Author: Vincent de Groot
I am currently finding my way back to photography, here a first image.
After a longer break, I now will resume posting new images on my website.
I wish all the visitors of the blog a healthy and happy 2020!
I have to omit, this is a bit complicated.
It is not needed to have a technical perfect image to express emotions.
A picture sometimes tells more than 1000 words. I don’t have to tell a lot about this picture, it is all up to your imagination.
There are arriving just a few buses at the busstation in Babati (Tanzania). The state of the buses is far from what we are used to, they however almost always make it to the busstation where I met these two young mechanics responsible for small maintenance.
In the original post I showed the portrait in color. There was some feedback that in Black&White the background probably is less distracting. Bellow both versions… I agree with the people that commented, this one works better in Black & White.
When it comes to photography I’m a “Black and White man” but, sometimes I decide to leave out the B&W conversion step. The main rule for me in color is to have decent and only a few colors.
It is not the easiest thing to capture the street-life in the Mea Shearim (מאה שערים) neighborhood, I somehow managed it. The walls are plastered with Pashkevilin (announcements) by the Haredi Jews. The Pashkevilim are sometimes distributed anonymously; however, many are posted with rabbinic endorsements or the name of an activist group appended to the bottom. The medium is often used as an anonymous means of publicly attacking a person or group, and even those that bear the names of leading Rabbis can be fraudulent.
Normally I make my portraits when I’m travelling. It somehow takes me some time to disconnect from the daily life and really see the interesting people.
This is Mr. Bomanza, I met him in the French village where I live, he was around often had long hair and was elegantly dressed. He just inspired me, so I asked him if I could make some portrait, he agreed and some days later I gave him some prints. His answer was to invite him home for a drink. He told that before he became retired he used to work in restaurants in Basel (Switzerland) and he has family in Bordeaux.
Since then I, when I saw him we always said hello. At some point he disappeared, I never met him again and I missed him. Probably he moved to his family in Bordeaux at least that is what I would like to believe.
While visiting Ethiopia some fellow travelers joined me on a walk in the streets of Harar. Soon they found out that for me photography is serious and not just in for tourist snapshots. They asked about the camera I am using and what type of photo’s I produce. They looked how I make photo’s and became inspired. Soon they started to take also photos with their cameras and smartphones. When I saw something and made a photo they took same spot and tried to imitate my actions.
Making portraits became impossible for me, I asked for a photo and then they also took the same photo. I started to feel like in the zoo or being a guide that says “take a photo here, it is an amazing spot”. So I had to give up on portraits for that afternoon. I thought the only thing left was Street Photography.
When I waited for the right moment at a promising spot, the travelers where doing the same. With their behavior they more or less forced me to leave and continue to look for another subject.
In Street Photography I not very often make photos from people walking in front of me, it is just not interesting enough. This woman and the color combination was unique but the travelers still where with me. With some frustration I pressed the button.
The resulting photo visualizes the paparazzi feeling that accompanied me that afternoon. Maybe it was not the most productive afternoon but considering the constraints I made an interesting photo that captures that special feeling.
I know, there are organized photo-walks. I’m not sure if I am going to feel well during such an event but maybe someday I’l give it a try and challenge myself to come home with something unique.
How about you? Do you have any experience with photo-walks?
I have been working on my Black and White conversion skills a bit. I used the PiXimperfect auto dodge and burn action for Photoshop and manipulated the masks where needed.
Up to now I worked in black and white, in my work there always are people. Last weeks I have been posting more abstract work. I am not sure if this is what I really like, as of today it fascinates me a lot to show the exceptional in simple things easily overseen.
On the G.A.S. side I am back now on the Canon Track, just picked up a 5Ds R… not for work like this but for modelling work which, is another experimental track I have taken recently…
Let me know, should I continue with this or stick with the style I had last years?
See also the Decisive Moment gallery on this website.
A while ago I started to explore common things around me and seek for the beauty in those things. Today I have some shadows from curtains in a hospital in Barcelona.
I have some more simple things to show to you today. Here is the kitchen sink in my home in Saint Louis…
Simple things can be beautiful, do’t you think?
