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More Inspirational Fashion Images

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NJAL’s Katja Horvat questions whether fashion photography has a future amidst the radical shifts in publishing. How does our current technological milieu fundamentally alter fashion photography as we know it? Is the ubiquity of smartphones, advance in-image editing applications, social media, and the rise of fashion film rendering the canonised medium of fashion photography obsolete?

The evolution of photography over the last two centuries demonstrates the medium’s capacity for vigour and until recently, it’s showed no sign of internal exhaustion. Yet, if we focus on fashion photography today, one could say it’s visibly exhausted in an era of constant technological acceleration. What’s going on right now is the paroxysm of styles, and an array of new publishing formats redefining what was formerly known as photography, to the contemporary realm of “image-making”. Where there is no a priori criterion and where there is no enshrined narrative for fashion imagery, everyone can become a photographer, and with the right resources, a successful one. Yet “success” doesn’t always equate to “skill”. 

Now more than ever, our current technological milieu is altering the market, but the majority of buzzy young names in fashion photography will not pass the test of time. Simon Rasmussen, Stylist & Creative Director/Editor in Chief of Office Magazine NYC, says: “Everybody can overnight become a fashion photographer and we see younger and younger photographers shooting editorials and executing look books and such. The successful ones already have a huge following due to their knowledge of how social media works and the power within.” It would seem that though these young photographers might not lack the talent or the creative mindset, it remains increasingly difficult for these photographers to sustain the momentum of their social-media accrued hype for more than a fleeting moment. If these photographers are making work for the immaterial age, and it solely relies on the currency of “likes”, will they have the energy to pursue their practice in the long run?  

Hype in the most contemporary sense is a product of social media. Internet based social media has made it possible for one person to communicate with thousands of other people and migrate content to micro-communities aggregated under niche, and organised hashtags. In the context of mass-marketing, social media has reoriented our economy of attention and the entire landscape of traditional advertising and publishing has had to rapidly adapt.

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough, while speaking to BoF Founder Imran Amed even said, “Blogs posting things about us, going viral, spiraling throughout the internet and it has an extraordinary impact on the business.” So, what we are witnessing can be described as a revolution – one that can be felt all around us, even if we are not actively involved in it. It’s dominating all aspects of our world, even the way we use Internet. 

Saša Štucin, Co-Founder of Soft Baroque and Editor at Large at POP Magazine, recounts an opinionated post by Matthews Leifheit on Facebook. Leifheit referenced New York Times photography critic Teju Cole in conversation with Geoff Dyer, Ivan Vladislavic and Laura Weller. The conversation addressed Instagram and the impact of mass imagery on social media will have on photography. Leifheit responded to the photographer’s negative response to their contemporary condition and questioned, “If you’re tired of the billions of photographs that the kids are taking, then maybe you’re tired of photography?”

Though Štucin doesn’t wholly agree, she did say that Leifheit’s statement is the “realest thing I’ve heard in response to that conversation.” Štucin does believe that society has to progress in tandem with technology. “This is 2015, and there’s a very rich, intense and incessant output of photography going on around us, and all the time. Photography is not just, you know, black and white stuff made with plate glass cameras by old white dudes,” she says bluntly. Štucin alludes to a distinction between “high” and “low” photography today that seems somewhat ironic, given the historic struggle photography endured to become a rarefied artistic medium in the first place. At its inception, photography was never considered art and firmly sidelined to the realm of science.

Today, the medium of fashion photography is fractured, given the rise of fashion film as the industry’s new medium of choice for both artistic expression and campaign advertising. Yet, there will always be true grit photographers committed to preserving the art of still photography, even when the very notion becomes archaic. There will be photographers invested in the medium’s rampant technological acceleration, as there are photographers committed to preserving by-gone analogue aesthetics and their outdated apparatuses. Today, the large proportion of photographers working inside in fashion, have to be more flexible with their skills and knowledge, as well as aware of the effects, and the social-media applications which will proliferate attention, and once again adapt to new shifts in the industry’s parameters for fashion photography.

Social media democracy, and its inherent accessibility has made the fashion industry, and the consumer as diverse as ever. The fashion industry, largely because of social media is defined only by front-end, consumer-facing innovation. No longer are the rarefied print pages of a niche fashion bible ripe ground for brands to visually communicate with their customers. Today, 91% of all consumer engagement happens on Instagram, and it’s this very application as well as its limitations that have redefined the parameters of traditional photography and presentation. Tech-enabled methodologies deliver different results as we know it, all visual information is pushed, pulled and shared on every media platform there is, and as a result, quality is no longer heralded over quantity. This era of accelerationism churns out content at an aggressive rate, and discourages smarter, and informed decision-making by its very design.

Simon Rasmussen says, “I truly believe that traditional photography is still alive and it’s a part of my job as an Editor for a print magazine to maintain a high level and demonstrate excellent quality of control in all images we put out there.” While Rasmussen is quick to champion emerging talent across all creative disciplines, he also notes the “huge difference between young, self-taught photographers versus an experienced photographer who went through school and assisted for a decade.” The distinct differences separating these creative generations isn’t just quality, but everything from professionalism, technique, aesthetic affinity, and a more general approach.

Perhaps the most glaring difference for Rasmussen is the younger photographer’s propensity for social media, “I hope that younger photographers aren’t just booked for their Instagram clout anymore,” he says.  There’s no doubt a social media “clout-score” will be important to some, but Rasmussen explicitly prefers that his young photographer do not even have an Instagram account. “Luckily taste and aesthetics is still something you have to have and cannot just simply copy and repost,” adds Rasmussen.

Do the fundamental changes in fashion photography as a medium reflect the paradigm shifts unfolding in wider society? The context of creativity has drastically changed; it’s no longer simply about the medium or a single artistic discipline but a cross-pollination. Photography can readily align itself with fine art, architecture, politics, just as fashion photography emerged as a distinct medium amongst photography’s wider interdisciplinary engagement. However, what has changed is that the formula of skill, knowledge and process is no longer a criterion for the medium’s success. Instead, its ruled by an immediate currency of reaction, and its ability to capture and harvest data, which in a fashion context—translates into sales.

It’s this unapologetic commercial alignment that’s also driving a younger generation to preserve the archaic process and practice of traditional photography. Though it’s less about conservation for these younger creatives, the tanglible labour, and mosaic processes of physical photography is a bold, artistic statement in the age of immaterialty. It’s about carving out a niche aesthetic and cultural cachet that sets you apart from the Instagram-ready masses. This cross-pollination of process and practice, and by-gone aesthetics with metaphysical modernism is resulting in a hybrid of new aesthetics and anti-aesthetic styles, where traditional techniques and contemporary technological freedoms intermingle. Saša Štucin adds that these contemporary conditions are symptomatic of, “thinking about what photography could be if we forget what we know about photography entireley.” 

The metamorphosis of the photographic medium is forgetting its preconceptions without ignoring them. While we can’t necessarily predict what the fashion industry will look like in the future, one thing remains certain, and that’s documentating fashion will become even more intricate and complex in its design and dissemination.

