Archive for the ‘About Life’ Category

Shooting at MoMA (Part One)

On Thursday, I went into New York to take pictures at The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. My idea was to photograph people looking at the art. This was great fun! Some of the art is pretty challenging to understand, and so I tried to capture some sense of people struggling with what to make of the work. And I found a lot of humor. For example, in the image above, I’m imagining that LBJ, known for his expansive ego,  is not happy that he isn’t the center of attention.

This fellow walked right into the middle of the art. I’m wondering if the sculpture made more sense for him this way. A guard came right over and shooed him away.

One of the things I noticed is that people are drawn to art that features colors they like. This woman is obviously partial to yellow. I saw this over and over again in my day at the museum.

Also, I noticed everyone has a different body language when looking at art. This woman always had one foot up on her toes – I have 5 images of her looking at different paintings – all with the same foot posture – sometimes it was the left foot.

In shooting these images, I was trying to get one person and one work of art. This is not easy in a crowded museum! I was also trying to keep at least one edge – of an art frame or a doorway – squared up with one edge of the image.

This guard was making notes. After years of looking at the red painting, had he finally figured it out and wanted to write the “meaning” in his notebook? Or was he just making his grocery list?

In most of the pictures I took, the subject was not aware I was photographing them. This is perfectly legal – you can shoot anyone in a public space indoors or out. But I struggled a bit with it. Was I invading their privacy in some way? Was I being a voyeur – or worse, a stalker ( I did follow a few people through several galleries) ?  Sometimes, when I got caught, I’d just ask the person if it was OK to take their picture. Everyone said yes, but the shots I got this way didn’t look as natural. I’d suggest – “Just ignore me and look at the art.” But there was always a sense the person was conscious of me and posing to some degree. So, I mostly tried to stay incognito.

Another thing I learned is that most people don’t spend much time with each piece of art – often 5 seconds or less. So, I had to shoot fast. If I found someone sketching, like the woman above, I was in luck – I knew I had a bit of time and also knew the sketcher would be so wrapped up in the drawing that she would be less likely to notice me.

OK, the basketballs floating in a fish tank. I’d seen this at a show at the Whitney Museum some years ago. I don’t pretend to be an modern art expert, but I do have some issues to work out here. Is this fellow listening to the audio guide – or calling his son and saying, “Charlie, you’ll never guess where I found your missing basketballs!”

I’ll post some more pictures in another blog post in the next day or two.

I’d love to know what you think of the images – and the idea of of shooting people looking at art.

One last image, below. This is the only one I did pose.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Life!

The Spring  days are getting longer, nature is bringing forth new life, and this Sunday is Easter- the day of  Resurrection – in the Christian tradition.  How better to represent New Life than with a young baby!

 

This is Zachary, a nine- month old. He’s a happy kid and he modeled for me brilliantly this week.

 

Zachary and his brother were great sports during about two hours of shooting. Their mom  and their nanny kept the boys occupied with toys, funny faces and some good munchies along the way. Here’s brother Benjamin, three years old.

 

One more picture of Zachary. When I photograph young kids, I try to imagine what the world will be like when they’re 21 or 50 years old – or even my advanced age! In this time of New Life, I pray for a peaceful world for these two wonderful boys. In this last image, can you see Zachary looking ahead to his future?

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

 

 

Steve Jobs and The Creative Spirit

 

 

 

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  Steve Jobs

Nickel on a Park Bench, Savannah

 

Steve Jobs’ advice is important for all aspects of our lives. But his words really resonated for me in thinking about creativity in my photography.

At a photography workshop in Savannah, one afternoon our assignment was to go out and take a picture with a very narrow depth of field – that is, where only a small part of the image is in focus. I walked around the city for a while, looking for subjects. What will the workshop leader like? Will the other students come up with something better than I can? I was getting more and more tied up in meeting others’ expectations – or what I thought others might expect of me. I took a lot of dull pictures. Then, I sat down on a bench in one of the squares and just took a deep breath. Without really thinking, I reached in my pocket, pulled out the only thing I had, which was a nickel. For no particular reason, I propped it up on the other side of the seat. I noticed some interesting neon lights on the stores bordering the square.  Then, I lifted the camera, set the aperture wide open, focused on the nickel and took one picture, shown above. It’s one of my favorite images from the past few years.

For sure, I still often fall back into the trap of worrying about how others will respond to my work. But time and again, my best work happens when I simply let go and shoot – when I’m not trying at all – to meet some perceived expectations of others or even of myself.

If we truly have the courage to follow our intuition and our heart, as Jobs suggests, all will be well – in our art and in every area of our lives.

Below is one more of my favorite images, taken earlier this year. I had a free day at the studio and just played with a couple of slinkies, trying different lighting ideas. Playing was the operative word – in some of the shots, like this one, I just threw the slinkies on the table and shot them where they landed.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

Slinkies, in the Studio