one ring circus….



a few days ago i hung around "backstage" for about an hour at a small circus in Oaxaca…the ring master, trapeze artists, lion tamers, dancers, etc etc , live on the road…traveling in  small truck pulled  trailers going from town to town entertaining mostly children who love the "wild animals", death-defying high bar acts, and the often sad clowns who make them laugh….pure and simple entertainment is their business…

we have chatted a lot lately about being creative  "on the road" or drawing energy from familiar surroundings….obviously, different  strokes for different folks….whatever works, works….but, i am really interested in how you see your  work itself…the "function" of the work….the purpose…

the young woman above, about to go "on stage", is a performer…a bareback rider …her skill is clearly "performance art"….she uses her costume, horse and  her body to entertain…some photographs are intended to communicate an idea or to journalistically portray an "event", some to show a physical place, some to explore  the "inner mind" of the photographer and some falling into the category of "performance"  itself..i.e. Cindy Sherman or Gregory Crewdson…

how do you see your own work?  does your work  communicate an idea, show what a place or person "looks like" or  do you see your photographs as living representations, or even as "objects" in and of themselves…. perhaps even becoming "pure entertainment" ? 



89 Responses to “one ring circus….”

  • ok, im back.
    filling up the glass with Grants from Scotland( not the best, but works…!)…
    … and since nobody’s around except me or maybe Rafal…
    let me continue…

    first of all Rafal im curious why and how you chose Korea…
    You definitely not the typical immigrant that goes to america to buy the big car (V8) or the big house with the swimming pool ( kinda like me)… or make the big bucks… El Dorado is not your purpose…
    How the fuck did you choose Korea???… which by the way is a country that i know NOTHING about it…
    I’m curious, almost fascinated…
    I dont care to find out why you are there…. i care to know about the original motives of yours!??
    In other words what did you see before you even go there…??? or go anywhere..?

  • HERVE SAID below:

    “…remember being here, at parties, and laughing along with people, though i never understood what they said…”

    it happens to me in this forum alot…
    especially if BOBB speaks or you or Akaky or even Marcin…

    come on Herve, play fair please, (dont cheat like me)…
    CHEVAL is included (combo) with the RIDER… ONE LOVE…

    2-0… it seems that i love soccer as much as you do…

    ok, for whoever missed it the first time around… here you go…
    once more.. the big game, below:

  • Its called being bored out of my mind in the West, Panos. I came to Korea to teach English actually. It was right after I graduated from uni..and Imajored in biochemistry LOL. It was 2001 and as you know 2002 was the World Cup, Poland was in it for the first time since 86 so I figured “hell, ill go for a year, see the WC and come back”. But never did. So about 6.5 years later, Im now pretty much settled in Seoul, put down 6 figures on an apartment and am making my living teaching English to corporate clients at big companies like Samsung…..and not thinking of leaving this place unless a)something awesome comes my way elsewhere or b) something bad happens here. So Id say boredom and soccer brought me over here. But this IS my eldorado, you know? I went to NA for a few weeks 2 years ago, to visit but I was kinda bored, and kept missing Asia. New York was cool though, i could see myself in NY if an opportunity arose.

    As far as cars, big cars, no need. I drive a matiz, you know it? If I told you that gas costs 2 bucks a LITER or about 8 bucks a gallon you would understand why theres no way Im gonna get a big V8 oil guzzler. But I dont really need it. Big house? I used to live in the suburbs in Canada and my old man has a house in the suburbs of Chicago, never again. Give me an apartment in a big city close to a subway station. Im also not a big swimmer, I run:)

  • Matiz

    Designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro, the Matiz has won international acclaim – ‘Most Beautiful Automobile’ – Milan Show & ‘Best Small Car’ – UK Motor Show.

    The Matiz is the only car in India to have successfully passed the stringent 40% Offset Frontal Crash Test.

    The Matiz also meets the Euro II norms.The car runs on a 796-cc engine that produces 52bhp with a torque of 7.3kg-m.

    Damn, designed by GG….
    Did you know that GG designed… the Nikon F4…????
    … i never seen this car before around here in L.A…

    My father, (in greece) 3 years ago bought a car called YARIS toyota,…
    never seen that before either…. 52 horsepower???!…
    smallest car around here… 300 horsepower… and wayyy up…

    here everyone cries lately because the gas is up to $3 per gallon…
    but here in Cali… south of Big Sur…. $5.25 for 87octane( or regular)…
    In SANTA MONICA, $3.45 per gallon, for regular 87, $3.75 for 89 octane and $4.00 for super 91 , a gallon…. not a liter!!!!!
    I grew up in europe… i know how expensive gas can be…

    But, Americans like us over here , we dont see how cheap we still have it… the oil, i mean..
    so my friends here in the US, please stop crying!!

    “…Give me an apartment in a big city close to a subway station…”

    I hope to move back in the south of europe in a few years… or at least half of a each year…
    oh well, im dreaming,…
    … coz once you fell in love with (LA) , CALIFORNIA, or Cali… then you can get addicted???… for life


    and it goes like this:

  • and also, my friend Rafal,
    for my b&w conversions, I use Capture pro,
    because it’s the only legit software out there , that actually reads
    and understands the new M8 curves…
    I really have no choice, since i cant afford to shoot film anymore,
    or ( afford) time … clients want to see the pictures NOW…
    customers in cali.
    are spoiled… they know what “tethered” means and they are coming after you to see the last shot…. after shot, after shot…

    so again: “F**K L.A!!!!!!!!

