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: www.klphotoawards.com


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.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Finalist - National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015...

Finalist - 'National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015'

Extremely honored I was recently informed that from a competitive field of over 2500 entries i'm one of the 44 finalists in the 'National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015' run by the 'National Portrait Gallery'.
My finalist photograph which I cannot disclose till the opening night will be on exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra between 21 March - 8 June 2015.

Congratulations to all the other finalists, looking forward to seeing the works on the opening night 20th March.


Monday, July 07, 2014

KL Int'l Photoawards 2014...

'Australian Punjabi' by Bill Gekas

'Kulwant came to Australia from India in 2009 seeking a better quality of life and the opportunities Australia is known for. Currently he is in the process of becoming an Australian citizen and has embraced the Australian acceptance of multiculturalism and way of life whilst like the many immigrants that shaped Australia before him, still maintaining the respect and connection to his rich cultural traditions and heritage.'

Happy to announce that for the fourth year in a row i'm one of the finalists in the open category of the 'Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2014'.
My finalist image and other finalists works will be exhibited and on display at White Box Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 11th August - 24th August 2014.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

GOLD! PX3 Paris 2014...

'Laundrette' Gold award at PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris 2014

Some great news this week! Judging has just been completed in the internationally acclaimed awards 'PX3 - Prix De La Photographie Paris 2014' and the images I submitted in the professional section of the portrait category came away with gold and silver awards. My recent image 'Laundrette' scoring the gold award.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Laundrette... the idea, the space, the light.

'Laundrette' by Bill Gekas

I've had many requests for the breakdown of this image since putting it up and it was about time I did another one of these image breakdowns anyway, so here it is, besides... sharing is caring, right? ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gran Toula...

Gran Toula by Bill Gekas

On the 26th of January here in Australia we celebrated Australia Day public holiday! Although i've had quite a few projects up my sleeve to shoot with Athena I decided it was time to shoot a portrait of my 87 year old grandmother, Athena's great grandmother.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ivy... a breakdown.

Ivy by Bill Gekas

I'm guilty! I've slacked off in updating my blog! Yep, it's been a while since my last blog post and all has been well on this front but things in life just seem to get in the way and i'm sure we all want those extra eight hours in the day, but unfortunately some things in life must take priority over others and sadly it's this page that was left a bit behind. I'll try not let the gap between posts stretch out like this last one! ;)

Friday, June 07, 2013

KL Int'l Photoawards 2013...

My image 'Pleiadian' on exhibit at Galeri Petronas Towers KL Malaysia.   Photo: Brian Cassey
For the third year in a row i'm proud to announce i'm a finalist in the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2013. The exhibition of the finalists works will be on display at Galeri Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur Malaysia from 23rd May - 23rd June 2013. Photo taken above by award winning photographer and finalist Brian Cassey.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shooting with the Pentax 645D...

Pentax 645D

A few months ago in late December I was liaising with Pentax Australia and the good people at the company wanted me to shoot some of my work with a medium format digital camera, their flagship camera the Pentax 645D.
Now just to set the record straight i'm in no way endorsed by any company to write favourable write-ups of any sorts.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Interviewed, featured, published etc...

A few of the publications

It's been a mad couple of months! Throughout February and March I was contacted by various international media outlets requesting written/telephone interviews, images and permission to publish and print my work etc. At the start I didn't think much of it but it didn't take me long to realize my work went viral!