New Portfolio

blakeaxelson

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Hey everyone, I am new to this and I was looking to get some feedback on what I have posted so far.
All of it is shot in 35mm film and I still have a bunch of neat photos to post.

Excited to hear what you have to say.

Thank you,
Blake Axelson

Blake Axelson
 

tirediron

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To be honest? It looks like you're trying too hard to be artsy and not concentrating enough on things like exposure, composition and subject matter. There are some images with potential (IMO), but they all have, what to me, are basic technical flaws. As a portfolio this doesn't work for me on a much broader level because of the lack of cohesiveness between images. Granted I'm something of a traditionalist, but I like to see a portfolio which contains 8-12 images with a common thread so that I can see how you as a photographer, deal with a particular genre. Anyone can have one or two great shots of a subject, but when you start accumulating a number of images, all equally strong, then you have a portfolio.
 

Derrel

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When Tirediron uses the phrase, "basic technical flaws", I think he might be referring to the fact that you mention very pointedly that you shot the images using film...and yet, the images SHOW a digital aesthetic that has at its heart, a false, inaccurate portrayal of how film-made images actually look when done with fresh chemicals by actual film-era workers. I'll state it clearly: that faked, not-black-black look is a modern, recent, digital processing aesthetic.Film work never looked like crap, with muted, skewed colors and fogged, color-tinted shadows, etc... Plastering a layer of faked, fogged blacks over every image is a DIGITAL aesthetic...it's going to look very dated once the next thing comes along. If you want to show images that have low contrast, and fake "vintage color", you might as well use a d-slr and Lightroom, and filter everything...there are no real bonus points for using film, and then making filter-effects images. You're SHOWNG an Instagram-era aesthetic, but saying it was shot on film. Nobody cares about how one arrives at filter effects pictures. "Process" is not really a factor these days.

The best example is the shot of the van in the shot titled
KAZ SITTING ON THE ROOF

and also Matt Genovese 48730014-590x363.jpg
 

tirediron

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When Tirediron uses the phrase, "basic technical flaws", I think he might be referring to the fact that you mention very pointedly that you shot the images using film...and yet, the images SHOW a digital aesthetic that has at its heart, a false, inaccurate portrayal of how film-made images actually look when done with fresh chemicals by actual film-era workers. I'll state it clearly: that faked, not-black-black look is a modern, recent, digital processing aesthetic.Film work never looked like crap, with muted, skewed colors and fogged, color-tinted shadows, etc... Plastering a layer of faked, fogged blacks over every image is a DIGITAL aesthetic...it's going to look very dated once the next thing comes along. If you want to show images that have low contrast, and fake "vintage color", you might as well use a d-slr and Lightroom, and filter everything...there are no real bonus points for using film, and then making filter-effects images. You're SHOWNG an Instagram-era aesthetic, but saying it was shot on film. Nobody cares about how one arrives at filter effects pictures. "Process" is not really a factor these days.

The best example is the shot of the van in the shot titled
KAZ SITTING ON THE ROOF

and also Matt Genovese 48730014-590x363.jpg
In fairness, I turned out plenty of film that looked like that when I first started. Improper mixing of chemicals, improper agitation, old film, incorrect temperature, too short/long in one or more baths... it's indeed possible to make film look that way even with the freshest of chemicals, but... why would you want to?
 

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It's a lot like saying, I once burned a pizza when I was learning to cook...so forever after, I will serve every pizza burnt to a crisp. Why would anybody want to make bad work, substandard work, and present it as "good"?
 

tirediron

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It's a lot like saying, I once burned a pizza when I was learning to cook...so forever after, I will serve every pizza burnt to a crisp. Why would anybody want to make bad work, substandard work, and present it as "good"?
Refer to the first comment in my first post.
 

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Well, I don't want to feel bad about "dumping on" your current portfolio/website, Blake, so I went back and re-reviewed ALL of it. I think the images touching one another on the sides aspect is not helping the photos stand out from one another, since they literally are touching; a good example is the individual viewing option; the Montreal is very slick, but farther inside the city it becomes very urban shot of the graffitti,snow,and barrel-cones shot...having the caption helps a HUGE amount. It's Montreal...you name the city, so we as viewers know what we're looking at, and we can then confront our own expectations with what YOU show us, and hopefully, we'll reconcile out own impressions with what the photo shows. SO...overall, I think the individual image view option, with your caption information, makes the images appear more substantial.

