About - :: pmbimages | photography by paula m brathwaite ::
"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again."

~ Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 – 2004)


Background

I always had a background in the Arts, from drawing and painting, to sculpture and design. I'd earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Specialized Honours) degree in Visual Arts and Design from York University in Toronto, Canada, and have been an independent Graphic Designer and Pre-Press Production Specialist since 1991. Photography was always fascinating to me, and viewing the work of other photographers was inspirational in my own art, and seeing the world in general.

Photography
I'd discovered that having a visual design/production background added a distinct advantage with my photography, for pre-visualizing and composing my shots, and for post-production/photo processing work in my 'digital darkroom'. My photography consists of capturing various subjects and everyday moments that show the beauty of life and art, whether it is of people, events, animals/wildlife or nature. I enjoy capturing compelling, expressive moments: from performers sharing their stories, passion and emotions with their audience; to an animal studying its viewer or its environment -- while trying to survive, or simply at play.

Camera Systems
I'd started from an Olympus E-500, then E-510, to Olympus E-30. By that point, I was progressing into photographing a lot of concerts in low-light, using two camera bodies, which became my preference (one with a wide-angle lens attached, the other with a telephoto lens). I didn't have to worry about missing many photo opportunities while changing lenses at fast-paced events or situations.

In 2013, I'd changed camera systems altogether, but only because I'd felt that I'd pushed the limits of Olympus' smaller 4/3 camera sensor for my low-light concert and performance work. I needed a camera which had the strength of excellent low-light capabilities, so I chose a full- frame Nikon D700. I have two D700 cameras, to maintain my preference of shooting without changing lenses so often. For lenses, I'd acquired a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 Telephoto, 85mm f/1.8, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.8, 14mm Rokinon f/2.8 Prime lenses, and a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Mid-Zoom/Macro lens. These are the fast lenses I now use for the subjects I photograph.

NEW HORIZONS: Film Production Stills Photography

In 2014, I began actively carving a new path in another genre of photography: Unit Stills Photography, for film/motion picture and television productions. The role of a Stills Photographer may sound simple, but it’s a very in-depth and intense job with many nuanced elements and unknown areas to learn and master.

Unit Production Stills
I take pictures during the actual filming of a scene. I sit next to, or as close as I can, to the movie camera and do my best to match the shooting angle and the lens focal length. I want to get a photograph of what the camera sees. Sometimes I can shoot from another angle for different perspective. Stills cameras provide higher quality for marketing purposes; much easier and faster than trying to grab a still frame from the motion picture camera. Once I get what I think is the best picture for that moment, I can get out of the way and take my pictures to my workstation to see what I have produced.

"Behind-the-Scenes"
I take "the making of..." pictures of cast and crew hard at work, showing how the production was made, and also some fun, light-hearted moments of the teamwork.

All of these images have to be captured while being quiet on the set and not getting in anyone's way. Basically, I have to be practically invisible. Having a photographer on-site to capture those moments is critically important too -- whether it’s capturing key moments from that show-stopping scene, moments with the crew, or setting up shots for posters and promotional materials. I am enjoying this new direction I have taken in photography and I'm pursuing it intensely, with the intention of making it a second career. I'd even built myself two camera blimps (which keep the cameras silent during shoots) -- successfully used on film sets I've worked on since I'd started. That's how very determined I am to succeed in this craft, enjoying the journey while producing the best images possible to help filmmakers market their vision and the passion of the actors.

~ [ Production Stills Portfolio ]

~ [ IMDb Page ]


While keeping things challenging, photography has also been very therapeutic for me. It has helped me relax, experiment freely and focus. It also opened up new perspectives for me, seeing things in so many new and different ways -- not taking the simplest things, or people I've met in my life for granted. I've also especially learned a lot about having patience, taking risks and being bold, pursuing what I want to do!

I welcome any comments or questions. Thank you for visiting.

Paula


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