Category Archives: photo impressionism

Hal Eastman: Photo Impressionist

Vol 6 of Photograph is out and features a great portfolio/article on Hal Eastman. You can buy  a copy at http://craftandvision.com/products/photograph-no-6.

Cover - Photograph Vol 6
Cover – Photograph Vol 6

Eastman’s portfolio focuses on slow shutter ICM images.   They are really quite ethereal; almost painterly. The portfolio alone is worth the $8 magazine price.

Natural Dance- Hal Eastman
Natural Dance- Hal Eastman

The portfolio is drawn from two recent collections. I prefer the “Natural Dance” images over his “Horse Rider” collection. The slow shutter adds to the mystery created by his use of natural locations. Because of the trees they have me thinking of Emily Carr although the subject matter is very different.

Eastman’s website is also worth a look. http://www.haleastman.com/ . He has a great collection called “Natural Rhythms” which is quite inspiring.

Natural Rhythms – Hal Eastman.

And don’t forget about the words. Eastman’s interview offers a glimpse into his process and creative ideology. Definitely worth a look.

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A New Exhibition Asks, What Is a Photograph, Anyway?

20100731-_DSF1497-Edit

Looking back at the pictorialists (the original photo impressionists) it is clear that photography has been about vision since it’s earliest days. But with the advent of straight photography and later mass media photojournalism we began to test photographs against “truth” forgetting that every frame represents a series of choices that allow the truth to be shaped.

I like the question posed by this article and the exhibition and book behind it.

Definitely worth a look.

Bob Crutcher: Photo Impressionist

Legs: One afternoon on Water Street. (ICM) by Bob Crutcher
Legs: One afternoon on Water Street. (ICM) by Bob Crutcher

I have been following Bob Cruthcher on Flicker for a couple of months now and enjoy his use of intentional camera movement (ICM) together with a slow shutter speeds to produce visually compelling images.

One of my goals this year is to feature the work of photographers who are experimenting with impressionistic technique.

I have been following Bob Cruthcher on Flicker for a couple of months now and enjoy his use of intentional camera movement (ICM) together with a slow shutter speeds to produce visually compelling images. Crutcher lives in St. John’s Newfoundland. Looking at his Flickr Photostream St. John’s is visually rich environment.

As one door closes... ICM. One afternoon on Water Street
As one door closes… ICM. One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher

Earlier this year Crutcher told me that “Legs” (the lead image above) was his favourite impressionistic photograph. It is a strong composition with lots of visual interest drawing the eye from left to right. I like the saturated colour and strong sense of motion. The exif data tells a lot about the technique. Shot using a Canon Rebel and a medium telephoto at 1/8th of a second, the camera appears to be moved slightly vertically during the exposure.

One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher
One afternoon on Water Street by Bob Crutcher

Vertical ICM isn’t new. Freeman Patterson, another east coaster, used it effectively in the mid 90’s to create trees with height and weight to rival an Emily Carr. But with a deft hand and a new point of view Crutcher has given the approach fresh look.

I also like the compositional range. Some images are tight crops; looking for the picture in the picture. Others are wide perspective like the one below. Nicely done Bob.

Winter fun by Bob Crutcher
Winter fun by Bob Crutcher

Peace on earth and good will to all…

peace on earth and good will to all
peace on earth and good will to all

Its a busy time of year and easy to forget to pause and reflect on what is good and what matters – best wishes to all and thanks for your support of my photography projects photoimpressionism.ca/ and dagostino.ca/

The image is the Christmas Tree at Toronto City Hall shot in the round meaning about 40 images were captured all around the tree then merged together. The image is part of a series posted on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-impressionism/

It’s All In The Detail

A Photo Impressionistic Treatment of Sunflowers In The Round: Detail 2 by Stephen D'Agostino.
Sunflowers In The Round: Detail 2 by Stephen D’Agostino. This picture was featured on Flickr’s Explore Page on October 7, 2013.

Some thoughts on creative cropping of an “in the round image” from my personal photography blog http://wp.me/p2Cu15-5D

Worth a look: Photographic Punctuation

I follow the blog photographic punctuation because of the strong impressionistic images and thoughtful commentary. Many of the images are taken with an iPhone.

