Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category
BY DOMINIQUE JAMES
On Facebook, my friend Danny recently asked me a couple of interesting questions that I believe needs to be answered.
Here are Danny’s two questions: “Dominique, what in heaven’s name are Hipstmatic Prints? Where in the moon do you get them?”
For sure, these are interesting questions that I cannot ignore. These must be answered properly. And so, I aimed to answer in full and with clarity here.
This is my response to those two questions:
Danny, “Hipstamatic Prints” is the title of my digital photo albums here and here where I post daily all sorts of mostly artistically-inspired B&W photos on my Facebook. (By the way, I also have a similar online photo album on Facebook called “Pixelpipe Photos” here.)
Anyway, of course the matter of “artistic merit” is largely subjective, depending on each of the picture and also on who’s looking, among other things, but hopefully you’ll find a few that will prick your fancy.
Anyway, these photos have all been shot using the camera of my iPhone 4 (I’ve gone through all of the iPhone models since it became available) with an app (or application) called Hipstamatic.
The album’s name is not my own choosing. It is the album name automatically created by Hipstamatic when I linked (and authorized) this app to post to my Facebook all photos that I deem worthy or interesting of sharing. By linking, these pictures that I share are automatically and directly posted from the Hipstamatic app in the iPhone 4 to Facebook (either through WiFi if available or through the regular AT&T cellular network).
Hipstamatic, as you can imagine, is one of the most popular iPhone photography apps where images that has been shot are processed using different types of “films,” “lenses,” and even “flashes.” The combination of these films, lenses, and flashes creates enchanting, almost sometimes, otherworldly or unreal images that looks quite different but still familiar and the same from actual real objects or scenes we see that has been photographed. My objective is to show these objects or scenes or even people in a different but still familiar way. I thought it’s an interesting thing to do and a lot of my Facebook friends seem to “Like” it very much
I’ve been shooting all sorts of iPhone photos for more than 2 years now, and I’m happy to share them day after day here on Facebook with appreciative friends like you. If you like the photos, please press “Like.” And also feel free to comment. I read, and sometimes reply, to comments posted. In fact, I’ve had a great many thought-provoking, funny, interesting, serious, joking conversations with friends from all over the world on Facebook through these photos.
If you are interested, there are many fantastic resources available online about Hipstamatic, and also on iPhone photography in general.
For starters, more information about the Hipstamatic app, can be found here -http://hipstamatic.com/the_app.html.
Or, you can also check this out – http://hipstamatic.com/.
And then there’s this that you might find interesting – http://community.hipstamatic.com/.
Wikipedia, of course, has something on it too – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipstamatic.
Then there’s a whole, thriving group about it on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/hipstamatic.
And not to be outdone, on Flickr as well – http://www.flickr.com/groups/hipstamatic/.
Then, there’s this controversial thing about a seasoned war photographer who recently won a major international award with nothing more than a Hipstamatic to create the pictures – http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/finding-the-right-tool-to-tell-a-war-story/.
And this is how and why he did it – http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/through-my-eye-not-hipstamatics/.
So that, Danny, in heaven’s name, is what my album “Hipstamatic Prints” and the Hipstamatic app is all about.
And where in the moon did you ask to actually get them? That’s a very good questions because, well, you can actually buy online a real limited edition, signed and numbered fine art photographer’s photographic print (that comes with a certificate of authenticity) from here – http://www.zatista.com/store/index/Dominique-James.
These frameable fine art photographic prints are available from as low as $49 each to as high as $10,000 each (shipping and handling not included). As you can see, whatever your budget, there’s one that’s suitable for you. And, you can choose from almost a hundred available fine art photographs. And the collection is growing.
You can frame and decorate your homes and offices with these awesome (if I may say so myself) fine art photographic prints.
These fine art prints, like any other fine art such as paintings and sculptures in museums and art galleries, are not only a beauty to behold, cherish and covet, but they do appreciate in value over time which makes them a very good and stable financial investment.
Anyway, Danny, thanks for asking. And feel free to ask more questions any time. It’s good to keep “conversations” like this going.
I am guessing that for most people, Monday is not a favorite day. It is possible that one’s favorite day could be any other day of the week—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, but rarely if at all, is it a Monday. If only to avoid the stress, tension and anxiety that accompanies jumping right into the first a pressure-filled week, a whole lot of people would probably want to skip Monday and move right ahead into Tuesday.
Of course week after week, Monday has to happen. There’s absolutely no escaping it, and different people do all sorts of things to make the most and the best out of it with the hope that the week starts out at least smoothly, if not right.
