valentine shoots available 😉
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you can find more info about my books here: http://www.ludwigdesmet.com/books/
Send me a message for your orders on ludwig(at)ludwigdesmet(dot)com.
no I haven’t been to Paris recently, so these images are, well, from a while ago (late 2017), I have published a single image from this trip already, but here is a more complete set. All taken with the Rolleiflex 3.5 TLR, in dark and difficult light this time (interior, winter, …)
What is it that convinces me to shoot film from time to time? I talked about this before, but here’s one other reason, I started thinking about it listening to an vlog about Photokina, and how this is all about gear and how the big brands have missed the revolution on the mirrorless camera’s and now need extra marketing efforts (and lies) to get to pace with the competition etcetera, etcetera. … (Michael Zelbel from goodlightmag)
when shooting analog it makes me feel that I am not running into this treadmill of commercial marketing ‘have to sell’ rush that the mainstream photography world has become since it became a mass-product. Look at the average photography magazine on the book store shelf. Half of the pages will be about new gear that has reached the market, how the latest gear has reached new levels of ‘better’ since the last best camera. How it will improve your photography, become an extension of your eye, and even bring you the ultimate shooting experience. blah blah blah, I have been in marketing for a while myself … The other half will be divided in ‘how to’s’ on the use of the latest software updates to make that perfect camera shot even better, or how to use the latest lighting gear to enhance your vision and creativity. Duh. … If you are lucky, there is a small section in the magazine that will cover large exhibitions, and maybe some portfolio’s from photographers (a couple of pages from the 100+ total number of pages)
I am sure that the Rolleiflex came with its own sauce of marketing blahblah at the time it was launched, but that’s a long time ago and I’m not bothered with it. Even now, new film camera’s are still made, but have you ever seen an add for one? They don’t really push, they wait till you go looking for them and then you’ll find them.
I shoot this antique Rolleiflex camera, with black and white 120 film that exists for ages now, and no accessories. When I use it, I simply can not feel the need to rush to get my images on the web (FB, Insta, … ) because that is literally impossible, with the film needing to be developed. I don’t get stressed on having to recharge batteries, because it has no batteries. I do not have to decide which lens or focal length to use, because it comes with a fixed focal lens that is not removable. I even don’t have to decide to shoot horizontal or vertical, because the image format is square. I can allow myself to just observe my environment, look at what people do, try to capture moments, details, … that come to my attention. If I miss a shot because my gear isn’t up to date, well I missed it, maybe I will be lucky next time. …
long live simplicity (maybe I’m getting old 😉 )
The pictures, with a little word, so you can find out where I’ve been strolling.
the queue for the Irving Penn exhibit that ran in the Grand Palais in Paris
part of the exhibit on Irving Penn
preparing for a kite flight on the Esplanade des Invalides
taking a break from cooking – the chef at Café de Mars – Rue du gros Caillou
plagiarism at Fondation Louis Vuitton
smooth curves architecture by Frank Ghery (Fondation Louis Vuitton)
people enjoying the audio-installation at Fondation Louis Vuitton
Me taking a self portrait at Fondation Louis Vuitton
time to prune the plants maybe? – artisan fleuriste at Rue Vieille-du-Temple
cheers, hope you come back here soon.
If you want to see more images taking with the Rolleiflex in Paris, look here
If you want to re-read a previous article about shooting on film, this is the place: shooting film
I’ts been about a month that I have the new studio space available, it took me a couple of days to get the walls freshened up (two coats of paint) and a couple of weeks before I got some furniture and props ready and moved in, but I’m about to call it ‘ready’ for work.
I think it probably never be a steady setup, because I want to keep some variation in my images, and variation will probably mean that I will bring in some new stuff from time to time and get rid of some ‘used’ furniture in the same pace.
Some observations so far just in case you think about setting up your own studio space:
• I have windows (large) only on one side of the room. Not easy to work with, so get yourself some large reflectors to bring some light back from the non-window side of the room. I use styrofoam boards 120x180cm, painted black on one side.
• The wooden floor gives me a particular white balance in the space, some warm tone that is not easy to get right all the time.
• Too much light will kill you, or at least will often create overly bright images. I love to work with light and shadow equally, sometimes even more shadow than light. So I bought a large theatre cloth (6x3m) to cover up 2/3 of the windows when needed. I use additional styrofoam boards if needed to cover up even more window area.
• The space has sun-screens, I didn’t even notice when I agreed to rent it. These are great to work with when there’s direct sun falling in. The screens are fine woven, so they create no patterns, and they lower the light level not too much. They help evening out the hard contrasts in sunny situations. They are neutral in color. Perfect!
