Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), Niteroi, 1991
He was the one to shape the original Brazil,” says Brazilian photographer Vicente De Paulo of 104 year-old architect and Rio native Oscar Niemeyer. The architect, renowned for his curvaceous, concrete Modernist designs, is the focus of a special commissioned project by Visionaire and Paddle8, which debuts on the art retail site this week and will come to life in Visionaire’s RIO issue, out this September. The collaboration features ten 3D photographs of several of Niemeyer’s most iconic cites—including exterior views of the sensuous Gustavo Campana Palace and images the city’s famous hyperboloid Cathedral—, all shot by De Paulo. “Because Brazilia is my hometown and I had never done a project about the city, I was very excited to be able to go there and shoot those buildings,” explains the 46-year-old photographer. “Niemeyer brings to Rio this whole glamour because he was based here and did so much. The whole world paid attention. He gave us not just an identity, but the icon of what the symbol of what the Brazilian lifestyle means.
Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia, 1958
Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia, 1958
Itamaraty Palace (Ministry of External Relations), Brasilia, 1962
Photography Courtesy Vicente de Paulo
This is a still. And this is the video. I’ve been waiting for some really subtle landscape video, and this one is checking all the boxes.
Thanks, Grant Cornett.
I realize we’ve had a bit of a hiatus lately over here on TPP, but I’m pulled out of retirement by some really staggering work by Manjari Sharma. In this age of instagram, it’s rare to see something truly new and groundbreaking, especially as it pertains to the photographic medium itself.
Enter Manjari Sharma’s Darshan. Named for a Sanskrit word which means “sight”, “vision” or “view, Manjari’s new project seeks to photographically recreate nine classical images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. These icons are deeply connected to Sharma’s spiritual upbringing. By melding them with her reverence and devotion to photography, she is creating altars of her own.
You’ll never believe what goes into making these images. It’s a full-on production of costume designers, set stylists, jewelry designers, carpenters and painters. Sharma believes art is much about the process, and this is one hell of a process.
This is the first image, Maa Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, good fortune, and prosperity.
Here is more about the project, and an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the work as it is created:
PLEASE consider donating to Sharma’s project. These images ought to be created. Click here and help out! You can even receive a signed, editioned print. Totally worth it, this is an excellent use of Kickstarter.
Here is more from Sharma in her own words:
“I grew up in a Hindu home to parents who were quite spiritual, religious and god fearing as they would call it in India. I visited countless temples, shrines, and discourses as frequently as my parents wanted. These discourses circled around unraveling the mysteries locked in chapters of mythological enigma and tales of deities, reincarnations and astrology. The roots of hindu mythology run deep; my own experiences as a child ranged from being fascinated and enlightened to lost and still seeking. Naturally, coming back home still consists of delving back into the same routine of worship and meditation I left behind.
I moved from India to the United States in 2001 in order to pursue an undergraduate study in Fine Art Photography. The frequency with which I visited Hindu temples in what felt like my previous life, gradually got replaced with visits to art galleries, museums and studios, where creativity in all mediums of expression are revered.
This series bridges two parts of my world. Iconography in the Indian religion found in temples and scriptures are ultimately artistic representations of mythological characters. Most hindus have seen the use of painting and sculpture but rarely photography taken to the level of exacting measures with respect to showcasing deities. The creation of these images has become my act of devotion, to art and to religion.”
Go to Manjari Sharma’s site.
TPP recently sat down with the dashing Alberto Milazzo of LaBoutique NY to discuss the state of the art… of retouching.
TPP: How did you get started in the industry and where?
AM: I’ve been a retoucher for 9 years. I originally went into Graphic Design and went to school for it in the UK, I liked it but I started enjoying manipulating images and incorporating them in my design pieces more than the actual “designing” of the project. So after I was done I did a lot of self teaching at home, while I was working for Blockbuster Video and trying to break into acting. My agent told me to go get some headshots. I went to a photographer they recommended and turns out, he was in need of of a graphic designer/digital retoucher to set up his new digital department. I jumped at the chance. Acting quickly became secondary, and after I had proven my worth, I ended up working full time for him. I started retouching wedding shots and drool off of baby’s mouths – and I loved it.
