zaterdag 6 augustus 2016

Holiday Hotels

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn
In the analog days people hardly took pictures 'just for the fun of it'. Not many people owned a camera, let alone used colour film, therefore most of my baby pictures are in black & white. Colour prints were more expensive to develope, so untill the late 70's and early 80's B&W film was used often still.

Colour film was only used for special occasions like a wedding, graduation or maybe a holiday. If you couldn't afford a colour film you bought postcards. After World War II with more money and free time then ever, the average Americans went on a roadtrip. Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn, the United States were explored by car. In the 50's and 60's America blossomed. Not having to rebuild the country like torn down Europe, leisure was the new gold.

A decade ago I started collecting old B&W postcards to create Double Exposures fine art. I also bought some 'Kodak Chrome' postcards. I just loved the bright colours, but did not use them in my art yet. In my wedding photography I did cross process slide film to get those fab blues with bright yellows and reds, as Photoshop or a good quality digital DSLR weren't available yet. I will write about this special wedding photography later.

In 2014 I created my first series Holiday Hotel, available as fine art photography prints in all sizes. I come from a graphic design background, as in the late 80's when you could draw and paint you had to become a graphic design artist and you worked for an advertising agency. So I did my time at Sint Lucas (intermediate vocational education in graphic design) then ran to AKV|St.Joost - School of Fine Art and Design in 1992. St. Joost Academy is part of Avans University of Applied Sciences and offers undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) courses in fine art and design.

My love (and hate) for printed matter remained, I never really lost it. The first half of my carreer I was often called too artistic for commercial jobs and considered to be too commercial to be a 'true' non-commissioned artist. Whatever. I did what I did, and created a photography carreer still feeding the 4 mouths of my family. Graphic design knowledge wasn't all bad, I was able to design birth and wedding announcement cards in my own style using my photography, way before the cheap print websites emerged.

With Holiday Hotels I am experimenting with the Kodak Chrome postcards, as I am fascinated by the details of old fashion 4 colour print, also known as 'CMYK colour model'. Nowadays, just like photography, all is made digital even the print process. With full colour CMYK process a print is made in 4 layers, with Cyan (blue), Magenta (pink/red) and Yellow as main colours. To get the best density 'Key' (black) is added. CMY together create black as well, but this doesn't look fully black though.

I am now working on more Post Pop Art Prints of Holiday Hotels. The process of Seeing a special, new image in these old photos is wonderful way of learning how to See fresh without leaving your house. I remember being a student and taking macro photos of magazine images, only to use a small detail of the photo in art class. I used the 50 mm lens the wrong way, just held it to the camera and wow, super macro photos were born. I love these experiments and will never quit. Eyespiration!

vrijdag 29 juli 2016

The Book of Eyespiration

At this moment I am writing the Book of Eyespiration. My story about How to Meditate with Eyes Open will be published as an e-book first, later it will also become available as a printed book. Eyespiration: Let the world inspire you to take better pictures without a fancy camera. 
Looking for some Eyespiration? Look up!

The Book of Eyespiration - An introduction

Chapter 5. Photo Walk
You can find inspiration by solo walking. Go for a photo walk by yourself whenever possible. Lunch Walk. Early-Morning-Dropped-Kids-at-School Walk. Just Walk. I never feel lonely when I do and next to meeting nice people, you’ll find great innerpeace. When walking alone, sooner or later you’ll get to the point that you feel you are Meditating with Eyes Open.

Try to walk without thoughts distracting you. Try not to judge what you see, just walk. Look for nice details and intriguing visuals on your way. When you stop listening to your Monkey Mind you’ll start to use the Fresh, Pure eye. This is called Miksang in Tibetan. Buddhists know the moment you no longer judge or think about what you see, the Beauty of Life will appear. Miksang is also called mind stopping perception.

Eyespiration requires a silent mind. Therefore I prefer the word Mind-Emtpy-Ness to MindFullNess. If you can silence your jabbering Monkey Brain, you will open up the mind, body and soul to receive positive, calming energy just by Seeing the Beauty of Life. The moment you See a beautiful composition, you will Be in the Moment. The Eyespiration Moment or E-moment. When you are in this state, you See. 

