Industry Trends

National Selfie Day: 3 Fun Facts About Selfies

The selfie has become more than just a contemporary phenomenon: It may go down as one of the defining features of the 21st century. We have phones specially designed for selfies, social media would not be the same without selfies, and even if we claim to hate selfies, we’ve all taken part in them. From the “I woke up like this” no-makeup selfies that make bad hair look so fashionable to “group-fies” with friends and families, the average selfie is a ubiquitous part of daily life.

As you gear up for National Selfie Day, here’s a short history of this cultural trend…

1. The Selfie Was Actually Invented in 1839

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So it’s not that recent a phenomenon after all!

American photographer Robert Cornelius took a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 and even wrote on the back ‘the first light Picture ever taken.’ (Pity, the word selfie wasn’t in use then.)

The trend of taking self-portraits with a camera became gradually more popular in the 20th century. Without the use of zoom lens or selfie sticks, it was a cumbersome process, aided with mirrors, tripods or other props.

When the instant Polaroid cameras arrived, more and more people began to experiment with photography as a hobby and a way of preserving certain life events. The habit even made its way into the movies, such as the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise,” where the two lead characters use a Polaroid camera to take what we now call a ‘selfie’ before embarking on a disastrous road trip.

2. The Word “Selfie” Was Actually Invented By A Drunk Man in 2002

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In Australia, Sept. 13, 2002, in an internet forum there appeared the following post by Nathan Hope:
Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer (sic) and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.

Mr. Hope however denied coining the term, claiming it was a common slang. Over the years, linguists have analyzed this phenomenon and pointed out that it is a typical feature of the Australian language to shorten words and end them with “ie,” citing how “barbeque” and “postman” become “barbie” and “postie” respectively in local usage.

Soon enough there came mobile phones with front-facing cameras, and the world was never the same again.

3. “Selfie” Became The Word Of The Year In 2003

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The Oxford English Dictionary announced “selfie” as the word of the year in November, 2013, sometime after it was first included in the online edition of the dictionary.

Meanwhile, there have been specific apps and filters created for taking and editing the perfect selfie, and the Oscar selfie of 2014 became the most retweeted image ever. Now, selfie sticks may be a thing of the past with the rising popularity of selfie drones.

Whether you think it is fun and empowering or you just feel it promotes narcissism, you cannot ignore the selfie, for it looks like the selfie is here to stay for a long time.

Interested in photography? Learn more at the New York Film Academy.

7 Fashion Blogs Aspiring Photographers Should Follow Now

The internet has created a wonderful subculture for fashionistas, sartorialists, clothes-horses, and dandies of all stripes. Websites like Pinterest allow for people to pin inspiring or cool outfits in an easy to access place so they can look at it whenever the fancy strikes them, and image searches mean there’s a plethora of fashion to be ingested at any time.

However, as an aspiring fashion photographer, your interest in fashion runs even deeper. Which is most likely why you are always on the hunt for inspiration and fashion news, seeking something a little more curated. To aid your research for your next fashion photography shoot, New York Film Academy has rounded up a list of eight fashion blogs worth bookmarking, putting in your rss feed, or following on tumblr:

1. PUT THIS ON

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Started by podcaster extraordinaire Jesse Thorn, PUT THIS ON made its name as a premier place for vintage and American classics. If you’re a man looking to start dressing better or a photographer interested in menswear, PUT THIS ON has guides on everything from thrifting to belts.

2. THE SARTORIALIST

Featuring a deep catalogue of street fashion photos for men and women, The Sartorialist has been an internet fashion mainstay since 2005. Scott Schuman’s blog has also spun off into books featuring international daily style. It’s a great resource for fresh, street-inspired ideas.

3. RUNWAY SASS

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If you’re looking great high concept runway style, Runway Sass is the place for you. Keep up to speed on the fashion world’s runway trends. All of the Fashion Week 2016 posts are in an easy to access link at the top.

4. HANA HALEY

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The first thing you http://hanahaley.tumblr.comnotice when you go to Hana Haley’s tumblr is the pink background. A NYC-based photographer/director in NYC who’s in love with “femininity and 35mm film,” Haley dominates her blog with pastels. Recently featured: a videoed trip to Cancun. It’s a nice way to juxtapose your fashion inspirations with lifestyle imagery and may give you some ideas for your next fashion photography shoot.

5. EFF YEAH INDIGENOUS FASHION

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Steadily updated, this blog is about the beauty of indigenous fashion. As stated by the site’s duo of indigenous founders: “Indigenous artists and designers are still awfully underrepresented in the fashion, art and design business today, and often get passed by in favour of appropriative knock-offs by customers looking for ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ art to wear or use.” Find inspiration in authentically created indigenous fashion.

6. BLACK FASHION

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Black Fashion is what it sounds like: pictures of black men, women, and nonbinary individuals dressed in their best. The blog even has separate sections for black fashion at prom, graduation, and with friends just hanging out.

7. HIPTIPICO

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The tumblr for ethical fashion based out of Guatemala, there’s plenty of photos of beautiful South American landscape and colorful Guatemalan designs.

Want to take your interest in fashion photography to the next level? Apply today for NYFA’s upcoming fashion photography workshops.

 

Names that Changed the Fashion Photography Industry Forever

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When it comes to fashion, all the attention goes to the stunning outfits and gorgeous models who wear them. But without a talented photographer there to capture it all, it’s impossible to convey the allure and excitement of the apparel.

We’ve compiled a list of people who entered the fashion industry with a desire to give us a closer, more passionate look at the beautiful clothing and accessories available. Of all the great fashion photographers that have existed in our time, the following used their creativity and talent to provide images that not only generated sales but also influenced the next generations of photographers.

Helmut Newton (October 31, 1920 — January 23, 2004)

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This award-winning fashion photographer changed Harper’s BAZAAR, Vogue, and other top fashion magazines across the globe. He pushed the envelope with his provocative black and white images that often featured nude models — a bold, controversial style in the early 20th century. Before becoming a photographer in Australia, Newton survived the Holocaust in Germany and was also imprisoned in Singapore for a time.

His greatest achievements include being awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France, the Grosses Bundesverdienstkreuz by Germany, and the Chevalier des Arts, Lettres et Science by Monaco. Newton was also given the Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography in 1999 by Life Magazine.

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004)

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Richard Avedon is considered one of the most iconic fashion photographers ever to grace the industry. Using unconventional techniques and his unique style, he shook things up by photographing models that showed emotion and were in action. For this, his obituary read: “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”

Avedon began as a staff photographer for Harper’s BAZAAR and rose to chief photographer. He eventually moved to Vogue and became the lead photographer, shooting memorable campaign ads for Calvin Klein Jeans and other top brands. Thanks to Avedon, future fashion photographers had the courage to take risks much like he did while working.

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 — October 7, 2009

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An American photographer whose work spanned six decades, Irving Penn is credited with revolutionizing and perhaps inventing what we think of as fashion photography. His 1950 cover of Vogue was the first black-and-white photo featured on the magazine’s cover since the advent of color photography in 1932, and boldly introduced not only a new advent in fashion, but in photographing fashion.

Moving from creating situational contexts to display fashion in the 1940s through stark, high-contrast opulence, surrealism, and focus on fine detail, Penn tirelessly pioneered shifting perspectives and aesthetics in his work. His stark black-and-white photography has attained icon status. Known as a modernist, he was also a great portrait and still live photographer, famous for capturing iconic artists at different times and in different styles as well as experimenting with ethnographic photography around the world.

Deborah Turbeville (July 6, 1932 – October 24, 2013)

If you’re into fashion photography that evokes a darker emotion, you can thank Deborah Turbeville. She is known for providing content that went against the common trends of the early 1970s, when models were always shot in well-lit and unprovocative situations. Her photographs boasted an edgy and mysterious feel that few could match at the time.

Born in Massachusetts, Turbeville got her start as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually she became a photographer who provided work for countless notable publications and fashion advertisements, including Macy’s, Bruno Magli, and Ralph Lauren. Along with her style, Turbeville was also known for avoiding gender stereotypes and choosing models who showed humanity and not just beauty.

Ellen von Unwerth (1954 — Present)

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Ellen Von Unwerth is a fashion photographer and director known for her specialty in erotic femininity. But before shooting her first professional photograph, she served as a fashion model for a decade. Her experience in front of the camera is one of the tools she used to become one of the most prominent fashion photographers today.

After gaining fame for her photographs of German supermodel Claudia Schiffer, she went on to provide work for Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair, and more. Many of her films have received awards, and and she’s also directed music videos for notable stars like Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Duran Duran.

Steven Meisel (June 5, 1954 — Present)

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If there’s one person all aspiring models dream of working with today, it’s Meisel. He’s not only shot every cover of Vogue Italia since 1988 but also has the privilege of photographing Madonna for her ground-breaking 1992 book “Sex.” Meisel has shot campaigns for everything from Calvin Klein and Versace to Valentino and Louis Vuitton.

But more so than his work, Meisel has helped change fashion photography by proving that a photographer has the best eye for spotting the best models in the industry. He has proved this by turning nobodies like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and countless other women into some of the most recognizable models in the world.

Mario Testino (October 30, 1954 — Present)

 

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You can’t become a fashion photographer and get far without knowing the name of Mario Testino. One of the most desired photographers today, Testino has worked for Vogue, V Magazine, Vanity Fair, and other top international fashion magazines. He has created countless images for top brands like Michael Kors, Gucci, Versace, Chanel, and more.

His ability to create unforgettable work is credited to his practice of not seeing models as blank canvases, which is what other photographers prefer. Instead, Testino sees his models as people, allowing him to convey their human beauty. Testino has also helped catapult many models into stardom, including some (like Gisele Bündchen) who no one else wanted to work with.

What other fashion photographers do you look to for inspiration? Let us know in the comments below?

