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FOCALPOINT The Official MIPP Newsletter

December 2012

in this issue

featuring MIPP 2013 Courses, Tom Lee and much more.....

www.mipp-malta.com

Issue No. 25


So

farewell to Nov e m b e r, w h i c h N tturned out to be a ggreat month for me due to my recent trip d tto NYC.... however I am looking forward to December holidays so I can edit away my stash of the holiday photos! This past month has been a quiet month as far as events go for us at MIPP, however this does not mean we stopped working! Far from it! We are all preparing and working hard to come up with great events for you all in 2013! Check out the courses pages in this issue and am sure you will all manage to find a course just up your street. So now that December is here, have you all written down your list of goodies you want from Santa? Maybe that nifty fifty at a wider aperture? or the MKIII....or how about a great book about this subject!? I am such a nerd! My list has been done since summer! And just can’t seem to stop adding to it! Anyway peeps here’s wishing you all a great festive season and do not stop shooting just because the goodies at the table are more tempting. It’s just an illusion! Keep away from the sweets!

Newsletter Team Editor: Therese Debono Design: Therese Debono Articles: Various Contributers Editorial Advice: Kevin Casha Contact: newsletter@mippmalta.com


CONTENTS pg 3 pg 5 pg 7 pg 17 pg 23 pg 27 pg 31 pg 38 pg 39 pg 41 pg 42

DECEMBER 2012

president’s viewpoint sergio’s blog 2013 MIPP Courses featured foreign photographer special feature member’s article featured panel exhibition november events archives gallery

A note from the President To Limit or not to Limit Presenting the yearly courses Meet Tom Lee A Review of ‘The Likeness Project’ Critique... Anthony’s Buildings Private Art Collection November Events in pictures Images through the years The best images of the year

Armand Sciberras

cover artist

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rmand Sciberras is no new name amongst us members of MIPP. One of his images has already graced the front cover of our June 2012 Issue, but after winning a Gold Award with the following image in the Monthly Online competition, I think he deserved to be featured as a cover artist once again. Below Armand gives a brief description of this image. “Being a great lover for street photography, getting out on the street to try it myself was an obvious choice. It started with finding a suitable location and wait for strangers to get in “my” area. At first it was just shooting total strangers and that was all. Through research and practice I refined what I want to capture and I am currently shooting a couple of series. ‘The jogger’ is a photo which was extracted from a series whose goal is to portray what looks like a perfect structured life from the outside, but in reality is a rushed life and we complicate it further with the aim to make it more “perfect”.”


president’s viewpoint

How has Photography Impacted Art?

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t the turn of the century, Walter Benjamin in his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, spoke about the loss of the Aura of an artwork. It was the time that film and photography had made their appearance and made it “miraculously” possible to faithfully and easily reproduce Art works. Although Benjamin mainly attributes this “decline” to the appearance of film and photography, he also looks at this new medium with an optimistic vision for the future. Photography, (which appeared around 1835), and film not only made this significant and important change and breakthrough, but introduced a new creative Art medium. This perhaps enabled the art world to become aware that it needed to evolve away from slavish reproduction and realism to art which was freer and more liberated. With its introduction, Photography made it necessary for artists to imbue their work with elements that photography could not provide. I believe that the repercussions this had on the Art world, coupled with the social. Religious and industrial upheavals of the 20th Century are still being felt to this day.

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As we know, photography was subsequently followed by film, video, digital photography, internet etc; providing countless other tools to artists which hitherto had never been available before. Photography has in a way actually enabled us to “See” in a much more detailed and better manner. Although the issue is still debated to this day, I think that due to the realism of the camera, artists realized that they could experiment and search beyond realism. Impressionism was very much influenced by the advent of photography, as were cubism and modernism. I think that photography has been a most positive force, galvanizing the artist to map out new horizons, explore new mediums, to create new realities. The duplication capabilities of Photography has also made Art widely accessible to the masses. How would our society be without photography? It has totally impacted our society and lifestyle in a tremendous manner. With the relatively recent introduction


