Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Project

With a week remaining, I'm satisfied with how this project has gone. I've had a excuse to learn things which is a good place to be.

I started out following Clinton Meyer whose incredible creativity inspired. I thought I might try myself.

Before I began I looked at about 6000 examples. I considered questions (what I wanted in the public domain, how much I wanted it to be autobiographical, how did others frame themselves, their gender, their world and what would be characteristic of me, and what would propel me to learn?)

I set out objectives (explore photography, styles, visual presentation of image, get over preciousness of how I look, learn to be a model as well as a photographer) and this grew to add other things like force myself to learn manual settings on the camera, to learn about lighting set ups, to look at Exif data until it resolves into sense.

Before I took my first photo, I brainstormed considerations for audience (mixing it up: staged and spontaneous, various moods, photoshopped and sooc, color and b&w, humour, serious, solo and with others).

And I created lists of dozens, and what would becomes hundreds, of ideas (events to document, images to do tributes to, visual puns, mood and color tones, props to use, concepts, techniques of framing and lighting) and after a month of this, I began.

As it went along, I started to storyboard images, watch for lighting changing, give up on natural light and then pingpong between natural light and lighting set ups when I realized the other had different advantages. I'm not sure I'm further along on what a portrait is. Is it a picture with a part of a person in it with some quality of being emotionally present?

I realized that what I felt inside did not transmit to the camera. My level that I verbalize changed as I realized I was asking for mind-reading not face-reading of people.

I started to look at published and painted portrayals more critically, study sub-text more than I was already doing. I could see my skills at framing on the fly in taking pictures of others change as I was taking more into account. It shifted my head from documenting to story telling and more attention to differences between word and image, still image and film.

Along the way I met Nizaad who works elaborate stunning images from the level of concept, Adam Freeman whose images are often graphically simple and striking, Jenny /Jay totheVee whose images are vibrantly alive and exploring with humour and exuberance , wizardjks whose running in year 3 with those keyhole shots into his life in time lapse, Roberto/Randomographer with his offbeat angles that wake me up. Paul folded early from selfies, but the internet is warmer for his good soul was bobbing around here.

In a way it is like buying postcards on vacation. It'll take a while for my brain to reset from scanning for pic opportunities. I'll continue to take portraits and visit people but with cooking food, dailies of food, weeklies of hubby, creating poems and books and normal life photography, I think I can comfortably scale back the selfies and not go creatively stagnant.

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