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Sam Hon Shoots UFC Fighters with Hasselblad H4D

Sam Hon always had an affinity for the arts. From Chinese painting as a child, to graphic design in high school and college, Hon eventually settled down with photography, the field that most artistically inspired him. His background in graphic design and art, plays an important role in the images he creates.

Sam Hon Shoots Urijah Faber

“Optical Panecea was created when I did an image for Urijah Faber, and it was inspired by a story I saw in a youtube clip of him defending himself, when he was in Bali Indonesia, against it was a group of guys, maybe 10-15 guys.” The video inspired an idea for a photoshoot where Faber would be fighting himself. Taking photos from a variety of positions, Faber had no idea what the final product would look like. The final image delivered was a panoramic composite of Urijah in combat with himself. Blown away by the photo, Urijah approached Hon and said, “We’re starting a company.” Optical Panecea was formed under the collaboration of these two talents.

“Chael Sonnen is one of my favorite fighters, I mean, although he is a great fighter; I feel that he is an even better character. He has this charisma that you just can’t look away; you can’t stop listening to him.  Whatever comes out of his mouth is just gold. And he is very political with whatever he says, or completely non political in what he says.” Inspired by his personality and characteristics, Hon envisioned a scene with Chael in a political debate against himself. Using the H4D, Hon was able to place Sonnen in the correct space each time. “I didn’t have time to set him up, mark the spot, come back, remark the spot, so I basically had to pick out where he was. Fortunately Hasselbad has the great big LED screen where you can clearly see the scenes where your subject is, so you can pick out a point whether he is three feet to the left,  four feet to the right, and it’s easy to see it.  You can gage it very easily… I would have him punch and I would be able to see where his hand would line up to the background, from there I could just have him reposition right in front of me, and I am looking at that big LED screen and I have him move into place. From there I can just reset the camera and take the picture.” This led to minimal photoshop work in post production.

See more of Sam Hon’s work at: http://www.opticalpanacea.com/

Photographer Profile: Peter Dawson

“Trust my instincts and creative voice, and keep it simple, positive and joyful.”

 

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When asked about the start of his career, Peter Dawson states:

“I was the designated family road trip photographer starting at around grade 4. My father handed me his manual Ricoh and showed me how to focus and read the internal light meter and I took it from there. We road tripped all over the West, and that is how I first learned to see natural light, and appreciate form and composition.  It also served to plant seeds of some of the more thematic aspects of my images: mystery, beauty, and wonder.

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Fast forwarding to my college years, I was originally a pre-med student in Seattle but always maintained photography as a hobby.  I was an avid hiker and snowboarder, so was constantly toting my camera to the mountains to photograph the landscape and outdoor lifestyle. After two years of studying science, I was burned out and decided to enroll at Brooks Institute of Photography for a change and to explore the more creative side of my make-up. I finished my degree in photography at Brooks and immediately pursued assisting opportunities in Los Angeles.  Before graduating I also Interned at an Ad Agency in LA with an Art Buyer, which was so valuable to see how photography is viewed from the buyer’s side, and the inner workings of an agency.

I was a horrible photo assistant! There were a few photographers who kept me on as a third assistant, but I just wasn’t handy enough with rigging, and all the different types of equipment that I hadn’t been exposed to yet.  I learned what I needed to about the industry (how an advertising shoot works, how the photographer interacts with everyone on set, etc.) and then started pursuing my own assignments.

I slowly gained a few editorial clients and music industry clients, then began showing my work at ad agencies.  Many Art Buyers loved my landscape photography and encouraged me to shoot cars as a natural fit for my aesthetic in the advertising world.  I followed their advice and developed a car and landscape portfolio, gained some editorial clients, and then moved into advertising.  I now have a diverse group of clients in advertising and editorial, shooting cars, people, and location-based conceptual work, and have representation with Anderson Hopkins in NYC.

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For me, I honestly can’t point to one moment. It has been a steady climb of very hard work, risk, generous help and interest from others, artistic development, and business skill development.  It’s truly a marathon, and each press of the shutter or hand-shake is another step. I still have much to learn and am excited to keep going!

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I learned much of the technical side of photography in school to where it is now second nature.  The greatest way I have found to learn technique is to simply look at a lot of photography.  Find aspects of an image that I am drawn to, dissect how it was made, and apply it to my own vision.