 

 

Written by Christopher Kilkus

May 2nd, 2017 at 7:07 am

Beautiful Photography

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Written by Christopher Kilkus

April 30th, 2017 at 7:08 am

Posted in Chris Kilkus

THE ART OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

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Here are some images from my archive of favorite photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melvin Sokolsky, Simone wears fashion by Venet, River Seine, Paris, American Harper’s Bazaar, March 1963, © Melvin Sokolsky/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Melvin Sokolsky, Simone wears fashion by Venet, River Seine, Paris, American Harper’s Bazaar, March 1963, © Melvin Sokolsky/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The photographer David Bailey described a fashion photograph simply as ‘a portrait of someone wearing a dress’. The roots of the profession are found in Victorian society portraiture. From as early as the 1840s, debutantes, actresses and dancers posed in their finery for portrait photographers, just as their mothers had sat for the great portrait painters of their day.

Yet Bailey’s own work shows the transformative power of the camera lens. Irving Penn, the photographer with the longest tenure in the history of Vogue magazine, saw his role as ‘selling dreams, not clothes.’ Beyond the simple recording of fabric and surface detail, the most memorable images fulfil or challenge the desires and aspirations of the viewer.

Fashion photography has never existed in a vacuum. Photographers have continually pushed boundaries, and the tension between artistic and commercial demands has generated great creativity and technical innovation. Whether as fashion shoots or advertisements, these images reflect contemporary culture, world events and the dramatic shifts in women’s roles throughout the 20th century.


Cecil Beaton, In the Manner of the Edwardians, Mary Taylor wears Channel, American Vogue, 1935. Museum no. PH.191-1977, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Cecil Beaton, In the Manner of the Edwardians, Mary Taylor wears Channel, American Vogue, 1935. Museum no. PH.191-1977, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A glittering new century

In 1911, at the height of Europe’s golden age of prosperity and elegance, the American photographer Edward Steichen photographed models wearing dresses by the designer Paul Poiret. Thirteen soft-focus images were printed in the magazine Art et Décoration, and Steichen later proclaimed them ‘the first serious fashion photographs ever made.’

In an earlier, pre-photography age, fashion magazines such as Le Costume Français and Journal des Dames et des Modes had included engraved illustrations but had only a limited readership. Advancements in printing processes in the 1890s allowed photographs to be printed on the same page as text, and fashion magazines became more widely available.

In 1909, the publisher Condé Nast bought an American social magazine entitled Vogue. He transformed it into a high-class fashion publication with international aspirations. Swiftly followed by the re-launched Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue sought to capture the spirit and fashions of New York, London and Paris through innovative photography and a growing supply of glamorous models.


Ilse Bing, Salut de Schiaparelli, Perfume Advertisement, 1934, © Estate of Ilse Bing/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Ilse Bing, Salut de Schiaparelli, Perfume Advertisement, 1934, © Estate of Ilse Bing/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Challenging perceptions

The cultural movement of Surrealism had a profound impact on fashion magazines in the 1920s and ’30s. Paintings by Salvador Dalí and Giorgio de Chirico featured in Vogue alongside avant-garde photographs by Man Ray. Some fashion photographers adopted their revolutionary principles, attempting to give visual expression to the unconscious mind. New techniques and unexpected juxtapositions were used to challenge perceptions of reality, to amuse and to disturb.

Such bold experiments riled Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase, who wrote angrily to her staff in 1938:

‘Concentrate completely on showing the dress, light it for this purpose and if that can’t be done with art then art be damned. Show the dress.’

As chief photographer of French Vogue, and later of Harper’s Bazaar, Baron George Hoyningen-Huene inspired a generation. His own work reflected a painterly fascination with light, shade and classical forms. His protégé Horst P. Horst produced similarly inventive images, fusing surreal and classical motifs.


Erwin Blumenfeld, Model and Mannequin, American Vogue Cover, 1 November 1945, © Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Erwin Blumenfeld, Model and Mannequin, American Vogue Cover, 1 November 1945, © Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Post-war revival

During the Second World War ‘make do and mend’ was the prevailing approach to fashion. As the world gradually recovered from the horrors of war, a fresh cohort of designers emerged. The desire to embrace glamour and femininity after years of wartime austerity found its most extreme expression in Christian Dior’s New Look, launched in 1947, with its nipped-in waists and extravagantly full skirts.

The elegantly sensual vision of photographer Lillian Bassman complemented the new fashions. She pioneered an approach in which evoking a mood took precedence over depicting the details of the clothes. Bassman’s grainy images frustrated Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, who warned her in 1949,

‘You are not here to make art, you are here to show the buttons and bows.’

Erwin Blumenfeld also pushed the boundaries of experimental fashion photography. He favoured Kodachrome colour film, which enabled his vivid images to leap from the magazine page.


John French, Skater wears a Digby Morton fur trimmed velvet coat, city gentleman, Michael Bentley in the background, London. Daily Express, 1955, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

John French, Skater wears a Digby Morton fur trimmed velvet coat, city gentleman, Michael Bentley in the background, London. Daily Express, 1955, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Shooting in the city

In the 1950s a fresh dynamism infected the major fashion magazines as photographers adopted a more spontaneous, photojournalistic approach. Models spilled out onto city streets, studio backdrops were replaced by city skylines.

In 1957 Richard Avedon photographed a model striding along the Place François-Premier in Paris for American Harper’s Bazaar. She appears mid-step, her Cardin coat billowing behind her. Both feet are off the ground, as though a gust of wind has lifted her into the air. Avedon titled the photograph In Homage to Munkácsi, a reference to one of the first fashion photographers to work primarily outside the studio. Writing ahead of the trend in his 1935 article Think While You Shoot, Martin Munkácsi advised:

‘Never pose your subjects. Let them move about naturally. All great photographs today are snapshots.’

This new cinematic vision was vigorously promoted by the powerful art directors Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar and Alexander Liberman at Vogue.


Ronald Traeger, Twiggy wears Twiggy Dresses, Battersea Park, London. Unpublished Fashion Study for British Vogue, Young Idea, July 1967, © Estate of Ronald Traeger/Vogue The Condé Nast Publications Ltd/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Ronald Traeger, Twiggy wears Twiggy Dresses, Battersea Park, London. Unpublished Fashion Study for British Vogue, Young Idea, July 1967, © Estate of Ronald Traeger/Vogue The Condé Nast Publications Ltd/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Sixties liberation

In the 1960s the feminist movement gathered pace as women campaigned against inequality. In the fashion world, the structured formality of 1950s designs gave way to a more youthful look and the body was liberated from constricting undergarments and corsetry. New designers and photographers emerged, their work showcased in magazines such as Queen (relaunched 1957) and Nova (launched 1965).

Photographer David Bailey was employed to revamp the ‘Young Idea’ section of British Vogue. His vivacious documentary approach, and those of other London-based photographers, turned teenage models such as Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy into international stars, the embodiment of Swinging London. The mood was captured in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blowup (1966), in which David Hemmings starred as a character partly based on Bailey.

From 1966 onwards, exotic fabrics, clashing patterns and colours were boldly combined. Penelope Tree’s unconventional looks made her the ideal model for the hippy fashions popular in the latter part of the decade.


