About meeting your artistic purpose. How I created Fluid Time III – Two Worlds and how to be your own self in photography
Hancock Tower, Chicago – Architects SOM
This is the 3rd part of my (en)Visionographic Chicago Story, shot during my workshop in Chicago. This is one of the tallest (344 m), most impressive and fascinating buildings of the Windy City, and one of the best subjects to shoot for my LE Tilt-Shift Blur series.
My photography/art advice for the day:
***(beep) the rest!
If you feel that you are right, then you are.
(pardon the language)
What is The Guide to Vision? it is a set of 35 rules that I created, on how to discover your vision and personal style, inspired by more than 20 years of experience I have in working with art, architecture and photography and also from the experience of many great artists of all times that have been in the same spot before me.
You are the source of everything you create, do never forget this!
How to find your own style in photography
So, don’t try to copy, don’t try to emulate, it will not be “You” and it will be obvious it is not you. Just have a look around you and you will see who is expressing his own self in his work and words and who is just following.
There is nothing bad about being inspired, but do not stop there, you will lose yourself as an artist, you will miss your creative purpose. You may have just one chance to do this because life is short, it’s not just a cliché. Meeting your artistic purpose is also a question of recognizing the way you need to go and just following your path.
On the other hand, if you do believe in what you do, don’t care what others say, what others do, just do your thing. Follow your instincts and they will get you there eventually. Trust your logic and feelings and transform them into images, this is what art is about, being true to your beliefs and finding a way to put them out there for the world to see them. If you do this, you accomplished your mission in front of yourself. Even if no one but you understands the message. Be patient and go on, the others will understand too eventually. And if they don’t, then you shouldn’t care. Not many really understood van Gogh before he became mainstream, which was unfortunately after he died, yet he was one of the most important artists of all times.
You need to educate your public so they can understand you, do it without fear of not being understood. The history of art will understand you and this is what counts, not if X or Y understands or accepts what you want to say.
And don’t forget, this is a tough world, the world of art.
Especially once you reach a certain level of exposure. As an artist, you are by default exposed since you show your most inner self in your art. You couldn’t do your job if you weren’t, but that makes you vulnerable: of being critiqued, of being envied, of unscrupulous people using your work or taking advantage of your ideas without giving you credit, of being scrutinized all the time. I’m talking from experience here, mine and the experience of others. But it shouldn’t scare you, it’s normal. And you should keep in mind that true value and talent, plus hard work will always prevail, will always be rewarded. So, trust in yourself and your art, go on doing what you do and don’t care about anything else!
You are the one who counts because you have the vision that will become that masterpiece you have in mind… you are the creator of your “Mona Lisa”
Analyzing the series Fluid Time
The spark of inspiration
I started the Fluid Time series to put in practice an idea I had in my mind in a latent form and without really realizing it (as it always happens with true inspiration, it comes slowly…) for a couple of years already, and that came to me when I saw Cole Thompson‘s series “The Fountainhead”, for which he, in his turn, had gotten the idea to create it after reading the homonym book by Ayn Rand, book about an architect trying to find his vision and wondering if he will be understood. Even if this is not the most well-known series of Cole Thompson, for me it is his best. I think it’s there where you can see the whole artist Cole Thompson, more than in any other of his works. Just personal opinion, maybe I’m biased because I’m an architecture devourer, but I can feel these things and I know what I’m seeing.
To get back to my work, what I do in my series is different but in a way I try to do the same, to distort reality in order to find the truth. The way Cole is creating the images in this series is very interesting, I won’t insist now on the technique, but you can go read this interview with Cole Thompson and you will see what it is about.
What I try to do in this series is to use a tool that is not very much used in architectural photography because many say it denies architectural photography:
His Majesty, The Tilt-Shift Blur!
As a side note, this essential guide to the tilt-shift lens will help you understand how to work with this outstanding lens.
Ask whoever you want, they will say architectural photography has to be sharp. Well, I don’t care! It might have to be, but not for me. For me, it has to be what my vision says, and my vision says that in order to discover the truth, I need to cover everything with a veil of blur and leave only a small opening to guess what is inside.
Discovering “your” truth through looking at the world in a different way
Most of the time the truth, real truth, is not obvious. You need to go back to the beginning to find it or you need to look at everything in a different way. This is what I do here: I go back to the beginnings (before architecture “had” to be sharp) and I try to look at things in a different way (trying to look at the unseen and unsaid things, instead of the apparent, so I can find the “real truth”, the real meaning). It’s an existentialist process for me and it gives me what nothing else could give me.
This is why I love photography with such a passion. Because I’m selfish! I need it and it helps me! It helps me get to know the world and my own self, it helps me have access to worlds that no one else can have access to, because they are mine and this is the only key to open those spaces, those worlds. I can’t do this as an architect, this is why I need both, photography and architecture, they complete each other and keep me in balance with the world.