Gorgeous Fashion Photos and What They Teach Us

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In an ad culture dominated by beautiful images — visual representations of products meant to appeal to our desires and imaginations — it’s easy to stop paying attention to individual photos, even if they are sitting on the cover of a magazine, or displayed boldly on a billboard, or hidden in the corner of a Facebook feed. At NYFA, we are training students to create work that breaks through the noise, calms the overstimulated eyeball, and captivates the attentions of onlookers. Our new Fashion Photography workshop will teach students how to create the best images through, in part, the examination of the greatest existing fashion photographs. Here are some of the most elementary steps to creating your own gorgeous image.

Subject: Give your subject icon status.

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What would a discussion of fashion photography be if it did not acknowledge the quintessential image of Audrey Hepburn in her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” getup? Though Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in the film is what ultimately garnered her the most adoration and respect, the succession of promotional images of her in her black gown and pearls, holding a cigarette, gave her some serious star power. She is also known for her uncommon beauty and her expressive, bushy eyebrows.

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In choosing a subject for your image, it is not necessary that the model fit certain requirements, like having poignant features or unique looks, or adhering to traditional American beauty norms. Rather, the perspective of the photograph, and how it portrays the model, should be special. Give your model a cool hairstyle or a striking costume or a relentlessly emotive facial expression. This can be done in many ways and it is truly up to the photographer’s preferences, in combination with stylists, designers, and other artists.

Staging: Be dynamic.

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Whether the image shows many models, a focal point model with supporting models in the background, or a single model alone, the models should be positioned in a way that interacts with the rest of the image and/or the camera. They can fill the frame or they can appear to be far away. Regardless of how the image is composed, it should draw onlookers in. A person passing by the image can be surprised by its unique staging, or confused about the actual narrative of the image, or just visually delighted by the way the image has been put together.

Lighting: Play with contrast and shadow.

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In a fashion photograph, strategic uses of darkness and light are incredibly effective. By its nature, lighting draws attention to what it hits: highlighting it. Beautiful images are taken with a consciousness for the parts that are necessary, or most appealing, to highlight. Lighting can bring emotion to an image. For instance, the use of extreme shadow in Pablo Roversi’s fashion images gives them a certain ethereal quality, one for which the photographer has been recognized time and time again. Also, consider using deep contrast.

Editing: Honesty is beautiful.

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Keep in mind the real issues with fashion photography and image editing. Airbrushing and PhotoShop are criticized for making photographs fake, for positing an unattainable beauty standard that is damaging to the general public. Pose this question to yourself: How can I treat these issues without compromising the artistry of my photo? A beautiful image is often created by a great photographer, not a great editor. Our fashion photography program will teach students to build these skills, to discern what must be concealed and what must be exemplified in the composition of an image. We have already considered how a photo can do this in terms of subject, staging, lighting, and editing.

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What are the fashion images or icons that inspire your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

5 of the Best iPhone Lens Kits (2016 Edition)

iPhone lens kits may seem like an usual topic, but there are some great reasons to pay attention to these accessories.

At the New York Film Academy, our photography programs offer an in-depth investigation and exploration of the artistic and technical skills required to take your photography work to a professional level. Our programs focus on the practical elements of photography and train our students in the proficient use of the most state-of-the-art cameras and techniques in their field.

Yet, it’s very practical to acknowledge that many amateur and professional photographers these days are also using their personal mobile devices to snap pics, whether for personal or experimental use. So why not find creative ways to apply what you’re learning in photography school to every picture you take with the same passionate level of thought and care, even if you’re simply using your iPhone?

While an iPhone camera is no match for a Canon, Nikon HDSLR, or SONY mirrorless camera, we realize that personal iPhone photography is a large part of many of our lives. After all your hard work in photography school, you’re probably longing for ways to bring some of what you’ve learned into every aspect of your life. So we’ve compiled a list of some lens kit ideas to help you bring your photography school mindset to your iPhone photography.

The results of this low-fi solution are consistently surprising, so if you want to experiment with your iPhone photos, scroll on to discover seven iPhone lens kits that represent the best value for money.

1. Camera Lens Kits for iPhone 6 – The Best of the Best

All iPhone lens kits featured below are compatible with the iPhone 6/6s and Plus models, and usually fit on any model of phone. We listed Amazon prices for guide only – NYFA is neither compensated or endorsed by Amazon or any manufacturer featured.

Photojojo Iris Three Lens Set

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RRP: $69.99

Contains: Mount plus wide, fisheye and macro

A sturdy piece of kit with billeted aluminium casing, the Photojojo 3-in-1 lens package is very well thought-out. Simply affix the mount onto the phone (it’ll work with any phone, even with a case) and switch out the lenses as needed – the mount itself converts into a small carry case.

Mpow 3 in 1 Clip-On Kit

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RRP: $13.99
Contains: 180 degree fisheye, 0.67X wide angle, 10x macro

A 3-in-1 lens kit for under $15? You read that right. And not only is it easy on the wallet, it’s also ridiculously good in the quality department too, fitting beautifully close to the iPhone’s camera (and presumably Android models also, though we’ve not tested that).

The image quality is superb thanks to the high-clarity glass and that perfect fit, though the clamp system — while efficient in terms of easy removal — can get in the way a little bit.

If you’re looking for a more discrete solution, it’s time to check out:

Photojojo Magnetic Lens Kit

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RRP: $49
Contains: Fisheye, telephoto, wide/macro

Another excellent product from Photojojo, and it’s a shade cheaper than the Iris set listed above. The difference between the two is that this Cell Lens pack attaches to your phone magnetically (with or without case), and are cleverly designed to not cover your phone’s in-built flash. We’ve not seen a difference in image quality between the two sets during testing — all three lenses offer a remarkable level of fidelity and sharpness.

Downside: while the magnets are strong and won’t damage casing, they will slip or fall off completely if knocked and therefore may not be suitable for rigorous shoots. We also cannot guarantee that the magnets won’t damage other models of phones outside of iPhone/Android (some phones have their own magnets around the camera lens for image stabilization).

Olloclip 4-in-1

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RRP: $79.99
Contains: Clip plus fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x macro

It’s one of the more expensive iPhone lens kits on this page, but it’s also the only one that has won awards. And rightly so.

With each lens weighing in less than an ounce, this is unparalleled image quality combined with a quick on-off action thanks to the clip (and it also covers the front lens, too). Additionally, it comes with three wearable pendants to keep the whole kit easily accessible.

A very elegant, secure design that features some really impressive optics. The only con is that this one is iPhone 6 only.

CamKix Ultimate Kit

RRP: $42.99
Contains: 8x telephoto, fisheye, macro/wide angle, tripod, phone holder, hard case, velvet soft case, cleaning cloth

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more all-encompassing lens kit at a cheaper price. Given the amount of equipment that’s thrown in, the CamKix package offers outrageous value for money (we love that telephoto lens!) but it’s not quickly deployable – you need to affix the hard case before you can add a lens, and you’ll probably want to use the tripod for telephoto stabilization. On the plus side, that does mean it’s compatible with all phone models.

There is no replacing the quality and artistry of images you can create with your Canons, Nikons, or SONYs, but we hope this has given you some ideas for your mobile pics.

Have you found creative ways to apply what you’ve learned in photography school to mobile devices or your personal image making? Let us know in the comments below!

The Value of a Photography Degree

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Interested in enrolling in a photography degree but still not sure if it’s right for you? Allow us to help by explaining several ways that a photography degree help you cross the space between pursuing a successful photography career and having a dream that never comes to fruition.

A Photography Degree Helps You Find Your Specialty

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Just because you’re amazing at shooting fashion models walking down the catwalk doesn’t mean you also have what it takes to capture wildlife out in the world. From stock photographs and wedding pics to focusing on sports or real estate, each photography career path comes with its own skills requirements for success.

At a good photography school you’ll get a taste many types of photography work to help you discover which direction is the best fit. NYFA’s photography programs offer a wide variety of courses, each designed to make you a better photographer and become effective in various areas of the profession. We also have a prestigious faculty of instructors with experience working in multiple photographic genres. Learning from working members of the industry is a powerful way to gain insight as to which specialties and types of work most appeal to you.

A Photography Degree Lets You Immerse Yourself

The average human being has a lot going on in their lives — hobbies, responsibilities, relationships, you name it. It can be difficult focusing on one or more subjects of learning at a time, especially when life is in full swing. We all know someone (maybe yourself) who said they’d master an instrument or software only to drop it after a few days. But when you’re working toward a photography degree, you take the time to immerse. You wrap your head around the craft to the point where you’re living and breathing photography every day. You’re also surrounded by fellow peers with the same passion, along with teachers who want to help you succeed by passing on their tricks and knowledge to you.

Pursuing a photography degree allows you to take the time to specialize, to grow, and to nurture your new skills in a way that is difficult to accomplish without that dedicated study. By graduation, most students can say that photography is a big part of their life … and they plan to keep it that way.

A Photography Degree Shows You Are Committed

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Is it possible to become a great photographer without a degree? Of course. But if there’s one thing companies and clients like seeing from their potential hires, it’s dedication to the craft. In other words, completing a photography degree signals to the world that you’ve spent plenty of time refining your skills and learning the latest technology in order to produce the best work possible. It also shows that you have the discipline, drive, and commitment to finish what you start.

A photography degree demonstrates all this and more. By applying to a job with an MFA or BFA in hand, you are showing that you’ve spent time studying everything there is to know about photography. More importantly, with photography more accessible and popular than ever and with every iPhone owner snapping (often great) pictures left and right, your photography degree sets you apart from the crowd.

A Photography Degree Leaves You With A Portfolio To Showcase

When on the hunt for your next gig, there’s nothing potential hirers like to see more than samples of your previous work. In fact, we’d say it’s very difficult these days to land a photography job without proof that you’ve done it before. It’s one thing to say you can capture the couple’s timeless moment and another to actually demonstrate your skills via past work.