A curious question put forward by Kevin. Has photography’s effect been always beneficial or not? Read on to find out.... of Digital Photography and other technological advances, (such as internet and mobiles), at no other time in the history of mankind are so many billions of images being produced daily. Today the taking of photographs and the viewing and access to these is globally available to nearly everyone. Images are impacting our lives to such an extent that they are more and more “conditioning” our lifestyle and way of looking at the world. Photography has become integral not only as an art form or for documentary and recording purposes, but also as a powerful tool for propaganda and for social change. It is an integral part of medicine (e.g. X-rays) and science (e.g. forensic). It is a very powerful tool which has made us aware, sometimes in real time, of what is transpiring in the most remote parts of our globe. Yet, photography’s effects have not always been beneficial. Due to the many images that we are seeing it has, at times, made humankind insensitive and unmoved by tragedy. Is it not the truth that we are sometimes viewing war news, disasters and social issues like immigration and world famine, as if they are Hollywood movies and everyday entertainment? Has the photographic medium made us immune to the suffering of fellow humans? It is quite shocking that today we eat our dinner in front of our television screen whilst watching the atrocities in Syria, or environmental disasters or people massacred by suicide bombers! This is a case for further reflection and thought . . .

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sergio’s blog

To Limit or not to Limit

continued from previous newsletter......

The “Fine Art Photograph” Disclaimer: I firmly believe there is no such thing as a “fine art photograph”. There are photographers and there are artists. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, David Bailey re-iterated what I and many others have been stressing for quite a while – “Photography is not an art. There’s that old cliché that my old mate Duffy used to use: photography and painting aren’t art. It depends on whether the person doing it is an artist.” For a photographer, the photograph is the end – there is nothing more and nothing less to it. An artist produces a body of work over a lifetime. Whether this is done through photography or other media is irrelevant. The photograph is the means, and should be seen and appreciated as part of a whole, rather

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than as an individual piece. Some of these will be aesthetically pleasing, and others will not, but it is the figurative depth of the work which defines the art, and not the aesthetics. Of course, some pieces will be more popular than others, and will sell better individually. By “fine art photograph” I mean a photograph produced by an artist, not necessarily one which is of particular aesthetic pleasure, as many understand it. The concept of supply and demand is spot on for photography (and other art forms, of course). The value of a photograph is determined both by its demand as well as by its supply. Demand is something which photographers and galleries do not have control on, and therefore, in order to increase the value, one would need to decrease the supply. I do not agree with this approach on a number of levels, one of the main ones being that through this practice, the value of the photograph is not a reflection of the demand, but also a factor of its rarity. This obviously creates a disparity across the board and one can no longer really gauge the value of a work purely on its quality. The quality factor, in fact, is one of the many characteristics (together with concept, visualisation and focus on the end rather than the means, to mention a few) that distinguish an artist from a photographer. Quality is of course in no way limited to technical ability at the shooting stage, but also quality of the concept, the ability to translate that concept into clear visuals, and the ability to achieve a final product (i.e. the print) which reflects the vision of the artist. I believe that this alone should be the determinant factor of the value of an artwork, and not the fact that its availability is limited to a certain number of prints.

Poor but Happy One of the greatest pleasures for an artist is to see his/her work hanging on someone else’s wall. If it didn’t cost me so much time and money to create each print, I would be giving out my work for free (which I do quite often anyway, to those whom I know appreciate it). So in reality, the answer to this dilemma has already been placed before me a priori. Do I want my work to be something which only the elite can afford, thus limiting the distribution of my work, or do I want to allow

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anyone who appreciates my work to be able to have a piece hanging on their wall? To me the answer is simple. The goal and pleasure of any artist is to share his/her art with the world – “the world” being as many people as possible. I would rather get to the end of my life knowing my work is owned by many, rather than having gained more financial benefit with less distribution. There is always that sense of immortality associated with artistic creation – I am quite sure that together with the sheer need to create, this is one of the main factors which keeps artists dragging along in richness and in poverty. In the end, let’s face it – money is transient, while art is forever.

