It’s not the first fire in Notre-Dame some of the Rose windows have not survived past fires. It’s amazing the structural strength of these great buildings and their architectural contribution.
Another great European building Mezquita de Córdoba
Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France) in the late 8th century. Cordoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world.
These great buildings a glue that keeps social fabric together.
Spain, for me one of the most fascinating and alive countries in the world a microcosm of global cognitive dissonance. The primeval instincts buried and suppressed within all of us along with an openness and expressiveness many of us are not capable of.
For most of us the reality of many of the world’s issues don’t exist, knowledge and denial. Heaven forbid that this is a discussion on bullfighting it’s not or fox hunting or Kangaroo shooting. We are destroying the planet while looking the other way. Not a form of justification however 80% of the films we watch are just as violent as bullfighting the only deviation is the perception no one is really getting hurt a safe way to pander to the primeval. The care directed at the noble Andalucian horse.
The very real connection to music of the Golden Gypsy, el gitano de oro. Then there is the security safety of religion being part of the community participation in making things right an important part of keeping the balance and forgiving the misdemeanours. The exciting expressiveness of escape from worldly issues through Fiesta, Romeria or Feria. The faces of the woman and little girl in the carriage, happy to be participating, the pride of the gypsy boy participating on the horse. The everydayness of the bandsman playing with his mobile. Hope these images add a meaning to my statements. Look closely at the detachment of the spectators at the corrida. Are the spectators and matadors really connecting with the drama or just playing lip service to a traditional peer group concept that embodies toò much reality to really connect with or is there some form of emotional primeval stimulus, note the child. For the matadors detachment a defence mechanism, possibly? looking but not seeing certainly for many of the spectators. We live by denial a protection against the enormity of change and our individual inability to effect change.
Images Shane Aurousseau
Designing for strength states there is a story to be told. High impact image also use of highlights and strong shadows. The use of multiple images is legitimate if it enhances the message. The message it what’s important the camera is only a tool a paint brush. To be creative lateral thought carries great importance. Many great artists only became successful after their deaths only when people realised how far lateral and radical thought had taken them and what it had given society. Nothing advances when restricted by convention.
The question is how far an image should be pushed to achieve impact?
There are many ways to enhance an image for impact and not all in the camera post shoot production is legitimate in achieving the goal of the image creator. The camera is part of the mathematical workings part of a process towards an outcome that achieves the required result. The result is what takes the creator to the next step in the process toward reaction and development. Its rather like saying any publicity is good publicity. Few people understand why they are drawn to an image. It can be because they don’t like it unhappy with it or the cuteness is drawing the viewer in.
The image panel below uses black and white to take the eye from the colour of blood and costume to focus the eye on the detachment of the spectators using highlights throughout the gallery keeping the action dark, the action is secondary. This detachment could be a synonym for our society’s attitude to violent issues throughout the world note the child.
The colour image draws the spectators and Matadors together in their detachment to death. Even though in colour the image reeks of death yet the detachment is stronger.
Why does an image have impact the colours because it’s black and white the tonal values, highlights shadows, sharpness. Professional photographers often talk about the black point strong blacks that still carry definition can make an image bounce. Landscapes can come alive when colours are pushed to an unnatural level or the design becomes extreme. Many viewers will say I really don’t like that image. This thought process means the image has already done its job. Shock tactics have been used by the advertising industry for decades. The big photo libraries talk in terms of strong and soft images they understand that it is impact that sells, there is nothing like profit to concentrate professionalism. Laypeople will often say I need to think about that photo this secondary thought process means the moment has passed the impact is a momentary spontaneous reaction not a thought process an impulse sale. It is the initial impact that stops the viewer and commences the creation of the thought process. This dictates that the image deserves further scrutiny and understanding however without the first impact the image will be bypassed. The great master painters were masters of shock in use of colour light extreme design. Many of the great artists moved from realistic depiction to extreme or abstract design seeking that step further in impact and thought process, great photographers often use distortion to emphasise a visual point. Picasso is a great example of an artist taking the step into the dimension of lateral thought experimentation in understanding. This is what made them professionals masters, art is about causing a reaction to a statement and photography is art the word comes from the Greek a combination of two words Phos or Photos (meaning light) and Graphein (meaning to write or representation by means of lines or drawing, together meaning drawing with light). Size can have a bearing an image with little impact at A5 can come alive at poster size.
