Ozem Ellis Photography: Blog https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Ozem Ellis Photography info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:30:00 GMT Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:30:00 GMT https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u399345128-o485625111-50.jpg Ozem Ellis Photography: Blog https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog 90 120 Bendable Not Breakable https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2018/12/bendable-not-breakable Bendable Not Breakable

Bendable Not BreakableBendable Not Breakable

Click the image for prices and options

This concept came to me when looking back at 2018's successes and setbacks and realizing how much we deal with on a day to day basis while on the journey of setting and accomplishing major goals. There's a lot of meaning behind this image but in a nutshell, to me it represents openness, desire to reach full potential, willingness to take risks and the ability to adapt while remaining mentally, physically and spiritually grounded. 

This is a very new style for me so I'm testing it by making it available as an open edition print in different sizes and types. Also, for a limited time, I'm pricing this one with an option to fit any budget. Just click the image and choose the option that's best for you. 

I'd also love to read your feedback on the image and also, if you purchase a copy, feel free to send me your thoughts on the final piece!

 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) art digital art fine art Florida nude art photographic art photography Tampa https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2018/12/bendable-not-breakable Wed, 05 Dec 2018 00:36:42 GMT
What inspires me as a photographer https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/11/what-inspires-me-as-a-photographer What inspires me as a photographer

This topic was suggested by a fellow photographer, Eric Adeleye. As simple as it may sound, there's no simple way for me to address this one but I'll do my best to compress it in a way that's meaningful. 

I was very young when I picked up my first camera but it was purely out of fascination for the tool because I had very little idea how it worked. My strength at the time was drawing and even though I never thought of it as anything special I drew everything around me all the time. I took art as a subject in high school and there I was introduced to scaling and composition. Now at this point I wasn't only drawing, I was painting as well. Around the same time, I was introduced to Photoshop in order to help out with graphic design in a family business and I spent hours daily learning it while keeping up with my art projects and drawing everything for fun. My passions went far beyond visual arts to include martial arts, music listening, performing and production... I think one part of my personality that was responsible for me getting involved with all of this was the fact that I could not sleep unless I learned how to create something or how something worked. This was the part of me that caused me to create a lot and also destroy a lot (some things I was able to repair)... 

I remember being in my early teens when my mom was finishing up her masters in psychology and for some reason, the books she kept at home were more interesting to me than any of my own text books. I can admit that I never read one of my own high school text books cover to cover, I'd just skimmed through them in a few minutes to finish a graded book report then I'd grab one of my mom's text books and finish another chapter until I was done reading them. It was in her books that I figured out a great deal about myself and others around me. Topics I found especially interesting were the topics surrounding women. Let's stick a pin here and we'll get back to this later...

Fast-forwarding to 2006, I got my first job in a photo studio for a short period of time. In this time I learned valuable lessons on various aspects of portrait photography to include standard 3 point studio lighting, posing single people and groups, different types of poses to show different relationships between people, working with kids and infants, working with pets and the list goes on.

Taken in October 2010 in Kingston NY. My career changed paths but I never put down the camera. In 2009, my job moved me upstate NY and the area presented me with the types of scenery and trails that I would have had a significant drive to have previously been able experience. This is when I decided to upgrade from an old Nikon D50 to a Nikon D90 and got myself two kit lenses (a Nikkor 55-200 and a Nikkor 18-105). My primary purpose was to spend my off time hiking (alone) and photographing my new found fascination - landscapes. One thing I learned really quickly was it's always fun and games getting to the location (especially through dangerous terrain after a snow storm) but in some cases, you'll get your best shots after the sun goes down then it's time to pack up and find your way back to civilization. With little experience and preparation, this often proved to be a nightmare but didn't stop me from doing it again and again. 

