Ludo Segers Photography: Blog en-us (C) Ludo Segers Photography Photos cannot be modified, altered or changed without written authorization. (Ludo Segers Photography) Thu, 11 Jun 2020 10:05:00 GMT Thu, 11 Jun 2020 10:05:00 GMT Ludo Segers Photography: Blog 120 120 Vilnius Exhibition From 10 May to 24 May 2019, the Lithuanian version of the photo exhibition "A Time, A Place, A Reason?" was presented in the gallery of the Lithuanian Artist Union on Vokieciu in Vilnius.

A well-attended opening with speeches by Irish Ambassador David Noonan and Curator Ian Damerell took place on 14 June. 
Several photos had been sold during a pre-opening event on 10 May.
The public was curious, genuinely interested, and very appreciative, a contrast to the exhibition in Antwerp, just a few months earlier,
Several visitors ordered photos on display and several more made special orders.
Some ordered photos from the mini-catalogue that had been printed for the Brussels exhibition, a year earlier.
There was an inquiry by the local concert hall to possibly exhibit in the future, as well as acquiring rights to some of the photos for their seasonal brochure.

The local press wrote about the exhibition.  That can be read here.



]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) Curator Ian Damerell David Noonan documentary Nikon photographer photography photojournalism Sat, 22 Jun 2019 21:01:42 GMT
Reflections on Photokina 2018 Photokina in 2018 was different from 2016 mainly in following the nearly predictable direction that photography and the equipment is going. Nowadays smart devices do most photography.  In contrast, most digital photo equipment appears to lack 'smart solutions'.  Real connectivity is still far away on most cameras, except those embedded in phones and tablets.  Add to that the recent changes in file size, the need for high performance memory cards on the high end (professional) products (Nikon's D850 and D5 come to mind) and one can build a case for a growing connectivity gap.

Incremental improvements in digital photograph are becoming smaller, focusing on practicality.  Real image quality is pretty high and most photography customers can barely notice the difference.  Although photographers may notice the minimal difference, mainly in processors and auto-focus but is it worth to upgrade?  The case can be made to a professional photographer, as I noticed that the post-processing adjustments are becoming minimal.  High-end professional cameras produce photos with general good contrast and require minimal editing work. Amazingly none of the camera producers seem to point that out.

What is the future for a fair operating in this environment?  These places are often meeting grounds, but one must wonder if they can keep on attracting those that are interested in technological progress.  Do these still need Photokina?.  The interconnected world has moved on.

Noticeable was a very large stands by Fujifilm who promotes heavily on the instant (and connectivity), in addition of course to Canon and Nikon who can hardly afford not being there.  For now at least. At the end of the fair there was a surprise announcement about a photokina edition 2019.  That was quickly postponed. There is progress, but not this fast.  Certainly not judging by what was on offer at the last edition.


]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) auto-focus cameras Canon connectivity D5 D850 digital equipment Fujifilm high-end Nikon photographer photography Photokina post-processing professional Tue, 15 Jan 2019 12:47:26 GMT
Brussels Exhibition - Article The Lithuania Tribune One of the great pleasures of an exhibition is that it allows interacting with the viewing public. Few other circumstances allow getting direct feedback; most contacts on social media have already provided some.  A print on a wall provides a very different dimension and feel.  I am always impressed that people often have a clear idea where they are going to display a particular photo (or probable artwork in general), but even more so when they have a place and scene in mind.

I was grateful to hear a variety of opinions from viewers and buyers.  A keen observer called the exhibition 'charming', providing a bit of a dream world.  I never thought to be in the escapism business, but maybe I have to review that.  The same observer also gave good feedback on using sizes that are more varied in future exhibitions.  Referring as to how IKEA influences home decoration ideas a lot, the man suggested either very large, or smallish.  I have suspected for a while that I am in the wall decoration business.

Perhaps some of the photos with characters deserve a more intimate look, perhaps some different treatment altogether.  Other more detailed landscapes may need indeed require more and larger displays.

Preferences can change as one observer gave me over a period of about five years three different photos what she thought as being probably the best photograph I ever made.  It is nice to see taste vary over time.

More interesting was a visitor trying to convince me that one of my photographs was, in reality, a painting.  Painterly would have been nice, but painting is not something that I am good at.  Somehow I felt that I lost the argument.  In reality, I am extremely grateful that a few clever people found a new way to register images about 170 years ago.  It allowed translating some of my views of the world into photographs.

The exhibition in Brussels can be seen here.

At the time of the Brussels Exhibition in Gallery 74, the Lithuania Tribune published an article. In an exchange with Justinas Suliokas, I expressed a few general statements about the photography on display.  Justinas knew already a fair bit.  He had co-authored a little book that served a bit like a catalogue for the exhibition. Only with a few more photos.  This is the link to the article.

