Sunday, July 10, 2011

Painting with Film

I like to consider my self a photo purist gone digital, out of necessity that is.

While living in NYC a few years back I was blessed to inherit my beloved 1950's-ish Rolleiflex medium format, TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera.
It changed my eye forever.

I've always tried to shoot medium and large format films when ever possible. (Time is slim these days sadly) There's not a digital or 35mm camera that can touch the painterly quality and ethereal details that these films capture, whatever camera you instal it into.

Here's my owed to film featuring my favorite subject, Safina Stella.

©Vicky Scesa 2011, All Rights Reserved

I posed her in our backyard in the early morning with the sun hitting her back and a gold reflector to her left at 45 deg's.

What I saw through the TIMELESS waist-level viewfinder was my own photographic version of a Degas. Pastels are my favorite medium next to film, and this camera grants me that same texture, in my mind anyway.

The Rollei's Depth of Field is extremely shallow and the focal range doesn't allow for close ups so it's extremely tricky to capture a moving subject, especially a baby, while maintaining selective focus.

There's 11 more exposures like this but it's intense to get a good film scan as my local lab did a less than perfect job of processing the film and were so kind to leave chemical marks and dust on the film which means enduring the dreadful process of PHOTOSHOPPING my film, NIGHTMARE, TRAGEDY!!!

One day, she'll kill me for posting this online, if there still is an "online".
Happy Shooting, Vicky

Photo Credit:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A note on "Going Green" and Wind Power

I'm compelled to blog about my excitement from an NPR interview I listened in on this week.

Wind farms are coming to East Coast, USA, FINALLY! "Cape Wind, America's First Offshore Windfarm on Nantucket Sound" has just won approval for construction of a 130 turbine wind farm.
When I heard this I paid a mental revisit to my trip to Germany, in all it's eco friendliness. I was deeply inspired by the majestic wind farms throughout the North and happy to pay .5 Euro for a shopping bag, as locals are expected to bring their own.
Since that trip in 2008, it is apparent that progress has been made here in my homeland. As I re-read my photo essay "keepin it GREEN" I only feel a little bit of guilt for some of my anti-patriot statements. Cause sometimes it takes a little fuel to get things moving, but we're better off using wind.

Read my essay:

Tips to Going Green:
-Start a trash compost
-Grow a garden
and of course RECYCLE

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Baby, New Venture

This blog thing has become a vacancy that I must now attend to. In the time since my last post (in a past life) things have changed drastically to say the least.
I returned to the States and thus, HAD A BABY! We call her Safina Stella and what a difference she has made on me and my point of view. 
Becoming a Mom has taken more of a centerstage then I ever imagined. Once, I thought I would just work and if I had kids great if not I had my career. Until one day I woke up and that thought was flipped upside down, in reverse to be exact, and I realized that I wanted my job to be BEING a Mom.
But even with an adorable, persistently crying, bundle of joy, other duties still call. The world only stopping for a second to embrace my new life and then a voice...LET'S GET ON WITH IT!

So how can I be the Mother and the Working Girl (not the Pretty Woman kind) I've dreamed of being?

I present to you Mamatography!

In expectation of Safi, I did some analyzing of my short, but prosperously lived career as a designer, photographer and teacher. Out of my many lessons learned I found that my most rewarding gig has been GIVING lessons to others on my craft.
I'm not one for politics and the photo industry on a mainstream level is just that, a POLITICAL PAIN IN THE ASS!

That said, I'm excited to take silly pictures of my baby girl and share the concepts with other like minded MAMA's.

I'm offering lessons to Anyone, Anywhere via Skype and in person in South Florida.
Would love to hear from you!
Best, Vicky
©2011 Vicky Scesa, Mamatography™

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Regarding the Work of Sally Mann

Sally Mann is a contemporary American Photographer. Mann is widely known for her 1992 book, “Immediate Family”. Here, she documented the timeline of human growth and conditions through large format, black and white photographs of her, sometimes, nude children. The piece was both critically acclaimed and denunciated. Her use of large format film to depict intense details in her subjects began early on in her career as a high school student at the Putney School in Vermont. Born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951, Mann was the youngest of three children and the only girl. Her father introduced her to photography. As a teen he handed down to her a 5x7 camera, which, she used to take a nude black and white portrait of a classmate during her days at Putney. This style would foreshadow the majority of her career.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Biography:

My name is Vicky Scesa. I am a professional Photographer and Graphic Designer living between Panama and South Florida. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Miami where I also thoroughly studied traditional and digital photography. I STILL LOVE FILM. My favorite camera is my 1950's TLR Rollei.