To follow-up my last post here, today I show some another banal images…
Click image to enlarge
Last Saturday I arrived in a new Airbnb apartment in Switzerland, I had to move. Outside it was raining and I felt somehow sad and depressed. Things here are not very fancy, it is just ugly. At some point I started to see a strange kind of beauty around me. This beauty made me to pick-up my camera that was resting for weeks in the bag. What you see here is what I saw, not my typical style but for me it is an interesting series.
Meanwhile I start to appreciate the apartment, I made my self to feel at home and the sun just came out.
In portraits it all is about the person and expression shown. Some portraits clearly benefit from the square format, they get more powerful.
By choosing the square format the features of the face get more attention and the character of the person becomes more relevant. This portrait has been made in a house entrance, the background almost is pure black and helps to put even more focus on the man shown.
More portraits can be found in the portraits section of the galleries section on this website.
A while ago… I was working on my pictures in the working room, the window is open… suddenly, some saxophone tones came from the street. At such a moment you have to decide quickly: I rushed down and took these portraits just in front of my apartment in France.
Sometimes at places far away from home a DéJà Vu feeling shows up. I see a scene very similar to a photo I made at another place. I collected have several sets, today the first two images from Cuba and Oman.
A few days ago I posted a tip to motivate to use the manual mode. A comment in dutch, was that sometimes one want to play with DOF (Depth of Field). The video in the post post is staring with shutter speed then the f-stop. This method works very good street photography and allows to create a consistent look for series of images made in various directions.
Of course it also is possible to start with the f-stop, then shutter speed and if needed ISO, this might work for static subjects where image composition is important. I however think that the benefit of manual mode is not that high. For photos where DOF is important I prefer to work in automatic mode with aperture priority (A Mode) and then use exposure compensation to play with the light.
Conclusion from my side is that manual mode is perfect for street photography.
In another post I explained why I started publishing color photos. Today I took one from the Ethiopia trip and let the colors play. The colors in the original RAW file where too poppy for my taste, I carefully reduced them and this is what could make out of it.
For my taste this is the kind of color I am looking for in my photos. One of the visitors of this blog (Stefan) took his time to look closer to the photo and gave some valuable feedback.
The image slider on the right shows the original and new version (slider left). In the new photo the background has been blurred and color is a bit more desaturated.
I invite everybody to make critical comments to my posts, a bit more than beautiful, wonderful is highly appreciated!
As promised in the comments on the previous post today another photo taken in manual mode. After some practice I now remember the things I had to do 30 years ago, maybe it is like riding a bicycle, if you try it again after years you instantly manage it.
Recently I saw a very inspiring YouTube video explaining about manual mode in photography. It is a bit long but, for me it was a source of inspiration and a way to take back control over the light and shadows in my work.
The video let me think about things a bit deeper. I tried it and it worked very well I think. Here is the first result that shows manual mode also works for images in color.
Just give it a try, it is worth it…
Update: there is an additional post on the subject.
Sometimes waiting is boring and sometimes it is exiting… These children where leaving from Kandi (Sri Lanka) for a two day excursion to the north of the country.
G.A.S. what the hell is that??? Well let me explain, it is the so-called Gear Acquisition Syndrome, a problem a lot of people who want to take (great) photos suffer from. Mostly it are men but, some women also might be affected. I had it as well; bought too much far too expensive stuff to take photo’s with. At some point it was enough, this point was reached when back in 2007, I planned a trip to Mali. During the preparations I learned that there’s a lot of dust in Mali. Too dangerous for all my “expensive equipment”. At the end of the day, I got a Panasonic FZ-50, my new tool survived sand and dust and I took my first portrait shown here.
Not bad for a start, I almost got healed. But then I bought a Canon 5D with L-Glass. Far too heavy and expensive and in 2015 I ended at Fujifilm X Pro: the end of my G.A.S. What comes after G.A.S.? First of all there is the widely unknown, P.B.A.S. (Photo Book Acquisition Syndrome). I am still suffering from this but this syndrome is more constructive, it is a source of inspiration. Maybe at some point I start to blog about all those books I have on my bookshelf. I currently suffer from the W.D.S. (Website Design Syndrome) and try to find an escape. For the previous website (photo-vinc.com) I spend far too much time on design of the site itself. Early 2018 I found my old website (Photo-Vinc.com) needed a successor, I decided to stay with WordPress as framework, got a nice theme and some promising plugins. The idea was to use everything without modification. This did not work out, I made a child theme to solve problems I saw, CSS to make things look consistent. It took me over 10 months of time to finalize this website. Far too much, to less time to work on the material I had from various trips. My advice? If you want to focus on images and present them, try something like SquareSpace. This will be much quicker als looks (almost) as good as your own design. And if you don´t follow my advice and want to know what I use then check the about section of this site where, at the end I explain which theme and plugins I used for this website. Can I help you? To keep it short: No, might be able to see some symptoms but I’m not able to heal you. You have to find your own way.