As I kept photographing and taking my camera around with me (everywhere!), opportunities began coming my way for photographing people and this led to me taking on commercial projects to include sports, product, portraiture and fashion, then later on, events ranging from weddings to theater. The first lighting equipment I bought included two inexpensive studio strobes (Aikiphoto N200/s) and two inexpensive Nikon speed lights (SB-600s). I also invested in two very inexpensive Cowboy Studio softboxes, a photex softlighter 36" umbrella, a regular shoot through umbrella, a stand alone reflector and a 22" beauty dish for the speedlights that I would sometimes use on a wireless hot-shoe trigger as a key light (also as a trigger for the strobes that were set in slave mode). Believe it or not, I was able to learn enough to keep the equipment from failing prematurely and most importantly - to get the job done.

In 2011 I moved to Florida and my personal work shifted to the point where it eventually consisted of about 90% portraiture with my subject of choice being the woman 95% of the time. My long history working with Photoshop, my experience in the commercial arena and occasionally the help of a skilled hair/makeup artist allowed me to work with people that have never been professionally photographed or never thought of themselves as "model material". Going back to the topic of psychology, I noticed a pattern developing. I began noticing things that suggested the photo sessions and the results (final images) really did have an impact on people's lives and self esteem. That was a very abbreviated version; there's a lot more to it than I can explain here. Today my work has evolved to the point that it isn't only about impacting the lives of the person in front of the camera; it strives to impact the viewer as well. Most of the photos are taken on film utilizing the available light (artificial lights are used if necessary). The emphasis is placed on building the type of energy on set that can be felt by everyone involved and by the viewer of the final images. This takes me back to the topic - what inspires me as a photographer.

Photography satisfies both my technical side and my crave to create things that are meaningful at the same time. I still have that fascination for the camera as a tool and because of this, I stay up to date with modern advancements in camera technology (technology in general) while learning, acquiring and working with cameras and mediums that far predate me. I enjoy looking at the work of other photographers from all over the world, not to plagiarize but because it keeps me inspired. I also love watching documentaries and reading historical books and articles on different types of artists. In fact, I find that the more I learn about the history of art and photography, the more inspired I get to go out and create knowing that one day others will be looking back at work created in this time period for many reasons. Seeing the psychological effects of photography on the person in front of the camera inspires me even more because beside loving to help people, I enjoy observing what people respond to. Music plays a huge role in my photography but I'll leave that for an entirely different post.

I constantly seek ways to convey messages and emotion through my work; it's as if photography is my silent voice that say the things that I can't in ways that people can perceive and be impacted by, even more than if the words came out of my mouth. The ultimate inspiration for me is walking into a room or looking at photos and seeing my work displayed in physical form because it is validation that I was able to capture a moment that inspired someone enough to display it in their personal space.  

Thank you for reading. I hope this provided value and I'm looking forward to reading and responding to any comments and questions. 

Special thanks to Eric Adeleye for the topic suggestion. Click here and check out his work!

 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) artist history inspiration photography photoshop portraiture psychology https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/11/what-inspires-me-as-a-photographer Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:37:11 GMT
Outdoor Last Minute Shoot with Jerrica https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/11/Outdoor-shoot-with-Jerrica Last minute shoot  with Jerrica & adapting to weather changes

Every now and then I get to go out and take random photos that never see the light of day because one of my main outlets for showing my work is social media and if you follow my work on Instagram, for example, you'll realize that the images I'm showing here don't necessarily meet the terms and conditions for posting on my IG page. Nevertheless, most of the photos I take mean something to me because there's usually careful thought and some feeling that go behind them. I must admit, my thought process has gotten a lot quicker over the years but that doesn't negate (or lessen) the fact that there's a thought process behind most of the images taken, making them very special to me and worth every megabyte of hard drive space and paper/ink they consume. With that said, I'll go ahead and explain the background information, thought process and technical information of these images. The reason I'm saving the technical information for last is because I've found that too many people are caught up with gear and neglect the other elements that make an image meaningful.

I believe that one of the most important steps to mastering anything is investing quality time and because of that, I like to use the times that I'm not under pressure to create to challenge myself and explore things that inspire me without falling into the genre of my popular work. This one afternoon, my partner, Jerrica and I made a 3 minute decision to get dressed and head to a nearby park to take some photos because we had some down time and wanted to capture some images of the sunset in a way that was different to what any of us were accustomed to. If you know anything about Jerrica, you'll know she works really hard on her body and loves to show it off. As for me, I'm all about people being comfortable expressing themselves and not having to hide behind clothes because of insecurities or other people's judgments. The idea here however, was to find things that we were genuinely interested in and take no more than 10 photos focusing on light, composition and mood. As we began driving out there, we realized that thick clouds were developing on the horizon but we still made our way to the park, just with one change in strategy. We decided to shoot black and white instead of color.

