I feel attracted to this three Japanese Anemone because the way they are distributed in the photo feels like there is a certain dynamism in it, as if they are moving like in a dance. I think what enhance the most this visual feeling is the background.
Intentionally or not, any element on images that form visual lines suggest trails that works unconsciously for our eyes, such trails, when well composed on the image, makes it more comfortable, and so pleasing, for our eyes to run and explore the elements of the image. After all our eyes are in constant movement scanning quickly all the details of the visual that we perceive as a whole in our mind. It is as if lines suggest and lead the direction of our eyes so it doesn't have to "jump" from one element to an other in a rough terrain.
The flowers stalk in this photo feel doing just that and it may be what they do in most photographs of flowers and plants; point the direction of the main element to our eyes. Here we have the three flowers distributed in the image and the many stalks point to the direction of them. Even the very blurred stalk on the left of the photo is doing such job pointing to our eyes the direction back to the flower on the bottom of the image.
The diagonal lines on images often suggest dynamism; that things are moving, that things are happening, and so they are alive. I guess the different direction crossing by the lines formed by the stalks is the reason it feels to me the flowers moving like a dance.
There are many other reasons to contemplate the photo, such as the color contrast and shapes textures, but I feel the description I gave above is what makes this photo in particular stands out.
Flower: Japanese Anemone, Hardy Grape Leaf Anemone, Grapeleaf Anemone
Species: Anemone tomentosa (Maxim.) C.Pei
This photograph is from a time I used to go around with my middle format Bronica camera to photograph Dublin and around Ireland; This time in Wicklow. I took this photo in 2012 and in it we one of the medieval Irish towers we sometimes find in the country landscape. When one looks closer they find out these tower don't have a door on the ground lever but, instead, the door is on the high top of the tower with no stairs to it. They were build like this in order to be accessible only with a high ladder brought to it, which monks in the medieval age would do to take whatever is of high valuer to hide in the tower during unsafe times like in wars and invasions.
One of the main characteristic of the image is its kind of stony scenery, not only because of the rocks in the river and landscape but also because it is complementary to the stone building back in the scene. It is like the scene is saying that the building is in its right place, where it belongs to, a rough old construction in a rough landscape.
A second interesting aspect of the photo is in how it is framed, with the river crossing the lower half of the image vreating a diagonal visual line in it. Such line creates two visual perceptions: The first in the invitation it offers to our eyes leading it from the foreground to the back ground of the scene where we find the main subject of the image. Of course we eventually would extend our look to the image background and back to the foreground, but such visual like helps making this vidual exploration of the image a more pleasing experience. On top of that, river streams always suggest a travel to its course.
The second visual perception aspect of the river is the feeling of dynamism; the water in movement. The photo is a long exposure which gives this smooth water shape in movement - although the main reason for the long exposure was the dark orange filter on the lens which I used to create a nicer contrast and texture.
Finally, there is also the the elements balance between the big stones in the foreground and the tower in the back ground. They are the two spots point which incite our eyes to travel forwards and backwards again. They both leans a little to the right side of the image, and it is the river stream line in its diagonal position pointing to the left that compensate the weigh of the two main image's objects leaning on the right side.
This is a typical scene in hamburg city center, where the main river cross the city and where is located the Hamburg Port, on of the main and biggest in Germany. It is a simple scene but it transmits me a strong serenity feeling because it remind me the slow movement of the water of the quiet river and the relaxing movement of the boats in it. The photo was took in the summer of 2020 with the atypical hot weather that has occurring in the past years. And some how, despite living in Hamburg and used to this scene, it still brings me the feeling of holidays time. I guess it is because the boats and the river water symbolizes the idea of travel and being away.
This is a tower of a palace in Schwerin. One of the very few towns where the old German palaces and castles survived the wars. In this photo perceptive I combined four elements which makes the image stand out as harmonious and pleasing to my eyes. The main one is the the palace's tower which transmit a classic fairy tale feeling. Then the old bridge architecture that feels like matching and confirming the tower architecture and epoch, as if it is not the past that is being presented to us in our time but we who are travelling back in the past. Around it the nature, looking a bit wild, as if natural, transmitting the idea that the ambiance is not staged, is not purposely build to entretain people like a Disneyland, it is not a theme park with their perfect gardens and bushes, it is, instead, a real place around natural landscape with its real nature; A place with real long past history. The lamp post is the element that remind us that the scene is what is preserved from the part in a more modern time.