Limited by Life There are a few photographers that sell a lot. Let’s go back a few years – Ansel Adams was one of the greatest selling photographers ever. His “Moonlight over Hernandez” is probably the highest selling photograph ever (he didn’t limit his prints). That photograph sold “only” around 800 copies in his lifetime. I would say that 90% of photographs will rarely sell beyond double digit, and a good chunk will probably not even sell beyond single digit. There is no point defining a pre-determined limit on a work, because it will be limited anyway by the amount the photographer can produce in his/her lifetime. Artists who are focused on the quality of the work, will anyway not be able to produce large quantities of prints, because of the sheer time and dedication it takes to produce each print. It is true, today it is easier to create prints using digital tools, however it is not as straightforward as many might think. Anyone can produce an average print using an inkjet printer, however it takes time, dedication and experience to learn the subtleties of digital printing. I have been at it for more than 2 years now, and I know I haven’t even scratched the surface. Whether it comes down to profiling, colour management, and even choice of paper, there is always something new to learn – not to mention the breakneck speed by which technology is advancing, opening up always new possibilities of improvement. Which brings me to my next point. to be continued......

Featured image in this article by Sergio Muscat(FMIPP FSWPP) Follow Sergio here: www.sergiomuscat.com

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2013 MIPP Courses

The Malta Institute of Professional Photography (MIPP) Launches its Photography Course Schedule for 2013 One of the main objectives of the MIPP is to strive to improve the quality of photography at all levels, from amateur to professional. As part of this continuous effort, the MIPP is glad to announce an all new course curriculum for 2013. This curriculum will benefit every level of photographer, from the beginner to the seasoned expert, and offers the opportunity to learn from top local photographers, as well as network with fellow enthusiasts. Furthermore, photography should also be fun, and we want to make sure it remains that way. We recommend you to book early as the courses can only accept a limited number of participants. BOOKING INFO: There are three payment options: Go onto our website – www.mipp-malta.com – click on “JOIN US” Option 1: If you are a member, you can pay for the courses directly through the Bank of Valletta website: www.bov.com and log in to BOV internet banking with your Securekey. You can thus avail yourself of the special subsidized rates for MIPP members. Option 2: If you want to join the MIPP and attend the course, you can download the Membership Application Form, fill it in and send it together with your cheque for 40 euros and the relevant course fee for MIPP members. Please make the cheque payable to THE TREASURER, MIPP. Postal Address is MIPP PO Box 8, Birkirkara, BKR 1000. Acceptance of your membership is subject to MIPP approval. Option 3: If you are a non member (and you do not want to join the MIPP), you can pay for the courses directly through the Bank of Valletta website: www.bov. com and log in to BOV internet banking with your Securekey or you can send your relevant non member course fee by cheque. Please make the cheque payable to THE TREASURER, MIPP. Postal Address is MIPP PO Box 8, Birkirkara, BKR 1000.

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COURSE A – MIPP INTRO TO PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES (2013): 6th March – 10th April: Lecturer/Co-ordinator: Kevin Casha FMIPP FSWPP AMPS AMPA Booking Deadline: 15th February 2013 This Course is aimed at keen beginners who have yet to master their SLR’s and exposure technique. A review of participants’ work and progress is conducted at the end of the workshops. A participation certificate will only be given to those attendees who will be present for the full course. This course will be run in English. Venue – Corinthia San Gorg Hotel, St. Julians. Start Time : 7.00 pm. Price: MIPP members: 45 euros, Non members: 70 euros Payment for the full course is on booking. Wed 6th March – Intro/Objectives/Understanding your camera Wed 13th March - Aperture/Shutter/ISO Wed 20th March – Handling Daylight Wed 3rd April – Composition Wed 10th April – Assessment of students’ images and assignments *The MIPP reserves the right to cancel any course/s if the sufficient amount of participants is not attained. For bookings and enquiries kindly contact info@mipp-malta.com quoting course code and title when applying.