As I retouched more, I became faster and more confident. Through that job I started meeting other photographers and was suddenly thrust into the industry where I learned a lot, fast. After a couple of years there I started freelancing for the big boys and really got my face out there to whomever had a minute to see me. As I grew my skill base I also grew a portfolio, which was starting to circulate… even all the way across the seas to NYC.
I got a call from a friend who had moved there and were in need of good retouchers. To my surprise, they offered me a freelance gig in NYC. I was on the plane before I could say yes. Two weeks later the company offered me a sponsorship and a full time job. That was 5 years ago and I have worked very hard in the industry since then and have worked with many professional photographers, clients and fellow retouchers.
TPP: You are one of the most sought after retouchers in the business – what would you say is your philosophy when taking on a new client or project?
AM: Clear, concise and honest communication. I take direction very well and its all down to taking the time to listen and asking the questions that will lead to a great image, story or campaign. I have also taken the time to grow strength in previously tough areas such as product retouching, which is more technical and precise when compared to fashion or beauty. I am a well rounded retoucher. Another huge advantage when working with new clients is knowing when I need to put my ego aside. This industry can lead anyone with a creative streak or skill to question their abilities or to get personally effected by an unhappy client. You can’t please everyone. I do my best and apply all that I have learned plus a dash of passion & commitment into what I’m working on. I believe this is key when meeting a new client or starting a project.
TPP: You clearly take a creative approach to retouching – what/whom are your current influences/inspirations?
AM: There are many photographers that I admire and who inspire me. To name a few in an otherwise long list; there’s Guy Aroch, Mert & Marcus Piggott, Richard Avedon, Ben Hassett and Tyen. I find myself being inspired by so many of the images that I see both consciously and subconsciously. I mentally log a specific color, a certain density, a particular contrast or palette they use when I retouch, this enables me to stay focused on new trends and augment my skill base to keep up with the demands of new and existing clients. It is very important for a retoucher to be versatile , you need to remain as unbiased with your technique or/and creative opinion, to stay as flexible as possible when tending and respecting one photographer’s style to another.
TPP: A lot is changing in the photo industry right now – what are some of the current challenges facing the retouching industry right now?
AM: A lot has changed, this is definitely true. I have seen a huge shift in the 9 years I’ve been working as a professional retoucher. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is the lack of boutique-style retouching that I was originally taught in London – to sit with either the client or photographer when working. At least for the first or second ’round’ – to build a solid working relationship whereby making sure that no markup-up or direction is lost in translation. These days all a clients need to do is call and upload files and instruct a retoucher to “do the usual”. This can be very challenging and sometimes arduous. I struggled with this for a while until I managed to shift my way of working to suit this “in and out” method which is also brought on by small retouching budgets. No one wants to pay for good retouching anymore it seems. It pains me to see a wonderfully shot subject or story by a talented photographer ruined by sloppy cheap retouching.
TPP: I know retouchers get crazy requests – without naming names, can you tell us about some or one of the most outrageous/challenging requests you’ve had?
AM: I have retouched many celebrities. I have worked with all sorts of clients. Among the usual head switching, body shaping, acne removal and skin coloring, here are a handful of the most absurd comments and requests I have encountered : “Make her look like a Barbie doll”, “This is one image needs to be composed from 32 shots”, “Make her breasts look natural”,”lets change her skin color, I’d like her to look latin”, “Whatever you do, DO NOT touch the mole on the face, its her trademark”, “I don’t like her body shape, use body from a shots of (another person) and lets see” ( After 13 rounds of changes ), “I still don’t like it, lets go back to the first round and start over” and my favorite of all time : “We need to change her face completely, she looks awful, but its important that she still looks like her as her fans won’t recognize her”.