  • I use Alien skin….have you heard about it? Ive tried several methods but its the one I like most. Its a plugin I use for PS CS2…..
    Digital is going to be it from now on. Even David uses digital, or used it here in Seoul.

  • Ahahah, Panos, you cheat to win, not to still lose 1-0….

    Thanks for the link to the world cup of philosophers. I cracked up at the sight of Karl Marx warming up.

    Now, how about a world cup finale of photography, what position david would be in? I say goalie. I am sure he could catch decisive moments and bounce a few shots off the frame! :-)

  • I love Alien Skin… but i felt guilty… and i stopped…
    honestly… it’s the perfect plug-in, so perfect( it gives me all my favorite films, even ectachrome… i love it so much… i stopped using it 3 months ago… i totally feel guilty….

  • more tech talk…

    if you use the firefox internet browser, you can use an add-on which will let you right-click on a web image and view the exif (if available). no need to download and open another program.

  • No guilt man…but yah, its perfect. Worth the money. The b/w films are awesome, I mean Tri X for chrissakes….the color too…
    I got fed up with I Explorer yesterday, and Ive switched to Firefox:)

  • Damn Rafal,
    Nick Yoon above nailed it….

    FIREFOX is the answer…!
    although i will still swear on SAFARI, coz it goes along with imail..

    also people…, please try PHOTO MECHANIC…. please….
    get a free trial… you’ll see!

  • it’s nice to see some lovin’ in spoonfuls :)))….

    im tellin y’all the more we realize we’re in the same boat, the longer that dingy stays afloat ;))….

    herve: “you cheat to win not to loose 1-0” :))))))))))))))))))))))))))….you didnt loose ami, but next time i’ll cheat do by following tech talk ;))))…


  • Hi folks,

    I can definitely recommend photo mechanic. it’s a great tool – very easy to use and good value for money.

    above is the link to the web site with all the info.


  • Thanks Panos…

    …hadn;t seen thePhilosophers’ World Cup in ages. A lovely touch from socrates (Clearly offside though).

    nice one.


  • I’ve been away from this blog for quite a while. Too much craziness in my life at the moment to be able to spend any quality time here.

    However, I will try to make some time available this weekend to catch up so that I might learn something.

    I’ll also try to formulate some thoughts on some of the subjects put forward over the last few posts.

    Hope you’re in fine fettle David.


  • Hey Rafal,

    what excatly you do with your pix, once out of the box. I thought you just posted as shot, then reading you here, looked again. The blacks are fine, very onyxy, but everything else falls into the grey zone, whites rarely escape it. It seems there is some contrast lost then, but is it excatly what you want after all? Thanks.

    To everyone, do you think the film effects from plug-ins really give you the original quality. I really have my doubts. Some shots look grainy, not tri-x grainy, for ex. Eentually, just like analog music (didn;t they sell filters to analogize digital sound?), we will shoot film or digital and stop using one to imitate the other, no?

    David, take your time, we understand you might be….Oh, slow to respond….. ;-)

  • DAVID;

    Thank you for your thoughtfull responses, it means a lot.

    Best, Edward

  • @ nick yoon : awesome firefox tip, thanks!

  • I’m shooting the M8 almost exclusively now too (funny to see DAH shooting a D200, which is my other digi camera). Took me a year to finally get the M8 working right (had to exchange a body yada yada) but when it does it sure is sweet. I use Capture One for any fine art conversions, Lightroom for everyday stuff (I find C1 too clunky for an image manager). I like the Alien Skin Exposure plug-in though I usually tone down the settings to my own liking.

    I refuse to buy into this digital vs film argument (anymore). They both have their places and digital has gotten to the point where it can be really hard to tell the difference. The only bad thing about digital is that has largely cut out the lab, and many photographers don’t have the post-processing skills needed to make their images look good. Before the lab would make a nicely dodged and burned print for the darkroomless. Now it’s straight from the card to the web or desktop printer. A shame.

    @PANOS I’m glad to hear your explanation. Irony can get lost on the web (in the time it takes to push the send button) and come out as plain old meanness. That’s how I read it. Glad I was wrong.



  • Bob, has it really come to this? Where are those children’s parents? Has our society become so debased that we now willingly allow our children to be exposed to the polka at such an impressionable age? O tempora, O mores, O brother, as the man said before feeding jelly doughnuts to the horses and shouting, back to nature, back to nature!

    Michael K, Frank Sinatra annoying? Please say you’re being ironic; my back aches and my feet hurt and I’m really in no shape at the moment to pop your kneecaps off with a crowbar while the Chairman sings ‘The one that got away.’

    As to Karl Marx’s shortcomings as a goalkeeper, I must point out that the same crew of sportscasters who showed up the inadequacy of the Marxist theory of surplus value when faced with a ball coming from the philosophical right were known for their linkage of soccer and the writings of Marcel Proust. This, I’ve found, is an extremely apt analogy, given both soccer and Proust’s ability to go on and on about nothing at all while the sportscasters go on and on in excruciatingly minute detail about how the nothing that isnt happening isnt happening and how the nothing that isnt happening now reminds them of something else that didnt happen someplace else. When you get right down to it, as an activity soccer resembles tennis or pornography: infinitely fascinating if you are a participant, not so fascinating if you have to watch for more than ten minutes, mind numbing if you have to watch for more than twenty minutes. People tell me that this is not a popular opinion, as soccer is the game of games outside this our Great Republic, but I am also told that people outside this our Great Republic use the metric system all the time, and can you really take the opinions of people who insist on using the metric system all the time seriously? I didnt think so. As far as I can tell, the only real advantage to the metric system is that a two liter bottle of Coke has just a little more soda in it than a half gallon bottle of Coke and that if you have to run to get rid of your beer belly, running a kilometer will get the whole unpleasant business over with in a shorter time than running a mile will.