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Course B - MIPP PHOTOESSENTIALS WORKSHOPS (2013) These workshops are aimed at serious amateurs and are completely based on actual practice in the field. The course schedule consists of 6 different practical workshops conducted by 6 different specialized tutors. SLR Cameras are required during all sessions. Fees: Members 70 euros, Non members 95 euros. Payment for the full course is on booking. Only a maximum of 15 students can be accommodated so booking is on first come first served basis. Please state Course code and title when applying. Booking deadline by the 20th April, 2013 (The workshops will be conducted in May, June 2013. Exact dates and details to be announced) INSTRUCTORS & WORKSHOP TITLES: DOMINIC AQUILINA – SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY CHARLES CALLEJA – NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY SEAN AZZOPARDI – THE PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO CHARLES ZAMMIT – FLASH ON LOCATION ALAN CARVILLE – INTERIORS KEVIN CASHA – FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY SERGIO MUSCAT– STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

The MIPP reserves the right to cancel any course/s if the sufficient amount of participants is not attained. For bookings and enquiries kindly contact info@mipp-malta.com quoting course code and title when applying.

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Course No. C – MIPP FOUNDATION IN IMAGE EDITING (2013) Ramon Sammut QEP (lecturer) An in depth foundation course for all those who want to get an excellent grounding in practical and workable Digital Editing, from Malta’s top digital editing guru – Ramon Sammut. It is recommended that all participants bring their own laptop. Lectures start at 6.00pm and are of approximately 2 hour duration and will be held at ILAB, 20, Cannon Road, Qormi, (corner with Crosscraft showroom). Fees: Members 70 euros, Non members 95 euros Only a maximum of 25 students can be accommodated so booking is on first come first served basis. Bookings on info@mipp-malta.com strictly by March 30th. Course Schedule: Thursday April 18 Thursday April 25 Thursday May 9 Thursday May 16 Thursday May 23 Thursday May 30 Details: Course in Image Editing Adobe Bridge - Learn how to Rename Files, batch process, Label and create automatic workflows, Reduce size and create a copyright, Export to pdf and control rights on your imaging. Camera Raw - Improve your workflow in Camera Raw! Set your white balance, improve detail in the shadows and highlights, sharpen your prints and control your light. Tools and Brushes - Learn the fundamental tools, master your strokes and brush techniques, discover the art ofre constructing old Images. Layers and paths - Learn how to use layers, adjust your images intelligently, Work around objects and discover the magical world of paths and selections. Saving and Converting - Learn how to profile a picture, Save with quality and adjust resolution for print or view. Printing and Display - Create artistic prints, Expand your knowledge in paper types and know how to display your product for Exhibition or Sale. 16


featured foreign photographer

meet tom lee This year’s Fellowship Panel judged during the October Convention was of photographer Tom Lee who already had his F in Weddings.... read on to find out why he opted to sit for another F qualification and also see the diversity in his work.

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om is a UK based international portrait and fine art photographer recognised for his expertise in digital image capture and has accumulated over 30 international awards in recent years. Using the latest equipment to produce contemporary works of art, he provides heirlooms that sit equally on the walls of a private home or commercial enterprise. The standard of artistry and quality of printing means that clients receive images that are not compromised by anything less than a premium product. Tom has a global reputation having sat on several International judging panels, given numerous seminars in the UK and abroad and writes extensively for ‘the Societies’ magazine ‘Professional Imagemaker’. He was awarded Fellowship of the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) in 2002 and made Vice President in the same year. Continuing in the role of Senior Strategic Advisor, he received an award for his outstanding contribution to the photo-

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graphic industry in 2007 and also became a Craftsman of the Society in the same year. Tom has recently gained Fellowship of the MIPP (Maltese Institute of Professional Photography) in 2012. Tom is also a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals), GPA (Guild of Photographic Artists) and WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International). He is now a member of the Epson Digigraphie Authorised Artist programme. Tom has also authored several books including ‘Art in Focus’, ‘Digital Capture and Workflow for Professional Photographers’, and has collaborated on two books with renowned American photographer Norman Phillips, ‘Lighting and Posing Techniques for Photographing Women’ and ‘The Photographers Ultimate Cookbook’. In 2011 the project ‘Innocence Turned’ drew on his renowned Fantasy Portraiture style in which he created an exhibition of 20 fine art prints, a book and a video of this major work..


What made you pursue a Fellowship Panel? I already have an Fellowship and Craftsman qualification in Wedding and Portrait photography, so there was no need for me to push myself further as far as more qualifications go, however there is a benchmark of quality that all photographers in my position have to maintain. It’s one thing to qualify when you’re hungry for it but how do you ensure that quality is maintained throughout your career? One way is to apply for another qualification of the same standard.

