Sunday, 7 August 2022

Galiya's The Masquerade

With the lovely Galiya Serdalina as collaborator and using Venetian masks, I set up this photo session a few weeks ago in the Tribeca area of Manhattan.

Venice's Carnival began in the 11th Century - the original masks were rather simple in design and decoration & often had a symbolic and practical function. The wearing of masks and costumes was well established by 1436, when the mask-makers were officially recognized with their own guild. The practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its peak around 18th Century, when Venetians of different social classes used Carnival as an excuse to mingle without fear of recognition or retribution. 

Venice Carnival masks fall into several categories: Commedia dell'Arte masks are based on traditional characters like Harlequin and Pierrot. Fantasy masks are figments of the mask-maker's imagination, although they may be inspired by historical designs & the traditional Venetian masks such as the Colombina, the Volto full face mask and its variant, the "plague doctor's" mask with its phallic beak.

An audio slideshow with Venetian music:

Here are full sized (and different) versions of the photographs made during the photo session:

Galiya by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Soleil : Back In SoHo

Following the successful photo session with Soleil on Crosby Street (check it on the blog here and on the gallery here), we both decided to have another one on what I call "the SoHo Trifecta" aka Wooster, Greene and Mercer streets.

Here is a selection of these photographs:

And my favorite in monochrome:

For larger full width photographs of Soleil: Back In SoHo:

Soleil by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

POV | The Instagram Syndrome

I've recently photographed "S" on my favorite streets of NYC's SoHo district, which is replete with graffiti'ed walls and steel/iron staircases....a gallery of the photographs are currently being worked on.

As is my way of doing things, I swiftly sent her about two dozen of these photographs which I slightly edited for clarity, color and smoothing tiny imperfections of her face (the lower photo is an example. A few days later, a highly edited/filtered version of that particular photograph (and others) were posted on her Instagram per the upper photograph.

The need of self validation through such superficialities is saddening…and that it is also unnecessary makes it doubly so. It’s not my place to counsel her….all I could do was to process the images I made of her using minimal retouching…and retain her natural beauty.

Now, skin smoothing is one of the most popular "improvements" for portraits, fashion and beauty photographs...because no one wants skin imperfections, however there's a line that's crossed when that results in a "plastic skin". Unfortunately, it has recently crossed that line -and beyond- because of social media platforms such as Instagram, Tik-Tok and others. 

In my opinion and that of most other photographers, the bottom line is that post-processing -to be effective- should not be noticed.

I won't go into the reasons behind this trend on this blog post...the need for self-validation, the artificiality of what I call the "Kardashian" effect..."S" is a delightful person, and if such editing makes her happy, I will not begrudge her in any way.

That said, legalistically-speaking, the creator of photographs owns them as soon as they're made in-camera, and retain the right to edit, change them in any way they choose (unless disallowed contractually). Altering the photographs by someone other than their creator is a breach of copyright.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Gabbie Jackson | Dawn Of A Diva

Gabbie Jackson is an independent recording artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She started making music early in life with their classical studies beginning in their adolescence. Gabbie’s style is best described as mesmerizing, meditative, and introspective and exists as a fusion of their favorite genres: hip-hop, indie pop, singer-songwriter soul, and blues. Her songs— which they produce, mix, and master herself— also invoke a style of music that is near and dear to their heart and the tradition of Black music in this country: protest music.

Multi-talented, Gabbie is a musician, guitarist, singer, voice-over artist, actor, photographer, an activist and an author.

It was an absolute delight to photograph Gabbie and her contagious enthusiasm with her custom Ibanez guitar on the incomparable cobblestoned SoHo streets.

For larger/full width photographs of Dawn of A Diva:

Gabbie Jackson by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Soleil | Here Comes The Sun

Soleil is the French word for "sun', so I found it apt to have the title of the well-known 1969 Beatles song as subtitle to her gallery. I met Soleil by chance on a sunny afternoon at Washington Square Park, and she agreed to pose for my cameras. I quickly realized by the ease in which Soleil posed that she had modeling experience, so following a few photographs of her with the fountain in the background, I asked if she was interested in a photo session -or two- on Crosby Street in SoHo....and she was.

Here are the results of the initial photo session:

For full sized-full width photographs:

Soleil by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Monday, 27 June 2022

PRIDE | West Village

The annual Pride Parade and its tangential activities were in full blown mode yesterday June 26 in New York City...and since I don't relish being stuck behind police barriers to watch the parade itself, I walked around Washington Square Park and the streets that radiate from it.

It was a massive turnout of humanity...the large majority of them proudly wearing colorful (some would call it outrageous) garb and costumes while making merry. Later in the evening, there were reports of stampedes from the Park following what was thought to be gun shots, but were illegal fireworks.

Gabbie Jackson Sings....