Tag Archives: Comfort Levels

People Change Their Behavior Around Cameras – Episode 55

Gotta start off with two quick notes: first, we apologize for this coming out a day late. Second, there were some technical issues with Skype when we recorded and, as you’ll hear, there are a few times throughout the show where the flow gets interrupted.

Okay, now on to the show.

It’s Tony’s turn to choose the topic and he comes up with something we hadn’t thought of before: how do peoples’ behavior change when they see  a camera? And have behaviors changed now that cameras (and smart phones, etc.) have become so commonplace in our society? Are people more guarded or more open? Are they hesitatnt about where those pictures may end up or do they care? Does it matter whether it’s a professional or an amateur who is taking the picture?

A lot of disagreement in today’s show and it makes for some good stuff. And make sure you tell us in the comments section whether you think you change your behavior when you see a camera. Or have you noticed a change in how people react over the past 5, 10, 20 years?

And should we have named this episode Babies and Bot Flies and Larvae, Oh My?

How do people's behavior change when in front of a cameraOur Artists

Our photographer is Ian Ruhter. Rob first learned of his work after watching the video, Silver and Light. You can also click on the picture to launch the video and it’s worthwhile watching. Ian not only is an accomplished photographer in his own right, but he makes his own wet plates and does all of his development; on plates much larger than we’re used to. In this age of digital photography and knowing we can make as many copies as we could ever need from the file, wet plate photography is awe-inspiring. There are no files, there are no negatives. The plate is the only copy of the photograph that exists. Not a lot of room for error and that makes Ian Ruhter a true artist.

Leonardo da Vinci is our “other” artist. Not much to say other than a true visionary who continues to influence our society to this day. The da Vinci Code may have made him a legend but Hudson Hawk balances that out. “Is looking like a constipated warthog a prerequisite for getting a job in the art world?”

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Is That Your Style or Are You In a Rut? Episode 52

StyleStyle? Or a Rut?

Style – it’s a word we use on a regular basis to describe our artistry. hell, even in our previous shows we’ve talked about how important it is to have a definitive style in photography. But, can that style become a crutch for never evolving? Can we get stuck in our own artistic rut and happily… ignorantly continue on while thinking we’re just maintaining our “style”?

That’s the topic for this episode and even the three of us have a hard time figuring  it out. And do we even answer the two critical questions: how do we identify when we’re stuck and how do we power through it?

Whatever. How about you, our intelligent and sober (presumably) listeners weigh in and tell us what you think!

Tonight’s Artists

Taking a good look at a young Canadian director and film maker (who just happens to be related to one of the co-hosts), Miles Jay. Specifically, we’re highlighting a short film he directed called Hollywood and Vines. It’s short (4:30) and constructed entirely with clips from Vine. Pretty awesome and, for those of you who think social media is a passing fad and its impact on visual arts is unimpressive, guess again. Watch the video below.

As for our “other medium” artist? Tony chose (so you know it’s gonna be fucked up) Rockstar Games. Who? The gaming geniuses behind Grand Theft Auto 5. Seriously, it’s a pretty amazing game! Check out this review.

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My Work is So Great, So Great Is My Work – Episode 50

We took a different path today and decided to look at our own work. After two years (almost) of the podcast, we thought,”what the hell” and talked about the work we have done, where we have come from, and where we think we are going.

It gets a little sugary and supportive – certainly a departure from other podcasts – but we’ll be back next time with our normal crap. But this is a really decent show and gave all three of us an opportunity to look the other guys’ work and talk about it. You can definitely see a progression in the work we’ve done and the artistic vision that we’ve developed since starting Polarizing Images back in September 2011.

Take a look at the stuff below and let us know what you think. C’mon, leave us a comment – you know you want to!

The Work of Others (Our Artists)

Lewis Hine is our photographer of the fortnight. His work for the National Child Labor Committee changed the way the US looked at the use of child labor. He has some of the most iconic works of America’s industrial age. Except, like Rob discovered, some of his most well-known work isn’t actually his. ^#%&# Internet!

FREEBIRD! Yup, Lynyrd Skynyrd (the original group) is our artist. What do we have to say about them? Listen the show, then, dammit!



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Is Software the New Barrier to Entry? PI41

The New Barrier to Entry?

We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!

And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the Continue reading »

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Selling Photography – Photography Today Is Killing Off the Dinosaurs

You want disagreement and yelling? Today we look at the people who are in the business of selling photography and are dragging their feet when it comes to change. But don’t worry, it’s a self-correcting problem.

