Seeing it Differently-Durban as digital holgaroids

Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
506
Location
Durban, South Africa
A 500 image Durban Mosaic - Snapshots of the Holiday City

Purists, technophiles -- you're probably not going to like this stuff...be warned. It's very different from my normal style.

Read on...

I'll be having a solo exhibition in September. Apart from my normal documentary style, I've been experimenting with a way of portraying Durban, my city in a different way.

Durban is in part the nation's largest national tourist destination. But it's not a very classy city and has all the elements of a Coney Island or Blackpool (UK) environment - plasticky, garish and over the top. In part, it is also very African, and very poor. These elements combine with the incredibly hot, sticky sub-tropical climate to make a city that is full of tantalising and quite rich contrasts in terms of people and places.

I wanted to convey the feel of this through almost way-oversaturated images that look hot and sticky.

Also, I wanted the material to look like a huge collection of holiday snapshots.

Recently, I've been very interested in the "plastic camera" or "toy camera" wave that has been quite prevalent in the last few years, having be "rediscovered". People have been using cheap novelty cameras from the sixties and seventies - most famous of which is the Diana camera, to create images that are very fluid and quite different. More recently, Lomo cameras and Holgas from Russia have found their way into the hands on enthusiasts and those who couldn't find the Diana, manufactured by the Great Wall of China Plastics Co.

The secret of this fluid effect lies in the poor abberant plastic lenses coupled with bodies that leak light in the strangest places.

The effect, which as I have said is very fluid and spontaneous, ideally suits the personality of what I am trying to portray.

I didn't have access to a Diana camera, but I knew the effect I wanted to create. Some websearching led me to two sets of actions that work with Photoshop, and together with additional work, create the style I want.

I specifically rough shoot DIGITALLY most of the images at the outset to create the holiday snap feel. Careful cropping then takes place, after which I convert the image using the Holga action. I then remove some of the unwanted effects and layers, and fiddle with the contrast and saturation until the basic style is right for me. Considerably more tweaking goes into most of the images after I have run the action, in the main "body" of Photoshop. Thereafter, I run it through a Polaroid framing action, and size the image exactly as a 4.5 inch Polaroid. The whole image in printed on a 5x7 inch print.

The result, which will offend the Diana purists and the digital sharpening fraternity is an off-focus, leaky-light image of colorful simplicity. I guess you could call them "digital holgaroids".

I now have about 250 of these images. By September, I should have 500 odd. They will be mounted tightly together on a single wall as a giant varied photographic mosaic of Durban, for people to ponder over, identify people and places. They'll be sold individually so that people can buy a couple that they like, or perhaps someone will buy the whole installation.


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R

Removed User 2

Guest
Hi!


I love your style... probably because it is the closest to mine (or vice-versa... regardelss).

I own a Holga... what a fun toy. Tool, to be correct.

Great, great, great images you're showing!
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
978
Location
Viera Fl
Peter,

I believe you have accomplished your mission in grand style.

You are a truly great talented photographer.

Thank you for sharing and wish I could view your exhibition.
I know it it will be a huge success.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
Messages
2,594
Location
Richmond,Va
Peter I love them. I just recently did something similar to a bike race I shot . went for a different feel.

BTW seeing your work was one of the contributing factors to me buying a D2h when the price dropped. I always enjoy looking at your photography.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
1,011
Location
San Jose, CA
Wonderful, Peter! You've created a rich and colorful tapestry of Durban, and by dulling the technical edge, you've placed the emphasis squarely on composition. Excellent work, and I trust it will be a commercial success!
 
K

Ken-L

Guest
Terrific....now I feel as though I have visited Durban!

You used an interesting assortment of cameras - once again proving that it isn't "the camera" that makes the photographer.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
3,479
Location
Florida
Peter,

I ditto what everyone else has said and I thank you very much. This is a wonderful treat and I hope everyone on the forum can visit here.

Thank you and my best to you,

Gaye
 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
2,756
Location
sf bay area
hi peter-

wonderful work, i'll probably never visit your part of the world and your photos have helped bring that area to life.

my very first camera was a diana f (the flash model). i don't have any copies of the photos i took with that camera but i do remember they had that softness that you've emulated in your photos.

ricky
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
159
Just beautiful Sir I love the color every photo really tells a story thank you for shairing.
 
Joined
May 15, 2005
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1,827
Location
Israel
Real Name
Heiko
Absolutely fantastic! Agree to everything said already. And I will take it as an inspiration and lesson to focus on the framing and composition.

I'm sure the exhibition will be a success - just a pitty I won't be able to be there.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
304
Location
New Jersey
WOW! These are incredible. Again Peter, I am thankful you contribute to the forum the way you do. It's obvious you're on a different level than most of us.

Just tremendous work. The color saturation truly adds to the flavor of the images and except for one (IMHO) they all flow together in rhythm. (The fire hydrant one is by far my favorite!)

If you get a chance, I think we'd all enjoy seeing the 500 finished photos on display in the gallery.

WOW!

_/oe
 

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