Arthur Elgort, Wendy Whitelaw, Park Avenue. Personal picture taken on American Vogue fashion shoot, July 1981, © Arthur Elgort/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Arthur Elgort, Wendy Whitelaw, Park Avenue. Personal picture taken on American Vogue fashion shoot, July 1981, © Arthur Elgort/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Picturing femininity

In the 1970s photographers increasingly tested the limits of acceptable fashion imagery. They engaged with society’s changing attitudes towards femininity and sexuality, and the potentially controversial themes of religion and violence often informed their work.

These fashion images invited viewers to be voyeurs of highly charged scenes. Helmut Newton’s work brought together themes of emotional ambiguity and sex, capturing confident women in glamorous and contrived settings. Guy Bourdin and Gian Paolo Barbieri created darkly provocative images, which focused less on garments and more on the character of the woman beneath.

The notion of ideal beauty broadened in mainstream magazines with the more regular use of black and androgynous models. The photographers Deborah Turbeville and Sarah Moon were both former models and their engagement with the female form was distinct from that of their male counterparts. Their contemplative images provided female perspectives on the themes of beauty and sexual objectification.


Corinne Day, Woman dancing at a London club, 1992, © The Estate of Corinne Day/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Corinne Day, Woman dancing at a London club, 1992, © The Estate of Corinne Day/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Capturing real life

In the 1980s, new style publications aimed at both sexes emerged as a counterpoint to the airbrushed perfection of the major glossy magazines. They featured articles on contemporary music, culture and emerging trends. Their pages were populated with figures representing alternative types of beauty, who were often not professional models.

Portraits by Steve Johnson of punks and New Wave youth appeared in i-D magazine. The images became known as ‘straight ups’ as they showed the figure in full. The approach garnered many imitators, keen to capture personal and innovative street fashions.

In the 1990s, the leading exponents of this naturalistic, documentary approach to fashion photography included Corinne Day, David Sims, Craig McDean and Jason Evans. At the heart of their work lay an interest in everyday life and real people, celebrated for all the flaws that make them individual and uniquely beautiful.


Miles Aldridge, Blooming #3, 2007, © Miles Aldridge/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Miles Aldridge, Blooming #3, 2007, © Miles Aldridge/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fiction and fantasy

Today’s most dazzling fashion images are rich with colourful and poetic narratives. Big budgets, set designers and multiple stylists are employed to create elaborate fantasies. Photographer Miles Aldridge describes the process as akin to making a film:

‘If the world were pretty enough, I’d shoot on location all the time. But the world is just not being designed with aesthetics as a priority. What I’m trying to do is take something from real life and reconstruct it in a cinematic way … condensed emotion, condensed colour, condensed light.’

Just as fashion designers reinvent and recycle the trends of decades past, photographers often look to their forebears for inspiration. Tim Walker conjures a whimsical, technicolour England, inspired by the opulence of Cecil Beaton’s early work and classic children’s fairytales.

For the past century women’s fashions have dominated magazines, but in recent years more publications aimed at male readers have emerged. The V&A is now consciously collecting men’s fashion images to reflect this growing area.

This content was originally written to accompany the display Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography, on at the V&A South Kensington 28 March – 4 May 2014

Written by Christopher Kilkus

April 30th, 2017 at 5:48 am

GETTING INSPIRED BY AMAZING FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

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A list of websites that feature the hottest editorials ever published

We all pull inspiration from different sources. For some, it’s books and/or magazines that we go to for visual inspiration. For others, it could be going to a gallery and seeing art hanging on the walls, in person, in all its glory. And yet now, because of the internet, it seems we are finding our inspiration regularly from various websites. In my opinion, some of these sites aren’t so good. On the other hand, though, some sites really stand out!!

 

 

So where do I go when I want to look at some truly inspirational work? There are a few sites I signed up for their email updates because they consistently show great work by photographers who’s work I truly admire. Then there are other sites I just check in on every once in awhile when I find the time to surf the web, which truth be told, isn’t that often and getting less and less these days. However, I have to admit, it’s good for me to keep up to date on who’s being published and where. There’s a lot of amazing websites out there but for this list I want to highlight the sites that showcase awesome and beautiful editorials. Not every site on this list features an editorial all the time, but for the most part, they do. And it’s these sites that draw me back repeatedly because of their discerning taste.

 

Take note: while I think it’s perfectly fine to be inspired with other people’s work, take care to use their work as inspiration and not to copy. Use your own unique way of seeing to execute your own vision. That’s key to developing your eye. And stream lining your style

 

AND: (no, I’m not done yet) I have this to add as well. I think a lot of young people (young photographers) do this thing I call “compare and despair”. It’s where you go out and shoot what you feel is a fairly good shoot and then race home, jump on the computer and start comparing yourself to photographers who have been shooting for 20, 30, maybe even 40 years more than you have. You then cancel out any good feelings you might have for your own work. Try to look at the following sites for visual aids to help inspire you, not make you feel thwarted, thereby squelching your own natural learning curve.

 

Lastly, I’d love to know if you have any sites that you guys frequent. It’s always good to hear about what you find inspiring. I’m sure the other readers would love to read about them as well.

 

The List:

 

  1. Haute Macabre http://hautemacabre.com/
    One of my favorites sites to visit. I’m subscribed to them and I check every email. I might not click through every one but they are at the top of my list because they regularly feature two of my favorite photographers, Javier Valhonrat and Paolo Roversi. Plus, they’re theme leans towards beautiful gothic looks. Which is a big part of my own style, I think. And….well…..they’ve featured me on their site. That’s always a plus.
  2. Cali Kartel http://calikartel.com/
    Cali Kartel has consistently great editorials. I haven’t been featured on there, which unnerved me at first since I once LIVED in Cali and I’m FROM Cali. Still, not one to hold a grudge, this site rocks!
  3. Ben Trovato http://bentrovatoblog.com/
    A site dedicated to showcasing exclusive fashion editorials by up-and-coming photographers.
  4. Fashion Gone Rogue http://fashiongonerogue.com/
    Up to date, current, still on the newsstands fashion editorials delivered right to your monitor! Fabulous site.
  5. The Fashionisto http://thefashionisto.com/
    All men’s editorial features. And since I shoot men and love shooting men, I like to see what’s being published out there.
  6. The Contributing Editor http://thecontributingeditor.com/
    I fell in love with The Contributing Editor awhile ago. They always feature gorgeous men’s editorials.
  7. Homotography http://homotography.blogspot.com/
    The hottest of the men’s editorials.
  8. The Ones 2 Watch http://theones2watch.com/
    Because you should be watching the ones to watch. ; )
  9. The Photography Link http://thephotographylink.com/
    Their motto says it all: “Because Images are Everything”. I agree.
  10. Fashion Editorials http://fashioneditorials.com/
    This aptly named site has exactly what their url promises: Fashion Editorials. While they sort of run the same editorials that Fashion Gone Rogue does, sometimes you’ll find some random spreads that are worth taking a look at.
  11. The House of Editorial http://houseofeditorial.com/
    I love this site because they run the editorials that everybody else isn’t running, which is important. The work they feature is just as gorgeous and just as compelling as the “bigger magazine” spreads.
  12. Noir Façade http://noirfacade.livejournal.com/
    This is a livejournal site and it’s well thought out. I love most of the stories they feature.
  13. Paper Mode http://papermode.trendland.net/
    Great resource for looking up older editorials that are outstanding in every way!

