Papier Couture

Meet my wonderful friend Lia, designer, creative art director, photographer, artist, and a bunch of other things that I just can’t keep up. Amazingly she does them all well! Currently she’s the creative director for Ellinee. If you’re into arts and crafts, Lia will also show you tutorials on how to make all sorts of pretty things.

She’s well known for her gowns made out of paper, but currently working on her fabric line. I can’t wait to see what she debuts with. Check out this interview with her on Ellinee’s site.

Artist Spotlight: Alexa Meade

I’ve never seen anything like this before. Incredible! When I came across her work, my jaws pretty much dropped to the floor. Alexa Meade is a D.C. based artist that combines painting, photography and installation to create art that leaves you speechless. “Rather than creating representational paintings on a flat canvas, Alexa Meade creates her representational paintings directly on top of the physical subjects that she is referencing. When photographed, the representational painting and the subject being referenced appear to be one and the same as the 3D space of her painted scenes becomes optically compressed into a 2D plane.”

here’s a pic of Alexa:

via All Rainy Days Aren’t Gray

Rosen Dukov, Master of Photoshop

I’ve known Rosen for quite some time now. I met him about four years ago through one of iStock’s Steel Cage battles. If you don’t know what it is, check it out here. And the rules for the battles, here. Basically, you get a series of images to create “scenes”, whatever is in your head, but you have to keep some of the elements in the same spot.

“Every volley except the first must contain some recognizable visual elements from the the one before it. The Steel Cage is all about taking what your opponent has done and reworking it, both by manipulating the previous elements and introducing new ones. Elements can be moved around and reworked at your discretion, but they must be recognizable. A volley that has no visible carry-over is called a wipe. The judges give low, low scores for wipes.”

Rosen is one of those guys who has great vision and can express himself using the powerful tool, Photoshop. He creates whole scenes from multiple images and most of the time, I’m just amazed! Here’s one of Rosen’s matches.

Later this week, I’ll sit down with Rosen for a little interview. Check back here for the transcript.

Erik Johansson the Retoucher/Photographer/Illusionist

I'm speechless with this one.

I wanted to start off this post with an image because words couldn’t describe the image above when I first saw it. “HOW IN THE HELL?!!!” I have many creative visions in my head, but I only go forward with my ideas if I feel like I can execute it. It’s not the retouching part that I’m concern with, although I probably couldn’t pull this off…it’s the tracking down the right pieces to photograph to composite together the image that’s in your head. I’ve been sitting on a couple of ideas for over a year now trying to find that perfect location. I guess the photographer part in me wanted everything to be as real as possible, but then I see something like this and I wonder if I should just try and composite my image together.

So fluid in his retouching!

Some times it's all about the X's and the O's

Meet this week’s Artist Spotlight, Erik Johansson, the 26 year old talent that’s blazing the industry.

The Artist himself.

Some of the bigger brands he’s worked with are Google, Microsoft and IKEA. Oh, and he also did the big illusion in Stockholm, sponsored by Microsoft. If you don’t know what I’m talking about? Check this:

Holy crap! Imagine riding a bike here, I would freak the heck out!!!

“I’ve always been quite fascinated by perspective illusions and some time ago I got an idea of trying to realize one in a public space. My idea was to put up a photo in an environment and actually trick people that it would have depth. Street illusions aren’t new, but I wanted to try and make it as a photo instead of a mere drawing” – Johansson

Here’s how he did the above illusion! How much ink and paper did it take?

The Interview with Erik Johansson

I got a chance to sit down with Erik to dig a little into his mind. Perhaps he’ll reveal some great secret!

Q-How long have you been a photographer?

E-I’ve been photographing all my life, but professionally for just a few years.

Q-Were you a retoucher before you became a photographer?

E-I learned retouch myself when I was about 15 years old, I thought it was a lot of fun and I experimented a lot. That is how I learned and became good.

Q-Did you go to schooling for this?

E-No, I am all self taught, except from some tutorials on th web.

Q-What did you do before that?

E-I’ve always been very interested in computers and I have been studying computer engineering. But photography felt more fun in the end so that is what I wanted to work with.

Q-Do you do all your all your work or do you collaborate with other artists?

E-Sometimes I help other photographers out with the retouch part. But otherwise I usually prefer to work on my own, I actually think it’s hard to show something that isn’t finished yet, I think that is why I find it hard to work with others. The process til perfection can be quite ugly.

Q-Your stuff is amazing, how do you come up with such magnificent ideas
and how much planning does it take to execute it?

E-Well, I don’t really try to look for ideas, they usually just find me. I get inspired by all things around me and things I see. The planing part is what takes up most of the time, that is very important to produce high quality work.

Q-Would you mind telling us the process and perhaps show us step by step
creation of one of your pieces? I love the fish image, maybe that one?

E-In general:
Simplified the process it’s divided into three different parts. It always starts with a sketch, as simple idea. Not many ideas get realized, but if I think it’s good enough I decide to realize it.

