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A Photograph is not an Opinion. Or is it? Top Quotes of Susan Sontag

The quotes from the book “ Photographs by Annie Leibovitz ; Essay by Susan Sontag ” is a fascinating book of pictures of people who have nothing in …

A Photograph is not an Opinion. Or is it? Top Quotes of Susan Sontag
Danish Siddiqui · Inspirational Art · ISO · National Geographic · Photography · Photography Blog · Photojournalism · Robert Capa · Storytelling · Style · Tools

Photojournalism: Tips to Make Pictures like a Pro

Danish Siddiqui Gerda Taro Robert Capa Robert Capa Robert Capa Robert Capa Gerda Taro Robert Capa What is so striking about these pictures? This art …

Photojournalism: Tips to Make Pictures like a Pro
Andre Breton · Dali · Dream · Man Ray · Photography · Photomontage · Surrealism

Photography And Surrealism~Dream Photographs

Welcome to my Surrealistic world ~ or welcome to my mind. There is a creative freedom in making pictures which uses illegal juxtaposition of dissimilar objects. This process of photography which in the accepted means of the world is a documentation of reality, however when used in a surrealist manner, upsets the conventional way of looking at the world, as it captured oddities in life or allowed fantastic alterations of it through such technical experiments as photograms and photomontages.


Andre Breton the “Pope”of Surrealism~Photographs by Man Ray.Images from Pinterest

The art world’s attention was dominated from the mid 1920s through the 30s by Surrealism- the movement in all the arts largely inspired by the tools and ideas of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis.

Andre Breton, the poet “pope” of the movement, gave at half serious dictionary style definition in his 1924 Surrealist Manifesto: “Surrealism. Noun, Masculine. Pure psychic automatism, by which one intends to express verbally, in writing or by any other method, the real functioning of the mind.Dictation by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, and beyond any esthetic or moral preoccupation. ”

While Freud attempted to restore  his patients to reason, the Surrealists reveled in the word of id, where new sources of beauty and mystery were felt to lie. The indexical nature or the truth value of a photograph made it, paradoxically, a key medium for the Surrealists.

Breton and artists such as Dali ( who called his canvas”hand-painted dream photographs”) selected documentary photographs and gave them new visionary readings, to insist to the interpretation of oneiric and walking experience. 

Breton reproduced works of Eugene Atget in Surrealist magazine La Revolution Surrealiste; while Dali collaged scientific photographs of hysterical women together with details of the Spaniard Antonio Gaudi’s fantastic architecture. Brassai photographed nude torsos from the rear to resemble bones, like Arp’s biomorphic sculpture, and he recorded graffiti as the art of the child and the aberrant mind-as the pure expression of the subconscious” without  control  exercised by reason.” Other photographers explored various darkroom effects to undercut photographic realism. None was more inventive than American-born Man Ray.

Photographer~Man Ray. Images from Pinterest


It is hard to ignore the fact that surrealism is still an important part of the art and fashion world today. With ostentatious sets of Vogue fashion shoots to the catwalks in Paris and Milan ~ we still get the glimpse of the outlandish.

Breton had said surrealism was complete nonconformity. “The marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful,” he wrote in 1924. It was a fitting statement for a movement that utilized photography as an art form in a way that had never been done before, creating nonrepresentational images of dreams and nightmares.~Excerpt from Man Ray~Surrealism and Photography by Meghan Garven in NYPD

Camera · catacombs · Flash Photography · ISO · Natural Light · Photography · Weegee · William Henry Talbot

Flash Photography ~ Beyond Natural Light


There is something very stark and bare about flash photography . It is something we have been told should be used judiciously . For the average photographer, coping with the technical requirements of flash can be daunting, which is why high quality cameras come with such features as auto flash, fill in flash, red eye reduction. But even these conveniences can still result in a harsh, flat looking photos that bear little resemblance to the refined image achieved by a professionals~ illustrating just how complex the proper use of lighting can be, whether the light is natural or artificial. 


The 1800s~photography took place in bright light of the day, since sunlight was originally the only source of lighting sufficient to record an image on the low-sensitivity media used by early photographers. However, even then the quest was on to make images in dark or low light settings. However, until the sensitivity of the material was improved, they were unable to make exposures by common sources of artificial light, such as gaslight or tungsten lamps.

Instead, they turned to the technique of flash-a brief, intense light that allows them to capture images of poorly lit subjects.The earliest type of flash was limelight, produced by heating lime with an oxygen-hydrogen gas flame. The burning lime gave off an intense light. The quality that made limelight effective was its strong blue component, which worked well with the blue-sensitive media of the time. But because it’s use resulted in harsh images, limelight soon fell out of flavor.

William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the first practical method of negative-to-positive imaging in the 1830s, experimented with illumination provided by a high voltage spark from a Leyden jar. Using this technique, Talbot took pictures of rapidly spinning newspaper during a lecture at the Royal Institution in 1851, thereby demonstrating the principle of stopping motion with a high speed flash for the first time. 

About the same time, French photographer Gaspard Felix Tournachon, known professionally to Nadar, made use of Bunsen batteries and reflectors to take a series of some hundred photographs in the catacombs of Paris.

In 1864, photographers in England used burning magnesium wire to light photographs taken in under ground mines.In the 1880s powder made of magnesium and potassium chlorite became the standard for flash photography, until the creation of a prototype flashbulb in 1925 by Germany’s Dr. Paul Vierkotter, who encased magnesium wire inside a glass bulb, creating a safer, smokeless flash.

Flashbulbs of various designs dominated flash photography prior to the introductions of electronic flash, which came about through experiments in the 1930s at the Massachusetts institute of technology. Unlike the light produced by flashbulb, which takes time to reach its peak, electronic flash is instantaneous, although there is slight delay between successive flashes.

Despite the fact that most modern cameras now comes equipped with built-in electronic flash, photographers still use flashbulb for special requirements, including cave photography and imaging related to research on explosives and testing of aircraft engines.

Advantage of using Flash

Besides illuminating an under-lit scene or stopping high speed action, flash photography has come to be used in other ways. Pictures taken in daylight can benefit from fill in flash, which can counteract extreme backlighting and soften hard shadow.

In the 1930s, New York crime photographer Arthur Fellig, known as “Weegee the Famous” , used harsh flash to render his subjects in the starkest possible light. 

It can be daunting to use flash , especially if the aesthetic appeal is not obvious instantaneously . However when used in the right combination the result can be very pleasing. And in todays day and age where we have smartphones which are comparable to a DSLR cameras getting creative with flash photography can give you an edge .