 

 

 

 

Written by Christopher Kilkus

April 26th, 2017 at 7:04 am

SHARING SOME INSPIRATION FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

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Diving into my inspiration files today to pick out some of my favorite images from some of my favorite photographers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fashion photographers are the new painters,” Peter Lindbergh said as he prepared the show of his dramatic black-and-white images that opened last week at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris. Who would have guessed in the heady 1980s — when Mr. Lindbergh’s new, natural images of Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and others created the supermodel — that the art world would lose its disdain for fashion photography’s commercialism?

Today, fashion photography is art’s rising star, drawing large crowds to exhibitions (which produce much-needed revenue from sponsorships, rentals and even merchandise) and enticing more collectors. Even the fashion industry itself is showing more respect for the form.

Big names are in museum spotlights, from Horst’s classical elegance since Sept. 6 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to Mario Testino’s “Alta Moda,” Peruvians in local dress, at Dallas Contemporary from Sept. 21.

The Sims Reed Gallery in London, which shows prints, is capitalizing on the trend, too, exhibiting fashion photography for the first time, starting this week with Miles Aldridge’s hyper-real, sensual photos, including the sunbathing woman in “Tan Lines” (12,000 pounds, or about $19,400) alongside his preliminary sketches, lithographs and screen prints. As Lyndsey Ingram, the gallery owner, said, “Showing fashion photographs will set us apart from our competitors.”

Mark McKenna, executive director of the Herb Ritts Foundation, pinpointed the 2008 economic downturn as the catalyst for fashion photography’s emergence.

“People wanted to surround themselves with images of glamour and beauty as things were tough, and fashion photos represented the opposite of what was happening in their day-to-day lives,” he said, noting that there has been a twofold increase in prices for Mr. Ritts’s work since then.

Social media today is giving contemporary fashion photographers a far greater profile than artists, who tend to shy away from public platforms, said Alexander Gilkes, a founder of the online auction house Paddle8. Examples include Steven Klein’s Tumblr account, which displays his archive, most pictures shared and easy contact information, and Nick Knight’s 135,184 Instagram followers.

With the explosion of street-style blogs, Instagram and Pinterest, fashion photography has become the new visual language. “We’re very conscious about what people look like now, so that is how we see photos today,” said Michael Hoppen, whose eponymous gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of London represents fashion favorites such as Ellen von Unwerth and William Klein, whose work was displayed this summer.

“Many photos not shot as fashion images are now seen as fashion, like Klein’s ‘Mamas and Papas,’ which was a street photo when he shot it,” Mr. Hoppen said. “And we’ve recontextualized the picture as we’ve moved away from the time.” (Mr. Hoppen also manages the estate of Guy Bourdin, whose sensuous, provocative fashion images are to be shown in London from Nov. 27 to March 15.)

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, Elizabeth Broun, its director, echoed Mr. Hoppen’s comments, saying, “We are much more accepting of fashion photography because we have moved from high art to an all-embracing visual culture.” The museum has scheduled for October 2015 a major Irving Penn retrospective, which is to include unseen personal work alongside his celebrated fashion images.

The Smithsonian is hoping for big attendance numbers, much like the Museum Bellerive in Zurich did when it chose as its first photography exhibition the touring show “Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast,” which opened in July.

“Models and lifestyle have taken over from film and everybody, including myself, relates to it,” said Jacqueline Greenspan, the museum’s administrative director. As of Sept. 14, 10,345 people had seen the show, the gallery confirmed in an email. It closes Oct. 19.

“It’s not just young people who show up for the first time,” Ms. Greenspan said. “There are a lot of men, which we didn’t expect, as well as a boho crowd, which we’ve never had before.”

Several shows have had the crowds to prove the appeal: Consider the 2012 Ritts exhibit at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which drew 364,656 visitors, or Mr. Lindbergh’s “Images of Woman and the Unknown” this spring at Gallery HDLU in Zagreb, Croatia. It attracted 11,200 visitors in three weeks, making it, the gallery said, the most popular contemporary art event of the last 10 years in Croatia and neighboring countries.

From an art venue’s standpoint, fashion exhibits also produce new commercial opportunities. For example, the luxury outlet giant Value Retail opened its deep purses for the Victoria and Albert for the first time when its shopping centers in Bicester Village in England and Kildare Village in Ireland sponsored the museum’s Horst exhibit.

Brett Rogers, director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London, said the gallery’s rental for corporate events increased an average of 20 percent when it shows fashion photography like the elegant flappers of Edward Steichen and the edgy, vibrant looks of the Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen, both to debut on Oct. 31.

“Some photography shows are too provocative for corporates,” she said, “but beautiful clothes mean more businesses want to be linked with and entertain in these rooms.”

Fashion photography has also become an increasingly attractive investment.

“I prefer to buy a picture instead of putting my money into the stock exchange because I can see it and there are no taxes if you sell today,” said Guilhem Gravier, a Paris-based collector who paid $5,000 in 2002 for his first photograph — Mr. Ritts’s “El Mirage, Versace Dress, Back View” — which is now valued at $60,000. “I don’t trust the financial market, but I trust the fashion photography market because it’s going upwards steadily.”

Auction prices have soared, with fashion photography regularly topping the tallies thanks to famous names such as Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Mr. Penn and now Mr. Lindbergh. For example, two of the three top lots at Christie’s New York photography sale in April were Penn images: “Woman With Roses on Her Arm (Lisa Fonssagrives),” which sold for $185,000, and a black and white Vogue cover image featuring Jean Patchett, $161,000.

However, such prices are modest in comparison with other art forms. Sotheby’s London, for example, sold three oil studies by Francis Bacon for £26.6 million in late June, while Tracey Emin’s unmade bed went for £2.5 million at Christie’s London in January. So in comparison, Kara Vander Weg of the Gagosian Gallery noted, the more affordable price, even for an Avedon print, is a big entry-level draw for new collectors, who eventually may branch out to more expensive works by contemporary artists.

Scarcity has helped fuel fashion photography’s value. There are no reprints of Mr. Avedon’s work, as stipulated in his will, said Ms. Vander Weg, who represents the photographer’s images on behalf of the Gagosian Gallery. Modern-day photographers are limiting their prints too, with Mr. Aldridge distributing just three per photograph to his New York, London and Amsterdam galleries.

“As the Internet has smashed magazines and the print world into smithereens, we are now seeking other forums,” Mr. Aldridge said. “When I take a picture, I wantto make the print big for my galleries, so I shoot on film; in that way it is to be printed for the gallery rather than a magazine.”

International markets also have been responding to fashion photography’s appeal, which is why Arnaud Adida, founder of the A. Galerie in Paris, said in an email interview that he took only fashion images to display at Photo Shanghai, the city’s first international photography fair, held this month.

Mr. Adida said his stand, which showcased images such as Patrick Demarchelier’s 1994 intimate portrait of Kate Moss and Carla Bruni, proved to be so popular that within a week of the event he had made enough sales to recoup his expenses, and added 25 new and potential clients to his roster.

