INSPIRATION

rock-roll-graphic-76ca58b6

If you’re anywhere near the Capitol District in NY and might appreciate stellar photos of many of rock and roll’s greatest talents get to the Albany Institute of History & Art before Feb. 12, 2017.

Photographers don’t exist in a vacuum. At least they shouldn’t.

If you’re photographing weddings, well you’d better look at the work of other photographers. You probably already do, for some combination of education, marketing, and inspiration. When I do, I sometimes notice creative poses, beautiful lighting ideas, or simply shots worth admiring – the sorts I work to get and keep my eyes open for.

If you’re photographing buildings or landscapes – the same applies. I enjoy looking at other photographers’ work because I enjoy what these subject look like on the page – not just my own.

Some of the earliest I recall admiring were in books of photographs of ‘old New York” that captured the light and shadow of industry and architecture at places like Grand Central Terminal

Instagram is a platform I guess is well-suited for this, though I’m not much of a user. Some folks probably use Pinterest the same way.

For me its often the social post and blogs of other photographers I turn to for inspiration particularly Fine Art Photographer Leanne Cole, in Australia, a true inspiration whose tastes seem to run much like my own from architecture to abandoned spaces to nature, landscapes – and of course portraiture.

Last week I read a piece called ‘The Dark Art of Concert Photography” by Sarah Arnold on the SmugMug site. (SmugMug is a gallery and ecommerce site for photographers. I use it mainly for weddings portrait shoots at jonathanment.com)

Republished from August 2016, it’s a sort of instructional for aspiring live music shooters.

Having spent many a hot and sweaty night during the years I actively published the Urban Rag Zine either in the photographer’s pit or pressed against the barricades when there was none, I read it with some – albeit – nostalgic interest.

I would have to cull through a lot of years of photos, from negatives through the digital archives to find anything worthy of blowing up to poster size. This is not the case however for Patrick Harbron, whose “Rock & Roll Icons” exhibit hangs in Albany for two more weeks.

Whether its his shots of Ray Charles, for which Harbron wishes he could remember what he said to make the icon laugh, an extensive display of a young Bruce Springsteen, coverage of the Rolling Stones, KISS, ACDC, The Police, Bob Marley, John Mellencamp, or Deborah Harry (pictured in the ad for the exhibit) he really seems to have captured everyone active beginning in the late 1970s (Particularly if they toured through Toronto).

For music fans unsure about a spending time with a collection of photos, understand that these are simply beautiful to look at. You can hear the music in some of them. There also a soundtrack of rock playing in the background a few guitars from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other items on display to lure you out

For photographers, there’s even a bit on the craft, from lenses to lighting and even Harbron’s old camera ‘bag,’ a nearly indestructible roller-skate box his caption explained could double as a sort of short step stool.

There’s also a bit of backstage insight, like references to Van Halen’s contract for photographers – retaining rights for the band “forever and until the end of time …” throughout the entire universe,” Harbron said he never signed it.

Mixed among the admirable insight is a fair amount of music history and career context surrounding some of the photos. Just what I’d expect in a setting such as an institute of history and art!

No doubt we’ve all seen some of Harbron’s work already, in print or on album covers, but not like this.

Many images can be viewed at the rock and roll icons link above, but it’s simply not the same as the large exquisite prints you’ll find in Albany – or wherever this exhibit might visit in its next incarnation.

I escaped completely into this exhibit – and maybe, even got a little inspired.

 

 

 

I operate the Ment Media Group. You can also like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook, subscribe to the photography blog and follow on Twitter

 

Advertisements

Happy New Year – Ka Boom!

A stock image borrowed from my inbox
A stock image borrowed from my inbox

This image arrived in my inbox this morning, on 1/3/13, it was one of several such greetings still trickling in and it prompted two main thoughts, mainly the message I’ve been meaning to share with all the brides and grooms I’ve photographed recently.

But first, I think it is doctored. There’s no way the fireworks could spell “Happy New Year” that sharply. But who knows. The past few years I’ve seen more small-town displays, than big budget blow outs – but seriously, this has to be fake? Right?

Second., I think it’s not too late to wish all of my newlyweds a Happy New Year too. You’ve just spent your first holiday season as husband and wife and welcomed the New Year in as a married couple. No doubt along with the

festivities came planning for the future, reflections on the past and somewhere in the mix, perhaps, thoughts of your wedding day I’m excited for all of you.

Reflecting on the past year, my thoughts also move toward those who marked their first anniversaries, Happy Anniversary! What did the first year deliver? What promises did it fulfill? What voids did it fill? What has begun.

It was not just a pleasure to be the one who ‘officially’ captured your big day. It was also an honor. Thank you.

You’re all always in my thoughts, you make me part of who I am. Your smiles, your joy, your tears and your excitement make each New Year special for me.

Thank you, and Happy 2013!

Sincerely,
Jonathan Ment, Photographer.

Keep Smiling

Janet and Steve’s wedding last weekend reminded me why I do this. Not that I ever forget, but bear with me. Natural smiles, ecstatic family and friends, an intimate gathering in the open air, love in their eyes when they kissed, danced, ate, schmoozed, walked, talked, and even stood for portraits. A wedding is a happy day, one of the happiest. If I can help capture that in photos, to help participants relive the moment, I’m doing my job. It’s why I do this. My services won’t break the bank, and my ego won’t be the largest thing in the room. I’m there to capture the day. Sure, it’s got to be worth my while. Even for a five hour wedding day, closer to 20 hours are invested (more on that later). But it would be unfair to charge a month’s wages for one afternoon behind the camera. ‘Nuf said.