When we arrived at the park it was rapidly getting darker as the sun began to get deeper and deeper behind the clouds that started to develop so time was not on our side. We quickly got out of the car and made our way across the parking lot discussing our strategy while I was getting the camera ready and making sure the lens wasn't being fogged because of the sudden change of environment (humidity). Our strategy was simple. It basically was to gravitate towards the first thing that caught our attention and create something based on that. As we entered the park, the first thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was a white flower blooming from a tree with dark green leaves. Jerrica loves flowers so it was not difficult for her to assume the role of an admirer and my challenge was to capture the moment in real time and preserve the genuine interest shown towards the flower combining technical aspects of composition and exposure. My genius idea after the emotional flower moment, was to take photos posed with a light pole. However, in my defense, I didn't wan't them to be typical "model posed against a light pole" types of photos so I did my best to think outside the box and create images that didn't only show a strong beautiful female posing with a pole but images that conveyed mood and emotion. In the end we walked away with 7 shots taken and I'm going to share all 7 here.

Now on to the technical stuff... These photos were created in natural light on a Nikon F100 using a Nikkor 50mm f1.8G lens and Kodak Tmax 100 black and white film. The camera was used in manual mode using the on-camera spot meter to expose for the shadows and highlights, establishing a balance. The scene wasn't too contrasty allowing me to underexpose the shadows on Jerrica by two stops while placing the highlights at neutral grey. I also did a scan of the important shadows in the frame to make sure I wasn't losing shadow detail. This exposure allowed me to over expose the flower by 1 stop and did the same to the light at the top of the pole which made them retain their characteristics while not losing any detail. An insignificant amount of clipping occurred in the sky (to be expected) which can be easily brought right back in post-processing. None of these photos spent more than three minutes in Photo Shop. This was basically to prepare the images to post them here.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask me any question you have either here or privately. Enjoy!

 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) 35mm 50mm batting black and white f100 fine art jerrica batting kodak model nikon ozem ellis photo shoot prints tmax100 white https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/11/Outdoor-shoot-with-Jerrica Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:44:26 GMT
Samantha https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/5/samantha Samantha

My passion doesn't only involve being a geek and burning through thousands of dollars in lab cost for development & printing, it has its perks as well. One of those perks is that I get the opportunity to meet and communicate with quite a bit of very unique people on a deeper level than just the occasional hi and bye or the excuse me while I try to walk between you and the shelf in the grocery store, or the walk by, glance & forget in the shopping mall lol. In fact, because everyone has their own special characteristics and distinct personalities, every shoot is an entirely new adventure which keeps the excitement alive. 

The Shoot

The moment we met Samantha we discovered that not only did she have a unique look but also an interestingly quiet, yet bold personality and I knew right away that I was going to let that dictate the mood of the shoot. We started off with some car shots on Cinestill film and as you look at those images, notice the perspective. My intention was to create the experience of what it would be like sitting in the passenger seat. As the shoot went on and we both became a bit more relaxed; I was able to uncover more elements in her personality and she was willing to play as well. This made the process even more real and the results compelling. 

Technical details

Most of the photos were taken utilizing the available light and a couple were taken using a constant lighting system. All photos were taken on Nikon 35mm cameras; some were taken using an 85mm nikon lens and others were taken on a 50mm nikon lens. Colored photos were taken with Cinestill film and black and white photos were taken using Tmax-100. Please leave any further questions in the comment section and I'll answer to the best of my recollection. 