Fashion photography is also more recognized as a big part of the fashion industry today, said Inez Van Lamsweerde, who, along with Vinoodh Matadin, make up a well-known duo in the field. Their digitally manipulated fashion images are often seen in influential art spaces like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the São Paulo Biennial, in Brazil.

“We translate the designers’ idea into an image that people buy,” Ms. Van Lamsweerde said. “Nowadays this is valued more because of the Internet and the need for attention-grabbing content on the web in our image-saturated culture.”

With fashion institutions financing major cultural events, like Chanel’s sponsorship at the Hyères fashion and photography festival in France, many see photography’s role within art continuing to grow. After all, Mr. Lindbergh said, “art is after fashion’s big bucks.”

 

 

Written by Christopher Kilkus

April 26th, 2017 at 5:37 am

Posted in Chris Kilkus

Getting it all together christopher kilkus photography

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I’m a bit embarassed to admit that I have never really done any promotion to speak of.  I think the last time I did a promo mailer was about three years ago, just simple postcard.  And worse, I haven’t even really had a printed portfolio for the last year and a half!  I’ve been extremely fortunate to grow my business based on word of mouth, and the work I was doing and uploading to my website.  I wouldn’t ever recommend this as a way to do business to any new photographer…. but sometimes it can be hard to implement the things you know into your own business practices.  Over the last two, maybe even three years I’ve been so busy I haven’t had what I felt was enough time to really do promotion right, and whats more, I don’t think I could have even taken on anymore jobs even if the promotion worked!  The about our business is that the busier you are, the less time you have to devote to getting new clients.  Well, this month has been the first that I’ve had time to slow down a bit and really look at doing promotion.

I have also just signed up with a new agent, and she is very strict with her photographers about doing promotion.

First thing I needed, was to at least get some temporary materials in place to tide me over until I could do everything right.  That meant a portfolio and a leave behind promo.  I chose a blurb book because it was quick and easy.  I used to use standard portfolios from House of Portfolios with acetate pages, then print out my images on an Epson printer.  I never liked the quality of this presentation.  I using matte paper but the process was just so slow and expensive.  And in fashion, more than most other types of photography, the portfolio is constantly changing and it’s really hard to keep 8 portfolios updated.  With blurb I just uploaded a pdf of the new layout and ordered the updated book.

Written by Christopher Kilkus

February 11th, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Equipment by chris kilkus

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I am frequently asked what lgihting, grip and camera equipment I use, so I thought I would share about this.  You might be surprised to learn what my preferences are!

I am very far from being an equipment geek.  If something is inexpensive but does a good job, I’ll use that over an item that has a name.

 

FROM B&H

As a working photographer, the center of the universe is your camera bag and its contents. Your cameras and lenses are the tools of your trade. As you may have noted, both are mentioned in plural because just as you wouldn’t jump out of an airplane without a backup parachute, you shouldn’t attempt to photograph an emotionally spiked, non-repeatable event armed with only one camera. The same applies to lenses, too. The many aspects that comprise shooting weddings—portraits, the ceremony, dimly lit environs, tight, crowded quarters and bright outdoor settings—can push both the creative and practical limitations of the most experienced photographers.

Cameras and lenses aside (see our separate sections on Cameras and Lenses) there are a number of other items that should be part of all wedding photographers’ war chests. Having these items on hand and knowing how to use them can make the difference between a great wedding album and one that’s mundane.

Tripods

It is essential to have a sturdy tripod at your disposal when you are photographing a wedding, for situations in low light, or when you have to compose formal group shots. If you place a remote-triggered camera in the chapel balcony, you’ll need to mount it on a tripod, or perhaps use a Super clamp or similarly adjustable clamp, with 1/4″-20 or 3/8″-16 camera threads. It’s a great idea to have a small tabletop tripod with you as well, which can help you steady a shot atop a table or other horizontal surface. One of these can also help when you need to brace the camera vertically against a wall or other architectural element to obtain images free of the blur associated with operator movement.

For more information about choosing a tripod, please refer to our Tripod and Tripod Heads Buying Guide.

Flash Meters

For ambient light readings, the meter in your camera can be quite sufficient. Flash metering is another story, especially if you are using flash to fill backlit subjects or darken background areas to place more emphasis on the subjects in the foreground. You can always shoot test exposures and review them on your camera’s LCD, but a more professional and certainly more precise method of establishing accurate flash exposures is by using a flash meter.

One consistent characteristic of flash meters is that even the least expensive of them can establish both ambient and flash exposures—reflective or incident—down to 1/10-stop in accuracy, wirelessly or tethered. When you are dealing with the broad contrast range presented by men’s and women’s wedding clothes, it is important to consider the benefits of taking incident readings with a handheld light meter. Incident readings measure the amount of light falling on the subject, rather than the amount of light reflected from the subject. In most cases, incident readings, which read the light in terms of neutral, 18% gray values, will provide you with accurate average exposures regardless of whether your subjects are wearing white gowns, black tuxedos or brightly colored bridesmaid dresses.

Sekonic goes one step further by offering the option of incorporating PocketWizard wireless triggers into many of their flash meters, which enables you to “walk the set” in order to establish flash and ambient exposure readings from any position within the frame. At B&H, we stock a variety of flash meters from companies including Sekonic, Gossen, Shepherd/Polaris, Interfit, Wein and Kenko.

Wireless Remote Triggers

When it comes to taking pictures in crowded environments, the fewer cables you have strewn about the floor, the better. Every cable you can eliminate is one less worry about a guest tripping and falling. Wireless remotes can be used to trigger your main and fill flashes and your cameras. Many wireless remotes feature multiple channels or frequencies, which is a valuable feature if you’re shooting in close proximity to other photographers using wireless triggers or when you need to trigger different groups of your own lights.  By coordinating channel selections, everybody can perform their duties without interfering with the other photographers’ agenda.

For shooting in “photographer-rich” environments such as catering halls hosting simultaneous weddings, each with its own photographer—or such as when you and your assistant are capturing alternate views of the same wedding with two cameras—the PocketWizard MultiMax offers a choice of 32 channels, while the Pearstone Wireless Shutterboss Remote Timer offers 99 channels. You can also use the multiple-channel feature to trigger multiple sets of electronic flash units independently from each other, which is particularly handy when those setups are being used simultaneously. Available individually or in sets, radio transmitters, receivers and transceivers are available from PocketWizardQuantum and Elinchrom. Keep in mind that a remote trigger can become almost as useful as an assistant when used to trigger a tripod-mounted remote camera with a wide-angle lens in the church balcony, for example, capturing the  aerial views of the ceremony.

In addition to the radio-slave offering from Elinchrom, Quantum and Pocket Wizard, we also stock the Impact PowerSync 16 DC Radio Slave System, a very affordable battery-powered (AC optional) wireless trigger system that offers a choice of 16 channels and a range of up to 590′ (180 m) indoors and up to 200′ (60 m) outdoors.

Dedicated and generic wireless camera triggers are also available from Hahnel and Dot Line, and many of these remotes are also available in multi-channel models. Dedicated wired and wireless remote controls are also available from Nikon and Canon.

