Straight-talking New York street photographer Jay Maisel is a living legend, and his insights on the subtle complexities of street photography are unique and priceless. One of his fundamental concepts is Gesture.

Its difficult to define but might best be described as the emotional trigger of a photograph. It can be a human gesture such as a facial expression or body position, or something more esoteric such as the interaction of some other elements within the image. Its the quality of this “gesture” that differentiates one photo from all the others and gives it that extra something which holds your attention.

Everything in the world has gesture. Its not about just people. You have to wait for something special to happen
Jay Maisel

In Jay’s opinion, gesture takes precedence over the more traditional technical requirements for a good image (lighting, framing, color, etc) as without it a photo can be good but it can’t be unique and so it won’t be great.

Jay holds photography workshops in his huge old bank building in Manhattan, but these cost several thousand dollars. An easier and cheaper way to learn from this master of the craft is to watch his online video courses hosted by Kelby Training. Worth every cent of their $6.99 rental!

And here’s his portfolio.


In Other News

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. He may be long gone, but it looks like those conspiracy theories will live forever. Here are some merged “then and now” photos showing some of the places where it all happened.


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    Lady in Red

    Color Theory is one of the dark arts! They’re subject to the whim of current fashion, and today’s cool colors are tomorrow’s embarrassment. Just stroll around a mall from season to season and watch as the marketing color management machine dictates to us all, forcing us to replace perfectly good but suddenly outmoded interior decor and clothing with this year’s absolutely fabulous. Most of us are sheep and do just as we’re told. From pastel to camo to fluoro we’re led firmly by the nose!

    But sometimes unfashionable, inaccurate or wildly clashing colors look good. For some reason they just seem to work.

    Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.
    Pablo Picasso

    For photographers, color management and correction can be one of our most complex challenges. From the light sources at the time of capture through to the bewildering variety of post processing tools, difficult decisions and corrections have to be made. Certain color combinations are either right or wrong, and lots of color is too much. But, sitting quietly watching the waves, this Lady in Red and Gold broke the rules, and so have I.

    Adobe has an excellent tool for browsing and selecting groups of colors that work well together. Called Kuler, its available on the Apple App Store and also on the web.


    In Other News

    After 10 years with his feet up David Bowie has been unusually busy recently and has just released an incredible new video for the track Love is Lost from the new extended edition of his latest album, called The Next Day Extra. The video is a remixed electro version of the song with some impressive and mesmerizing 3D graphics, and (with the caveat that it contains mildly adult scenes) you can see it here.

    This follows his release a few days ago of another video for the original version of the song – its a creepy DIY home movie that apparently cost only $13 to produce!


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