56mm

I'm glad I failed


GENERATOR

Guidance: Don't break the silence

Assignment: Today you must shoot crowds or total emptiness, using a lens closest to the current temperature in Fahrenheit and your newest camera.
You must also use your device's square ratio.


BY BERT STEPHANI

I could have easily shot this assignment one or two months ago. But now, I absolutely hate it, it's the shittiest assignment I ever did for KAGE. Don’t get me wrong, I love the generator-idea, I just don’t like what came out of it for me.

I've started the year looking for silence, but lately I have moved on to conversations, meaningful real-life conversations. I've never liked crowds and I don't want to look for emptiness at a time when I'm starting to feel whole again. It's too warm to use the lenses I'd like to use and the square ratio limits my expanding view on things. 

I tried to get some pictures within the assignment and I failed badly. But you know what? I'm happy that I couldn't shoot anything decent for this one. It means that I've broken the silence.

Authorised By

Authorised By

We’re coming up on a federal election in Australia; so it’s safe to say some people are on edge.

But it’s hard to discern left from right out on the streets - unless they’re standing next to a sign in a t-shirt, handing out ‘how to vote’ cards, of course.

Will we continue on the conservative path that’s seen three prime ministers (and two deputy prime ministers) in the past six years? Or return to a more liberal - though that word means something else, here, as the Liberal party are the conservatives - some would say progressive, considerate way of running the country…?

Two Seconds

Two Seconds

As a reportage photographer rapidly developing stories, unpredictable action and consequently fast shutter speeds tend to be my primary domain. But within those .somethings of a second that I ultimately capture I always seek to find a truth - to reveal something, some essence, big or small of the subjects and scenes in front of me that I can give back to the viewer to help them understand not just what was happening but who the people in these photographs really are.

Just ... Simple

BY BERT STEPHANI

A friend asked me to show him how to shoot simple, elegant portraits and so he set up a shoot for us with a lovely young German student. In a way this was pure comfort zone stuff for me but it made me become aware that I’m often overthinking portraiture. In the pursuit of killer-images my mind gets away from the person in front of my camera. For this series I kept it super simple: My X-Pro2, the 35mm 1.4 and the 56mm 1.2 and a big window.

My friend’s next question was: what if I don’t have a window? I usually don’t light with a huge soft light source because it just seems too easy. But why would that be a bad thing? I hadn’t used a softlighter-type modifier for ages because it’s impossible to control. But on the other hand, it just pumps out a bunch of pretty light which gave me and my subject room to move.

We then went outside in a non-descript residential area to see if we could find good light and interesting backgrounds there. I think we did.

In many ways this shoot was effortless and if the wheels in my head were spinning it was just because I was trying to explain how my intuition works to my friend. I was pleasantly surprised by how the images came out and how enjoyable the process was. I’ll keep it in mind not always to try so hard but just enjoy the shoot, the light, the company.

Shock, Recognition

Shock, Recognition

What does it take to recognise someone you know?

I wonder sometimes about this - about how little information you could be given about someone, and still know them; from a description, a sound, a gesture they always use, a certain way of doing things.

And it’s what I find I miss about people when they’re gone, too…

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Home Thoughts From Abroad

It’s funny sometimes, living in my third home country.

My first home was Canada; I grew up there, studied, worked in theatre, then took a ‘one year working holiday’ to come to Australia - which became a fifteen-year side trip to New Zealand. Six years ago today, I found myself back in Sydney, which has turned slowly into home, too.

Once in a while though, I’ll catch sight of something, or there’ll be a story on the news; and the feeling of those places will return…

4 October 2018 at 4:21 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

4 October 2018 at 4:21 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

Personally, I’ve never been a fan. Of going out in the rain, of getting wet, I mean.

Swimming is fine - that’s different. It’s the sogginess, the smell of wet clothes, the waiting for your jeans to dry while you’re still in them.

But I have to admit, I quite enjoy photographing it…