The contrast of colors has its charm as well, but the real pleasing visual feature that makes this photograph feel in touch with the past is the film negative grain and colors characteristic. It was photographed with real film negative around 2016 and I know that there are image editing programs that simulate the film negative look effect in digital made photographs, but believe, it is not the same. The film photographs, even the digitized ones we see in screen, has very different grain characteristics than the digital made photos. This difference is what makes film photographs transmit a feeling of more tangibility and craft. The digital made photos are beautiful and they have a quality of their own, but sometimes it feels too "electronic", specially when attempting to represent the past feeling and craft feeling.
This image is from a walk among Switzerland mountains, a couple of years before moving to sought Germany. This was one of the experiences that convinced me to move to Sough Germany, not only because the fast travel to Swiss Alps but specially because I wanted to have more contact with nature.
This photo don't cease to please my eyes and I believe it is not only because of the beautiful white mountain in it. The contrast among colors - the blue sky, the white snow as well as silver color of the mountain and the dark green three in the foreground - is defensively a big factor for the visual pleasure in the image. The green foreground contrasting with a completely different landscape in the background suggests there is something beyond to be reach that feels kind of alien to us - to where we find ourselves. It is this feeling of strangeness, beyond and not accessible [yet] that generates the feelings we call passion - The curiosity and desire to access of what feels alien/mysterious to us. I believe this contrast of landscape, which suggest where we are and a place beyond and completely different, provoke a kind of visual - and so corporeal - memory of the passion feeling.
An other aspect is in the composition of the elements and framing. The diagonal line crossing the image and dividing its foreground and background is visually very pleasing to me. Not only because it creates it is the delimitation of the two different landscapes but specially because it separates the right (tree) and left (mountains) elements in the image. In short, it help our eyes naturally descant through through the image, the tree, the foreground landscape, the mountains in the background, the sky and back again. Such kind of visual "travelling" is the pleasure we aim through the work of framing and composition; A pleasing visual exploration and experience.
I took this photo with film negative, which I prefer because it doesn't distract me from the visual experience and contemplation of what is in front of me; No screen in the camera to check how the photo look like. The manual camera makes me pay more attention to light, texture and colour shades in order to better capture the image.
This Baby's Breath photograph is what made me very glad to opt for a longer lens this summer (2020), in order to explore the shallow depth of field (DOF) - the blured background. These small "dots like" flowers stands out even stronger with the blurred backgroung and I think it enhances the small flowers delicacy.
We have many of these flowers in the park near home where I go for my photographs but I don't have them in the photographs I took last year. The reason is because last year I used a wide angle lens and such small flowers appear too small in a wide angle image, and the depth of field is not as strong and beautiful as it is with the longer lens I used this year.
It makes a very hard decision choice on what lens to choose and effect to go after because I love both of them. But it looks like I have hangout more often with my tele-lens if I want obtain more results with such small flowers.
Flower Names: Baby's Breath; Bachelor's Button; Babysbreath
Species: Gypsophilia paniculata L.
Region: Predominant in Europe.
A friend of mine told me this pink Garden Cosmos look very girly, telling me it is funny to think of me, a beard man, photographing such "feminine feeling" images. On the other hand, my psychology never had such strong gender division. I agree with her about this photograph looking girly, because of the delicate flower shape and pink color, but what kind of flower don't look feminine? As a man I like to contemplate the "feminine" world which normally is associated to charm, elegance and beauty. What makes this particular image look girly is the innocence feeling transmitted by the flowers and their pink and yellow colors.
Otto Rank wrote that we all have both feminine and masculine psychology with one being more strong than the other. Siri Hustvedt said that she sometimes dreams she is a man, mostly because as a writer she incorporate the male characters in her stories. She says that she is a woman but sometimes she is a men (when she dreams and writes). So I guess that sometimes I am a girl when I photograph, letting emerge my feminine psychology in my dreams and work.
Flower Names: Cosmos; Garden Cosmos; Mexican Aster; Annual Cosmos; Common Cosmos; Cosmea.
Species: Cosmos bipinnatus Cav.