We start off right on  target until Tony asks a seemingly innocent question – does a store really need a traditional, trained sales staff? Then shit gets serious and we think Rick may have started crying. He didn’t: turns out he was just speaking into a muted mic. But before we get onto the topic about selling photography, we need to bitch and moan about why Australia just wants to fuck with you and how a shark got it right in the 1960’s. Tony also thinks a sting ray got one right a few years ago. Too soon, Tony, too soon.

Selling Photography – Do We Even Need To?

We actually intended this to be more photography-related than it ended up being, but the reason for this topic is because a large and well-established camera store in Chicago is closing its doors and the guys think it was their inability – or unwillingness – to adapt to the photography industry today. It certainly wasn’t the skill level or experience of their staff as that has always been top-notch. But the store died the death of a thousand cuts. An online presence that was virtually non-existent, major retailer for Nikon and Canon but where were the other manufacturers, a lack of related tools (no audio gear, very little video support, no computers or software…)

Selling photography in today's industry is killing off the dinosaurs

Winston Churchill by Yousef Karsh

So what is more important when selling photography: a sales team or an educational team? Tony vehemently argues for the education, Rick passionately defends sales staff with photography experience, and Rob finds himself leaning toward Camp Tony where he’d usually be the first to call bullshit!

What are your thoughts? Does selling photography today require sales staff or educators? Leave us a comment on the site, call in your thoughts, or Tweet your reaction.

Our Fortnight Artists

We even manage to have a heated argument about our photographer, Yousef Karsh. You may not know his name, but you sure as hell know his work. Famous for his portrait of Churchill (seen here), he shot a lot of historically famous and significant people – many of those shots are still the iconic image for those people.But really, who amongst us today can have such access to famous, important, and polar opposite figures? Probably no one. Maybe an era really is over.

We don’t have “an” artist today. Rather, Tony introduces us to an artists’ collective, Papunya Tula (go ahead, sing their name to Hakuna Matata, you know you want to). This is a group of Aboriginal artists whose art is as much a form of communication as it is visual beauty. Their work reminds Rob of the folding lines found in Origami.

Oh yeah, Welcome you ignorant masses!

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Inspiration – Episode 32, How Do We Deal With a Lack of Inspiration?

When You Find Yourself Lacking Inspiration

At one time or another, every photographer deals with lacking inspiration. It’s frustrating as hell, knowing that you want to shoot but you end up just sitting there trying to figure out what to shoot. But don’t worry, you really aren’t alone; we all go through it. It’s just a matter of how you power through it, right? Right? Hmmm….

It’s easy to be distracted and blame other things like spending too much time on Facebook, or shooting only for clients/income, etc. But, in truth, sometimes we just get burned out and we seek out those distractions. Fortunately, we don’t leave it on such a negative thought – we also talk about how to get past it.

Rob is starting to shoot new material again and has gotten deep into hybrid photography and that’s seems to be the catalyst for finding inspiration again. Rick’s finding inspiration by specifically not going out and shooting for clients. But, for both of them, allowing themselves to be open to new creative vision and direction has brought a certain spark and inspiration back.

Just watch out for the “analysis paralysis”!

Today’s Artists

Dogfish Head Brewery constantly shows the inspiration that their brewers bring

Dogfish Head Brewery constantly shows the inspiration that their brewers bring

Tony chose the artist and, as you can guess, he went way outside the box. But, if you can believe it, he doesn’t choose a musician. Yeah, we’re surprised, too! It’s Sam Calagione. Who? Sam is the president and founder of Dogfish Head Brewery. All three of the guys are into home brewing (big surprise, right) and Dogfish Head provides plenty of inspiration not only for their home brewing but also on a higher creativity level. Sam, and Dogfish Head, don’t allow themselves to be constrained by what’s been done before or by thinking that experimental beers can’t (and shouldn’t) be done. By allowing the creative spirit to flow, Sam and his brewery produce some of the most exciting and creative beers today. And there’s some huge lessons for all of us who are photographers in that approach.

Rick chose Joel-Peter Witkin as the photographer. It’s artistic and Witkin’s work shows his level of inspiration but, as a warning, his work can be very disturbing and definitely not safe for work. His composition techniques are quite strong and his use of black and white really brings a timeless feeling to the images. His subject matter, though, is where we have to warn you. From his bio on the Acid Skull site (that’s the site we’ve linked his name to): “His works carry the delicate tonality of a 19th-century ambrotype, showing morphed scenes with human body parts and deceased subjects with a strong satirical sentiment against vanity.” Here’s the link to his work on Acid Skull.

