About this Blog

Photo Writing is the web version of the Photo Writing mini-magazine produced by Limephoto and Emil von Maltitz since 2010. As of 2015 it is now completely online. Feel free to browse through the articles and please leave comments in the comments section if you would like to engage with us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Very Basics of the Curves Dialogue

If there is one tool that every digital photographer should know and understand (at least a little) it is the curves dialogue. Concurrently the most asked question I receive when teaching anything to do with post-production is, “what is the curves tool and how do I use it?” To try and simplify this then, here is a very quick and dirty explanation of the curves dialogue that will hopefully clear a path through the murk that is post-production.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of the Sirui R-2204

I recently finished working with the Sirui R-2204 carbon fibre tripod. This is a relatively small and light but surprisingly stable basic tripod. I used it extensively on a workshop in the Drakensberg as well as on several short shoots around Durban. The full review is available on this link.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Interview with Myllo Menorah - A photographer's photographer!

On a sunny morning - one of those warm lazy Durban mornings where the air is crisp and clear thanks to the previous evening’s rainstorm - I met up with local photographer Myllo Menora at the Coffee Tree just off Alan Paton Road. I came across Myllo’s work about a year ago when he contacted me over a lens I was wanting to sell. When I saw his work I was immediately captivated. Myllo seems to have a way with his images of people that immediately draws the viewer into a priveleged viewpoint of the action. You feel as if you are in the frame with the actors. There’s an immediacy to his images that is hard to describe, but you know it as soon as you see his pictures. It’s like looking at the images of some of the best known reportage and lifestyle photographers of the 1970’s and 60’s. Myllo is just there, and his subjects either don’t see him, or are so comfortable with his presence that he becomes invisible to the action. When they do see him, he is still invisible, creating a direct connection between the viewer and the photographed. His compositions also remind me a little of Sam Abell’s - everything seems to fit just right. The composition isn’t forced, but it works beautifully and harmoniously.

My goal is really to plumb the thoughts on creativity, success and photography from several photographers over the next while. Intrigued and inspired by Myllo’s images, his is now the first in a series of interviews that I hope to conduct on a haphazard, but continuing basis. So as the sun bounced of the ridiculously green and lush verges of Alan Paton Road (even the pink storm lilies were in abundance as we were meeting shortly after the start of the new year and the municipal garden services hadn’t gotten around to shearing the grass to it’s usual stub shortness). Myllo Menorah is not new to the field of photography, having worked professionally for some time under another name. Then, several years ago he took a sabbatical from photography to work as a church pastor in his home community outside Amanzimtoti. He describes the move as just getting off the radar as the pressure of commercial photography was impinging on his personal life in a way that he didn’t want it to. (warning sidenote! - this is a long, largely transcribed verbatim, interview. That's what happens when you put two individuals absolutely obsessed with what they do together)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Defining Success in Photography

There’s an elusive goal that we all seem to strive for in our various walks of life. Success. We want to be successful in life, in our work, in love. We crave success, but are slow to actually work out what that success entails. It might be worded slightly differently, but I hear this clamour from photographers both amateur or professional, all seeking success. I am one of them, which is why I finally worked out that I actually need to sit down and figure out what it is that I mean by success.
Defining success it turns out, is very difficult. There seems to be three general measures of success: financial, recognition and fulfillment. Success can be to an individual any one of, or a combination of these three. So how do we define a successful photographer? Is it financial success? It seems to be the easiest measure of ‘success’ after all. If the photographer is wealthy they are successful. If a photographer is paid hefty sums to produce images (and some images which others may even question the artistic merit of - but this is art after all) are they successful? Conversely does this mean that a financially struggling photographer isn’t a success. Or do we assume that the struggling photographer lives through their struggle so that they become a success in their own death (the classic ‘appreciated after they are gone’ paradigm ala van Gogh). This also introduces the point that not all photographers want to make money from their art.