• /the-shot-blog/brian-bowen-smith-beauty-what-you-make-it

    Not even a broken leg could stop photographer Brain Bowen Smith from giving a rousing lecture at IRIS Nights last night.

    Brian did not intend to define beauty last night but instead explained that he believes that the topic is truly subjective.

    He described how the combination of luck, guts and fate landed him his first job with famed photographer Herb Ritts, who would later become his mentor. According to Brian, Ritts taught him how to adeptly manipulate natural light and use photography to translate a model's true self.

    But his most significant contribution was the idea of simplicity. "Beauty is simplicity and everything revolves around beauty," said Brian. "So I want to keep it simple."

    Brian revealed that Ritts's style has been a source of inspiration throughout his professional career. Here's a photo that has a hint of Ritts but is truly all Brian Bowen Smith.

    Brian reiterated his belief in simplicity. "Don't make a big deal about it," offered Brian. "Have fun. Keep it simple."

    His exuberant and animated personality had the audience engaged and laughing the entire night.

    As one audience member put it, "he was so personable and such a good speaker. I was amazed by him!"

    Thanks for a terrific lecture, Brian. Here's to a quick recovery!

    For more information about Brian, visit his website.

    (All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

  • /the-shot-blog/view-finder-brian-bowen-smith-lecture

    What did our IRIS Nights attendees think of Brian Bowen Smith? Here are some of their thoughts:

    "He was so personable and such a good speaker. I was amazed by him!"
    --Jesse Ruoff, regular IRIS Nights attendee, apparel designer

    "To see all these pictures in an exhibit is pretty amazing. It is just beautiful the way it is laid out. I will definitely come again."
    -- Ariana Trinneer, guest of lecturer Brian Bowen Smith

    "The Space is terrific the way it shows photography. You get enough to make it significant but you don't get too overwhelmed"
    --Marshall Feldman, first time visitor

    "I love this place. I can benefit a lot from it because it really contributes to me as a professional but also as a person. I think so highly of the Annenberg Space for Photography. There is no other museum like it!"
    -- Nini Valentina, regular Photo Space visitor, professional make-up artist

    "I think the space is state-of-the-art! [Wallis Annenberg] went all out. Her generosity of spirit is so profound. It's such an invitation to the public.... Bottom line is that I am really impressed."
    -- Dawn Moreno-Freedman, first time visitor

    (All lecture images by Unique for the Space)

    For more about Brian visit his website

  • /the-shot-blog/poetic-photography-lecture-paul-lange

    IRIS Nights lecturer Paul Lange - pictured here in front of his stunning picture of Venus Williams - gave an impressive presentation on the art and technique of photography last night.

    Some of the photos on the screen looked more like paintings or digitally constructed portraits then the straight film or digital photography which they truly are. But as Lange pointed out, that was his goal. He manipulated the photos during exposure in-camera by simply experimenting with chemical processing methods.

    "A photo is not just a model posing. I want my photographs to be like paintings," said Lange. "I want them to be long living."

    He even went into detail explaining how a photo could be double exposed, cross processed or dye transferred - terms that had all the non-photographers struggling to keep up.

    "It's fun just playing with the rules. They work more often then they don't work so the key is to just try it," said Lange in reference to his experimental work.

    Lange's diverse career led him to the world of fashion, photographing top models and celebrities from around the globe. He combined his fine art training with the fashion staples of good hair, makeup and perfect lighting to create his unique and polished style. Lange still creates all of his photographs in-camera and does not digitally alter them in post-production.

    Lange explained that digital filters don't have the poetry that film does. "There is a translucent quality that you get by chance with film..." said Lange passionately, "otherwise it is too uniform."

    Lange kept coming back to ideas of mystery, chance, passion and poetry relying on the imagery of a 'paint-like quality' to describe his photographic style.

    His unique photographs were not the sole reason this night was different from our other lectures; last night was also the first time the Annenberg Space for Photography held two lectures by a photographer in one evening.

    The night was so successful that we hope to do more double-header lectures in the future, giving our guests twice the opportunity to attend!

    Thank you Paul Lange for giving two lovely presentations!

    (All lecture photos by Unique for the Space)

  • /the-shot-blog/everything-beauty-lecture-fadil-berisha

    What a treat it was to have fashion photographer Fadil Berisha present during our IRIS Nights lecture series yesterday evening.

    Fadil has had a global influence throughout his career. He has not only worked with such figures as Tyra Banks, President Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and numerous Miss America contestants, but he also played an incredible role in campaigning against the Kosovo massacres.

    During his presentation, Fadil explained that his work stems from a genuine love for beauty.

    "Beauty is what I really love... I like to live happy and see pretty things all the time. With photographers it has to do with how they feel on the inside and that's what comes out on the photo," proclaimed Fadil during the lecture. "I love to feel happy."

    Fadil took a moment during his lecture to speak about his experience photographing the horrific war in Kosovo. Since the topic wasn't related to beauty itself he placed his visual slideshow on pause because he felt it was important to take some time to talk about his experiences with the conflict.

    About 10 years ago Albanian photographers contacted Fadil asking him to help promote their cause in the Kosovo war. He told the audience that the pictures they sent him changed his life. He then spent the next couple years raising money and campaigning for awareness. His work and the photos he took made an international impact and helped pressure the United States to get involved.

    Fadil told the audience about his first time working with the stunning Carmen Dell'Orefice, the legend who was his inspiration for a Rolex campaign. He said he fell in love when he realized how she stayed young at heart and continued to exude beauty throughout her whole life.

    Fadil also gave shout-outs to models Beverly Johnson and Nikki Haskell, who were both in attendance. He raved about how they each possessed that same confidence and beauty he found so alluring in Carmen.

    Johnson took the microphone during the Q & A session but she didn't have a question for Fadil. Instead, she took the time to praise the photography by calling him "brilliant" and telling the audience she could not wait to work with him again.

    Thanks for an outstanding lecture, Fadil! For more information about him, check out his official website. You can also watch his IRIS Nights lecture online.

    (All lecture images by Unique)

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