]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) brussels exhibition exhibition gallery 74 justinas suliokas photo photography social media the lithuania tribune viewing public Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:57:00 GMT
Photography Shaping Opinion and View Contributing as a Mentor to an online course offered by the New York Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) brought some insights and reflection on the use of the camera in shaping the viewer's perception and insights, even questioning the authenticity and challenging the truth.

A soon as photo film became available to document events, photojournalists were able to document political events, wars and other everyday situations using either single or multiple images.   That allowed for public opinion to be influenced and shaped.  The digital era put a camera in nearly everybody's hands, but being able to shape views is generally a more challenging task.  The use (and misuse) of photographs has a long history, but it was only with President Kennedy in the USA that a first presidential photographer was tasked with documenting the Presidency.   Politicians around the world took notice.  Except for the leader of the government, few are able to identify other ministers or politicians.  Images are powerful tools to convey their messages and shaping their public image.

The power of images, single or in combination is a powerful tool.  Recently I came across numerous exchanges about the way photography can shape or damage the image of a public figure.  The legacy of Pete Souza, President Barack Obama's White House photographer was compared to the photographer tasked with visually presenting and documenting the Trump presidency.  Pete Souza knew how to tell stories with single photographs, combinations to shape public opinion of a historic, first black president.  A skill that Souza also had applied 25 years earlier to President Ronald Reagan. Good chemistry between the public figure and photographer, nearly unlimited access, and outstanding photographic skills allowed for unparalleled visual documentation in the digital era!

Shaping public opinion with unaltered press photos requires both good photography and photo editing skills.  That a picture is worth a 1000 words can be a tiresome, sometimes overused, expression.  It is sometimes attributed to Napoleon, who in the absence of cameras used the word 'sketch'.  Yet, professional photojournalists are becoming an endangered species. In the age of social media, most reader venture barely beyond photographs and headlines, in the process shaping public opinion.

'Faking It', a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, demonstrated that right from the beginning of photography pictures were being manipulated.  Being 'airbrushed out of history' took shape during Lenin's power in Russia and elevated to an art form during Stalin. 

Yet, the effective use of, sometimes symbolic props, various angles, lens settings, the dynamics of various focal lengths, combined with the use of light and colour in the composition will and can shape images and views.


]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) documentary manipulating public opinion moma narrative photo photo camera photographer photography photojournalism seeing through photographs' shaping public opinion Mon, 19 Feb 2018 22:09:22 GMT
Photokina After many years, I visited Photokina in Cologne.  Billed as the ''centre of the imaging'', the fair took place from 20 to 25 September 2016.   This year's theme was "Imaging Unlimited".  No company or professional in the imaging world can afford to ignore this biannual and largest fair in the world.

Almost everybody has nowadays a camera in their pocket and some of the mobile phones have pretty amazing cameras, provided the light is not too challenging.  As connectivity increases and storage becomes less of an issue, cars, security (professionals), actually anybody can record and store imagery on an ongoing basis.  In most Western and developed countries, a vast majority of the population now uses their smartphone to capture their world and often themselves.   Many of these pictures may not be worth the proverbial 1000 words, but nobody can deny that they are a major tool of communication.

That most of the more sophisticated cameras are still disconnected from a connected world is a bit of a mystery in the fast-evolving  world of networks, devices and machines.  What is described as the Internet of Things (IoT).  photokina will provide insights in that evolution and connectivity.  Increasing all of these devices rely on apps that provide settings.  Most of the more professional cameras have a pre-set build in, but updating and upgrading the way smartphones and their apps do, seems still some steps away.  Part of that is photography is still about decision making to craft the outcome as opposed to recording or taking pictures.


(with a update 26 September 2016)


]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) Cologne Deutschland documentary Germany imagery Köln narrative photo photo camera photo cameras photographer photography photojournalism photokina writing Mon, 29 Aug 2016 09:03:37 GMT
Seeing Through Photographs Course at MoMA Seeing Through Photographs, a course offered by New York City's MoMA, was a learning experience that included various art forms using either a camera or existing photos.  It went well beyond technical elements of photography and was also an excellent source for some valuable ideas.

The course consisted of six modules.  Judging by the peer review at the conclusion of the course, the portrait, documentary, and narratives modules were the most popular.  The choices that photographers and artists make on a daily basis were addressed extensively, clearly defining the difference between taking pictures and making photographs.    

Approaches by some contemporary artist, challenging photography's objectivity in re-contextualize images was most fascinating.   Thought provoking was the work of Walis Raad, using photos of engines, following car bombs in civil war Lebanon and the Unbranded series of Hank Willis Thomas.  These artists challenge how viewers often have a particular perception looking at photographs or scenes, particularly when confronted with less familiar scenes.  

