Thursday, June 26, 2008


For the past 15 years, I have been working very hard on improving my photography skills. The result of my efforts for the past couple of years can be seen on my flickr account. I found the basic technical side of photography quite easy. Aperture, shutter speed, iso, focal length and white balance. It's really not that hard to learn. The hard part has been getting my mind into a state where I actively think about these things every time I press the shutter.

After getting confident with the technical aspects of photography, I reached my next level when I bough a Konica Hexar Rangefinder. When you look through the viewfinder of an SLR camera, everything you see will be part of the final image. Working with this kind of camera got me into a habit of more or less just making sure that my main motive was part of this image. When you look through the viewfinder of a rangerfinder you see a set of guidelines which shows you a subpart of the viewfinder that will become the final image. For me that meant that I had to actively think about exactly what I put in the image, but more importantly, what I left out. Once I realized this, I decided to go one step further and stop cropping my images. Forcing myself to think my composition through before I press the shutter.

The step I'm at now, involves integrating with the way I work on my art with the way I take pictures. Part of that is technical aspects such as composition and color theory, but an even bigger part of it is the way I use my art to express feelings, but as I said.... this is something I'm still working actively on :-)

Working on photography for all of these has accumulated a massive archive of images. Most of them pretty shitty, but some of them not that bad - especially from the last couple of years.

After thinking about it for a while, I decided to start trying to sell some of my images as stock photography. There are many different places to do this, but I decided that iStockphoto sounded like the site most suitable for my work and the amount of time I have available to work on it. If you have not yet had a look at iStockphoto, I would definitely encourage you to do so. The photos are royalty free and the prices are low enough that you can buy the images you need without budget changes. If you use the following little button, I might even get a referral fee if you ever end up buying anything through it.

View My Portfolio

So how is the world of stock photography going for me? Well, not too bad. I have only been submitting pictures for a few months now and I'm slowly seeing a month by month rise in the number of sales. Not huge amounts of sales, 9 so far this month, but it's great to see it increase with the size of my portfolio. Check back a year from now and I will write a follow up post :-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Floating Ink

I'm currently staying at a Marriott hotel a bit outside of Chicago. I was hoping to get a bit of sightseeing done, but its extremely cold outside and I have been stuck in bed with a high fever for most of the week. However, I did spend some time playing around with some colored inks in the bathroom sink.

There is nothing new about taking pictures of ink in water, but I was quite surprised at the results I was able to achieve under bad lighting in the bathroom with one hand holding the camera and the other the ink.

Ink floating in water

Later I fetched a couple of buckets of ice to try taking some pictures of ice with ink dripped on it. I was hoping the ink would flow smoothly around the ice, creating a stunning visual of colors being reflected and refracted in the ice. Instead, the porous surface of the ice from the machine here at the hotel, made the ink collect itself in little lumps giving it an almost dirty look.

Ink dripped on ice

The inks I used for these experiments are from Sennelier. I suspect you could get similar result with just about any kind of inks, however the higher the viscosity of the ink, the more easier it will probably be to get good pictures of it before it completely blends with the water. You might also successfully be able to add some thickening agent to the water before adding the ink :-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Big Sellout!

I have never been unwilling to sell my art, but I haven't exactly tried to sell it either. Somehow, it has always felt like it wasn't quite ready. Lately however, I have been focusing very hard on a single style based on ink and watercolors. I have become so happy with the results that I have decided to start actively selling them.

There are many places on the web that will allow you to sell your art in an easy way. I ended up choosing which is a super easy to use system for setting up your own store to sell handmade products. You can find my store at Currently the store features a little selection of my paintings along with some cheaper aceo cards and a variety of handmade products by my wife. If there is any thing specific you would be interested in seing in the store, drop me an email at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ink and watercolor pastels

I have been playing around with a combination of dip pen ink and water soluble pastels for the past couple of months. It's very close to the process I used for plain ink and watercolor, but I have really come to like the more dirty colors I can achieve with the pastels. I will be writing more about the process in the future, but for now I have uploaded a small video of me painting a picture using this technique.... enjoy :-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holga Polaroids

In the past week, I have been experimenting with black and white Polaroids taken using my Holga with the Polaroid back. It can produce really great results, but man do I burn a lot of film trying to get the right exposure. Sometimes I almost wish the Holga had better manual controls, but then again thats just part of the charm.

