beauty

Contemplations on a Tree – Again!

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Hollywood Blonde – Reposted

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For me a breakthrough image taken and posted here early in 2013. One of the first images where I was able to come up with the approach to color that suits me and this type of shot in this light… but also one of the first shots from my Leica Elmarit 90mm f2.8, which is a gem of a lens in terms of color and overall look. Anyway, thanks for looking!

Proof of Heaven – A Crop From Three Years Ago

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Waiting for Jimmy

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Minimalist Mondays : Voyeurism

“The basic condition of the voyeuristic scenario is distance, an essential separation between seer and seen. Despite this distance, which is by definition unbridgeable, despite the unrequitable nature of the desire that drives it, the voyeur’s gaze is a privileged one.”

Great book I highly recommend called Train Your Gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction to Portrait Photography by Roswell Angier. The quote above is from TYG. Almost by anyone’s definition it is not a book on portrait photography. It is really an analysis of contemporary art photography as well as some of the classic but nevertheless quite daring, in their time, 20th century photographers.

The chapter on voyeurism begins with a quote by Walker Evans, certainly an idol of mine and countless other photographers.

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”

Dressed Smart in Beverly Hills

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Girl, Bustop, West Los Angeles, April 2013

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I’ve never posted this picture because I always considered it such a painful failure. To focus the camera quickly enough. And it really bothered me for a long time. But now looking at it, I just remember the incredible moment, the light, the beauty and I don’t remember the pain of failure so much anymore.

Throwback Thursday AGAIN! — Fashion’s Night Out 2011 in Beverly Hills

Getting back to some Leica photography. The date has been announced for the annual Fashion’s Night Out 2012 and it is September 6th.

Sooo… this entry today here at 50lux.com has a triple purpose.

First, I would like to give Leica and other lowlight shooters a heads-up to the coming FNO extravaganza, Vogue Magazine’s world-wide phenomena and to let you all know that this very impressive event is probably coming to a city somewhere near you.

It’s an incredible opportunity to get out and photograph great style and beauty and all in the vibrant colors and exact low-light conditions where our super-fast Leica glass really shows its stuff.

Second, of course, I want to showcase my own humble efforts in that regard from last year. All the images you see here were shot on film, with my trusty M7. Mostly with a Zeiss 50mm Sonnar f1.5 mounted, but there’s more than a few with the Leica 35mm Summicron 2.0 ASPH. Also shot mostly Kodak 800 Ultramax film but I also put a couple of rolls of TMAX 32oo through the M7 which I will post in a few days.

But now, and thirdly, I’m also going to turn my attention to a gentle constructive review of the event itself with the hope that this critique will find whomever might be in the organizing group planning this year’s festivities in Beverly Hills, where the FNO event I attended took place. You’ll get an idea of why I would want to get this into their hands if you read on.

Okay, right up front I should say that my attending last year’s Fashion’s Night Out in Beverly Hills event was for the sole purpose of shooting some frames of fast film with some even faster Leica and Zeiss glass mounted on my M7.

But I’m a critical sort. So in between trying to catch some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in my camera’s viewfinder, I did manage to cast a critical eye towards the event itself.

First, I think it’s a great idea. I’m a photographer. I love beauty and fashion. I have no connection, however, with the beauty or fashion industry as a photographer, or in any other way except as a admiring male who doesn’t leer from behind a camera.

Much. Come on, I am perfectly capable of taking a great picture of a beautiful woman without leering. In theory.

Anyway, I didn’t attend the event in 2010 so I have no reference point to compare 2011 with the previous year. But I was surprised at how little there was actually going on at this event on the very premier boulevard of shopping and fashion: Rodeo of Beverly Hills.

Leica M7, Zeiss 50mm Sonnar 1.5

Not to be overly critical, but I expected many small continuous fashion shows outside of some of the major trendy stores. A little more effort from the big fashion houses. An appreciable media presence. A few big names.

Pretty much nothing like that here. There was a set up for a fashion show, so maybe I was late. Got there at 8:00 and the event was scheduled till 10:00. Stores were pretty much an indoor thing, just like any other day. Except this was night.

There was a makeover area which was certainly busy. A street portrait artist working in charcoal, I believe. Food was supplied by a handful of not very interesting food trucks. People were lounging on the curb eating.

At one or two of the stores, there was an actual doorman allowing entry to only, I supposed, an invited few. Nice touch there as some pretty fancy Beverly Hills wives were turned away. Ouch. I have pictures of that.

I’m sorry, BH. I just think this is a great idea that should be done with a little more attention to class and detail and results. The number of people in attendance clearly demonstrated that there is an appetite for this type of event right there on Rodeo Drive.

Come on, Beverly Hills, you can do much MUCH better than this.

That said, please enjoy the pictures.

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Leica M7, Zeiss 50mm Sonnar f1.5, Kodak Ultra 800

LEICA M7, 35mm Summicron-M 2.0 ASPH

Leica M7, 35mm Sumicron 2.0 ASPH

Leica M7, Zeiss 50mm Sonnar f1.5

Click on these last two shots for larger versions.

Leica M7, Zeiss 50mm Sonnar f1.5

Girls on Film

Style Recollections

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Some women and their personal styles are timeless. Simple and sharp like the young lady above. Some are more complicated. 😉 These are all from the Nikon days.

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Bunny Yeager, photographer of Bettie Page pinups, dies at 85 – Los Angeles Times

Bunny Yeager, photographer of Bettie Page pinups, dies at 85 - Los Angeles Times

Yeager came to be admired for her use of natural light, sometimes enhanced by flash even in daylight, to make a model’s skin look luminous. But unlike nude photographers whose depictions of women were hyper-sexual and pumped up, Yeager found sensuality in a more natural look.

