Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Singapore Sling... April 2017

We got back from our 5 day trip to Singapore yesterday and I just managed to put together a small video clip of a selection of the street photographs I took. During the day I carried my X70 with me when we were going places and later at night when Nikoleta and Athena were sleeping I was hitting the streets for some night shots. The colours in Singapore demanded I shoot this series in colour, something I haven't done before with my street work.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fujifilm X70... a street journey!

'Fujifilm X70'
Wrist strap by Hyperion Camera Straps

I've been frequently asked by my portrait colleagues... "What's your deal with street photography all about?" For those that have followed my conceptual stylized portraiture work over the years and have come to know me because of that... then it's a valid question and one that deserves an answer. That answer though is longer than what this blog post should be and it's not what this blog post is primarily about. One day i'll give the long version of that answer, but for now in short, it's a part of

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Book review... 'A snapshot of Melbourne'

© 2016 The Worldwide Publishing Empire

What's better than a good street photography book? A good street photography book comprising of images both past & present from your own city.
Firstly, i'm a portrait photographer, it's what i'm recognized for before any other photographic genre. And although I have been acquiring a selection of photography books over the years, the irony is that

Thursday, June 30, 2016

GOLD! PX3 Paris 2016...

'Sanday' Gold award at PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris 2016

Waking up in the morning with good news that eventuated on the other side of the planet whilst you're sleeping is a surefire way to get you out of the right side of the bed in the morning!
Honoured to have found out that my photograph 'Sanday' received a first place gold award in the professional childrens portrait category in the prestigious '2016 PX3 (Prix de la Photographie Paris 2016)' international awards!
Last year I received a second place silver award for my photo 'Silverleaves' and the year before that in 2014 a first place gold award for my photo 'Laundrette', so i've had a good run with the PX3 awards since 2014!
However this year's award is a bit more special to me. This photo of my daughter happens to be one of my favourite pieces from my whole body of work. It has something surreal about it that I haven't been able to put into words, i've always wanted to do my own interpretation of the Mona Lisa, perhaps this is it, I don't really know, but ever since taking this photo i've been in no rush to do it.

Earlier this year this photo was also selected to be a part of the Fujifilm X-World gallery exhibition in Tokyo Japan during the official X-Pro2 announcement.

'Sanday' on exhibit during the Fujifilm X-World gallery in Tokyo Japan earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of David Hobby.

For those interested in the technicals, the awarded photograph was taken using an off camera speedlight through a shoot thru umbrella synced at 1/1000s with the Fujifilm X100S' camera lens wide open at f2 whilst we spent a few days down the coast having some family time off.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Moscow International Foto Awards 2016...

Moscow International Foto Awards 2016 awarded entries.

Honoured to have found out the other day that a few entries I submitted a couple of months back were awarded in the professional categories of the 'Moscow International Foto Awards 2016'.
Congratulations to all the other awarded entrants. A pleasure seeing some familiar names participate and do so well amongst some very strong work at an international level!

I've also received a few emails from some people wanting to know the cameras I used for these images. The top two photos and the one in the middle were taken with the Fujifilm X100S and an X-T1 with an XF10-24/4 lens.
The bottom two were taken with a Pentax K3 shortly before I switched to the Fujifilm system for all my work. Yes! And before I get asked again... The Fujifilm system is more than capable for this type of work and the sensor is more than capable at printing large exhibition size prints with fine detail!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

X-Pro2... a brief evaluation.

A few months ago back in March I finally got my hands on the much anticipated Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera. For most photographers that aren't familiar with the hype that was surrounding it's release, you've been spared the crowd noise that came with it. Shortly following it's release the reviews started coming in thick and fast and the camera is still being and will continue being reviewed by photographers that perhaps want to give it some more time before drawing any detailed final conclusions. I'm not going to review this camera in any in-depth way at all as most reputable...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Losing control...

As most already know, my genre in photography is stylized conceptual portraiture. It's what i'm known for and what I enjoy the most, creating something slightly surreal out of nothing more than an idea. It's been the type of work where i've had complete control from the idea stage, the aesthetics to the technicals, from the beginning right to the very end and it's been reflected with a successful body of work produced over the years that we're proud of. However sometimes we reach a point where things get too comfortable, almost easy, and as tempting as it is, throwing money into bigger personal projects is not the solution in creating more emotive and meaningful work, for me.