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My photo heroes actually aren’t photographers, but people in different disciplines who see the world in a unique way, and in a way that I connect with. Examples would be Terrence Malick, Sergio Leone, CS Lewis, Albert Bierstadt, Lewis and Clark, Henryck Gorecki, and many others.”

Like any career, the job has it’s ups and downs. Dawson discusses his favorite, and least favorite part of being a photographer.

“I was only half joking with a friend the other day when I said that being a photographer now means 14-hour days in front of a computer!

The freedom, exploration, and creative thought-life. And of course, the people I get to meet and interact with,” says Peter on his favorite aspect of photography.

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When asked why he chooses to shoot with a Hasselblad, Peter states:

“The file size and quality….Especially when shooting for my car clients, they frequently need to do extreme cropping to accommodate very different media layouts from a single page vertical to a billboard horizontal. The file quality and sharpness needs to hold through some pretty adventurous cropping!

I love the H-series lenses.  The 3.5 50mm is my go-to.  Many wide-angle lenses claim to be sharp edge-to-edge, but this is the best one I’ve found.

Long exposure capabilities: I’m frequently shooting long exposures for all kinds of reasons…low lighting, night images, motion blur for cars, rig shots of cars, light streaks, water blur in my landscapes, etc.  The image quality at long exposures is way better then any 35mm dslr, and this may seem small but i love it: easy mirror lock up, and the mirror stays up for sequences of exposures until you press for it to come down again.

The viewfinder is mind-blowing…somehow it looks better than real…it’s difficult to explain but for some reason it’s easier for me to pre-visualize the final image when looking through compared to other cameras.”

See more of Peter Dawson’s work at www.peterdawson.net

Lara Jade; Creating Images of Romanticism, Fantasy with a Tint of Darkness

I first picked up a camera at the age of fourteen – photography was very exciting to me, I had no technical skill but with a very good eye for detail and due to an early encouragement to painting and drawing from my parents I was able to put my creativity into play. My mother & father are both very creative even though their main career choices weren’t so – my mother was a make up artist for Mary Quant at eighteen and my dad had always been very crafty with hobbies – painting figurines for holiday seasons and drawing. Although none of them being photographers or with no early photography influence I guess you could say that is where my initial creative freedom came from.

London opened my eyes to fashion and the world of the ‘industry’, I realised I was no longer the girl from a small hometown who would earn money from portraiture and that I’d let myself into a city of very talented photographers who were all striving for the same jobs and editorial shoots. It taught me to be quick on my feet and to even be remotely noticed you’d have to constantly be knocking doors, emailing and shooting. You can’t stop because you fall behind.

o    How do you learn your techniques?

Self-teaching. I’ve found the process of reading books and seminars quite tedious. Almost everything I know is through trial and error and re-trying ideas and processes over and over again. This is why I didn’t enjoy university, everything was notebook style and I’d often forget later on what was going on. I believe in doing something yourself and learning from your mistakes – this is what I try and teach on my photography workshops and I like to put the photographer on the day in a real life shoot environment. If you are experiencing an actual photo shoot from start to finish and you’re put in the deep end immediately you’ll learn very quickly! Even though I have never assisted a photographer I absolutely encourage any photographer to assist – as I mentioned earlier, having that experience and being put in that position immediately is more beneficial and teaches you more than any photographic book or guide could do.
Self-teaching has enabled me to pick up a style that is unique to me – I favor using natural and continuous light over strobes due to my early introduction to photographing on location to save money and I 100% prefer location over studio due to the freedom of the environment. I photograph the way I ‘see’ things and this is only something that you can be familiar with by learning by yourself.

o    Who are your photo heroes?  Or who has inspired your career?

I admire photographers who are unique in their process and imagery. Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel,  Annie Leibovitz, Ellen Von Unwerth, Sally Mann & Tim Walker are some of my favourites, all for  different reasons of course but each individual has their own sense of style and they are inspiring to  me.

o    What is the worst part about doing what you do?

I thoroughly enjoy every part of being a photographer but there’s days where you can be sitting not knowing when the next check is coming through and when you’re waiting on work which sometimes makes you panic but the better days definitely outweigh the bad!    

o    What is the best part?

The obvious – being able to have a job that you love doing and meeting/working with amazing people along the way! As well as shooting for well known brands and publications I am lucky enough to have connections in all parts of the world so I am able to travel with my work. I am currently teaching seminars to amateur and professional photographers in cities and exotic locations worldwide.

Lara Jade Photography

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