  • Frank Sinatra….hmmm. Never found the attraction, and besides I think Deano had it all over him. But! I do recognize his talent, his appeal. I get why people fancy him. Not so much with country music, though.

    And Polka rocks!

  • Herve,

    actually after the conversion is done I up the contrast and play with curves and highlights/shadows. I then apply a rather strong brownish cast in color balance which is maybe whats making the whites appear like that, I dont know. But I do give the contrast quite the tweak

  • also, I dont think its as much trying to copy film as something else. Id make a distinction between color and b/w. With color I think its a bit of what you are saying, if I take Canon colors and then try and mimick velvia with them. That would be weird as the colors from DSLRs are quite good. But you know full well that using the b/w option in your DSLR is pretty much a bad idea…the photos suck. So, you have to convert and then we are pretty much in a gray zone.

    The only bad thing about digital… many photographers don’t have the post-processing skills needed to make their images look good. Now it’s straight from the card to the web or desktop printer. A shame.

    It reminds me that David told us a while ago he just uses the shots as they come out, no editing (I think he claims illiteracy with any editing software as well, if I recall). Raising eyebrows?

  • Herve,

    Well that may very well be! I’m generalizing of course – somebody who’s a mad good shooter like DAH can very well get away with that – he also comes from shooting slides where one has one chance only to get it right. I’ve always been a neg shooter and rely on lots of darkroom work (now computer). I have an Imacon so still shoot lots of neg but more and more digital is supplanting that. Gave up the darkroom altogether due to health reasons. Anyway, this could be a good discussion.

  • “Mirror” Joahim Ladefoget at VII website… just perfect! Have a look…

  • Technical question…

    David (or others), regarding the flash picture, how do you work with the flash to get such a good result? I played a little with a manual flash the other day (also in a circus!) but I only got a cold light killing all colours and I decided to abandon the flash. Maybe with a TTL it’s easier… But still I think you had great flash pictures even with a simple manual flash.

  • David U–
    You have to keep the flash softer; there are several ways to do that, especially with a D200. David’s way of using slower shutter speeds so the flash knows not to flash too hard is a great method. You can also tell the flash to use only 1/4,1/8,1/16, etc power.

    Does that help?


  • david ukaleq b,

    In addition to what Michael Shapiro said, covering the flash head with a warming gel of some sort also helps keep down that “cold light.” Nothing more jarring than seeing a brilliant white light on the face of someone when all the light around them is a warmer yellow or amber. Unless, of course, you are going for that “look.”

  • david u,

    measure your exposure as if you do not have a flash. e.g the face of the circus lady was -1 with your widest aperture an the longest time you can handle, then turn down the flash on -1 or -2.

    …and don´t forget about the different skin tones. Davids circus foto might have looked totaly different with a circus lady from oslo .-)

  • sorry david u, did not read you are working without ttl. your flash then probably has a scale, like an old slide-ruler.There you can read your settings.

    but the same : try to make your picture without flash, then add a little light from the flash.

    i would not recommend warmtone filters or something like that in front of the flash. yes, they can make a beautiful skin tone, but also yellow teeth an eyes. but i never tried it.

  • best advice Harvey has given me “work out a ratio so the flash is barely there…”

  • My friends,

    Big day yesterday…
    SNOOP DOGG was banned from performing in his own city of Long Beach…. for years and years… so yesterday he “allowed to revisit and perform…”… in front of the lucky 100 Power106fm radio station winners”…
    His new album drops at march 13… I photographed the show and interviews (ALWAYS HAVING DAH’S theories and suggestions about LOOSENESS…. in mind…)
    I cant publish any photos yet ( waiting for stations approval yet)… but i also videotaped parts of the historic show…
    with a little Leica… I posted on UTUBE a 15 sec, part….
    please enjoy below

    more to come..

  • RIGHT ON..
    NOW I CAN Post have of the song… yeahhh…
    Ladies and gents… SNOOP DOGG, long beach… yesterday…
    also, Daz, Kurupt…
    I’m really excited…. i’m rolling this one for YOU!!!!


  • Marcin,

    “Mirror” grossed me out! I like the group shots, shadows, etc. but the portraits? Especially the women…just too “creepy” His war photos are much more “beautiful” and enjoyable to me than these.

    I love him as a photographer and have seen some of this work when he presented at the VII Seminar I took a couple of years ago but I would never buy the book!

  • i feel like cathy. my concern would have been, that those photos make Caricatures of the people. His view on them as athletes, like said in the text, i can not see.

    but, anyway, strong pictures. a totally different point of view, that makes them world class, i think. i wish i had the guts to do those.

  • Cathy and Oliver

    Yes this people look like caricatures of pople but this not mean that they were used. obviosly I have no idea that Ladefoget said them “you will look like fashion star” or not.
    I think photographer can always choose how he want showing our world. As a beautiful place eternal happyness or showing us who we are sometimes (not always), and then we are not look nice, or beautiful, we all look like caricatures.
    But photographer must belive that he show something special, if he did photos like that only because he want hear how cool photographer he is, then his photos are useless.
    best example Joel-Peter Witkin…
    or Robert Mapplethorpe…
    photographer in the opposite to painter or writer must use real people. If we want tell true story about world someone of us must be witkin or Ladefoget.
    But of course first we should ask Ladefoget why he show this people like that.
    I have this point of view because now i’m taking pictures of my friends. Every time I take more that 1000 pictures (many of this are naked), but I always said my models (my friends) that I will choose pictures witch says something not this one when they look good. I use ordinary very naive light. Many of this pictures looks just awful and stupid, but this will be not story about how nice and beautyful my friends are, but I hope it will be story about people as unity.
    And I don’t think that witkin use his models, or d’agata, or me if ours models know what we looking for nad why.
    And I’m looking for human soul, this light and this dark one.
    will see if with success…
    This is what I think.