TPP: Any before and after’s you can show us? If so, can you walk us through your strategy in approaching this image?
AM: It is generally understood that showing any before and afters of work a retoucher has been paid for is out of the question, so, I took the liberty of shooting someone myself to show a typical beauty before & after. As you can see, its a huge difference. I chose a beauty image because they typically involve a lot more skin work, hence the dramatic difference. This is only scratching the surface of how different some images end up looking after rounds and rounds of changes. Here I started shaping the face, more symmetrical ( considered more attractive ), Then I moved on to some light general color moves and density/contrast shifts to generate a pleasant result. Then comes the skin and hair work which takes the most amount of time. There are a few techniques for retouching skin, I choose the ‘dogde and burn’ method in Photoshop, which was originally used in film photography to manipulate exposure of a selected area(s) on an exposed print. Dodging decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wishes to be lighter, while burning increases the exposure to areas of the print that should be darker. I use this to lighten unwanted shadows, a blemish mark, brightening up eyes or to enhance shine of lips or to darken a bright spot etc. For this particular image I had to completely replace her left eye from another shot, the original eye was too dark and the shape was unflattering.
TPP: Retouching is so much about staying ahead of current trends and technology. Can you tell us a little bit about how you stay on top of these developments?
AM: I am always in a constant state of absorption. A vast amount of information is presented to me daily from my clients. The camera equipment used for a particular shot, the lighting effects as well as particular color choices are all part of a photographers style. Knowing your client/photographer, their work, and what they expect from you is important in understanding the trends that are being set. As far as technology goes, it is imperative to stay current. I am always reading articles online about emerging products that will aid or change the industry. I try to stay on top o fall the latest camera technology, hardware to software… it can get exhausting when the industry perpetually pumps out new products throughout the year. I also find it imperative that if in fact some new product emerges that we incorporate it onto our practice if I feel it will benefit me or my clients. For example: In the studio we use EIZO screens. Theses screens are the top of their class. They allow consistency with color and give one of the best monitor-to-print matches around. Color calibration and consistency/prepress industry standards are crucial to the retouching industry. With technology such as this we are able to deliver more accurate results to our clients.
TPP: What is your favorite tool in Photoshop and why?
AM: Without a breath of hesitation, my favorite tool in photo shop is known as “curves” which is a color adjustment tool. The reason is simple: I love color. Whether you are looking at a photograph, a work of art, or out your window color is what makes the world around us interesting. Having the curve adjustment tool gives me the option to change the color and intensity of any given image and/or area. Its comparable to giving someone a blank canvas and an infinite amount of color and saying… Have at it! This tool allows me to set the mood of an image by making color moves. I can make the image warm, cool, give it the appearance of being vintage, or poppy and fresh regardless of the images subject matter which I find exciting. Color is everything!
TPP: Any advice for anyone who is interested in becoming a retoucher?
AM: I know so many different people from all walks of life who enter into this industry. In all honesty I believe it is a career choice that most retouchers fall into. For instance I studied graphic design and photography, and for me the transition was predictable. However, I know of some very successful and talented retouchers who have emerged from the hairdressing business, music and modeling industries. To my knowledge there are no decent retouching classes available. If there are, and I am mistaken, I would just like to ask where are all the good retouchers? I mean it is very hard to find a skilled and talented retoucher. Anyone can buy a copy of Photoshop and learn the basics by means of one vehicle or another but there is so much more to retouching than software or hardware. There is a sensibility involved, knowing just how far to push a color, a pixel, or even someone’s nose. Coupling tact with technique is key. The greatest advice I can give to someone is to cultivate your abilities through practice after learning the basics, and to not become to greedy with Photoshop; develop the sense to know when to stop pushing an image and you’re already in the right direction. Have fun with it!
Terrible, shocking news today, with the report that much beloved photographer Tim Hetherington has died while covering the conflict in Libya.
Tim was larger than life, and his war work incredibly resonant. His recent Oscar-nominated film Restrepo made real the perils of war as he was embedded alongside U.S. soldiers in intense combat.