A good photography degree program sees graduates leave with everything they’ll need to get started, including a prepared portfolio with samples of work from various student projects. Many of NYFA’s photography programs even have a Portfolio Development course to help students create and design a portfolio that best showcases their skills and experience.

A Photography Degree Gives You Access To Trained Professionals

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What better way to learn than by studying with experts, receiving instruction from someone who is both experienced and active in the field that you’d like to enter? Whether your dream is to take the most breathtaking fantasy photos on the planet orto become a renowned fashion photographer, there’s somebody out there already doing it who can teach you a thing or two.

At NYFA, our photography courses are taught by instructors with experience in a wide range of photographic disciplines. This allows our students to become familiar with different genres while under the care of people who have actually worked in that area professionally. Thanks to our great faculty, our photography programs prepare students for a number of careers, including: freelance, commercial, fine art, fashion, wedding, sports, photojournalist, nature, and event photography. Along with learning by doing, a photography degree gives you the opportunity to learn from the best.

How has your photography degree shaped your work and expanded your horizons? Let us know in the comments below!

The Power of Nostalgia: Why Shooting with Analog Cameras is Awesome

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There’s no denying the many benefits that come from digital photography. You don’t have to worry about film. You save cash on printing costs. You can immediately see your picture to decide if you like it or if you want to reshoot. Not only that, but digital images are also easier to share with friends and on social media pages — and digital photography is more environmentally friendly!

But just like many music lovers prefer the sound of vinyl over CD, so too do many photographers still find value in using analog cameras. In fact, it is widely recommended that all aspiring professional photographers work with an analog camera at least once in their lifetime.

Below are a few of the numerous reasons why we still love our analog cameras:

Great Colors and Dynamic Range

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Experienced photographers will admit that most digital shooters are merely trying to imitate the vibrant look that only an analog camera can produce. This is because film has an amazing color palette coupled with a dynamic range of detail in both shadows and highlights. Digital cameras also boast a strong dynamic range, but only black-and-white film theoretically has an infinite number of shades of grey.

This means that it’s very difficult to mess up your highlights; even when you over-expose you won’t get that bleach-white effect, and instead still have some shade of grey. If you do get your hands on an analog camera, take a picture with it and then do the same with a digital camera. After comparing the two you’ll see how much smoother and more natural the film image looks compared to the digital image.

With film, your images look amazing right out of the camera and rarely need photo editing tools like Photoshop. But if you do want to spice up your shot, all it takes is a trip to the darkroom. The most common practices are dodging, which decreases the exposure for areas you want to be lighter, and burning, which instead involves increasing the exposure by darkening the image.

They Can Make You a Better Photographer

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When shooting with a digital camera, there’s no consequence for snapping a ton of photos. All you have to do with the bad photos is tap the delete button to never see them again. There aren’t any costs or limits you have to worry about besides digital storage space, which means you can take several shots and hope someone in the family doesn’t have their eyes closed in one of them.

But when you using an analog camera you only have so much film to use, which means you’re forced to be much more selective when taking a shot. Every time you hit the shutter button, you’ve made sure the picture is framed to your liking and that objects and people are in place. You also do your best to get exposure just right to avoid a loss of highlight detail or muddy look.

After using an analog camera or even your average Polaroid camera, you may find yourself taking your digital pictures more carefully. This will also save you time during the editing process since you’ll have far less images to work with. And since your pictures were more planned and carefully taken, all the images you have to work with will be of higher quality.

Film Cameras are Inexpensive and Last Forever

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One of the biggest drawbacks of digital photography is the fact that your camera essentially becomes outdated every year or two. This is because a newer, better camera with more megapixels is always around the corner, ready to produce images with more detail. While it’s great that technology allows us to shoot better digital images, even with our smartphones, it’s not fun having to worry about finding the best deals just to keep up.

Analog cameras are different. Images taken on film are always full-frame and have the same image quality as other cameras, eliminating the need to upgrade. Knowing this, one would expect an analog camera to be very expensive. While this was true 20 or 30 years ago, now it’s pretty easy to find a decent 35mm camera affordably, just to get a taste of the film camera experience.

That being said, using an analog camera does require you to buy and develop film, which costs money. But when you do the math, spending cash on film ends up being less costly than upgrading a digital camera every few years.

Which analog cameras do you absolutely love to use? Let us know in the comments below!

Top Five Fashion Photographers

If you’ve ever watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model, you’ll know that getting a great photo in fashion isn’t just about a model looking pretty with nice clothes on. It’s equally about the keen eye, the artistry, the skill and professionalism of the photographer as it is the muse on the other side of the lens (and of course the talented team behind the whole setup).

Photography isn’t necessarily about capturing reality but rather reinventing what the naked eye can see; reinterpreting beauty and in the case of fashion photographers, to really make style and clothing jump off the page. The photographers on this list all share the common denominator of striving for excellence and continuously succeeding at greatly influencing the fashion world through their lens. Their creativity and vision goes beyond just taking photos that look good, but instead have taken fashion photography to new and critical heights.

Drew Barrymore shot by Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

Born on October 2, 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz is widely considered as America’s top portrait photographer. Her distinct use of bold poses and colors is a well-known trademark and you’re bound to have come across one of her many works with high-profile clients across magazine covers, billboards and books. Beginning her professional career at then start-up Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, she was promoted to chief photographer within 2 years, where she remained for the next 10. One of her many notable covers there—most of which have become collector’s items—was of a naked John Lennon curled around a fully clothed Yoko Ono. This photo was taken just hours before the former Beatle was shot dead.

After having shot a total of 142 covers for Rolling Stone, Leibovitz left the magazine and began working for Vanity Fair in 1983, whilst also regularly working for Vogue from 1998. In addition to her work in magazine editorial however, she has also won many accolades for her work on big-name advertising campaigns such as American Express’ “Membership” campaign in which she won a Clio Award in 1987, as well as being chosen as the official photographer of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

As not only of the greatest female photographers of all time, but also one of the greatest photographers, some memorable shots that exemplify her ability to thrive at the intersection of art and celebrity were of Mick Jagger in an elevator during a tour in 1975, Arnold Schwarzenegger on a white horse in 1988, a very pregnant and naked Demi Moore in 1991, Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2007, and of Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a bathtub full of milk in 1984.

Naomi Campbell photographed by Mario Testino

Mario Testino

His name is one commonly used among industry peers with the utmost respect and admiration. Born in Lima, Peru on October 30, 1954, Testino has been shooting the who’s who of fashion and celebrity for the past 35 years. Renowned for his glamorous shoots, his prolific career shooting for magazine covers include names like Vogue, Vanity Fair, V Magazine, and GQ. In addition, he has also shot an array of fashion campaigns for Gucci, Versace, Burberry, and Calvin Klein, among many others. In 2011, he had an unprecedented six magazine covers at one time for Vogue‘s Autumn issues—the annual high point so critical in the publishing industry that the film about Anna Wintour, his long time colleague and friend was named The September Issue”.

Although he’d experienced a budding career early on, it really exploded after a shoot with Princess Diana for Vanity Fair in 1997. Since then, he’s had quite the relationship with the Royal Family, becoming the official photographer for portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their engagement in 2010 as well as having famously captured the moment Prince Charles hugged his sons after Diana’s death. It’s the glimpses of humanity, beauty and the character in the person, stripped of their public persona or reputation that Testino adores. He shoots models as people—not coat hangers and confesses that he’s not influenced by bland girls, despite many photographers preferring models to be blank canvases. “I don’t like playing with dolls; I like playing with people,” he says. This may explain his obsession with Kate Moss whom he’s shot thousands of times. He was also credited for bringing Gisele Bündchen to stardom as he persisted with shooting her when nobody wanted her.
Chet Baker by Bruce Weber

Bruce Weber

Weber is an American fashion photographer born on March 29, 1946, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who was also nominated for an Academy Award for filmmaking. The preeminent photographer of the 1980s fashion industry still continues to be one of the world’s most influential photographers, having worked for names like Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch (to name a few), as well as publications like Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone. Dedicated to telling the stories of Americans and also a huge lover of dogs, he has also teamed up with Detroit-based manufacturer Shinola—a company that manufactures 100% American goods and also values dogs—in shooting an array of campaigns, with dogs as the centre point. In addition to his impressive repertoire throughout the last 3 decades, he’s also famously known for firing supermodel Cindy Crawford from a Revlon shoot in the ‘90s for being rude to his staff—the only time he’s ever sent a model back.

Only shooting film and not digital, his work has a nostalgic, vintage style that is widely recognised and it’s considered to have introduced a unique and fresh level of artistry to commercial photography. His photograph of Olympic athlete Tom Hintnaus for Calvin Klein in 1982, with nothing but white briefs on, catapulted his career to superstardom. This image, along with many other Calvin Klein ads with scantily-clad models and celebrities (including a young Richard Gere) became Weber’s trademark. His ultra-sexy catalogs for Abercombrie & Fitch during the 90s were so racy that kids were required to show ID before purchasing at stores throughout some malls.

Like the Calvin Klein ads, much of his photographs are in black and white and he rarely uses colour. And unlike many other fashion photographers, Weber has shot a countless amount of men and is credited for helping the careers of many up-and-coming male models.

Kate Mos by Nick Knight

Nick Knight

In complete contrast to Weber, Nick Knight pioneered the digital experience of fashion photography as one of the first and most high profile photographers to use digital film to showcase fashion.

Born in 1958 in London, he graduated with distinction in 1982 from Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design where he studied photography. In 1982, when he was still a student, his first book, Skinheads was the reason behind i-D editor, Terry Jones commissioning him to create a series of 100 portraits for their fifth anniversary issue. And at a time when designer Yohji Yamamoto’s campaigns were breaking new ground during the late 80s, Knight was commissioned by art director Marc Ascoli for 12 successive catalogs.

