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This Photographer Builds Each of His Sets by Hand

Fine art photographer Nicky Hamilton just completed an impressive photo series titled “The Lonely Man.” Each photo in the project took him an average of 3 months to sketch, build, light, and shoot.

Hamilton, a self-taught photographer and the former Head of Art at the ad agency M&C Saatchi, says that the photos in the series came out of the emotions of his own childhood.

“In the early years my Dad started out as a builder,” Hamilton says. “Things were simple, holidays where plenty and so was the laughter.”

“In the mid 80s my Dad lost his business in a freak incident and had to declare himself bankrupt, post a recent purchase of a dream home he could no longer afford,” he continues. “He turned to crime and crime turned him into a drug addict who would one day call his son and ask me to prevent him from commuting suicide.”

Hamilton wanted to create a photo series infused with his thoughts and emotions, but to do it in a way that slows down the process.

“I came to the realization that the photography world was moving too fast,” the photographer states.

After opening his own studio 4 years ago, Hamilton began to explore the idea of spent extremely long periods of time planning and executing each and every photo.

“I wanted to change the pace, my plan was to work akin to a painter with a canvas, creating the photo and not finding it on location,” says Hamilton.

Mostly working alone, Hamilton first comes up with an idea and turns it into a sketch. The sketch is then turned into a 3D pre-visual, where Hamilton pre-lights and tests color palettes.

He then builds, dresses, and styles his sets. Next, Hamilton lights the scene with continuous lighting and shoots his photos using a medium format Hasselblad camera (sometimes multiple shots are combined into the final photos). Finally, the photographer spends a considerable amount of time retouching and grades the photos.

Here’s a sequence of behind-the-scenes images showing the creation of just one of the photos in the project:

Time-lapse of set build for 'The Stairs' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Here are some more behind-the-scenes videos followed by the finished photos in “The Lonely Man”:

Production still of 'The Shower' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Production still of 'The Loft' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Production still of 'The Bathroom' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Time-lapse of 'The Weekend' 2016 production. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Production still of 'The Waiting' 2014. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Time-lapse of set build for 'The Hotel' 2015. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

Production still of 'The Long Night' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

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Production still of 'The Pub' 2016. #nickyhamilton #thelonelyman

A post shared by Nicky Hamilton (@nickyhamiltonstudio) on

You can follow along with Hamilton’s work through his website and on Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs by Nicky Hamilton and used with permission

Kendall Jenner Shares Her Passion for Photography on The Tonight Show

Fashion model Kendall Jenner was a guest on The Tonight Show this week, and one of the subjects she discussed with host Jimmy Fallon was her love of photography and recent cover photos she shot for Love Magazine. You can watch the 3.5-minute segment above.

As you can see, Jenner also grabs her Contax T-series compact camera (which costs about $600-$700 used on eBay these days) and does a spontaneous photo shoot with Fallon.

Here are Jenner’s recent cover photos for Love Magazine:

Sienna by me. LOVE 17 cover @thelovemagazine

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@joyjah by me. LOVE 17 cover @thelovemagazine

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@miaautumngrace by me. LOVE 17 cover @thelovemagazine

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Jenner has over 74 million followers on Instagram, where she’s one of the most popular users.

(via The Tonight Show via Fstoppers)

Photographer Parodies ‘Chinese Girl’ in Humorous Portrait Series

UK-based photographer Joe Giacomet has published a new set of portraits based on one of the world’s most popular paintings. The photos parody the iconic “Chinese Girl” painting (also referred to as “The Green Lady”), created back in 1952 by Vladimir Tretchikoff.

Here’s the original painting, thought to be the most reproduced print in the world:

“Chinese Girl” by Vladimir Tretchikoff.

Giacomet shot the series for COY! Communications, which wanted images to show off the talents of their resident make-up artist, Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti. Rothstein-Longaretti transformed graphic designer Kate Henderson into the “Chinese Girl” by painting her face and costume.

