“I Could’a Been A Contender”

“I Could’a Been A Contender”

The assignment was to illustrate the phrase: “I Could’a Been a Contender”. Taken from the Marlon Brando movie, “On the Waterfront”, the phrase has been used to mean a lot of similar feelings… not making the cut, not being good enough, or being held back.

The P52 Pros came through with some amazing work.

I want to share them with you here.

To see more work from the Project 52 Pro shooters, visit the site at www.project52pros.com.

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Tomas Jansson used a large softbox to camera right, and a white fill card to camera left in this still life.

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Rasmus Hald wanted a feeling of sadness and introspection. He used a 15 degree grid spot on the main overhead light, and a 30 degree grid on the face of his subject, dialed down well below the exposure of the hands. This gives the image a powerful, selective feeling of isolation.

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Anders Eriksson kept the image very dark, and the mystery quite high. A single medium softbox was used on both half of the images which were then assembled in Photoshop.

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David Price wanted a feeling of isolation and sadness, so he used the composition and lighting to achieve a feeling of despair.  A single medium softbox from camera left was skillfully blended with the ambient sunlight to present a very cohesive image.

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Katherine Gooding used a single small modified flash to make this emotionally heavy image. A fill card to camera right kept a very small amount of detail in his hair on the shadow side, and the light on the rough sweater lets us feel the texture as well as witness the pose of surrender.

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David Price also submitted this feeling of loss and despair. A single strobe with a reflector was used high on camera left. The sharpness of the unmodified reflector gives extra detail to the mountain of paperwork that has ‘temporarily we hope’ halted the progress of the subject.

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Alicia Bonterre worked with a friend to make this haunting photograph in Trinidad. A single gridded light and intentional underexposure gave a gritty edginess to the image.

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Filipe Martins entry also uses a pool of light to emphasize the loss and pain of not being able to cut it on something you love to do.

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Adi Talwar used window light and carefully selected exposure. A lovely, moody portrait of his daughter.

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Bob Knill’s entry shows the pain of loss with pools of light and shadows telling the story. The subject’s sense of loss is wonderfully played by his model.

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A single gridded softbox from camera axis gives a punchy light to this portrait. Bret Reynoso chose the graphic lines of a strongly backlit window shade to be his canvas.

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Irene Liebler’s neighbor is a motocross rider and familiar with the pain that riders meet when they lose. Irene used three softboxes to give this portrait emphasis. and the great edgework of the light adds dimension as well.

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Julie Clegg chose a single very large softbox in very close for this “contender”. Great direction and a subject willing to ‘emote’ gives us this strong portrait.

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A sense of loss and a style reminiscent of ‘film-noire’ was the impetus for this image by Girish Basavar. Using a hallway and a beauty dish, he was able to make this image of high emotion. Grid spots from left and right behind added additional light to help tell the story.

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Peter Dopchev shows us the moment when a competitor realizes it is all over for him this season. A small pool of light and a cinematic approach to using the shadows adds a bit of mystery to this understated portrait.

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Russel Harrison reveals the moment when finally alone and away from the crowds, an athlete reflects back on the loss. Strong emotions from the subject and a sense of understatement makes a powerful portrait. A single speedlight, tightly wrapped in plastic to stay dry, is fired from the back of the shower and diffused with additional plastic material.

Project 52 Pros is one of the most fun and important things I have ever done. To see this quality of work coming out of the group is simply stunning.

Thanks to all the P52 members for keeping it real.

Kyle Jones Shoots the Reno Rodeo

Kyle Jones Shoots the Reno Rodeo

Project 52 Member Kyle Jones shot the rodeo in Reno recently. Kyle is a photographer of many interests and talents.

He is working on building a book and getting out in the Reno market by the first of the year. This fun shoot is one of the stories he is working on for his personal pages.

I love rodeos… this work makes me remember how much.

From Kyle:

It’s June in Reno, Nevada. That means one thing, the Reno Rodeo is coming to town. This year (2013) marks the 94th year since its inception. Being from upstate New York, I hadn’t really experienced many rodeos in my life, but, since moving to Reno in August 2009, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend every one. This year marks my fourth straight Reno Rodeo.

A day spent at the rodeo is fun and exciting. I thought this would be the perfect venue to document for my Project52 Pros assignment. There are many areas to photograph; the rides along the midway, vendors who set up shop in the buildings, people walking around the food court, and of course the main attraction, the rodeo itself.

This is a very challenging assignment with varying light conditions throughout the event combined with the fast action of a bareback bronc ride or bull ride. The sun is still high in the sky at 7 p.m. when the rodeo begins, shadows and strong sunlight can wreak havoc on composition. However, it isn’t long before the summer sun is setting on the horizon when the next challenge presents itself, stadium lighting. Time to crank up the ISO setting!