Battery Grips

Battery grips are advantageous for several reasons, but are primarily valuable because they sport secondary shutter release buttons and command dials, which make it ergonomically easier to orient your camera vertically. Battery grips also add an extra measure of grip-ability, which is an especially welcome feature for ensuring a positive hold on your camera. Because battery grips hold dual batteries, you can expect to make twice as many exposures before having to replace your camera’s batteries. Depending on the make and model, many battery grips also offer the option of powering with standard AA batteries, which can prove to be a lifesaver when the party is still raging on and all your rechargeable batteries are spent. Vello offers a range of battery grips to suit a number of popular DSLRs, such as the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D, as well as Nikon’s D7000 and D5100.

Filters

Even though the White Balance controls are built into every digital camera, not to mention the fact that the post capture color-correction tools found in almost every photo editing program have reduced the need for color compensating (CC) filters, there are some filters that simply cannot be dialed in from the comfort of your camera’s menu selections. Included among these filters are PolarizingUV (ultraviolet reduction), Neutral Density (solidgraduated, or center ND) and diffusion filters.

Polarizing filters, which in terms of wedding photography are primarily used for outdoor scenes, are designed to eliminate glare, reflections in polished surfaces, glass and water and make clouds pop from darkened blue skies. They are great to use if your wedding party is posed beside a body of water or a glass-walled urban structrue. To eliminate stray light from striking your lens, always use a lens hood. Do take care when using a polarizing filter on a wide-angle lens; the amount of polarizing effect is directly influenced by the lens’s angle to the sun, and this combination of lens and filter can cause your sky to vary unnaturally from light to almost navy blue.

UV filters serve their purpose both indoors and out. Indoors, UV filters temper the degree of UV radiation that might be generated by your electronic flash tubes. Though invisible to the human eye, UV can leave a bluish cast in your images under certain types of lighting. Regardless of whether you are shooting indoors or out, using UV filters is an effective way to protect the front element of your lens. Another option for protecting the front elements of your lenses is to use clear protection filters such as the Hoya Clear Pro 1 Digital Multi-coated filters and Nikon’s NC Glass filters. There are a number of electronic filters on the market that allow you to layer filter effects to your photographs, post capture, and many of them work quite well. The exception are software-generated Polarizing filters, which only serve to saturate color, but cannot remove reflections and glare, which can only be achieved at the time of capture.

Neutral density (ND) filters are essentially neutrally tinted filters that enable you to reduce the amount of light entering your lens so you can alter your shutter or aperture settings in the same light. ND filters come in handy when you need to reduce the output of your lighting system beyond its existing low-power setting. ND filters are also an easy solution for shooting at wider apertures in bright light in order to take advantage of selective-focus effects.

ND filters can be handy for adding suggestions of movement in an otherwise static photograph. As an example, with a 3- or 4-stop ND filter in place, you can pose the newlyweds in front of a waterfall and turn the waterfall into a creamy blur by slowing your shutter speed, while the couple holds stock still and remains tack sharp. This technique can be used with any moving background or foreground, with striking results. This is also a handy way to eliminate otherwise distracting moving elements in a picture.

In addition to standard ND filters, Variable ND filters are also available, which allow you to change the degree of neutral density by 2-8 stops, simply by rotating the outer ring of the filter. This can be a huge time saver while shooting under the gun.

Diffusion filters should be part of every portrait and wedding photographer’s outfit. Designed to soften the skin tones and create a dreamy haze, diffusion filters are available in numerous degrees of textures and patterns, which can flatter the complexions of people who don’t resemble the high-fashion models we’re used to seeing on magazine covers. If you want to soften facial features, smooth lines and wrinkles without the dreamy haze-like effect, try a soft-focus filter. These are especially flattering for portraits. When using diffusion and soft-focus filters, it’s always a good idea to go easy on the amount of softening you employ, as too much diffusion can be as distracting as none at all. So be judicious. Tread softly.

Tiffen FX-series diffusion filters are available in a number of configurations including “black diffusion” filters, which soften the image without reducing the overall contrast levels of the photograph. Many Tiffen FX-series filters are also available in a choice of warm-tone and neutral tone.

Filters are available in a range of quality levels, and with the possible exception of diffusion filters, you should always use higher-quality filters on your lenses in order to maintain the sharpness levels of the lenses you paid hard-earned money for the pleasure of owning and using.

Batteries

When it comes to photography—especially digital photography—batteries make the world go round, and when you run out of juice, your world basically comes to a halt. This is not a good thing when you’re out on a job, wedding or otherwise. For this reason it’s obligatory that you have, at the very least, a complete set of back-up batteries for every item in your bag that uses batteries.

Although most cameras are powered by dedicated lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, accessories such as flashguns, transceivers, etc., still rely on AA, AAA, 9V, C, D and any number of button-type batteries. At the very least, you should always carry a minimum of one spare set of batteries for each of your battery-powered devices.

At B&H we stock an extensive assortment of dedicated rechargeable camera batteries for most popular cameras and dedicated flashguns. If your batteries are rechargeable, make sure the chargers are also packed and readily accessible. An appealing option for efficient charging is Pearstone’s Duo Battery Charger, which allows you to charge two batteries at a time and mix and match types or brands of batteries.

Easy access to AC power outlets is another big concern, and to ensure you’re never caught short, it’s highly recommended that you carry at least one AC extension power cord for each AC-powered device you will be using during the course of the day. Though available in a number of colors and lengths, it makes the most sense to stick to 25′ or 50′ lengths, many of which are available with triple outlets that enable you to tap up to three packs or devices into each cord.

Depending on your gear and the state of the electrical system you will be working with, it’s not a bad idea to include a few surge protectors, which are available in a number of configurations, as well as a few multi-voltage adapters/converters if your plans include shooting across international borders.

Gaffer Tape

Sometimes a simple strip of gaffer tape can make the difference between a minor hiccup and a total disaster. Available in a number of widths (3″, 2″, 1″ and ½”) and colors (black, white, gray, red, yellow, blue, fluorescent green, fluorescent orange, fluorescent pink, fluorescent yellow), gaffer tape can be used for taping cables securely along the floor, quick repairs of gear, securing cases for shipping and any number of other uses. Gaffer tape in colors can also be used to identify your gear quickly in terms of where it goes when packing up, or in the case of shooting with multi-channel lighting systems, color-coding individual channels and related gear for syncing purposes. Gaffer tape is a thinking photographer’s solution.

As we mentioned in the section above on wireless triggers, even though we live in an increasingly wireless universe, we still have to deal with cables. To ensure that nobody trips over them, we suggest that in addition to gaffer tape, you include a few rolls of Permacel/Shurtape Cable Path Gaffer Tape in your kit. Available in 4″ and 6″ widths (x 30 yards), this extra-wide yellow gaffer tape features a glue-free center channel that allows you to secure long runs of lighting and sound cables to the floor, without the hassle of wrestling the tape from the cables when you’re finished for the day.