So almost a year ago I decided to take a detour in my photography journey by shooting street photography, a type of psychological reset for myself. A genre i've had no past experience with as it's way out of my comfort zone and the only genre that was really going to challenge me on many levels. Up until recently I thought of this as a detour in my journey, but it may be a bridge instead. If it's a detour then i'll be back on the main road again but with a different perspective on my portraiture, if it's a bridge then it'll lead me towards a different style of portraiture. Either way, a win situation as the whole purpose in this psychological reset is to ultimately further myself as a photographer that's looking for meaning, knowingly i'll come out a better portrait photographer because of it. After all, we still have many more awesome concepts to shoot with Athena!

In the meantime, i've put together a brief slideshow on a selection of my street work i've shot in the last 11 months documenting my journey. This side street project i've called 'Losing Control' as that's what i've felt since this detour. I have no control in the streets like I do in my chosen genre, the only control I have is where to point the camera and when to press the shutter. Like my known work with Athena it was never intended as a project but with time it's sort of evolved into one. And I always believe the best projects are usually the ones that never start off as projects but sort of evolve into them. The irony... I've found losing control frustrating, yet very liberating.

Thank you to everyone that's been riding this creative journey with us, we hope it never ends!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

What's in my kit bag...

A few weeks back the team at got in contact with me wanting to know what's in my usual kit bag. 'Click here' to find out how simple I usually keep it!


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Copyright breaches...

In this day and age of the internet, social media and other forms of instant networked communication I still don't understand why some so called 'artists' want to risk their reputation and the repercussions of litigation taken against them by copying other peoples works without asking permission and then trying to pass it off as their own and thinking they can get away with it.

It's unfortunate and as many people already know, i've been a victim of this many times over the years but in many ways i'm also fortunate that my works are well recognized amongst many photographers and artists alike worldwide and i'm usually informed almost immediately once a copyright breach against me is discovered.

The latest copyright breach of my photo 'Pears' by an oil painter made the news in the U.S media recently. Again... no permission was sought or any credit referenced back to my original photograph by the copyright infringer.

(Thanking San Diego based photographer Erika Thornes in bringing this copyright infringement to my attention. Shortly after this copyright breach against me occurred I was also interviewed by blogger Mandy Schoch regarding the situation. A link to this blog post interview is here: 'Bill Gekas has been copied... again!')

Most times these copyright breaches take place it usually happens to be by painters or digital artists and only in a few circumstances has it been by other photographers.
Now one thing I have to mention is that I also receive many emails from painters doing the right thing and asking for permission to paint the works and respecting my ultimate decision. However, only in a handful of instances have I given permission for the works to be reproduced of which a mandatory requirement was that credit must have been referenced back to the original work and all correspondence of how the works were to be used for of which I have full records of.
If my works have been copied as paintings or in any other medium with no credit referenced back to me and the original work then it's a copyright breach of which I gave no authorization to.

Another thing i've discovered as to why it's usually painters doing the wrong thing by me and other photographers is that painters and photographers in most cases hang around in different circles. The unscrupulous artists rely on the fact that they won't be caught out as their circle won't intersect with the other circle... But here's the thing, sometimes these circles do intersect and the more well known the works are, the higher the chance you'll be called out. Now is risking your whole reputation as a respected artist worth it? Simply put, true artists understand and respect other artists works, bullshit artists don't!

Some of my more frequently copied work by painters.
'Red Beret, Potatoes, Pleiadian & Cherries'

Any respected artist who takes their work seriously and expects others to take their work seriously too have to be aware of international copyright laws. There is 'The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works' of which these 'countries' are signatories to and which makes international litigation proceedings a feasible prospect. Then there's also the internet and the social media weapon. The naming and shaming which can be just as detrimental if not moreso than litigation. Many years of hard work and earning some sort of respect in the arts community can be destroyed in an instant by being caught out, it just takes one act of stupidity. Is it worth it?

I've now decided to take the approach of both litigation where it'll be worth my while and naming and shaming when it's not. I've even had a suggestion by some of my friends and social media followers to create a new gallery with my copied works next to my original pieces, perhaps calling this gallery 'The Wall Of Shame!?'

