Vienna streets revisited

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When I am not obssessing over my next staged photograph, I usually walk around the streets of Vienna. I always make it a point to bring a camera with me, because one should always be prepared in taking a photograph or two. :) This time, I had with me my Leica M8. I got it secondhand, the other day and I was eager to give it a field run. It is a different kind of tool. Unlike my old speed demon 1D mkIII (which I sadly had to let go), the M8 forces me to slow down. I own a M4, and although they are both Leicas, they are worlds apart, and handle quite different from each other. The M8, is noisy, clunky, and somewhat of a diva. My M4 on the other hand is an amazing photographic tool which quickly becomes an extension of me whenever I use it. However, taking all these into consideration. There is one thing which these two cameras have in common. and that is their ability to create stunning images. Here are a few “test shots” for your enjoyment. 

 

Camera used:

Leica M8 + Color-Heliar 75mm f/2.5

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

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The Lolita fashion subculture originated in Japan, it is a fashion movement inspired by western Victorian-era. Recently, It has also increased in popularity  within western countries such as Austria.

It’s more than just a dress, It’s a lifestyle. That is something any fashion blogger could tell you. It is nothing new, we all define and distinguish ourselves by the outfits we fill our washing machines. But at the end of the day, inspite of it all, we are distinguished not by what we have, but what we do not have. We desire to be part of a culture or society different from what we grew up with. We look for our “people” in places and practices away from where we are at the moment. East meeting West, West meeting East. Classical yet Modern. Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Statisen: Sylvia, Lea, Alex, Oliver, Ralf

Location: Star American Diner, Vienna, Austria

Color, 40×50, Lambda Print, Matt

 

Your Camera Doesn’t Matter!!

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Recently, a photo of mine won a contest. Of course, I would first like to thank everyone who voted and supported me. Anyway, What I found interesting is, the photo which won (or rather, the photo with the most votes) was not taken with my exotic Leica, or my 1D mkIII… it was actually one of the very first photos I took with my first ever DSLR, the humble Nikon D40x with a normal kit zoom. This turn of events just affirms that it doesn’t matter which camera you use. It’s your perspective, and skill in composition and exposure that matters most…not your camera! Here is a link of my winning photo. Again, I would like to thank everyone who supported and voted for me. :) Mabuhay!

-R.M.Detoyato

http://www.soschoenistwien.at/galerie/16214

Garden Life

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Gardern Party

Gardern Party

This did not make it in time for the Filipino Independence Day (June 12), but I think it is still appropriate, and timely. The figures, tone may be different, but the forms are similar. The message equally undilluted. This Photograph may not do the original from Juan Luna justice, but I assure you my intentions are very similar to that of the venerable Juan Luna.

There has been a recent trend where younger filipinos whom grew up abroad are coming back to the Philippines, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and talent acquired during their travels, and lives abroad. It is pleasing to know that a new sense of nationalism has arisen within the hearts of the younger generation. I myself, am still part of the old world, and I can’t help to sense a bit of pride for my countrymen. I would love to settle back in my Motherland, when given the chance. But that would still take a while. In a way, I feel that Juan Luna and I have that in common. As I peered into my camera and saw the image take form, It was as if I was chanelling Juan Luna’s hope, aspirations, and dreams for our Motherland. Mabuhay!!

R.M.Detoyato

“Wir Werden Sehen” : My first group exhibit

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This is actually my very first exhibit… :) aside from a few stressful and annoying incidents, it actually turned out alright. I have learned alot from the experience which I would definitely carry on my next exhibit. There are things I would definitely never do again, but then there are also some elements which I would like to work on perfecting in future endeavors. I guess for me, the saddest thing is when people see my work, and totally miss the punchline. My photos are always humourous. There is always something comical (pun intended) within the image, and it’s just sad to see that there are people who are so serious, they totally miss the point of my photographs. I guess I just have to keep making them until they see it. :)