Circling back to what T-I mentioned about "portfolios"...the word has more than one meaning. One idea is that in today's photo-rich world, people want to see images grouped into 'portfolios' of images that reinforce one another, rather than single images. Single images are soooooo common today that they are almost...worthless. Trivial. A thousand per week, easily seen. A simple reorganization would be to GROUP your skateboarding shots...that alone would make the photos appear to have more power, more "value", more "clout". I can sense enthusiasm in you, as you say you have more neat photos to upload; my suggestion would be to group them. "People", as a category that you used, is way too broad. If it were "skateboarders", it would be much more interesting. I think that just grouping things together makes them appear more substantial, more curated, more worthy of admiration.
 
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blakeaxelson

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Well, I don't want to feel bad about "dumping on" your current portfolio/website, Blake, so I went back and re-reviewed ALL of it. I think the images touching one another on the sides aspect is not helping the photos stand out from one another, since they literally are touching; a good example is the individual viewing option; the Montreal is very slick, but farther inside the city it becomes very urban shot of the graffitti,snow,and barrel-cones shot...having the caption helps a HUGE amount. It's Montreal...you name the city, so we as viewers know what we're looking at, and we can then confront our own expectations with what YOU show us, and hopefully, we'll reconcile out own impressions with what the photo shows. SO...overall, I think the individual image view option, with your caption information, makes the images appear more substantial.

Circling back to what T-I mentioned about "portfolios"...the word has more than one meaning. One idea is that in today's photo-rich world, people want to see images grouped into 'portfolios' of images that reinforce one another, rather than single images. Single images are soooooo common today that they are almost...worthless. Trivial. A thousand per week, easily seen. A simple reorganization would be to GROUP your skateboarding shots...that alone would make the photos appear to have more power, more "value", more "clout". I can sense enthusiasm in you, as you say you have more neat photos to upload; my suggestion would be to group them. "People", as a category that you used, is way too broad. If it were "skateboarders", it would be much more interesting. I think that just grouping things together makes them appear more substantial, more curated, more worthy of admiration.

Thank you for your input I will surely use it in future photos and posts.
 

vintagesnaps

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I see potential here and would suggest you keep practicing and developing your skills.

I think my favorite is the photo of Montreal (even though it isn't Habs hockey!). To me the foreground (barrel) looks a little soft and I wondered if you had the lens fairly open, I'd like it better seeing that sharper (I think that idea can work better if there's something out of focus framing a subject not part of the scene that the viewer is trying to see).

I like the portrait of your friend done in sepia, shows his personality, and the one of your dad could be good but looks like the exposure could have been better. I kind of like your cover photo on FB, maybe a little too much black but that to me shows you're seeing something that could make for an interesting photo.

I sometimes use plastic cameras and Polaroids etc. and there's a different quality but a few of these look more like they're supposed to resemble old photos that the color shifted, but they aren't really old photos.... so I'm not sure what you're going for with those. (edit - Now I see, Kaz on the van was using expired film, but to me it seems pretty hazy, I think I like the idea more than the end result, maybe it was the exposure. I like where you have the cloud in relation to him.)

The action shots of the skateboarders would be better if you were in closer (using a longer lens), most seem to have too much background. You seem to be seeing and capturing some good moments and I've done sports where it's a lot about the timing, besides that I'd try thinking about how much background you want in photos.

The one of Mathieu is at too much of an angle and too wide I think, and the one of Cole has more interesting background to the right but to the left it doesn't seem to be adding to the picture. I'd think too about your vantage point and where you want to put the trees and posts etc. by moving yourself. You seem to be framing shots with some interesting geometric patterns and shapes in the objects in the background which I like, I'd just think about how you can bring the viewers' attention in more to what you want them to see.

In some of your scenes and landscapes too I'd think about - what do you want the viewers to see? what's the picture about and does the way you photographed something get the message across? I like the idea of the birds on the building but I read the caption and otherwise am not sure I would've noticed them much, the picture to me seems more about the building, probably if you can't get in closer I'd think about making copies and see if you can try different crops to bring the viewer in to the picture more.

If you like shooting film you might want to look at Film Photography Project An Internet Radio Show On-Line Resource for Film Shooters Worldwide .
 

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