Editorially, Knight has been widely celebrated for his work with Vogue, Dazed & Confused, W Magazine, and the 2004 edition of the Pirelli Calendar, among others, as well as producing iconic images in campaigns for high-profile clients like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Christian Dior etc. He also made fashion history in 1993 by shooting Linda Evangelista for British Vogue with ring-flash photography, creating a reinterpretation of early 70s hard-edge glamour and marking the end of the grunge-era. This kind of culture of reinterpretation has become Knight’s legacy since, as he uses many digital techniques postproduction to achieve aesthetic perfection. Never having seen photography as a truthful medium, his work is based on the individual’s perceptions of reality. “Photography is all about manipulation, and as it’s evolved, it’s become more manipulative in every way,” he says. As such, his models tend to be treated as compositional elements rather than individuals as he conveys little of their characters.

A long-standing passion towards experimenting with the latest technologies in imagery led Knight to launch his own website, SHOWstudio in 2000. The purpose of the site was to show the entire creative process, from conception to completion in benefiting the artist, the audience, and art itself. Working alongside the world’s most sought-after writers, artists, designers, filmmakers and influential cultural figures, the site creates visionary online content that explores all facets of fashion through interactive image and illustration. When a famous face like Kate Moss’s features on the site, as many as 500,000 users log on in one day.

Sessilee Lopez by Steven Meisel

Steven Meisel

A favourite of American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, Steven Meisel is one of the greats of fashion photography. Having shot every cover of Italian Vogue for the last 20 years and also every Prada campaign since 2004, he dominates the Italian fashion industry.

Born in 1954 in Manhattan and growing up on Long Island, Meisel had a prodigious talent for scripting stories that give cultural resonance; he not only depicts fashion but he also defines it. A very enigmatic and secretive character, he shies away from interviews and appears in public under the guarded line of a hat, dark glasses, and a scarf. As introverted and cautious as he is about himself in the public world, his work is the complete opposite. He loved shooting couture glamour that was over-the-top and also pushing boundaries with sharp social satire. He made stars out of many women who he shot and had a huge contribution to the dislodging of Hollywood celebrities in the ‘80s from their pop-cultural dominance by supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlingon.

Starting off as an illustrator of women at Women’s Wear Daily, and also teaching illustration twice a week at Parsons, The New School for Design, Meisel didn’t think of pursuing photography as a career. He would visit modelling agencies on the weekend where he’d take paparazzi-like photos of models, which is how he met Elite Management booker Oscar Reyes. Admiring Meisel’s illustrations, Reyes asked him to shoot some of his models for their portfolios. Some of the models went to castings for Seventeen magazine and after showing them images from their portfolios, the magazine subsequently contacted Meisel in hopes of working with him. And so began his extraordinary career in photography.

Since then, he’s collaborated with countless publications, designers, and artists. As well as shooting Madonna in 1984 for the album cover of Like a Virgin, and the cover for her single “Bad Girl,” they also worked together in creating their notorious book, Sex in 1992. It was a first of its kind, where such a huge name in pop-culture was so overtly objectifying men. She once told Vogue that Meisel was the first person to introduce her to the idea of reinvention. And in spirit of the satirical undertones in his work, she famously said, “Steven, like me, likes to f*#k with people.” And in the words of Donatella Versace, “with each image, he creates a complete world, one that is at the same time total fantasy and also absolutely true.”

Learn how to become a fashion photographer at the Photography School at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.

Capturing The Brutal Beauty Of Soviet Bus Stops

cover of soviet bus stops

You know you’re in the company of a great artist if they can envision beautiful creations where their peers wouldn’t look twice. This could easily be said of the architects responsible for building a multitude of incredible-looking bus stops in the Soviet Union, and indeed the photographer great enough to capture them.

woman standing by soviet bus stop

Christopher Herwig is the photographer/videographer who travelled over 18,000 miles through fourteen countries of the former Soviet Union to photograph these striking structures. Thirteen years later, his book, Soviet Bus Stops is born.

soviet bus stop

During a 2002 long-distance bike ride beginning in London through to St. Petersburg, the Canadian explorer challenged himself to take one picture every hour in an attempt to exercise not only his cardiovascular health, but also his creativity. This zest for discovery got him noticing some surprisingly designed bus stops on otherwise abandoned stretches of road. During a time where freedom of expression was forcefully regulated, it turns out all designated buildings related to transportation were spared from the scrupulous rule where function superseded aesthetic, and total creative freedom was given to the architects responsible for many captivating and bizarre statues, murals and inventive structures in train stations and bus stops. The results are highly geometric, rupturing the often arid surrounding landscapes with exaggerated angles and bombastic curves. Many of them retained hints of their original vivid colors from being maintained by locals as a nod to the die-hard creatives of a bleak past. One bus stop in Gagra, in the disputed region of Abkhazia (pictured below), rises exquisitely from dull, gray concrete like a wave, forming a shelter made of corrugated layers, each embellished in mosaics.

Mosaic bus stop in Abkhazia

Another in Pitsunda, also in Abkhazia (pictured below), caters to style over function, featuring no seats but flaunting an elaborate wall of mosaics and a fascinating Brutalist cover-structure that resembles rows of shark teeth.

Soviet bus stop in Pitsunda

To fulfil this “obsession” over finding more and more bizarre and oddly beautiful bus stops, Herwig ended up travelling by bike, car, bus, and taxi in his hunt; finding a variety of styles that went from strict Brutalism to exuberant whimsy. His assemblage includes examples from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and the disputed region of Abkhazia.

soviet bus stop

Herwig’s unique collection aims at preserving and sharing these amazing icons and treasures among quotidian surroundings with the rest of the world. After raising over $50,000 (CAD) through a Kickstarter campaign, he did just that and brought the project to life. The deluxe, limited edition book was released in August 2014, and again just last month after selling out the first round. Currently based in Jordan, the thrill-seeking photographer continues to be determined to find beauty and inspiration in all aspects of life.

two soviet bus stops

Eager to go on your own photography adventure? Students enrolled in the degree and conservatory programs at NYFA’s Photography School get to go on a one-week photography expedition as part of their coursework. Learn more by clicking here.

The Best TED Talks About Photography You Must See Right Now

Having been going on a regular basis since 1990, the TED series of conferences have always been a hotbed of inspirational and groundbreaking ideas but it is only in the last decade that they’ve been made available to freely view online.

While the core subject matter of early TED talks have centered around technology and design, we’ve since seen a number of superb talks on wide-ranging topics. Photography is no exception, and if you’re a student at photography school or simply have a deep interest in the medium, there are talks that deserved to be filed under ‘must-watch’.

Between the official TED Talks about photography and the hidden gems hosted at TEDx events around the globe, scroll on as we introduce:

The Best TED Talks About Photography

Nick Veasy: Exposing the Invisible

For 99% of people practicing the craft, photography is all about how best to capture and reproduce what we see in the world around us with our own eyes…

… but what about the stuff we can’t see?

Nick Veasey has set about the unenviably difficult task of doing just that – producing photos using highly technical x-ray equipment and techniques to tease out images that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see. His work is as imaginative as it is varied; from the inner workings of massive objects such as aircraft to the intricate geometry of plant life, the resulting photography (and the methods behind it) is guaranteed to amaze.

David Griffin: How Photography Connects Us

“Let’s just start by looking at some great photographs.”

As so begins one of the most frequently shared TED Talks about photography that has ever been produced, and also the single video which we urge anyone to watch if they’re struggling to understand why photography is so important in the modern age. Incredible photography and deep insight, combined with Griffin’s knack for pulling on the heartstrings and getting to the emotional core of what the art form is all about.

Johnathan Klein: Photos that Changed the World

Every now and then – maybe a decade or so, sometimes more – a single photograph will come along that tangibly changes the way we look at the world.

From the serenely beautiful such as the first ever image of the Earth rising above the moon’s horizon to the harrowing scenes of 9/11 captured on film, Jonathan Klein’s TED talk leads us on a tour of the most iconic and influential photographs ever taken. In his capacity as co-founder of Getty Images, he speaks here with great eloquence on the hows and whys of why these images moved us as a species.

 Paul Nicklen: Tales of Ice-Bound Wonderlands

As photographers, we’re sometimes lucky enough to be sent to exotic locations on interesting assignments. Occasionally, the nature of the photo shoot can be both dangerous and fascinating…

… how about being submerged in subzero waters beneath thick ice, trying to get a shot of an aggressive leopard seal on its own territory?

Nicklen’s TED Talk about photography work as rare as this is precisely as interesting as it sounds. As a polar specialist, he has more than a few great stories to share and does so with great humor. Absolutely essential viewing for budding wildlife and/or nature photographers.

iO Tillett Wright: Fifty Shades of Gay

Part exploratory, part activism, and wholly brilliant – Wright’s photography project, Self Evident Truths,  has to date involved photographing over 8,000 Americans in over 30 cities, and as a collective whole creates a cross section of the LBGTQ spectrum across the country. The NYC writer, actor and photographer uses this project as the center point of her TED talk, around which she candidly shares her own story as well as what Self Evident Truths means for all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation.

Wright’s photography demonstrates the power the medium has to raise social questions and hold a mirror up to ourselves in an effort to promote equality.

James Nachtwey: My Photographs Bear Witness

No list of the best TED Talks about photography would be complete without featuring James Nachtwey’s acceptance speech which he delivered on receiving the 2007 TED prize.

It’s one of the most powerful speeches about photography ever given, and after watching him talk about his journey so far as a war photographer, you’ll no doubt agree that he deserved the standing ovation he rightfully received at the end of the talk.

Know of any more great TED Talks about photography (or a related topic) that we might have missed? Help the community out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below, and let’s get some inspiration flowing!