As for technical details, the prints are around 100x100cm, I did most of the printing myself, using the enlarger in our co-op. The experience was both exhilirating and frustrating. Unlike smaller prints, you really have to pay attention to detail. Mounting it was an ordeal all in itself! due to various reasons, I was forced to mount them myself using self-adhesive boards. My Mentors weren’t happy though, but they eventually conceded that I still deserved to hang my work. After looking at the photos hanging on that white gallery wall, I have come to several conclusions. First, Printing big is a totally unique experience. Second, I’ll never mount my prints by myself again!, and Third, After experiencing printing big, I could never look at my art in a smaller form again…

For those of you who are still interested in seeing my photos up close, the gallery is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 17.00 until 20.00 and Saturdays from 11.00 until 16.00… :) The Exhibit lasts until the 6th of July. I may not be there, but it would be great if you could drop by.

fotK(2) Galerie, Reindorfgasse 38, 1150

Vienna, Austria

-R.M.Detoyato

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Entered a contest…now what?

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Here is a link where you can vote for a photograph I took. For some reason, I want people to see this photo… so voting on it would help people see it more.. at least that’s what I think. :) well, thanks for voting!!! It is much appreciated.

R.M.Detoyato

Here’s the Link!!!:

http://www.soschoenistwien.at/galerie/16206

Super! : A deconstruction of sorts.

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I’ve always been a fan of comicbooks ever since I was a child. I am currently working on a series which tries to deconstruct the norm. Or in other words, I am trying to challenge the superhero archetype. By blending various elements (whether related to the character or not) I have attempted to create images which allow people to explore, poke fun, and see superheroes under a different light.

Drawing inspiration from Richard Avedon’s style of portraiture, and David LaChapelle’s quirky and ironic sense of humour, I have worked on this series by keeping the set simple, but the costumes, and props elaborate and flashy. I also attempted to refrain from any “cosplay” type of staging and rather let the image be a bold direct statement of itself.

-R.M.Detoyato

Models: Sophie K., Charly E., Marie Z.

Make-Up: Heidi Detoyato

Camera: Lomography Belair X612 Jetsetter + 90mm

Film: Kodak Portra 160 and 400

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Holy Trinity!: From Gods to Superheroes

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The idea is not new. Superheroes are the modern-day myths and legends. From the gods of Olympus, to the lone survivor of Krypton, Man was always fascinated with stories which portray extraordinary feats. It is no secret that most comicbook stories drew inspiration from mythological elements during the early stages of their conception. For example, Superman was loosely based on the story of Moses! Anyway, I have decided to put this theory to a test. Or rather, I have attempted to portray this in a way I only knew how…through photographs. This work is inspired by polish photographer Filip Berendt’s work. With my own spin on it, of course. I tried to be as direct as possible in order to stress on the irony of what the photograph was intended to represent. I do not intend to re-invent the proverbial “wheel”. I just want to send a message across by utilizing everything I have in my disposal (as limited as my resources may be). I would probably expand this into a set of photographs, but for the meantime…this would have to do.

Holy Trinity!: From Gods to Superheroes

A Decade of Learning

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It has been ten years and a month since my very first photoshoot. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was for a class play titled “Dingas sa Langit”. The play was about a novelist who is secretly gay contemplating about the fates of two brothers who worked as callboys in Manila’s redlight district during the 60’s or 70’s. It was an interesting piece, and I was asked by my class to handle the photographs which would be used as promotional material. I have been photographing since I was 12, however, I did not have the slightest clue on how to set-up a studio for a photoshoot at the time. I admit that, at the time, I had no idea what I was doing! I was honest to goodness nervous, and clueless on how I should ask my colleagues/models how to pose, etc. I sure as hell did not know how to set up the lights. All I knew was how to focus and press the shutter button. Needless to say, the photoshoot took alot longer than I expected. It was tedious work. We were all students, after all. None of us had any professional background yet. We were still on our way to becoming the individuals we desired to be. As for me, that photoshoot was a milestone. It marked the path on where I should go, and who I should become. It was also a start of a roughly 10 year journey into knowing the intimate details of fine art photography. I know the journey could have been shorter, however, learning is really all about the path rather than the destination in the first place.

