Friday 21 June 2024

THE AI CORNER | The Four Colors

It's blistering hot in NYC these days, so I've rejigged a MidJourney prompt to generate four "portraits" of women sweltering in the heat...wearing different colored shirts.

[Nostalgic photography, catalog pose full body front view, black haired Afro Asian woman wearing yellow shirt leaning back in chair over her head, tattoo on neck, sitting against dark plain wall, --ar 16:9]

Thursday 20 June 2024

Orchard Street | NYC


Scouting for new locations for upcoming urban fashion shoots on the Lower East Side, I walked on Orchard Street and discovered new spots, including murals and old style adverts painted on building facades.

Wikipedia tells us that "Orchard Street is often considered the center of the Lower East Side and is lined end to end almost entirely with low-rise tenement buildings with the iconic brick face and fire escapes. First part of Little Germany and later a Jewish enclave, the neighborhood has been home to immigrants from the mid-19th century to the present day. The street's past as the heart of the immigrant experience is captured at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum's centerpiece, the restored 97 Orchard Street tenement."

The photographs above are of the facade of 130 Orchard Street which is home to Perrotin Gallery and Beckenstein Fabrics. 

Perrotin is a famous international art gallery which opened in April of 2017 in that location with 25,000 sq. ft. space, and includes a bookshop featuring unique editions and books published by the gallery.

Beckenstein Fabrics's history is a long one; from a push cart, Samuel Beckenstein laid its groundwork in 1919, on the same Lower East Side’s historic Orchard Street location, and would ultimately develop into one of the world’s most renowned fabric enterprises, Beckenstein Men’s Fabric, Inc. Nearly a century and four generations later, Beckenstein’s grandsons, Neal Boyarsky, President and CEO of the firm and his son Jonathan, have expanded and transformed the once modest, one room store, into a well known fabric enterprise, servicing the entertainment industry, celebrities, athletes and government officials worldwide.

It's remarkable and commendable that both enterprises retained the old style lettering and aesthetic on their joint facade, ignoring the temptation to modernize it.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

The Beauty In Black & White


It is said that Nobuyoshi Araki (荒木 経惟) once exclaimed that photographers who don't photograph women aren't real photographers or at best, are third rate photographers. 

Knowing he's primarily famous for photography that blends eroticism and bondage in a fine art context, I take that statement with a grain of salt...but I certainly agree that photographing women does add many layers to the aesthetic sensitivities of photographers.

Monday 27 May 2024

Barcelona's Street Art

Most large cities have street art, but Barcelona is one of these cities that perhaps welcomes it with open arms (or perhaps allow it). It's incorrect to conflate street art with graffiti, as street art is usually painted with permission or commissioned. Graffiti is word-based and its ‘writers’ are mostly self-taught and under most laws, this art-form is considered vandalism, while others appreciate it as a form of art.

Barcelona has the vibrancy of the famous artists who lived within the boundaries of its old quarter such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Antonio Gaudi.

The history of the street art scene in Barcelona begins in the 1970’s with the end of the Franco dictatorship. During the 1980’s it was inspired by the booming street art scene in Paris. Up to around 2002 the laws were relatively lax allowing for street art to flourish in Barcelona.

As per Barcelona Navigator, here are some of the jargon words:

Throw up: A throw-up (throwie) is made up of easy-to-paint bubble style letters.

Tag: A graffiti writer’s tag is his or her unique signature, normally done in one color.

Bombing: To bomb is to paint many surfaces in a city area within a short time.

Installation: A work that is often 3D or sculptural that may combine several techniques.

Wildstyle: A graffiti style using complex lettering which intertwines within itself and often other shapes and lines making it hard to read for the untrained eye.

For larger sized photographs, click this:

Barcelona by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Sunday 26 May 2024

Barcelona's Barrio Gótico | Monochrome

The Gothic Quarter (in Catalan: Barri Gòtic and in Spanish: Barrio Gótico) is the historic centre of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to the Ronda de Sant Pere. It is a part of Ciutat Vella district.

The quarter encompasses the oldest parts of the city of Barcelona, and includes the remains of the city's Roman wall and several notable medieval landmarks. Much of the present-day quarter, however, dates to the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I took the opportunity of visiting Barcelona to satisfy my "hunger" for monochromatic street photography and architectural photography. It was brought to the surface by having watched the Netflix series "Ripley".

For larger photographs:

Gothic Quarter by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Wednesday 8 May 2024

POV | Netflix's Ripley | Monochrome Awakening

Inspector Pietro Ravini of the Rome Police (Netflix)

I've been watching "Ripley", the recent Netflix which is a masterpiece of monochromatic cinematography. The main characters are of course odious, but this doesn't change the fact that the principal "characters" in this series are the exterior and interior scenes which are exquisitely filmed using light, chiaroscuro and other impressive artistic devices and sleight of hand by the famous cinematographer Robert Elswit ...which would make Caravaggio jealous.

The only character I find sympathetic and I like is Detective Ravini.

The plot itself irritates me, as I want Ripley to get his comeuppance but that's not happening according to the novel. However, the cinematography is so superb that  I still continue to watch the series.

It has awakened in me the hunger to shoot in monochrome...which I've recently done while photographing the rallies/protests for Palestine. But photographing protests falls under the banner of photojournalism, and that's different. What I hunger for is people photography, street photography and architectural photography. That will happen soon.

Sunday 5 May 2024


Following a photo shoot with Mahogany on the grungy Bowery, I experimented with various LUTs, which include Neopan and Tri-X LUTs. I haven't decided whether to show her gallery in color or black & white...but this experiment reminded me of the quote by Dominic Rouse...Color is everything, black and white is more.” 

To be continued.

THE AI CORNER | The Four Colors

It's blistering hot in NYC these days, so I've rejigged a MidJourney prompt to generate four "portraits" of women swelteri...