This year we had seats directly across the arena from where the broncs and bulls come out of the gate. I would get my camera positioned on the cowboy that was up next and when the gate was pulled, fire off frames as fast as technology would permit. I try my best to put the focus point on the cowboy’s face or chest. My goal was to document the excitement and family fun that a rodeo brings to a community by mixing up exciting shots of cowboys and cowgirls in action with the master of ceremonies on his horse and other intermission entertainment taking place between rodeo events.

I really enjoyed covering this event. At future rodeos I plan to cover even more by taking the whole day to capture more ‘behind the scenes’ shots of the stockyards and stable workers. I’ve met many people who volunteer their time to the Reno Rodeo each year, so, I’m confident that with persistence and asking, this goal will come to fruition.

– Kyle D. Jones

The Images:

 

Mike Moore: Surf Meet

Mike Moore: Surf Meet

Project 52 member, Mike Moore’s Project.

I live in Encinitas California. It is a small but growing city 25 miles north of San Diego. Known for its legendary surf spots, Pipes, Swami’s and Stonesteps to name a few, Encinitas is often described as laid-back and funky.

For my project I chose to focus on Stonesteps Beach; in particular, the 27th Annual Stonesteps Longboard surf contest. Held on one Saturday in August, this neighborhood event brings old friends back together again and offers an opportunity to make new friends. The event is completely run by volunteers and neighbors. Local businesses donate prizes for the winners of the contest.

My vision was to show the contestants surfing and spectators mingling. Also, I wanted to capture details showing you the spirit of the event. A behind the scenes view that most people may not think about but, once they see the photographs, have an “ah-ha” moment.

Here is my view of the 27th Annual Stonesteps Longboard surf contest…enjoy the ride!

-Mike Moore

A Concert in Boras, Sweden by Tomas Jansson (P52)

A Concert in Boras, Sweden by Tomas Jansson (P52)

Tomas Jansson is a Project 52 PRO. This is his project shoot.

“With my pictures I have tried to capture a story, give an overview of the area, the people and of course the concert.

Every Thursday for eight weeks in the summer there are festivities in my hometown of Borås in Sweden. The city invites everyone to a concert and people of all ages are out on the town together. It is always crowded with a large stage in the town square. This time the local really talented and entertaining rock band State of Drama appeared. With a drummer who delivered really amazing drum solos.

I decided in March to document the first concert on 27th of June and this is my result.

I took about 300 pictures and picked out 15 that I really liked. So, I used about 5% of the pictures.”

— Tomas Jansson

Vintage Clothing Expo, Malmo by Flora Cusi

Vintage Clothing Expo, Malmo by Flora Cusi

Vintagemässan i Malmö, 25th of May 2013

http://vintagemalmo.se
photographer: Flora Cusi
floramc@floramc.se

Project: I decided to visit the vintage expo in Malmö for my event project. My main interests are colors and patterns and less documenting the presence of people, although I did not exclude this second part. I just used part of the expo, like the catwalk to put the two things together. I made an effort to photograph the whole exposition but I had several problems with people as many were not willing to be photographed.

Difficulties: the main difficulty was to control the light. It was extremely bad lights almost everywhere, and a cloudy dark day not letting in a lot from the big windows.
Another problem was the lack of glamour. I expected something more styled and pompous, and surely there were a lot of inspired pin-ups walking around. But the whole presentation was quite shabby and I had to work on my own to isolate my subjects and make them look good.
Also, the quality was really varied. Some clothes were coming from Hollywood and had a real style, others were of the worst quality. It was hard to vary, much harder than I expected.

Intentions: I am not quite the person who document facts. I use photoshop and I reorganize my pictures. I don’t aim to become a press photographer or work with documentary. I suppose part of my pictures would still fit on a fashion magazine, but I don’t mind letting photoshop being quite evident in my work.

Creating unity was a challenge and I was not out to show clothes and clothes, although that was the main thing out. I wanted to catch a bit of variety and I suppose I managed, but I had to sort out a lot as as said they really were showing things in a real shabby way.

Thanks Flora… very interesting project.

Flora is a Project 52 PRO member and lives in Sweden.

Tour of California Bicycle Race: Adam Bendig

Tour of California Bicycle Race: Adam Bendig

Project 52 PROS is a group of highly motivated photographers who are spending a year with me working on their books, their marketing tools, marketing plans and becoming more familiar with shooting like a professional.

Adam Bendig is one of our pros,, and this is the project he took on earlier this year. I asked each participant to develop a project and some verbiage that could be used to give the images context.