At the moment at the home page of this site this picture is displayed. What is happening there?
Back in 2007 we where traveling in Mali. As you might expect it is a country not easy to visit, it is very different from the world we are living in. There is little to eat and drink but a lot of sand and dust. We stayed some days in Djenné and from there went for a walk in the desert. Far away we saw some houses and dry threes, enough to not get lost for ever.
On our way back we met this group of young women, they got water from town and where on their way to their homes. Even when they carried a heavy load they wanted to have their picture made. The fun and happiness they showed where simply impressive and they exposed a high level of pride and confidence. Basic feelings everybody strives for. What is different is how people are showing such feelings; in the western world people are often hiding their feelings while in remote places people often are much more open even to strangers.
In the galleries section of this website I show portraits of people that look directly to me. In some portraits this is not the case but they are still worth to share here. Here a portrait of my brother Marcel at home in Holland.
The Amhara people also known as Abyssinians, are an ethnic group from the northern and central Ethiopian highlands.
The neck and facial tattoos called Nikisat are standing out against the traditional white clothing and elaborate jewelry. Lines of tiny crosses along jaws and traditional Ethiopian shaped crosses on foreheads prove the intensive dedication to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
A YouTube video/slide-show about the celebration of Timkat in Gondar (Ethiopia) can be found here.
Earlier this year I visited Ethiopia a country with an incredible variation of people. These 3 portraits are from the beginning of a visit to the Omo Valley in the delta of the Limo River (sometimes called Weyto or Dullay. The Arbore tribe with a total population of 6850 is living in 4 villages: Gandareb, Kulaama, Murale, and Eegude. Their economy of subsistence depends largely on the periodical floods of the river. Visiting the village was a smooth experience and I took some first portraits of young woman, at first there was some shyness but after a while, they where looking directly to me. This is the kind of portraits I like, for me direct eye contact is a main element in my photography.
Till recently, I showed my work only as black and white. While processing the images sometimes I start to think about color. For me this was a difficult decision, it took me months to take the step to color. Finally I published two photos in Color on my old Photo-Vinc website.
On this website I now will bring more color. I am trying to find my style, not too much colors, decent slightly de-saturated.
Bellow some samples:
More colorful work in the portraits section here on this website.
In the portrait section of this website I show portraits of people looking directly at me. No candid portraits; I always ask for permission even when I do not speak the language of the people I do manage this.
Well I am looking for your feedback on this website.
If for you something does not work as expected, please then let me know. You can do this bellow in the comments or via the contact form.
Welcome at my new website,
After a long time of preparation, this website just went online. On the long-term it will replace my old site: www.photo-vinc.com.
What is new and why such a complete remake?
My (old) website Photo-Vinc.com has been online now for more than 5 years, time came to create a new site with larger images and a more modern and smooth design.
Long ago, I published some photo-video reportages on Photo-Vinc.com. Those reportages, are small on today’s screens and based on the Flash/Shockwave technology, a no-go today. I decided to follow a new approach and move to YouTube videos. There are already some new reportages from the recent trip to Ethiopia and remake of “The Moustache Brothers” reportage from Burma, this reportage is now in color. More to come soon!
The number of pictures in the galleries has been dramatically reduced, I now only will show the very best.
Color yes! That is another change. After long and almost endless considerations, I decided there will be color photographs in the galleries, first work in the portraits section Black and White is great but sometimes, color is magic too.
And last but not least I will change the way how I post in the blog. I will only post if the image is really good and I am going to write little more about the photos.
So, what is happening now with the old website? I don’t know yet, for the time being it will continue to exist, however there will be no new work there. Sooner or later it will retire completely.
I do hope you’re enjoying this brand-new website,