MINIMIAM: Amazing Food Photography With Miniatures

Every now and then, you come across a photography project that serves to both delight and reinvigorate our own creative efforts. Today, it’s an honor to share the works of Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida – with their kind permission – for the benefit of students of our photography school.

Fun Food Photography With Miniatures

For over a decade, the duo have been conducting a playful photography project that combines the use of miniature figures with enticing culinary treats. Dubbed ‘MINIMIAM’ (a merging of the words minituare and miam, the French for ‘yummy’), Javelle and Ida have struck a fine balance between the best elements of microphotography and food photography.

Along with an expert eye for composition, the resulting shots are incredibly fun:

MINIMIAM food photography

MINIMIAM food photography 2

MINIMIAM food photography 3

MINIMIAM food photography 4

The couple met while studying the craft of photography in Paris, and it probably comes as no surprise that they later went on to work as commercial food photographers.

While all of the shots taken under the MINIMIAM umbrella – which has been running since 2002 – center around miniatures and the ubiquitous food elements, the project has so far been divided into a few different themed categories (namely ‘Fruit and Vegetables’, ‘War’, ‘Sport’, ‘Delicacies’ and ‘Varied’.)

Here are a few selected shots from the ‘War’ subcategory:

MINIMIAM war photography

MINIMIAM war photography 2

MINIMIAM war photography 3

Japanese-born Akiko Ida is a self-confessed food obsessive, having grown up baking and inventing a wide variety of different kinds of bread before photographing them all for a home-made notebook (alongside a journal filled with tiny character sketches.)

Ida has since turned her passion into a globally renowned career, with an extensive biography of over 30 cookbook contributions and numerous international magazine publications.

food photography school

food photography school 2

Hailing from Burgundy in central France, Pierre Javelle started out with a passion for drawing and illustration before turning his artistic eye to the photographic medium.

Along with his wife, Javelle has also seen his work published in a multitude of gastronomic magazines and his still-life work is often used by major corporations.

Amazing food photography

amazing food photography 2

We’d like to thank both Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle once again for kindly giving us permission to republish their photography here. To check out more from the MINIMIAM project and learn more about the photographers, head on over to their official website.

Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Photography

Photography has come a long way since the daguerreotype, transforming into both an artform and a profession over the past century.

Photographers are in high demand these days for commercial, as well as artistic, endeavors. Fortunately, social media makes it easier for photographers to network and learn from one another’s shared experiences from the field; with this in mind, let’s take a whistle stop tour of:

The Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Photography

New York Film Academy
@NYFA 

New York Film Academy’s Photography School offers several degrees, programs, and workshops for those seeking a career in photography. As such, our Twitter stream is a good place to find a daily dose of inspiration as well as links to articles related to photography as both an art and profession.

Travel Photography
@TravelsPhoto

One of photography’s best uses is to document travel around world. Travel Photography post links to stunning travel photographs from all over the world.

500px
@500px

500px is an online community for photographers to share and sell their photographs. The quality of photographs is second-to-none.

PP Magazine
@PPMagazine

Professional Photography Magazine focuses on the business of photography. Follow its account for photography tips, articles, and industry news.

Digital Photo
@DPMagazine

In the past two decades, the technology of photography has transitioned from chemical to digital. Digital Photo Magazine is dedicated to digital photography and technology.

National Geographic
@NatGeo

For over a century, National Geographic has documented earth and its many cultures in its famous magazine. Its photographs are often iconic and demonstrate the power of photography as a way to document the world.

Andy Katz Photo
@AndyKatzPhoto

New York-based Andy Katz has written several photography books, and his work has been displayed in museums, galleries, and album covers. He also represents Sony digital cameras as an “Artisan of Imagery.”

Cristina Mittermeier
@cmittermeier

Cristina Mittermeier is also an Artisan of Imagery for Sony, and she focuses on conservation issues in her photography. She combines travel photography with photojournalism to document the world.

NYT Sports
@NYTSports

An important sub-field of photography is sports photography, which captures the drama of athletics in ways that television cameras cannot capture. NYT Sports is dedicated to sports news in general, but it also tweets sports photos and highlights some of the best of the bunch.

Digital Camera World
@DCamMag

The camera is the photographer’s tool, and Digital Camera World is a source for tips and information about cameras and photography.

That concludes our top 10 Twitter accounts for photography – if you aren’t already following them, you’re missing out. Interested in learning more about the various jobs within the photography industry? Check out our guide to photography jobs to discover more.

Six of the Best Fantasy Photographers

Photoshop opens the doors to so many different creative opportunities. If you can imagine it, you can create it (with the right skill set). Combine your skills in Photoshop with a fantastic makeup artist and costume designer and voila! You have yourself a stunning fantasy image that wouldn’t have been able to exist before the digital age.

While some photographers who dabble in fantasy work create bright, happy images, others go for a darker, more nightmarish look. In fantasy, as in reality, there is both light and dark. Regardless of how the images make viewers feel, it can be hard to deny the fact that all featured fantasy photographers here have an incredible skill set under their belt.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz

Perhaps the most well-known name in contemporary photography, Annie Leibovitz is not known only as a fantasy photographer. However, her uncanny ability to take a model, idea, and location and turn it into something completely different makes her an incredibly talented photographer. She has a series of images titled Disney Dream Portraits, in which she turns well-known celebrities into well-known Disney characters. Russell Brand becomes Captain Hook, Taylor Swift becomes Rapunzel, and Queen Latifah becomes Ursula – among many others. Her use of light and color along with her post-processing techniques work together to create beautiful fantasy images, each with its own mood and story.

Susan Schroder

Susan Schroder

Susan Shroder – while less well-known – is unique in the sense that she often combines illustration and photography into one final work of art. She has a passion for both, and soon realized that if she was creating fantasy work, it was helpful to combine the two. She often uses real models in addition to costumes and makeup that help create the “fantasy” feeling. In post-processing, she’ll often paint on other elements, such as the wings of the young lady in the photograph above.

Stanislav Istratov

Stanislav Istratov

Stanislav Istratov approaches fantasy photography with a more high-fashion approach. While other photographers create the illusion of fantasy through magical landscapes and costumes, Istratov almost completely relies on his use of makeup and accessories. In one photograph, Cleopatra comes to life. In another, a girl looks as though she is turning into a strawberry. And in yet another, it looks as though flowers are growing right out of a girl’s body.

Margarita Kareva

Margarita Kareva

Margarita Kareva, a Russian photographer, is most well-known for her fantasy photographs which portray women as magical creatures. She achieves this fantasy style through the use of both real-life costumes, makeup, and props, combined with post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. By altering the contrast, white balance and lighting, Kareva can instantly turn a normal photograph into a magical one. In one photograph, a lady stands among a bunch of flamingos; in another, a woman stands among a pack of wolves; and in yet another, many butterflies begin to fly off of a woman’s head.

Kirsty Mitchell

Kirsty Mitchell

Kirsty Mitchell wasn’t a photographer throughout her entire life, but she picked up photography as a means of escape from real life when her mother passed away from brain cancer. Since real life was too distressing to deal with, she created alternate worlds and realities with her photography. Because of this, her photographs all have a mystical, fantasy feel to them. Her series of photographs is titled Wonderland, and each photograph is stunningly beautiful. Each photograph tends to stick to one certain color scheme – a White Queen in a monochromatic image, a lady in a violet dress laying in a field of violet colored flowers, and a woman standing amongst yellow-green lilies in a yellow dress. Each photograph has its own mood and story to it, yet they all tie together perfectly.

Sarah Ann Loreth

Sarah Ann Loreth

On Sarah Ann Loreth’s website, she states that she “does not take photographs; she creates them from scenes she pulls from deep within herself”. Each of her images is carefully constructed so that each element fits together perfectly to tell a story.

How do you feel about fantasy photography? Would you prefer to create an alternate reality throughout your photographs, or do you prefer to shoot scenes as they truly are? And how do you feel about excessive photo manipulation? While Adobe Photoshop opens up many doors that were not previously available, it also opens the door to heavily manipulated photographs – which some photographers believe isn’t “true” photography. Regardless of your stance on the matter, it does take some true talent to create these magical photographs.

Abandoned Places to Photograph in New York City

New York City is known for its skyscrapers, its population, and the general hustle and bustle of everyday life there. When you think of New York City, what do you see? Perhaps you see a couple sitting pleasantly on a bench in Central Park, or a businessman rushing down the street while taking a call. Or perhaps it’s the countless number of young millennials trying to find their place in the world. Whatever comes to mind, it probably isn’t the abandoned subways, homes, and hospitals that are hidden in the depths of the city.

While thousands of people go about their everyday life in New York City not giving one thought to the abandoned buildings that lie not too far away, others live for the thrill of jumping through the broken window of an abandoned hospital to find old x-rays lying on the ground, or crawling through old sewers in search of a long forgotten past. These people – known widely as ‘urban explorers’ – are brave, adventurous, and very often photographers.

There’s a quote known widely around the community of urban explorers: “take only photographs, and leave only footprints”. Many of these explorers long to explore these places purely for the beauty and history that surrounds them. While most of these places are off-limits to the general public, these explorers don’t mind risking arrest if it means they’ll come out of it with a great story and even greater photographs.

While the locations of these places may be widely known throughout the urban explorer community, it can be difficult to find exact locations or directions on how to enter online. Since these people aim to preserve these buildings and locations (rather than have them littered with trash and graffiti), they hold these secrets dear to their hearts. If you do manage to find out how to get to one of these locations, be aware that arrest and physical harm (due to unstable buildings and asbestos) may come to you if you enter. That said, let’s start exploring. :)

North Brother Island

Photo by Christopher Payne

Photo by Christopher Payne

An island, you say? Yep, an entire island. And you can see Manhattan from the top of some of its buildings. According to one site, one person found this island while kayaking from New York City to Connecticut. While this may not be the easiest way to find the island, it certainly would add to the adventure. The exact location of this island is in-between Queens and the Bronx, and with a quick search on Google Earth it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

The island initially housed Riverside Hospital, which was used to quarantine smallpox patients. The abandoned island is now filled with old houses and buildings that have been overtaken by nature. Photographer Christopher Payne published a book called North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City in which he displays many photographs of the abandoned island.

