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Untitled (Novella)

I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a very, very long time, but I am planning to be regularly blogging soonish, so this is a quick update for anyone still following my work on here. In many ways, I think that this will be the main port of call for publishing my work online, and I plan to blog a lot more about my images, the processes behind them, online and offline inspirations, and about topics and themes that inform my work!

So here’s is my Novella series so far:

Untitled #1 (Novella)

Untitled #2 (Novella)Untitled #3 (Novella)Untitled #4 (Novella)Untitled#5(Novella)Untitled#6(Novella)Untitled#7 (Novella)Untitled#8 (Novella)Untitled#9 (Novella)Untitled#10 (Novella)Untitled#11(Novella)Untitled#12(Novella)Untitled#13(Novella)Untitled#14(Novella)Untitled#15(Novella)

I’ve finally shot and compiled images #1-#15, with images #16, #17 & #18 sitting on my desktop. I’m quite happy with the series so far, but I really need to travel a bit more and shoot more varying images/landscapes other than buildings and trees, and to get away from all of the greenery in my work! I really, really, want to use other people in this series as I think that it would be great to be able to direct people and consider the human/nature elements of the images a lot more, rather than trying to find images that correlate in some way. Perhaps I should map and plan the images out beforehand? This series was supposed to be more observational and easy going, but it’s actually turned out to become very structured, which I didn’t expect.

I have several favourites from the series so far, such as Untitled #3 and Untitled #11:

For some reason, these image just work aesthetically for me; they seem to ooze a sense of unresolved drama and mystery and I find myself wondering just how each of the images are connected.

 

Do you have a favourite image from the series so far?

The Eleventh Day: The Editing Process

When I shot this image, I wanted to create this story about a character that was trapped, his past behind him and his future in front of him. I wanted the image to be that in-between moment of indecision. Should he go back to the house and stay there or should he venture out into to the unknown where it could be dangerous or potentially harmful? I called the image The Eleventh Day because I wanted to insinuate that the character has taken a long time to consider what they are going to do and they have left it to the Eleventh Day to decide.

In terms of editing, I looked at a lot of film stills to give me an idea of cinematic grading. I had a specific colour palette in mind- blues and greens- and I stuck with it but I added a few colours that I hadn’t intended to. What I like most about my post processing is that it is such an organic process. I start out with an idea of which colours I would like to use and a general idea of what I want the end image to look like, but I’m extremely open when it comes to editing my images. Sometimes the end result is completely different to what I had anticipated.

Here is my editing process for my image, The Eleventh Day. As you can see, I use a lot of curve adjustment layers, solid colour layers and a few textures. The stormy sky was added right at the end on a whim. I’d never planned to put it there but I felt that the image needed a bit more drama and I like to think that the storminess of the sky reflects the character’s clouded mind.

 

The Eleventh Day: The Editing Process

When I shot this image, I wanted to create this story about a character that was trapped, his past behind him and his future in front of him. I wanted the image to be that in-between moment of indecision. Should he go back to the house and stay there or should he venture out into to the unknown where it could be dangerous or potentially harmful? I called the image The Eleventh Day because I wanted to insinuate that the character has taken a long time to consider what they are going to do and they have left it to the Eleventh Day to decide.

In terms of editing, I looked at a lot of film stills to give me an idea of cinematic grading. I had a specific colour palette in mind- blues and greens- and I stuck with it but I added a few colours that I hadn’t intended to. What I like most about my post processing is that it is such an organic process. I start out with an idea of which colours I would like to use and a general idea of what I want the end image to look like, but I’m extremely open when it comes to editing my images. Sometimes the end result is completely different to what I had anticipated.

Here is my editing process for my image, The Eleventh Day. As you can see, I use a lot of curve adjustment layers, solid colour layers and a few textures. The stormy sky was added right at the end on a whim. I’d never planned to put it there but I felt that the image needed a bit more drama and I like to think that the storminess of the sky reflects the character’s clouded mind.

 

Stop Shooting, Start Thinking

I’ve been coming up with a lot of new concepts over the past few weeks and as excited as I am to go out and shoot them, I decided that it would be in my best interests to do the complete opposite. This is because I don’t want to start shooting any random image that springs to mind; I want to create image that are both considered and I want to make sure that the images fit into the themes I explore through my photography.