What called my attention to this three Coneflower flowers in particular was the contrast of the dead flowers in the background. I like images that suggests the contrast between life and death, which remind us that life can be very beautiful but it is temporary and short. Have that in mind is maybe what makes us appreciate and contemplate life despite all its imperfections. Such conceptual contrast is accentuated with the technical contrast of the bright light and colors of the three alive and vivid flowers against the dark background.
I photographed this flower at the start of August of 2020. This year I decided to photograph with natural light in order to obtain a different effect than the photographs I have from last year. This photo was also shot with a longer lens in order to obtain a stronger blurred background - called as shallow DOF (Depth of Field) in the photography language. I made two photographs of these flowers with the same frame, so they look very similar, with the difference that this one the background is less blurred to show more the dead flowers in the back ground.
Flower: Orange Coneflower, Perennial Coneflower, Coneflower
Species: Rudbeckia fulgida Aiton.
Color: Yellow and Orange.
Region: Europe and North America.
Many people think I photographed this beautiful Spider flower in studio but it was actually photographed in a park near home, in the later summer of 2019.
I am not the kind of photographer who like to create the idealistic perfect image in image manipulation programs. The less time working in computer the more time I have to contemplate and photograph the world outdoor. So it was very luck to find this elegant flower looking so perfect. I have been looking around for this flower this year (2020) and I haven't found them as beautiful as the this one I photographed last year.
The dark background is an effect archived by using a small but powerful speed light; In short, everything that is lit by natural light is eliminated and only what is lit by the strobe light appears in the photo. The natural light exposure is controlled by the exposure time while the speed-light is controlled by the lens diaphragm aperture (light intensity). It means that the the powerful strobe light can be cached in the photo in its short exposure tume while the natural light can be eliminated because it is not strong enough to be registered in a such short exposure time.
Cleome hassleriana, commonly known as spider flower, spider plant, pink queen, or grandfather's whiskers, native to southern South America in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southeast Brazil.
Its pink petals is thought to be a calming color associated with love, kindness, and femininity. Many people immediately associate it to feminine and girly. It might also bring to mind romance and holidays such as Valentine's Day. Cleome flower is often described as relaxing, bring the peace feeling to your living room, bathroom and sleeping room. It suits well near a cozy sofa and bathtub.
It is a very elegant and delicate flower.
I once had a Brazilian flatmate in Dublin who had just arrived in Ireland. In one of our first conversations he told me about the “prostitutes” in the bohemian neighbourhood called Temple Bar. I was surprised because after couple of years living near Temple Bar I have never seen a sex worker. During the conversation I realized the women he was referring to, as sex workers, were just women wearing mini-skirt – which is a very common women outfit in Ireland and UK even during winter. For the new comer from Brazil women showing more legs than he was used to see in public had an automatic association to prostitution.
In my first couple of weeks in Freiburg – Germany -, when I was looking for a place to live, I was eating in a bar with my mother when a group of 5 men joined our big table. During the conversation they learned we are Brazilians and told us with a big enthusiasm they were going to spend their holidays, in the following month, in Brazil. After a while I asked one of them, who didn’t share the same enthusiasm than the others, if he was going to spend his holidays in Brazil as well. He answered with a gesture of showing his wedding ring on his finger. I suddenly thought he was suggesting that his friends were going to Brazil with sexual intentions, specially because sex tourism in Brazil is very common and many people in Sough Germany have the image of Brazilian women as being easy to take to bed – Since Brazilians are often very attracted to foreigners. Maybe I misinterpreted his gesture, maybe he was just saying that he is not as free to travel as his friends who are single, because of family responsibilities, but I could not help thinking about sex tourism through his silent message.
I think it is interesting the fact that among Brazil, Ireland and Germany the first is the more conservative and moralist when the subject is nudity, which is a false morality to protect them from their own dirty minds. Different from Germany with many parks and saunas where people can spend their time - on their own, with friends or with their families - completely naked . During German’s summer toddlers are running and playing completely nude in their gardens while in Brazil parents are concerned about their toddlers private parts, or even underwear, being exposed in public. In Brazil there are some isolated beaches with nude areas but in general nudity is not tolerated or allowed - not even topless regarding women. In Brazil nudity is automatically associated with sexual provocation. Ireland and the UK don’t have the open air or sauna nude culture as in the Nordic countries but nobody minds women showing their skin. Once a naked woman, walking in the streets in the UK, was stopped by a policeman, not to reprimand her but, to inform her about the law saying that her being nude in public is not an offense, but if somebody complains for feeling offended then it becomes an offense.