You have learned how to create a beautiful composition with your camera in the previous chapters. If you do not want to take photograps, you can also take a mind picture. Now let’s go outside to create an E-moment!
San Francisco Bay Trail, a great track from Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Mason
When walking I passed the white houses and noticed the sky, palm trees and people. But: I also noticed the shadow of the palm tree on the wall. To create the photo on the right I picked the best point of view and cropped all unnecessary elements from the final image. E-Moment!

If I like a place, I like to hang out for a bit, letting it all in. I try not to judge what I see, just let emotions guide me. Like when you are waiting in line, try not to judge what’s happening. [Why isn’t this queue moving] Everywhere you go there’s something worthwile to See. But you have to make sure you silence your brain. Try to Meditate with Eyes Open. Be in the Moment, See.

Remember, you don’t always have to take a photo. If you are at a place and you See something but can’t reach for your camera quick enough, make a mind picture. Just experience the beauty of that Moment. Enjoy Life.

Eyespiration Prompt: Use Shadow

A shadow always adds something mysterious to your photo. Use the light. Not only the sun creates shadows, also an indoor lamp can. Look around you, up and down. Play with shapes.

• Best time of day: early morning or late afternoon

• Isolating a shadow too much can be boring

• Use lamp light

• Often a photo with a shadow tells a story in one image

• Don’t forget to look behind you

The Book of Eyespiration can be pre ordered via First 1000 downloads will be free! Sign up for the newsletter and stay tuned for the release date. Eye See You!

zaterdag 23 juli 2016

Rabobank Flower Art

Big wall size prints for Rabobank Halsteren
When I was asked to create a series of commissioned fine art for Rabobank via Rienks/de Bont CS Architects Breda I didn't have to think twice. Interior architect Illse showed me around and had a specific request: with the building being very square and linear, the art had to be something completely different.

As I immediately had to think of using 'shapes of nature', being the opposite of squar and linear, I also was challenged. I didn't want to create just another panel with a close-up of a flower or landscape photo. Illse lent me a small book with old photos of the village, adding "it would be good to have some of the village's history present in the design as well".

Dandelion flower art big size print by Artstudio23 Breda
The old photos were perfect for double exposures with flower close-ups. I wanted to use history and nature's beauty in one. History & Flowers was probably one of the first digital series of double exposures, which I created in 2005.

When I was studying fine art photography at the St. Joost Academy I already experimented a few times with exposing the same film twice. Rewinding the exposed film and marking it, as you can't see where the first photo begins, was always a bit of a gamnle. You can also put two negatives in the darkroom enlarger, a method called sandwich negative. Third analog option is to expose the photo paper twice with different negatives.

Rabobank Halsteren commissioned fine art photography Artstudio23 Breda
I used Photoshop, there weren't any double exposure apps available yet. In 2005 you couldn't take a decent photo with your smartphone, let alone retouch it. Also this was the time with the first digital DSLR's finally being good enough to shoot weddings with, or in this case, flower close-ups.

The result was overwhelming as the print size was wall size, 250x500 cm. (approx. 8x16 ft) During opening day I received a lot of positive reviews. And also this comment to the photo above: "wow, my mother was born in the house on the left, how very nice". It's good to use historic pictures in modern art, this way we remember our past. And adding beautiful flowers just tops it!

Rabobank Halsteren commissione fine art photography
Rabobank Halsteren commissione fine art photography
Rabobank Halsteren commissione fine art photography
Rabobank Halsteren commissione fine art photography
Double Exposure Design starts from €450,-

© Melanie E. Rijkers 2005-2016 Eyespiration

zaterdag 16 juli 2016

Polaroid Perfection

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam iAmsterdam
The charm of Polaroid photos, chemical stains and other 'errors'
In 2010 I (re)discovered my old Polaroid camera again. When cleaning out a cupboard I found my old photo gear case back, which I thought would be empty. It was a present from my husband, at that time boyfriend, when graduating Sint Lucas in Boxtel in 1992 and starting with fine art photography at St. Joost Academy in Breda. The case had contained a set of analog Pentax DSLR's, which were written off a decade before.