Also, as I have a lot of different images floating around my mind, I was unsure of which image to shoot first and how I should go about deciding upon which idea would fit, both visually and aesthetically with the images I have already shot. The last thing I want to do is to shoot an image that is practically the same as the last one I shot. By considering what to shoot next, it means that when my images are placed side by side in chronological order, they will all differ but retain similar qualities and attributes. To figure out what to shoot next, I decided to analyze my work:

imagesanalysis

As you can see, I have made comparison between my images and wrote down key words that describe what I see within my work. By doing this, i have came to the conclusions that I need to shoot images at a more of a ¾ angle as well as use a range of camera angles. I feel that by doing this, it will really diversify my work.

I also decided to type up a small statement about my work and what it means to me as the creator. I feel that this was something that was long overdue. I’ve been shooting a lot without thinking about what I am saying with my work. Now that I know exactly what my work means, I can start tailoring my ideas towards my themes and making them more polished. As well as considering the themes within my work, I’m also trying to create my own visual style, more within editing and through colour choice. My work is influenced heavily by cinematography and cinematic grading but I feel that the ‘colour palette’ for my work is still a work in progress. The only thing I can really see in my work at the minute is that I shoot and use a lot of blue clothes in my images. This is actually something I like as I feel that my work is both blue in colour and in mood, so it works.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.14.19

Looking at your work as a collection and making notes on how they fit together is something that I would recommend to all photographers and creative to do. What better way for you to define your work by looking at the actual work itself in context with one another. I’d also suggest that you should really think about what your work is saying and how you can make it distinguishable from others. You don’t have to be fully original (I don’t believe originality exists) but you should want people to recognize your work when they come across it.

A great way to do this is to think of a photographer that you like. Picture their work in your mind and write down all of the associations you apply to that photographer. Now think about your own work. What associations do you want other people to make with your work? Write down a list of associations and then look at your work collectively. Do your work and your associations match? If they don’t, how can you change your work so that they do fit together? If they do fit together, think about how you can build upon your associations so that you can create new and exciting images.

Once you figure out what themes are within your work, you can then go out and shoot, knowing that your images fit together cohesively and collectively. That way, when someone asks you what makes your work different from other photographer’s, you can confidently tell them exactly what makes you different.

Stop Shooting, Start Thinking

I’ve been coming up with a lot of new concepts over the past few weeks and as excited as I am to go out and shoot them, I decided that it would be in my best interests to do the complete opposite. This is because I don’t want to start shooting any random image that springs to mind; I want to create image that are both considered and I want to make sure that the images fit into the themes I explore through my photography.

Also, as I have a lot of different images floating around my mind, I was unsure of which image to shoot first and how I should go about deciding upon which idea would fit, both visually and aesthetically with the images I have already shot. The last thing I want to do is to shoot an image that is practically the same as the last one I shot. By considering what to shoot next, it means that when my images are placed side by side in chronological order, they will all differ but retain similar qualities and attributes. To figure out what to shoot next, I decided to analyze my work:

imagesanalysis

As you can see, I have made comparison between my images and wrote down key words that describe what I see within my work. By doing this, i have came to the conclusions that I need to shoot images at a more of a ¾ angle as well as use a range of camera angles. I feel that by doing this, it will really diversify my work.

I also decided to type up a small statement about my work and what it means to me as the creator. I feel that this was something that was long overdue. I’ve been shooting a lot without thinking about what I am saying with my work. Now that I know exactly what my work means, I can start tailoring my ideas towards my themes and making them more polished. As well as considering the themes within my work, I’m also trying to create my own visual style, more within editing and through colour choice. My work is influenced heavily by cinematography and cinematic grading but I feel that the ‘colour palette’ for my work is still a work in progress. The only thing I can really see in my work at the minute is that I shoot and use a lot of blue clothes in my images. This is actually something I like as I feel that my work is both blue in colour and in mood, so it works.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.14.19

Looking at your work as a collection and making notes on how they fit together is something that I would recommend to all photographers and creative to do. What better way for you to define your work by looking at the actual work itself in context with one another. I’d also suggest that you should really think about what your work is saying and how you can make it distinguishable from others. You don’t have to be fully original (I don’t believe originality exists) but you should want people to recognize your work when they come across it.

A great way to do this is to think of a photographer that you like. Picture their work in your mind and write down all of the associations you apply to that photographer. Now think about your own work. What associations do you want other people to make with your work? Write down a list of associations and then look at your work collectively. Do your work and your associations match? If they don’t, how can you change your work so that they do fit together? If they do fit together, think about how you can build upon your associations so that you can create new and exciting images.

