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 Eyespiration.com. 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