Inside was my old Spectra camera still. I recall I must have been using it now and then, as in my appartment, which I shared with roommate Ine, was a Polaroid of my boyfriend/hubby and me taped to the cupboard. After finding this original Polaroid camera again I was very eager to use it some more.

Breda Valkenbergpark in winter
My first Polaroid: too cold to develope properly, always put it in your inside coat pocket when shooting in winter
The last still working original Polaroid Factory in Enschede (yes, the Netherlands) closed in 2008 and the last films they made had expiry date 2009. All over eBay I was able to buy more films, lucky me. After trying out my first Spectra film I went on a search for all sorts of possible instant film and cameras.

Impossible project so it seems, but it was fun. In the mean time a few fools with a big love for Polaroid teamed up to create a new instant film under the same name. I was a true Impossible Pioneer, and was happy to buy and try their new films. I bought a few more instant cameras and the next two years I found a lot of 'Instant Eyespiration'.

La Tour Eiffel, also book cover of Polaroid Blurb photo boek '40'

After a year or two the many flaws of old and new instant film, next to the high price per photo, made me quit my Pola experiment. Older films were becoming harder to get and the results of my experiment during the Breda Redhead Days 2011 were one more reason to stop using instant film regularly. The Polaroid series was the worst of all photo series I took that day, using 3 photo techniques on all models.

The old expired films were sometimes very, very bad in colour and contrast. This ofcourse can be very 'artistic' but started to annoy me at some point. There wasn't a true Black & White Impossible film available (yet) or even a Blue Tone B&W. I just got tired of sepia. The old true B&W film came out all grey, with no contrast. But for those of you who love Polaroid's (im)perfection, here's more of my work. It was fun while it lasted!

Airshow Gilze-Rijen F16

New harbour Breda, 1st Impossible Project B&W instant film

Old expired Polaroid taken at Kijkduin, the Netherlands

One film of true B&W was... grey. Polaroid film, expired

zaterdag 2 juli 2016

Photography workshop meets Sudaji wedding

My students at a Balinese wedding in rural Sudaji, powered by Omunity.

Feel the Love, share the Love and Heal yourself just by Being there.
Being in the moment: visit this magic place. Be, See, Zen.

Eyespiration by Melanie Rijkers, © 2015

maandag 27 juni 2016

Reflection in Alaska

Reflection, Infinity, the beauty of life seen from the upper deck early morning

Infinity. Extraordinary sight onboard Royal Carribean's Jewel of the Seas. It was pure magic to see the reflection of the clouds in the sea, smooth like a mirror. If you take landscape photos with your phone, its wide angle lens will make the clouds even more impressive. As if they float into your photo composition.

When you travel on a cruise ship and you stand on deck, you can watch all four directions, East, West, North and South. Nothing blocks your view. During my Alaska cruise morning walk I saw beautiful reflections in very calm water with sunrise. I couldn't stop looking. So peaceful.

Watching the sunrise and taking photos
Sunrise, Inside Passage
There were only a few people on deck, watching the golden light of the sun. The two photos above show two opposite directions. The two ladies taking a photograph of the mountains were standing with their backs to the sun.

Blue sky and dark clouds, all visible if you turned around. I couldn't stop looking and walking on deck. All four directions were very different sea scapes, yet beautiful. Taking part in a seminar at sea, I like getting up at dawn, to see the sun rise. Before the buzz and stuff to do a moment of calm. Looking at seascapes really clears the mind, refreshes the soul and connects you to nature.

View from my room, Inside Passage
Meditating with eyes open, I recommend this to anyone who's feeling down or depressed. When you learn how to See life, with pure, fresh eyes... you'll feel so happy. I never expected I would be able to do so well onboard a luxurious cruise ship. But even here you can close yourself off, and be in the moment as long as you can See.

I will be joining the Cruise into Spirit in October 2016, feel free to join me. More photos here: ©

maandag 20 juni 2016

Great Writing Conference London GW:

Great Writing:  The International Creative Writing Conference 2016
After 2 days of attending the Great Writing Conference at Imperial College in Londen my head's full of new ideas how to connect creative writers with... creative writers! Wouldn't it be great to combine Fine Art with Writing?