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How long did it take you from concept to finalisation? The entire project took over 12 months from inception. The storyline took about three months alone and finding the right models took another month. Shooting took place in the studio using Chromakey techniques over several sessions with all the backgrounds, props, styalised clothes and other elements of the composition sourced from real life. The last month and a half was devoted to post production and printing. Sometimes you have to do something due to a creative urge rather than having to do it. I have always been fascinated with swords and sorcery from an early age and with the advent of computer generated graphics, works like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has become a reality. Much of my inspiration for these images comes from these fantasy tales, Norse legend and also the works of the Spanish artist Louis Royo. The beauty of fantasy portraiture is that it is not real and the end result doesn’t have to justified to anyone. What is portrayed is exactly what is intended in the eye of the artist. The work is a blend of Medieval Fantasy and Buddhist teachings, with a large slice of my own imagination. The essence of the project was laid out in a storyboard fashion in order to keep track of the sequence in which the images were shot, along with a script describing each image. Many of the background images were shot in Ireland, a country steeped in Celtic history. Describe a couple of the images and techniques used in the panel. The story tells the tale of Princess Illyana as she. evolves from a child of privilege, to an avenging warrior. Tortured by doubt and seduced by the sorceress Freya, she embarks on a journey of discovery, betrayal and redemption. The images were produced in a cool blue tone, evoking a time in ancient history, rather than colour which seemed to be too modern a medium. As all the images were taken in varying lighting conditions, this also aided the tonal harmony of the compositions. Every image has a back story explaining the raison d’être.....

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Two of my favourite images are : No11 Alone ‘Death is neither depressing nor exciting; it’s simply a fact of life. We all die; it’s just a matter of time. For some it’s sooner than others. A servant of Volos watches over her alone and Illyana considers her future.’ The image describes the dilemma that faces our heroine after an ordeal with the serpent god ‘Volos’. A particularly exciting time in the studio with live 10 foot pythons. Getting the shot involved about an hour with the model on her back, letting the snake crawl over her until just the right shot was achieved. The snake wrangler was in his element having to reposition the python every couple of minutes! We had two pythons and this was the best image that required several hours of post production to blend the background and snake. This image was featured on the cover of Professional Imagemaker in the original colour version.

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No18 The Kill ‘It’s painful to harm others, it’s not our true nature, but we must stay awake – the enemy of compassion is pity and Illyana must not turn from her destiny.’ This image shows the final victory of good over evil with the models being shot during two separate studio sessions and the background taken from an Irish landscape. This image shows the importance of keeping an eye on the overall picture whilst capturing images over an extended period of time.

How does it feel to get the F panel? Although holding an F with the SWPP entitled me to a reciprocal F with the MIPP, I decided to do it properly! Doing it as any other MIPP member would submit a panel makes it all the more satisfying to achieve. I feel I’ve really earned it rather than been given it. I was in America when I got the news of my success and I felt on top of the world. If I wasn’t so far away I’m sure I would still be on the phone. Have you any advice for those contemplating an F panel of their own? The first thing to remember is not to rush into it. Having sat on many international judging panels in my time, I see so many applicants fail because they want to fast track their career. Applicants who have an A qualification should wait at least a year before considering a Fellowship. This gives them time to consolidate their position in the photographic community and learn the new skills necessary to move on.

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I already had an F qualification and 30 years experience, but I still took a year to complete my project. Don’t scrimp on your printing and finishing costs, an excellent panel of images can be let down by poor finishing quality. I chose iLab in Malta to finish my work. This decision in itself was not taken lightly as I normally print all my own fine art work. I had to be sure that the lab was easily up to my own standards, no matter the cost.

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special feature

THE LIKENESS PROJECT Malicia’s fresh perspective about Kevin Casha’s recent exhibition at St James Cavalier....