• The wooden parquet is kind of slippery, very good for moving around mattresses and large carpets without too much of an effort. For furniture I have a wheeled board for easy moving.
• The ceiling is at 2.90m, that is an absolute minimum. I have some curtain rails hanging up, they are kind of permanent, and sometimes they are hindering my viewing angles.
• I have an adjacent stock room, where I can move all unnecessary items (flash lights and their tripods when I don’t need them, drinks, clothing, background system, paint, cleaning materials, … Perfect again!
• I have brought in a large trunk (some kind of monastery huge heavy dark wood piece) that I use for quick storage nearby. It makes your stored stuff invisible, it is useful as a decor piece, there’s always something you might need in a minute, it’s there.
some images taken in the new studio:
2 white walls, a black wall, a wall with plenty of windows, and some creativity …
more to come,
I arrived at Leuven train station at about 11 O’clock, the people from the hotel had guaranteed me that I could do an early check in at about 13:00hrs. That was the time that I had fixed for the model and the make up lady. They pointed me a different building than the adres on the website, about 100 meters further. They gave me the entrance key.
I should ask the cleaning lady to clean my room first. … No it was not cleaned yet, yes, she would take care of it right after she finished a room on the upper floor. (3rd, I was on second) I had the time to get my gear out of the car and have a quick bite.
Fifteen minutes to one, and I’m back at the hotel. I get pointed to my room, it is available …
… at least if you can call this a room, it is more like place for a bed, and half a meter around to manoeuvre around it. How on earth am I going to do a photoshoot here. There’s no room for movement, there is no free wall, and there is no light. It is freezing cold outside so that is no option, even worse, it is a dark grey day.
How to shoot in a really tiny Hotel room, on a dark winter day?
Both the model and the make up lady are more or less on time, so we can start preparing. I get them installed by the window, when the chair is between the bed and the window, there’s no more room to pass besides it. … this promises no good …
No panic though, I’m thinking about the options, outdoors, at 3°C, rather not, … dark corridors in the hotel, no light at all, … public places other than this, … probably not for the sake of clothing changes …
move the beds … move the beds, … are they fitted to the walls, no, that’s great, let’s move the beds: We moved the beds to the ‘entrance hall’ of the room, so we acquired a 3x3meter ‘free space’ to work in, talking about luxury.
(3D rendering below, showing a before and after situation, done by me, I still own and run www.renderhouse.eu remember 🙂
On the far left is the entrance door and hallway, upper left corner, the black chunk taken out of the volume is the bathroom, then the ‘main room’ with two single beds and window at the right, three night reading lamps (one on each side of the bed, one over the small table.)
And look, there’s a heart in the lighting pattern, that was unintended, but definitely good sign. It was Valentine’s day the day before I wrote this post …
It helps having a patient model in such cases. I worked with Pauline several times now, and we’ve got a good mutual understanding. She will express her goals, I will try to relate them to mine and we proceed from there.
I tried using off-camera flashes, but those gave me very hard and overly bright light, with no interesting light patterns.
We ended up using only the reading lights, (one of them can be seen above, next to Pauline) to create some kind of theatrical look, sometimes I used a plastic bag to make the light source a little bigger and hence soften it a bit, but that was our only source of light for these images:
It was rather important to have the lights positioned accurately, as you can see the shadows are really hard, due to the small size of the lights. In the last images I had to tweak the blacks a little in post production, but they came out quite well. The light sources had a really narrow beam, and they gave very little spill within the room.
A couple of hours later, we moved back the beds, nobody noticed anything, me happy, my model happy …
Settings on the first series of images (1/10s f3.5 ISO 400 – Canon 5Ds, Sigma 50mm f1.4 A DG)
Settings on the upright pose with curtain background (1/80s f2.8 ISO 1600, 50mm f1.4 A DG)
Settings on the nudes (1/8 f4.5 ISO1250 – Canon 5Ds with Canon 100mm f2.8 macro IS L)
I was rather surprised how sharp the images came out at 1/10th with no stabilisation 🙂
thank you for reading
An image that has been shot about a year ago, with the kind cooperation of Riona, my model for that day. I haven’t posted a lot of this shoot yet. It was on a cold december day, in an empty house with minimal heating.
