Ana Brandt – Dione Vanderhyden

PhotoTalk 2020/04


I’m blessed and honoured to be part of this project at the invitation of Mr Lam…  He is one of the many photographers i admire.

I admire, follow, gather inspiration and sometimes even try to recreate the work of some of my most influential international photographers.

One such person is Ana brandt who’s photo is above…

She was one of the first person that popped up in my online search back in 2015, when i was looking to get inspired.

Her years of experience and execution has earned her many awards in her field.

I have been closely paying attention to her wrapping and posing techniques as well as client interactions.

She works with both natural and artificial lighting.Her light source below was from a softbox while mine was from window light.

I found and actually sourced white sheer sheets to defuse my window light after this particular image was taken.

I hope to use it when my studio reopens to better defuse my window light for future shoots.

I hope to one day teach and conduct workshops in this particular line of photography, not only in Guyana but Internationally as well.

Ana believes in the phrase knowledge is power, so do I.

Ask me anything……..

Dione Vanderhyden

Number 4 in our PhotoTalk series on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook page, the original comments and discussion can be seen on that post.

Ansel Adams – Michael C. Lam

PhotoTalk 2020/03


One of my inspirations has always been Ansel Adams, his black and white landscapes have always fascinated me. Ansel shot film back then and did his own dark room work, concentrating on his “Zone System” to get the details he needed. You should read more about that. While “The Tetons, Snake River” isn’t my favourite Ansel Adams photograph it illustrates my description of what he accomplished, and some of what I’ve aspired to. Feel free to discuss the good / bad of his work, whether you think his work was great or over-hyped, etc. 

When I started this PhotoTalk series, Dione had asked me how I get my black and white images to be “Black and White”, she says all of hers a tinge to them, red/yellow/orange… I do most of my processing in Adobe Lightroom, my base processing involves getting the highlights and shadows where I want them, and also making sure that there is the sharpness I need. I do tend to go for high contrast black and whites more than softer low-contrast images. I’ve juxtaposed one of mine here with that of Ansel’s for comparison and contrast. When I get the image where I need it in lightroom, I either use the LR Black and white tab to ensure that its in BW or I do further processing in DXO Nik Silver Efex.

Calling them Black and White is actually incorrect, they are monochrome images, lots of shades or grey. When I am printing, I ensure that I use black and white/monochrome files and that the printer uses as close to only Black ink as possible instead of mixing inks (CMYK) – for display, all files are RGB, but I try to ensure that in LR my settings are usually in Black and White. Images that have warmer tones like red/yellow/orange or even cooler tones towards blue may usually need a simple white balance adjustment towards a neutral temperature setting.

My process is not secret, and I am always open to questions.   Ansel’s Zone System is well documented and you should give it a read and learn a little from it.

Original published on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Page on March 30th, 2020. Original comments and discussions can be seen on the original post.

Guerrillero Heroico – Alberto Korda

PhotoTalk 2020/02


Today, let’s discuss “Guerrillero Heroico”

We could talk about the photographer, but this is about the Photo.  Guerrillero Heroico is likely the most printed photo in the world, having appeared in everything from photographic prints, to posters, to attire, to advertising campaigns, tattoos, and eventually to art.

At the time, Alberto Korda was photographing an event, a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion. Today we might say it was part of “event photography” or might classify it as a portrait (Korda did). What you see illustrated here is the original image, what was eventually made famous was a cropped version eliminating the palm tree to the right and the man to the left. What stands out in the image, to me, is the intense expression on Che Guevara’s face.

So, let’s talk, was it a good photo at an event? Was it a situational portrait? Was it a candid “street photograph”? Was it “art”?

Original post on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook page on March 26th, 2020. Original comments and discussion can be seen on that post.

PhotoTalk – Wildlife; Kester Clarke and Kwesi Isles

First in the PhotoTalk series.

PhotoTalk 2020/01


I’ve always admired those folks who do wildlife photography, in Guyana its mostly Bird Photography, but they do get in quite a bit of wildlife too. For local art competitions and exhibitions its been hard for these photos to break into the top where they are considered art.

My view on this has always been that the photographers approach has a lot to do with it. Many Bird Photographers are concentrating on catching the Bird, whether at rest or in flight, its not an easy task to get a great shot of the bird; what results most times are what I consider Bird Portraits, again, excellent work, but often not considered “art” by many.

I was discussing this with an artist and one of the things I came away from that conversation with was that the resulting photographs often lacked other compositional elements related to “story-telling”.

I wanted to mention two “Bird” photographs that, in my opinion, broke through that barrier and by themselves speak volumes. Kester Clarke’s image gives not only action in a still frame, but also offers drama, the shallow depth of field, the sharp details in the birds with the bit of motion blur on the wings makes it an instant pleaser. Kwesi Isles’ image uses subtle background detail with sharp foreground detail in the “post” to add to the main subject in flight, putting it in greyscale lets the viewer see all of this while being undistracted by colour, I haven’t seen the coloured version, but I believe that the background colour would have diminished the clarity seen in the black and white version.

Just my two cents. 

Thanks Kester and Kwesi!

Michael C. Lam

Originally published on the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook page on March 25th, 2020. Comments can be seen there on the post.