Category: influences

Bottoms up!

Ooh yeah!

I think that a good cup of coffee has the power, not only to wake up, but to inspire.

I’ve been tirelessly working on my ability to make a fabulous cup of coffee, just as much as I have been working on my ability to create a fantastic portrait.

I admire how effortlessly the top baristas create a magnificent ‘cup of joe‘, and also their joy when seeing the elated expression their coffee brings when tasted.

I’ve been witness to amazing latte art, and I must admit my guilt at seeing their work destroyed as I consume their effortless creation.

The two best coffee shops (imo) areĀ The Coffee Barun and Bar 9.

These guys who run these coffee shops are masters of their art, and I’m always willing to invest some quality enjoyment in their wares.

Still.. I am keen to pursue a level of competency in my barista skills to I and others can enjoy the fruits of my labour.

However I have far to go..

My attempts to create illustrious, awe-inspiring, passion invoking latte art has perhaps achieved what some would call, a Freudian level of maturity. Perhaps it’s the inspiration of a particular Gustav Klimt painting.

I have no idea.. It is however quite disconcerting..

In any case, bottoms up!


One of my favourite paintings in our local Art Gallery is this one by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, ‘Virgin and Child’…

When I was in primary school, my mum was studying at the uni behind this Art Gallery. My sister and I used to hang out at the Art Gallery or the Museum until they closed, and I used to sit in front of this painting and absorb all of the detail like a sponge to water. I was especially captivated by the rich detail and flawless technique Bouguereau used on this painting. I remember always being captivated by the eyes of the child. They seem to be ‘all knowing’, showing an awareness beyond the age of the child. I always got the impression that Bouguereau painted in adult eyes on the child. This painting became a major source of inspiration to all of my art work, in particular my pencil portraits.

I haven’t drawn a portrait for a while now, due to time and photography, but I was recently reminded of the influence this painting has had on my art.

I was taking a portrait of my daughter, and was trying for that ‘right’ light that would bring out the tone of her skin. I must admit, I have been driven for that ‘perfect’ representation of her skin since owning the 7d. (The colour detail is so much richer than on my 400d) I am first to admit that there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ lighting, or more to the point, all lighting can be considered perfect, and treats whatever it reflects off of differently. However, I still pursued this utopian image from my subconscious, which revealed itself through the following portrait.

I was taking a self-portrait when my daughter said she was ready for her portrait.


Seeing as my wife was out,… and it was bedtime, .. and all of my lights were already set up, I figured it wouldn’t be a stress..

So here is the portrait. Two SB 24’s, both through umbrellas, one camera right almost directly face on, the other camera left slightly behind her shoulder. My 430 EX II was overhead through a honeycomb spot.

When I post processed this shot, it reminded me of the Bouguereau painting, in particular the skin tone and eyes..

I decided to try the same idea again when my daughter wanted her portrait taken a few days later. The lighting and set up was a little different, but now I was focused on what I wanted to achieve in terms of skin tone.

It was in this next portrait that I achieved a closer representation of the Bouguereau skin tone..

The child in Bouguereau’s painting has a cool translucent type skin tone with pinkish over tones, in particular around the fingers and toes.

In this portrait a utopian image became an achieved reality.. well, this time at least.

I feel that I am just able to capture the type of image that I have in my mind’s eye.

This process has inspired me to review more of my childhood muses and explore what effect they have on my photography.

Maybe I’ll check out Vermeer next?