Once you figure out what themes are within your work, you can then go out and shoot, knowing that your images fit together cohesively and collectively. That way, when someone asks you what makes your work different from other photographer’s, you can confidently tell them exactly what makes you different.

The Pressure To Be Popular

It is no secret that in order to sell photographs and to make money as a photographer, you need an audience who are willing to buy your work and clients who are willing to pay you to shoot for them.

The problem is, there is no set formula for how you achieve this level of widespread attention and ‘popularity’ to get those paying clients or that print buying audience.

Sure, you may have 2,000 likes on your Facebook page or 500 followers on Flickr, Twitter and 500px, but they mean nothing if no one is going to pay you for your work. The next problem is that there is no way of knowing how many of your followers will really buy your work until you announce a print sale, that is assuming that all of the people who follow you/like your page actually see the print sale announcement. Furthermore, that is assuming that the people who follow your work have the money to buy your prints in the first place.

I would love to start selling limited edition prints of my work but I don’t want to start selling if no one wants to buy and I would love to teach workshops but I can’t if people don’t know me or my work. This is why I feel the pressure to be popular. Surely, if I have 50,000 followers then I should be able to easily sell an edition of 45 prints or find 10 people who are willing to pay me to teach them about photography?

Sadly, it just doesn’t work out like that.

I fully understand that it really doesn’t make a difference if your Facebook page has 50,000 likes or 500 but that doesn’t stop me checking how many people like my page and it certainly doesn’t stop me feeling down if I’ve uploaded an image and only a few people have seen it on the various social media sites I’ve uploaded it to.

So how exactly do you become ‘popular’?

A good friend once told me that the best thing to do was to share your work. Everywhere and anywhere. Whilst this is good advice, you can only put your images on social media and wait for people to discover you for so long, You could find other photographers who create work within the same genre of you (which is a good way to see what others are doing and it will give you an insight into how to tailor your work so you are creating work that is different) but this comes with the problem that other photographers, just like you and I, want to attract people that will buy their work and not just look at it on an uncalibrated monitor.

I may look at other (wildly) popular photographers and pretend that their growing fan base doesn’t make me feel as if though I’m doing something wrong, but it really does. But I have to remember that most of the photographers I’m referring to have been photographing constantly for at least 4 years, not to mention all of the online and offline press they have received about their work.

My advice to anyone else who is feeling the pressure of being popular is to just get on with creating work that you are proud of and are happy to call your own.

I would love to say that you should keep continuing to create work and your audience will eventually flock to you but that may never be the case.

Maybe my friend was right. Maybe sharing is the best way.

 

How Busy is Busy?

The other day, I messaged a friend to compliment them on their work and how cool it looks. Even though we’re at the same university, I haven’t seen her for quite awhile. Her reply to me was that my work looked good to and that it seems that I am keeping myself busy with it.

I found this statement to be quite funny, as I don’t think I am anywhere near busy with my work. I am the kind of person who would happily doing photo shoots every day of the week and I often get annoyed with myself if I haven’t done anything photography related within a day.

My friend’s response led me to think about the question: How busy is busy?

I know people who are busy; they update their social media sites almost every day and are working on several projects, meeting and shooting models as well as getting on with their work for university. I also know people on the complete opposite end of the scale; people who have not updated their portfolios for at least a year. This really makes me question where I fit in onto the ‘busy scale’.

It also makes me think about what it means to be busy. I am I busy with my photography when I am out shooting client and personal work? Or am I busy when I’m browsing the never-ending realms of Pinterest and saving images for inspiration?

I think being ‘busy’ means a different thing to everyone, and I know that I won’t be classing myself as busy until I am shooting at least 3-4 images a week.

What do you class as being busy?

Why you should ALWAYS do what you want to do.

I’m writing this blog post from as, first and foremost, a student and then as a photographer. I am all too aware that as a student and photographer, who has worked for clients (albeit mostly other students), that sometime in your photographic career/ artistic studies, you will end up doing a job/work that you really don’t want to do. Whether it is for money or for a better grade, I advise you to stop.

 

The worst thing that you can do is to create work that someone else tells you to do.

 

Why?

 

Because it will kill your creativity and passion.

