Ahmed Thabet. Some of his latest projects.

I have a lot of series but my series to ( Seri Wawasan bridge in Putrajaya city in Malaysia ) which I named it ( Heart of steel ) due to my abstract approach which focused in all shots on the heart of the structure, is the closest to my heart.

I did it over 2 years in 2 different visits to Malaysia, on the first visit I came across the bridge by accident, i was stunned by it is futuristic asymmetric cable-stayed design, the lines and shapes were magic, I grabbed my camera, started to shoot euphorically, I got so many shots all of then were snap-shots but the most upsetting thing which might happen to photographer had happened to me, i did not take few steps more to cross the road and photograph the most sophisticated and beautiful part of the bridge, I was very upset, but i have decided to go back all the way to finish the job next year, I did it, I took long exposure as well, I was very calm and focused with very sharp vision which based on my medical background as well ( It looks like human anatomy), by this way this is the series which has won the first place in the International photographer of the year 2017 in architecture-bridges. And the one I named DNA has won the second place, abstract category in the international monochrome award.

The second series I focused on London city bridges architecture, I captured three of them, ( London bridge, tower bridge, and millennium bridge) all of them very long exposure, and I processed them as a black and white version to make the scenes as serene as possible.

 

Here are some  questions from the interview he gave us for Shades of Grey Magazine N°6. Get the magazine to read the full interview and watch a 24 pages portfolio.

 

 

How and when did you start photography?How and when did you start photography?

It is a very interesting story. I started 4 years ago, my profession is doctor and my specialty is neonatology; one of the most stressful specialty in medicine.5 years ago i complained to one of my senior colleagues about this kind of sedentary life which we had been through since graduation from medical school, which really ruined our pleasure and spoils our social life, then he gave me the most valuable piece of advice i had ever got … photography.I bought my first DSLR. It was a Nikon D3200 and I started shooting everything, holding it in my hand everywhere, even in the hospital, then one of the best parts of my life started.

What led you to architecture and cityscape photography?

I was born in Cairo, one of the densest populated city around the world. So my love of urban exploration and architecture either modern or ancient started from the very beginning, long before photography. One year after I started photography, I discovered the work of Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia Anna Gospodarou, I read their book “From basics to fine art” which I always would like to name “the holy book of black and white photography». It was a turning point to me, honestly i had my own vision but they added to me the art of black and white.
How do you select your location? I first look at google maps to examine the places and single out the best vintage points. It really saves a lot of time. Secondly, I do one visit without the camera, walk around checking the streets, street lights, traffic lights, interesting angles, beautiful buildings, even pipes and ventilations sometimes really would help.  I am always looking for abstract views and some kind of minimalism.

How do you prepare for a shoot?

First, I check the weather forecast it is very crucial. Second, I am looking for the best lighting condition, it is most of the time the golden hour and overcast winter time with gentle diffused light.Then, I check the opening times of the buildings and verify of any permission needed.

What kind of equipment’s you use ?

I have 4 camera bodies Nikon d 3200, Nikon 1 j2, Nikon d 7100, Nikon d 610 ) Lenses!  sigma 10/20, sigma 24/70, Opteka fisheye 6.5, Nikkor 55/200, Nikkor 105. Filters ( Hitech 10 stops, Hitech 3 stops ) , ( Lee ND filters )

Follow Ahmed Thabet.

Street Photography: A hot debate

Street photography in Pakistan is relatively new. A traditional society where laws/ guidelines are yet to be defined clearly in most of the situations, many people believe this art is against the dictates of their religion, law and order not ideal in some situations;  there is no wonder that few pursue this genre seriously.
by Aamir Shahzad

