Gaétan Charbonneau's Photo Blog

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The upcoming book cover!

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on August 17, 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA a critical introduction

Sage publications is publishing this book with an image of mine on the cover, schedule to be released in December… were ahead!

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Altpick

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on July 16, 2013

I got brand new work on Altpick! Check it out!

 

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New book cover!

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on April 29, 2013

Untill She Comes Home

Here is my last book cover image, in store June 13th. Always great to grace the front cover of a novel. Everytime feels like the first time!
Adios All!

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On nature images done in studio

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on October 4, 2012

Roots, Lorraine, Quebec, Canada. All rights reserved, Gaétan Charbonneau ©/Millennium Images.
I often find interesting highly conceptual nature images done with artificial light, from an artistic point of view. It is not only the stark contrast of nature vs controlled lighting and enhanced computer  imagery , it’s also the classic duality of nature vs artificial setting/urbanization that makes the idea more interesting when treated with this aesthetic point of view.
Adios all!

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Eye contact

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on October 4, 2011

3 button intercom, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. All rights reserved, Gaétan Charbonneau © /Millennium Images.
For street photographers, the exploration of new surroundings does not stop to exotic places and big city structures. It goes well beyond the decor and  always reach the line of cultural differences when it’s time to press the shutter. Of course each photographer will have it’s own approach, some are less “in your face” than others in their own body language and image making tactic, and that’s the part A of the equation. Part B is the interaction with the locals and their attitude towards photography. In my traveling experience, the southern of the hemisphere I went, the more the people were acutely “aware” of their immediate surroundings. Some clearly overreacted, and some other people were down right paranoid in regards to the motive of my photographic ventures. In some cases the explanation  that I was an artist just didn’t cut it… and I must admit that explaining why I took a photo of an intercom (at night) can sometime raise eyebrows.
In some of the places I went, I could sit on the sidewalk to take a picture and most would barely noticed, each going his own way as if sitting on the sidewalk was perfectly acceptable. Eye contact also varied greatly from one place to another. In Spain for instance, I felt that madrileños responded in keeping eye contact a lot longer than most of the other places I went, and much longer than the eye contact I can have in my own native town, Montreal where the contact is a lot shorter and less direct, in the context of street photography. In the end it’s always intriguing to see what can be attributed to the size of the city, to the culture, and to the photographer attitude. All the spices that makes street photography one of the most interesting way of seeing the world.
Adios all!

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To edit or not to edit with prints, that is the question

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on January 3, 2011

The Mirror, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. All rights reserved, Gaétan Charbonneau © /Millennium Images.
Yesterday I picked up the magazine where this image actually appear, Tricycle/The buddhist review, winter 2010. On these occasions I always have flashes of the state of mind I was in when I created the image.  Sure enough the tittle of the article  is “Mind like a Mirror/ The shimmering reflections of consciousness“, written by Andrew Glendzki.
I recall that at the time I was literally driving with mirrors in the back of my car, not quite sure how I would craft my final ideas. It didn’t pop up immediately, I had mirrors on the grass, under my harms, pieces of mirrors broken on the sidewalk and a couple of other concepts. The only thing that kept me searching for an idea I could be happy with, was my habit of printing my work, and looking at my prints side by side. It was the continuity, the flow of my mind looking for something, but not quite getting there that I could see on these prints. The only thing I could understand clearly was that I was getting closer with every picture, hence the final idea that appear here (model Brandon Queen holding the mirror).
That is precisely the point with editing. Of course it is to select the so-called final image(s), but it is above everything else, to see hints and traces of the future work that will take form. This method make sense for me, even (especially!) in an age where computer screens are taking away so much of our attention. Who knows, working this way might even be a revelation for those who never tried it out, a bit like having a shimmering reflections of consciousness… !
Adios all!