Ellis Island Hospital Complex

Photo by Christian Carollo

Photo by Christian Carollo

If you’re looking for something a little less risky, a nonprofit called Save Ellis Island has worked to open up the south-side hospital complex (built in 1909) to visitors in a guided tour. The hospital complex has been closed since 1954, and the tours will allow explorers and photographers to wander the halls and view the mortuary, autopsy room, laundry building and more. This 90 minute tour will allow you to explore parts of the abandoned buildings and give you a history lesson on the hospital complex itself.

Renwick Smallpox Hospital

Photo by Tom Kirsch (Opacity.us)

Photo by Tom Kirsch (Opacity.us)

Located on Roosevelt Island near Manhattan, NY, Renwick Smallpox Hospital originally opened in 1856. The hospital began by having 100 beds, and treated approximately 7,000 smallpox patients each year. About 30 years after the hospital opened its doors, an addition was added and it became a training facility for nurses. When what was once called Blackwell Island became Roosevelt Island in 1973, the hospital was closed and abandoned forever.

Now known as one of NYC’s most haunted landmarks, visitors are able to view Renwick Hospital from a distance, but aren’t allowed to wander around inside. Even so, many visitors to the island report supernatural experiences.

Hart Island

Photo by Tom Kirsch (Opacity.us)

Photo by Tom Kirsch (Opacity.us)

On Hart Island, located near the Bronx, NY, a work house for delinquent young men was erected in 1869. Within the following years, buildings used to treat victims of yellow fever, an insane asylum for women, and a large reformatory complex for boys appeared on the island. Life on Hart Island was not easy, and living situations often consisted of a combination of the homeless, people with mental illnesses, boys in the reformatory complex, people with infections illnesses, and druggies.

Now, Hart Island is prison property and New York City’s largest burial ground. It has been estimated that over 900,000 bodies have been buried on the property, many of them anonymous.

Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Photo by Will Ellis

Photo by Will Ellis

Located near Brooklyn, NY, Kings Park Psychiatric Center was built in 1885 and abandoned in 1996. While the majority of the complex was closed in the late 1900s, there are two buildings on the property that are still in use and continue to treat patients.

The psychiatric center was initially created in the farm colony style, where patients would grow crops and raise livestock – a process that was thought to be therapeutic. At the peak of its life, Kings Park Psychiatric Center was home to over 9,000 residents. Now, the buildings lie in disrepair; old hospital beds, books and other remnants still litter the floors.

Dundas Castle

Photo by Will Ellis

Photo by Will Ellis

If you’re itching to get out of the city, Dundas Castle may be the perfect place for you to travel. Located in Roscoe, New York, this beautiful castle looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. What’s odd about this castle is that no one ever really lived in it. It began to be constructed in 1907 by a wealthy New Yorker, and rumor has it that he built it for his wife who suffered from a mental illness. However, he died before construction of the castle was completed, and instead of moving into the castle once it was complete, his wife was admitted to a sanatorium.

The castle is located in a very small town, and the tops of the towers can be seen from some of the roads. The inside is a beautiful mix of arched doorways and pastel colors.

What do you think? Would you explore any of these places? ALL photography degree programs at the New York Film Academy include an exciting one-week photography exploration of an exciting locale.

Beauty in the Abandoned: Abandoned Places Photography

There’s something chilling, yet captivating about abandoned places. While some people try their best to avoid ever coming near an abandoned building, many others are drawn to them like moths to a flame. Why is this? Why would someone want to wander around a dark, dank, musty old building just to take some photographs? While some see decay, others see years and years of history and beauty, even in the most unlikely places. Regardless of what side you lean towards, it is hard to deny the fact that these brave photographers capture beauty in the remains.

Many of these photographers are very brave, and are not afraid of taking risks (or getting arrested). While some houses sit abandoned with no one to watch them, many other larger complexes often have high security. Whether guarded or not, entering these buildings is risky in itself, with floors that could give way at any moment, broken glass, and air filled with asbestos. It truly takes a certain kind of person to be an urban explorer, and those who double in abandoned places photography bring to light a part of the world that many of us will never see.

Kevin Bauman

Kevin Bauman Photography

Kevin Bauman’s 100 Abandoned Houses project is a typology of forgotten homes. These are homes that many people drive by every single day without a second glance. Bauman, on the other hand, finds beauty in them. Each photograph is cropped square, and the abandoned house usually stands right in the center of the composition. Bauman was inspired by the decay of many homes in Detroit (which happens to be his hometown). While parts of Detroit began to be rebuilt, other parts became even more neglected. Bauman’s series is a study of decay, but is also used to forever preserve the memories of many of these houses, some of which have been torn down during redevelopment.

Niki Feijen

Niki Feijen Photography

Niki Feijen, a Dutch photographer, takes stunningly beautiful photographs of old abandoned farmhouses across western Europe. Often trespassing, and disregarding “no trespassing” signs, Feijen finds homes that are still filled with remnants of those who have lived there in the past. One photograph shows an old dirty bed, with walls covered in peeling paint and an old blazer still hung on a decaying dresser. Another shows a beautiful living room, a clock still on the mantel and shoes placed next to a reading chair. In another, a piano still sits, left untouched, and another still shows an old doll sitting on a leather chair. While many houses have been torn down or heavily graffitied, Feijen manages to find those off the beaten path that have been untouched, allowing him to gain glimpses of the lives of people who once lived there.

Henk van Rensbergen

Henk van Rensbergen

While Henk van Rensbergen, a Belgium photographer, loves taking photographs of abandoned places, his main source of income is his job as an airline pilot. Because of this job that takes him to many different countries, he has had a chance to explore abandoned buildings all over the world. While others on this list have chosen to stick to abandoned houses, Henk van Rensbergen doesn’t restrict himself to one type of abandoned place. He has photographed everything from abandoned amusement parts to abandoned hair salons, always searching for another building in decay.

Dan Marbaix

Dan Marbaix

Dan Marbaix is one risky photographer. Although he has presumably been arrested over 20 times for trespassing in abandoned buildings, even that can’t keep him from exploring these decaying ruins. From libraries still filled to the brim with old books, to large, exquisite theaters, viewers instantly realize what draws Marbaix to all of these locations.

Andre Govia

Andre Govia Photography

Andre Govia has explored more than 800 abandoned buildings during his career as a photographer and urban explorer. While he prefers larger buildings, such as schools, hospitals, and manors, he doesn’t restrict himself from exploring anything abandoned that he stumbles upon. In one photograph, three doll heads sit on an old, dusty table. In another, old shelves are covered in old, dusty bottles, filled with unknown liquids. Rooms are filled with beautiful rugs and extravagant chandeliers, and dressers still stand with alarm clocks and ceramics on them. Old cars are covered in moss, and empty auditoriums lay bare and silent. While the experience is risky, the results are beautiful.

Tom Kirsch

Tom Kirsch Photography

Tom Kirsch, owner of the urban exploration website opacity.us, has been to more abandoned places than anyone else I have ever heard of. His website is filled with photographs of abandoned hospitals, insane asylums, coal breakers, and power plants (as well as many others), and his locations range from Belgium to Germany to all over the United States. Each photo album is accompanied with a story, sometimes a hilarious recap of trying to dodge security, sometimes a bit of history of the place itself.

How do you feel about exploring these old, decaying buildings? Would you take the risk and explore them yourself, or would you rather leave it to the professionals? This is just one of the many topics for discussion you can expect to have while attending a photography workshop at the New York Film Academy.

Family Photography

“The family” is a fairly broad concept for a body of work. Is it your own family, is it a created family, is it a family you know well, one you don’t know at all? One common thread throughout most bodies of work that involve a family is that they all show moments that those who are not a direct part of the family (or a very close friend) would never see. Intimate moments of everyday life that most people find uninteresting, yet are some of the most interesting aspects of the way that people interact with each other. And in most series of photographs regarding family, viewers can see that the “perfect” family doesn’t really exist.

Whether the photographer was photographing his or her own family, an outside family, or a created family, each series of photographs tells a story that would otherwise not be seen. As humans, we are curious creatures. And as people who all have a “family” – whatever that word means to you – it’s interesting to see (through the photographer’s voyeuristic lens) how others interact with those that they are forced to spend time with.

While many photographers have created bodies of work based on family photography in the past, there are a lot of interesting modern photographers who have taken their own spin on this subject and created a wide variety of work.

Fred Heuning

Fred Heuning, a photographer based in Berlin, created a series of photographs for a book called Drei – meaning ‘three’ in German – in which he documents the relationship between his wife and his son. Heuning never stages his photographs, which makes every single image feel raw and truthful. He simply documents the everyday happenings of his family life, moments that seem insignificant but that he doesn’t want to rid himself of. Mother and child in the bath, mother and child nude outdoors playing with a hose, a floor covered in spilt milk, and mother sleeping while the child lies awake under the couch. These are the everyday, mundane moments that are beautiful through the eyes of the photographer.

Fred Heuning

Motoyuki Daifu

Motoyuki Daifu, based in Yokohama, was tired of seeing the cookie-cutter images of everyone’s families on social media, and wanted to create a body of work that counteracted the picture-perfect moments that everyone worked so hard to create. He chose to photograph his own family’s home, creating images that are completely opposite of those that you’d normally share with the public. This body of work is called Project Family, and showcases photographs of his family members sitting at a table littered with trash and old food, family members laying around in a messy room, and a sink filled to the brim with dirty dishes.