“Once the make up was complete, there was so much shading that it required very little lighting so I completely simplified it to a mostly top lit set up, with just a touch of key light from one direction and it looked great,” Giacomet says. “We started by bouncing 2 lights into V flats to give the background a nice flat tone, this was bounced back in with a poly on the other side. I then added two lights bounced off the ceiling, which gave us a good general top light.”

“I then added in a Chimera XS Soft box to use as a subtle key light, and finally a large soft box behind camera, quite far back, to take out just a touch of the darkness in the shadows from the top lights,” he continues. “I also added in two ½ stop nets, one above the back of Kate’s head to create a bit more shape to the hair. The other was just under the key light to take a bit off the costume, I felt didn’t need as much light as the face.”

Here are the portraits that resulted from the shoot (in addition to the faithful recreation at the top, titled “East Croydon Girl”):

“Blue with a hint of Red”
“Short Arse”

You can find more of Giacomet’s work on his website.

Credits: Photography by Joe Giacomet. Concept / Art Direction: Mark Denton Esq. Make-up & Costume Painting: Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti. Hair: Anna Longaretti. Costume: Emily Wilson. Stylist: Sabina Piccini. Retouch: Oli Carver. Art Department: The Joy of Sets. CGI Bubble: A Large Evil Corporation. Production: Juan Coello Hollebecq. Design Company: COY! Communications

How to Blend 3 Bracketed Exposures for Greater Dynamic Range

Want to learn how to blend 3 bracketed exposures of the same scene to create a single photo with greater dynamic range? Here’s a great 17-minute video tutorial by travel photographer and educator Jimmy McIntyre on how to do so in Photoshop CC.

“In this example we use 3 exposures because the difference between the brightest exposure (also the base exposure) and the darkest exposure is too much,” McIntyre says. “So we bridge the gap by using a middle exposure.”

His technique is a clean, 100% non-destructive workflow. While he shows how easily the job can be done using his own Photoshop plugin, Raya Pro, McIntyre also demonstrates how you can do the same things using ordinary Photoshop.

Things you’ll learn in the tutorial include precision masking and working with smart objects imported directly from Adobe Camera Raw.

(via Shutter Evolve via Reddit)

Demotix Photographers Still Waiting a Year After Corbis Sold to VCG

After Bill Gates sold Corbis Images to Visual China Group (VCG) back in January 2016, the citizen journalism photo agency Demotix (which Corbis bought in 2012) suddenly went dark. Now, after over a year has passed since the Corbis sale, some Demotix contributors have finally received an email from VCG… with few happy answers.

Back in late January 2016, after the Corbis sale was announced, the Demotix website began redirecting to the Corbis website. A few days later, Demotix Tweeted about the sale of its parent company and said that VCG would communicate with Demotix photographers “as soon as possible”:

As the days, weeks, and months went by, many Demotix photographers became increasingly frustrated about the lack of communication regarding their owed payments and their photo archives.

Finally, earlier this week, Demotix photographers received an email from VCG with an attached PDF containing answers to frequently asked questions.

“With respect to the transition matter of Corbis/Demotix to VCG, in order to help you to understand clearly about your images on the Demotix website and royalties payment etc., we have summarized the attached Q&A to reply to your queries,” Visual China Group writes. Here’s the PDF that was attached:

Regarding photos in the Demotix archive, VCG says that it is “entitled to retain these images and not to delete them, and we also have no obligation to return your images.”

And here’s the answer for people who are asking about unpaid royalties:

As long as we distribute your images and receive any payment from the licensees, we will pay you the royalties in accordance with the Demotix Contract. If you haven’t received our payment notice, that means your images haven’t been licensed, and please do not inquire about it any more.

For the balance in your account, as they were produced before we bought Corbis Images’ licensing businesses (excluding Splash), we are not obligated to make the payment. So please refer to Corbis (presently, known as “Branded Entertainment Network”) for any check or payment of the balance in your account.

It seems that VCG is also having issues with matching photos with the photographers that own them…

In addition, since the sale reports provided by the licensees include only images ID without names of contributors, we are endeavoring to find out whom the images belong to, and it will take some time. However, we will make the payment to you as soon as possible.