I started out freelancing as a Graphic Designer for large corporate clients. During this time I often found my self cutting and pasting travel stock photos into my designs. I felt ridiculous sitting at a desk designing for travelers using photos in my work which I should be shooting myself. At that point I didn't even have a passport let alone clients. Within the year after I graduated college and working in unrewarding corporate gigs, I began teaching camera and software lessons as well as shooting events for a local S FL studio. Soon after, I sent away for a passport and simultaneously began traveling and working as a professional photographer. Through that time I continued designing and began shooting everything I was offered. Weddings and social events, products, real estate, etc. I reached a personal peak and took a look around, with a little help from an Art Director at a temp job where I had been designing for a week where I thought to my self this isn't so bad, and the money is good. I interviewed with the man who changed my life..who's name I can't even remember. He asked me, "Where do you see your self in 10 years"?  I paused, and pronounced, "I see my self as a commercial travel photographer". His reply, "Why aren't you doing it? Why don't you go to NY?" "Huh? So I don't get the job?" 
A couple months later, Billy Joel sang a song to me in the car one late night and I had ALWAYS been in a "New York State of Mind".  As a high school kid I attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC on scholarship. I knew that I would have to land there at some point and WORK. So 3 days after my encounter with Billy, I loaded the CRV and headed North...during Winter. 

I graciously landed on my uncle's couch in Queens and working my powerbook to the bone, applied to EVERY creative job in NYC. Within 2 weeks I was interviewing for a job in apparel graphics and hired on the spot. I could now feed my face, rent a room in my friends 1/1 apt with 3 dogs, buy a mattress to sleep on and live to tell about it. The job was of course freelance so I was given some freedom to explore what I was really there to do, shoot. So little by little I fell into a groove of teaching students throughout the city, shooting events and headshots, etc. The summer months went by fast and the apparel business took a turn for the slow. Lucky for me shooting was picking up and NY Fashion Week was around the corner, and I would be there. My break came when I was randomly hired on the eve of opening day at Bryant Park by a small PR agency out of NJ with a very big client..a co-sponsor of the event. And so I arrived, shooting celebrities, decor, runway ALL OF IT on a no restrictions pass. The next week I took my first trip to Europe. Coming back to a freezing NY, and no new work, I had yet another epiphany, maybe I should go home? So the day after Thanksgiving, after almost a year living in the city and enduring all of the trials just to BE there, I packed it in and drove to M I A M I, where it all started. I found a great apartment which had a gallery attached where I would later exhibit my work. I continued traveling, teaching and shooting (mostly small time).

And to the now, as always by accident,  I picked up a job shooting as a contractor for the Miami Dolphins & stadium. My gig was to capture the game as an event. Here I acquired a celebrity portfolio, learned about professional ETHICS on a global scale (or lack there of), and gained some field time..I've never been a big sports fan but an experience none the less.
Most recently, life offered me the opportunity to move to Panama. So here I am, still teaching and excited to work on MY OWN ART.
I'm currently working on my UPDATED SITE, check it out soon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kuna Women