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t’s been a while since I`ve seen a good photography exhibition in Malta, especially a local one. You know, something different than luzzu, bastions, door knobs and fishing villages. Not like we have no good photographers on the island. To be honest we seem to have many talented artists per square mile, but there is a sense of stagnation sometimes. Nothing to grab you by your clothes, shake you and scream: “hey you, look at me. I am different!” I like my exhibitions like I like my movies: thought provoking, daring and leaving me with a sensation of seeing something I have never seen before. Call me demanding or spoiled, I am constantly on the look–out for the wow-factor. And no, it doesn’t have to have a big budget. It just simply needs to grab my attention in one way or another. After two really disappointing exhibitions that I have seen at Notte Bianca, I finally had luck to stumble upon “The Likeness Project” – a recent display of works by Kevin Casha at St James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta. It was, as cliché saying goes, a breath of fresh air for my sense of aesthetics. I will be honest. Kevin and I go a long

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way back; we have known each other for years. I first met him during Aperture seminar in November 2006. Freshly out of a journalism course (which was very disappointing!) I wanted to network with the local photographic community. As I virtually knew nobody, I half dragged a friend along with me. She was bored out of her mind twenty minutes into the panel and spent the rest of the evening next to the finger food table.

“hey you, look at me. I am different!” I was hopelessly cruising among the crowd trying to find somebody to talk to. I finally stopped in front of a guy who looked like the soul of the party and asked him something terribly silly. Instead of dissing me, he spent the next two hours explaining to me how the local community worked and introduced me to half of the room. At the end he recommended I take my friend home while she still fits through the door. That’s Kevin for you – incredibly helpful and friendly, with a particular sense of humor.


Right: Panel No2 - One of the exhibited works Since then we have been through many photographic events, panels, conventions and courses together. I attended his workshops and consider him a good friend. That of course, doesn’t cloud my preferences. I have seen several exhibitions by Kevin over the years and not liked all of them. We have this sort of relationship that he will always offer an honest critique of my works and I will always tell what I really think of his exhibitions. So what’s the wow-factor in his recent body of work? Will it sound intriguing if I say that Kevin decided to ditch all the photoshops, all the air brushes and all the glamour and moved back to the origins of photography? He still did all the work digitally, but kept the post production side of things to a bare minimum, just like in the good old days.

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Kevin Casha is primarily a glamour/studio photographer. He works with people that look like a million euro and this is just for starters. He excels in colour, captures unique beauty of fashion. I have seen him at work in the studio on several occasions. His work is usually a striking combination of human beauty and vibrant palette. Imagine then my surprise when I entered the Lower Galleries at St James Cavalier and found myself surrounded by a series of black and white portraits. Left: General view of exhibition

Each panel was divided into 5 smaller images of the same person, shown from different sides. People with no make-up, with widely flowing hair, like they have ran into the studio a minute before and had no time to prepare themselves. Ordinary people, not models. Friends and perhaps even relatives. But that’s not all. On each panel, two upper images were shadows (silhouettes shot against the background) three lower images formed a classical profile (left-centerright) composition. Basic studio work, probably the first exercise every photography student does when they start their practice. To the mix, Kevin had thrown his own definition of what portraiture was and quotes from the greatest minds that ever stood behind the lens. Everything printed simply on white pages and hanged neatly on the walls. It was a very strange experience to stand there in front of those people on the photos. You began to wonder who they were and what their story was. I am not sure if that was intended but it reminded me of police mug shots practice. Before I knew it, my mind started to come up with stories of crime and passion and old detective

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Right: Entry in guest book

intrigues. The old times of femme fatales and Chandler characters. The black and white photography really helped to bring that nostalgic aspect in my eyes. It is timeless; it takes you back to the beginning of the medium, to the golden era of Magnum agency, where cameras were bulky and rare but they were opening a world of exciting adventures and possibilities. Not like today where people have a phone that is smarter than they are and the only excitement you are offered is to see what your friends had for lunch (via Instagram). I am of course exaggerating but you get my point. I am really grateful to Kevin for that experiment with old school photography. It gave me a much needed creative stimulation and renewed my faith in local photographic exhibitions. I am illustrating this entry with my shots from the night; I have kept to the documentary tradition and shot in monochrome with 50 mm lens and 400 ISO (if you are not familiar with photography, this will be the closest I could get to the old classic Leicas).

