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What images come to mind when you think of firefighting?

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  • What images come to mind when you think of firefighting?

    Hi everyone, I've got a question. . .

    I'm not a firefighter; as my name suggests, I'm an artist. I was just curious about how you all viewed firefighting as it relates to firefighting art.

    I'm asking because I did a series based on real images from a fire station. I liked how they turned out, BUT most of the firefighting art I see is more collage-like stuff, with wings and halos, or flags and eagles in the background.

    What do you think about how you're portrayed? Do actual firefighter's have that kind of art up for themselves?

    Thanks for your time guys, I really appreciate it.
    Last edited by Artist; 05-05-2008, 08:10 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    My son just graduated from UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. His senior show project was a hardcover book about my Fire Department. He also has taken the entrance exam for firefighter.

    I don't find the flag/eagle, halo/angelic stuff offensive, but it isn't my form of art. I prefer the reality version of "da job".. actual pictures of firefighters doing what they do.. including things like housework, truck checks, training as well as fires.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
      I don't find the flag/eagle, halo/angelic stuff offensive, but it isn't my form of art. I prefer the reality version of "da job".. actual pictures of firefighters doing what they do.. including things like housework, truck checks, training as well as fires.
      Yeah, what Gonzo said!
      ------------------------------------
      These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
      ------------------------------------

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
        I don't find the flag/eagle, halo/angelic stuff offensive, but it isn't my form of art. I prefer the reality version of "da job".. actual pictures of firefighters doing what they do.. including things like housework, truck checks, training as well as fires.
        I'll second that.. although I'll add in there that I think the term "hero" is over-used.

        Personally, I like the image below.. it show Patriotism, Respect, Dedication, and Honor.. both to the job, the fallen brothers, and the country.
        Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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        • #5
          FTMPTB,

          I agree with you 100%.
          ------------------------------------
          These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
          ------------------------------------

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          • #6
            I will third, fourth, or fifth what the guys before me have been saying....

            Images of realistic firefighters at work, both around the station and at incidents. Pictures that are posed for seem so fake to me that they seem rediculous.

            Images that show the teamwork aspect of firefighting might be nice as well.

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            • #7
              Smoke, lots of smoke, and a wee bit of dim flames in the distance down the hall.

              Took 2 minutes in MS Paint. Do I graduate.
              Attached Files
              Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
              Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the responses guys, I think I'll stay the course with the more realistic stuff then.

                CaptainGonzo, I graduated in graphic design as well, sounds like a great project. If your son has a website I'd love to see it.

                FTMPTB15, that picture is certainly iconic in representing real life, real duty; no wonder it's almost universally recognized as THE image of Sept. 11th.

                FlyingKiwi. . . lol, looks great.

                So there's rules, though, about taking pics at the scene of fires, right? I know when I was at the local station for the day, they let me take reference photos all over the station, but they said I couldn't if I went with them on a call. . . I work mostly from photos, where do you guys think I should look for good, realistic, close-up photos?

                I'd like to find action shots because most of what I've done so far is still life paintings, of helmets and firefighter's gear and stuff like that in the station.
                Last edited by Artist; 05-05-2008, 08:13 PM. Reason: typo

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                • #9
                  The image that came to my mind was similar to Kiwi's
                  I would say that something simple like a firefighter with a branch and his back-up buddy crouching in front of a door before entering the building would be a pretty good one.
                  Not being an American i dont find those collages of eagles, etc... very good at all. In fact i think they are really corny but again i am not American.
                  Oh for a good dramatic painting you could do firefighters mopping up after the fire. The devestation from the fire gets shown as well as you could show the firefighter really tired and keen to get home for a nice beer.
                  "There are only two things that i know are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And im not so sure about the former."

                  For all the life of me, i cant see a firefighter going to hell. At least not for very long. We would end up putting out all the fires and annoying the devil too much.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Artist
                    So there's rules, though, about taking pics at the scene of fires, right? I know when I hung out at the local station for the day, they let me take reference photos all over the station, but they said I couldn't if I went with them on a call. . . I work mostly from photos, where do you guys think I should look for good, realistic, close-up photos?
                    There are plenty of websites online that offer pictures from the fireground. Is that what you mean? If so, I can direct you to some good sites..

                    Also, I know of several guys locally that are freelance photographers that cover the fire department on local incidents. They've built up a great relationship with the fire department and are trusted with their photography. They ride on the rigs to calls and catch images of the jobs. My good friend is a freelance photographer and as far as he's concerned, if he rolls up on an incident and it's in a public place.. it's fair game for pictures. Meaning, if it's something that any of the general public would be able to view if they too were at the scene, then there's nothing illegal about what he's doing. Obviously, the key when taking fireground photos is to stay out of the way, yet close enough to the action to get the good shots.

                    Here are some example which immediately pop into my mind:





                    That's a good start... is that kinda like what you're looking for?
                    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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                    • #11
                      Ok, here is one for you. From the LA riots...
                      Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-17-2008, 10:39 AM.

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                      • #12
                        That one is kind of a loaded question. If you think of a series of still photographs, put into a short film strip, showing at high speed, that is the basic sum of it.

                        When I think of the question, I get images of the people I've helped in time of need, the kids I've talked to during Fire Prevention Week, the twisted metal of really bad vehicle incidents and the look and sounds of a Martin Mars flying overhead during brush fire operations combined with the smell of buring wood and underbrush. And of the people who have just stopped by, shook my hand and said "Thank You" for no apparent reason other than reasons of their own.

                        Those were the ones that readily came to mind - I know there are probably more - and some that I would rather not really think about.
                        If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                        "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                        "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                        Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
                          ........
                          I don't find the flag/eagle, halo/angelic stuff offensive, but it isn't my form of art. I prefer the reality version of "da job".. actual pictures of firefighters doing what they do.. including things like housework, truck checks, training as well as fires.
                          Me too.Being on a volunteer department,I didn't hang around the station much as I could have but I did show up for cleaning details,truck checks and training because that was to learn me the job.
                          School visits were also a blast.Kids are so eager to see something different than their classroom.

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                          • #14
                            This is great, just a few questions/observations;

                            PattyV, what's a firefighter's branch? Sorry, I'm sure its a "duh" question. . . : ) The mopping up sounds like it would make a good painting, too; btw.

                            FTMPTB15, I don't know that any of those specifically would work, but they're definitely the style of what I'm looking for. Obviously I've got to be careful with copyright, even with painting from a photo; so I'd need to talk to the photographers themselves and get permission, etc. . . The other side of it is that I'd prefer a picture either taken specifically for my projects, or simply ones that aren't mass produced for retail anyway.

                            If you have a couple of email addresses, I wouldn't mind talking with the photographers about it.

                            CALFFBOU, cool shot, but for my purposes it probably wouldn't work just because of the lost detail in the coat and gear. . . as a photo it definitely works, as a painting, I think the arm would appear too short and there's just not enough detail in the firefighter himself.

                            MalahatTwo7, that's exactly what I'd want to show. . . thanks for the response, I appreciate it.

                            It's tricky to find pictures that would work. . . basically I look for images that 1. Have a good light source from one side or above
                            2. Are close enough to see important detail like eyes, features, or gear details
                            3. Not from the back (which is one of the toughest I'd say), and not posed.
                            4. And that epitomize the job of firefighting

                            - and from all your responses, pics of "the job" would include washing the trucks, cooking dinner, fire clean up, training, etc.
                            Last edited by Artist; 05-05-2008, 08:15 PM. Reason: typo

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                            • #15
                              JK
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                              ------GOD BLESS AMERICA ! ------

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