Sep 18, 2014

The Whole Story by Coy Townson

The Photograph

Grace © Coy Townson

The Whole Story

This image is from a series of which the theme was inspired by Joni Sternbach’s “Surfland”. I originally set out to shoot only in a tintype style using Hipstamatic to mimic wet plate photography. While shooting, I found some great light as we moved around the area. This particular site consisting of a six lane bridge crossing a river near my house has been a great place to shoot due to the changing light throughout the day. The photo was taken just before sundown on a very hot, but clear summer day. While I was switching through apps, as I normally do to cover one scene with my iPhone, I noticed the extra contrast with my setup in KitCamera (Vignette Lens / Kathryn Film). I tend to be drawn to this type of look due to the drama created by the heavy contrast. I love how this image turned out, encompassing many elements of design; strong negative space, balance in texture, bi-directional vanishing points...straight from the camera with no editing other than a small crop. Personally, I really like the spot of light falling on her nose, giving shape to the dark shadow that covers her face. 


Joni Sternbach, Greg Gorman, Dana Fineman, Ed Ross, Robb Kendrick, Roger Clay, Alan Hess

The Photographer - Coy Townson

So I draw, take pictures and cut and paste. I'm lucky enough though that being creative not only consumes my life, but also my career. I reside in California where the fruits of my labor range from commercial design and wedding photography to monolith size murals for the largest beer maker in the world. As for photography, I started playing with cameras while studying art in college, but didn't take it serious until the late 1990's. I had to fill my need for commercial photos while working as a designer - what it was actually doing was filling the void of drawing which I had no time or patience for anymore. Since then I've found that I enjoy shooting single subject black and white portraits most of all. I think the face is the most telling of the human story. Strip away the environment and all that surrounds us and focus only on the human element.

Recently I’ve been exploring a tintype style that lends itself to individual portraiture. The camera alone has undergone a drastic evolution in its short life amongst modern technology, the biggest change taking place in the last twenty years with the advent of digital photography. Within that time technology also changed the way we communicate with each other. Our telephone, mail, music, television and now cameras come packaged in a nifty little all-in-one device called the cell phone. Seeing the fun in this pocket sized gadget, I embraced the cell phone camera from the beginning. I used every mobile device I could get my hands on. The limitations challenged the creativity as it did in the early days of photography. Once smart phones with camera apps became available, I realized the medium had come full circle and we're now back to adjusting the camera prior to capturing the image. So, what we see is what we get with instant gratification. For me, it’s brought enjoyment back to the act of taking pictures. Luckily, I’ve got three wonderful children who love playing guinea pig for my experiments. The photo in question is of my daughter Grace just before her tenth birthday.

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