Art in Urban Exploration Nov16

Art in Urban Exploration...

Some people are discovering a new hobby, one that is slowly being revealed through recent media attention, and it is called urban exploration. Some readers may already know about this pastime through such shows as Discovery Channel’s Urban Explorers or other media sources that cover it from different angles, including the hip and horrific potentials for such expeditions. Urban exploration is like hiking or spelunking, except it focuses on the man-made world of industrialized environments. Explorers get into abandoned ruins, underground passages, or rarely traversed areas of cities in order to experience the raw, man-made environment which is often in a state of decay, neglect or exclusion from mainstream society. This kind of exploration opens up a vast amount of possibility for historical documentation and of course for artistic expression. Responsible urban explorers are careful not to trespass on private property where they are not welcome, but there is still a rush of adrenaline in wandering through a city’s ruins that cannot be denied. Explorers also need to be extremely careful with physical safety in decrepit environments as they uncover the underbelly of our societal structures, then reveal it, primarily through photographs. The motto of most urban explorers is, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.” This phrase is a common philosophy of modern hikers in the natural world, but the urban explorer adopts it for his or her own ethical platform as well. Controversy about public safety is of course high and that’s part of what makes urban exploration alluring for some. Art has always pushed the boundaries of what is culturally acceptable and this undertaking is no different. Those artists who explore an urban landscape are primarily photographers. They capture the emotional thrill of ‘infiltration,’ a word...

Introducing Salvatore Ventura...

After moving from Europe to the Bay Area, Salvatore Ventura soon discovered his love for photography. Over the past decade he has explored various photography styles ranging from natural landscapes to personal portraits, and documented several local events. While working in high tech startups, Salvatore takes on photography assignments to keep in balance with his artistic side. We spoke with Salvatore about his experiences in the field of photography: What is it about photography that first gained your attention? Salvatore: I think it’s the mix between dream and reality that can be achieved within a picture. It’s powerful and sophisticated, yet so simple at once. What type of training/schooling did you receive to learn how to do this? Salvatore: I am mostly self-trained. I did read plenty, and still do, on technique, lighting, composition and colors, and of course, decoding works of great photographers. What type of equipment do you use? Salvatore: I started photography in the digital world, beginning my exploration with a point-and-shoot, and then evolving into a DSLR. I currently work with a Nikon D600. Do you use any digital post-processing? Salvatore:  Yes. Mainly around sharpening, color balance and cropping. Then of course there are special effects, to add a more distinctive accent on some shots, but it all depends. Some cases call for deeper edits. You only have female models in your current portfolio. Is that by choice? Salvatore: There are generally more female models than male, so it is easier  to work with them. But I have planned projects with male models, just haven’t had a chance to work on them yet. What is your favorite subject to photograph? Salvatore: People. Working on projects with models is by far my favorite. Travel photography, and landscapes are next. Do you...

Photography: Is it an art form? Nov17

Photography: Is it an art form?...

As the paintbrush or clump of clay is to an artist, so is the camera to a photographer; a tool (or medium) used to create a possible work of art. It might not be as ancient a tool as brush and paint, but with the right knowledge, the camera can be used to sketch the artist’s vision or express an emotion that the artist intended to share. “I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn”. — Pablo Picasso How does photography become fine art?  It’s done in much the same way that a painting or a sculpture does. Photographers display the same basic elements of art and design (as discussed in our Understanding Art as Art article) in their photographs, that any other art form does. The photographer uses his or her knowledge of composition; of line, shape, value, color and texture to create a work of art. The photograph evokes a feeling, conveys a message, and takes the image one-step beyond the typical scenic shot of the amateur. Just capturing a beautiful photo isn’t enough to be considered fine art. Taking a beautiful photograph that speaks to the spirit is the key. How well the artist, or in this case the photographer, captured your attention with his or her unique interpretation of the subject at hand is a large part of the criteria. Where Photo Journalism tells a story and Commercial Photography sells a product, Fine Art Photography speaks to your soul. Great photographers like Ansel Adams, Manuel Bravo and Mary Ellen Mark not only captured the essence of their subjects, but used light and shadow, texture and juxtaposition to create mood, a feeling of emotion in their work.  James Nachtwey captured poignant images of war...