Tightly cropped shot using strong blacks to contrast the lace of the senoritas a gentle separation of the carriage groups. An image that reeks of tradition.
The Opal miner in Lightning Ridge becomes part of the wall and mine that he spends most of his day working in.
The strength of the Ocean is the dominant force below enhanced by the black and white and the highlights. Use of black and highlight.
Three women in happy fiesta dresses yet totally bored with the festivities the focus in on each woman emphasising her state.
The light entering the shed from your left makes this image and it emphasises the clarity of the wool. Use of strong light creating a strong highlight but still containing some detail.
The death of an icon a symbol for the disappearance of the motor industry in Australia and the jobs that went with it. The image is one of a mausoleum surrounded by headstones. The black and white is in keeping with the somber subject.
The women who follow the Nazarenos at Semana Santa a sombre occasion but still a fashion statement. Strong black with a hint of the lace subtle use a light touch with the highlights brings out the lace. A careful balance between black and highlight.
Concentration on the faces, pride of participation.
The family participates in a great and culturally diverse city London
The World over
Waiting for the action to start
Getting rid of the evidence a suggestion by action.
Reading the Music focused use of light. The white keyboards with the white sheets draws the eye in. The shot derives its impact from the lighting. Concentrating on the action with an indication of the participants.
The work continues getting it right position and action.
Portrait of a Miner. The black and white emphasises the darkness of the world he works in the tight crop his personality.
Portrait of a Cocky and Drover. The stiffness almost gives a painted portrait feel making the image clear and focused on the subjects. They are what they are men of the land of the outback. The Drover is on your left, the Cocky or station owner your right.
The Bullock driver tight crop and action give this shot its impact.
The metomorphosis colour to black and white or vice versa changing the atmosphere.
The power of the highlights and the blacks.
Creating an atmosphere the organist’s concentration is only drawn to the music he exists only in his own bubble
The tight crop creating character
Shoot in high resolution reduce for the internet the image will always have more impact than a small censor phone. The phone image can be well constructed however the reduction from high to low increases definition strengthens shadows and highlights moving from a good well-constructed snap to professional quality. The advertising industry is the master benchmark for understanding impact and industry based on reaction. Cameras in the full frame to medium format giving TIFF files of 50MP plus are the choice for high impact imaging by professionals. Most people react to an image without knowing why and rightly so it is the job of the layman to react and the job of the professional to understand and to draw out the reaction.
All Images by Shane Aurousseau or:-
Pelicans and Galahs these may seem strange creatures to use in the context that I’m about to write about; however In Aussie speak a pelican or a galah is a synonym for stupidity especially related to an action; ‘you pelican’ or ‘what a bunch of galahs’. Not totally fair on those exquisite creatures but what in this world is fair. Especially when it comes to the myopic views of our leaders who govern by vested interest many of a personal nature. I don’t presume to be a great expert on the Middle East, however I have spent sometime there on business and I would like to share some views.
Although an Australian with a trained photographic and creative background having held positions in major advertising agencies as a creative director including the then largest Young and Rubicam working on accounts such as Time Magazine, Time Life books, Michelin, Yamaha, Camel Cigarettes and later financial accounts such as Fidelity, Midland Bank, Royal Life, Eagle Star Insurance and others; by way of the creative world I drifted for a time into the financial sphere including eventually running and representing hedge funds. Some of the companies that I worked with during my time in the City of London were many of the most successful in the industry including a stint forming SECAVs in Luxembourg for the then second largest UK insurance company Norwich Union, SECAVs were a form of open-ended fund used mainly by the French, SECAFs being closed ended. I was IMRO(Investment Management Regulatory Organization) registered, now defunct a bit like me. The largest unit trust industry is in France but of course Luxembourg was then offshore using French fund structures. The position with Norwich union gave me the status of a General Manager in a mutual insurance company this equated to a director’s position. It was through producing creative work for city institutions that I learnt a great deal about how the financial world works.