  • Thanks a lot guys for your tips about the use of flash! The thing is with an ordinary thyristor flash I am not sure hoy to get “just a little light” from the flash. As far as I understand the only way to control the flash exposure is through the aperture setting…
    But then if you stop down your lens, you have also less ambient light.

    To take a concrete example, say that f/2 1/15 would be fine for the background but you would have someone closer to you that would require f/2 1/4. How would you do with the flash in this case? In theory if you have to stop down until, say, f/4 you could compensate by setting the speed at 1/4 but then most of the picture is probably going to be “shaky”.

    Is it really easier with a TTL? I don’t have much money right now, but if it is possible to get good results easily I would seriously consider buying one. Any experience with flash and M8? Also, what sort of warming gel do you think gives “natural” results. My simple Vivitar flash was provided with some filters but they just make the picture totally orange or totally blue… You can’t do anything with that.

  • david ub – You have it figured out. Set the strobe to the setting where it puts out the least light. The scale will tell you f2.8 (for instance). Then set the camera at f4 or even f5.6. THEN you have to set the shutterspeed. Yeah, you may be at 1/4 or so but you should be okay. You’ll have to experiment, obviously for best results. If your subject is in the shade or no light’s hitting them (& only the strobe will light them) then that slow shutterspeed won’t matter. If there’s an equal amount of ambient light thru-out the picture then the very slow shutterspeed will perhaps allow the subject to blur and then the strobe will “freeze” part of it. This may or may not work for you. With TTL this is easier to mess with, but once you learn it with your set up you’ll have a better understanding and when you do get TTL you’ll be set.

  • david ukaleq b.

    Regarding gels. As with everything it all depends on what you’re going for. Some people don’t use them. I do most of the time (though not all of the time) and love them. I experimented and experimented until I was happy with what I was seeing.

    With digital, it depends on what white-balance your camera is set to. It also depends on whether you’re inside or outside. Sunny or shady. But since you mentioned something similar to DAH’s circus girl above, I’ll stick with that general idea.

    If you’re surrounded by incandescent lights and you’re camera is set to “daylight” take a photo (no flash for the moment) and notice how the lights appear yellowish, warm. Turn your WB to “incandescent” and that warmth goes away. I like the warmth. So I’ll keep it at “daylight” WB. Now if I use a flash–ungelled–the white light will ruin (for me) the warm atmosphere. I think you talked about this above.

    Now, I will throw on a 1/4 or 1/2 CTO gel and that helps bring the light back into balance. Some people prefer “straw” colored gels or “bastard amber” gels. You can get a whole bunch or swatches of Roscoe gels from most photo stores for free or for really cheap. B&H sells them for 2 cents. Look them up. Roscolux gels, I think they are called.

    And as someone mentioned earlier, our generous host is well known for using bandaids over his flash to get that DAH look. I don’t know what brand or whether they are “ouchless” but apparently they work.

    Experiment. Have fun!


  • david u,

    aperture sets strobe and shutterspeed sets ambient light.

    i dont want to talk any further about ladefoget, because he is not here with us, so what i say has nothing to do with his book.

    i wish, i could see it a little more like you. Your approach to photography is so different to mine. i want people to like my photos.
    what is a true story about the world ? for me the truth is, that every person has to be photographed in the best way, i can. nobody wants to be caricaturized.
    true storys about the world i see in cathys pics. and i guess the people on the pictures would be glad to have a print.

    … have to go , in a hurry

  • David u b,

    Here’s what you might want to look at.

    Also, please forgive me if the explanations above about WB and different lights and all that was something you already knew about. It was just the only way I could talk it through. Didn’t mean to presume. Hope it helps.

  • I have TTL but prefer to just set the flash output manually, usually starting at the lowest and adjusting from there. Of course every situation is different.

  • MARCIN reminds everyone….

    “…”Mirror” Joahim Ladefoget at VII website… just perfect! Have a look…

    Posted by: marcin luczkowski | March 08, 2008 at 03:09 AM

    VII Photo – Features by Joachim Ladefoged..”

    LINKS & video below:

    “Mirror” bootleg video

    Marcin says perfect, i think its more than perfect….

    Thank you Marcin… for reminding….thats fine art….
    a study on the human mind so NOT NatGeo….

    His (Ladefoged) work is a great “TEST”….
    Thank god it looks SCARY and CREEPY and who knows what else…
    for the expired ,the old, bored , unproductive eyes ,
    judges of all kind , out there…

    It’s funny when the “weak” try to cover up “lealousy” with judgements… actually is sad…
    The “weak, scared minded” think….
    “No, no, no, i dont like Ladefoged or Saudek…. they are creepy,
    i will have nightmares, its not in my comfort zone…”
    Ansel Adams is great… lets stick with that…

    OLiver said( sorry i skipped your comment above, just read it…)

    .”my concern would have been, that those photos make Caricatures of the people…”

    But Oliver those bodybuilder people ARE caricatures… are weird and different… are sellfish and All that…
    They deserve, beg , look for a different approach…
    thats why these photos are “perfect”… because those
    “athletes”!!!???, got what they were asking and looking for….!!!!
    Whats wrong of photographing a caricature the way it is????
    Why bother to turn a caricature into “people”…. why lie???
    why dont you let Ladefoged to photograph the caricatures the way they are???? or actually let them represent themselves??????