At least a few photographers, unhappy with these explanations sent over a year after the sale, took to Twitter to vent:

This is an unfortunate end for the Demotix brand, which grew quickly after being founded in 2009 and at one time had partnered with some of the biggest publications around the Web and world.

These Fujifilm Monochrome Cameras Are $4,800+ Cheaper Than Leica’s

The Leica M Monochrom is special in the Leica lineup due to the fact that it lacks a color filter, which improves image quality and restricts the camera to shooting black and white. If you’d like a monochrome-only camera but don’t want to shell out $7,450 for the latest Leica M Monochrom, there are now converted Fujifilm cameras for a cheaper alternative.

No, Fujifilm hasn’t announced its own line of monochrome cameras. Instead, the cameras are being modified and offered for sale by a third-party company, MaxMax.com, which has been doing camera conversions since 1997 and monochrome conversions since 2009.

MaxMax.com says that after years of hearing customer requests, it has finally decided to convert Fujifilm’s highly regarded X-Trans cameras to monochrome ones by removing the color filter array in them.

Right now there are two converted models being offered for sale: the Fuji X-Pro1-M (a converted X-Pro1) and the Fuji X100S-M (a converted X100S).

“To convert a camera to monochrome, we take the camera apart, remove the sensor, remove the sensor coverglass which is epoxied to the ceramic package then use special equipment to remove about 5 microns from the surface of the sensor removing the microlenses and the Color Filter Array,” company president Dan Llewellyn tells PetaPixel. “This exposes the bare photodiodes so that all the pixels see the same light.”

Llewellyn says that this isn’t an easy conversion to do, and that you’ll basically need access to semiconductor fabrication equipment to try it yourself.

“The Fuji sensors are a particular pain to convert because the epoxy Fuji uses to hold the coverglass on is very strong,” Llewellyn says. “It is difficult to remove the coverglass without damaging the sensor.”

Llewellyn believes that his company’s Fuji “poor man’s Leica” alternatives may actually perform better than the Leica M Monochrom in some regards “because there is more engineering in the Fuji,” he says.

Here are some example monochrome photos captured with the two converted monochrome Fujifilm cameras (you can download their original RAW files here):

If you’re interested in buying one of these cheaper Monochrom alternatives, you can find the Fuji X-Pro1-M for $2,425 and the Fuji X100S-M for $2,600 from the MaxMax.com store. More converted Fujifilm models will also be added to the store later this year.

One of the Best Recipes for Fake Blood Uses Poisonous Kodak Photo-Flo

Need to add some fake blood to your photo shoot? Instead of going the digital route, you can easily whip up some realistic fake blood using recipes developed for Hollywood movies. The 2-minute video above is a quick look at some of the fake blood recipes that were used over the past decades.

One of the most famous fake blood recipes was concocted by legendary Hollywood makeup artist Dick Smith, who worked on movies such as The Godfather and The Exorcist. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to recreate his faux blood:

  • 1 quart white corn syrup
  • 1 level teaspoon methyl paraben
  • 2 ounces Ehlers red food coloring
  • 5 teaspoons Ehlers yellow food coloring
  • 2 ounces Kodak Photo-Flo

You’ll notice that the last ingredient is Kodak Photo-Flo, a darkroom product that decreases water surface tension and helps to minimize water marks and drying streaks on photographic film. Here’s the rub: Photo-Flo is poisonous when consumed…

So, you’ll probably want to avoid using Smith’s famous recipe if there’s any chance of the fake blood getting into your model’s eyes or mouth. To make the fake blood less toxic, there are safer liquids you can use (e.g. creamer) as a substitute for Photo-Flo.

(via Great Big Story via Laughing Squid)

Humor: Marriage Proposals in the Age of Instagram

Comedian John Crist made this humorous 3-minute video poking fun of the “The Millennial Marriage Proposal,” in which a girlfriend being proposed to (played by Megan Batoon) is too focused on the resulting photos and videos to enjoy the moment.

“Because what’s the point of getting engaged if you don’t post it on Instagram?,” Crist says.

(via John Crist via DIYP)