I have come a long way since that day inside a small apartment room with the windows taped shut and covered with black cloth, with nothing more than a red spotlight and ten rolls of expired Kodak Gold 100 (which, I found out afterwards was really sensitive to red!). It has been an experience I would never forget. It is, after all, the beginning of a journey…a decade of learning.

Models: names withheld by photographer

Technical Details:

Camera: Nikon F3 + AiS 50mm 1/8

Film: Kodak Gold 100 (expired)

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The Flash!

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Last 4th of April, Carmine Infantino passed away. He is well known for his hand in creating the art of the Silver Age “The Flash” comicbook. By the way, did you know that the Silver Age comicbook “The Flash” was THE comicbook that revitalized the superhero genre during a time when westerns and pulp fiction were threatening superhero comicbook sales for years. In other words, The Flash is the cause of shaping the comicbook industry as we know it today. Carmine Infantino’s art of the Flash was groundbreaking during its time of release, and the rest was history!

It is so tragic to hear news that the man behind the iconic art and “look” of the “Scarlet Speedster” has passed away. However, the Flash and his legacy still moves forward. In fact, The Flash comicbook has been gaining momentum ever since Barry Allen’s reintroduction during Final Crisis. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s art and writing give the character a whole new spin within DC Comic’s New 52 relaunch. The Flash is moving up in popularity faster (pun intended) and stronger than ever.

I am a huge fan of the Flash, and this is my attempt (given my limited resources) to pay tribute to the “Fastest Man Alive” and to honour everyone who had a hand in creating him. Of course, this is also dedicated to the late Carmine Infantino!!

Model: Marie Z.
Make-up/Hair Stylist: Heidi Detoyato

Technical Details:
Camera: RB 67 Pro SD + 65mm K/L
Film: Kodak Portra 160

Blonde Blue Eyed Forensic

A weary Speedster

A weary Speedster

Capturing the “Now”

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Recent physics articles have argued that there is no such thing as the “present” because the passage of time is relative. Thus there is no actual “now”. In other words, there is only the past and the future. The actual moment does not exist. I, however, beg to disagree. I do agree that the passage of time is relative. I am not a physicist, and my understanding of these things are amateur, at best. However, I still maintain that even though we cannot really experience the moment, we could still capture it. Since the dawn of Photography, we have been capable of capturing moments of time itself. Through vast improvements in technology, we are now even capable of capturing images within a fraction of a second. These images are captured as they unfold. They are the actual. Although the precise event may be history, the single frame captured in film, or converted to 1’s and 0’s is a moment plucked out of time and recorded for us to view, and even relive. A photograph is a recording of a definite point in time with a past and future. Therefore it is a captured “present”.

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Flasher caught!! (digital “polaroids”)

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These are digital “polaroids” of a recent photoshoot. It was inspired by the MAD Variant Cover of The Flash#19. I would be posting the actual photos as soon as I get the negatives back from the lab. Until then…I hope these would do. :)

Model: Marie Z.
Hair/Make-up stylist: Heidi D.

Technical Details:
“Frankenstein” Camera: Canon1D mkIII + Diana F+ 38mm lens

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Late Summer with a Roll of Kodak EIR

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Last Summer I had the chance to play around with a roll of Kodak EIR Aerochrome film. To the uninformed, this is colored infrared film. I believe it was discontinued almost ten years ago. The roll I acquired was expired for roughly 5 years. Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem, film tends to lose a stop sensitivity for every 10 years (theoretically). At any rate, I’ve heard colored infrared film was more finnicky compared to other slide film. So I had no idea how much wiggle room I had with my exposures. Honestly, I greatly underexposed my roll. Thankfully, the film was still able to retain some detail despite it being expired and underexposed. Unfortunately, I needed to do some extensive tweaking in Photoshop just to get some detail out of my scans. The results are a mixed bag, however, most of the portraits I took acquired an otherworldly albeit surreal look. Bottom line, Kodak EIR was a great film to experiment with. However, I would still appreciate a certain degree of control when it comes to my exposures.

