Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Though I miss a lot of things about my old camera, this new one has rejuvenated me! I suddenly feel like there are a whole lot of things waiting to be photographed again! Here's one I took today. I generally don't do flowers and whatnot, but I thought the DoF and ugly background here made this interesting.
...and here's a photo of me and my new baby, a 365 day project outtake.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The moment we have all (okay, just me!) been waiting for!
MY NEW DIGITAL CAMERA CAME. My cute little baby :), a Canon EOS RebelG XT, all boxed up for waiting for me to come take it. I know it sounds like it was shipped to me, but in fact, I had the camera shipped to my family in California, and they sent the camera with a friend who was coming to Egypt. It was a very long, difficult process, because this friend didn’t have room in her luggage, and at the same time, would not allow my mom to pay the fee should the bags go over weight. My mom ended up shipping it to her at her lay-over stop (she was staying for a few days), because then she would have more space.
So, it took a lot to get here. It was actually supposed to come with my roommate’s sister. She came to visit a little while back, but the camera arrived to my family’s house one day after she left. So as you can see, I have been waiting on edge for this camera for quite a while now.
Still, I felt a little sad as I removed the standard lens from my old 35mm Canon EOS RebelG and put it on my new camera. The digital one shall be taking the place of the film camera in my camera bag, and the 35mm will only be pulled out occasionally from now on, more for fun and for old time’s sake than anything.
My new camera has all these buttons on it! The strap is really sleek and fancy looking and even the texture of the camera itself is a little different…nice to see these advances in technology. I just realized that I have no idea how to use my new camera, even though it is supposed to be easier than 35mm. I guess I have some reading to do…
Oh, and here is some candy for yours eyes (or not?). These are photos from my last two rolls of film ever apparently. I sent the rolls back to the states with my mom to be developed in a real lab and the CDs came with her friend as well.
This is a candid of a fisherman in Muntazah,
And this one wasn’t one of those, but I like it too:
This was taken in
Oh, and yesterday was the most beautiful I have ever seen
Monday, February 25, 2008
So every time I am feeling homesick or down, I start hanging things up on my closet. The paint they use here doesn’t allow for hanging things up on the wall, and my closet is big and not particularly attractive, so I hang photos on it. Here is what I did the other day:
This is a collection of some of my favorite fashion photos since I was a kid. I don’t know why I saved them, but I am glad I did. So I figured I could break them down and talk about each one, where it came from, why I like it. I think I’ll do one a day, until I get bored.
This is the first one, please bear with me since I don’t have a scanner and just took a picture of it:
This image came from an editorial in ElleGirl Magazine perhaps 3 or 4 years ago – you know it has to have been a long time ago since ElleGirl has long since gone belly up. ElleGirl was considered an alternative teenage girl magazine next to Seventeen and CosmoGirl, and that is why I liked it so much
So this was supposed to be an editorial basically about what to wear to the Curiosa music festival that was occurring later that year. I am not sure if this festival still exists, or if they changed the name or what.
I love rock music and I have been to many a festival. I really don’t think the outfits selected for the photo are very indie-rock-festival-worthy. However, what I do like is the model on the left. Something about her facial expression, her pose, the way her jeans are half in the boots and half not, just seem really natural to me – and that makes it rock. Plus, the girl on the left has a rather cool outfit, even though it’s not particularly music festival-ly. The background gives you the vibe that something really is going down in this place, and these girls are going to be there for all of the action, and I really like that. Perhaps the indie-rocker in me just likes the pending excitement for live music seen in this picture – but the model on the left is very convincing, in an indie-rock-boho way. The model on the right does nothing for me. Even her outfit screams magazine-attempting-to-make-rock-and-make-it-fashionable. Rock and roll is about being wild and dirty, not about being primp and fashionable.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
It took me a really long time to get the nerve to big taking self-portraits, though I brought my tripod along with me to Egypt because I knew it would happen eventually, more so because I would miss photographing people rather than just the urge to take on the challenge.
I have always really admired people who are avid self-portraitists. Taking self-portraits is a challenge, because you have to be an excellent photographer and an excellent model to get a really great photo, and it is definitely hard to do both at the same time. My two favorite self-portraits are Lara Jade and Diana Pinto – they’re both superb at it, and Diana in particular is willing to make some sacrifices for her photos that a model might not be willing to do, such as wear a string of steaks as a necklace or pour black nail polish on her face and photograph as it drips down her forehead. I also really enjoy Alli Jiang – her self-portraits are more artistic than fashion based, like I would say Lara and Diana’s are, and that makes them electrifying.
One thing I like about self-portraits is that you will always allow yourself to be used for a shot that isn’t necessarily flattering to your look, if it is artsy. Don’t get my wrong – I love making people look beautiful in my photos, but sometimes beauty must be sacrificed to give the picture an equally exhilarating, but less pretty, tone or mood.