Although she was clearly suffering the cold, she did not complain. We were all dressed in winter clothes, she was completely nude. Of course, as a photographer, you will take measures so the model can have some time off with a warm blanket or clothing, so she does not get ill in the process, but Riona has a very good understanding of what a cooperation is supposed to be like, of what a photographer has in mind and why a photographer would invest in a professional model. In doing so she has built a good reputation among photographers internationally. Besides her perfect work attitude, she has a very beautiful body. Not extremely skinny, and with beautiful female shapes. On top of that, she has an angel-like face, that is strongly emphasised with her white hair.
• Angel •
for those who find it interesting,
shot on Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm DG A – settings 1/50s f/2.0 ISO800
For those interested in working with Riona:
more info and a behind the scene’s look (also of this very same image) HERE
I would like to wish all of you a happy new year, I wish you to have some plans or idea’s, some goals and aspirations, and I wish even more, that some of them work out in this coming year, that you can work on personal growth and happiness.
Time to look ahead, never sure what another year will bring, I love my teaching job, so I hope being able to continue teaching photography, I look forward to further work with women, making beautiful images, I would like to travel some, keep staying in touch with my fast growing boys, try some new photography things, keep my eyes open and try to stay healthy.
Time also to look back at what has been in this previous year. I haven’t really counted it out, but I did less ‘free work’ photoshoots than the year before, but covered more other theme’s like landscape, travel photography and architecture. I think that’s nice, but it also kind of boggles me. What kind of photographer am I, what kind of photographer do I want to be. Is there a way of becoming a good photographer, with a distinct style when tackling all kinds of different subjects. Where does this all lead to? … do you know? This reminds me of the discussion I had with C. Coigny early 2017, when visiting his exhibit in Tournai (Belgium). He said, don’t bother, even if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll eventually get there …
I often get the remark that it cannot be too difficult making beautiful pictures from good looking, young women. This has lead me to the start of a new project “The age of beauty, the beauty of age” for which I’m looking for 50+ ladies, wanting to pose in my style. This to show my audience that beauty is not solely age-related, and that every age has its own kind of beauty. If you know someone that might be interested in posing, please let me know. I have done two shoots for this project, but I will be waiting till I have a complete series before showing them to the world.
I started self-developing my films later this year, bought me some secondhand equipment, a bottle of Ilfotec 29 developer, stop and fixing bath, and went on from there. I developed 9 rolls of 120 film and still have a lot to learn, but self developing opens doors to bigger camera formats like 4×5 Inch. Lab development for sheet film is outrageously expensive and out of reach for my budget, self developing is feasible and reasonably simple. Next step will then be to get a decent digital file from a large format negative. The resolution of my Canon 5Ds will no longer be sufficient for the huge amount of detail in a large format negative. One step at a time, You’ll eventually get there, remember. 🙂
Thank you for your continued support in visiting this site and blog. It drives me to continue writing posts and publishing images. Some articles get more attention than others, but that’s absolutely fine with me. At this moment (dec 31 4:28pm) I count 95.103 Visitors and 412.912 visits. That is roughly +100% visitors and +25% visits compared to last year.
You come from all over the world, with 201 countries represented, USA leading with 27 thousand visitors, next comes Belgium with 11.113 visitors and at the end of the line a lot of countries with one visitor 🙂 some of them I’ve never heard of, sorry. …(Mayotte, Tokelau, Nauru, Vanuatu, …)
I have published 56 posts in 2017, bringing a total of 397 published posts. You’ll need a couple of days if you want to read trough them all. That is probably the small spikes in the yearly visitor chart, someone started reading and couldn’t stop anymore:
So thank you all again, please do not hesitate to comment, send me a note if you have a question, send me a dollar if you want to sponsor me (Paypal – info(at)renderhouse(dot)eu), and please continue visiting my blog.
some highlights of this year:
from the fantastic cooperation with Riona Neve,
• The spirit of Ecstasy •
Discovering the work of Christian Coigny, meeting the artist.
Shooting analog only for a short story
• smashing the studio • or how to convince your models to take a sledge hammer and ruin the radiators for a more realistic result, blood and bruises inclusive.
Street photography in Paris with the Rolleiflex TLR
Publication in Goodlight Magazine
A group exhibit in Ronse, my home town. Invited by the local photography club.
Bald and beautiful with Marlies
Memorable motorcycling trip trough Scotland
Getting soakin’ wet trying to capture this water stream in Scotland
Gathering my landscape work in a book volume
• Landscapes and other things that jump into my camera •
Trying some flash studio work with the Rolleiflex TLR. Making portraits from some friends.
