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Posts tagged ‘Edward Hopper’

Introductions: Adrian Donoghue

A couple of weeks ago I told you how my friend Chris is always telling me about great photographers and she has found another great one today as well. I’ve only known of Adrian Donoghue for a short time, but I am very impressed. His work is quite different to what I normally show.


My first thoughts when I saw his work was that it reminded me a lot of the work by Edward Hopper. I asked Adrian about Hopper and he said that he loved his work and had one of his books. I think you can definitely see the influence.

I asked Adrian where in the world he was.

I live in the leafy surrounds of Eltham, a suburb North East of Melbourne. However when photographing, I am drawn to cityscapes, so I spend many weekends exploring the streets of Melbourne.


He has some very iconic buildings of Melbourne in his images, and often you see them in ways we don’t normally. The image above, very rare to see an image of that with so few people in it.

As you know, the second question was how long had he been taking photos for and why.

Like many photographers, I have loved photography since my childhood, however career, children, music and a mortgage occupied much of my adult life. I returned to photography in the early 2000’s, when life became a little quieter, and just at the start of the digital revolution.  As a result, digital capture and Photoshop post processing seemed a natural seamless combination.


While I think many of images are composites, there are some, like this one that I don’t think is. It seems like a real scene that he has given his unique look to.

I asked Adrian about inspiration.

My inspiration comes form a number of sources. I love the Australian artist Jeffrey Smart  for the way he ‘stripped bare’ the urban landscape to create a feeling of surreal reality. His inclusion of a single human form would suggest a narrative, often left up to the viewer.  In addition, the ‘film noir’ movie genre has inspired my use of my ‘hatted protagonist’, who is often set in dark and threatening urban scenes.  Finally, Australian artists like Charles Blackman and Arthur Boyd; these artists focussed on figurative art with many works being part of a series. Much of my recent work  forms part of a series, as a result, a theme or idea can be explored in many settings.

ADRIAN-DONOGHUE-PHOTOGRAPHY002So many of his images have been taken of places I recognise and it is nice to see them. I find the work quite inspiring and the you could be forgiven for thinking they were paintings. They really do have that look about that.

My next question was to ask him if there was anything special about the way he worked.

A hard question to answer from the inside looking out. Others have commented about my ‘style’, so I guess there is something ‘special’ about my work. Maybe a slightly dark, surreal, movie poster look.


There is a real sense of theatre and drama in his work. It looks like it has been set up, and we know that it has. Many of the images are like stills from a movie or play. They demand you pay attention.

My final question, as always, was about his gear.

I use a Canon 5Dii,  with either the Canon 17-40 mm or 24-105 mm lenses. I own a 70 – 200 F2.8,  however I rarely use it these days, as I am mostly after wider angle streetscapes with good depth of field. I am increasingly using a tripod, to get more interesting evening light, and have the potential to apply HDR processing.

I want to thank Adrian for giving me permission to feature his work here and show it to you. I think it is quite amazing. You can find a lot more of his work on his website, Adrian Donoghue Photography. I do hope you will go and visit, sit for a while. I have a gallery for you now of my favourite images from his site.


Influencing Me – Looking at Paintings for Inspiration

The other day I was having a conversation with Laura Macky and she was saying how she wants to start looking at paintings and artists from other times, or something to that effect.  When I was doing my fine art degree it was just something we had to do, Art History.  It was an important part of learning, to look at the work of other artists, and not just in the medium you were working in.  They were all important, painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, drawers, all of them.  Everytime I would start working on something new, one of my tutors would tell me about another artists to go and look at.  It was an interesting process, looking at the work of those would give you ideas for your own work, and sometimes reading about them would help you understand what it was that you were trying to do. It is something I miss about Uni, having someone to introduce new artists to you.

Since then I’ve heard other artists saying the same thing.  I was listening to something on Joel Grimes one day and he said how in art school it was something that you did, and how much you could learn from it. It is something that I still do today, and it is still important.  We can learn so much looking at paintings from other times.

It is good to know what sort of work you are interested in, for me, I’ve always been drawn to work that tells a story.  Work that draws you into the image.


Edward Hopper, for me, was one of the biggest influences. He told stories with his paintings.  I know they were all set up, and he could do things that we as photographers couldn’t, unless we really set the scene up.  It was something that made me stop loving photography for a few years until digital came in.  I liked how painters could invent their realities, in a way you couldn’t with film photography.  Of course, now, digital has changed that a lot and it is possible to to do it so much more now.  Artists have been creating their own realities for centuries.