    Why the need to turn everything into a “human”?, “people”…
    We killed the “ANIMAL” in the name of a “PET”….
    Let me tell you why….
    “FEAR”…. thats why i suggests, that if anyone feels “fear”..
    please stick with the audience,… leave the artist alone…
    Punish the photographer?????!!!!!!!!…
    like someone sadly suggested above,….
    or even better, follow Hitler’s suggestions, and BURN the artist’s book…
    how sad… for 2008….
    oh well…

    Marcin, still tries to enghliten people, but in vain…
    “…photographer is the opposite to painter or writer must use real people. If we want tell true story about world someone of us must be witkin or Ladefoget…”

    Its funny Marcin how some still believe that “pictorialism”…
    should be the only accepted form of photography…. Beautiful landscapes, or cliche war pictures, like someone said above….
    Once more, thanks again Marcin for bringing up J. Ladefoged..

  • Panos, Snoop aint really my speed. This is more like it for me:

  • Panos,
    you are totally right and so, obviously, is ladefoged, that´s why he is at VII and i have to struggle with my clients and make them look good and feed their egos. I WISH I COULD SEE LIKE LADEFOGED, but i can´t. but im quite new in photography and maybe my point of view changes with the time. and i´m quite sure that the people in the book will be honoured to be in his book.

    BTW as i am german and my english is not so perfect, i do not get all the stuff about fear and weakness and so on you are talking about. But it seems to be something thats quite often in your postings.

  • follow Hitler’s suggestions

    Wow, Panos! Hitler, really?…

    “Hitler’s suggestions” were to enforce unanimity, Cathy and Oliver are just individuals who beg to differ with other’s opinions maybe. Why bully them into the blog’s corner with a dunce cap with “pictorialist” written on it like some…yellow star?

    The series did not elicit a great interest in me (I had to struggle not to think they were body-building coal miners), but I am just wondering why do we see the breasts of the woman and not the dicks of the guys. I always though that the best critical, challenging look at extreme body-building should be brought up by showing the big muscles against “le petit zizi”. You say animals, I agree, it would even make a lot of topical (intense grossness) sense to shoot the guys with a hard on.

    That Ladefoget, I tell you, another one going for the “incomplete” look… :-)))))

  • Herve NAILED IT
    “…but I am just wondering why do we see the breasts of the woman and not the dicks of the guys…”

    Herve if you ever visit Greek museums…
    you will see dicks cut of from statues….( ottoman’s felt insulted when they witnessed that…

    if you check through magnum the “taliban” art???!…
    you will see cut of heads from photos, or anything….

    Hitler- ottomans- talibans….
    what do they have in common?????
    Their hate for fine or “progressive”… art…
    so please go ahead and dont buy ANY photographers books…
    or better , burn them…

    and HERVE…
    who said i disagree with OLIVER…???

    READ what he wrote below???
    “…but, anyway, strong pictures. a totally different point of view, that makes them world class, i think. i wish i had the guts to do those.

    Posted by: Oliver Berner | March 09, 2008 at 04:20 AM…”

    HOW CAN I DISAGREE with Oliver on that….
    get a second cup of coffee Herve, please

  • … plus Herve,
    the roots of bodybuilding is based on the “small dick” theory…
    so dont expect to see a complete naked bodybuilder any time soon…
    coz… the “contrast” (big muscles all around, small in the center),
    will turn any caricature into a CARICATURE….

  • AKAKY, YES!!!!!!!!!!

    Jazz, black music, blues, black music, Elvis ( some say he stole from the black culture some say he helped the black music???
    you already know my opinion… rolling stones, led zeppelin also,
    black music, r&b, black music,
    hip-hop, RAP,… BLACK MUSIC

    You are exactly right Akaky…
    Its just that i have hard time to see the difference between jazz blues and hip-hop in my poor litlle mind!!!!!!

    I stopped reading books almost 11 years ago…

    My last book was
    ” Also sprach Zarathustra” or “Thus Spake Zarathustra”

    Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen), is a work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. It famously declares that “God is dead”

    Oliver said:
    “BTW as i am german and my english is not so perfect, i do not get all the stuff about fear and weakness and so on you are talking about. But it seems to be something thats quite often in your postings.

    Posted by: Oliver Berner | March 09, 2008 at 01:52 PM..

    So Oliver my thoughts are somewhat influenced by F.N, theories about weakness… and strength..
    If you read the above philosopher you will see where im coming from..
    Im just an oversimplified and naive version… thats all…
    and Oliver i love your HONESTY… unlike… anyways…

  • and AKAKY , its fine not to like Snoop …
    for me Snoop is as important as it was CURT COBAIN for
    my friend Charles Peterson,,,…

    Question for CHARLES:
    Charles you followed grunge from the beginning and just like
    Herodotus you recorded it in perfect, honest way…
    (thats what i hope to do around hip-hop today… not just to cash-in!!!!!!
    … but my question to you…
    what was your original motives that made you get deep into recording the “grunge” way of life and music??
    I know it wasnt the dough… was it the music… i can keep guessing for ever….
    Your answer might help ME discover my secret hidden motives around HIP HOP…
    ps. Charles thanks in advance!

  • Herve,

    I think the very first picture in that series has the dick you’re looking for.