The Grinning Groom

I’ve shot stone-faced grooms, photographed grooms that grimaced, and those that cry. At some point, most crack a smile – at least for an instant, or during portrait sessions.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of working with the grinning groom, Daniel Rossignol. He was smiling when I met him, barefoot and getting dressed in the morning. When I asked, he said he didn’t think he’d be crying later.

He was smiling through the ceremony, dinner and every part of the party. I do not think I’ve photographed a groom who smiled quite so much.

Honestly, he’s set the benchmark high for apparently happy husbands to be.

Dan married Stephanie Pushmanthe Grinning Groom, and she was smiling too – almost as much as Dan. I think, when the portrait shoots were nearly done she was too – and the uneven ground, new shoes and warm afternoon contributed. But she was smiling.

Thanks Dan. It was great capturing your smile!

in the photobooth

At a wedding last week where I was the videographer, documenting among other things another photographer at work. It’s what the mother of the bride, who hired me, asked me to do – capture the photographer during the portrait shoots. There was also one of those old-fashioned styled photo booths. For a buck or two (free at the wedding, naturally) you can get a strip of automated snapshots of you and a friend printed on the spot. The attendant had feather boas, fireman’s caps, funny glasses and other props for the subjects to wear in the booth. I posed with my video camera. It’s part of my identity and it was in keeping with my photojournalistic nature. I didn’t feel like pretending I was someone else. I noticed the photographer that day shed her camera and opted for props.

About the photography-versus-video situation… It was tough not being responsible for the stills. I couldn’t believe some of the missed opportunities that photographer never knew she missed. Seemed to me like she was just going through the motions. To be fair, I recently dropped the ball with one type of photo and this photographer would have wiped the floor with me if we were being compared in that regard – so everyone has good and bad, or perhaps ‘less good’ days.

With the group she was shooting, and the great backgrounds there’s no doubt in my mind there will be some good shots in the mix. That mixture, however, could have included more great ones if she was more engaged. Alas, beyond my control. Nonetheless, I believe I did good work, and when the opportunities arose I made a few suggestions to the participants regarding how they could improve their photos. I hope I didn’t overstep my bounds too much, but I really do care.

There are books out there for brides/couples to help you make the most of your wedding photography. How to stand, how to hold your flowers, that sort of thing.

More importantly, and it’s probably covered in the books, I would recommend couples make their suggestions and wishes known during their wedding. “Let’s have some fun with this setting.” “Please don’t line us up for a firing squad.” “Can we try one like this … “ That sort of thing.

Anyway, felt like sharing these via the blog.

Wedding Photography Philosophy

A view from afar
Elaine and Eric's Ceremony

Again this week I had the chance to explain my philosophy when it comes to photographing weddings.  I’m there to capture the day, record the moment and – whenever possible stay out of the way.

I shoot in an unobtrusive manner.  Sure, you need a photographer to manage the situation when it’s time for formal portraits – but during the ceremony it’s important to get the shots without stealing the show.

A couple I’ll be photographing in July made a point to tell me “Don’t get in front of mom during the service.”  A welcome point, but almost unnecessary.  If I’m in front of anyone, I’m generally kneeling. I prefer the over the shoulder approach.

Guests enjoy themselves and see the bride and groom instead of the back of my head. Whether I’m working in a church, or beside the Hudson River – in the Catskill Mountains or Adirondacks, the scene and scenery should be the center of attention.

In filmmaking, there’s something called the establishing shot – that can be the areal view of the bridge on which the meeting will take place, or view from the clock tower – at a wedding, it’s the shot that shows all of the guests waiting in anticipation or applauding the kiss.

As important as the rings are, I feel these big-picture sorts of moments are at least as photo-worthy. The rings will always be on those fingers, but friends and family will go their separate ways once the wedding has ended.

Becky & Colin's Rings in Warrensburg

Freehold Bridal Show, Wedding Photography in the Catskills

Freehold "Celebrate Love" Bridal Show
Jonathan Ment Photography at the Freehold House 20, February 2010

On Saturday I brought out some portfolio work to a small bridal show at the Freehold House, in Freehold, NY.  Fewer than 100 couples were represented during the day and I had a chance to chat with most.  Many folks have already found their photographers – and apologized. That’s just silly. There’s so much that goes into planning a wedding. If you’ve found your photographer, that’s another thing to cross off the list.  That said – one visitor told me how her photographer keeled over dead a month before her wedding and she had to scramble to find a new one. YIKES!  After that conversation, I told another couple “take my card, you never know.”   Of course, even if the wedding comes and goes, someday you might want a photographer for another party, a portrait shoot, a session with your cat or dog…

This was a small show for sure, but I had fun.   Though not so busy to really qualify, this offered a sort of speed-dating scenerio where brides and their entourages had a few minutes each with various vendors to see if that love connection would be made.

Flower shops, dress shops, and a dress preservationist also exhibited, along with another photographer and several area businesses. One favorite, whom I’ve encountered both privately (think canoli pit stop) and on the job (Tasha & Clarence’s wedding last October) is Dawn’s Bakery. I heartily recommend her.

Throughout the day, we enjoyed excellent live music by jazz guitarist Ed Wasilewski,  whom I would recommend to anyone in need of a solo performer of this sort. Ed tells me he also works with small ensembles and can even offer a band format when needed.

During the day I collected entries for a free photography drawing. I’ve posted the winners here.

I should mention the boxed entree served to exhibitors was terrific. A grilled chicken-bacon-salady thing. I’m sure Freehold House is a great choice for a special night out or your once-in-a-lifetime event.