Another publication in ModellenlandMagazine
looking for inspiration, late Marc Lagrange
Don’t hold back, just re-read my 2017 posts if you want to find out all about it.
time to close this post, need to fix some supper, my wife had an unforeseen chirurgical intervention a couple of days ago, so I’ve become master chef, master household, master everything, this last week in 2017. Wish you all the best for 2018! Hope to meet again!
below, self portrait with the Voightländer Bessa 6×9 format.
a little resume
I have studied to be a graphic designer, that led to a degree back in 1991. I have worked in several pre-press studio’s and a packaging design agency before starting my own company, not in graphic design but in 3D rendering services. I was rather successful, with clients such as product developing companies Barco, Melexis, SAS winches, Duco, Marketing agencies, artists such as Mark Manders, André Rieu, next to a lot of architects and project developers.
I loved being on the front edge of new products, developments, technologies, events, and being able to provide marketing material for these customers. I did this on my own, and home based. Very convenient, but in the end also very lonely as a job. Orders were sent by email, some explanation on the phone if necessary, and finished jobs were sent out by email as well, or by means of online data transfer sites like wetransfer. This meant that in the following years, I had no social contacts anymore. I went looking for a solution, and this showed up in photography. I had started a weekend class in photography when I had just left my studies, but never finished it. Honestly because I was a bit discontent about the chemicals being poured down the drain. (talking about film photography at that time)
But I never really quit photography, and with every job change, I looked for a job related to photography in some way. This has made me decide back in 2009-2010 that I wanted to pick up classes again to further build my photography skills.
I could do some exams to skip some classes, as I was familiar with photography basics (from the two years I did previously) and with retouching (from my graphics background) and I sped up the process by taking two classes at a time. Very soon I could enrol a job into teaching Adobe Lightroom in the same institution I was following my own finishing classes. A kind of a strange situation but it turned out well as most of the students I gave classes to didn’t even realise I hadn’t finished my studies yet.
At the same time I started following classes again I also started portraying women, which led to the portfolio you can see on this website. This started as being very occasionally, but I got more and more into it, and tried to use every free moment of time to get a shoot planned.
Very soon I had a larger amount of classes to teach, and I tried being more selective in my clients/jobs in my self owned business, but nevertheless I worked like 4/5 in teaching classes 3/5 in doing 3D rendering jobs and 1/5 self organised photography shoots.
Too much indeed, so last year in november I announced to all my clients for 3D rendering that I would finish this service, look for somebody interested in acquiring the client base, and only do photography jobs from 2017. I found nobody interested so I had to disappoint some of my customers for sure, some still are customers for photography services, one is hard to convince and stubborn in still giving me 3D rendering jobs. I announced yesterday that I will no longer be of service from 2018 on.
why tough decisions, well, 3D rendering services have long been a good source of income to me, and they still were in 2017, it has paid my photography investments in material, exhibition prints, workshop costs, … photography has grown slightly but not enough to compensate, since I have not enough time to really build up this service due to a lack of time.
This comes down to cutting one safety line before you have another one :/ … of course I have my classes that serve as a stable base income, but they are by far not ‘wealthy paid’ and getting noticed with my photography has proven to be a long and difficult process. I have had a good exhibit with some book sales and some large format print sales, just enough to compensate for the costs made (printing material, giving everybody a drink, making some new large format prints for the exhibit, …).
I would like to invest more time in artistic researches and getting further in analog photography. I am currently investigating the options for working on 4×5 inch format, requiring a large format camera and the need for development in house (till now I had my 120 roll film developed by a lab, but 4×5 film sheet lab development is out of budget)
A whole lot of words to explain why posting rate has dropped a little the last months.
Things should take up again when I finished my last 3D rendering job 🙂 if someone is interested in my earlier client base, just give me a call. The website is here: www.renderhouse.eu
Can’t post without an image, you will understand why photography is so much more pleasant than 3D, it is working with people rather than pixels :
just a short message to let you know that I have been published with a short interview and a series of images in ‘modellenlandmagazine’. The magazine offers a platform for models, photographers, stylists and make up artists to showcase their work.
you can read, and especially watch the issue here:
my interview starts on page 210
one thing to start with, I’m very sorry this exhibit is over. I have really enjoyed it (again on one of the very last days of the exhibit – I tend to postpone exhibition visits till the moment I can’t any further delay it or I’ll mis it) so there’s no way you can see it here in Belgium anymore, sorry for that.
I have enjoyed the exhibit very much. It gave an overview of Saul Leiters’ work both commercial and non commercial, presented in the humble way that Leiter proves to be in the documentary movie (In no great hurry – 2012) that was made of him shortly before he died in 2013. Small paintings, small prints, and a vast number of images. I kind of missed a clear structure in the exhibit, but that might be purposely related to his way of working, and his total disorder in his huge archive.