A few years ago he spoke with Sebastian Junger about Restrepo:
Here are a few images from Hetherington’s series Sleeping Soldiers:
RIP, Tim. You were loved and respected by your fellow photographers. We are so sorry.
addendum: watch this.
Read more… (via BJP)
Chris Hondros, at work in Libya – The New York Times’ Lens blog.
In Memoriam: Tim Hetherington – The New Yorker.
‘Restrepo’ director is killed in Libya – The New York Times.
Photographer Tim Hetherington killed in Libya – The Guardian.
A Tribute to Tim Hetherington – The Documentary Blog.
Tim Hetherington: In His Own Words – Human Rights Watch.
Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington – BagNews Notes.
Tim Hetherington, HOST Podcast (October 2010) – Foto8.
Chris Hondros: Life Behind the Lens – MSNBC Video.
Tim Hetherington 1970-2011 – Panos Pictures
Remembering Tim Hetherington – Foreign Policy Passport
1. There’s a lot going on in Philadelphia (Philthy to those who dare) this weekend. My main pick is Soft Smoke Rises in Gay Rings Above the Roof at Bodega. The show features work by Heidi Norton, Carson Fisk-Vittori, Stephen Eichhorn and Ryan Fenchel.
Soft Smoke Rises in Gay Rings Above the Roof
3. NEXT THURSDAY, The Sum of All Colors opens at Sasha Wolf Gallery. The show features work by Jessica Eaton, Matthew gamber and Bill Sullivan.
4. ALSO NEXT THURSDAY AND ALSO IN PHILLY, Breadboard is hooking up with the Virtual Public Art Project (VPAP) to launch a city-wide Augmented Reality (AR) exhibit as part of Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Over 30 virtual art sculptures will be located around the city of Philadelphia and can be viewed via VPAP’s free Layar App for most iPhone and Android smartphone devices. THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!
5. Browse the Brooklyn Academy of Music fundraising auction powered by BiddingForGood and bid on items to help support this cause!! Bidding closes April 10th.
6. Do not miss stunning work from Carlos Reyes, Ben Schumacher, Jo-ey Tang and David J Merritt at the NYU Steinhardt MFA Thesis Exhibition (Part 1). The show closes April 9th.
7. Antenne Books just launched their new and improved website with new titles from Ryan McGinely, Henry Roy and more!
8. The New York Photo Awards, one of the most dynamic and sought-after showcases for emerging photographers from all over the world, is open for submissions! Deadline for submitting photographs and digital images will be April 25, 2011 at midnight.
9. LAST CHANCE! Now until midnight, join 3rd Ward with no commitment necessary and submit your work for our Open Call Early Entry Award.
10. LAST CHANCE!! Lay Flat pledges to donate 50% of all sales from March 11th through March 31st towards the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.
This is the sixth installment in a conversation series initiated by Lucas Blalock with contemporary artists concerning materiality in regards to current photographic practice.
Ruth van Beek is a Dutch artist who works mainly with an archive of found photographs that she manipulates and re-contextualizes in ever changing relationships. The disjunctions in her collage works are often redoubled by the feeling that each piece is somehow part of a greater network. Ruth’s work has been exhibited widely in Europe and the United States and she recently had a solo exhibition, The Great Blue Mountain Range, at Okay Mountain in Austin, TX. I caught up with her on occasion of a two person exhibition (with Philip Miner) currently up at SEASON (a residential gallery opened by Robert Yoder) in Seattle.
LB: I feel in your work a kind of insistence on the subject of the photographs that is often absent from collage / bricolage work. For me, the psychic drama of the work is in trying to reconstitute the object (as in the one above [will be the one attached]) where in most collage the attention is in constructing a picture plane. Is this an attitude that is important to you in making the pieces?
R: Yes, for me it is not so much the technique of collage that interests me, but its the ability to transform existing photographs into the images of my imagination. By cutting and folding, the work not only represents an object, but also becomes an object itself.