A reusable alternative to taping cables to carpeted surfaces is the Safcord Cord & Cable Protector, which is available in a choice of 3″ x 6′ and 4″ x 30′. Made of industrial-grade Cordura Nylon, Safcord Cord & Cable Protectors use hook-and-loop touch fastener material instead of adhesive to securely hold cords and cables to carpeted surfaces. When you’re finished, all you have to do is pull the strips from the floor, roll them up and tuck them away until your next gig.

Memory Cards

You can never have enough of them, and the faster the read/write speed, the better. Hi-speed memory cards keep shrinking in price while growing in capacity. If the read/write speeds of the newest cards are faster than the read/write speed of your current camera, this only means it will be an ideal match for your next camera, which will undoubtedly outstrip the camera you currently own in terms of processing speed. The same school of thought goes for the storage capacities of your memory cards. Today’s cameras capture larger file sizes—and sometimes multiple files simultaneously—not to mention video, which eats up memory like there’s no tomorrow. So when contemplating your next card, remember it wasn’t all that long ago a 1GB card was a big deal. Make sure to use cards with as much memory as is compatible with your camera. If you are going to capture large RAW files and “process” them in some sort of post-production software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, it might be wise to research cameras that sport dual card slots and the ability to write to both cards, for backup.

With the exception of portraits, capturing rapid action photo sequences without missing a beat requires using cards that can process large image files as fast—or faster—than your camera can capture them. Some of the fastest CF cards we currently stock at B&H include SanDisk’s Extreme Pro-series CF memory cards and Lexar’s 400x and 600x Professional-series CompactFlash cards. For cameras using SD series memory cards, the fastest of the lot currently include Lexar’s Professional SDHC/XC memory cards and SanDisk’s Extreme Pro SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

JPEGs are fine for snapshots, but if you are going to present a finished portfolio of images with as much color, dynamic range and detail as possible, you’ll want to shoot and process RAW files, which take up a great deal more space and beg for larger-capacity memory cards. JPEGs, which don’t contain as much visual information, take up less space but leave off where RAW files begin, quality-wise.

Storage Devices

With the speed and storage capacities of memory cards steadily increasing, incessant card-swapping and data backup may not be as critical as it was not too long ago. It’s comforting to know your back is covered if anything should happen to your cards during or after the ceremony and reception. Once you fill your memory cards, you have to do something with the image files each one contains before you reformat a card and pop it back into your camera. For storing these image files you have several viable options, some of which require the use of a laptop, netbook or tablet containing a built-in card reader that’s compatible with the card format you are using (i.e. SD, CF, Memory Stick, etc.). You can also use a USB or FireWire port for attaching a storage drive or a receiver. You can even transmit image files to your drive or laptop wirelessly.

If you’d rather bypass a laptop, netbook, or tablet, there are also stock portable hard drives available with built-in card readers and LCD screens for reviewing your pictures, from companies including WolverineDigital Foci and Jobo.

USB and FireWire-enabled portable storage drives, which currently sell for as little as (or under) $100 for 1 terabyte of storage space, are quick and easy solutions for backing up or archiving images. Your files can also be stored temporarily on your laptop, netbook or tablet’s hard drive.

One company that’s been gaining attention in the world of on-the-fly data storage is Nexto DI, which manufactures a nice selection of high-performance portable storage drives in capacities of up to 750GB, many of which contain LCD screens for reviewing and editing image files downloaded from your memory cards. Depending on the model, Nexto DI storage devices are shock and drop resistant, can transfer data to other devices and burn data to Blu-ray Discs, recover bad sectors and support a number of memory-card formats including Panasonic P2/P2E cards, UDF and FAT32 memory cards.

If you think you are going to be really piling up the megabytes as you photograph the wedding, and your cameras of choice include certain Canon DSLRs, you also have the option of using Canon Wireless File Transfer transmitters, which enable you to upload image files to a notebook computer for backup and extra storage space, as you shoot. And if you’re shooting with another brand of camera, don’t forget about Eye-Fi cards, which can transmit your photos to your external hard drive or laptop wirelessly, allowing you to maintain open space on the card. Another option favored by wedding photographers is to upload captured image files to any number of cloud-based servers, which can be edited and made accessible to the clients for their enjoyment even before the festivities have ended.

Posing Stools

Posing stools are worth considering because they are less obtrusive and easier to use for posing purposes than the chairs you’re likely to find at the catering hall or the local VFW. Narrow in profile, swivel-based and adjustable in height, posing stools allow you to pose individuals and couples with a great degree of fluidity and flexibility. Most of these posing stools can be broken down for easy transport. Posing stools are available from ImpactPhotogenicNorman and  Delta 1.

Camera Lens/Sensor Cleaning Kits

The truly important guidelines of proper camera user maintenance involve keeping your camera’s lenses, imaging sensor and LCD smudge free, all of which involves checking your gear before, during and after every assignment. Happily, B&H is your source for both cleaning cloths and LCD screen protectors.

Maintaining smudge-free lenses—specifically the front and rear elements—is a relatively effortless affair. To remove incidental dust particles, a camel-hair brush is often sufficient, and assuming the brush is clean, camel-hair brushes don’t leave any residue behind. You can also use an air blower to remove dust particles and grit. Most lens smudges can be easily eliminated by simply breathing on the lens surface and wiping it clean with a microfiber cloth. Repeat the breathe-and-wipe process once or twice if needed, or if the smudges are more tenacious, go the heavier-duty route with a lens-cleaning kit. For more stubborn smudges, a good lens-cleaning kit can be a lifesaver. Apply the lens-cleaning solution to your cloth, not directly to the lens, and wipe in gentle, circular motions—never apply lens-cleaning solution directly to the lens surface. A few drops applied sparingly to a microfiber cloth should be more than sufficient to remove almost anything. Cleaning kits like these are indispensible for ensuring clean lenses and crisp image capture and are available from a number of manufacturers.

For cleaning smudges from the harder-to-reach edges of the lens elements, try applying a few drops of lens-safe cleaning solution to a cotton swab and gently swipe the dirt from its hiding place. Many kits also contain baster-like air blowers, which are also handy for clearing dust off your camera sensor. Never use canned compressed air to clean your sensor!

Even if your camera has a built-in dust-reduction system, inevitably a bit of dust or two will find its way onto your camera’s mirror or imaging sensor. If you see fuzzy dark spots when you peer through your camera’s viewfinder, the villains are on the mirror. These particles can usually be blown away easily by removing the lens and, with the camera pointed face-down, blowing the dust off the mirror’s surface with a few blasts from one of the baster-like air blowers we sell at B&H. Follow up by cleaning the particulate matter from your camera sensor—carefully—with any one of a number of comprehensive sensor-cleaning kits.

If you are going to use sensor-cleaning kits, it is imperative that you read the instructions thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in order to avoid damaging the camera’s imaging sensor. It’s a good idea to clean your gear after every event, followed by a quick check before the next job, because you have better things to do the day of the event. And don’t forget to hold your camera with the sensor pointing at the floor when you’re changing lenses. Dust tends to descend more often than it ascends. You should avoid touching the mirror surface with your fingers, cotton swabs, or anything else at all costs, because unlike the mirrors in which we admire ourselves when nobody’s looking, the mirrors in our cameras are surface-coated and as such can be easily scratched and otherwise permanently damaged. Keep fingers away from the camera sensor, too, which is sensitive to abrasion as well as the grease and oils on your skin.