During this period of my life I became an advisor on product development to the largest of the islamic banking groups Dallah Al-Baraka of Saudi Arabia. I was involved in the creation of a joint venture company between Dallah Al-Baraka and the Johor Bahru corporation of Malaysia locating the joint venture in Bahrain. I was included in their strategy in order to marry western fund ideas into the Islamic system.
My work in the Middle East brought me in contact with such institutions as ADIA(Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) and its associate ADIC plus many of the private departments of the Shaikhs including the private department of the then Life President of the Emirates Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan. I spent a considerable time working throughout the middle East including in Kuwait with the massive fund run by the Kuwait government under the KIO(Kuwait Investment Office). I made many Arab friends and found them to be one of the most hospitable of people.
However as a westerner having worked with Sharia committees made up of scholars who were not banking or financial people but religious academics and judges, I found that there are enormous differences in interpretation and implementation, it is these anomalies that have caused much misunderstanding between people. Couple this misunderstanding in the Islamic world with the total lack of understanding in the western world and the vested oil interests of the West and you have a formula for disaster. The history of the west in the Middle East has been one of planning only for the financial gains driven by oil. Not only has there been no respect for the differences of interpretation in the Islamic world but there was also no respect for tribal borders. Many borders were created on a divide and rule basis or on the premise of who was the strongest and who could be purchased the easiest and give added control to oil rich regions. Although not really an oil issue both Palestine and Israel have been caught up in this border or land manipulation. I believe strongly that both these groups should exist in their own states within their own borders. There is no doubt that the Palestinians have had a raw deal all people should have the right to exist. There is also not doubt that the Arab world could have assisted in the correction of this issue.
For centuries Arabs and Jews lived in harmony. During the medieval periods of the crusades the secular thinkers where in educated Islam. When the West was living in mud and cold castles cities such as Constantinople and Cordoba Spain(the two largest of Islamic cities) had street lighting – Islam was the educated world. Saladin rebuilt the Christian churches and synagogues and protected them following the fall of Jerusalem around 1187. At sometime a halt must be called to revenge, revenge creates more revenge and then the story is never ending destroying the future for subsequent generations.
The US is becoming more and more oil self sufficient and of course the large deposits of shale now being discovered in North America are adding to this independence. As the US pulls away from the Middle East the violence may intensify. Much of this violence will be about the realigning of borders back to their more legitimate pre-western involvement days, real tribal boundaries. The issues in the Middle East are much more than Sunni and Shia an easy Western simplification. The realigning of boarders is not a bad thing as smaller autonomous actor states are much more manageable than large continental groups. In most major countries there is considerable autonomy given to cities and individual states. The real problem is how do they live together with understanding and acceptance of differing ideas and opinions. To quote one of my uncles a successful academic who said ‘ variety is the spice of life’. It is difference that creates progress. Religion and lateral thinking should not be used as an excuse for hate and gain. The great prophets and thinkers would be horrified by much of our interpretation.
We can’t keep looking back and blaming the crusades, holocaust and remember the Russians lost 20 million people during WWII and the same again under Stalin. These debacles must be guides to help us construct a better future not a route to hatred. The next issue will be relating any relative DNA extension of Alexander the Great to some form of criminal activity that took place in 340 BC. Mind you I should not have mentioned this as once the legal fraternity gets hold of it dollar signs will appear and blame could be apportioned. Somewhere without the necessity to apologise we need to say enough is enough.
Because I believe in everything and nothing some have called me an atheist but how can you follow that doctrine atheism is an absolute and a close relative of fundamentalism, it means you know, agnostic is a much calmer interpretation. In the greater galactic scheme of things we are all small fry and much of our nonsense is irrelevant and damaging to our development as a successful species. Unfortunately many of our leaders are intellectual minnows, Pelicans and Galahs stuck in the muddy banks of dogma.