Over a period of about 60 years he documented street life in the south-east part of New York, in a very particular way. He had moved into New York mainly to start as a painter, and this approach is clearly visible in his work. Deconstructed impressionist frames form the setting of a lot of his photographs, in which often a single person is the only immediately recognizable feature of the image. Often there is no figurative element at all, and all is fuzzy or blurred and an impressionist vision on the city life is all that’s left. Remarkably colorful, even in winter settings, he manages to make his images a delight to look at. Often the content of his images is captured between several layers of reflections, mirrored images, damp-dripping glass surfaces where you have to work your way around as a viewer.
Saul has become famous only after a very long period of working, and it seems he never fully realized the quality and the impact of his work. In this perspective I would gladly recommend viewing the full documentary ‘In no great hurry – 13 lessons in life with Saul Leiter’ as it offers an in depth encounter and it is a testimony to humility and unpretentiousness I have seldom seen in an artist of this scale. Inspirational at least.
You can see an extensive selection of his work here:
another source of info:
thanks for reading,
I do not often speak about material I use, or my brand of camera’s being better than the other one, … you know what I mean, mainly because I don’t think gear matters all that much.
It is a pleasant thing to know your gear will be working whenever you need it, so I do appreciate reliability and so, but I don’t think that you’ll absolutely need the latest gear to make good images.
This said, I would like to write this little post about the makers of the tripod I have been using for about 6 years now. It has been facing salty sea water, clamping down on my motorbike, rain and ice, mud and dirt, and all nice things in between. The brand is Berlebach. They are nice ash-wood tripods, comparable to the type of tripods land surveyors use for their theodolites. Not excessively expensive, very sturdy, very stable (wood has the natural ability to absorb vibrations), very well finished and beautiful to look at. They don’t get your fingers freezing in cold temperatures, all good things. The downsides: they are heavy, mine does have long leg segments, which makes them(it) a bit cumbersome on long hikes. Mine is from the Report series, and it features a very handy ball-joint built into the tripod itself. This makes levelling the tripod a piece of cake, no matter what surface you are working on. The head is a three way head, all metal, beautifully finished and with a very tight grip.
Now, after six years of good service, one of the handles broke. It happened on the way back from the institute where I teach photography classes. My tripod was tightly secured on my motor when suddenly I took a road bump (they happen to be quite present here in Belgium) and I heard some clattering under the bike. Stopped, saw the handle in the middle of the street. It just broke off of the tripod head. No idea why or if it had been damaged before or …
So I sent an email to customer service to ask if they still could provide a replacement for this handle. The answer was short and very clear “Dear Ludwig, we will send you a new handle”. I thanked them and asked if this would be a payable replacement, that I would understand that since my tripod was at least 5 years old (didn’t bother looking how old it was exactly) …
Again a quick reply: “No, it will be sent free of charge, we only need your post address.”
😀 😀 😀
It dropped into my mailbox a couple of days later, not the same design, but even more handy, since a little smaller. Now here is my thought about this all: Where do you find companies these days that, after 6 years of buying their goods, will replace a part for free, send it for free, all with a smile? Thank you Berlebach!! www.berlebach.de
Today is my birthday, I just became 46 years old, or young as you wish.
A couple of years ago I discovered this inspring text, the ‘Holstee Manifesto’. I bought a large poster of it, you can do that here: Holstee.com, framed it and hung it up my working room wall. It has been there ever since.
It inspired me to do the things I do now (although I had often changed jobs before) and I think a lot of people could have benefit acting in the spirit of it. Read it, read it again, think about it, think about it again.
My motorcycle is ready for a two day riding trip. The weather is gonna be fairly good, all the rest is fine. I hope I get at least a little lost, and I hope the same for you.
bless you all.
Bowie is no more, let’s remember some of his words.
so I’ll keep trying, till I succeed …
– Justine –
thank you for watching
Images © ludwig desmet – Canon 5D II with Canon 135mm f2 L
Hi, I have been looking for a different WordPress template that gave a little more appreciation to my pictures. This new template leaves the entire width available for pictures now, I think it looks a lot better. If you miss the previously available – archive – subscribe – latest writings and other options, they are now on the bottom of each page, hidden under the + triangle. Please enjoy this natural light portrait of this beautiful lady below and let me know what you think about the new look of this blog. 🙂
– 2016 will be a good year –
thanks for watching
1/30s f2.8 ISO 1250 Canon 100mm Macro