Motoyuki Daifu

Christian Wilbur

Christian Wilbur, based in Long Island, created a beautiful series of photographs entitled With or Without You, in which he explores the affects of his brother’s handicap on both himself and his immediate family. The series of photographs captures the transition of his brother from his home to a care facility, and the sense of loss in each photograph is almost tangible. From a photograph of a hole in the wall created by a doorknob to a mother solemnly looking away from the lens of the camera, this series of photographs truly makes the viewer feel as though they are grieving with the family.

Christian Wilbur

Anay Mann

Anay Mann, based in New Delhi, has also created a series of photographs that revolve around the daily life of his wife and his son. While the subject matter is similar to that of Fred Heuning’s, the photographs give off a completely different emotion. While Heuning’s series was almost romanticizing the little moments between mother and son, Mann’s series – entitled About Neetika – shows the exhaustion that comes from having a young child. In one photograph, his wife cleans a glass door while looking exhausted, eyes focused on a point beyond the photographer. In another, his wife strings up towels on a clothesline while his soon looks through the window at her. Anay Mann shows a family life that is not always easy, yet you can tell that the photographer truly cares about the subjects he is photographing.

Anay Mann

Doug Adesko

Photographer Doug Adesko, based in Brooklyn, has worked for over ten years on a series of photographs he calls Family Meal, in which he documents families eating together at the same table. While the photographs don’t seem as though they have any sort of meaning at first glance, if you look at them longer you can see the subtleties that make up the family dynamic. Adults talk to each other while children look bored off into the distance, families don’t look or talk to each other at all, and some children require more attention than others. Through this series of photographs, you get a glimpse into the many different family dynamics that exist.

Doug Adesko

If you were to create a series of photographs revolving around “the family”, what would the subject matter be? Would you try to show a family that seemed to be getting along easy, or would you dig deeper into the problems that they share? Would you document families related by blood, or those that are chosen? While it may seem like the subject of “the family” has been overdone, there are an almost unlimited amount of subjects that can be covered within that broad range.

This topic is just one of many you can expect to explore when taking a photography course at the New York Film Academy.

7 Female Photographers You Really Need To Know

When you think of the most famous photographers of all time, who comes to mind? Often names such as Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, and William Eggleston come to mind first. What about all of the notable female photographers? Dorothea Lange, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Cindy Sherman are all famous photographers who are well-praised for their affect on the photographic industry, as well as the more recent Annie Leibovitz and Rineke Dijkstra. While the lists of “masters” commonly name all of the notable male photographers, there are plenty of female photographers who have and will continue to take the photographic industry by storm. With female equality becoming more and more apparent each and every day (at least here in the United States), it’s important to bring light to those female photographers who don’t get enough exposure in the art world.

Diane Arbus

Born in 1923, Diane Arbus is famous for her sometimes controversial black and white portraits of people living on the fringes of society. She liked to photograph unconventional subjects, such as drag queens, twins, clowns, and – most notably – a little boy holding a hand grenade. Most of her work was taken on a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera, and some was taken on a twin-lens reflex Mamiya camera. The square crop is seen in the majority of her work.

Diane Arbus

Julia Margaret Cameron

Born in 1815, Julia Margaret Cameron became a photographer very late in her life – at age 48 – and her photographic career only lasted 11 years. Even so, her work is widely praised in the photographic world, and her dreamy, soft portraits were inspiration for many female photographers to follow. Her subjects were all humans, and her work is characterized by a soft-focus and close crop. Since she was working in the 1800s, each of her subjects had to sit very still as she laboriously completed the photographic wet-plate process.

Julia Margaret Cameron

Dorothea Lange

Born in 1895, Dorothea Lange was both a documentary photographer and photojournalist, working mostly during the Depression-era for the Farm Security Administration. Her work is a collection of beautiful black and white images that illustrate the life of farm workers and their families in the Western United States. If you’ve ever taken a photography class (or, perhaps, even if you haven’t), chances are you have seen the photograph taken by Dorothea Lange below. “Migrant Mother” is her most well-known photograph, although she took many other influential images throughout the course of her career. “Migrant Mother” shows a starving mother and her two sons, who were all very willing to have their photograph taken. Because of this photograph, the government provided aid to the starving people in the camp.

Dorothea Lange

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark was both in 1940, and is well-known for her portrait photography, advertising photography, and photojournalism. Each of her photographs are stunning in and of themselves, and each separate image tells its own story. She shoots many of her photographs with a 20×24 Polaroid camera, which produces exceptionally detailed, large-scale photographs. Since she doesn’t have the chance to post-process her images, each shot has to be perfect as soon as the shutter is clicked. This in itself speaks volumes about her ability to perfectly capture a scene and use lighting to her advantage. Being a very versatile photographer, she has photographed both famous people and ordinary people who would otherwise not get their story out to the world.

Mary Ellen Mark

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, born in 1952, is a photographer most well-known for her conceptual portraits, most notably her Untitled Film Stills series. Instead of only being a female photographer, she uses this identity to question the representation of women in the media, society, and art through her photographs. In her series Untitled Film Stills, she takes a series of self-portraits that portray her as a variety of different actresses in a variety of different imaginary films. Throughout her work, she challenges traditional stereotypes of women.

Cindy Sherman

Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra was born in the Netherlands in 1959. The majority of her work is characterized by single portraits that make up a whole. As in her Beach Portraits series, she sets people up in the same location and photographs them in similar positions. This way, the only aspects of her photographs that differ series to series are the humans themselves. She has also taken photographs of Israeli soldiers, portraits of people in a park, bullfighters, and mothers. Her subjects are often seen facing the camera directly while standing, and the background tends to be free of any distractions. This straight-on, simplistic style makes her photographs easy to identify.

Rineke Dijkstra
Rineke Dijkstra

Annie Leibovitz

Born in 1949, Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous female photographers still alive today. She began her photographic career by working for Rolling Stone shortly after it launched, and in the ten years she worked for Rolling Stone she photographed many different celebrities. One of the most famous photographs she took during this period of time was of John Lennon and Yoko Ono – a photograph that most of you will probably recognize. After her work at Rolling Stone ended, she continued to take assignments that required her to photograph a large number of famous celebrities. She takes especially stunning portraits, and many of her more recent photographs have a sense of fantasy and created worlds to them.

Annie Leibovitz

Who are your favorite female photographers? And if you are a female, do you feel as though you’re less represented in the art world than your male counterparts?

Black & White Photography

Black and white photography is something that will never go out of style. While the bright colors of contemporary photographs are eye-catching and visually appealing, there’s something about looking at a black and white photograph that really allows you to feel connected to the image. Perhaps it has something to do with the distinct lack of color; without having an array of bright colors to focus on, viewers are forced to look deeper into a photograph – into the expression of the subject’s face, into the lines and shapes that make up the subject, into the distinct differences between light and shadow. There are plenty of aspects of photographs that go unnoticed when looking at a photograph in color. By reducing it to its black and white state, more is observed.

While all early photographers were forced to shoot in black and white before color film was invented, there are some that were more influential than others. And in a day and age where color photography is everywhere you look, there are still modern-day photographers who appreciate the beauty of a simple black and white photograph and choose to continue its use. Some modern-day photographers are even still photographing with black and white film!

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

Perhaps one of the most – if not the most – well-known black and white photographers of all time, Ansel Adams is widely known for his large, beautiful, black and white landscapes taken between the 1920s and the 1960s. By choosing to photograph with a large-format camera, Ansel Adams ensured that no detail was left unnoticed. The sharpness, clarity, and perfect tonal range of each of his images show the painstaking measures that were taken in the darkroom to create such beautiful images.

Robert Frank

Robert Frank

Robert Frank, a black and white photographer born in Zurich in 1924, immigrated to America in 1947. He began his work as a photographer shortly before moving to America, and once there was fascinated with the American culture. Traveling across America for two years, he took almost 30,000 photographs. After narrowing this collection down to under 100 images, his famous book The Americans came to be. This work documenting American culture is interesting because it comes from the eyes of an outsider. Since Robert Frank was not an American himself, he chose to document the aspects of America that he found quirky or unusual – aspects that many Americans of that time wouldn’t have thought twice about.

Sally Mann

Sally Mann

Sally Mann, while controversial, is an incredibly talented photographer. She is most well known for her photographs of her children, controversial because she often photographs them naked, running around the yard in which they grew up. While many will say that these photographs are beautiful portrayals of children in their natural state, many others have accused her of child pornography. She has a photograph of one of her daughters, topless, wearing a pearl necklace and earrings that has caused quite a stir within the photographic community. This photograph blurs the line between the innocent and not so innocent within child photography. Whether you believe her photographs are beautiful works of art or not, it’s hard to deny that her tonal range is always perfectly spot on.

Joel Peter Witkin

Joel Peter Witkin

Not for the faint of heart, Joel Peter Witkin creates work that is controversial in a whole different way. Take one look at his work and you’ll see what appear to be dead bodies. The photograph above, in which two heads of an old man appear to be kissing each other, is actually the real head of one man, cut directly down the middle and positioned this way. Apologies for those who are squeamish. While his work deals with disturbing subjects such as death and decay, and oddities such as hermaphrodites and dwarves, his use of traditional black and white photography is beautiful, if not shocking. He often uses techniques such as toning his prints by hand or scratching the negative or print to create different effects.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon can be mentioned in regards to many different types of photographythe use of the white background, traditional fashion photography – but overall he is most well known for his exceptional use of black and white. His large-scale portraits are famous due to his attention to detail and ability to bring out an emotion in his subjects that most cannot. The large size and lack of color allow viewers to really gaze into the soul of each and every subject, and see emotions that most photographs these days do not contain.

