Reality is distorted, and photographs correct it.

When you look up, the parallel sides of tall buildings seem to converge into the distance due to perspective.

A large format camera, as used to take this picture, can correct the verticals back to parallel for a more stable-looking architectural picture.

But in shots such as this, the camera is too close to the buildings to completely correct the lines. As a remedy, the image has been scanned and a second correction is made digitally to finish the effect.

Digital and film are working hand in hand here because the camera wasn’t able to complete the correction, and a digital correction alone would have degraded the image quality dramatically.

An interesting paradox of architecture photographs is now uncovered – what we call ‘corrected’ is actually a highly processed and distorted view that never existed in reality.

Below are a few examples from my series of Houston architecture images ‘Dueling Towers’. Fine-art pigment prints using high quality metallic paper are available for collectors - contact me for more information.

Fine art photos of Houston' s Skyscrapers

Is a picture of a building to the credit of the photographer, or the architect?

I’ve struggled with this question. It’s the same problem I have with taking pictures of a sculpture or fountain.Should I get the credit for a creative photo, , or should the creator of the photo’s subject be the hero? Can I claim credit for someone else’s art?

If someone took a picture of one of my pictures, is it my art or theirs?

There are ways to avoid this problem of pure documentation, all of which involve some added input from the photographer. Dramatic weather, unique light and shadows, creative composition or additional composition elements to name a few.

So during the winter of 2018/2019 I explored Houston’s architecture with an aim of avoiding pure documentation of any single structure. The images juxtapose two or more buildings while at the same time avoiding street-level noise of people, cars and lamp posts. I also tend to avoid the tops of buildings. This simplifies city-scapes into their simplest shaped and lines. Perspective becomes illusive as it is sometimes difficult to tell which building faces which direction. Sometimes the buildings are lined up in such a way that they almost look like a new single structure.

Even in a city as large as Houston, there are finite pairs of buildings that can be photographed in this way. Even so, I don’t think I am anywhere near a complete set.

Below are a few examples from this series of images ‘Dueling Towers’. Fine-art pigment prints using high quality metallic paper are available for collectors - contact me for more information.


Portraits of Charles, a Houston Songwriter

Charles not only writes songs, but is a former New York model and fitness instructor. As a man who wears many hats, he had plenty of ideas for images running the gammut from writing lyrics on his bathroom mirror to burning a song as he wrote it on a piece of paper. We also got some great 3/4 and headshots.

You can follow Charles on his Instagram account @saintroninmusic, and on his YouTube channel.

Portraits of a Houston makeup artist

 
Bobby Wells Houston Makeup Artist
 

Bobby Wells has worked in New York and LA, and now in Houston. He is a skilled makeup artist who knows each of his brushes like I know each of my lenses. His favorites are housed in a leather pouch that doesn’t leave his side. Like a photographer, his job involves putting a subject at ease so they can get the best out of his work.

This was a hybrid portrait session using a digital camera and a medium format film camera. Some of my favorite images were the low-key shots on a black background. They remind me of classic artist portraits from the 60s and 70s.

You can find Bobby’s Instagram feed @bobbywellsmakeup.

Portrait Session - Julia Fox

Julia is a Houston-based classical singer who recently sat for some portraits. We mixed dramatic low-key chiaroscuro photography with simple bright shots - all classic portrait styles. 

You can find out more about Julia on her website - www.juliafoxsoprano.com

 

 

 

Photographers capturing Houston

There is an element of research when it comes to planning a photography project. Looking at the work of others helps gather elements of ideas, avoid cliches and attempt to build on what has come before. Some comparison to the scientific method can be made here. The work of others can also be appreciated in its own right, of course, aside from as a source of learning or inspiration. I'm looking to take images of Houston that uncover its many hidden corners, and there are others doing the same.

USPS building, downtown Houston. Rollei 35s, Ilford HP5.

USPS building, downtown Houston. Rollei 35s, Ilford HP5.

I'm sure there are many local commercial and wedding/portrait photographers who produce exceptional work, but I wanted to make note of some photographers who are specifically making the scapes of Houston part of their stories. I've selected a few photographers to make a of note here for my own reference - these are the photographers I'd most like to talk shop with.

  • Mabry Campbell - Mabry's portfolio is full of technically well-executed architectural photography with moody black and whites that capture subtle tones and textures. 
  • Katya Horner - Landscape and fine art photos with a processed and colour saturated style. 
  • Michael Joseph - Interesting black and white architectural photographs of downtown Houston with a theme of internal framing.
  • Aisha Khan - A portfolio full of portraits and wedding images that hold a sense of place. She makes Houston look good. These images that make me want to include people in my city shots. 
  • Khanh Nguyen. Great use of Houston's backstreets and portraits with a lot of movement.
  • Matt Nielson - This is a one page photo essay about Houston with some brilliant pictures to illustrate. Matt nailed an image of the Gus Wortham fountain - an interesting art-piece I've been working on for a while, but can't seem to get a satisfactory interpretation of it. 
  • Jim Olive - Oil and gas are Houston's meat and potatoes  (medical is probably the veg). Jim is a commercial photographer who covers, among many other things, Houston's industrial side. He has also published a photography book on Houston covering a range of his work over his career.
  • Joseph West - Joseph knows how to work shadow and light against each other, adding both atmosphere and subject emphasis within an image.  His blog is mainly engagements and weddings, but he is one of those photographers that incorporates urban landscapes with his portraits where either alone would stand well as a photograph.