The internet and it's powerful reach is a double edge sword for those that want to play against the rules and the approach i'll be taking now is simply compiling a list of the copyright breaches of my work i've come across over time and taking appropriate measures whether through litigious channels or using my social media reach in exposing the copyright infringers. It doesn't matter whether it's a commercial entity churning the dollars or a one man artist calling it an interpretation, because at the end of the day i'll be calling it bullshit and calling it out loudly!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

KL Int'l Photoawards 2015...

'My two finalist images to be exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this year'

Honored to announce that for the fifth year in a row i'm one of the finalists in the 'Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2015'.
This year the judges accepted two of my images for the upcoming exhibition and awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one image in the open category and one image in the themed category.

As most people that follow and know my work also know what my participation level is in awards and exhibitions, this is the first time my award works have been shot with the 'Fuji system' that i'm contemplating in moving over to for all my future projects and portfolio work.
As per previous years the images for exhibition will be printed large and i'm more than confident the Fuji X-Trans sensor files will hold up well in print to meet any exhibition gallery requirements.

My finalist images and other finalists works will be exhibited and on display at White Box Gallery, PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 1st August - 15th August 2015.

More information regarding the exhibition and award ceremony can be found on their official website here:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My affair with Fuji...

As most people know I've been shooting with the Pentax system since I started photography when I was shooting film using a Pentax ME-Super and K1000 bodies which I still have in some cupboard somewhere. I never considered switching systems as the Pentax system was always adequate for what I was doing and once they brought out their digital bodies I continued with their digital cameras as I could use my older manual focus prime lenses on their latest bodies. By that time I also had invested enough into the system that switching to any other system would have been a costly exercise with no real gain or benefit with my work so i've been happily doing what I do with the system, but after almost 20 years of shooting with Pentax i'm now at a crossroads.

My Fuji x100s looking like a street camera!
Last year I decided I wanted a camera to carry with me everywhere. Sort of a point and shoot but with similar image quality to my dslr. My iPhones have been serving that camera always on you purpose well over the years but if I wanted to print something a bit bigger than a 4x6" print it would start to fall apart pretty quickly. iPhone cameras are great for sharing images online but they're lacking in exposure controls and there's only so much a small sensor can do regardless of the megapixels they keep trying to squeeze in.
So I looked into it a bit and liked the Fuji x100s. It had a fast fixed focal length lens equivalent to a 35mm lens which is great as i'm usually a wide to normal focal length shooter, a thoughtful layout of dials, image quality like most dslr's, a leaf shutter lens that allows syncing a speedlight at high sync speeds, inbuilt 3 stop ND filter, great looking, and all that in almost a pocketable size. So this camera ticked all the boxes for me and I decided to go with it but not as a replacement for my dslr, but as a carry with me everywhere type camera, a camera I never really considered using for my project work until earlier this year.

Earlier this year I wanted to shoot a few of my concepts using a wide aperture whilst maintaining exposure in the sky and lighting my subject in brighter ambient. A technique which can be pulled off with most modern dslr cameras but would involve attaching ND filters in front of the lens and then using a studio strobe to compensate for that, the unfortunate sync speed limitation of most common dslr's. This is where the Fuji x100s' leaf shutter sync speed capability and inbuilt ND filter comes in to play. Syncing a manual speedlight at 1/1000s makes my AA battery powered speedlight equivalent in power to a small studio strobe. David Hobby (aka. strobist) has a great article here on this and explains it in a lot better detail, once you get it, you just get it! (For those that don't know David's strobist blog I highly recommend it if lighting is your thing. It's the lighting 101 & 102 tutorials I learnt my lighting techniques from a few years back and an invaluable lighting resource I still refer people to.)

Below are some of my project images I created using the Fuji x100s. As great as what the jpg files are straight out of this camera I usually shoot raw as this gives me more leeway with the post processing work.

'Silverleaves' - Fuji x100s, 1/800s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera left.

'Sanday' - Fuji x100s, 1/1000s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera left.

'Bookend' - Fuji x100s, 1/60s, f2, iso400, overcast window light camera right.

'Sea Maiden' - Fuji x100s, 1/640s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera right.

