Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Finding your creativity

June 6, 2017

Recently my colleague Paul Wade wrote on our blog about how he deals with creative block. I’d like to share some of what I do to help push my creativity further.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

Firstly, in the words of Paul Smith, design is everywhere, and he’s right. It’s just a case of looking for it.

When I teach design to students in CIT, one of the first things I ask my students to do is to start looking at things with fresh eyes, to question what they have taken for granted, and to revisit and review things. For some it’s a difficult exercise, because you are asking people to essentially think in a way that they have never done before (right brain/left brain tasks).

Originally to help myself remember these things, I started carrying a small notebook around with me, and as I saw or found things that interested me I would document them, creating a reference library for myself that I could use.

Much of these (and I have many, some going back 25 years since I started college) are full of small scribbles, found objects and coded illustrations that mean nothing to anyone other than myself, but they give me ideas and help to jumpstart my thought process. Often the thought of a blank page can be the hardest start to a project, so these small seeds can frequently give me the start of something that turns into something else.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

The second thing that I would suggest that everyone would do, is to visit their local art gallery.

In a world of non-stop connectivity and “always-on”, taking a few minutes out of your week to allow you to clear your head is a generous gift to yourself, and one that can often push me into looking at things with a fresh perspective.

We are very fortunate to have a number of galleries in Cork, including the award-winning Glucksman on the grounds of UCC, and the Crawford Art Gallery towards the Opera House, both of which have a wonderful rotation of exhibitions, and in the case of the Crawford, a truly beautiful permanent collection.

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a lunchtime lecture by Dr. Michael Waldron in the Crawford where some of the lesser known secrets of some of the works were shared, opening up a completely new insight into these works, and how I now perceive them.

Frequently in graphic design, I like to challenge my clients, that while everything should have a meaning or at the very least, a rationale behind the design, that it’s not entirely necessary that every piece of design should bear its full credentials in a literal sense – ultimately, my thinking is that you don’t have to give everything away immediately, that people appreciate working for detail a little in design.

The other thing that I keep noticing, is that often in galleries, the art is as much the building as its contents.

JLM

Finally, I use photography – or, to be more honest, I use image making as possibly the most powerful avenue for creativity and to force myself to look at things differently.

The reason that I call it “image making” rather than photography is that I see the process of taking the photograph to be the first part in creating any image. Technically, I am a terrible photographer, I have little or no regard to F-stops or ISO numbers, and my tripod is wobbly no matter what I do with it. But I take the shots and process them, frequently (and much to the annoyance to “pure” photographers) through Photoshop and I achieve the results that I want.

More and more I find that the outlet for this creativity is Instagram.

I have a number of APPs on my phone that when used in combination with Instagram. allow me to create images that otherwise, may or may not exist when published online.

Instagram provides me a platform that allows me to share these images with other people, and with the tactical use of hashtags I can build a somewhat curated gallery, available to like-minded people.

My true purpose is that I can create a set of images that have come about through looking at a situation, and environment, a person or a puddle, and allow me to redefine this scene into something that I want it to be. In some cases this means that the neon strip of a petrol station canopy can become an abstract, surreal landscape, in others, it means that I can create a hero out of a basketball hoop, or a pushback tug in an airport..

By taking a new view of an object, you can create a world of questions, many which have no right or wrong answers.

What I find incredible about Instagram, is that once you ignore all of the gym bunnies, the endless selfies and dinner images, there is a community there who are appreciative, supportive and creative.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate to meet quite a few of this collective, and have found them utterly inspiring in how they see things. I have stood next to people, taken the same image on practically the same device, and created utterly different images.

I have learned how to approach subjects that I would have avoided (street photography still scares the hell out of me!), and I have participated in events, from 10 people wandering around UCC pointing phones at things, to the incredible 24 Hour Project where nearly 4000 people in 840 cities, across 112 countries posted an image an hour over a 24 hour period last April.

Have a look for #24hourproject and #24hourprojectCork on Instagram to see some of my work as well as that of others.

Being creative day in and day out is a demanding challenge (like many jobs!), but with a little bit of focus there are ways that you can allow your mind to wander in a constructive way, and hopefully help to boost the inspiration that really is everywhere!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

A picture paints 1,000 words ..

July 7, 2015

Homeless man

How many times have we used the expression that “a picture paints a 1,000 words?