Often overlooked, but important nonetheless, is cleaning the contacts of your memory cards. Grit and work-a-day greasy stuff can render your memory cards undependable, and when you’re shooting a one-time happening, you don’t want your cards to hang up on you. In order to minimize the chance of compromised data transmission between your camera and memory card, it’s a good idea to clean the card contacts regularly with a memory card cleaning kit, such as the Kinetronics Memory Card Contact Cleaning Kit.

Ladders and Stepladders

One of the tricks of grabbing successful photographs at crowded events such as weddings is to rise above the occasion, which is easily accomplished by climbing a few steps up a ladder or stepstool. B&H stocks a number of ladders, both single-sided and double-sided, in 4′, 6′, 8′, 10′ and 12′ heights that enable you to catch imagery you probably couldn’t get standing flat-footed on the floor.

Folding Reflectors

Folding reflectors for bounce lighting, which allow you to fill shadows and perform a variety of lighting effects using ambient or studio light, are invaluable indoors and out.  Available in a number of shapes and sizes (circular reflectors 12″ to 60″ and curved, rectangular reflectors measuring 24 x 36″, 36 x 48″, 41 x 74″,  42 x 72″ and 48 x 72″), folding reflectors are configured in a combination of gold/silver,  gold/white,  silver/white or gold/silver/white. Depending on the tone of the reflector, you can open up shadow details with soft-neutral, contrasty-neutral or warm-toned illumination.

For softening harsher, overhead midday light, try using a translucent diffuser panel (also available in circular and rectangular formats) between the sun and your subjects. Because folding reflectors and diffusers are extremely light and fold down to about a quarter of their full size, they’re easy to pack and transport. Don’t leave home without one… or two!

Reflectors and diffusers can be invaluable lighting tools on the big day, but there’s not always a spare set of hands available to hold them in place. An effective substitute for an assistant is a reflector holder. Available with and without an accompanying light stand, reflector holders are available in a number of designs from close to a dozen manufacturers. Two popular (and quite affordable) models are the Impact Telescopic Collapsible Reflector Holder (holder arm only) and the Impact Multiboom Light Stand/Reflector Holder, which includes a 13′ stand.

Flashlights

Small, pocket-sized flashlights are essential for retrieving small accessories that inevitably find their way into hard-to-find creases in the corners of your camera bag. This is especially true in the bottom of a black bag when the lights are low, which at many weddings, is par for the course. Make sure everyone assisting you has a flashlight tucked away in easy reach. LED flashlights are extremely bright for their size, and drain batteries much more slowly than incandescent lights do.

Leatherman Tool

Stuff happens, and when it does it’s nice to have a tool handy that can help rectify the problem. Because it’s not practical to haul around a wheeled, four-drawer Craftsman tool chest, many on-site glitches can often be remedied with the aid of a Leatherman multitool. Available in a number of configurations, your investment will have paid for itself the first time you need it… and as any seasoned pro can tell you, sooner than later, you’re going to need one.

Two-Way Radios

When it comes to weddings it’s not unusual for two or more important photo ops to occur simultaneously, and often with little or no warning, which makes communicating with assistants extremely important. To make certain that one-time photo ops aren’t missed, it’s a good idea for everyone on the photo team to be issued a two-way radio in order to keep communication flowing, which at wedding speeds is a top priority.

Essential and Incidental

To complete your gear checklist and possibly even save the day, make sure you always pack other items in your bags, such as a sewing kit, a first-aid kit, a notepad and pen, safety pins, straight pins and bobby pins, snacks, water, umbrellas, even hairspray—should a windy day threaten a bride’s hairdo.

What are some of the essential items you pack in your kit? Feel free to let us know in the Comments section below.

Written by Christopher Kilkus

February 11th, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Chris Kilkus Photography – Meet Kilkus the punk band

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Check out the punk band that randomly chose Kilkus as their name:

Music Video – Pattern of Self Design

Music Video – A.O.C.

Interview with Waffle Magazine

It’s not fashion photography but music is always a close neighbor 🙂

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Fashion photography rules everything around us, whether we know it, like it, or choose to embrace it. At its start in 1839, it existed strictly to sell. .

Legends like Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, and Irving Penn paved the way for the greats of today, challenging the fashion world to accept new ideas of sexiness, femininity, and masculinity. It’s no secret that in the 21st century, photographers are as plentiful as they are powerful. Photographers like Steven Meisel and Terry Richardson have launched the careers of models, stylists, and make-up artists.

Others like Rankin and Nick Knight have created media platforms to take fashion photography and film in unanticipated yet important directions.

All of the fashion photographers on this list share an appetite for excellence and continually succeed at redefining visual culture, beauty, and art. We are thankful for them.

The 50 Greatest Fashion Photographers Right Now comprised of the subject(s), location, styling, make-up, hair, and photographer’s vision.

Legends like Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, and Irving Penn paved the way for the greats of today, challenging the fashion world to accept new ideas of sexiness, femininity, and masculinity. Most of the photographers on this list admit to or demonstra

Written by Christopher Kilkus

February 11th, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Chris Kilkus Photography featured in www.dphclub.com

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Here is some of my work featured in the www.dphclub.com blog.  I don’t remember putting some of these versions of the photos out there!  A couple of them I forgot how much I liked so it’s nice to be reminded….  and it’s always fun to see what other people respond to in my work 🙂

 

Photography by Christopher Kilkus

Photography by Christopher Kilkus

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Written by Christopher Kilkus

September 14th, 2013 at 6:15 am

Chris Kilkus Featured on the Hungry Ones

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I was featured a while back on a food blog called The Hungry Ones.  It’s a blog that interviews creative and business types, from photographers like me to comedians to web developers and more, on the foods they like to eat…. or, as the blog says:

The Hungry Ones is a collection of interviews with creative/innovative/bad ass people and the food they love to eat. There’s nothing more inspiring than finding out the people you respect, enjoy the very same things as you do.

 

 

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1. Who are you what do you do?
I’m Chris Kilkus and I take pictures for a living. I’m based in Los Angeles and some of my clients include Forever21, bebe, BCBG, and other fashion companies.

2. Wheres you favorite place for lunch?
I’m not a big lunch person.  Usually save it for dinner.

3. Where’s your favorite place for dinner?
Toss up between Bazaar at the SLS or Melisse.  And I liked the Little Door too.  And Le Petite Cafe in Santa Monica.  Also Locanda Portofino on Montana in Santa Monica.  And Mozza. Okay, the list goes on…. I guess I have too many favorites and it just depends on my mood.  Dishes?  Best steak I ever had was at Mozza, which was a surprise.  Amazing uni past at Locanda Portofino. Bazaar had an uni dish that blew me away too… I need to go back there to be reminded of it.  At Melisse, everything was amazing.

4. Last meal would be?  
I could never choose just one.  I might be able to narrow it down to one each from french, italian, japanese, mexican, thai and vietnamese?  But hopefully I will never have a “last” meal!!

 

 

Written by Christopher Kilkus

June 20th, 2013 at 7:38 am