On Nicole Cooley

She put down her glasses
Creating a moment of peace
In her dazzling world of words

Photo Poem by Melanie E. Rijkers © 2016.

In the Netherlands we can't study Creative Writing so it seems. Bummer. I am curious if it would be possible to get a scholarship to study abroad. What I learned from the conference is that all lecturers were very driven to share their thoughts, papers and projects. I wonder, after you get your degree, what's next?

More than once I heard someone say: "Pity I cannot land myself a teaching position in Creative Writing". In the future I would like to see Academies of Art hire inspiring people like these to teach Creative Writing to art students. Writing is changing. Art is changing. Let's collaborate!

On Hyde Park: Face

Staring down
Stuck in place
Tiny feet touching his head
Flying off into space

Photo Poem by Melanie E. Rijkers © 2016.

Photo Poem: a new Short
Nicole Cooley's talk Tiny Texts: Flash Fiction, short poems, one minute plays raised questions like "But what if someone wrote a brilliant piece of 300 words, and the assessment says 2000?" At an Academy of Arts they'd know what to do. Also the digital era is here. Graphic Design, Arts and Writing are all in it together. A photo and a text are only ordinary until an artist puts them together brilliantly.

During Nicole's inspiring talk I wrote 3 pieces of what I call Photo Poetry. Being a visionair, working with Miksang Contemplative Photography and teaching Eyespiration, this is my answer how I'd like to combine the art of photography with the art of creative writing. 

On Hyde Park: Fountain

In the air I fly
Having landed I slide
Blending with family
I watch people walk by

Photo Poem by Melanie E. Rijkers © 2016.

Thank you Nicole, your talk was the last piece of information I needed to accomplish my writing goal. I was also inspired by Daniel Juckes and many more speakers, and will tell you more about Great Writing in my next blog!

maandag 13 juni 2016

Alaska Cruise Golden Hour Workshop

Early morning sunrise
It’s the first morning onboard the Jewel of the Seas, when I go outside on deck to watch the sunrise. I’m in Alaska in June and nights are short, it's 5 AM. The wind almost blows me of my feet when I enter the top deck, but the views are so worth it. Amazing infintiy, with on one side a hazy purple light blue sky and on the other side a warm, golden glow behind some clouds. 
Magic colours
Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean
I never imagined you could see this far from a boat. Sorry, ‘ship’. The cruise ship amazed me by not being bumpy by waves at all, and I actually enjoy the movement of the water while meditating with the group. I am attending a seminar at sea, and never been onboard a cruise ship before. With the amazing views I see each morning I want to sail forever. Staring over the water, with only a few other people present, I feel one with nature.
Amazing views
Golden Hour onboard
Amazing skies, infinite water and colours that touch me like I am in a light bath of beams. Golden eye in the sky, the sun finally rises above the mountains. I am surrounded by pure magic, I never felt so close to nature before. So much Eyespiration! I feel blessed to witness all this beauty on earth. I am sharing my photos with you to show you how beautiful Life is, if only you can See.
Miksang Moment
Pure Magic when the Sun comes up
You can join me in October 2016, when I will be attending the Cruise into Spirit. I will teach you how to See if you join me onboard for an Eyespiration photo walk. It not so much a workshop, it's Meditation with Eyes Open, and free of charge. You can join me with any kind of camera, or even without one and take 'mind pictures'.
Selfie in the wind
Sunrise at Sea
Purple sky - Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean
Being in the moment. Onboard a cruise ship, early morning, you can really be whole, complete, one with nature. We'll use Miksang techniques, when you learn how to look at Life with Pure, Fresh Eyes. Be, See, Zen.
Golden Light Shadow Selfie
Workshop Meditation with Eyes Open
Onboard you can walk. I like walking, It makes my head clear. I can really stop thinking when I walk. If I concentrate on what's around me, if I am in the moment, I see Miksang Moments. Miksang Moments are photos with a very, very good moment captured, with great composition in lines, light and subject. Most of the photos in this blog qualify Miksang Contemplative Photography.
Golden Light - Sunrise of Love
If you'd like to know how to take those photos, I'll show you how to See. Join me onboard for an amazing Full Moon Cruise into Spirit in October. Please note you don't need a fancy camera, the above photos were all taken with a smartphone. Seeing Fresh, with Pure Eyes, is all you need.