Words & Photos by: Malicia Dabrowicz Follow her blog here: cocamidema.wordpress.com

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member’s article

Critique... W

hen I first started photography I used to shoot with a mobile, then got my first SLR, the Canon 400D. Before I knew it I was sitting in one of Kevin Casha’s Fast Track courses, thinking that I was the best from the lot. I was so sure of myself that I cringe now just recalling the moment I told Kevin, that I wanted to be a great photographer not just a good one. I will never forget the glint in Kevin’s eye, when he remarked at my statement that I had to be prepared to work harder than hard. I thought I could do it. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. You see, I too was one of those trippy happy enthusiasts who thought that now that I had a good camera then automatically I was going to be a super duper great photographer. Nothing prepared me for the long hard way ahead of me especially where technique was involved. When I failed to deliver proper images for my course assignments, somehow I came to my senses, and started really listening. I shut my ego up, and humbly accepted to be trained properly. I recall getting out my physics books to better understand what focal length was. I surrendered and accepted the fact that

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Do not fall in love with your i critique, which is one of the m their work! I was just a student and that I need to develop my skills both technically and artistically, therefore I needed help and that there is nothing wrong in accepting help. Once the course is done, you somehow find your footing a bit, and that’s what happened to me. Once I finished Kevin’s course I could understand a bit better why I was shooting in some ways which were so different than my pre-course days. I could understand what aperture was and how to compensate with ISO when there was lack of light...well most of you know the drill, and if you don’t, then do not be scared to ask. There is nothing wrong in asking for help or for a clearer explanation. You are not going to be ridiculed. It will just show that you really want to learn which is the right way forward.

It’s brutal, lethal and downright nasty... Critique comes next in line, which is the hardest part of all. It’s brutal, lethal and downright nasty, but it all depends how you take it! For a sensitive soul like me,


images just yet! warns Therese in this article as she tackles most dreaded stages of photographers who want to impove critique was not a friend of mine. I shied away from it for a long time, I even hid my photos from being critiqued. I just could not take it. This happens when you get so emotionally involved in shooting. It’s ok to be involved in photography, it is ok to think that your photos are good, but if you really want to improve then you have to lump it, like I had to, and just take it all in. You can shed a few tears or explode in anger, a good mentor is not going to be impressed. He/She will critique your work for your own good. If you cannot take it, then rest assured that you won’t improve.

to critique. I fear it even more really, but only because I want to do better and improve my quality of work. One thing to keep in mind is that the mentor is not some kind of monster who enjoys scraping your work to generally make you feel bad. If there is one thing a mentor wants from you is to see that you understand the critique given and come back with another image which surely shows that you understood what you have been told for the previous image. It’s tough. You went to great lengths to shoot and edit a certain set of images only to be told that the horizon is not straight for eg, and inwardly you kick yourself for not realising that in the first place. Some common mistakes can be avoided by first looking at the image at face value, and then diving deeper and deeper when it comes to more intense editing like dodging and burning and curves and levels. If you are not great with Photoshop then do not try to do the impossible.

Now who do you ask? Do you bombard your course tutor with images? Do you select a few at random and show them to your mentor? There is no right or wrong way of doing it really. You just have to take the plunge. I like to associate critique with a swim on the coldest day of the year. Whether your image has been shred to pieces or not, you are still going to get that cold chill down your spine whilst hearing what the mentor or Mentors look out for the following first: judge has to say. I also can’t just tell you to be brave. Till Exposure this very day with an Associateship un- Composition der my belt I still cringe when it comes Wow Factor

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So if you got a well exposed and composed RAW Image, then rest assured that the critique won’t be too nasty. Sometimes a good image becomes a bad one simply due to the bad choice of post processing. So go easy on the contrast and also the filters which we so love (am guilty too!). Do not be scared like me to have your work critiqued. I have been through hell and back having one image after the other thrown out. At a point I really could not understand what was going on. Reason being that I was too involved in it to really listen to what my mentor had to say. All I was listening was myself saying how much I loved that image! Do not fall in love with your images just yet! I know it’s hard to resist temptation, when you shoot an image and on the screen looks perfect, you spend ages thinking about it whilst driving home, dying to download it and edit it....You get home, you open Photoshop, you finish your ‘masterpiece’ and then when you show it to your mentor, he not only is not as excited as you are about your image but tells you that the sharpest point in the image is the model’s nose not her eyes....that’s when I hit my head against a wall! I find that looking at other people’s work helps me to improve. Find other big photographers whom you admire, look and analyse their work, then go out and shoot. Do not copy, but be inspired. You can only get better when you have seen loads of images. Are you ready to submit your images for a competition? Are you ready to take up the mentoring programme which we have started recently? Really and truly what I am trying to say is this: are you ready to improve? Then critique is the way forward! Get yourself a mentor and work harder then hard!