Adam chose the Tour of California Bicycle Race and these are his words and images.

FROM ADAM:

For the past two years I’ve attended the Tour of California bicycle race, and decided that this year was the time to make the leap, and cover the entire race from start to finish. 16 teams from around the world (China, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and a number of domestically based teams) descend upon the state of California, and for the first time traveled South to North this year. Cycling has long been a passion for me, starting with BMX as a wee lad, to mountain biking and road cycling as a young adult. Because of this, I feel that my cycling centric work is improved. I know the little things to look for, and the little things that are interesting to someone with an interest in the sport.

2013-05-14-ATOC_St3_Santa_Clarita-365---Version-3Earlier this year, I made the decision to fly to Louisville to cover the World Championships of cyclocross rather then purchase an awesome new photo-gear backpack. That paid off with some incredible imagery, and a few good connections for the future. So with this experience fresh in my mind, I set off on a road trip with grand intentions. I couch surfed when possible, but that’s one of the major takeaways from this. Because of the scale of this event, which took me over 1600 miles and more then 25 stops, I’ve learned how important it can be to stay near the event. Getting a hotel room rather then couch surfing would have saved me a couple of hundred miles, and a few hours behind the wheel. But, that’s why it’s important to get out and tackle these jobs that you want to be paid for well before you start getting paid for them. You’ve really got to find out what all goes into it. In addition to the crazy commuting, I also discovered just how much extra time it takes at the end of the day to put coverage together, but I’ll get to that later.

2013-05-13-ATOC_st2_Palm_Springs-1535I’m fortunate to have a friend with a lifestyle website that’s happy to publish my work (agentlemansword.com), and because of that I was able to turn my coverage of World’s into a media credential at this race. In addition to an air conditioned room with ice cold water at some of the beginning stages, I was able to meet Press Officers for a few of the teams, which began opening up the coverage that I really wanted out of this. I was invited to go slightly behind the scenes with a world class professional road racing team, telling the story of the people that make everything happen and allow the riders to do just what they need to do, ride. And win. This is the stuff that’s interesting to me. What happens on the race course, you can see live on the Tour Tracker app and after the race on a ton of other websites, but I want to see, and show, what goes on just off course. Unfortunately however, there are a bunch of other photographers that want to do the same.

The key for me was getting past my fear of speaking to someone, explaining what I was doing and what I wanted to cover, and then the doors opened. I was welcomed behind the caution tape. In a nice discussion with the contact after my coverage was published, he pointed out that was made exceptional work stand out over others, was the attention to details. Not just photographing the details, but captions explaining what’s going on. Including names. Telling the story in more then just pictures. A lot of photographers, a majority I’d say, are more comfortable behind the camera. I’m definitely one of those, and would use the camera as a way to experience something without having to be involved myself. It’s a crutch for sure, but breaking through that has made my work improve tremendously.

2013-05-13-ATOC_st2_Palm_Springs-1527Waking up with the sunrise and driving 70 miles to catch some bike riders walking out of an RV and hopping on a bike, then driving 80 more miles through two lane desert and then mountain roads to shoot a peloton passing by faster then you can react to, and then another 70 miles to a sweltering desert wasteland in triple digit heat for the finish, THEN driving home, that’s a lot of work. Now, sit down and import a few hundred photos, tag them, rate them, process the best. Now write a few hundred words about what happened in the race. Now, plan the next day. Figure out where you’ll start, what time you’ve got to leave, where you’ll be able to pick up the race while they’re riding, and try to get a little bit of sleep…it’s one of the best weeks I’ve ever had. It’d better be if that’s what I want to do on the regular! It was definitely more involved then I expected though. I didn’t get to bed before midnight once the entire week, and the day that I was going to be able to sleep in ’til 9, I automatically woke up at sunrise. Hard work, but the more I prepared myself for each day, the more I put myself out there to meet the people that can give me access, the more it paid off.

2013-05-14-ATOC_St3_Santa_Clarita-508This may just be a once a year race, but now I have a powerful set of images to turn into an ebook, to show magazines, sponsors and local teams. They say that the body of a bike racer changes after they’ve completed one of the three week Grand Tours. That the non stop punishment does something to the body, making them a better rider. This may have just been one week, and I had the luxury of pressing a gas pedal instead of turning a pedal over and over, but the experience of working from the road, meeting deadlines and having to create beautiful images in random conditions, it’s made me a better photographer and helped to prepare me for what’s to come. Just like the thousands of miles the racers will ride in the off-season, this is practice, and now I’ve met some of the people that I’ll soon be working for.

Adam Bendig
adambendigphotography.com