Arthur Brisbane - New York Editor and JournalistArthur Brisbane a high profile journalist and editor in New York is first credited with an expression close to this “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

This very clever quote appeared in a 1911 newspaper article discussing journalism and publicity.

In our very busy, frantic, no time to stop, no time to read or study anything properly world with multiple media coming at us non-stop does this expression this hold up?

The idea that a picture is a powerful way to convey a message certainly holds up. The idea of using a multiple of 1,000 words is interesting – already I have used 116 words in this piece.

When I read that Arthur Brisbane penned this quotation I wanted to know what he looked like for some reason. He looks like James Stewart in the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ era. He looks like a wise man!

As an editor and a journalist Arthur probably had a very strong instinct about how many words it took to deliver a message and what job an equivalent image would do.

If you consider the likelihood of something grabbing our attention today and you think about the job an image can do and the equivalent article (or articles) to do the same job it makes you think about that multiple.

Is it more than 1,000? Is it 10,000? Is it 100,000.

Of course it all depends on the image and how well this is constructed to deliver the necessary message.

At Fuzion when we issue a press release to the media we will often insist that a strong photo accompanies the release – sometimes the picture will be the thing that will get the big space in the newspaper and sometimes we will get both the picture and the article.

For the reader if the image is strong enough it will convey the message or story that we wanted and it may be the hook that will make the reader stop and actually read the ‘words’.

Does a picture paint 1,000 words?

We guess it does and much more besides ..

The story of the photo (top of the blog post)

A family of a missing man spotted him in a photo taken of homeless men that appeared in a Sunday newspaper. Nicholas Simmons, 20, was in upstate New York on New Year’s Day, but he vanished leaving all his belongings behind, according to Fox News on Jan. 6.

Someone in his family spotted Nick in a picture that showed a group of homeless men. The men hovered around a steam grate trying to get warm on the streets of Washington D.C. recently. The homeless men looked destitute, including Nick, trying to get warm in the frigid temperatures. Nick’s parents called the police, who were able to locate their son.

The photographer who took the picture conveyed more than 1,000 words ..

For your website, brochures, posters, press releases get great photos that tell your story.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Art of Photography

June 15, 2015

Cork Lee baths

Yesterday during my lunch I was enjoying the sun and taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful city, Cork.

As I walked past the Irish Examiner office, I couldn’t help but notice a whole array of old photographs displayed in the window.. you know the ones, black and white and of times gone by, a selection of imagery that has been printed in the paper down through the years.

As I stopped and admired the images, one thing that struck me was how all the people in the photographs were completely mesmerised by the camera. One in particular is of a swimming pool and there must be over fifty people in the shot. What is really impressive is how all of these people have stopped what they were doing and are now fixated on the photographer and his camera.

Firstly, a day out at the swimming pool in what looks to be around the late 60’s or early 70’s would have been a massive big deal, and obviously someone taking a photograph is equally amazing.

While a photograph in those days commanded so much authority this is in stark contrast to now when photographs are a regular everyday occurrence, so easily generated with our phones and shared digitally, with a huge percentage of them never even making it to print.

With such a large volume of photographs being taken, a lot of them have lost their beauty and intrigue, which was once so evident in these old photographs.

This ‘loss’ is from both sides; the photographer is not restricted by expensive film, they just want to get the photo as quickly as possible and share it. The people in the image don’t really care as much because they know another one will be taken again shortly.

Our new era is more than ok with me, because it’s a great thing being able to capture and share so many moments so easily and so instantly. Even better it is easy for us to browse through them, like and comment on them and share them even further when we want..fantastic!

However, what does bother me a little bit is when you think of those old photographs they were created by such talented craftsmen. They were so impressive in their appearance, that people really paid attention to them.

Whilst the advancements in technology is brilliant, it makes everything so easy for everyone and with a couple of tutorials everyone becomes a “photographer” or so you would believe.

This is clearly not the case – as a creative person I tend to observe a lot of things that others just would not and unfortunately I see that our visual intake everyday is completely polluted with photographs and imagery that have just been made by someone with a nice camera or the latest version of photoshop.

During the course of my graphic design work it is staggering to see the difference that a great photo can make – without great photos it can be very difficult to bring something to life properly. With our PR team a great photograph can help to tell a story brilliantly and get a story to “land”.

That is why it is so important in today’s world that if you want a great photograph that you should go to a professional photographer who loves doing what they do and someone who has served their time training to become what their heart desired.