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One step beyond the decisive moment

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on November 17, 2010

Le Boulingrin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. All rights reserved, Gaétan Charbonneau ©
I was looking at this image recently, and I went along thinking about the decisive moment, the concept elaborated by Henri-Cartier Bresson, a pioneer in the history of photography, one of the greatest photographer of our time.
This notion is embedded with a number of interesting nuances. The first thing that comes to my mind is the fact that there is a very fine line between the decisive moment and what I would call the expected moment. If one stand on a street corner with a well composed visual background and wait for an interesting silhouette, perfectly profiled to fit a predetermined space, does this stand for a decisive moment, or does it become more of a expected moment?
The idea of the decisive moment has been explored long and large, and could be ready to morph into higher grounds. For the sake of clarity, how can we describe a more precise notion of the decisive moment, while remaining faithful to the initial principle that something can never happen twice in the exact same way? How about the unexpected moment? Something that would distinguish planned imagery disguised as being something related to the decisive moment. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, what’s unclear is tagging a concept for something else, stretching the definition just a bit too far to remain true to the principle.
So, from now on, let’s reach for this ever elusive unexpected moment, just like this great image that went so  fast in front of my eyes, and that I missed last weekend…
Adios all!

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Some art & design sites

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on November 10, 2010

Here is a short list of design sites I like, the scope is quite large, it range from architecture to urbanism, and of course on photography more or less directly.
-architonic.com
-coolhunting.com
-core77.com
-davidreport.com
-designboom.com
-designobserver.com
-dexigner.com
-mocoloco.com
-sightunseen.com
-yatzer.com
Mocoloco is readable from left to right and just for that they deserve an honorable mention, and Mocoloco it’s such a catchy name. All are very cool sites.
Adios all!

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When less is more in graphic design: part two

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on September 20, 2010

Jonathan Franzen/Freiheit, published by Rowohlt. Image by Gaétan Charbonneau ©/Millennium Images.
Since I have been licensing my fine art images for book covers for as long as I can remember, I have always pointed out that in graphic design, less IS more.
I had a recent discussion with a graphic designer group on the Net, where I pointed how important the notion of “restraint” was. That keeping things simple was in the vast majority of cases, a much better option over using a ton of  graphic elements piled on top of one another, with sometimes, overly busy and unfortunate typo usages.  In fact, the only question to ask is: are all those graphic elements crucial to the jacket design?
If the response is NO, eliminating all the unnecessary will greatly simplify the reading of the cover, while making it at the same time a lot more punchy, something that is not a luxury once the book is seen on the Amazon.com Web page tiny thumbnails.  This jacket cover with an image of mine is the closest thing relating to a perfect book cover, and  one can hardly ask for more.
Simply put, this jacket is a poster child for effective book cover design.
Adios all!

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Art and the viewing context

Posted by Gaétan Charbonneau on August 28, 2010

The Subterranean, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. All rights reserved, Gaétan Charbonneau ©

 

Is Art now mostly created by the viewing context?
It is interesting to think about the criteria used to define an image as a work of art, or not. The continuous flow of images distributed over the internet has given me opportunity to reflect on this. What if a work of art was now simply the consequence of it’s viewing context?
Has anybody felt slightly uncomfortable seeing the image of a child dying from starvation, beautifully printed on chromogenic paper, framed and matted in a art show? Is this image of a dying child a true work of art?
I have seen images in art galleries that were both technically and aesthetically inferior to some of the images I have seen in specialized contemporary stock agency. If for example, the shinny close-up of a mouth, printed on glossy paper and delivered in the mail was instead framed and exhibited in a high profile museum, would this image be redefined as a work of art? Would it be better than some art in the museum own collection? In other words, can the same image be redefined based on where it is viewed? I guess so. It is therefore the intention behind the usage, and the viewing context that will create the work of art, not the image itself.
The notion of discovery will gradually become obsolete based on the instantaneous nature of the internet, making it impossible to determine who did what, first. It is quite possible that the criteria defining a work of art has completely changed, now more than ever, and that the existing remains of the19th century conception of a work of art is being challenged to become a thing of the past, once and for all.
Adios all

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