Ethereal Obessions

Each spring, I start stalking the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms. National Park Service horticulturalists monitor the Yoshino Cherry trees through their stages: green buds, florets visible, elongation of the florets, puffy white,  peak bloom. They post the stages but it is only at ten days out that they can reasonably predict Peak Bloom.

I am not alone in my ethereal obsession. The blossoms draw a crowd of over 1.5 million visitors annually and nearly everyone of them with a camera. This year will be no different for them or for me and yet, every year, the photographs I take tell a story unique to that year. I am already mentally preparing for my experience; planning my gear; looking forward to my same and yet unique visit. 

 

Photographer:  Bahman Farzad  Jan 1, 1944 - July 8, 2016

Bio: Farzad worked as a systems engineer for the same company for 41 years. His passion in life was photography. 

He taught photography at Birmingham's School of Photography in Birmingham Alabama. He was a graduate of the University of London with two Master's degrees in Engineeering and Computer Science. He won numerous awards in photography and graphic design. Farzad had both articles and photographs published in many photographic magazines including American Photo, Popular Photography, Petersen's Photographic and Darkroom. 

Farzad also published a book: The Confused Photographers Guide to Photographic Exposure and the Simplified Zone System.

 

 

This is Serenity. It is just one of a collection of work created by Farzad featuring Lotus blossoms. He used his technical mastery of the camera and software to produce an ethereal effect. Farzad's exquisite photographs balance composition, color and light.  His work is inspiring not only for the photographs, but also his ability to take a single subject and create a portfolio of work that is both diverse and consistent in style. 

Photographer's Challenge:

Choose a floral subject. Using natural light, create work that feels light and airy. You can use modifiers for the light sources such as diffusers and reflectors. You are welcome to add additional light or flash. There is no limit on the use of post processing. 

 

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai, Oct 31, 1760 - May 10, 1849

Bio: Hokusai was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and print maker of the Edo period. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best known for a series of woodblock prints "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" c. 1831. The most recognized of these is The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

 

Hokusai created the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji from a personal obsession with Mount Fuji, but also in response to increased domestic travel to this area. It was this series and specifically two prints, The Great Wave and Fine wind, Clear Morning, that secured Hokusai's fame both in Japan and overseas. 

Hokusai gives us both a complete and limited collection. Using just 36 prints (which was later expanded to 46) he takes the same subject and explores it from many locations and during every season. He is an example of how an artist's personal obsession can motivate him to create a cohesive collection of work. Unlike a photographer who can easily create a thousand digital photographs of the same subject in a single afternoon, Hokusai crafted a much smaller collection curated from many years of work. 

It is inspiring to see how his compositions are both boldly graphic and yet feature fine details. This juxtaposition of bold and delicate brings a signature look to his prints.

Challenge:  Create a collection of 12 photographs of a single subject or location. As a bonus challenge, attempt to create work that creates a bold graphic look while also showing fine details. 

 

Photographers are invited to join us on Meetup.com or a group Facebook page. You can post one image from each challenge at each of those locations. We are Photo Society of MD/VA/DC.  Local residency is not required. 

 

 

 

 


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