Untitled, (orange), 2009
LB: There seems to be some consistency to the content of the photographs you use. Rocks, animals, and furniture come to mind. Do you see this content as particularly important?
R: When I collect these pictures I think a lot about the way the subjects are photographed. This is more important than the subject itself, since I can easily change or cover up the original subject of the photograph. So in this way the content doesn’t really matter.
But then again, I intentionally go for these kinda nondescript, “useful” photographs. It is not as if it is just any image that I can get my hands on. Most of them come from books published to teach people about how to make things: how to decorate your house, how to take care of your plants, how to recognize gemstones, all about hobbies, cats or rabbits and so on. How to do things the right way. So the content of the single image does’t matter to me, but the origins of the photo are important.
LB: For me there is a kind of intimacy in your obscuring. As if by removing or folding together the “faces” of these objects we are left to explore the pictures for other clues. This leads to a kind of weighing and measuring in an attempt to come into terms with the image. Or in other words, it is as if by obscuring the face you have come to reveal the body. Tthis sense of physicality is really pervasive. Does this relate to your idea of an object? And do you see this objectness (the one w/in the photograph) as dependent on the second objectness of the physical thing itself?
R: I like your comparison to the face and the body. I actually try to animate the objects. The work is much about actions related to the object: obscuring, collecting, transforming, but also the guessing or longing brought out by these interventions. They come alive once separated from their original function. When I cover up the object, it is to make the viewer curious about what is behind, but I also give the viewer a clear shape in return. The original object is never to be seen, only to guessed at. This makes the viewer long for what he can’t see, which in these works becomes an impossibility.
LB: It is a strategy that is really successful in the work! When I have seen your work in the past I feel like the obscured content in the photographs has often been similar — leading to feelings of a group or collection, also a museum display. The works in the SEASON exhibition feel more disparate, which makes you focus on them more as a group of pictorial interventions. Is this something you were thinking about?
R: I guess like the collections I have brought together in the past, the images I selected for the SEASON exhibition also try to tell a story. Either case begs a reconstruction of something by its traces. In this case, I do not only hide and transform furniture and objects, but the people in a number of the pictures also become hidden in their homes. The exhibition is actually in a house. I wanted to play with this.
*All images copyright Ruth van Beek
Oh hello there, reader. We have an exciting announcement about a new feature here at TPP: A JOB FEED!
Do you want to be a beekeeper? A painter? A diva? An eccentric shoe designer?* In that case, you’ll want to contact Todd Selby for your photo opp.
But if you want to work with photographers, studios, magazines, ad agencies, post-production companies, printers, or retouching houses, you should stay right here.
Since we have thousands of visitors from the photo industry a month, it seemed like the logical extension to TPP’s growing community to offer industry specific classifieds and, most importantly, an employment search tool that connects talented, experienced job seekers in the industry with the employers that need their skills.
Welcome to the Job Feed; TPP’s photo-job search tool, designed to link people looking for jobs in and around the industry we love with employers in need of their talent, energy and skill.
Search the jobs now, or add a job, if you have an employment opportunity!
And for your perusing pleasure, here are some of Selby’s greatest hits:
Find A JOB !
Have you heard about the Graflex cameras with the Polaroid backs? A fellow by the name of John Minnicks constructs them, and a lot of cool kids have them. The latest is Mark Tucker. Here’s his note to me from a few days back:
I’m doing this side personal project, where I’m documenting offbeat characters in my town of Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve acquired an old 1942 custom made Graflex camera that shoots 4×5 Polaroid, and I’m shooting that, plus some Nikon, plus some video. I scan the Polaroids and then work with them. The lens is from 1941, and it’s amazing, how you never know how it’s going to render a scene.
I’ve only been working on it for a couple of weeks, but here is where I am at this point:
We’re really digging the results, have a look:
ps: the goat picture was actually shot with the NIKON D3X. still, we love it.
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