This emerging genre of photography has faced blazing criticism, occasional legal and ethical backlashes, besides stirring debates on public television and social media. Most street photography operates on the borderline between intrusion and observation. Even more problematic is the tradition of clandestine photography. Is street photography, an intrusion on someone’s personal space; that is the question? Can anyone claim privacy in a public space? Laws vary in different countries. There is a need to be aware of laws for those interested in documentary photography involving images shot on public places. Photography, as always, has lot of grey areas, where ethical concerns are involved. Is any image of human misery and poverty an insult to human dignity? Should we present only a happy face of society? An old man dragging a heavy load, a rag picker boy sifting through trash; do these pictures attempt to exploit human misery for self-promotion? Is showing social hypocrisy in a photograph is a breach of social rights? Art should not be judgmental, but it is often perceived that way. Sometimes it is the viewers who interpret an image through the haze of their own understanding and that their redemption is to put the ‘blame on the boogie’—the artist. Naked children sitting on the trash, addicts lying on the pavements, or a physically disabled persons begging around the market are reality of our lives as much as hunger and war. It is not something to be pushed under the carpet and pretend that if it does not exist in images, it does not exist at all. Famous street photographer Eric Kim says, ‘as a photographer, I see myself as a sociologist with a camera as my research tool to observe and record the people and world around me’. It reminds me of Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Stanley Forman and his shot ‘The soiling of old glory’. The picture stirred great emotions when it was posted. A censor on such art would seriously hamper the growth of artistic expression and its potential to create a tolerant and enlightened society. Umair Ghani, a famous Pakistani photographer once commented on one of my street images, ‘Commerce and Art play a tug of war with Faith and provoke greater conflicts and challenges for those who consciously focus on such concerns. These trends affect everyday life and our understanding of it. Some societies have learnt to sustain that shock; others are too fragile to come to terms with this recent awareness’. An elderly bearded owner of a boutique, trying to cover his face to avoid the offence of being photographed while standing with mannequins wearing sleeveless low neck dress is a social satire on our confused moral and religious criteria. Images of women covered in shuttlecock veils shopping in posh markets with explicit advertising contents show challenges presented to prevailing cultural trends in our society. Such images do not stab our cultural façade, but helps us document our bleeding wounds of social confusion and to some extent stitch and heal them. This is serious level of street photography. It is above ridicule or criticism; It is a commentary and interpretation. Furthermore, street photography is a contested sphere in which all our collective anxieties converge. terrorism, pedophilia, intrusion and surveillance. Even an attempt to capture the culture of marginalized sections of society is seen by some as a potential threat to ideology of Pakistan with a threat of creating fissures in society. The photography codes of ethics from the US National Press Photographers Association have some solid points and guidelines. Now is the time to address this pressing need to discuss and review those points within our own legal and cultural parameters’
“Can anyone claim privacy in a public space? Laws vary in different countries.”

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Affinity Photo for iPad got strong improvements

Apple’s reigning ‘App of the Year’, Affinity Photo for iPad, now includes even more powerful professional features.

Developer Serif has issued the third substantial free update to the app since June when Affinity Photo for iPad was launched on stage at WWDC2017. To celebrate, for a limited time, buyers can also claim three bonus content packs made specially to harness the creativity of the app on iOS.  Designed to be the first complete, professional photo editing app for iPad, Affinity Photo was selected as the 2017 ‘App of the Year’ by Apple, as well as featuring in countless ‘best of’ end-of-year lists. The latest version, 1.6.7, includes a raft of enhancements which make it even more capable of handling a full professional workflow on the go:

New Features

  • Save overwrites back to the same location, without needing to create a copy
  • Shoot direct in RAW or HDR from within the app
  • Major upgrades for RAW processing including adjusting shadows, highlights and clarity on RAW images
  • Ability to add your own fonts
  • Opening and editing files in place directly from the iOS Files app
  • A new ‘Solo Layer View’ mode, allowing you to isolate individual layers instantly
  • Further enhancements to the handy Drag & Drop functions introduced with iOS11
  • A new ‘Show Touches’ option to create more detailed screen captures – great for users who create tutorials
Serif Managing Director Ashley Hewson says: “These latest additions will make working life simpler than ever for photographers who have embraced Affinity Photo and the iPad as the core of their professional workflow.