Sign over the Lazy Catfish in Brooklyn - ISO 400

I haven't worked much with Polaroids before, but I must say that I am really impressed with the quality of the 3000 ISO black and white film. Not only is it perfect for night shots, but it seems a lot more forgiving than the 400 ISO exposure wise, which is a big plus on the Holga. It can be very frustrating to burn through 3-4 pictures (at $1 a piece) to get the right exposure, but I do feel like I'm getting better. I can almost nail the exposure on daylight pictures every time now and it feels like I might only have to shoot a pack or two more of the 3000 ISO films before I get comfortable with them.

Toilet wall at Barcade in Brooklyn - ISO 3000

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Holgaroid Image Transfers

Polaroid image transfers are Polaroid images transfered to paper by interrupting the Polaroid exposure process and squeezing the negative side down on a piece of paper. To do polaroid transfers you need a polaroid camera which uses pack film. You can find a lot of very cheap old Polaroid land cameras on ebay which will work perfectly, but beware that some of them use outdated types of batteries which can be really hard to find. I chose to get a $25 Holga with a Polaroid back. The Holga is a cheaply produced chunk of chinese plastic which is normally used to take medium format pictures on 120 film. It has a crappy lens with insane vignetting problems and is notoriously full of light leaks. This combination gives its pictures a very unique lo-fi look. Each Holga is unique and will produces pictures with its very own one of a kind look. For just five times the price of the camera itself, you can buy a Polaroid back for it. This is an equally cheaply made chunk of plastic which allows you to take pictures on Polaroid pack film. Be aware, that due to the original square format of its medium format pictures the Holga wont expose the whole Polaroid picture, but will leave a vertical black bar on one side of the image.

The Holgaroid / Holga 120CFN with Polaroid back

To do image transfers with Polaroid film, you need to use type 669 or 690 color pack film. These are both pretty low iso films, 80 and 125 iso, so bright sunlight is a must to create really good results with the light hungry Holga. The image transfer process is actually pretty simple, but can be hard to perform successfully. The first step is to take your picture and pull out the film. Next, wait a little while (I find 10-15 seconds to work well), then split the film apart and slap the negative side down on a piece of watercolor paper. Now press it down hard and attempt to squeeze out all air bubbles. I use a little rubber roller along with a 25c coin to do this.

Sqeezing down a Polaroid

After you have squeezed it down good let it rest there for a minute or so, then carefully peel the Polaroid away. Be careful around dark areas since these have a harder time sticking to the paper and will leave you with big light blue holes in the image if you pull to hard. Since the Holgaroid leaves a black bar in one end of the picture, I find it easier to begin from the other end.

Pulling the negative of

With a little luck you will end up with the Polaroid image left on the paper. It takes some practice to produce consistently good results and even then, sometimes it just doesn't work right. In the little sample I made for these photos, I made several errors which can easily be seen in the resulting image. The first is that I didn't pull the Polaroid out of the camera in one smooth movement. This has resulted in an uneven development which shows up as lighter vertical stripes in the picture. The second error is that I let the image expose for too long before splitting it. This has resulted in too much color being transfered to the Polaroid photo paper instead of my watercolor paper (under normal circumstances the Polaroid paper would be left with a light brownish image) and finally, I didn't squeeze the airbubles out well enough, resulting in the big holes in the right side.

The end result

Perfectly done Polaroid transfers can look very soft and beautiful, but even the ones you mess up often have a certain unique charm to them. I'm currently experimenting with adding watercolor and ink drawings to my Holgaroid transfers. The following picture is a Polaroid that I both messed up by underexposing and not squeezing it down well enough. After I got home, I started adding watercolor to it and ended up with a result I really liked.

Holgaroid transfer with watercolor

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Temporal Experiments

I have long been thinking about ways to combine photos taken at a single location to show a sequence of events. This is my first attempt at actually doing it. The photos where taking a couple of weeks ago on a street in Brooklyn. I did not set a fixed exposure, since I thought it would be nice with some variance between the images. However, one of the things I really like about this early experiment is the way its almost hard to figure out what's going on when you first see the image. I think I can make that effect even better if all the images are identically exposed.

Five minutes on a tripod. Metropolitan ave, Brooklyn.