Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ideas For Projects

Where do ideas for projects come from? How do we know if an idea is a good one, or is it us trying too hard or getting desperate or doing it because we think we should?

Here's some things to think about.

1) of all the great artists there have ever been, only a tiny fraction were revolutionary - most were evolutionary - that is, taking an idea and modifying it to make it their own. Why should we expect any more of ourselves? So, take a cool idea by someone else and modify it to make it your own.

Ryuijie photographed flowers in blocks of ice. So you come up with something besides flowers to photograph in ice, or a different way/veiewpoint to photograph the ice, or something besides ice (fine sand or flour?). What about photographing faces in water - you'd need either a fish tank or a waterproof camera and a pool. What if the water were coloured, unevenly? What if you used oil? How about using coloured lights shining through the ice to make interesting effects?

Get the idea?

2) Never underestimate the value of doing something for fun. Cleaning out my Dad's house the other day I came across his original leather encased folding SX-70 - and with film being made for it again, this is a great opportunity. Can't see the point of doing landscapes with it, but what about nudes, flowers, mechanical close ups?

3) I guarantee that no matter how clever you are at coming up with an original idea, someone else will point out that you weren't the first after all - so why all the angst over the struggle to find original ideas. How about instead finding a good idea by someone else ans asking yourself, "how can I use this idea around something that is important/interesting/exciting/puzzling to me?"

4) follow up on those fleeting observations. I have noticed that often large trucks have interesting patterns of mud or snow on their back doors. There's never time to photograph them on the highway, but what about going to a truck stop and spending a day photographing trucks - forecast is for snow this weekend, so might be my last chance this year.

The other day I was crossing a bridge and noted the interesting shapes of the light rail structure as I passed. I might just start a project on recording the city's rail system - think about it - you can photograph at sunrise or sunset, in the rain, at night, in a snow storm or after one. You can photograph the tracks, bridges, wiring, stations, and don't forget the travellers. You can go on the trains and photograph the people (good use for a small non threatening camera like a point and shoot). There's more chance that your efforts to record part of your city as it is now will have lasting impact than any project photographing delapidated buildings.

5) no point in pinning all your hopes on a project you are unlikely to pull off any time soon - sure it would be interesting to go to Namibia but I can't afford it, don't have the time, and it's a long way. Work instead with what you have available. Don't bemoan lack of mountains if what you have is prairie. Come up with a way to make what you have work for you.

Don't underrate the idea of a project as simple as "the people I know".

Good luck and great ideas.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michael Reichmann

Just have to comment on Michael's latest image of a ladder on his site. Not sure if this link will survive new content on his site but do check it out. he comments that it was taken with the Fuji X-100 and that he's managed 4 portfolio quality images in one shoot. One can't help wondering if a fixed lens no zoom camera like this perhaps lets you concentrate more on the seeing instead of the fiddling - will look forward to his comments in the next few weeks.

This is a lovely image, almost abstract, simple, strong, wonderful colour. Makes you think, want to look again, ask questions or simply admire the beauty in something not inherently beautiful.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Image Editing Videos Now Fully Uploaded

There are now seven videos uploaded to youtube, labeled athabasca edit 1 through 7, for about an hour of real time editing with commentary. You may learn a few tricks but the more important message is the process of analysing the image to see where improvements could and should be made, about decisions on cropping and taking things too far and backing up, of trying things and seeing what works.

Just do a youtube search for George Barr