At least then you know that this person will take that stunning well composed photograph even if it is a swimming pool packed full of people!

Ray Keohane

Ray Keohane is a Graphic Designer who works with Fuzion from offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland.

Patrick’s Hill, Heroes and Villains

August 17, 2011
Tour de Munster - Down Syndrome Ireland

The Anticipation

We anxiously waited on Patrick’s Hill in Cork alongside partners, children, other family members, people from the charity, collectors, sponsors, spectators, cycle fans and curious onlookers.

This was the finale of the Tour de Munster, one last leg of the gruelling 600km cycle around Munster in just four days. The 150 cyclists were delayed as there was a nasty tumble earlier in the day when one of the guys had a bad fall and suffered concussion – this left the schedule about an hour behind.

Every year Paul Sheridan and his team of cycling and fundraising enthusiasts endure this four days of madness for a different charity. For the second year in succession Down Syndrome Ireland are the chosen recipients for all the fundraising efforts, which already look like they are going to break all previous records.

Months of organisation, training, discipline and endurance have gone into this and every other Tour de Munster, which is now in its 11th year. Paul Sheridan is a tough task master and every year for months in advance he drives this team of cyclists hard, preparing them for these gruelling four days.

Tour de Munster - Down Syndrom Ireland

Who said this would be easy?

There are some seasoned cyclists in the troop but the 150 is also made up of a random mix of all sorts who have committed themselves to this crazy challenge. This includes parents of kids with Down Syndrome who are literally cycling for better facilities for their children – these aren’t superb athletes, just ordinary folks with ordinary lives doing extraordinary things.

The excitement is building on Patrick’s Hill and then we have the most awful incident – Ger McCarthy the professional press photographer while preparing to capture images for the newspapers the next morning turns his back for two seconds and discovers that both his expensive Nikon cameras have been stolen (Nikon D3 & D3s).

Did anyone spot anything? – this was done so swiftly and so professionally no one really realised the seriousness of what was happening around them. Basically a car (reddish/maroon old model Toyota) with a few opportunistic men (I don’t want to be racist but these guys have been described as Hispanic looking) drove up Patrick’s Hill, spotted the cameras on the ground behind Ger, did a quick u-turn, pulled in just him and quickly snatched the cameras and sped off… well done boys, aren’t you just fabulous!

Thankfully Griffith College have cameras outside their building and our two opportunists have been captured on camera – hopefully this will result in them getting what they deserve.

I must admit I was so furious and really upset about this – in the middle of all this “goodness” these thieves just turn up and show us all the other side of life.

A few phone calls later and Ger, the ever professional has a replacement camera and we have contacted the Gardai, the newspapers and radio stations and also been busy getting the message out on Twitter and Facebook.

Ger puts the incident to the back of his head and readies himself for the cycling troop.

Sean Kelly - Tour de Munster
Sean Kelly leads the Heroes up Patrick’s Hill

The excitement continues to build and eventually the 150 troop are spotted coming across Patrick’s Bridge escorted by a Gardai motorbike team. They stop at the end of the bridge while the Gardai manage the traffic to let the cyclists through. Led by the absolute Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly who stayed with the team for the full four day cycle the cyclists burst from the bridge, up Bridge Street and start the determined and punishing climb up Patrick’s Hill with hundreds of friends and spectators cheering them on and encouraging them to the summit.

Some at their own manageable pace and some sprinting to the top – the daunting hill is a little bit too much for some of the cyclists after the 600 kilometre, four day test and they carry their bikes up the hill.

The last leg is a short journey to the Silversprings hotel for family reunions, refreshments and celebrations – in the comfort of our car we make our way to the hotel and pass four of the cyclists who stopped to help one of the guys fix a puncture literally one minute from the hotel – this cycle is about something very, very special.

The courageous efforts by these heroes will benefit the many heroes in Munster affected with Down Syndrome.

Unfortunately as in every other walk of life for all of the heroes we have we also have too many villains.

Villains – take a good hard look at yourself and realise what you are doing to good people … don’t forget you were caught on camera!

Heroes – I salute you.

Ger McCarthy – thanks for being a total professional as always & we all hope you will get your gear back.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

*Great Update – on Wednesday17th August (just 3 days after the incident) the cameras were recovered as a result of a house raid by the Gardai – this was possible due to the cameras, the help from the public, the help from the media and getting the story out on social media – all of this culminated in our friends being identified.

Good wins out in the end !

 


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