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Study the Light

So, Mel B (not the Spice Girl) is not only my advisor, but she’s also my photo teacher. She clowned me today by saying in class, “I didn’t even finish Uni, and I’m advising Masters.” Yeah, self-taught Pulitzer Prize-winning photog.

She’s a trip, and  super fantastic at what she does. Her teacher skills are above average. Easily. She’s got the ill New Zealand accent that makes “tools” sound like “tours”. She can curse up a storm, too. These pages are from the book Basics Photography 7 by David Prakel. Purchase a copy of this very good nubie guide, here. On the first day of class Mel went in hard, hitting us up with the mathematics, God. Doubling and halving, doubling and halving. I’ll figure it out.

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To Die For

The trailer for the documentaryWomen Are Heroes,” by French street photog JR is making the rounds again, this time in a version for the English speakers. The exhibit itself is over a year old, and part of his 28 Millimètres project, this time focused on women in conflict zones (whether through war, poverty or simply the system).

January 12 he’s dropping what’s being billed as the movie of the adventure.

The artist, who you learn more about here, does interventions using blown up black and white portraits. For this project he went to Brazil, Cambodia and the squatter’s village called Kibera in Kenya.

This made me think of the tattoo that Tupac had on his chest that read “2.Die.4” under a small Queen Nefertiti image.

This project may not be giving political power to the millions of women who struggle in the world, but like one African woman says in one of the video trailers, people will at least wonder who they are, and that gives them voice. At the end of the day, John and Yoko knew what they were talking about with that song.

 

For more on this documentary and collected clips check out:

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Lisa Breaks Down My Photo Skills

One of the things I’m most grateful to my sister for is the fact I got to see Gordon Parks deliver the commencement at her graduation from F.I.T. He died a couple of years later. Besides being an author, composer and movie director, he was a badass shooter. And the man was self taught.
I’m working on getting my Gordon Parks on, but we’re a long way off. Grainy ISO settings be damned! Plus, I’m still kind of scary when it comes to sticking cameras in people’s grills.

Lisa, the digital associate angel on my shoulder gave me a fair, honest assessment of my first 3 homework assignments. Practice is definitely needed, but I think she would agree I have a little G. Parks in me, however tiny. Below are the photos with her comments. Live and learn, my folks.

“#23 is beautifully exposed….”

That’s right. Shorties at the Fairy Convention didn’t even flinch when I put the lens all up in their public space. Good feeling.

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Busting Flicks in D.F.

Toy Selectah
I first started hearing photos referred to as “flicks” sometime in the mid 1990s. Up to that point, a flick to me was a movie. One of the things a lot of guys and girls in my neighborhood would do is take a flick outside of a club against a spray-painted backdrop, usually a huge dollar sign or something else that signified urban cool. If it was a group of ladies, you would get the sexy pose; a group of guys and you would get the hard-rock pose with one guy kneeling in the front somewhere. Someone probably had a gold grille in the pic, too. The photographer was probably using a Polaroid camera and sold the picture for around $10 bucks. I know my boy Marcus has a ton stashed in a box somewhere.

Coming to the digital camera game late, I decided to bust more flicks myself. In the past year, I’ve upgraded to a Canon G10 and focused my eye on hundreds of things. If anyone peeps my Facebook albums, they know.
Buraka Som Sistema Nov. 2009 Mexico City

I just entered my first photo contest, and didn’t win, but one of my photos beat out a couple dozen others to get printed and displayed in the exhibit for The Space Farm, a media collective based in Mexico City, check them out, here. Then, if you’re in Jersey, go to Space Farms, just for the kitsch-y flavor.

All flicks taken in Mexico City in 2009. They represent the four out of five I submitted that didn’t make the cut (from the top): Toy Selectah, Andrea Echeverri of Aterciopelados and Buraka Som Sistema.