    Thank you for that film! Absolutely brilliant. I’m feelin’ “blue” all over!

  • Kalimera Panos.

    How’s the Snoop shoot comin’ along?

  • Kalimera Michael ,
    I loved what you wrote above:


    I think the very first picture in that series has the dick you’re looking for…”

    LOL, (kidding, i know you didnt mean to suggest Herve , dick for breakfast…!!!! , but i do…!!! lol…o.k im playing here…
    Herve please dont get offended… I’m just twisting Michael’s words…)
    o.k enough with my silly jokes…

    Michael.. thank you for asking…
    You see after i got DAH’s hip hop book as a present (from my girl) last month… i tried to study and understand his “looseness theory”…
    I dont know if i ever got it… but i tried this time a different approach…
    I want his opinions in my new series of Snoop photos…. about looseness…
    I would also appreciate YOUR opinions about the same subject…
    ( i need some hardcore, spanking , let it all out, aggresive critique….just like i do when i offend people…. when i offend people i put the spotlight on them,
    i honor them, put them in the center….I want the same for me)…
    So i will need your help soon…
    Now im trying to edit… already from 500 down to 100 pics… i need to go down to 20…
    I already have a link (with a password)… im not allowed to publish anything till next friday…
    but i need some help….
    Like i said i edited down to 100….
    I will send you the link with my 100 secret for now (and of course i will let it open- no password) photos….
    I trust preety much everyone here…
    my email is…
    please email me your email address , i will send you the secret link…
    if you can help me… with the best 5 or 10 or 20 photos you suggest….
    I really need help, not trying to show of, or waste your time… or PLUG myself…
    I dont worry about that… im not trying to sell… those photos are already sold…
    Im just trying to fucking learn something here… maybe i cant be a better photographer but i can definitely be a better editor..
    Michael, thanks again

  • … The reason i worry this time is because i only used two cameras and two STANDARD lenses..

    D200 with a 16mm fishey,f2.8
    M8 50mm……………………… no zooms (this time)

    I tried to challenge myself leaving the zooms in the car…

    Now, about ( the autofocus leica that has the 35-420mm zoom),
    i used it primarily for the video.. maybe i shot 10 frames, just to test it… but thats all…
    thanks again

  • Panos

    I am jealous about your M8…
    leica m6 make me free and make me better photographer…
    I have d200 with 24 2.8
    rangefinder camera it is my way of work…
    but i prefer travel somewhere than buy new very expensive camera… even if I work easer with M6 and probably would have great results with M8

  • Marcin send me your email… i need something from you

  • david ukaleq b. and any others with strobe questions –

    go here, spend LOTS of time, there is unending information about flash… it’s quite amazing how much great free info is on this website:

    go into Archives and Lighting 101 … many examples posted, links to others’ work — you will learn a lot by the time you surface from the deep well of info on that site.


    I am jealous about your M8…”

    PANOS replies:
    “… and im jealous of your talent…” how about that?..

    MICHAEL K. thank you….thank you and thanks again…
    and of course i owe you..

  • Panos,

    all i know is, that nietzsches work is highly aphoristic, not a manual, that he lost most of his friends and that he was suffering from mental illness. in this context may i ask you, if you consider yourself an “übermensch” ? (not to annoy you, just to know in which light i have to see your photography)

    have fun with your editing-

  • marcin luczkowski


    Am I help a little bit?

    I hear some jazz so…

    good night and good luck…

  • Oliver,
    editing is the WORST part for me…
    Its like being naked in front of my mirror,
    keep measuring my “little unit”, over and over…
    What kinda life can i expect with these 2 and a half inches “fully errect”?????…

    The shoot…, what an excitement…!
    And then i go home… and i like this but not that…
    the pics i thought i “nailed” blurry, some i thought were crap…
    looking brilliant…(advise from me to me: NEVER ERASE ANY PHOTOS… NO MATTER HOW BAD THEY LOOK AT THE TIME YOU SHOT, through the lcd…
    sometimes anxiety comes from “too many” good ones…
    You see photos are just like our children… we dont want to leave anyone outside starving or crying…
    but a good editor (unlike me)… must possess the ability to “KILL”
    when you have to… and by killing i mean to detach….
    how hard is to detach… myself….
    for example i have a shot that Snoop is looking at me…
    it means a lot to me… ,BUT that doesnt make it a necessarily a GREAT or even a mediocre photo… shouldn’t pass the editing test,… or maybe im wrong again..
    You have to be strong (not emotional) when you edit your stuff…
    and i dont know how to leave my emotions outside the door….

    Hmmmm, about FRIEDRICH..
    Honestly i identify mostly with the “crazy person that lost all of his friends”, than the “übermensch”….

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    “…It famously declares that “God is dead”, elaborates Nietzsche’s conception of the will to power, and serves as an introduction to his doctrine of eternal return…

    …The text encompasses passages of poetry and song, often mocking Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition…

    “what the name of Zarathustra means in my mouth, the mouth of the first immoralist:

    “…The symbol of the Übermensch also alludes to Nietzsche’s notions of “self-mastery”, “self-cultivation”, “self-direction”, and “self-overcoming”. Expostulating these concepts, Zarathustra declares:
    “I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
    “All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.
    “Whoever is the wisest among you is also a mere conflict and cross between plant and ghost. But do I bid you become ghosts or plants?
    “Behold, I teach you the overman! The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go!”
    – Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue, §3, trans. Walter Kaufmann….”

    Other aspects of Thus Spake Zarathustra pertain to Nietzsche’s proposed “Transvaluation of All Values”. This incomplete project began with The Antichrist.