Sometimes though, Mondays can turn out to be more than just smoothly or right. It can actually turn out great. My Monday this week, for instance, turned out to be surprisingly awesome. Early in the morning, I got a very uplifting email from Christine Clark of Zatista. In her brief message, she wrote:
Periodically Zatista has a guest curator who picks their favorites from the site, and we pull them together in a nice feature. Our next guest curator is Robert Verdi, and he has chosen one of your pieces for his collection. Congratulations on being chosen.
It’s a very simple and straightforward message. But it’s one of those messages that Zatista artists don’t receive every day. Since I just woke up when I read it, I had to read it several times to make sure that I really understand what it meant. When I finally and fully absorbed the good news, I know that my week will be all right.
I joined Zatista, an online store, in December of 2009. To date, I have about a hundred fine art photographs available for sale. I have managed, so far, to attract a number of buyers and has made good sales.
Every once in a while, some of my works will be prominently featured in Zatista’s website. I always think it’s a big deal whenever any of my pictures are featured. This means that more potential buyers will be able to notice what I have to offer. But this is the first time that a guest curator has proclaimed one of my fine art photographs as a “favorite.”
Eleven industry insiders have so far been invited as Zatista’s guest curators. This includes prominent names such as: Michelle Adams, Sasha Adler, Laura Kirar, Abby Larson, Amy Preiser, John Robshaw, Kim Seybert, Jason Oliver Nixon, Elizabeth Bauer, Ryan Korban, and Anthony Cochran.
Robert Verdi, this week, is the twelfth to be invited. Verdi is the head of the very exciting Luxe Laboratory in New York.
According to Zatista, Robert Verdi “is a leading lifestyle expert, celebrity stylist and television personality. Verdi stands alone as the sole expert to bridge all-three major style categories: fashion, entertaining and home design. He is the go-to style guru for celebrities like Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, Bethenny Frankel, Kathy Griffin and Hugh Jackman. Famous for his wit and wisdom, Verdi has become one of the most highly recognizable faces in the world of fashion and design today.”
As a guest curator, he selected 6 favorite pieces from the roster of Zatista artists. Other than selecting my work, Verdi also chose the works of Nina Fuller, David Page, Chris Horner, and Justin Wheeler. And in an interview, he talked about his selections while sharing his bright ideas about art, design, photography, among other things.
Looking at Verdi’s choices and looking at the choices made by the previous guest curators, I cannot help but wonder how a work of art is chosen from among thousands and thousands. Zatista artists are never really told when, how and what goes on in a curatorial process such as this. I’m inclined to think that a whole lot of factors are involved, including pure luck. In any case, I’m very thankful that someone such as Robert Verdi decided to pluck out one of my pictures as one of his top picks.
For an artist such as myself, I am deeply humbled when someone of great esteem, impeccable taste and exquisite aesthetic perception such as Robert Verdi bestow approving appraisal of one of my works. In all humility, can only view such affirmation as an honor.
[Note: To view Robert Verdi’s selection, please click here. To read the entire Zatista interview with Verdi, go here. To check out Verdi’s website, Luxe Laboratory, visit here. For free professional advise and consultation on advertising and commercial photography and visual media design, contact Dominique James at email@example.com. Also, you can view and purchase the fine art photographs of Dominique James online at Zatista’s website. Thank you.]
BY DOMINIQUE JAMES
Have you ever been approached by a police officer to be told that you cannot do a photo shoot on a location you have selected because it’s a public park and that you needed a permit? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me recently. I didn’t think it would, but it did. Have I known that we needed a permit, I would have gotten one. That’s just how it’s supposed to be done. But because I thought there was no need for it, considering the very small size of the shooting production, of which we were only a handful, our little group was literally thrown out of the park—unceremoniously, almost. I was caught by surprise. I was baffled because we weren’t obstructing anything and we weren’t bothering anyone. We were in fact very careful and very conscious not to be too conspicuous. And, the fact is, we didn’t have any thing that resembled a major production setup—not one of those things that has hundreds of people all around, with parked cars, trucks, trailers and generators. There were only five of us during the shoot. But apparently, because the photo session we were conducting looked “professional” enough, we were firmly told that we needed to get a permit to be allowed to shoot. Without the permit, we cannot continue with the pictorial. Thinking back on what we were doing, I still couldn’t imagine that it would have merited a permit.
Being directly responsible for the shoot, no matter how small, I had to think, find a way, and act fast. For one thing, I didn’t want the people I was working with to get into trouble. Heck, I don’t want to get into trouble myself! I had to figure out a way to make sure that we get to do what we wanted to do without getting into trouble. The last thing my little group wanted was to stop shooting, but the last thing that the police officer wanted us to do was to stop shooting. Clearly, we were in a bind, but I wasn’t just about to give up, pack up and call it quits. That would have been unprofessional, and I didn’t want to end a shoot this way. I had to find a way.
