25 May, 2007

A Little Bit of Information

I am very happy to announce that I am now a part of a limited gallery showing. "Curiosity" is on display at the John A. Jellico Gallery at the Art Institute of Colorado. I spoke last about high and low risk shots and how some very simple shots that look like they were thrown together in five minutes actually take several hours. "Curiosity" is completely the opposite: it was shot in under five seconds (cats are fast). It was very much a right place at the right time.

I do like this style of photography, much more photodocumentary or photojournalism, but I find that it is a lot harder than one thinks it is. Studio work is something you know when you get up in the morning you can walk out with a great shot. The "decisive moment" shots are very much you wake up and hope you can get one out of maybe a thousand shots. It takes a while to learn patterns, to look out for the moment before the moment and then to capture it with the same feeling as when you see it. I need more practice, and I hate to make excuses, but much of my work in studio does keep me from just walking out the door and seeing what we see. We'll try and get out more.


Special thanks to Beth and Lisa, who cheerfully answered my questions as I learned to be a photojournalist.

22 May, 2007




One can imagine that a shot like this was rather simple. For the most part it was. For the rest of it, it was really the problem that I think too much. I like using elements, adding to the image, accenting color, style, anything that would just make the star that much more the star. In most cases I don't even use half of what I thought I'd use. Except for the stress of having things not work out, it's actually benefit that I do come over prepared. It becomes a "low risk" shot, one that we have a lot of elements that we can subsitute out in the event that the one we start with doesn't work (for this shot I also had a little black purse, some long black gloves, some single white roses in full bloom, white satin, and earrings). Being low risk doesn't mean that it's a low reward system. Contrast that to a "high risk" shot, it just means that there's a bit of a safety net. Of course, there are cases where you can have a "high risk, high reward" type of shot. This is basically one where you begin with a very limited amount of elements and the end result ends up being nothing but gorgeous (if it works, thus the risk). I prefer the low risk, but of course, I am also a glutton for punishment as this usually means a minium of four hours shooting as I swap out elements, change lighting, swap out elements again, and so on and so forth. Then again, the high risk does occasionally force itself upon you.

"More than Meets the Eye"

20 May, 2007

Time and Time Again

Time is a funny thing. I believe that for the most part it is an artificial construct that humanity has set upon itself to create some meaning of order. When I say it's artificial I just mean that one could simply say "I'll do stuff while the sun is up" instead of needing a numeric representation of the passage of the day, but I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself and way out into left field.
The image I have been working on for the past couple of weeks was to illustrate time. Naturally, my view of time is very much based on how I interact with it on a daily basis, namely through intervals. Buses run on intervals, my CD player indicates intervals, just me being in between the places I need to be is a form of interval (most often I need to transfer at least once to get where I'm going, so I often spend time in places that really serve no other purpose than to provide a place to stand).
The most difficult part of this image was that I really wanted the "watch" to be the main focus of the image (even now I think it's competing a little with the hand, but overall there's a nice visual flow as you see the hand, follow the fingers down to the watch, follow the chain up to the headphones, up to the figure and then back to the hand), but because it was such a small element overall, adding in other elements could have been disaterous (basically the loss of all the nice little details). So that's how the long perspective shot pretty much came into being. Of course that had it's own set of problems, like making sure the headphones didn't end up floating in the ether.
In the end it very much came out looking like what I imagined in my head, at least the watch and headphones. The rest kind of just came together in the process. Lucky.
I thing that I do think I need to work on with my illustration is that the images don't have to be photo realistic. I am continually amazed by Dave Mckean's work and now the work of Diane Fenster and John Paul Caponigro. Their works truly showcase a boundless creativity and a reminder that with illustration, it's not about recreating what the world sees, but creating what you see. The camera blindly looks at the world and records it. It is the photographer that looks at the world and interprets it.


Detail of the "watch."

08 May, 2007

Bits and Pieces

You may be wondering why it's been so long since I've posted some images. The thing is that I haven't been working on any images that could really stand alone (Cast Shadows aside, but I figured you'd like to see something new). What I have been working on is some photomontages. So, a little behind the scenes to see how I put together "Life" (at the bottom for those of you that just want to get to the main feature). As a side note, I'm not including all of the images that I used as some are the same object from a different angle and was really only needed to complete the object in the final space.
To define life for this project, I really thought about the most important elements in my life right now. The first thing that came to mind is a friend of mine that is currently serving in the Peace Corps. Even though she is far away, we communicate on a regular basis and she has really helped me stay sane (those of you who know me can attest that that is not an easy task even when you are in the neighborhood). Her commitment to service then led me to my commitment to service and made me think about all that is going on in the world today, especially Africa. So that is where the two primary conflicting elements in the image come from, each wants to dominate the scene.

The clouds served as the backdrop. As the map burns through, you can see the clouds. This became symbolic that if the world burns, there is nothing left.

I actually shot this in my bathroom (we are no longer allowed to light fires in the studio, which is probably a good thing). You'll notice that the entire image is very orange. This is because I did not do any color correction for the incandescent light bulbs in the bathroom. Actually I did, but I found that the look of the image made the fire look more like fire in the final image.

The map of the world, showcasing the two continents that I focused on: South America teeming with the tropical rainforests, the very symbol of life and Africa, currently embroiled in turmoil. I know I make it sound horrible, but I have a very limited perspective of life in Africa and the news media tends to focus on the unpleasant parts, so that's all I really know about it.

Flowers to help fill out my lush plant life. Notice that these are white, yet in the final image, they are more pink.

My big tree. Notice that really I only used the trunk and pulled in leaves from another tree.


And this is what "Life" looks like completed. I am very happy with the way it turned out considering this was really my first "serious" photomontage. I will hopefully be posting some more soon, but knowing the rate at which I blog, soon may equal never. Just keep checking back. If you are interested in more photomontage, I recommend Beckelman Imaging and Shotwell Photography to start. These two really inspired me to do my best with these projects. Also check out Scott Nobles Photography and Smalldog Imageworks, simply amazing stuff.