Monthly Archives: February 2014

Extension of his eye

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Although Henri Cartier-Bresson shot with several different lenses while on-assignment working for Magnum, he would only shoot with a 50mm if he was shooting for himself. By being faithful to that lens for decades, the camera truly became “an extension of his eye”.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson was a master at taking photos of children in their natural playful state, creating images that convey beautiful nostalgia to his viewers.

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Travel

Henri Cartier-Bresson traveled the world and shot in places such as India, all of Europe, the United States, China, as well as Africa. When he traveled the world, he was able to capture a different slice of life and learn more about the local people he was with. For example when he was shooting in India—he stayed there for around a year and immersed himself into the culture.

Although it is great to shoot street photography in your backyard, it is great to travel as often as you can. Explore different countries and cultures, and it will help inspire your photography and open your eyes.

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Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography

#2 of 10

Be Patient

When Henri Cartier-Bresson would talk about “The Decisive Moment” he said sometimes it would be spontaneous but others times he had to be patient and wait for it. Regardless he was very methodological when he would go out and shoot, and would only keep his images if every element of his image (people, background, framing, and composition) were perfect.

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10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography

One each day for 10 days

If you look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, he applied geometry to his images poetically. If you look at the composition of his images he integrated vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, curves, shadows, triangles, circles, and squares to his advantage. He also paid particular attention to frames as well.

Look for shapes and geometry. Open up your mind and break your environment into different formal elements. Look for lines that may lead to your subjects or squares that may frame your image.

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Like it’s 1995

Katarina Thorsen’s work was challenged in 1990 and is still challenging today. A Swedish artist with a black child, who she is and why she creates is influenced by her experiences but how can you get back to being authentic when your work has been challenged by cultural appropriation?

Coming from a journalism background, it was a natural progression for me (Patti Henderson) to move into filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, through a nonfictional art form, the documentary.

Fear No Art — An Inquisition (1995) was a 5-minute ‘artumentary’ that explored the question, “what happens to an artist whose art work inspires protest?” I documented artist Katarina Thorsen’s journey as she works through the censorship, penalization from art galleries, the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity and ultimately her own vulnerability.

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Street Art into The Gallery

LONDON (Reuters) – The artworks at a new gallery in London’s Shoreditch are not for sale, and their creator plans to destroy them when the show is over. Phlegm, known only by his pseudonym, did not attend the opening and does not give interviews.

Gallery owner Richard Howard-Griffin plans to pay the rent from sales at other shows. For now, he is providing the first ever gallery space to an artist who has already won recognition in the underground art world and many thousands of followers.

“Phlegm is immensely respected around the world”, after more than a decade of painting enormous urban murals across Europe and in the United States, Howard-Griffin said.

A new, mass audience has emerged for street art as the Internet and smart phone cameras enable people to capture images and share them across the world.

Howard-Griffin calls it the “democratization of art” and said he wants the gallery to act as a conduit for this new wave of artists, rather than an arbiter.

“In the past, museums were how Joe Public got to see artwork”, and the artist depended on an elite audience of gallery owners and museum curators to win recognition, Howard-Griffin said.

“Street art plays to a huge audience, but it doesn’t have an elite audience.”

Phlegm – who Howard-Griffin says “doesn’t care about money” – makes a modest living by selling a limited number of his prints and books directly to fans. He took six weeks to build his show, called The Bestiary.

THE ARTIST AND THE OLD DOG

This is only the second show for the Howard Griffin Gallery. Its first last September did make money, around 70,000 pounds ($115,000), for the gallery and the artist – Londoner John Dolan, who was then homeless.

For three years, Dolan had sat at the same spot on the inner city borough’s High Street, drawing cityscapes of gritty London and portraits of George, the Staffordshire bull terrier at his side.

Meanwhile, Howard-Griffin, 31, had quit his job in a corporate law firm to try to make a living from his interest in street art – leading guided tours, curating small group shows and organizing festivals and mural projects.

He saw Dolan drawing day after day, liked his work and proposed doing a show. The owners of an unused storefront across the street offered the space.

It took 11 months to organize. Howard-Griffin recruited well-known street artists to add fantasy touches to Dolan’s citscapes. The roughly 100 pieces in “George the Dog and John the Artist” all sold.

It was originally meant to be a one-off. “(But) the John show did so well that it gave me the resources and impetus to fund this gallery,” Howard-Griffin said.

Dolan, who said he has signed a book deal on his life story, describes himself as the gallery’s resident artist. He can often be seen there drawing, while George sits in the window and helps attract visitors.

“The gallery launched me, and I launched the gallery,” Dolan said.

For his next show, Howard-Griffin plans to feature Thierry Noir, a 55-year-old French artist who lived in a squat in Berlin and painted miles of the Wall from 1984 until it fell in 1989, dodging arrest by the East German police.

His exploits took place long before the rise of an Internet audience, and the forthcoming show will be his first solo exhibition, Howard-Griffin said. “He has nowhere near the level of recognition in the art world that he deserves.”

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Fairey

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Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970) is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer activist and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” (…OBEY…) sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News.

He became widely known during the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston calls him one of today’s best known and most influential street artists.

The artist explains his driving motivation: “The real message behind most of my work is ‘question everything’.

Bloggers have criticized Fairey for accepting commissions from corporations such as Saks Fifth Avenue, for which his design agency produced illustrations inspired by Constructivism and Alexander Rodchenko. Fairey defends his corporate commissions by saying that clients like Saks Fifth Avenue help him to keep his studio operational and his assistants employed.

Fairey has acknowledged the irony of being a street artist exploring themes of free speech while at the same time being an artist hired by corporations for consumer campaigns. Of this he has stated that designers and artists need to make money. “I consider myself a populist artist,” Fairey says. “I want to reach people through as many different platforms as possible. Street art is a bureaucracy-free way of reaching people, but T-shirts, stickers, commercial jobs, the Internet – there are so many different ways that I use to put my work in front of people.”

Theory of Flow

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is famous for his theory on flow and as one of the pioneers of the scientific study of happiness. In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), he concluded that happiness is not a fixed state but can be developed as we learn to achieve flow in our lives. According to Csikszentmihalyi, “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

When we focus our attention on a consciously chosen goal, our psychic energy literally “flows” in the direction of that goal, resulting in a reordering and harmonizing within consciousness. This higher state of consciousness makes what would seem too difficult effortless and allows us to advance into new achievements in sports performance and all the arts.

The flow state is like a moving meditation. Action and awareness merge when the athlete, artist or performer becomes totally absorbed in what they are doing. They have all the skills necessary and are able to stretch their abilities to meet the challenge, while focusing attention on the task at hand. Time seems to fly. It can also feel like there is no time.

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The Instrument

The artist must find his instrument, to express that which is inside of him.

Yet long before the instrument, there is the drive inside.

The instrument is the tool of transformation from an internal emotion to the external symbolic expression of that emotion, which we experience as art.

And art, in turn, elicits emotion. There is an alchemical process at the root of all art, an emotion fueling creation.

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