Interview: Midnight Digital

Christophe Dessaigne is a French artist who lives in the south of France, in a small town called Perpignan, near Spain on the Mediterranean coast. His creations are open doors to fantastic and dreamy horizons where digital photography serves the fanciful imagery of surrealist photomontages. His universes are desolate, vast and insubstantial. Gigantic scaled structures rule the landscapes, dwarfing human beings to the size of ants. His post-apocalyptic kingdoms, equally poetic and terrifying, are visions of the end of the world. His work has appeared in cover art book and CD covers in Europe, and has recently been featured in Advanced Creations and PSD Phoshop Magazine. His photographic visions are invitations to remote and chimeric territories. A travel into a mysterious journey.

Who or what influenced you to become a photographer 
I've always been attracted by images. When I worked as a journalist for a local newspaper I used to work with photographers. It's probably my first contact with this media. I think I'm doing photography because I like to create stories and atmosphere. 

I love the awesome sense of desolation and loneliness in your images, was there anything you can think of that inspired this or where you just naturally drawn to this type of image. 
I remember when I was kid I watched Planet of The Apes, the first movie. At the end of the film there's this cult scene : Charlton Heston is riding a horse on the vast deserted beach, the camera's slowly moving backward revealing the Statue of Liberty ~ wrecked and emerging from the sand. That specific scene was a blast for me and it's still probably my main influence (with movies like Blade Runner). It is one of the most creative and impressive post-apocalyptic sights ever. 

How to use flickr effectively

Flickr can be an awesome site for photographers, but to really get the most out of it you've got to get your head around how the site works and crucially how to help other people find you. This post is my rough guide to getting the best out of Flickr including how to find endless cool stuff, effective networking and boosting traffic to your own photo's.

Getting around

The thing I've grown to really love about flickr is how you can end up on these endless  journeys of inspiration, there is just a massive abundance of amazing imagery and exceptional talent, it a bit like being given free reign of the world biggest photo library ~ very exciting and VERY daunting! Of course what you really need to get to grips with strait away is how to navigate such an endless sea of imagery...

Photoshop Techniques #1 ~ Textured backgrounds and fake flowers

An exploration of how I created this image in photoshop.

This image was built up very gradually with lots of layers, I will attempt to describe each one from top to bottom...

Review ~ Canon 320EX Flash

This is not a full scientific review, but mearly my own opinions based on using this flash gun for about a month, mainly for events photography.

In general I'm really pleased with  the 320ex, there are some nice little features on it, however there are also some draw backs, as you'd expect from a bit of kit that trys to do so much for such a low price.

Things I like about it...

I really like the fact that it has a LED light for video on it, this is really quite a useful feature and was one of the main things that drew me to the 320ex. The light works well on subjects that are fairly close to the camera, ie a person within 5-10 feet. Obviously its not going to light a whole room, but thats not really what its meant for either.

Playing with light - Long exposures

Been doing some experiments with my new toy, the {fairly} new Canon 320ex flash gun. I'll be doing a full review once I've used it a bit more, so far I've been mightily impressed. Its a very nice tool indeed.

The following are a load of long exposure pictures {30 secs} mainly taken out in the peaks. I used the LED light on the 320 to do the light painting and the trigger function to set the camera off.

 ISO800   24mm   f/4   30sec 

Curious Oyster & The Tribe of Xanadu

Storming the Fields ~ Y NOT 2011

Last weekend I was asked to do some promo pictures at a festival, not my usual type of work for sure, but the guys organising the gig have been doing some very interesting things lately and I was keen to get involved, plus I quite liked the idea of getting back to my roots of documentary style photography.

Curious Oyster is a collective of incredibly capable and driven individuals that are currently bursting up all over the place to put on some truly amazing shows.

Between them they bring together a whole host of other talented people & resources for each event ~ aiming always to work with the best, these are then known as the Tribe of Xanadu.

Its an incredibly simple yet flexible model that seems to work very well indeed.

Between them there is such a wide range of skills and resources ~ from sound engineers and sound systems to bookers and promoters, woodcutters and caterers to DJs's and decor makers.

For the Y-NOT Festival they'd been asked to put on a marque with DJ's and Bands with only a weeks notice and the most ridiculously small budget.

When I arrived and saw what they had achieved I was seriously impressed.

It's not even a case of them managing to pull off the challenge. What they created was a truly amazing experience.

They had a Beautifully cosy tent with awesome decor that managed to be a chilled out cafe in the day with acoustic acts and such, and then transform into a throbbing dance floor with the most amazing atmosphere come nightfall.

I had a fantastic time and met some great people. For all those wanting copies of the pictures feel free to rip them straight off this post or simply hit the tweet & like buttons bellow for the page to appear in your stream.

...  keep your eyes on these guys ~ they got stuff goin on... Curious Oyster facebook page

Reviews of the festival...
Derbyshire Times
Burton Mail

Click through to see the pictures...

Making a short film using a Canon 500D

So I've just finished my first short film and I thought I'd share some of the tech specs and considerations on here.

It is written from image23 on Vimeo.

Click through for more details...

Lighting Set-up #4 ~ Muscle Definition

Just recently I was asked to photograph a body builder for a competition to appear on the cover of Mens Health magazine. Having never lit for muscle I found this a nice little challenge and I thought I'd share my approach here.

So the brief was ~ B&W images on a flat white background with as much muscle definition as possible. Surprisingly this was remarkably easy to achieve. 

After researching past covers of mens health It became clear that they tend to use a simple cross light set~up on the model, which makes sense as shape is defined by shadow, so if you start adding too many lights you're in danger of loosing the shadows and that all important muscle definition along with it.

What you really need is to have a main light with plenty of power to give you lots of contrast & shot bare bulb to give you a good hard light. That, as far as I'm concerned is the most important thing to achieve.

I used my elinchrom D~lite it2 head with a reflector and placed it approx 45 degree's camera right, about 2 foot above the models head and approx 4~5 foot away from him. I then used an Sb24 camera left behind the model as an edge light.

For the background I used two Sb28's . One was placed near the Sb24 but pointed at the curve in the backdrop and the other was hung from the ceiling and pointed at the upper part of the backdrop.