The name of my model (and client) for this shoot is Caroline. Caroline wanted to come up with a professional portfolio. It wasn’t a photo shoot for a huge media or production company. We embarked on a simple project to produce a simple portfolio that Caroline can bring along and show around.
Caroline was about to make her big move. She made some plans, had things figured out, and was slowly ticking off one item at a time in her personal to-do list in order to move things along. She has her sights on a goal. She was very organized, methodical, and determined. And, she was also very beautiful. A mutual friend, who felt that we can work something out, introduced us to each other. Caroline and I hit it off well. We got to talk and exchange emails several time for about two weeks before we finally decided to schedule a meet for the pictorial.
Along the way, the many details of the shoot were ironed out. Though what we wanted to do for this pictorial was something simple and straightforward, it was quite surprising that we somehow found ourselves ruminating through a mountain of details. Usually, a typical pictorial involves figuring out what kind of images to produce, who to work with for the hair-and-makeup and wardrobe styling, where to shoot, and how many layouts to do. From experience, these details can be worked out quickly and easily. But what surprised me all the more is that I actually didn’t mind all the in-depth planning and discussions we were having. To my mind, the more we plan things out prior to the pictorial, the better it would be. For one thing, this will give us a chance to really be ready and to concentrate fully on what we wanted to do during the shoot, and we’d be able to minimize unpleasant surprises or snags. Of course, we were well aware that we couldn’t possibly be ever 100% ready for anything, but we tried nonetheless.
Because both Caroline and I wanted to make sure that we cover everything so that we can have a productive and creative session, we communicated constantly, sharing ideas and concepts. Personally, I was thankful that Caroline knew exactly what kind of images she wanted. This helped a lot because, along the way, we were able to refine what we wanted to achieve. And, it probably helped too that we somehow got caught in the excitement of what we were about to do. So, we simply let it grow. It sometimes help to start with a blank slate where both the photographer and the subject can thresh out details through a series of pre-production meetings, but in the case of Caroline, it was better to focus right away on what she wanted since she had to leave New York for Hollywood in the next few days. Besides, on her own, Caroline already had much time to consider the concept of the shoot. She just needed a photographer who can help her make it all happen.
On the day of the shoot, everything started smoothly—selecting the clothes, doing the hair-and-makeup, preparing all equipment. We breezed through the first two outfits with impeccable timing, moving along at a comfortable, steady pace. It helped that the weather was great. We were getting really good shots. But as we moved on to the third layout, that’s when a police officer unexpectedly came up to us to tell us that we have to stop shooting, pack our things and move away. Many unexpected things can happen in a shoot. I know this because I’ve been through countless pictorial sessions. But getting thrown out wasn’t one of the things I thought would ever happen. Life, as they say, is full of surprises.
At that moment, I didn’t quite know what to do except to comply. The first thing on my mind was the safety of those whom I was working with, but at the same time, I didn’t want to abruptly end the shoot and walk away empty-handed. I was determined to finish what we’ve started. That’s when an idea hit me.
As everyone was packing their stuff while the police officer was sternly looking at us, I figured that we’ll just move to a different nearby location, away from the constantly patrolled public park where we were started shooting. Having walked around the area a few times, I know that there was one particular spot where we can continue doing the shoot. I didn’t know if we were going to be stopped too, should an officer come along, but I had to give it a shot (so to speak).
With feigned confidence, and without really explaining what I had in mind, I asked everyone to gather their things. The only thing I told everyone was that we were moving to a different location. For one thing, I didn’t want them to lose their hope, with things ending badly.
I did my best to keep up the mood as I led our little group out of the park and into one of the streets across a multi-lane highway where I thought we can continue from where we left off. I can sense that a couple of the members of my team was becoming disappointed and confused, but I happily (and bravely) chatted on. As we arrived at the new location, an open street, I announced right there and then that it was on that exact spot where we will continue our work. Everyone was surprised but I simply told them that we have a job to do and we should get back to work to finish it. And so, right there and then, and without a fuss, everyone started to get right back to work as if nothing happened.
As we were all set for the third layout, a patrol car with two officers unexpectedly crawled its way slowly into the street where we were. My little group, fresh from the embarrassing and disappointing sting of being thrown out just a few minutes ago, was suddenly quiet, trying to keep a very low profile. You know the feeling when you wanted to just disappear? That was exactly what we were all feeling. Having been in New York for quite a while, I’ve seen what can happen when an officer stops to take notice, and instantly call for backup. In a matter of minutes, the area will be teeming with police cars, firetrucks, and an ambulance, with lights going on all at the same time. There’d be so many people gathering and yellow ribbons would have to be put up just to mark the perimeter off. It would be an instant crime scene!