Too much philosophy?…
Well, you know by now that if you came on my site, you will have to hear my philosophy. You took the risk, so here we are! Just pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine and let’s talk. The world lives in images but it lives in words too. So let’s use them! That’s why all this philosophy…
But this philosophy is just because I believe what I preach. When I talk about Vision, about (en)Visionography™, this is what I’m taking about. When I talk about the spark that art awakes in us, the need it gives birth to, the need to create, to put your soul and thoughts out there into your images, this is what I mean. When I talk about not caring about what they say – the way I started this post, this is what I mean: ***(beep) everything else! You are the one who counts, when it comes about your art. Do not give that to anyone else, because this is who you are. Stick to it and it will get you where you need to be. Forget about complicated notions and fancy interpretations, they are all fake, pretentious and shallow. They are for people with no feelings and real ideas.
What is real is simple and it shines by itself. What is real is what you have inside and not what you find outside. Use it and you will find the truth, YOUR truth!
And finally, a few Technical Facts about the image:
– Technique: T/S LE = Tilt + Shift + Long Exposure
– Camera settings: 393.0 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 100
– Shot with Canon 5D MK3 & TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
– T/S settings – 8.5 degrees oblique tilt at 45 degrees rotation, 12mm shift (rise)
– Filters: 10+6 stops Formatt Hitech Filters ProStop IRND
If you want to learn more about long exposure photography you can read my Long Exposure Photography Extensive Tutorial that is a complete guide to this fascinating technique, and you can also purchase my video tutorial Long Exposure, Architecture, Fine Art Photography – Creating (en)Visionography that comes with my 50-page eBook “Advanced Black and White Processing” where I present in detail my workflow for black and white photography and long exposure photography.
Black and White Processing with Photography Drawing (PhtD)
– LR5, PS CS6, Topaz B&W Effects 2+Topaz DeNoise 5 + Topaz Detail 3
I have to say that Topaz DeNoise did a great job in removing the noise from this image. I’m really happy with how it worked in this case, I was even wondering if I should process the image or not since it had quite a bit of noise, before I passed it through Topaz DeNoise.
I processed this image, just as I do with all the rest by using the method of Photography Drawing™, that I’m explaining in the post at the link and even further in From Basics to Fine Art – the Book, especially applied here to tilt-shift images.
This method is all about learning to see the volumes and learning how to show them so they look real, even when they are surreal. It’s tricky, I know it, that’s why I like it, but it’s very logical if you understand it. If you want to see how I do it, just read my Photography Drawing (PhtD) method. This method is very simple, like all great things, and it’s based on the principles of classical drawing in B&W that I practiced for years and I use in my architectural work too. If you are an architect or someone who knows about drawing you will know exactly what I mean.
You can read some more about this subject in the article I wrote about the 15 steps I follow when creating an image with Photography Drawing.
Topaz Labs 15% Discount for my students and followers
Topaz Labs was so kind to not only feature my work so many times and participate in my workshops, but they also gave me a discount code for my students and followers who are reading this blog and want to use the best software available in their post-processing work. You can use my special code JULIAG to get 15% discount for any of the Topaz plugins, separately or the whole collection. You can use the code by ordering at this link. Enjoy!
FURTHER STUDY RESOURCES
FINE ART BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY, ARCHITECTURE PHOTOGRAPHY, LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY
You can find more resources about fine art black and white photography, (en)Visionography, long exposure photography and architecture photography in my extensive collection of photography tutorials. To receive my future tutorials directly via email you can subscribe to my website.
Learn more about how to create fine art photography, from vision to processing and the final image in my video course From Vision to Final Image – Mastering Black and White Photography Processing, in my video tutorial Long Exposure, Architecture, Fine Art Photography – Creating (en)Visionography, in my book From Basics to Fine Art – Black and White Photography, or by attending one of my workshops.
To study with Julia Anna Gospodarou personally, find out about our
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Julia Anna Gospodarou is an internationally acclaimed award-winning photographer, an architect with a Master’s degree, a best-selling author, and a highly sought-after educator, teaching workshops and lecturing around the world. Founder of (en)Visionography™ and creator of Photography Drawing™, author of the best-selling book From Basics to Fine Art – Black and White Photography, multiple times awarded in the most important photography competitions worldwide (Two-Time International Photography Awards IPA Photographer of the Year 2016 & 2021, World Photography Awards SWPA Top 10 Finalist, and Hasselblad Masters Top 10 Finalist, as well as 100+ more awards), widely published internationally in books and magazines, Julia is passionate about art and photography and striving to spread the ideas of fine art photography and (en)Visionography all over the world.