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featured panel

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anthony’s buildings Just over a year ago Anthony Cilia got his Licentiate, and he had been shooting for less than a year. Two years on this guy got his Associateship in Architecture. Using a Nikon follow him in the next few pages as we go through a few of his images which were in his Associate Panel.

On this page: One of my first shots and still one of my favourites!

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Left: I shot this image at the Chinese garden in St Lucia. Had a similar one for my Licenciate panel, but was critisced as being a bit too soft, so I just went and shot it again.

Left: This is a photo of the inside dome of the Madonina delle Lacrime in Syracuse. Not really my favorite one of the dome. In my opinion I have better ones but did not fit into the panel. The place was a challenge to shoot, low light and no tripod.

Left: Not one of my favorites but it fits in the panel. Took me ages cleaning the photo as the flooring was full of specs!!!


On this page: This is the church of The Madonina delle Lacrime in Syracuse just outside the main entrance. I remember I was fascinated by this concrete structure!

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Left: Another favorite also shot in Rome, the MAXXI museum. I call it an achitectural abstraction.

Left: Maybe a lucky shoot. Those pigeons give life to an otherwise boring architectural photo. Shot in Rome with Sergio. I remember him saying “Ton, get that photo since you have a zoom!�


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exhibition

Private Art Exhibition A call for participation

T

he MIPP is participating in an interesting initiative which will involve an exhibition, workshops and other events, to be held between January and February next year. As part of this initiative, we are organizing a call to participate in the exhibition, which will be held at St James Cavalier. We will be choosing a number of works for this exhibition, and participation is open to all MIPP members. In order to participate, you will need to submit a series of five images which are to be exhibited together. The images should be clearly from a series, and tied together with a short artist statement. We have sent the call and instructions a few weeks ago, but in case you have not received them, feel free to contact us. This is a unique opportunity to participate in a high calibre event. As such, we expect the quality of submissions to be impeccable and of international exhibition standard. On the other hand, we are sure that there are many who are able to produce this standard, and welcome your participation.

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NOVEMBER EVENTS November had two interesting events! One was the photowalk in the old town of Siggiewi where members joined Sergio Muscat who was the tutor during this walk with the theme on street photography. The other event was another success, and was called ‘Artists’ Night’, where our members were invited to submit a few of there images to be critiqued by non photographers. This event was well greeted by our members and will be included into our calendar once again!

Members in Siggiewi during the November Photowalk

Members during the ‘Artists’ Critique Night at Corinthia

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Artists Dr Vince Briffa & Rupert Cefai

Artists Dr Vince Briffa, Rupert Cefai & Pawlu Mifsud

Kevin Casha addressing the members

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from the archives

ARCHIVES

Featured here are some images highlighting past events and activities helping us to commemorate our eventful history. L LEFT: Kevin Casha and Mike Gatt on the MIPP stand K d during the Digital Arts Expo in 2009

L LEFT: Kevin Casha and Circolo Fotoamatori President Renzo K Mazzola sign the twinning agreements in 2009 M

BELOW LEFT: B Damian McGillicuddy demonstrating on location flash D in 2009 BELOW RIGHT: B Astrid Pardew exploring a viewpoint during the Rinella A event in 2009

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images

MEMBERS’ GALLERY

Featured below are some of the best images from the 2012 Monthly Online Competiton. Thanks to everyone for the great images submitted this year!

Clockwise: Alan Falzon, Armand Sciberras, Christopher Sammut & Anthony Cilia. All Images won the Gold Award in the 2012 Monthly Online Competition

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2012 December MIPP newsletter