Leaving on a jet-plane today back to home in FL. Coming down here to Panama has been an exciting, creative journey and I have many plans  for our return next month. My dreamy (some might say loco), Pisces mind has been spinning with ideas! In NOT looking for my next photo project, it came to ME. I was working the past couple weeks on Danny's website, which I'm pretty pleased with:, and in looking for Mola images I fell into some reading on the Kuna Indian's here in Panama.
I found a women in Austria who has created a partnership for the Kuna's within the San Blas region (the Figi of Panama), a place I plan to travel to upon my return. She is raising money through the sales of Mola's to contribute to a scholarship fund for the Kuna children. LIGHTBULB! Perhaps, I could shoot a photo essay and create an exhibit/fundraiser to the cause. Mrs. Austria loved the idea and has given me some useful info that I plan to pursue upon.
With that, I've started to build on a sort of Kuna portfolio so that I may propose a shoot to the Kuna people themselves and later an exhibit here in the "touristy" Casco Antiguo area of Panama City.
Here's some early samples:
Kuna simply translates as "People" in their native language. As I mentioned, they primarily reside in the paradisal island region of San Blas and spread along the Darien coast of Panama and spill over to the Western reaches of Colombia. 
Representing the largest indigenous group in Panama, they are the second "shortest" civilization next to the Pigmies in the world. Also, there is a large, and specific civilization of Albino's within the Kuna population. 
They are a female dominating society, YES! Kuna women dress in kind've a celebration of their "woman hood". When a young girl enters puberty there is a small festival within the village. Differing to most cultures including my own where "becoming a women" feels more like a curse! Their traditional attire consists of loud fabrics which themselves are called Mola's and simply translates to "clothing" in their language. We outsiders know mola's as ornate, quilt like fabrics typically portraying images of wild life, specifically fish like images due to their waterscape surroundings.

The Kuna here in the city are very weary. I don't blame them for considering a Gringa like me with a big camera to be a threat and potentially exploiting their culture. They demand me to pay $1 every time I snap a shot of them at their mola stands. 
3 snaps of my shutter= $3.
I'm cool w/ that. However, I'm somehow planning to work w/ the Kuna's directly to communicate that my cause is theirs. Yes, I want to show my pictures and a little positive feedback is always nice, but why do it, why get out of bed in the morning if not to do a little bit of good for someone else.
Ok, MJ, get out of my head with your "We are the World" jive.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Long time. Must blog.

Coming to you from my noisy Apt in Panama City. A little stir crazy but feeling creative I decided to skip yoga and work on this blog thing I put aside months ago. It seems between shooting and this computer thing I've acquired a lovely case of Carpal-Tunnel, my excuse to ditch yoga and all the down dog's or should I say "perro abajo" but here I am clicking away. Panama, Panama! a wild ride to get here and almost time to go home, just for a month. It's been a long time dream for me to live out of my country and thanks to my #1 guy for making it possible. With that, I wanted to share some of my shots and a bit of commentary. Here's some scenery and surf, and I'm throwing in a bit of fashion for the hell of last job from home, a story in it's self I'll spare you and me both from.

Here are some shots from Isla Grande, my first trip to the Caribbean coast.

This is a transitional time for me especially creatively. What's next? Life's thrown me some curve balls already this year and it's been tricky to really focus on much of anything consistently. Like surfing for instance, after a Dr's ordered break, I moved to Panama unfortunately free of my "diagnosis" and cleared to surf the glassy, beach break waves of Playa Venao (a desolate Pacific beach on the coast of ummm Central Panama)*see down page. We took this trip during the week of Carnival, a huge spectacle down here. We chose to forgo all the festive nonsense to surf..and just chill out! (We camped for a week at gorgeous Eco Venao) Well neither came easy to me, the surfing or the chilling that is. With a clouded head and heart, I faced Mother Ocean with resentment and confusion. I learned that trip that you're either with her or against her. Like any woman, you take her for-granted and you pay. My first wave came and I felt pretty natural about it (even though these were big waves to be diving back into the game on). I went for it! Well, so did Danny and cut me off with a smile. He intended for us to ride down the face together, like we have in the past but I didn't see it that way at the time and from that moment I couldn't look at HER the same. I felt green, and frustrated. Although I haven't been at this long, I had found what I thought was my niche but too many months went by and I lost my groove. Without being in my "happy place" I cannot be a "happy surfer". One cannot solve the other and if you push it you'll get hurt, and I did. After 3 days and many nice bangs by the board (the final 2 in the head) I threw in the towel, for now. 
The plus about being a photographer, no trip is ever a bore. You're never really OUT of the action with a camera in your hand.
I'm anxious to start shooting in the water! The shore's just not doin it for me. 

On a technical note, my love affair w/ Leica has dwindled. Unless I shoot her in B+W the clarity just isn't there, and for a $1,000 point and shoot I would've expected more.

Note to self: bring your good gear w/ you everywhere from now on! It's too depressing to compromise quality shots for the fear of theft..get over it!

Ciao for now, V