But then, another unexpected thing happened! The patrol car didn’t stop. While the police officers glanced at us for a much longer time than usual, they simply drove past us without stopping. Can you just imagine our collective sigh of relief? That’s when we sensed, finally, in the new location, no one’s going to bother us for the rest of the shoot
And that was when the magic really started happening!
On this new location, a seemingly unassuming street, we were able to work our way to the end of the shoot. As a matter of fact, we were able to add a couple more layouts that during the planning stage we thought we wouldn’t be able to pull off. And the really nice thing is, probably because of the adrenalin rush for all the “excitement” that happened, we were able to finish on time. It turned out to be a really productive and creative shoot. Because of the new location, many other creative possibilities which were unavailable to us in the previous location simply opened up. We were able to do layouts that, while far different from what we originally thought, proved to be much better. The new location, with the many textures that portrayed different moods, depth and character, proved to be a blessing in disguise. We managed to create some really amazing images that was very much in line with our original concept. And, because we got inspired to try out other things in the new location, we were able to achieve something more.
Back to my studio a few hours later, as I was looking at the shots, I felt (oddly enough) glad that we were thrown out. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to create the many images we ended up making. A major part of it of course has something to do with the bunch of people I was working with—they had been the most unflappable professionals who continued to do what needed to be done despite the odds. What can I say? Nothing really shocks New Yorkers anymore.
As for Caroline, she got her pictures—another thing ticked off from her to-do list. And just as planned, she moved on to Hollywood to embark on an exciting new career in show business.
[Note: For inquiries and for information on professional photography assignments for editorial and/or advertising purposes, as well as for post-production digital image editing and enhancement, please send email to Dominique James at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-246-1131. For information on models and talents portfolio shoots, please click here. Thank you.]
BY DOMINIQUE JAMES
Popular Filipino actress and singer Stella Ruiz graces the cover of the new and exciting Spring 2009 issue of GP (Global Philippines) Magazine. Stella recently gave up her lucrative showbiz career in the Philippines to permanently move to the United States. For some time, she was initially based in the West Coast, but eventually, she settled in the East Coast. Despite her now more quite lifestyle, away from the glare of the limelight, and away from the intrigues, Stella is still quite well known among a number of Filipino communities here in the US from coast to coast. Her popularity has even led to several solo singing engagements. Stella is noted for her edgy rock, pop and ballad songs laced with a selection of all-time favorite standards. The first time I’ve photographed Stella was when we were still both in the Philippines, at the time when she was about to launch her musical career. Fast-forward to today, we worked again for the magazine cover shoot. The recent pictorial therefore felt like a comfortable reunion of sorts. The mood was light, breezy, and fun. Doing a four-layout pictorial was therefore easy and fun. Much of the success of the pictorial is owed to Stella’s personality. She was gregarious and talkative all throughout the session, making sure that everyone feels comfortable and relaxed. The cover photo shoot was held at the Hyatt Hotel at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exact location was at one of the boardwalks of the famous Hudson River overlooking the much more famous Manhattan skyline that prominently showed one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building. The production team for this shoot included fashion stylist Zaldy Labaco (whom I’ve worked with on a number of pictorials in Manila and who also recently migrated from the Philippines to the United States), hair and makeup artist Ryzelle Bayacal, and production assistant Don Cendana. Production of the cover pictorial was managed by GP Magazine’s publisher, Manny Agbanlog. This Spring 2009 cover of GP (Global Philippines) Magazine featuring Stella Ruiz marks a radical departure from the old magazine through a dramatic redesign, refocus and rebranding. On the inside, this magazine features: Romy Luz, Nonette Teodoro, Camille Villar, Dario Octaviano, Kim Bello, Ysa Langdon, Chris Boucher, Toff De Venecia, Karlo Miguel, and others. It also features Roberto Tomas, Kaye Cloutman, Alex Uy, Florante Aguilar, Ric Ickard, Perfecto De Castro, Angelito Agcaoili, Victor B. Velasco, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Amos Manlangit, Rommel V. Manlangit, Ace Durano, Stanie Soriano, etc. The print edition of GP Magazine is mainly available in the East Coast (generally in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other nearby states), and it can also be accessed online for free at GP Magazine Online. [Note: For inquiries and information on professional photography assignments for editorial and/or advertising purposes, as well as for professional post-production digital image editing and enhancement, please send email to Dominique James at email@example.com or call 912-246-1131. Thank you.]