Now here's the thing that may surprise a few but i'm not a fan of cameras and all their accessories as i've realized over the years that the camera and all it's accessories are usually the obstacle in the creation process, the psychological bulk! Let's face it, we're putting this mass manufactured contraption in front of our faces when we do photography, we have to rely and use this device to make our art, if that's not the main obstacle between ourselves and what we're shooting on a connection level, then what is? But as it stands that's how the medium of photography has been and currently is and if we're to continue pursuing our craft we have to run with it or at least try minimize that obstacle.

And this is why i'm at a bit of a crossroads to whether i'll switch across to the Fuji system or continue shooting Pentax. One of the reasons i've stayed with Pentax so long is that their dslr cameras are very intuitive and ergonomically well designed. I never cared too much what canikon were doing as my main reason for shooting Pentax was that it was as close to a transparent camera to me as what I could find and less an obstacle than what I found the other bigger systems were. It worked and I thought all was good until I recently started putting the Fuji x100s through it's paces from using it as a simple point and shoot to creating portfolio images as displayed here using off camera lighting techniques with some planned production. The Fuji x100s seemed more transparent, it just felt like an extension of my vision and has also been giving me the same nostalgic joy I had when I was shooting film but without the mess and expense associated with film.

'Grapes' - Fuji x100s, 1/320s, f3.6, speedlight in octabox camera right.

Over the last few conceptual shoots i've done with it i'm now convinced that the Fuji system seems more than capable as a system I may be switching over to for my type of work. However I can't just use the x100s as my main and only camera as the fixed focal length would restrict me in a few situations. The other option is keeping and shooting both systems but that's not on the cards as i'm trying to minimize both the physical and psychological bulk in my workflow. There can only be one system in my bag and dropping the Pentax will feel like an expensive divorce after 20 years, but things move forward and sometimes change can be a good thing even if it's just on a psychological level.

Every system has it's strengths and weaknesses and all systems are more capable than what we are photographers. At the end of the day the difference can even just be psychological, but if that's the difference in translating to a better user experience and the system becoming less an obstacle in the creative process, all the better! I'll let you know whatever I eventually decide on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 opening night...

Reception counter at the National Portrait Gallery with a crop of my finalist image 'Odysseus' promoting the exhibition.

We just got back from 'Canberra' yesterday from what seemed like a surreal couple of days where we were at the opening of the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 hosted and run by the 'National Portrait Gallery' in Canberra.
I was informed in November that my image 'Odysseus' was shortlisted as one of the 44 finalist images from a pool of over 2500 entries from Australian photographers.

'Odysseus' NPPP 2015 finalist image by Bill Gekas

Although i've been following this exhibition for a few years now it seems like the entries are getting stronger every year and i'd hate to be any of the judges trying to select the shortlist and ultimately the winning image from such a field of talent.
I spent quite some time viewing each of the 44 selected images on exhibit and there weren't any that I didn't like, they all had a certain strength and story about them that reflects where photographic portraiture in Australia currently lies.
Other than the champagne flowing that night, the other highlight was 'David Stratton' and 'Margaret Pomeranz' announcing the overall winner of the prize which was awarded to Iranian born Melbourne based photographer Hoda Afshar with her image 'Portrait of Ali'.

Overall it was a great opening night and an awesome after party where I got to meet and socialize with most of the other finalists and gallery crew, but due to the pace of the evening and huge crowd I did miss a few people which was unfortunate. It was great that Athena and my wife Nikoleta also accompanied me on the short trip and the number of people that recognized Athena from my body of work was also something that we didn't quite expect but was very welcome by her.

A huge honour my image was shortlisted and is now hanging at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra between the 21st March - 8th June 2015 before travelling on a touring exhibition to 'Mackay', 'Cairns', 'Bundaberg' & 'Rockhampton' until April 2016.

Congratulations to all other finalists and a huge thank you to the gallery and staff for creating such a memorable experience.

Below are some quick iPhone snaps from the last few days.

On the way to Canberra.

Opening night. The crowd kept getting bigger.

David Stratton & Margaret Pomeranz announcing the winner.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

Winning image by Hoda Afshar 'Portrait Of Ali'.

All good things come to an end. On the way back to Melbourne.