WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

_ASC5336Mime school is part of the Saturday afternoon street life scene in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza … hey, they gotta learn it somewhere!

Posted in Photography, San Francisco, Stephen Kelly Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Statues


Statues are everywhere around us, and this week’s Ailsa’s Travel Theme photo challenge gave me an opportunity to revisit some of the many statues I’ve seen in my own travels. Above is the impressive 80-foot (24 m) high concrete and steel statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara at Ryozen Kannon in Kyoto, Japan. Here are other statues of varying sizes and styles from far-flung areas of the world!


Posted in Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Japan, Photography, Stephen Kelly Photography, Travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tales of Mystery and Adventure: The Hand Cut Paper Art of Hari and Deepti

Firewolves and The Lone Warrior

This week I’d like to present the stunning, intricate, hand cut paper works by artists Hari & Deepti, who create astonishing scenes using nothing but paper and lights. Originally from India but now based out of Denver, Colorado, each of the two brings different skill sets to the table that has shaped the foundation of their art. Hari, whose full name is Harikrishnan Panicker, is a trained graphic designer and illustrator while Deepti Nair specializes in paper cut art.

Wolf and The MoonThe couple started experimenting with paper cut shadow boxes in 2010 with hand-painted watercolor paper, which was then cut and assembled in a wooden box to create a diorama. They then started experimenting with lights and simplified their pieces by losing the colored paper. They have since evolved to add their own style of paper cut art incorporating back-lit light boxes using flexible LED strip lights.

When put together, these interesting techniques give their work a three-dimensional feel lit in a fiery golden glow. The small visual narratives depicted in each work often play off aspects of light including stars, flames, fireflies, and planets. For me, though, the most interesting aspect of their art are the small stories of exploration, danger and wonder being told in each scene, like they could almost be from a child’s adventure book. The two are also adept at creating motion and tension — I almost expected some of these scenes to start moving.

Endlessly fascinating and visually arresting, I’m pleased to feature the intricate art of Hari and Deepti. Check out the gallery after the jump, and learn more by visiting their online profile.

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Posted in Art, Weekly Art | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Irish Aye-Yi-Yi! The 2014 San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade

_ASC9032This past weekend saw the runnin’ of the annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and it truly was a day for the wearin’ of the green, even if you weren’t Irish, or if you didn’t live in San Francisco. Irish eyes were certainly smiling when it came to the weather, and the parade strutted down Market Street under clear, sunny skies and unseasonably warm temps. I’m sure the wearin’ of the kilts became a tad more uncomfortable (and a lot less hygiene) come mid-afternoon, when temps topped out at 75 degrees, very strange for this time of year … thanks, global warming. And thanks for the drought, while we’re at it!

_ASC9298Anyway, a real photographer can’t let a major photo opportunity like a downtown parade pass by unphotographed, but I approached the event with some reluctance. I had extensively photographed last year’s parade, and my experiences with shooting large annual events told me to expect some redundancy. And sure enough, that hunch didn’t disappoint, as I felt like I was taking some of the same shots of the same people in the same order as last year’s parade.

Still, you can’t have a major outdoor event that celebrates the larrikin spirit of the Irish and not expect some wackiness to ensue. And in that respect, again, it didn’t disappoint. And how could it not … it’s San Francisco, for God’s sake! I’m glad I was there to capture it because it turned out to be a really fun day, even if it felt like deja-vu all over again.

So here for your viewing pleasure is the good, the bad, the ugly and the world’s greatest U2 cover band) of this year’s San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Erin Go Braugh, y’all … and check out the gallery after the wee jump!!!

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Posted in Photo Essay, Photo Gallery, Photography, San Francisco, Stephen Kelly Creative, Stephen Kelly Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Dystopian Worlds of Steven Tabbutt

New Conquistador

I have a sneaking suspicion that the illustrations of this week’s featured artist, Steven Tabbutt, will be polarizing. Some will be attracted and intrigued by his chaotic, dystopian art, while others will be turned off for that exact same reason.

Whatever the reaction, there’s a lot going on here, in both subject matter and technique. Whereas some artists invite you to into their worlds, in this case it may be best to take it all in from the sidelines. At first glance his work is almost an assault on the eyes; there’s so much going on, so many colors playing off each other, so many colliding shapes and lines. His work is a contradictory push-pull of innocence and impending doom, populated by characters who looked the were pulled from the pages of art history books. Much like our real world, the scenarios he creates can be restless and chaotic, yet it’s nearly impossible to pull your sight from them.

Tabbutt’s interesting, multi-layered technique adds to this muddled effect, as he utilizes everything from pastel to acrylic and photomontage to print, the colors often in conflict with one another, the use of bold lines and empty spaces all helping to nail down the foreboding inherent in each picture. But even amongst all these busy goings-on, works like “Lola” and “Another Day In Paradise” represent a brief calming in the midst of the chaos.

To that effect, his work blurs the line between classical painting and more contemporary design and illustration techniques while his subject matter delves into art history, folk tales and the modern digital age. Indeed, many of his subjects appear as if they’ve been transported from another world, not really sure of where they are.

The result is some of the more disquieting, disorienting, yet fascinating work that I’ve displayed in a while. Pro or con … where do you stand on the surreal work of Steven Tabbutt? See more of his work at his website.

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Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Gardens

_ASC3269I’m a city-livin’ apartment dweller, so I don’t really have a  garden to speak of. I have a nice deck that affords me awesome city views, but the weather up here in the Twin Peaks section of San Francisco where I live is sometimes too cool, windy and foggy to grow anything but the heartiest of plants, especially in the summer.

IMG_0028So to get my green garden kicks I live vicariously through city parks. And my hands-down favorite is Sydney’s beautiful Royal Botanic Garden, a massive greenspace that encompasses 30-hectare (approximately 70 acres) of prime Sydney real estate, so close to the downtown CBD district it’s almost part of it. Fun fact: it was originally opened way back in 1816 and it once had a zoo!

It’s easy to get lost as you wander the lush walkways of this magnificent park, but should that happen, just look around. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge are almost always in view! And don’t forget to take your shoes off. It’s the only park I know of that actually invites you to walk on the grass.

Now, I’m usually a  guy on the go, especially when I’m visiting Sydney, but the beauty and peacefulness of the garden is enough to have me cooling my jets, kicking off my shoes and shirt, laying my butt down in that perfect grass, pulling up my camera bag to use as a pillow, and taking a nice snooze … right in the middle of the afternoon!

Here’s why:

Visit Ailsa’s Travel Theme for more greenery.

Posted in Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Australia, Photography, Stephen Kelly Photography, Sydney, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

_ASC3766You never know what you find inside some of Japan’s ancient temples, like the 800-hundred-year-old “Soryuzu,” a magnificent dragon ceiling mural found in Kyoto’s
Kennin-Ji Temple.


Posted in Japan, Kyoto, Photography, Stephen Kelly Photography, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments