Venture Horizons Newsletter #1

Issue #1 | Winter-Spring 2010

Welcome to the first issue of Venture Horizons, Venture Photography’s newsletter!

Many of you will already be familiar with the work of Seng Mah of Venture Photography, via the SnapSHOT! newsletters. Venture Horizons is the evolution of SnapSHOT! This newsletter will continue to provide you with information about upcoming workshops, exhibitions and photography opportunities in Western Australia.

So what’s in this issue?

Workshop: Photographing the Nude

The nude has long occupied an exclusive position in photography: photographing the nude is both alluring and challenging for photographers, and many photography enthusiasts dream of one day being able to take poignant, beautiful and striking nude photographs.

Photographing the Nude is a workshop aimed at giving you the skills, knowledge and resources to get started on your very own journey into the art of nude photography. The workshop will take you on a photographic journey across three genres of nude photography: nude portraiture, the fine art nude and fantasy/glamour.

The class is deliberately small (6 participants only), so that you maximise your time with your facilitator and have the opportunity to practise what you learn in photographing the nude models. You don’t need to be an experienced photographer to participate – a desire to discover this beautiful genre of photography and a fairly good understanding of operating your DSLR in Manual exposure mode is all you require.

Working with both a female and male model , you will learn the facets of nude photography in a supportive and respectful workshop environment. You will learn how to use natural and studio lighting in photographing the nude, how to engage with the nude model in the creative photographic process and the different approaches to photographing male and female models. Photographing the Nude covers both the technical and creative aspects of nude photography.

Date: Sunday 5 September
Time: 10am – 5.30pm (with a 30 minute break for lunch)
Price: $370 (or $340 if you book and pay before 21 August).

To find out more about this workshop and to make your booking, please go to: www.venturephotography.com.au/workshops/photographing-the-nude

Spring 2010 Workshops Programme

In addition to the exclusive Photographing the Nude workshop,two other full day workshops for photography enthusiast are on offer in our Spring 2010 Programme:

Maximising your DSLRMaximising your DSLR - Shooting in Fremantle

A perennial favourite, Maximising your DSLR  is aimed at beginning photographers who are new to Digital SLR (DSLR) photography and who would like to learn more about their camera, its features and functions. It’s a full day’s workshop that will take you from woe to go:  f you’ve been taking photographs with your DSLR on the Automatic setting, and want to gain greater control over your camera and the photographs you create, then this workshop will kick-start your journey.

Date: Sunday 31 October
Time: 10am – 5pm (30 minute break for lunch)
Price: $200 ($180 if you book and pay before 12 September)

Practical Portraiture

This is the workshop for photographers who would like to develop their portrait photography. Practical Portraiture is a comprehensive, hands-on, full-day workshop that will equip you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to photograph portraits both indoors and outdoors. This workshop is designed to develop your ability to work with your portrait subjects and to use both natural and flash lighting to create beautiful portraits.

Date: Sunday 28 November
Time: 11am – 6pm (30 minute break for lunch)
Price: $230 ($200 if you book and pay before 12 September)

To book either of these workshops: www.venturephotography.com.au/workshops

Gun’s Up!

Some readers may be already familiar with my work from Sons of Beaches, my exhibition of photographs of surf-life saving that was shown during the FotoFreo 2008 Fringe Festival. Since then, I’ve been working fairly exclusively with the WA Surf Boat Panel to photograph and document surf rowing events during WA surf life saving carnivals.

Gun’s Up! is a book dedicated to the sport of surf rowing. Titled after the call before the crack of the starter pistol, Gun’s Up! will be a hard-cover coffee-table book, scheduled for release before Christmas this year.

For the unitiated, surf rowing is a surf life saving sport that pits a crew of boaties (rowers and a sweep) against the wild ocean with nothing more than a heavy wooden boat between them and the ocean. It’s a race to the cans and back to the beach with each crew gunning for lead. Not for the faint hearted, the raw physicality, the risk-taking maneuvers and the ever-present chance that misjudging a swell can lead to instant disaster makes surf rowing spectacular part of each summer’s surf carnival season.

In years of photographing surf rowing competitions, I’ve come to realise that this sport is driven by individuals who share a common passion and dedication: from the organisers and officials to the powerful boaties who ride the waves on their aquatic chargers. It’s a sport that cements friendships and builds lifelong bonds within and between generations. To show the camarederie and mateship that develops between individuals in surf rowing, a significant part of Gun’s Up! will be dedicated to portraits of the people who are the sport: best mates who row together, fathers/mothers and sons/daughters who crew the same boat, brothers, sisters, generations of surf rowers in one family…

In this series, you will meet dads and mums, grandparents, best friends, husbands and wives, partners, brothers, sisters. Stay tuned for more news… and in the meantime, enjoy these preview images from the book:

The Travel (Photography) Bug

Many workshop participants tell me that they purchased their first DSLR specifically for a trip overseas, because they were dissatisfied with the image quality from their usual point-and-shoot digital cameras. And they’re right: a good DSLR, the right lens (or lenses) and a solid understanding of their use can often mean the difference between holiday snapshots and images that you would be proud to print, frame and display in your own home.

But it’s more than just the equipment though — much of what makes an image stand out from the crowd lies in its composition and its ability to capture a particular light in the scene.

So, how do you prepare for travel photography? Personally, I thrive on the challenges that travel poses for your photography: you’re taken outside your usual comfort zone where everything looks and feels new, unique and exciting. What better setting to drive the creative juices of an enthusiastic photographer.