Lesson Learned

As I was reviewing the images before making this post, I came across a few really good colored images that I wasn't able to show here because they had a really dirty appearance and spots in important areas looking as if the negatives were shot at with laser guns. I called the lab to find out what was happening and no longer than ten seconds into describing the issue, the person on the other end asked if I shot that set on Cinestill. As beautiful as Cinestill film is, apparently it's not uncommon to come across a bad batch; actually it's very common from what I'm understanding now. I haven't contacted the manufacturers about the issue because the damage is already done and I prefer to stick to more reliable film stock in the future.

*All colored images here are available unsigned and available on Kodak professional photographic archival print and B&Ws are available on true black and white (classic matte finish) archival print. Click the image for more details.*

Other sizes and signed prints available upon request. 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) 35mm 50mm black and white cinestill film f100 fine art kodak model nikon ozem ellis photo shoot prints samantha merry tmax100 https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/5/samantha Wed, 24 May 2017 18:16:18 GMT
Jasmine https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/5/jasmine Jasmine

Here is a young business owner and athlete who's social media profile we came across and felt would make a perfect candidate for a photo shoot. Looking through her profile, it was obvious that she wasn't your average gym goer; you know, the type that goes to the gym purely out of routine with no major goal in mind.

I had no idea what kind of shoot we were going to do, all I knew was that I didn't want to go the typical "fitness" route. This changed on our phone conversation when I had the opportunity to learn who she was as a person (something that doesn't always translate through social media accurately). I learned that her entire life, including the business she's involved with, revolved around health and fitness. Also, I couldn't help but notice the level of strength in the way she spoke, which switched on a light bulb in my head and allowed me to see my perfect idea for her; I wasn't going to highlight the obvious, instead, I was set on contrasting it by displaying the beauty and power in vulnerability. 

Fast forwarding, we were able to wrap up the shoot after about 15 shots feeling satisfied that the point was well made. Also to avoid exhausting Jasmine mentally and physically acknowledging the demand that was being placed on her mind to take on such a vulnerable state and also the fact that she was on show prep. All I can say is mission accomplished :). 

Technical info:

All photos were taken on a Nikon 35mm camera and a 50mm lens using Kodak Tmax-100 professional black and white film.  Please leave any further questions in the comment section and I'll answer to the best of my recollection. 

*All images here are available unsigned on true black and white (classic matte finish) archival print. Click the image for more details.*

Other sizes and signed prints available upon request. 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) 35mm 50mm Black and white F100 Fine art Jasmine Russell Kodak Model Nikon Ozem Ellis Photo shoot Prints Tmax100 https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/5/jasmine Fri, 19 May 2017 22:15:16 GMT
Amber https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/4/amber Amber

Just want to begin this by saying that this is my first blog post ever! 

2017 has been a year of new beginnings for me. It has marked my transition from being a service based photographer to pursuing my true passion as an artist. With the transition, I've developed a love for film photography making it my medium of choice and drastically cut down on the use of my faithful digital cameras. Also, I've become extremely comfortable with the technical aspects of the camera over my years of taking photos and decided to put considerable emphasis on learning people on a whole new level. This has been an all round life changing experience for me and I finally feel like I've found the link that connects my art with purpose.

My shoot with Amber marks the first set of photos I've taken using a discovery I've been working all year on becoming competent with so every image taken was very honest and personal. Amber and I knew each other prior to the shoot so we didn't have to go through the process of building rapport, which made things easier seeing that she'd never done anything like this before. It was also beneficial to have image stylist, Bobbie, who helped select the clothing that went well with the theme and medium the photos were taken on and Jerrica to capture BTS (behind the scenes) footage!

For this shoot I decided to limit myself to a 35mm Nikon F100 and a 50mm lens. It was liberating to not have to think about different cameras and complex lighting, allowing me to fully concentrate on the moment - being able to communicate fully with the model and capturing true expression and body language. My first shots were taken on a roll of cinestill film I had left in the camera from a previous shoot, then I switched out to Kodak TMAX B&W film for some more inside shots, then to Portra for the outside shots. 

Below are some of our results! 

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info@ozemellisphotography.com (Ozem Ellis Photography) amber art batting black bobbie cinestill color currier ellis film fine art jerrica kingsbury kodak ozem photography portra tmax white https://www.ozemellisphotography.com/blog/2017/4/amber Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:08:01 GMT