woensdag 11 mei 2016

#Eyespiration: Reflection

Landscape pictures with a reflection will draw people's attention and keep it. Reflection in water or double images in a window: when did you look into the 'mirror' with your camera lately? 
Hollands landschap met reflectie van molens (Kinderdijk) in water
Dutch landscape by Gerhard Nel
Looking at something beautiful twice 
 By using a reflection of your subject you'll create an intriguing image. This beautiful Dutch landscape is twice as impressive because of the reflection in the water.

Apply extreme cropping and use the mirror image only. Use the image you see in a puddle. Look in a window and use the double image that makes a weird, but often fascinating picture. Also shiny surfaces like chrome hubcaps can create beautiful images.
Weerspiegeling in zee op het strand van Kuta
Hindu offering Kuta Beach, Bali Indonesia
Clouds visible in the water, how beautiful to capture this in one photo. All you have to do is bend over and zoom in, crop the sky and place the horizon line in the top of the photo to create a fascinating image.

If you're on holiday try to use this kind of photography next to the snap shots and selfies, to create a story with alternating images. When you travel you'll find many new compositions because of the new environment you're in. Try to experiment with reflection and mirror images, and most important of all: have fun while doing so!

If a photo doesn't work out: just delete it. Oh, the joys of digital photography ;)

Erasmus Brug Rotterdam, weerspiegeling in water #eyespriration
Weerspiegeling in chrome wieldop
Cityscape: a sort of selfie in a chrome hubcap

To find reflection 

• Landscape: we all know the beauty of landscape photos with reflection in water. 'Sandard' or not, these kind of photos always work out. The beauty of a landscape seen twice in one composition, yo can't go wrong. Try to place the horizon at the top of the image.

• Water: a true mirror of the sky. Taking a picture of a reflection in water only also works well. Try to place this photo upside down for a change. This will create an intriguing image for sure.

• Rain: a wet day? Use the puddles and rain drops. Make sure you use a camera that's not affraid of water and can handle a drop or two. Always try to avoid direct rain when possible. If you're with someone: make this person hold an umbrella to keep you and your camera dry while you'ra taking photos.

• Glass: a window or bottle will create a whole new world when you take photos through it. Alienation is fascinating always, but try to avoid vague photos unless you like to create an abstract image.

• Chrome: shiney surfaces always work well for photographers. Not just to take a different kind of selfie, but also to capture reflections of the world.

Try to challenge the viewer. Alternate images will make your story more exiting.

By using reflection and mirroring in your story, it will be much more fun to look at. Being a photographer shooting a wonderful and exiting image will make your day. Even on a rainy day, you'll feel the joy of capturing a beautiful image using the rain. When you find that treasure and are able to capture it... utter feeling of joy and pure happiness.

Find reflection by... reflection. It's also very mindful to look for reflections. The happy feeling you get, 'Yes! I got it' when you take a good photo is priceless, no Prozac necessary, nothing can beat this emotion. It's really worthwhile to learn how to see and find your Eyespiration.

But I'll tell you more about that in my next blog!
Foto door glas zorgt voor bijzondere vervreemd beeld
Cityscape: challenge the viewer with a see-through photo
Gebruik moderne architectuur voor mooie compositie
Use modern architecture to capture reflection 

vrijdag 29 april 2016

Prince vinyl and tour books for sale

Te koop Prince cd's en elpee's, maxi singles en tourboeken
Prince records, 12" maxi single, 7" and full albums for sale SOLD!
Prince Tour Books for sale  SOLD!
On Mr. Roger Nelson's birthday (7 June 1958) I made my last sale... all my items, but a few which I like to keep for good ol' times' sake, are now off to new owners. Hope you'll all enjoy his music as much as I did, and do. But this stuff... could go. Really. I just want less and less stuff, so I am free :) 

So long my sweet Prince, will always love you ♥

donderdag 28 april 2016

The more I travel,
the less I want to go

New York City Mindfulness with my camera
Eyespiration, New York City - Times Square