The first part is planning. Once I’ve come up with an idea that I think is good enough to realize I need to find the places I need to shoot to put the photo together. This can take anywhere between a few days to several months. I’ve had some ideas on hold for a few years before I found the perfect spot. This is the most important step as it defines the look and feeling of the photo. This step also includes problem solving, how to make reflections, materials etc. realistic.

The second part is shooting/collecting the photos. I never use stock photography in my personal projects, I always want to be in complete control of my photos and feel like I’ve done everything myself. It limits me in a way that I can’t realize all ideas I have, but limitations are good sometimes to define the work. I usually shoot places close to where my parents or I live.  The light and perspective is extremely important to create a realistic result.

The final part is putting the photos together. This takes anything from a few days to several weeks.  This is actually the easiest step, if I did a good job in the first and second part. This part is like a puzzle, I have all the pieces, I just need to put them together.

The fish took about 6 months to create as it was winter and I had plenty of time to plan where to shoot the different parts, it’s composed of images from about 10 different locations. I’m afraid that I don’t want to show too much from the source images, it takes away a bit of the magic. But I can show you the original fish image at least.

The original fish!

Q-For your pieces of art, do you just use photoshop?

E-Yes, but I would like to learn some more 3d and video softwares

Q-For your personal projects, are you a one man team? Or do you have assistants?

E-I usually work on a tight budget on the personal stuff so it’s often on my own, shooting friends and their friends as models.

Q-Do you use strobes or just available light for your photography?

E-Usually soft light, either available light or sometimes my elinchrom flashes.

Q-I see that you don’t use stock images for your personal work, how do
you find all the missing pieces?

E-That is the big challange and what limits me! I like limitations and I like to feel like I’ve done everything myself in the photo.

Q-I see that people can purchase your art, how much?

E-Reproducion prints are available here:

Q-How much do you charge for commission work, I’m not talking about
commercial work, but let’s say a photographer needed your retouching

E-It depends, contact me if you have a commissioned project and I’m sure we could work it out.

Q-What camera do you shoot with, what lenses? What’s your fave lens?
E-Canon eos 5d mark 2, mostly with the Canon 24-70/2.8L

I’m Not Too Proud to Beg
I begged a little more and finally Erik gave up and decided to give us an inside look at one of his projects. Enjoy!

Let's zip around the city!

Here are the comp images:

Thank you so much Erik for taking the time to share with us! Don’t forget to check out Erik Johansson’s website.

Photographer Spotlight: Eugenio Cuenco

This is my first Photographer Spotlight and fittingly it’s going out to my favorite photographer of all time. Some of you out there might look at my work and admire it, but when you put my work next to Eugenio, it’s night and day. He’s so amazing at what he does. I can sit here and go through every single of his photographs and be mesmerized. Of course it helps to have a big budget, but his lighting is impeccable. I wonder who inspires him? Take a look at his website, you’ll be blown away! I promise.

Amazing End of the World Art by Steve McGhee

In alignment with my post earlier today, here’s a collection of amazing end of the World art by Steve McGhee. McGhee won an award for his works in the 2009 NAPP World Photoshop Competition and in 2010, won the “Best Digital Art of 2010” award in the Annual Design Awards.

Nigel Barker

I’m not sure what it is about him. It could be the accent, dashing good looks, his tall stature…or there’s just simply this Aura about Nigel Barker. The only other person that I’ve felt this energy from is Robert Downey Jr., whom is on my top 5 people I’d love to photograph. 

Most of you will probably recognize him from America’s Next Top Model, if you haven’t then you’ve been living under a rock. He’s a judge and photographer on the show, and is also a very sought after fashion photographer. 

The thing that I love about Nigel is that he’s very giving. Some photographer’s out there you can tell are just going through the motion, and aren’t giving up their time and efforts for altruistic reasons. Nigel often uses his photography to capture and raise awareness to numerous humanitarian organizations, such as the Make a Wish Foundation, Smiley Faces, Right to Play, Edeyo Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDs Foundation, and the Humane Society are a few examples.

Originally interested in medicine, barker became a finalist on a model search that sparked a decade long modeling career. He then fell in love with fashion through modeling and was inspired to become a photographer. He now has been sharing his amazing images with us for around 20 years.

He uses his Celebrity status to bring awareness to many issues and donates his time and talent to many causes. Last year I had the privilege to meet Nigel and attend one of his exhibits entitled Sealed Fate, which features his photographs and a documentary film from his efforts to stop the hunt for baby seals in Canada. The seals are brutally beaten with a club at the price of their fur and it’s completely legal. Protestors are up against a huge fight, not only does Canada allow the hunts but Norway owns 90% of the seal processing plants. Since the seals have never been considered endangered, I’m sure the fatality numbers will only increase. Nigel points out there are enough synthetic furs out there to compliment fashion and the real fur is perfect where it is. The exhibition was as beautiful and equally as horrifying.    

 ”Hopefully people will enjoy the celebration of life, which is what this exhibition is. And of course it’s overshadowed by the sadness of what’s happening.” -Nigel Barker.

I can’t say enough good things about Nigel Barker as a photographer and a human being. I hope to one day be able to be as influential as he is and am able to be very involved with photolanthropy. You can check out Nigel’s photography here.