And PLEASE, check out our Cafe Press Store to support the show and don’t forget to leave a comment!

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Art – Can the Creation Of It Be The Actual Art? Episode 18 Says “Yes”

Art – it’s what this is all about, right? Damned straight, skippy!

We get off to a slightly rough start this week, but there’s a reason – Rick was drunk and Rob wasn’t. After we get the universe sorted out, we quickly get into our usual flow and have an amazing discussion (if we say so ourselves) about whether or not the mere act of creating art can be the art itself.

What, exactly, makes something “art”?

Never let anyone say that a portrait can't be art

Never let anyone say that a portrait can't be art

After watching a documentary on Spencer Tunick’s Naked States – a state by state journey through the US photographing everyday (yet remarkable) people – Rob was struck by the number of the subjects who talked about how posing for Tunick’s art project was a healing and powerful experience. And that got him thinking (which always is a good idea, right?) If the therapeutic aspect of the project was in the creation of the work then maybe, from an art therapy perspective, the real art is in the creation and not necessarily the final print.

That leads us down some interesting paths as we talk about whether a blind person can create art if they are not physically engaged with the medium and the healing power of being an art subject. Rob opens up about the real strength and joy of his work!

Our photographer and artist of the week

Tony introduces us to the wonderful work of Irving Penn. From his Wiki Page:

(June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009[1]) was an American photographer most known for his fashion photographyportraits, and still lifes. Penn’s career included work at Vogue magazine, and independent advertising work for clients including Issey Miyake, and Clinique. His work has been exhibited internationally, and continues to inform the art of photography even after his death.

Our artist of the week is the well-known and very talented jazz  musician Miles Davis. Considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, his penchant for creating something new from nothing is an inspiration to all artists, including photographers.

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The Nude and Shooting Fine Art – Episode 12

After months of Rob talking about nudes, we finally get around to dedicating a show to the fine art nude. And of all times for Rob to have bronchitis. But, for the sake of the show, he powers through it with a lot of help from Rick and Tony!

Topics today include the difference between a fine art nude and a glamour nude, the kind of subjects Rob likes to work with, what’s it like to have a nude model in front of your lens, trust and vulnerability for both the photographer and the model, and whether or not arousal is the intent in fine art. There’s more… a lot more. After all, these are three guys talking about nudity in art.

Finding Inspiration for the Nude from Other Artists

Does the Open Clam Shell reflect the nude?

What do you think? Was Georgia O'Keefe invoking the nude form in this painting?

Today’s artist is Georgia O’Keefe and we discuss her floral paintings and whether or not there is an inherent eroticism in the painting. We spent a little more time today actually looking at the difference between overt sexuality/nudity and images where the nude has obviously been an inspiration. O’Keefe’s work is the perfect catalyst for this kind of topic.

Our photographer for this topic is Mary Ellen Mark. We focused primarily on her portraiture and celebrity work. She has an ability to connect with her subject and pull from them a real reaction, even when the subject isn’t paying attention to the camera. Check out her shot of John Belushi from the set of Blues Brothers.

We have questions for you! Would you pose for a fine art nude? Why or why not? Would you be interested in learning to shoot nudes? Do you have a moral or ethical aversion to fine art nude photography (remember, we are talking about fine art and not glamour)? Is there a difference for you between glamour and art? How would you describe that difference?

Let us know here on www.PolarizingImages.com or send us a tweet @PolarizingImage.

As always, thanks for listening!

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Do I Suck? Maybe…

Liam from the Isle of Man drops by to hang out with us this week to discuss a topic that haunts everyone: self-doubt. Topics include planning the next five years, overcoming doubt, and not charging enough. Just cash the fucking check and deal with it!

Today’s featured photographer is John Hyde and the featured artist are the Beatles. No link for the Beatles because if you need a link for them, you shouldn’t be using a computer.

BTW, check out Liam’s podcast, Uttabull.

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People On the Other Side of the Lens

Holy shit – almost an hour and a half?! But it’s worth it, trust me… Topics today include dealing with the different types of people who land in front of your lens and how to help them relax and enjoy the photo shoot. Rob surprises an unsuspecting and long-lost friend and then Tony asks her to reveal what would creep her out. Surprise, she answers!! Sorry, B_Mo, no Van Heusen shirts here! Internet “models” need not apply.

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