Yet another learning point was the use of installations and the chronicling events.  Size and placement of photographs, conscience use of colour or black and white influencing the viewer.  Choices made by photographers, photo editors or museum curators in selecting, sequencing, cropping, and formatting photos can play an important role in constructing narratives and challenging generally accepted history and stories.  

Working as a photojournalist with related photography of events and portraits, the module about constructing narratives was of great interest.  This module also addressed concepts of challenging history and stereotyping.  It resonated most and provided new insights into the way I understand photography.  

That module also drew on elements seen in the portrait module and the one 'interpreting images'.  Choices made using single photos or the need for a series are daily tasks in an editing room. 

The module also augmented my fascination with film stills photography and the use of photography as a prime source material in the study of history.  In the former, we learned from Cindy Sherman's work challenging various stereotypes.  Her use of 'film stills' went beyond that particular branch of photography and the documentary genre.   Sherman tricked the viewer by using a particular format, scale, and elements of pathos to challenge stereotyping.  


Final work

 'Two Friends' by Stan Douglas made in 1975 (MoMA collection) was the subject of my final exam.   Unfamiliar with the photographer or the photo, it brought favourite elements of the course together.   The photo provokes and questions the viewer about social and political situations, yet leaving room for various interpretations.

In the same vein as Sherman's work, clearly staged with actors, the photo succeeds in 'documenting' an event that is familiar to most viewers  The main characters' clothing colour, as well as that of the presence of 'extras', created a tension and additional interest.  

Douglas also made choices about to various use of space between the characters and the camera, similar to that a movie director staging a scene.   Stan Douglas, through this photograph, set out to address a cause and used the scene to emphasize, possibly even exaggerate it, borderline a caricature, to provoke the viewer.  

The expression of the couple in the photo reminded of the work of the American painter Edward Hopper.  Hopper often depicted people sitting in a form of reflection and solitude. 

As ever so often, what looks like a simple photo at first, possibly a 'snapshot' at a dance, was more than a mere recording of a situation.   In that, the photo is similar to recordings in centuries past, by painters and graphic artists. 

]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) Douglas MoMA Stan assignment camera course documentary narrative photography still photography view Wed, 30 Mar 2016 09:27:01 GMT
Nikon USA Service 0, Travellers 1 After dropping my Nikon D600 camera about 1 ft/30 cm a few weeks ago on a soft carpet I shipped it immediately to Nikon USA's Service Department.   The only visible damage was a slightly shifted mirror mechanism. 
After 1 week I was asked to approve a repair in the amount of $300.  I found that high, but who am I to judge the amount (of damage)?
Again 1 week later the camera arrived, without any prior notice, not very well packed, with a letter stating that it was beyond economical repair.

I contacted immediately my insurance, Travellers, that same Friday evening.  They promised that an adjuster would contact me within 48 business hours. Monday morning I was contacted to inquire and request the Nikon note. That same afternoon I was assured that the full amount would be reimbursed (list price - minus 1 year depreciation = my actual cost).  Four days letter the cheque arrived in the mail.  Now that is what I call service!

I also contacted Nikon that same Monday.  They would look into it.  I have not heard back from them at all!  However, an investigation into my service account showed me that they had sneaked pictures into the repository (I also have my equipment listed for guarantee purpose...).  They wrote that the cheap plastic 'Made in China' (my description)  body had cracked in one location.  The picture reveal a minor crack.

My take on it: Nikon junked my camera in order to sweep an, on-going, and well documented reoccurring sensor problem with the D600, under the carpet.  The camera had already been twice for service at Nikon. The last time the entire shutter mechanism had been replaced.  Just an hour prior to the slight drop, I had taken a picture for Nikon to demonstrate that the problem had re-appeared, just after 1 month use.

The D600 had such serious design flaws that within a year Nikon had ‘created’ the D610, an identical camera to the flawed D600, except with 1 minor feature and a redesigned shutter mechanism.

The drop of the camera was my responsibility.  Extremely poor service and follow-up is Nikon USA’s.  Excellent and fast service at Travellers!  
I strongly suggest insuring and adding (expensive) cameras to your personal insurance. One small drop can be very expensive.

On a positive note (linked to Nikon with extensive lens material), I now have a D800.  A much better camera with an alloy body that better not drop soon!

]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) D600 Nikon beyond economic repair camera damage poor Nikon USA service Tue, 11 Feb 2014 04:13:35 GMT
Website is now live. Sometimes I may write something here.  Only when I have something to say that the pictures do not.

On 14 April 2013 the domain name has gone live.


]]> (Ludo Segers Photography) April 14 2013 Live Mon, 15 Apr 2013 02:07:30 GMT