thursday, may 08, 2014
Abandoned Detroit - Brewery Terra Firma

In case you haven't heard...

A selection of my work from the Detroit Ruins series will be exhibited for the first time in Traverse City.

The show will be "officially" opening May 9th at Brewery Terra Firma, with a reception from 7-10pm. 

Terra Firma will also be launching a new beer on May 9th - the Black Bikini Coconut Porter!  Brewery Terra Firma is one of Traverse City's newer brewery's, and boasts a diverse variety of beer, as well as a unique, sustainable approach to beer production.

Stop by, check out some art work, and definitely enjoy some craft beer!



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saturday, april 19, 2014
Spring? Yes...

Spring has finally arrived, somewhat.  The snow is melting, the temperatures are rising (as are the rivers).  It's time to get outside and start shooting!

I've decided to spend the summer making the outdoors my studio, rather than opening a new one, since I rarely work inside in the summer anyway.  You should see some new directions soon.  I'm going to begin focusing intently on my Sleeping Bear Dunes project this summer, hoping to work in a number of locations that I haven't approached yet with a model.  Expect to see some new things. 

I've also been organizing some of my older photos, and working on some new concepts.  I've began editing some photos from my various ruins series, some of which I shot and simply downloaded - and never edited after the fact.  If you're interested in following this series specifically, visit my Facebook page "Abandoned Michigan".

I am at work organizing my first exhibition of my existing Detroit Ruins photos.  Details on this exhibition will be coming very soon, pending a few dates and new prints.  Stay tuned!

As always, I'm looking for some models to work with.  Get ahold of me soon, as I'm going to start shooting next month!



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saturday, february 08, 2014
Last month in the studio!

Well, the time has finally come.  My studio space has been up for sale for a few years now.  It's finally sold, which means it is time to move to another location.

This will be the last month I will be shooting at my present studio, and will be closing it down in March.  If you want to get in on any of my studio projects, now is the time to do it.

After March, I will likely begin focusing on my outdoor projects again, which is usually how I spend the summers.  I typically don't do much studio work until the weather is too cold to shoot outside.  As a result, I may elect to hold off setting up in a new location until the fall. 

So far, I've managed to change studios about once every five years, for various reasons.  The transition often brings about changes in my work, as I adapt to whatever location I find, and begin reinventing and reimagining the processes behind my images. 

If you're interested in getting one last shoot at the old studio, get ahold of me and we can schedule a time and date!

 



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friday, november 01, 2013
The Holidays are around the corner!

The holidays are upon us!

Winter can get busy in the studio, as I have many people approach me for commissioned art work.  These are usually one of a kind pieces that I will create exclusively for you.  Most of the time it is work created for spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, couples, etc. Work can range from simple classical figures, to abstract or even some of my hybrid photography process. 

This is the type of work that I truely enjoy, as it allows me to create something unique specifically for a client. Likewise, there's no greater feeling that seeing someone so happy when they arrive to pick up their artwork.

My commission work is typically very affordable, depending on what you are looking for.  Pricing includes prints, usually on stretched canvas. 

If you're interested, send me an email - gvbrown@gmail.com, or feel free to call me directly - 231.631.7917, and we can talk!

 



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saturday, july 20, 2013
Dunes Adventure - July

 

I spent a day shooting at the Sleeping Bear Dunes this weekend.  I'll have new photos to post soon.  
 
The shoot locations were a little challenging, given the volume of tourists, but I did find a few good remote  spots that worked out perfectly.
 
I had an opportunity to try out my new 15mm, which is an awesome lens for creating drama in an image - especially when you have a huge thunderstorm rolling in from across Lake Michigan.  The new focusing screen also worked perfectly, and is a nice addition, particularly for someone that always seems to knock the horizon off by a few degrees (the grid matting is a good reminder to square up the shot).
 
The heat index was over 100 degrees on the dunes for most of the trip, which made venturing into the deeper part of the dunes a little difficult.  And the tourists of course.
 
I'm very happy with the images that came out of this weekend's effort so far, and I'm inspired to get back and explore here again soon...
Photos to follow...
 


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monday, june 24, 2013
Wine and Art Festival

 

The wine and art festival was a big success.  For those unable to buy prints due to them being sold out, I do have more at the studio - particularly the Dryad prints, canvas prints of my Rhythm abstracts and a few remaining copies of Beauty in Ruin.  Feel free to contact me.
 
I spent the winter doing everything except photography - building things, painting, writing.  It is always inspiring to talk to people and see what work speaks to them personally.  As the artist, I tend to look at pieces from a technical perspective.  Others I am drawn to on an emotional level.  Many of my pieces take hours to complete, which is something that makes them more appealing personally, as the labor of art is something that I enjoy being immersed in.
 
I plan to approach some of my previous works from some different angles, possibly incorporating mixed media and use different non-photographic processes.
 
The Detroit series continues to be a big draw.  The ruin, and the presence and pressure of time is a theme in many of my pieces (Michigan ghost towns, the Asylum series, etc).  It is my hope to explore more of these in the summer and this fall.
 
I also do some commission work occasionally.  I was asked about this by a few people.  This was how I originally began some of my series, when I first opened my studio. I am always open to doing commission pieces.  There is no better feeling than producing a piece of work for a person and seeing how happy they are when they walk out of the studio with something created specifically for them.
 
