Ari Salmela’s gorgeously-detailed photographs show us a distinct view of the wild beauty of the Finnish landscape. He tells me about how nature became an inextricable influence:
“Here in Finland, nature is close to the people, and my home town Tampere in Western Finland is a great example of this. The city is located between two large lakes, which are connected by a channel of rapids flowing through the city centre.
The four seasons and the light that varies with them keep inspiring me year after year.”
Gentle Summer Waves by Ari Salmela
Time, place and planning
Ari tells me that “Photography is about capturing the light, so the quality and direction of the light is an important starting point. I shoot nearly all of my photographs in natural light, so the challenge is to be in the right place at the right time.”
But at the same time, planning and previsualisation are the essentials that separate the professional art photograph from the amateur snapshot. Indeed, Ari advises new photographers to take inspiration from Ansel Adams, who said ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”.
Ari goes on to tell me that ‘Adams used the term ‘previsualization’. With this he meant “seeing” the ready picture even before hitting the shutter, instead of just aiming the camera towards something, shooting the photo and then taking it to a computer screen to see if you can make something of it. In my opinion, beginners can also practice this previsualization; it may ease the processing of the photo afterwards if the photographer has planned what the picture should look like even before it has been shot.’
Ari’s top 3 portfolio picks:
1. Different Season
I used to shoot a lot of slides with both Hasselblad 500c/M and SWC cameras, so I grew to like square shaped photographs. This minimalistic black and white winter picture is one of my own favorites. The stillness and the cool calm of a Finnish winter day are excellently visible in the picture. The weather was cloudy on the day of shooting the picture and the light was soft, so there were no problems with shadows.
2. The Feeling of Waiting
A lone person in an urban environment waiting for something, perhaps a friend or a bus. The building on the background is the bus station of Tampere, it represents functionalistic architectural style. This young woman stopped briefly to take a look at her mobile phone, compositionally in the exactly right spot. I quickly whipped my camera out of my bag and got to shoot a single photo before she started walking again. The picture was edited with the Lightroom4 software and the vintage-style finish was made with the Snapseed software.
3. Rainy Evening in Old Town
In Bremen, Germany, there is an old town area called Schnoor. I strolled around the area many times with my wife, searching for good photographing locations. The area is popular and busy with both local residents and tourists. On one rainy day, as the evening was growing darker, this idyllic street emptied for a moment and allowed me to shoot this photo. I particularly enjoy the glint of the wet pebble stones and the combination of the cool natural light and the warm glow pouring through the windows.
I prefer black and white pictures, but this view works nicely in color. The different temperatures of the light create a certain mood, there are plenty of details and I feel the colors are not disturbingly strong.
This is an important picture for me and my wife, because we took our honeymoon in Bremen.
See more of Ari’s evocative landscapes at his ArtnShop page.
This is the first in a series of How to Draw articles, focusing on traditional drawing techniques that digital artists can use to great effect in their work.
For any digital artist, a strong knowledge of human anatomy is vital. I’ve noticed that many 3D animators have really strong anatomy drawing skills, no doubt built up through years of daily practise. I’m going to be looking at the feet today as so many beginning artists struggle with, and express frustration at drawing this part of the body.
One of the reasons that feet are difficult to draw is that we have such a strong symbolic idea in our minds of what they ‘should’ look like. The same is true of hands and faces. In many of our minds, this is a symbol for a foot:
The problem is that, depending on what angle you’re looking at them from, feet can take on all kinds of shapes, like these:
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/494563112/
Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickeysucks/29719905/
Therefore, when drawing from life, any techniques that can get us out of ‘symbol’ mode and into ‘observation’ mode will help with our drawings of feet. Observing the negative space around the feet is a good way to do this. So is using a perspex viewing grid to flatten the shapes you see in front of you.
Top tip: for most people, the length of their hand is about 3/4 of the length of their foot.
But how about when we’re drawing characters from imagination, for digital art pieces? Here’s where anatomical references come in super-handy. I find that simplifying the foot into the following block/wedge shapes is helpful. The key is to practise drawing the foot in these shapes in various positions. With practise, you’ll be able to refine your drawings and portray realistic feet in any position and from any angle.
- From the front, feet take on a diamond shape
- Separate feet into simple shapes
- Drawing the shadows between toes can help
- Toes have 3 distinct planes
- From the inside, feet have an arch, and from the outside they don’t
Of course, drawing from life is key too, so don’t neglect that side of your practice.
Check back next week for the second How to Draw article – how to draw hands!
Check out some of the awesome figurative digital skills of ArtNShop’s RitaIsabel.
Photographer James Woodley is an Englishman in…Miami.
James Woodley is Photogenpix – a self taught British photographer who moved to Miami in 2009. Miami, he tells me, is different to the UK in just about every way; the bright sunlight is great for his photography, and being close to the beach and being able to work with such a stunning natural backdrop makes a photographer’s life very easy.
On the flip side, though: “Try moving several large cases with 100+lbs of equipment around in Miami, in July when it’s close to 100 degrees outside. It’s hard to stay in good spirits after that. Number one piece of advice… Take more water than you think you could possibly drink. You will need it!”
Morning Flight by Photogenpix
We would like to welcome you all to the ArtNShop.com blog.
We will be posting great stuff about art, interviewing artists, showcasing new pieces, and much more.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, ArtNShop is a website where artists and photographers can sell their work, and this blog is all about creating exposure and bringing you their latest work.
We’ll also be giving you the latest news and announcements from ArtNShop.
So what better way to start this blog than to offer you a great interview from one of our artists?
El Moro is an Italian digital illustrator who makes work inspired by comics, cartoons, his personal life and the political situation in Italy. Much of his work manages to be both dark and cute at once, and I love the way that he describes one of his set of inspirations as “bad sentimental relationships” – something most of us can probably identify with at some point in our lives.
El Moro’s work also has a strong political, and especially feminist focus. He approaches these issues with humour, using illustration as a direct visual language. In series such as PornoGraphic&AcidIrony, his work is scathingly satirical and boldly challenging.