I took one self-portrait when I first got here, and though it’s a nice picture or whatever, it doesn’t have the interesting edge I like my photos to have, so I decided to leave self-portraiture. Here is my first self-portrait ever:
Since, I have been trying to continuously improve my self-portraiture technique. It’s a little hard due to limited resources and being limited to the house, since I am a little afraid of setting up a tripod outside and just photographing myself, especially since I live in
Day 1: The Difference between dark and light
Day 2: She Spider
Day 3: Protect Me From What I Want
Day 4: The End of the Line
Day 5 The Apparition in the Mirror
I like them alright, but of course feel like there is room for improvement. I really had wanted to use my cool geometric shape carpet in a shoot and I finally did in “The End of the Line.” I feel like this project will allow me to develop myself as a photographer and I am eager to do this. Also, I think that every picture will show a little bit more about you, which is nice. I think the viewers should be allowed to peak into the photographer’s personality, if only a little bit.
“The Apparition in the Mirror” needs some photoshoping to get the eerie mood I was going for, but unfortunately, I don’t know much photoshop beyond photo retouching. I tried, as you can see, but I may save the original for later…That is actually what my closet here in
In case you’re interested in knowing, most of these were taken using only natural light coming from my window, and sometimes I turned on the room light as well. This would have been a problem had it not been for the slow shutter speed + the tripod. This is also the reason some of these photos are side-lit…the window is only on one side of my room!
Oh, and since this blog is like my photography “behind the scenes,” here’s my favorite outtake from the “The End of the Line” shoot with myself. I liked the playfulness of the pose, but in the end I liked “The End of the Line” better.
My name is Lara and this is my first entry in the blog, which from now on will be known as Lara’s super amazing photography blogs of photography and other things of similar interest. Well, no…it won’t quite be called that. But this is my space to discuss photography with you, or at least to write things that are picking my brain at the time.
Here are a few of the works I have done. Sorry about the watermarks! You just can’t be too careful, you know. You can see more works at my Website (LaraHamdan.com), or at my Flickr. I also have a DeviantArt page if you’re interested in purchasing some of my prints.
Candids and Street:
I’ve always been into photography, though I only recently started the practice of photography. My dad was really into still-life when I was a kid, and one of my best friends in college was an avid photographer, also very into still-life. My dad no longer practices photography (he gave me his tripod, which is cool), and I am no longer friends with that person. But I am thankful to each of them for giving me the desire to learn and begin photographing.
I am also thankful for my best friend’s encouragement. NJ and I spent the entire last summer (2007) together, doing what we called “photoadventures,” and some photo shoots. “Photoadventures” is the activity of going to a new place every so often and just photographing what the area has to offer – still-life, candids and street portraits. We started out with still-life, progressed to portraits, and I have since taken a great liking to candids. They are challenging to do, especially to get a great shot, and that’s what makes it so fun and rewarding.
We dabbled with fashion photography for a little while, left it and then picked it up again. We started off photographing each other, then worked with our first model TFCD, Aki, and then worked with a female model named
However, in September 2007, NJ went back to uni, and I left for
The Way I Tick
The main aspect of fashion I enjoy is editorial and high-fashion. I also enjoy some glamor, so long as it is interesting. I love conceptual fashion shoots and working on location. I think concepts are as important as the photography itself, because they tell a story and make a photograph interesting. I believe I have an eye for photography, but also a mind for concepts. The beauty of fashion photography is that it allows you to be imaginative, to make something fantastical.
I’m not sure if I want to take photography as a career. I enjoy it so much, I sometimes think that by trying to make money off of it, I may ruin it for myself. I also have other career goals which are important to me, and everyone knows it is very difficult to make a living from photography.
The only thing I do know is that I want to make art, and I want to share it with people.
Notice I didn’t mention stylists – this is because I prefer to do all of my own styling. I like to mix high-end and low-end, modern and vintage. So generally, I am in no need of a stylist, unless I am working with a very particular theme (or with a guy!). I would be willing to work with one with pay.
I have up until now been working with a 35mm Canon EOS RebelG. It’s about ten years old and I bought it for $30 from a guy on Craigslist. He also gave me the standard lens, a sigma telephoto lens (70-300mm f4/5.6), the manual and a bag. I named the camera Malcolm, because I name everything. I think this was a pretty good deal, and I certainly have used the camera enough to make the money worthwhile.
I chose film because, well, the camera was cheaper for one. Secondly, I do enjoy the surprise when you develop the roll, the sound the camera makes after each photo, and saturation in the photos. I couldn’t afford a digital camera at the time, so the film was fine.
I became demoralized, and decided I needed a digital camera if I intended to continue photographing. I paid $400 for a Canon Rebel XT, a slight upgrade from my last camera. I purchased the body only with the intent of using my current lens with it. It should be arriving sometimes next week, and I can barely hold myself with excitement!
Any self-portraits you see of me have been done with my crappy point and shoot and then edited to make the colors look like the photo came of a proper camera. This will change when that new camera comes…and I will of course let you know when that happens.
As for lighting, I generally use natural light when available. I have yet to buy a lighting kit because I am not going back to the states for a while, and I am not sure I want to buy one here, but I am looking into it. Photos with artificial lighting, taken before I came to