“Affinity Photo was created to take full advantage of the amazing technology the latest iPads offer, and our developers continue to work tirelessly to cement its reputation as the benchmark for creative apps on iOS.”

Ashley Hewson adds: “Improved RAW editing and the added convenience of using Files and Drag & Drop are further steps forward. And we’re delighted to see so many users are already publishing their own tutorials, so the ‘show touches’ screen-recording capability is really big news for them.
“Meanwhile Solo Layer View means you can instantly isolate a particular layer to work on, even in the most complex multi-layered documents. It all adds up to a faster, smoother workflow than ever, to take wherever you go.”

To celebrate the latest update, for two weeks Affinity Photo for iPad is being offered with two free brush packs and a macro pack, together worth almost as much as the app itself (offer ends 8 March).

They are:

  • Luminance Brush Pack (value £9.99 / $9.99): A vibrant collection of 13 breath taking light effect brushes
  • Retouch Brush Pack (value £9.99 / $9.99): 20 studio quality retouch brushes for enhancing portraits
  • Live Filters Macro Pack: Harness the full power of 28 non-destructive live filter layers

Affinity Photo for iPad is priced £19.99 / US$19.99 / 21,99€ (subject to regional currency variations) with no subscription from the App Store.

Affinity Photo for iPad is compatible with the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch

, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, and optimised for Apple Pencil. For more information go to affinity.serif.com/ipad-update. Existing users should claim the free update by following the prompts in the app.

The bonus content can be downloaded from affinity.serif.com/ipad-update.

How to Edit Black and White Images with Luminosity Masks

Color preparation is the most important thing when working on a Black & White conversion. If you use photoshop or any good image editing software, the first thing you see is a window with color sliders. If you want to darken a sky, increase the blues, if you want to whiten foliage, work on the yellows, reds and greens. You will see drastic changes in your image tonality. But sometimes, you want to work on specific color zones of the image, this is when masking comes into place. Luminosity masking is without a doubt the best way to precisely target colors. In this movie by Greg Benz, the creator of Lumenzia luminosity masking panel, you will see how he targets specific zones and works on the mood of an image.

Lumenzia by Greg Benz

One of the best luminosity masking panels for Photoshop. Visit the website and learn more about this great tool for both Black & White and Color images.

Skylum creates a new Influencer Team of Brand Ambassadors

Skylum Softwarehas added four experienced and influential photographers to its influencer team. Joining the new group are Matthew Jordan Smith, Dixie Dixon, Jerry Ghionis and Joel Grimes. All four are widely-respected, professionals who will help the company refine its software to benefit photographers and help educate users on how to make better photos.

Dixie Dixon

She has spent the last decade bringing creative visions to life and educating others about the latest cutting-edge photography techniques and technology. She has followed her passion around the world, shooting in locations such as such as Cannes, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Brazil, Ibiza and Barcelona. Most recently, she released her new book “Fashion and Lifestyle Photography.”

Joel Grimes

He began working as a commercial advertising photographer, capturing the attention from many of the nation’s finest advertising agencies and art buyers. Due to his strong fine art background, Joel strongly believes in creating images that go beyond the normal commercial application. Joel’s assignments have taken him to every continent and to over fifty countries across the globe.

Jerry Ghionis

Widely regarded as one of the top five best wedding photographers in the world, Jerry Ghionis is based in Las Vegas, USA and Melbourne, Australia and travels frequently on international photography assignments and speaking engagements. With the flair of a fashion designer and the ingenuity of an architect, his style can be described where vintage glamour meets contemporary fashion. Renowned for his creativity, he not only has the ability to capture natural magic on your wedding day but he creates magic of his own.

Matthew Jordan Smith 

launched his career as a photographer in New York City shooting for major magazines and advertising agencies. He has photographed some of the most famous people in the world. He is best known for his portraits of celebrities, actors, and models. His celebrity clients include Angela Bassett, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin and many more.

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