Have you guys ever experimented with black and white film in the dark room? What about converting digital images to black and white? It can be easy to get wrapped up in the beauty of color images, but it can be interesting to see how the same image changes in mood and meaning by simply removing its color.

The Polaroid

With companies like Fuji Film making the instant image popular again, it’s no surprise that more and more photographers are turning to this type of photography. Those who are especially dedicated to the medium can still get original, working Polaroid film cameras and continue to purchase Polaroid film. With the instant camera becoming increasingly popular in today’s society (seen by many applications and Photoshop actions that can instantly transform any traditional photograph into one that looks as though it is surrounded by a Polaroid-style frame), it’s important to remember where this type of image came from initially. Many famous photographers and artists used the Polaroid as a source of artistic inspiration and expression, from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol to the more recent Dash Snow.

Ansel Adams

Photo by Ansel Adams

While Ansel Adams is most famously known for his stunning, large-format landscape images, Adams also used the Polaroid SX-70 to create equally stunning (albeit smaller-scale) landscapes. A book of photography by Ansel Adams called Polaroid Land Photography showcases a handful of beautiful Polaroid images that he took during his career. While he typically preferred shooting large-format images, Ansel Adams believed that Polaroids produced tones that were not possible to recreate through other formats.

Andy Warhol

Photography by Andy Warhol
Photo by Andy Warhol

We all know and love (or hate) Andy Warhol for his Pop Art paintings, namely the Campbell’s Soup can and Marilyn Monroe. A bit lesser known is a collection of Polaroid portraits taken by Andy Warhol throughout his career as an artist. While most of these Polaroid images served as a source of inspiration for his painted works, the photographs themselves are a work of art. He photographed famous people such as Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, and Georgia Armani, among many others.

David Hockney

Photo by David Hockney

David Hockney is famous for his ongoing series of photographs that are one big image made up of many, many smaller images. Many of his larger images are made up of a collection of smaller Polaroid photographs, which he connects together to create one cohesive scene. His images made through traditional photographic processes overlap each other to create the final image, while his Polaroid images are simply a collection of squares all lined up together to create the final photograph. His work is often compared to Cubism, due to the varying focal lengths and perspectives with which he photographs the individual images.

Walker Evans

Photo by Walker Evans
Photo by Walker Evans

As was the case with Ansel Adams, a book of Polaroids by Walker Evans also exists. He too used the Polaroid SX-70 camera to take Polaroids of his desired subjects, although he typically chose to photograph signs and people rather than landscapes. He didn’t pick up a Polaroid camera until much later in his life, and he believed that “nobody should touch a Polaroid until he’s over sixty”.

André Kertész

Photo by André Kertész

André Kertész began to photograph with a Polaroid SX-70 camera to console himself after the death of his wife. The resulting photographs are beautiful, colorful compositions of the world around him. One of his most famous Polaroid images is a portrait-esque image of two glass figures which became a tribute to his marriage. Beyond these two glass figures, he photographed many other small objects in front of his window.

Robert Mapplethorpe

Photo by Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe is a well-known photographer, most often associated with his slightly homo-erotic images of himself as well as other men. This subject is seen through his Polaroids, as well as portraits of friends and lovers, figure studies and still lifes. He shot primarily on a Polaroid camera between the years of 1970-1975. Ranging from vulnerable and intimate to tough and violent, these images are not soon forgotten.

Dash Snow

Photo by Dash Snow

Dash Snow began his career as an artist in New York by tagging almost anything he could find. Well known as a graffiti artist, he later became good friends with both photographer Ryan McGinley and artist Dan Colen. Ryan McGinley took him under his wing, and soon Snow was taking Polaroids of the grittier parts of his life, from explicit sex scenes to people doing drugs to drunken escapades. Snow was always living on the edge, a trait that led to his untimely death by heroin overdose in 2009.

Helmut Newton

Photo by Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton was a famous fashion photographer who worked for French Vogue, and often shot high-contrast, controversial portraits of women. Newton used Polaroid film to test his shots before shooting on a film camera, which was the traditional way to test a shot before digital LCD screens were common. His Polaroid test shots are just as striking as the rest of his images, so much that an entire book of them has been published, Helmut Newton: Polaroids.

David Levinthal

Photo by David Levinthal

David Levinthal’s work primarily focuses on small figurines in real-life scenarios. He was given small toy figures as a child, and his make-believe play as a child paved the way for his photographic work in the future. From figurines of baseball players to nude figurines of women, he uses large-format Polaroids to create beautiful, large images with a close focus and shallow depth of field. These images blur the line between reality and make-believe.

Have you experimented with instant film? While Polaroid film is getting increasingly more expensive these days, other companies are jumping on the bandwagon and creating more budget-friendly alternatives that still give you the joy of instantly printing a photograph. If all else fails, you can just slap a Polaroid filter on it.

Double Exposure Photography

Old Spirit Photography

Old Spirit Photography

Double exposure photography has come a long way over the years. What began as “spirit photography” is now extremely commonplace. Back in the age when digital cameras were not yet a thought, double exposure photography was either done in camera (with no way to rely on post-processing), or in the darkroom. Regardless of which method the photographer relied on, it was much more difficult to create a beautiful double exposed image before the days of digital photography.

Learn more about double exposure photography by taking a digital photography workshop at the New York Film Academy today! Workshops are held in New York, Los Angeles & South Beach.

Nowadays, some higher end digital cameras can create beautiful double exposures right in the camera, with an LCD screen that shows you the result as soon as you take it. There’s no guesswork and no laboring away in the darkroom. If you aren’t lucky enough to own one of the cameras that can do it for you, Adobe Photoshop makes it extremely easy to layer images on top of each other with a couple clicks of the mouse. From Gjon Mili and Duane Michals in the age of film to newer photographers such as Freeman Patterson and Tamara Lichtenstein, the use of multiple exposures doesn’t seem to be going out of fashion anytime soon.

Gjon Mili

Photo by Gjon Mili

Photo by Gjon Mili

An Albanian photographer known for his years of contribution to Life magazine, Gjon Mili is most well-known for his photographs that illustrate human movement through the use of external flashes. He was one of the first photographers to use stroboscopic photography – the use of a specially timed external light source to capture a sequence of motion. Many of his photographs have an eerie quality to them, one that seemingly could only be created through the use of multiple exposures. Gjon Mili is unique in the sense that although he didn’t use multiple exposures to create his images, he was the inspiration for many photographers who became interested in double exposure photography after him.

Duane Michals

Photo by Duane Michals

Photo by Duane Michals

Duane Michals is an American born photographer who uses the technique of double exposure to create images that are dreamlike, whimsical, and a little eerie at times. His fascination with the dream state also extends into his fascination with creating and preserving memories, a theme that is seen in one of his well-known books, Sequences. In this book, his photographs and double exposed images are coupled with hand-written text that reveal more about his life and what the images mean to him.

Philippe Halsman

Photo by Philippe Halsman

Photo by Philippe Halsman

It is very likely that you have come across the famous surreal portrait of Salvador Dali jumping in the air while water flows across the composition and cats seem to be suspended in mid-air. This portrait was due to the artistic mind of Philippe Halsmann, of which Dali was a favorite subject. In collaboration with Dali, Halsmann created an entire book entitled Dali’s Mustache, in which he cuts up negatives, enlarges portions of images, and uses double exposure to create unusual portraits of the surrealist artist.

Freeman Patterson

Photo by Freeman Patterson

Photo by Freeman Patterson

Freeman Patterson takes an interesting, unique approach to double exposure photography, straying away from the eerie and surrealist qualities of the technique and instead using it to create photographs that look like Impressionist paintings. Impressionism is a style of painting that originated in the 19th century, and was used to attempt to capture the changing effects of light and color over a period of time. Patterson uses two exposures of the same image, layered on top of each other yet shifted slightly, to give the same Impressionist feeling to his images.

Lee Kirby

Photo by Lee Kirby

Photo by Lee Kirby

Lee Kirby, like Gjon Mili (although much more modern) does not actually use the technique of double exposure in his images, yet the images themselves are inspired by photographers who have used double exposures in the past. Instead of layering images on top of one another, Lee Kirby uses a projector to actually project the second image onto his subjects, in a sort of real life double exposure. In many of his photographs, Kirby combines the use of projection with blurred movement to create images that sometimes look more like paintings than portraits.

Tamara Lichtenstein

Photo by Tamara Lichtenstein

Photo by Tamara Lichtenstein

Tamara Lichtenstein, a modern double exposure photographer, focuses on taking portraits that are filled with happiness and beauty and youth and sunny days. Her double exposures are dreamy and full of beautiful, bright colors, qualities that have made her quite popular within the Tumblr and Flickr community.

Christoffer Relander

Photo by Christoffer Relander

Photo by Christoffer Relander

Christoffer Relander’s photographs are a prime example of what we can do with modern technology. His series of photographs, We Are Nature, are a series of stunningly beautiful double and triple exposures that are (almost unbelivably) done completely in-camera, with post-processing only being used for some tonal changes. We Are Nature is a series of portraits of humans that seem as if they are slowly changing into different ferns and trees.

Yanzhou Bao

Photo by Yanzhou Bao

Photo by Yanzhou Bao

Yanzhou Bao combines different photography techniques, including the use of multiple exposure, long exposure, and colored gels to create photographs with bright pops of color that play with motion and light. Many of his models wear loose, ethereal, futuristic clothing that only intensifies the dramatic quality of his portraits.

Have you played around with double exposure photography? There are still plenty of older film cameras available that allow you to create double exposures in-camera (and allow for a wonderful surprise once the film is developed), and will give you an idea of how the professionals used this technique in the past. Whether you want to go the old-school route or prefer to create your own multiple exposure images in Photoshop, the effects can be beautiful, surreal, and shocking; all you need is a bit of imagination.