Once again, thank you to everyone that visited and talked with us at the festival.  I feel recharged and ready to create.


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tuesday, june 11, 2013
Mason Tract and A Rant About HDR

So I spent the weekend exploring the Mason Tract near Grayling, mi.

I didn't do a lot of shooting, but did post one photo from the Mason Chapel, a really unique, somewhat remote location, which I wouldn't mind revisiting.
 
Tech Stuff
 
Talking tech for a moment - I posted previously about my issues with my 19mm having a sticking aperture.  I found a decent 14mm to replace it, which will arrive in a few days.  I love the super wide lenses for architecture and creating drama in landscapes. It is probably my favorite lens for those situations.  
 
I also managed to find a replacement focusing screen for my 5d mark ii - a split screen, grid format screen, which is sort of a throwback to the old manual focus Canons (or any MF camera, for that matter).  
 
Many times I shoot under very low light conditions, such as studio shoots for the Rhythm series, or dark interiors, where autofocus simply fails to work.  The standard focusing screens provided with most autofocus cameras are inadequate for precision focusing - unless your eyes are perfect, which mine aren't so much anymore.  I had to find this through a third party source, out of Korea (or something), but it has been an item I've been seeking for quite awhile.
 
 
In any event, I posted a photo from the Mason Chapel, a location that I would definitely like to revisit. It's a color image, using HDR processing, which really works well for this type of lighting scenario - very dark interior, with a brightly lit, detailed exterior.  A straight, single exposure would either muddy the interior, or blow out the highlights of the scene outside.  So in this case, a range of exposures, processed as a single HDR image was effective at representing the entire range of lighting in this scene.  That said...
 
A Little Rant About HDR Imaging
 
The first series of HDR images I saw was in a magazine - a series of images of the aftermath of one of the hurricanes in the southern US.  The images were striking - boldly different, almost surreal in execution.  I wanted to try it.
 
HDR is a process where you merge a range of exposures into a single image, effectively representing a wider exposure range than could be typically processed.  The technology is kind of old news at this point, but widely popular.
 
Depending on how you process your images, they can appear quite natural, almost indecernable from standard images.  Or they can appear painterly or almost cartoonlike.
 
My first foray into HDR was with the Asylum series, prior to introducing models into that project.  In a few cases, I opted for a surrealistic feel to the images - selecting moderate to extreme processing effects for the images.
 
When I first presented these images, the feedback was very positive... People mistook them for paintings, drawings, anything but photography.  It's the kind of feedback that makes you feel really good about your work.
 
And then someone asked, "Aren't you the photographer that shot that series [wherever it was]"?
It wasn't me.  It was another photographer, also shooting HDR.  
 
The problem with HDR processing is that the final image is trusted largely to a piece of software, running the image through the same set of modifications and processing that any other photographer would also be using.  The end result is that your images are likely to appear stylistically ambiguous.  
While the results are wild and different, over time these will become dated and generic.  As someone that has the opportunity to be exposed to many other artist's photography throughout the course of the week, I tend to find the process almost aversive at this point.  
 
I've since strayed from heavy HDR processing in favor of simply using the technology to extract a wider exposure range.  My post process techniques follow simple darkroom methods - burning, dodging, tweaking contrast, etc.  Beyond that, I may apply some of my hybrid photography techniques, depending on the series.
 
My point, in a round about way, is that it is important as an artist to develop your own style - particularly with photography.  While a certain technology, whatever it is (solarization, sepia toning, photoshop watercolor filters, whatever the trend may be), may raise eyebrows now, over time, these processes tend to be swallowed up by the sea of other pieces produced using the exact, or similar, procedural processing techniques.  They eventually become generic and dated.
 
Photography is a medium where it can be a challenge to develop a unique artistic style, particularly if you are confining yourself to capturing a single moment, as is, or relying on common post-processing techniques.  If you're working in this medium, never stop thinking outside of the box.
 


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sunday, june 09, 2013
Bummed...

I decided to spend the weekend in the woods, doing some shooting.

My favorite 19mm finally gave out on me - f-stops sticking, which results in false meterings and incorrect exposures.  The only "fix" is to repeatedly jam on the DOF preview until it unsticks, which sometimes works, but really isn't ideal.

I'm looking for a good, wide or super wide zoom in the lower ranges (12mm-55mm) as a replacement.  EOS mount.  New or used.  F-stop range isn't a huge concern, but quality is.

Suggestions are more than welcome.



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monday, october 08, 2012
2012 Morpho Gallery Chicago Winner's Exhibition

The Morpho Gallery in Chicago will be featuring the works of the winners of the 2012 Juried Art Exhibition, opening November 2nd.  A selection of my work will be on display at this exhibition. 

The opening reception will last from 6-9pm.  The exhibit will hang until November 30th.

Hope to see you there!

 



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monday, october 01, 2012
The Really Big Art Exhibition

The Traverse City Art and Design Studio is holding their opening for the "Really Big Art Exhibition", this Friday, October 5th from 5:30 to 9pm. 

This is a juried exhibit featuring only large scale works of art. 

Two of my pieces from the Rhythms series were accepted into this exhibition and will be on display.

Hope to see you there!

 



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