Any bath place is supposed to be a place where people don’t need to wear clothes. In South France, where it used to be common for people to be nude in the beaches, people, and specially women, feel less comfortable with nudity because of the new generation of young men who automatic associate nude women as a sign of “available to sex”. Women, then, became more frequent victims of harassment.
When I started with photography, in Ireland, it was always easy to find people to photograph, especially women. Soon I had my first boudoir photo shoot which for my surprise ended as nude photo shoot. It was a woman who contacted me looking for sensual photos but during the photo shoot she felt comfortable enough to just take out her clothes and continuous the shooting naked. Thanks to her I had photos for my portfolio which brought me more women wanting nude photos, especially after I developed a classic visual language with film negative photos that people became attracted to. Most people associate nude photography with pornography - anything can be turned into pornography in fact, it only requires the viewer imagination and intention – but it is not how I see my work. As a man I am naturally interested in women's beauty and women's bodies but it doesn’t mean I have the sexual view about people I photograph for being naked but the opposite; I have a big respect for people who trust me and my work since most of my photo shoots are just me and the model.
Some people, especially in Brazil, quickly ask me if I sleep with the models I photograph because they can’t help associating nudity to sexual activity. Nudity, instead, gives people a sense of freedom. I only photographed a couple of nude men and it was more evident from them their enthusiasm for being naked - and for having a creative image of their body's expression. I first released it when I was photographing a woman who the body seemed stuck during my posing direction. I told her that she doesn’t look comfortable and that I could not get good body composition from her. She then asked me if I could see her private parts, to which I replied saying that I am too focused on the body composition, lighting, camera setting, framing , focus and the image narrative that looking at her private parts never crossed my mind. It seemed to me her worries came from the fact I was photographing her with an old manual film camera, with a slow focus ring in the lens; Because of the system it takes me a little extra time to find the focus before I press the camera shutter release. I tried to explain about the camera to her but she was satisfied with my first explanation; She didn’t want to hear about my camera but go on with the photo shoot, this time feeling completely free with no worries about what in her body may be exposed, even if it appears in the photo. It is through people's eyes where we confirm who we are .
We fear people's judgement which makes us feel self-conscious. When we are self-conscious, we feel uncomfortable, dissociated from the place and people around us, alien to our surroundings, causing us to cover who we are looking for privacy. Being naked and being accepted as we are without clothes means self-confirmation and so self-acceptance. It gives people more confidence about their body and so about themselves, because they can do whatever they are doing and forget about themselves, feeling more connected to whatever they are doing, enjoying the moment completely and so feeling free. Many people ask me how I convince people to take their clothes off or how I convince women to have certain poses when naked. I never needed to convince anybody to do anything, it was all their decision in the first place, their self-disclosure, to the joy of appearing in the world and deed without equivocation and without self-reflection that are inherent in action.
In Germany it is much more difficult to have people who want nude photo shoots. Instead of paying me they want to be paid. Often it has to do with the fact that Germans are more cynic for feeling suspicious about people's intentions, especially those who they don’t know. German introversion makes them feel more alienated from people and so more self-conscious, which explains the awkwardness that often Germans have. But this cynicism and uneasy feeling among strangers is not the main reason, it seems. I believe the main reason is because they are more used and so comfortable enough with their naked body in public. Instead of photo shoots, for the creative expression of their body freedom, they rather go to saunas and nude public parks where they can enjoy the freedom of their body without the need of interaction with another person, but on their own or with their family in their introverted manner.
