Tag Archives: photography

Kyle Ford

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Every so often, you meet someone in a way that could only be described as serendipitous. Such was the case when we traveled to SCAD Lacoste and met photography professor Kyle Ford, a fine-art photographer who normally is based at the SCAD Hong Kong campus, but just so happened to be teaching the summer session photography classes at SCAD Lacoste.

As we know well, I love talking to other photographers…it’s always such a pleasure and honor to engage with people about their passions, especially when it’s in a field that I know and love myself.  So it wasn’t long before Kyle and I were planning a photo adventure in a Provençal vineyard and closing the night at a spectacular restaurant with our conversation about his path to photography, why he chooses film, and the research and thought behind the work he creates now…

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What was your first photograph?

I was seven years old, and there was a competition I think my mother encouraged me to participate in. She was a painter, an artist, and perhaps she was hoping I would draw something or paint something, but I ended up photographing something. It was a tree. I photographed what I thought was a ghost, and I thought that was great as a seven-year-old…it was really my breath in front of the camera.

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Chanel: Light and Time

Light is the universe’s constant. Time is ours. As photographers we study light versus time, making calculations and judgement calls for each photograph we create, manipulating light to play alongside the constant of time. From a macrocosmic view of the universe time is just an idea, but for us it’s a reality that never stops. We use photography to take a slice of that time, doing the best we know how to manipulate something out of our grasp.

A portrait of a photographer, Time by Chanel.

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Film vs. Digital

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I‘m often asked in interviews the difference between film vs. digital, if film is dead, and how I choose which medium I want to shoot with. Film photography will always be a part of my life. It was how I was raised to take pictures; it is my roots in photography. It feels different to take a photograph on film than on digital even though so much of what they accomplish is the same.

When I shoot on film I am looking for a depth to the final image…quite simply, I find film images to have a soul. Maybe that has something to do with how you take the picture. We go through thousands of digital photographs weekly which feels like the next image diminishes the value of the one before. With film, even when I feel like I’m shooting a lot, it is only in the hundreds and when I push that shutter release each time, that shot is thought-out, composed, and one where I waited for that perfect moment. My friend Adam who had a show this past fall at the Sasha Wolf Gallery said if he ever had to teach a class in digital he’d make his students shoot on camera cards that only hold 36 frames to train them to think about each shot.

However, digital has this beautiful clarity, this “reach out and touch it” ability that I find so beautiful. The velvety texture of flower petal, the saturation of color in a blushing rose. Digital puts you there, in the moment, feeling the light, and seeing even what the human eye can’t. The speed with which we can capture, document and share with digital photography is so astonishing. Recently I tweeted, “Every two minutes, we take more pictures than the whole of humanity in the 1800s.” I alway say, photography is a right, not a privilege, and thanks to digital that has never been more true.

On a day where I just don’t want to sit at a computer editing or writing emails, or I need a break to get in the zone creatively, I find my favorite thing to do is photograph flowersFlowers represent so much about life to me: the beauty, the aging, the individuality and sexuality. I wanted to illustrate the difference between film and digital, so on my last flower study I took (as close as possible!) the same photograph on a digital Leica M with macro lens and then again on a 4×5 Toyo View Camera on Ilford Delta 100 ISO black and white film. I used natural light and did a variety of shots using different F-stops for a varying depth of field.

You tell me what you prefer: Film or Digital?

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Simple natural light setup in our studio, white textured cardboard background. Above, using the shutter cable release to avoid my hand shaking on the shutter release, which  causes motion blur. Most of the 4×5 exposures were between 30 secs and one minute. Below, focusing view on the 4×5 ground glass. 

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The outcome. 

at f/45

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30 Things I’ve Learned in these 30 Years…

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Recently I celebrated my birthday and I have to say, I’m really loving my thirties. I feel wiser, I look slightly older which I love but feel young enough that nothing hurts (yet). I am independent in a way I wasn’t in my 20s and I’ve finally found my rhythm in life. One of my favorite expressions is “If I only knew then what I know now”… so I thought I’d just write it down. The things I’ve learned in the thirty-some-odd-years for anyone younger listening and for anyone older who might like to share with me their lessons so that my next 30 years are just as bright…

1. Have a dream. Follow your dreams.

2. Failures are not mistakes, only the lessons that give us stories.

3. GO WITH YOUR GUT. Always, always, always.

4. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” That is what I think every time I get a “little nervous”. We don’t know what is about to happen so we can’t live our lives as if we do.

5. You never know what someone is dealing with personally so be kind.

6. Knowledge is power and opportunity. Opportunity is everything. 

7. You may end up loving the things you once hated.

8. Do what you love for a living so you can love what you do. It’s the only time we’ve got, might as well spend it as well as possible.

9. Money does not define happiness.

10. It is the things that people make look easy that are the hardest to do.

11. A great photograph needs no caption because it has an idea, story or message within it.

12. Never be afraid to try something new.

13. Talk about what you love.

14. Giving is better than receiving.

15. Best friends are the keepers of your life’s memories.

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