt even more unique. I had a fully charged camera with an empty memory card and the entire day ahead of me.
I walked up to the hills surrounding the city to take wider shots and to scope out the old buildings up close. As with any time I shoot during overcast skies, I made sure to bracket all of my exposures. Not really thinking I’d be merging and converting them to HDR (I honestly didn’t even know what HDR was back then). It was impossible to get everything exposed properly, the way I was seeing it, on the same frame in-camera. So I chugged along, snapping away.
Upon viewing the photos for the first time, I noticed none were capturing exactly what I had been seeing. The problem? I couldn’t get the dramatic afternoon, overcast, stormy skies exposed with the old castles and landscapes in the same frame. But since I had 3 or 4 different versions of the same shots, I was happy with the results.
Fast forward years later and I now have learned almost everything on making HDR images. I pretty much have my work-flow down, all from within Lightroom 3 and the Photomatix Pro plugin. So for the first time ever, I revisited my Edinburgh photos and one by one, slowly began to process, merge and build up a final series.
This is exactly how I had wanted the exposures to turn out in-camera. This is the mood and look I was hoping to get and thanks to the amazing tools made available to photographers I now can.
“Kamel, you should really think about selling your photos! I bet people would buy them if you gave them the choice.”
I hear that a lot from people. My friends, co-workers, strangers via email and twitter. But I never thought I could easily pull that off. Especially while still having a full time job. I used to sell small prints on eBay, which was a small stream of surprisingly steady income. Not much to quit my day job for, but enough to keep me motivated to continue shooting. More than the money earned from the prints, I loved seeing the buyer feedback. I loved knowing that real people throughout the world actually enjoyed having one of my prints. Sadly after a few months of selling, I switched jobs and found myself with no time to tend to my eBaying anymore.
Recently, Lauren asked me the question again. Only this time she suggested I do it through this website. I researched how to pull that off, set up a really basic paypal based e-commerce thingy, picked 12 images to start out with and now the whole thing is ready.
How do I get there? Well, you can just click here for my store. Or you can select it from the menu bar located at the top of this site.
All color photos are printed on Kodak Professional Supra Endura VC Digital Paper. Which is basically an E-Surface (matte) paper. I love it, and I’m sure you will too. The Black and White photos are printed on true panchromatic, resin-coated B&W paper. Which is also a matte surface.
The Gallery Wrap choice is printed on actual canvas, wrapped around a 1.5″ thick wooden stretcher frame and it would arrive ready to hang.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or use the “contact me” link from the menu bar.