If you wander through the images on the blog you will notice a grittiness and contrastingly a dreaminess. Take this one for example. The low resolution black and white creates drama but in a way that generalizes the subject; drawing the viewer in. The strong composition is not just because of the artist’s adherence to the rule of thirds, but look at the juxtaposition of the background reflection. Nicely done!

Definately worth a look.

Photographic Punctuation

I knew the phone would be passed to me. I knew this once she took the call. She showed me the caller ID as it rang and vibrated in her palm. Hello, she said, her gaze fixed on me. Yes, she said, this is me. She lowered her head and listened intently. Sorry, she said, can you repeat, she said. She turned from me and walked a few steps ahead. I see, she said. Yes, she said. Yes, what? I said. She turned again and raised her head and looked at me, mouthing something. What? I said. With her arm and hand fully extended she passed me the phone. You talk, she said. Hello, I said. 

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Photo Impressionism Is Mainstream:CBC News

It’s an interesting story. But what caught my eye is the use of a strong photo impressionistic image as the lead. A wonderful long exposure photo showing members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing in February 2013.

More and more I see photo impressionistic images in main stream media which is a clear indicator of the genre’s acceptance.

A long exposure photo shows members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing on stage at the Stage opera house in Vienna in February 2013. (Herwig Prammer/Reuters)

A long exposure photo shows members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing on stage at the Stage opera house in Vienna in February 2013. (Herwig Prammer/Reuters)

Ballet dancers brains adapt to cope with dizziness – CBC News – Latest Canada, World, Entertainment and Business News.

Technology Leads Art: Smartphones and the Rise of Photo Impressionism

red rocket

Technology and creative expression are closely linked. So it should come as no surprise that the rise of photo impressionism is closely linked to the success of the iPhone.

I recently explored that relationship in a post on my personal photography site. See http://www.dagostino.ca/technology-leads-art-smartphones-and-the-rise-of-photo-impressionism/

Re-examining the Link Between the Rise of Photography and Impressionism

Photographic art is a reflection of current cultural influences and the technology available to the photographer. Pictorialists, the forerunners of photo impressionism were strongly influenced by the impressionist painters of their day. But did the influence go both ways? Were the Impressionists inspired by photography?  A recent exhibition of early photographs and impressionist paintings at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art suggests they did.

I found the promotional material for the exhibition an interesting read. According to the UMMA’s web site:

“This exhibition advances a new argument for the origins of what was called “the new painting,” namely that a unique convergence of forces—social, artistic, technological, and commercial—along the Normandy coast of France dramatically transformed the course of photography and painting (as well as of the region itself). Within this framework, the invention of the camera and the development of early fine art photography in that particular setting will be seen as the specific catalysts that brought about a new approach to painting.”

Elsewhere the promotional material for the exhibition says:

“”After gazing at Monet’s or Courbet’s work, it’s a short step to grasp how photographers’ quest to “arrest motion” became aesthetically valid and how instantaneity captured their imagination, said McNamara.”

I am not sure that is really what was going on.  These photographers were not trying to arrest motion for its own sake. Like painters of their day they fought against the tools at hand to capture the essence of a their subject; and the technology at hand was limited, cumbersome and expensive. Remember that Eastman did not introduce a practical portable camera until about 1888.

Niagara-ahhinton-1904

It may be true that the photography en plein air challenged painters to do the same but I don’t agree that arresting motion was a factor.  For me the open question is whether the photographers of this period would have moved towards impressionistic images if they had access to better tools?  Was it a coincidence that Pictorialism traces its roots to about the time of the first Kodak?

“’The Lens of Impressionism’ is clearly an exhibition that draws on history, but raises contemporary issues,” said McNamara. “With the Internet and the proliferation of images in our culture, questions arise about originality. These were the same issues facing Impressionist artists working at a time when photography was influencing how they looked at the world.”

I like the ideas being explored here and would have liked to have seen the exhibition. You can read about it at Reexamining Link between Rise of Photography and Impressionism and at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/2009-lens.html. The gallery guide can be seen at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/Normandy_GalleryGuide.pdf

Why I shoot in the round and why photo impressionism? | Stephen D’Agostino Photography Blog

Apple Blossoms In The Round - 3

Some thoughts from my personal photography blog on why shoot photo impressionistic images.

Why I shoot in the round and why photo impressionism? | Stephen D’Agostino Photography Blog.