    “…The will to power is the fundamental component of human nature. Everything we do is an expression of the will to power. The will to power is a psychological analysis of all human action and is accentuated by self-overcoming and self-enhancement. Contrasted with living for procreation, pleasure, or happiness, the will to power is the summary of all man’s struggle against his surrounding environment as well as his reason for living in it.
    Copious criticisms of Christianity can be found in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in particular Christian values of good and evil and its purported lie of an afterlife. Nietzsche sees the complacency of Christian values as fetters to the achievement of overman as well as on the human spirit. Contrasting sharply with Christianity, Nietzsche praises lust, selfishness, while reproaching the rewarded concepts of pity and love for neighbors….”

    OLIVER these are the things that attracted my spirit..
    to that insane German philosopher….
    and also that he abandoned living in the civilized NORTH europe for the crazy, sensual, SOUTH….
    I also believe that he lived a little ahead of his time and he paid the price… i also agree with him that christianity destroyed the ancient free GREEK spirit… see “greek tragedy”…

    Im glad that HITLER was burning his books….
    That means a lot to me…
    Oliver, thanks again
    Isolation and finally craziness….
    thanks for the question Oliver….

    Im glad your editing on my pics… is far away from my “emotional”
    first choices…
    I will never regret asking your help….
    Like i said … I owe you…
    thanks for your help…
    drink your wine , listen to your jazz, love your woman…
    and goodnite, from L.A

  • Panos,

    very well quoted. i may read again, i think it must be 20 years now.

    but how does that have an impact on your daily life?
    i think you can´t “live” nietzsche, but now, as i know your philosophy, i see a lot in your comments. do you still have friends ?:-)
    i must admitt, that in my youth i was more attracted to a philosophy, that highlights the individuum, like FN does. i needed it to carry on because i stood with my back to the wall. i think, i did not understand most of the things i read and i did not remember much. (to much drinks)
    all this at some time came to a kind of bitterness, which i see also in FN. i didn´t wanted to live with that.

    and for your editing : when i remember it right, FN says, we should embrace eternal return. :-)

    ps. dont worry about your dick. you are greek, and we all know from the museeum, what that means :-)

  • @david ukaleq: aren’t you shooting digital? go ahead and give a few goes to see how the thing works, you don’t miss anything… basicly aperture controls the amount of light from the flash and shutter speed the ambient light… unless you can control the amount of light coming out of the flash, of course. I spent one roll on trying different combinations for the purposes I was looking for and that’s it. But maybe film is more forgiving. I’d recommend to read the stuff you can find in the strobist blog and then just experiment with any object and a light source (window, e.g.). No manual can beat the amount of experience you can obtain by experience in terms of using flash.

  • Re: the bodybuilding

    1. I think the WHOLE point of it was to make it shocking, and “ugly”, dont you guys think so? Its supposed to jar you. I actually like that sort of stuff more, photos that stop you in your tracks. That also includes Parr who shoots “ugly” stuff that hits hard. And D’agata who aproaches “ugly” or shocking subjects in a non-postcardish sort of way.

    2. herve, theres no way you can compare breasts and penises. and Anyway, they dont correspond. The male part that corresponds to the woman breast is the chest. And the female parts that correspond to dicks were not shown, though I may have missed that shot in the slideshow.

    Talking about flash, Im really a fan of strong or overdone flash as Parr employs ormore recently Chris Anderson who covered the primaries.


    hows the auto WB on the M8? I met a frnech guy in Seoul who had the M8 and who hated it for night shooting because the automatic WB would go insane and his shots would be a reallu ugly orange tint. Whats worse, and he showed me, the WB would be random, taken in the same conditions at the same time it would have a totally different color tint to it. Weird. Maybe it was a bad copy. So?

  • david alan harvey


    just back tonight from Norway and totally “burned”…i will be back with you by tomorrow after a bit of sleep…i have new student work to post as well as some new ideas for us….

    cheers, david

    the dick you’re looking for
    Oh la, Michael, no penis envy here. One is enough for me, thank you very much… :-)

  • Rafal,
    the WB of the M8 was horrific, terrible, almost a joke….
    but the last firmware upgrade,…
    FIXED the problem almost %100… if not more than that…
    that’s how accurate is now….
    but still…. i dont care that much either way because the only way to reveal the true potential of this camera is TO SHOOT DNG’S,(open source raw files) and with CAPTURE PRO or LE you have a whole palette of
    all the possible WB’S one click away…
    It wasnt only WB a problem…before!!!!
    there was a whole list of problems… but the last two free firmware upgrades took care almost %99 of everything…
    There is more to come..
    Leica insists that they will keep the M8 open for upgrades…
    even when the new 20mp sensor will come out you will be able to send the camera back… for the upgrade… they already offer a new quiter shutter … Everyother company’s dslr is obsolete every two years…. M8, 4 years later… has nothing to do with the original m8… Leica believes in upgrades , so…

    last, the trick is that is rangefinder
    therefore the lens sits wayyy closer to the film or sensor, also Leica refused to put a filter or IR filter in front of the sensor… so this camera sees B&W( i mean REDS and MAGENTA) in a completely different way…
    than any other camera… most important it shoots DNG format… the absolutely free to any developer open raw format… unlike Nikon (nef ) and Canon raw… those two companies encrypt their files
    to company preferences… If shooting nikon-canon raw… save and convert the files through PS into real raw open free source files… (DIGITAL, NEGATIVE files or DNG invented by ADOBE..)
    So i only shoot dng’s, not jpgs, so therefore i ignore the Leica or any other camerasWB or B&W in camera conversions…or any other trick…. Never that…

    Im astonished though with the new nikon D3 that goes ISO25000?????????????!!!!!!!
    (M8 still problematic with higher ISO, though!!!)
    but CAPTURE software is the answer for now….
    Honestly i still believe that its not the camera that does the trick…
    its the LEICA GLASS… correct me if im wrong… or ZEISS…
    Nikon with a ZEISS is as good as a Leica with a ZEISS… if not better…
    Last and important about rangefinders is that its easy almost require to shoot with both eyes open…
    so no more wrinkles above the left eye, plus you have more to see if you keep both eyes open…
    thanks Rafal.

