This month’s voted for images:-
Congratulations to Jerwin John Civil (left image) and Pascale Hustings (right image)
Through The Lens of a Blind Photographer
There’s nothing special about a camera. It’s the person behind the camera that makes the image what it is. The power of a photograph can change the world. It is in its ability to change the way we see things. Every photographer has a point of view to share with the world, a vision, a story, a dream, a philosophy.
As a legally blind photographer, I’m excited to be a part of London Photo Festival, to share with you, my perspective, alongside with my colleagues. Together, we are shaping the world.
This year’s theme is the Four Elements. I’ve chosen to present a piece that depicts the element of Water. A Hazy Morning in Jinan was taken at Daming Lake in China. Daming Lake is known for its serene landscape and its beauty has been the topic of Chinese literature. The element of Water represents flow energy. It is often used as a symbol for good fortune because flow energy attracts prosperity. I feel that we are living in a fast paced society that needs to slow down and reconnect with nature, so that we can experience flow energy. I often choose nature as my subject matter because i feel that it can help us to connect with our greater existence.
For me, photography has changed my life by changing the way I see things. Being visually challenged, photography has challenged me to see things differently. To see beyond what I can see. To look beyond what is physically there. To capture its essence, its energy, its meaning. It has opened my eyes to looking at the world around me. To seek beauty. To appreciate the world we live in.
Photography has opened a path to new possibilities for me. As a teenager, I was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a rare genetic condition that causes me to have extreme near-sightedness that cannot be corrected. Hearing that I would never be able to drive, I was devastated. Not being able to travel as easily, I’ve often felt trapped. Photography offers me a sense of freedom and limitlessness. A way to escape the mundane. To transform the ordinary into something extraordinary. To create a dream world from where I am.
To see our world in a new light is to change the world. What every photographer has to offer is their unique, original point of view. Come experience the world in a new way. Join us, as we celebrate the art of photography at London Photo Festival 2016.
About Andrea Mai
Andrea Mai is a legally blind photographer, writer, and intuitive advisor based in Toronto. She enjoys travel and discussions about philosophy and personal development. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post and she regularly posts her photography and writing on her blog. Her work is available at www.andreamaicreative.com
A proud survivor. I’m a self taught amateur photographer two decades in the making. After a subarachnoid haemorrhage broke my brain, I had no other choice than to design a new me. There was simply no other option. One unexpected moment in time changed my life forever. One minute all that I knew fell away into a chasm. My life and my brain were in pieces, scattered far and wide. But…
I’m now 35 years old and it is two years on from the demise of the old Michelle. Here I remain with a zest for life and creativity. The scattered pieces have been painstakingly glued back together and my life is complete once more.
The desire to express my passion for visual art had always lain dormant within me. However the bleed on my brain merely acted as a trigger to unleash that vision. My fractured brain fiercely fought against the change. Still to this day it throws spanners into works that pre haemorrhage I had no idea had even existed. With my brain in full recovery mode, my attempts to heighten my own sense of self worth led to the opening of my own studio.
I decided that my own shot in the arm would take the form of picturing people’s perfect memories, whatever they may be. From that point on there would be no looking back, only forward into a bright new future. It would be hard, but the determination to succeed seemed to be fired by my now scarred brain.
I learnt so much about myself through my own health related issues and now I intend to share a new found thirst for living by seeing the joy in the world around me. It was once my dream to capture the dreams of others. That dream is now a reality and I cherish each and every one. Whether my pictures are portraits, still life or merely moments in time captured in the essence of a moment, they are all very special to me for a variety of different reasons.
My experience of the London Photo Festival was amazing I felt like a rabbit in headlights as it was a very overwhelming experience after always thinking I am not good enough. Then having such amazing feedback from so many people as well as getting great advice, I am looking to expand from just taking pictures of people and it is thanks to the LPF because it has opened my eyes to new possibilities and opportunities.
One unexpected moment in time led me to capture as many unexpected moments in time as my career will allow. Live for the day. I do and I love every single one. That tends to happen when you almost saw your last.
‘Make me look like a super model!’
I provided Ingrid with an impossible task when I bravely volunteered myself for her portrait of the month project back in April. I am far more comfortable behind the camera than I am in front of it and when I was having my photograph taken by Ingrid, we tried to examine this in more detail.
Ingrid’s project has thrown up more than just thinking about the technical aspects of taking people’s portrait photographs – she has also had to think about human emotions, skin tone, location and how the subject feels about themselves.
Some people are naturally more photogenic and relaxed in front of the camera than others, but one thing that Ingrid has learnt to do is make the subject feel relaxed and she does this in one sentence: ‘pretend I am not here’ and it works!
Perhaps also as photographers, we are concentrating on the camera of the person who is taking the photograph and by this I mean: ‘why are they using the flash outdoors?’ or ‘that’s a nice camera, I want one of those’!. We are trying to analyze the nuances of the situation instead of just enjoying the moment.
Read Ingrid’s blog post: http://www.candidcreativity.com/blog/2014/6/portrait-of-the-month-june-2014
This project (Portrait of the Month) came about due to the number of clients who’ve told me they either don’t like having their photos taken or don’t think they look good in photos, which got me thinking about ways to light and pose people to make them look and feel amazing. On a typical photoshoot I usually take a sequence of shots, so the purpose of this project is to concentrate on lighting, shooting and editing a single image only.
I’ve been studying the behaviour of light and various lighting setups for over a year, inspired by photographers like Damian McGillicuddy,Neil Van Niekerk and Scott Robert Lim. In order to practice what I’ve learned and improve my photography, I launched a new project called ‘Portrait of the Month’.
Each month during 2014 I will take one carefully planned and professionally executed portrait of an individual (no couples or groups), in various parts of London using multiple speedlights, modifiers, and coloured gels which will be showcased on my Facebook page. To get the ball rolling, I asked my good friend Shivangi to be my January Portrait of the Month and she kindly agreed.
We arranged to meet yesterday (4th January), on Walthamstow Marshes just after 11am. It rained, but the monsoon-like weather we’ve been experiencing held off just long enough for us to get the shot, however it was very windy and we were greeted by several inquisitive dogs!
I created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app to keep a permanent record of what I did. I began the shoot by exposing for the sky to retain the moodiness in the clouds using my 85mm lens. My camera settings were 1/125, f/6.3, 200 ISO. To separate Shivangi from the background I placed a bare speedlight at half power on a stand, approximately 8 feet behind her and to my right. She’s absolutely crazy about the colour purple so I put a purple gel over the light to give her a slight glow.
My main light was another bare speedlight at 1/16 power on a stand, approximately 5 feet in front of her, to my left. I also placed a white reflector on the ground by Shivangi’s feet to add a tiny kick of light on the shadow side of her face and coat.
And this was the end result …
If you’d like to follow in Shivangi’s footsteps and receive a free portrait, please get in contact – there are only 12 slots available in total.
Are you working on a photography project and would like to be our ‘Featured Photographer’? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.