For those of you planning a trip soon and are thinking of bringing your DSLR with you, try the following five tips:

1. Pack light, photographically. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be spending a lot of time during your travels on your feet: walking, hiking, exploring. Lugging around heavy camera gear can be tiring. If you’re thinking of buying a DSLR to take with you, consider the smaller-bodied DSLRs, such as the Nikon D90, or Canon 450D, 500D or 550D. These are more compact than the usual bevy of DSLR cameras, are lighter and fit comfortably in your hands. Avoid heavy lenses: telephoto zoom lenses can weigh you down and unless you’re specifically photographing sports or wildlife while on holiday, keep them at home. A wide-angle zoom will often stand you in good stead (eg. 17-85mm). Personally, I take four prime lenses with me – each lens is light, compact and doesn’t add much extra weight when mounted on the DSLR. In my trip to India, I took a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. One would be mounted on the lens, two in my pockets, and the last in my bag. If I needed a different focal length, I’d swap lenses on the spot. I rarely take a tripod, but if I do (for instance, if I’m visiting an area where I know I’ll want to take long exposures eg. waterfalls), I opt for a light tripod.

2. Make time to take photographs. Snapshots taken while sightseeing don’t translate into good pictures. They’re usually taken while your mind is in tourist mode, and often during late mornings and early afternoons when tourists are most active, and when light is at its most glaring. Instead, reserve time early in the morning or late in the afternoon for photography. If you’re visiting a particularly striking location, schedule your visit to coincide with these times, when the light is “sweet”.

3. Vary the angle. Most tourists will take photographer from the usual angle – eye level while they are standing. Change your angle and you’ll be surprised by the view. Crouch lower, or get higher, and you’ll create something different.

4. Put people in the scene. Many tourists seem to go to great lengths to photograph a view when there is no one within the frame. I suspect this is because they’re aiming to reproduce a postcard shot. Why not just buy the postcard from a vendor? When you place a human figure in a landscape, you immediately humanise it, and give it a sense of scale. Having figures in the foreground can help lead the viewer’s eye into the scene. Tiny figures in the background can also give a sense of the vastness of the scene.

5. Do not be shy about photographing local people. Many photographers are hesitant to photograph local people while on holidays, or if they do, they try and do it sneakily and from a distance. I’ve found that sneaky doesn’t work – it just makes you seem more suspicious, more untrustworthy, and your photos will often lack the special punch that you find in the best people photographs. If you would like to photograph locals, then make you intention known. You don’t need to speak the language – just have your camera visible (holding it in your hand, doing a few test shots here and there), and make eye-contact with the people around you. Smile, and nod at them. If you see something interesting, take the photo. Get close to the action (remember what Robert Capa said about being close enough?). If you’d like to take a portrait, then ask – again, you don’t need to speak the language; just gesture politely at your camera, raise it to your face and cock an eyebrow. Or if you know the local tongue for “Photograph”, say it. If people don’t want to be photographed, they will make it know – a frown, a shake of the head, hands rising to cover their faces; respect that and move on.

Travel photography doesn’t need to be a challenge; it can be exciting, stimulating and inspiring. Try these tips the next time you take your DSLR overseas and interstate – and you’ll be surprised by the quality of images you obtain!

Find us on Facebook / Tweet us on Twitter

If you’re a social networking nut like myself, then you’ll be spending a good portion of your time on Facebook and Twitter. You can connect with Venture Photography on both Facebook and Twitter – and find out more about new projects, opportunities and information as they occur.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/venturephotography

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sengmah

Upcoming Exhibitions in Perth and Fremantle

8 Days (Perth Centre for Photography, 91 Brisbane Street, Perth)
22 July – 22 August
Thurs + Fri 12-5pm, Sat + Sun 12-4pm

8 Days is a group exhibition by local artists Juha Tolonen, Mike Gray, Graham Miller and Kevin Ballantine.

The IRIS Award (Perth Centre for Photography, 91 Brisbane Street, Perth)
28 August – 19 September
Thurs + Fri 12-5pm, Sat + Sun 12-4pm

The IRIS Award is a national prize recognising new and outstanding portraiture in photo-based media.

Home Is Where My Heart Is (834 Hay Street, Perth (opposite His Majesty’s Theatre)
5 August – 15 August
11am – 5pm daily

Home is Where My Heart Is is a photographic exhibition capturing the reality of youth homelessness. Now in its third year, the exhibition is the culmination of a project that partners young emerging photographers with young homeless people, who are asked to take a photo that captures their interpretation of home. It is the simple act of sharing knowledge and skills that makes this exhibition so powerful. Each large-scale print will be taken by the young homeless person; the emerging photographer is simply involved in enabling the young person to understand light, aperture and composition and how these creative elements affect the way we read an image.

Untitled Digital Print Series (Fremantle Arts Centre, 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle)
26 September – 21 November
10am – 5pm daily

Winner of the 2002 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award, Poppy van Oorde-Grainger documents her practice and subsequent interaction with homeowners in her neighbourhood in an engaging series of nine images. Untitled Digital Print Series produces a mini-documentary of the artist’s painting expeditions on suburban pathways. Watercolour renditions of suburban dwellings are perfectly painted on footpaths, but these tiny miniatures survive only as long as the weather permits. The matter-of-fact storytelling, short and complementary to the images, reveals the simple and delightful tales of events that occur during the street productions.

Prisoners of Age (Fremantle Prison, The Terrace, Fremantle)
30 July – 21 November
9am – 5pm daily

Prisoners of Age, by Ron Levine, presents the faces and voices of men who have been sentenced to life in prison, giving us a rare and jarring glimpse at a subject which is often ignored.

Journey of Hope (Moores Building, 46 Henry St, Fremantle)
27 August – 5 September
9am – 5pm daily

Journey of Hope features works by renowned photojournalist Richard Wainwright and Sydney’s Shutter Collective. Also on show are photographs by students from refugee backgrounds whose photographs focus on the theme “Freedom from Fear”.

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