  • LOL, laughing like crazy…too much DICK TALK thanks to HERVE

    OLIVER SAID above:
    “…ps. dont worry about your dick. you are greek, and we all know from the museeum, what that means :-)

    Posted by: Oliver Berner | March 09, 2008 at 07:28 PM…”

    thanks Oliver, you made me laugh…
    and i really needed this today….

  • oh i forgot!!!!



  • Seeing that the current conversation has drifted to the subjects of bodybuilding, penises, and the creep factor of these subjects, I must share a documentary project that might be of interest:

    Photographer Mike Belleme takes Uncle Dirty as his subject, his 86 year old great uncle. Uncle Dirty is obsessed with bodybuilding and photographing himself in various homemade thongs. His hobby for the last decade is creating photo collages and walking on the beach.

    Be forewarned: the essay may not be to everyone’s taste… could be considered offensive. Uncle Dirty is a free-spirit.

  • ohh i missed that too:

    OLIVER asked:
    “..but how does that have an impact on your daily life?
    i think you can´t “live” nietzsche, but now, as i know your philosophy, i see a lot in your comments. do you still have friends ?:-)…”

    Thank you for the question… I really feel better when i talk with someone that knows where i’m ( or my comments) “coming from”…
    and its obvious that you have an idea… my friend…
    Regarding “FRIENDS”… ??? tough question…
    I wanna say… i have no friends,
    but , honestly i think im wrong… actually i think i’m doing better than i originally thought…
    peace man… talk to you soon!

  • Thanks, Mike, for the link to Uncle Dirty’s. I suppose a certain cranial resemblance with our own Uncle… DAHrty is only fortuitous, ahah.

    Most, I really liked the close-up shots of the old lady. What a character!

  • True… great MEDIUM FORMAT approach….
    although some mind find it CREEPY…lol…

    Herve comments:
    “…Most, I really liked the close-up shots of the old lady. What a character!

    Posted by: Herve | March 09, 2008 at 11:56 PM…”

    Same here…. old lady looked awesome in the close-up….
    but that DAHrty thing????!!
    hmmm!, i dont know man, i dont know….(laughing)

  • sorry, i couldn’t help this one (murder was the case…)


  • thanks for the DIRTY link.

    thanks, panos. no leica, just photoshop.

  • On bodybuilding as ugly topic. I guess that a very formal and ‘straight’ approach could work as well. I think Arbus had a go at this in the sense that her square framings are almost identical from image to image and it’s the subject on its own that has to come out of the picture. For the primaries the flash is needed to alter a bit the enviroment and show it out of its grandeur, but if you can take bodybuilding out of its circuit I’m sure that it will reveal itself to a very simple setup.

    That Uncle Dirty link was gross and memorable :oD

  • I think I can say that flash or no flash, penis or no penis, Mark Twain had a better mustache than Friedrich Nietzsche. His jokes work better, too.

  • akaky –
    how can you say that about the jokes – maybe FN saw himself as a humourist and was just misunderstood. and MT´s moustache may have been as false as his name- bäh-

  • Nietzsche as the Andy Kaufman of German philosophy? I hadnt thought of that, but it doesnt matter, I think; clip on or not, Sam Clemens’ mustache was still better than Friedrich’s. And Twain wasnt as nutty, either.

  • no, he was more like a visionary, he invented the “brokeback mountain” genre.

  • forget that, that was childish. i agree : old “two fathoms” mustache is the best.

  • @PANOS

    Sorry, I hope you get this. I was away for a bit and not on the internet.

    It was always the music and the people that drove me to document the grunge scene. First and foremost these musicians were my friends and it became a mutually beneficial relationship as they got famous. Right place at the right time. I certainly wasn’t doing it for money, but money has come from having just done it.

    But I also think it’s okay to just be fascinated with a subject as well, like I am with breakdancers (my forthcoming book). I’m not an integral part of the b-boy scene (at all) as I was with grunge but I love the energy, the people, the visual aspect etc. and I hope my images remain true to the b-boys and b-girls spirit and intention.

    What I like about David’s book Living Proof is that the core of the story is about these unknown rappers from Brooklyn. Yes, it splits off from there but the images are more important than the celebrity. That’s what I tried to do with my work – I want my music images to appeal to not just grunge heads but to everyone, young and old. I’ve had 80 year old women tell me how great the pictures are despite never having been to a rock show in their life. To me good photography transcends generations and genres no matter the subject.

  • …I’ve had 80 year old women tell me how great the pictures are despite never having been to a rock show in their life. To me good photography transcends generations and genres no matter the subject…

    thank you… you also said:
    “…What I like about David’s book Living Proof is that the core of the story is about these unknown rappers from Brooklyn. Yes, it splits off from there but the images are more important than the celebrity…”

    Lots of “TRUTHS” in a couple of sentences…

    man, i hope i ‘ll meet you and hang with you for 10’… someday..
    You knever know…!

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