Anyway, getting back to the story telling.  I have started realising that it is something I want in my images, I like the idea of story, or giving a place something.  Perhaps that was part of the reason why I disliked landscape photography for so long, because I couldn’t find the story in it, not like the painters did. Recently I was watching Ian Shive, an American National Parks photographer and he was saying that you have to find the story.  Work out what you want to say with the image.  That makes sense to me.  I have started noticing the way I approach landscapes has changed after hearing that.


Rembrandt was a master of painting scenes, painting what he saw.  His images tell you something about the way people lived, good or bad.

the_geographer - Vermeer

Vermeer did the same, setting up scenes that were about every day life.  Though, many paintings do depict people in everyday situations, there were others painting and adding different stories and different types of drama into their work.


George Stubbs painting  of the horse being attacked by a lion, is so powerful. I think all of us have seen different depictions of this.  Our National Gallery of Victoria also has a sculpture of it.  This is theatre in paintings.  We don’t need to see the moving image, we know what happens, and the emotions are still there.


You have to mention Turner and he landscapes, seascapes and the intense drama that pulls you into the image.


Of course, putting drama into his landscapes was Ansel Adams, a master of the landscape.  He used darkroom techniques to turn something ordinary into some extraordinary.  Someone many of us look up to.

So, by looking at paintings you can see how the artists manipulated scenes through their brushes and paint to create something very powerful.  They did have the artistic talent to put there what wasn’t there, to invent the lighting, and to remove what they didn’t like.  It is something, that seems very frowned upon in the world of photography.  I don’t listen to that, I do what the masters did, when I can, I create the reality in my image that I want to create, send the message that I think is important.  You often don’t see the reality in my images, I play with it, change the lighting and make the reality the one I want you to see.  For inspiration I look at paintings and study what they have done.

Getting to galleries and seeing paintings is a great thing to do, but one place I have always enjoyed visiting is Art cyclopedia, an online gallery of sorts.  Whenever I hear of a new artist, it is one of the first places I go to.  It will give me information about the artist, and where you can find their work.  I also like how you can look at movements.  Unfortunately I don’t think the site is being kept up to date anymore and a lot of the links no longer work, but if you are interested in a particular styles it can be a good place to start.  I was looking at landscapes yesterday and found a couple of new artists, and I have some of their work here for you.

I am going to put some paintings, and photographs from artists that have been massive influences on me, and who I often turn to when I need inspiration. Do you find inspiration in paintings?  Which artists are you drawn too?  What type of artwork draws you in?


Influencing Me – Edward Hopper

Before I did my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the VCA I had never heard of Edward Hopper, an American painter, and quite a famous one.

Entry WayTo read how Edward Hopper has influenced me and my photography then please continue reading here.

Meeting Adjourned

It has been a couple of weeks since my invitation to the Manchester Unity Building, and I can’t get some of the images out of my head.  When we were on the top floor and heading down to the floor below Kia said to me, “you’re going to love this”.  He was so right.  My head spins when I think of this room.

Boardroom The Boardroom is so amazing.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my tripod with me, and I couldn’t take the images I really wanted.  I had to turn the ISO up quite a bit, but these images were more exploratory, and when I go back I will be able to get some much better shots.  I think HDR images will work really well in this space as well.  There are lots of dark areas, and other areas that get burned out.  You can’t see the beautiful ceiling rose in this image.

It is such a beautiful room.  I have been in other board rooms, we used to have meetings in the boardroom at the National Gallery of Victoria when I worked there, but none had the detail that this one has.  The table is the main focus, this room though has some many other features.

When I think of photographing this building, I keep thinking of Edward Hopper and his paintings, and I want to bring some of that into these images.  It would be great to find a model to dress in thirties period clothes and place her in these rooms.  Though I have asked for one of the assistants to do it, so will see how it looks first, it might not work.

I do love Edward Hoppers paintings and I don’t mind them influencing my photography at all.  There is a certain feeling about them that I like.  Who knows I might want to start putting people in my photos.

This image has had little done to it, I processed it in camera raw and opened it.  It was quite yellow due to the light, so I added 25% of blue cooling photo filter to tone it down some, and that was about it.  I really like the way the windows reflect in the table.

Short post today, it was my friends birthday to day and we went to Chandon for lunch.  It is always very nice out there, I did take one or two photos, but have had time to look at them yet, so they will have to wait for another day.


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