“Bunny has that good understanding of how to photograph the female body. At the same time, she knew how to captivate men’s sexual fantasies,” Miami gallery owner Harold Golen told the New York Times in 2011 when the gallery hosted an exhibition of Yeager’s work. “Her women are real. None of them are spray-tanned. Their breasts aren’t ballooned. They have curves and a bit of cellulite.”

via Bunny Yeager, photographer of Bettie Page pinups, dies at 85 – Los Angeles Times.

Jessica Alba’s Back

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I attended a luncheon on Friday that had originally been scheduled at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. Well, as the principle owner of the Pink Palace is the Sultan of Brunei, and Brunei has just passed laws permitting the stoning of women for… well… we can stop right there. What else do you think anyone here in LA needed to know? Event cancellations become the norm for the Beverly Hills Hotel and this particular event, The Helping Hands 2014 Mother of the Year awards, was moved to the Beverly Hilton.

Anyway, Jessica Alba was awarded 2014 Mother of the Year. We all sat down and ate our lunch and I, of course, had no idea that the movie star was sitting about ten feet directly behind me. I was there as a guest and I couldn’t stalk the situation for shots or even make myself obvious to anyone. My Leica M-E is discreet, that’s for sure. But I wasn’t able to get up from my seat and take images.

Nevertheless, I was able to grab a handful but certainly nothing to write home about. I sure hope the shots at least get you in the room for a moment. 😉

Thank you!

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Miss Thai Town Los Angeles 2014

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T-Max 3200 at Beverly Hills Fashion’s Night Out 2011

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A Rodeo Drive Wedding

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican

Ventura Girl

venturagirl-Edit-2-EditOne from the very old pre-Leica days.

Is It Okay to Photograph Children in the Street?

Good lighting and exposures are very important. Color and proper focus are both critical. That’s all. lol. Okay, just kidding. But you didn’t REALLY think I wasn’t going to make a defense of street photographers taking pictures of kids who aren’t theirs, did you?

I originally published this about a year and a half ago and it met great controversy when I posted a link to it over on DPReview. Some people threatened my physical well being. Or at least it seemed that way to me.

In the interim, the state of California actually implemented a law last year preventing celebrity hounding paparazzi (not judging, I’ve sold many celebrity images via a celebrity photo agency and some of them were surreptitiously taken) from taking images of the children of, you guessed it, celebrities.

First, let me say that I’m just a little appalled that celebrities have the power to win the passage of special laws that benefit only them. That you can trot a couple of lovely weeping actresses like Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner out in front of the state legislature and get a law protecting only their children is kind of an outrageous proposition.

But I was also relieved to find out that it did only apply to them and their children. Sort of a dichotomy I guess you could call it. I’d thought of ranting and raving against the passage of the law and hounding the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to refuse to sign off on it but, honestly, on the one hand, I’m not supportive of the idea that children of celebrities should be targeted by a stalking paparazzi. That is unacceptable.

But had that law included ALL photographers, and made anyone taking images of children in a street photography situation law breakers for doing so I would have been even more outraged. There is a price of celebrity and that price should be paid by celebrities and not free citizens doing what photographers have had free license to do since the advent of photography.

Anyway. Here it is. I can only give you my answer to the question of whether or not it’s okay to take pictures of other people’s children, in public, with no permission from anyone. It is the answer that I’ve come up with that applies to me. Every single person reading this has to come up with an answer that works for them and please don’t take anything I’m writing here as legal advise or even suggestions as to what you should or should not be doing with your cameras or with your lives.

The only immutable law, I would suggest, is that you’d better be taking pictures of kids for good reasons and with the best intentions. And there are many and you have a right to those reasons and intentions. (as far as I’m concerned. Not necessarily according to the law or customs where you happen to be located. Or not. See what I mean? Me neither.)

Children tell stories, with their expressions, their body language and gestures, in an unfiltered and psychologically complicated way that adults very often don’t. And you have a right to grab those stories and record them on film or a digital camera sensor when and wherever you find them. (But don’t hold me to that statement as legal advice. I’m not a lawyer and it is not legal advice or guidance.)

The image at the top here is one of my favorites. There’s a lot of information in this shot. You have what would appear to any resident of Los Angeles to be visitors from somewhere else. It is summer and probably this is their vacation together. It is a family with three lovely daughters sporting matching outfits.

Their parents obviously take great pride in their brood here and it appears that two of the girls might be twins. The third, standing off to the right, seems a year or so younger than her sisters. That she’s wearing the same outfit nevertheless seems to indicate this family feels a desire or need for a certain degree of family conformity. I’m not passing judgment. I would probably be looking for three of everything myself if they were my children.

Mom looks like she’s ready to take a picture herself which further indicates to me that this moment, here on an icky sticky Santa Monica sidewalk, represents some holiday memory that must be preserved forever. Seems like they may have just gotten out of their rental car.

But kids are scary scary things and a set of three like this would give me nightmares if I was their father. You have three beautiful daughters, you dress them alike to show how much pride you have in your family. But then there’s the one with the broken arm to remind you how delicate and fragile your precious family is and how precarious and elusive will be your grasp on their lives for the rest of your own.

The second shot is a collection of three individuals connected by something technically invisible, meaning you can’t see a wire or a string or a discharge of energy like a lightening bolt or anything like that, but that is there nevertheless and is probably stronger than just about any physical connection could be. Love and adoration and maybe, again, family, sisterhood; this time it looks like a loving grandparent.

I like to say that I take pictures of things that a lot of photographers don’t typically set out to photograph. Things that are happening inside a subject’s head that are maybe very subtly represented by other things happening on the outside of their head or in their gesture or posture or physical relationship or interaction with other people in the photograph.

This picture is an example of what I mean by that.

Dreams We Keep To Ourselves

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Layers

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