Technical Details:
Camera: Leica M4 + Summicron 35mm + Orange Filter
Film: Kodak EIR Aerochrome 400 (re-spooled)

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Lost as Alice

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This is part of my ongoing photo series based on Alice in Wonderland.

Model: Jennifer Jost
Make-up/Stylist: Heidi Detoyato

Technical Details:
Camera: Mamiya RB67 ProSD + 65mm f/4 K/L
Film: Kodak Portra400 (A truly versatile color negative film!)

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Late as a Rabbit

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This is part of my ongoing photo series based on Alice in Wonderland.

Model: Adrian Garcia

Technical Details:
Camera: Mamiya RB67 ProSD + 65mm f/4 K/L
Film: Kodak Portra 400 (Truly a versatile color negative film!)

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Mad as a Hatter!

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This is part of my ongoing photo series based on Alice in Wonderland.

Model: Tibor Ryssman
Make-up/Stylist: Heidi Detoyato

Technical Details:
Camera: Mamiya RB67 ProSD + 65mm f/4 K/L
Film: Kodak E100G (great for scanning!)

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Cards, Tea, and a Pocketwatch

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It is no secret that I am a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. Honestly, I have always wanted to create a series of photographs based on his characters. I know that it’s a theme that is pretty common. However, I wanted to depict Lewis Carroll’s characters in a way I have percieved them when I was reading the books. I tried to distance myself from the commonly accepted and watered down “Disney” look, as well as influences from Anime and Punk/Steampunk elements. It was a challenge at first, but I eventually came up with a few ideas on how I could properly portray these characters. This is my first attempt, but I promise you that it won’t be my last attempt in making a series inspired by Alice, and her adventures in Wonderland and through the Looking Glass.

-R.M. Detoyato

Make-up/Stylist: Heidi Detoyato

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The Unkown Camera

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I am a photographer, I am an artist…I love the tools I use, since I spent so much time and effort acquiring the perfect tool for each job. I currently use a Leica M4 from the late 60’s, the thing is almost 60 years old, but it still works seamlessly. Leica, like any other camera, is not perfect, but it is exceptional in the things it was designed to do. I don’t usually walk around flashing my camera on the street… I prefer to be judged by my photographs, not by my tools. Besides, I use several cameras depending on my mood.

I love my Leica…I also love my Mamiya… They don’t have lightmeters, and they are fully mechanical, but then, I still prefer them over having an electronic camera.

When I am not walking about, I use a beaten up Mamiya RB67 Pro SD. The thing is the exact opposite of my Leica! I mean, that thing is huge!! But it gets me the results I want.

Whenever I feel playful, I have two lomograph cameras lying around. They are really fun cameras, but they sometimes fail in consistency… I also dislike not having control over my exposures… Lomography cameras are great toys, but they rarely have any controls to adjust.

Again, this brings us to my two workhorses… The Leica and the Mamiya… Both are excellent in their own domains, and both give me the amount of control I need… I guess the most important thing is this…all of these I got second hand and real cheap.(Except for the Leica). I am not rich, afterall… All I want is to take photos! I want to create images which I have complete control…from conception, to execution…it is all me… I guess that is why I love using fully manual and mechanical tools…they are perfect extensions of myself. They are tools through which I channel my desires, visions, and emotion.

R.M.Detoyato

A weekend in Croatia

I travelled to Croatia last weekend with my wife and her family. It was my first time there, and I must admit, despite getting lost several times before finding the apartment we stayed in, it was a really interesting and fun experience. Obviously, I brought a camera with me. As the old saying goes, a photographer is never on vacation. :)

Here are a few photos I took during our stay.

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