The ancient Greek had the Polis, the public space where people could interact and become equal to others, which separate them from their private life where people had their own individuality. This public space was for Theseus what enabled ordinary man to bear life’s burden, for providing the safe space for public interaction, but it was also where people hide their individuality in order to become equals and so respect each other . The medieval Christianity thinking and social tradition had no Polis separating the public and the private. People became equal to each other not through a political space designated for political interaction but through every individual, where God becomes ubiquitous in every person's eyes, turning their presence public and their action as action towards God itself . Consequently, people had to hide more of themselves in order to preserve their individuality. I feel Germans keep something of this separation of public and private tradition, with their closed friend circle as their Polis where they can interact and express themselves to each other as equal, while outside it they can be “naked”, with no need to hide their individuality in order to preserve it; Or as Germans like to say, “being direct”. The Irish, maintaining a more medieval Christian tradition, have the public space on every individual eyes who they can interact and express themselves with, in order to bear life burden, but hiding their individuality in order to preserve it. The photo shooting seems to be for the Irish the private sphere where people can be free from the public “burden” but, at the same time, they can appear to the public by showing their individual expression through the photo results, since it is only through others’ eyes we can confirm ourselves. It also seems to be the reason the so-called “German directness” is interpreted as rudeness for most westerns. Politeness is in fact against directness; Hiding our true thinking and wish to act, our individuality, to respect those through whom we see ourselves as in the eyes of the public arena – God ubiquitous. Germans feel free to not hide their true feelings because what the Irish see as public for the Germans is seen as private, the space where people can have their individuality, action without the public “burden”. The German introversion seems to be a preservation of their individuality on what for the Irish is supposed to be public.
In today’s society there is no such thing as private space other than our own home . The patriarchal family was supposed to be the private kingship where one can have our individuality freedom apart from the public, the reason the Greeks, originally a matriarchal society, created the Polis as contrast to the private patriarchal kingdom . God ubiquitous came to replace the Polis during Medieval times. The Equality among people is what is replacing God ubiquitous in today’s society. Universal equality invades even the patriarchal family – the private kingdom – in order to assure people’s basic equality rights.
Different cultures find their way to appear and to hide. In order to keep prolific with nude photography, after moving to Germany, I started photographing myself; this time with pinhole cameras which work with long exposure photography. I never felt completely comfortable being nude in public - especially coming from a judging and mocking culture that is strong in Brazil, where the public and the private are merged and confused as attempt to find their individual expression and, at the same time, afraid of losing both all together – but doing my creative work that now included my own body expression made me feel very good and more comfortable in my own body. Like a work of art, which we create from our own expression, the body then becomes a work of art – or it has always been - through which we find our individuality in our nudity and, at the same time, our public expression through the image result. The public where we confirm our own self narrative, which without we have no identity.
 HUSTVEDT, S. A Plea for Eros. Separata de; HUSTVEDT, S. A Plea for Eros: Essays. NY: Picador, 2006
 ARENDT, H. The Life of the Mind: The groundbreaking investigation on how we think. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1977.
[3,4,5] ARENDT, H. On Revolution. London: Faber & Faber, 2016.
 ARENDT, H. The Human Condition: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018. Second Edition.
 RANK, O. Psychology and The Soul. Mansfield Center, CT : Martino Publishing, 2011.
The naked woman holding a mask symbolizes where we come from and the birth trauma, which is the origin of all human anxiety, according to Otto Rank. The word “anxiety” comes from the Latin root word “angere” which means to choke or strangle. The first struggle of human life is going through the narrow birth canal, which squeezes and chokes the baby when coming through.
The experience of birth trauma is similar to other anxieties, with the same physical symptoms of a panic attack. Unexplained tachycardia, headaches, extreme pressure on the skull, a feeling of drowning or suffocating, etc.
The separation of mother and child, and its birth trauma, isn’t limited to physical sensations but also causes the loss of the ideal state. Such a first world experience has a serious impact on us and makes us especially sensitive to all kinds of losses, wishing the returning to the prenatal ideal state, normally reflected in the social human interaction and intimate relation, because every person is born twice. The second time is when you earn your place among the people, by being accepted by your community where you develop a sense of identity and belonging.
Rather than a sexual symbol for the male pleasure, this image of a naked woman means something deeper. The sexual frustration is often a social frustration, of feeling socially excluded, away from the ideal state.
Without the social interaction and fulfillment the person starts overthinking. Living solely in the world of thinking gives the person umberable desires. The desire to fulfill the starving body. An urge to act and fulfill the senses, which ground us in the contact with the material world, the sense of being alive and belonging.
Street Portraits and No Violent Communication
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Is photography an easy way to make art?
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The photo mechanical eye culture and the need of abstract vision