 

If you are dealing with clients and they want you to shoot something that you are not particularly interested in, then my advice to you would be to try and put your own spin on it. If you can’t do this, then make a deal with the client and tell them that you will shoot the images that they want, but you want to shoot a few extra images where you get to decide the set up/ styling for the shoot. Remember, you don’t have to put the images you give to the client in your portfolio. If you have a favorite image from the shoot that the client didn’t like, put it in your portfolio. That way, the image that you like will show off your personality through your portfolio and you will be a lot happier showing potential clients work you are really passionate about. At the end of the day, working with clients is a collaborative process: they have come to you (or you to them) because both parties have something to offer the other.

 

One of the main situations I find students in is a debate I like to call Education vs Creativity.

 

I am in the middle of studying a degree and, like most people; I want to get the best degree possible. Sure, I’d like to get a first. That would be awesome. I would be happy with a 2.1 or even a 2.2 but I don’t think compromising my work for it is worth it.

 

The main thing I hear a lot of people say when I ask them about their degree work is ‘my tutor told me to do this piece of work, but I don’t really want to do it. But then I don’t want to fail if I don’t do it’.

 

Unfortunately, this is the crux of doing a degree.

 

Do you choose to create work you have no interest in for the sake of getting a great degree or do you do work you are proud of and get a lesser degree?

 

During my first year at university I chose the first option. What do I have to show for my first year of a degree?

 

 

I shot a shockingly small number of photographs (than you would expect from a photography degree) and none of them will ever see the light of day. Being told what to do is not fun. It does nothing for me.

 

Because of this, from the start of my second year, back in September, I have chosen the latter.

 

I would rather get a lesser degree, but have a portfolio that I am happy to show potential clients and be satisfied with the knowledge that I can openly talk about my work and the process behind rather than saying ‘I created it because I was told to’.

 

I find it is such a shame because I feel that in many ways the education system can really restricts students who study creative subjects. Art is a subjective thing. There is no right or wrong answer and opinions are not facts. Just because your tutor doesn’t like the work you are doing doesn’t mean that you should stop. In fact, you should continue because you are doing something you are interested in.

 

So, would you prefer to get a better degree but work you don’t like or a lesser degree but work you’re proud of?

 

Miss Aniela’s Surreal Fashion: True Art or False Photography?

Migration of the flock

 

I have been a big fan of Miss Aniela’s work for a long time. I really admire her self-portraits but I feel that her latest series of work, Surreal Fashion is really exceptional. In fact, I think it could really change the way photographers shoot fashion. But is it really about fashion?

 

I understand that Miss Aniela is a fine art photographer, who has ventured into creating these amazing fashion events, but realistically, what is her work really about?

 

When I look at her series of work, I see images of amazing clothes worn by amazing models shot at amazing locations. But I don’t see a fashion photograph; I see an image that hasn’t fully decided if it belongs in the realms of fashion or fine art photography.

 

The taking and reusing animals from old paintings is a wonderfully creative idea, but at the end of the day, these images (in their own right) aren’t really Miss Aniela’s work. I like what she’s done and in no way am I condemning her for creating such visual photographs, but I feel that taking art and placing it in a photograph does not make it your work. Sure, she may credit the artist’s but I feel that that doesn’t really translate the vision and passion they used to paint these animals, which has been completely forgotten in translation.

 

Miss-Aniela-Surreal-Fashion-photography-11

 

Yes, I respect that she has given a new life to these animals but I feel that in most of her images, they serve as a distraction to the initial focus as the image rather than add to it. If the image is about fashion, they why the animals? Surely they aren’t there only to add a surreal context to the image? Surely Miss Aniela is much more creative with her images (as her self portraits suggest) and can create a surreal atmosphere without adding tons of postproduction into her images. In my opinion, her best work in the series are the ones where she has used no animals at all.

 

In fact, I really worry about the amount of postproduction in her images. Sure, her images are amazing because of it, and sure, she can sell each image for £1000 because you know that they are worth in in postproduction alone, but realistically, why does the original image need to be altered so much?

 

More importantly, what affect will that have on the future of photography? If thousands of photographers are looking at her work and aspiring to create work like hers, and fashion designers are looking at her work and wanting that look for their garments, then where will fashion photography end up?

 

I respect the merging of fashion and fine art photography as they are both genres of photography that I find myself creating, but by merging them together, Miss Aniela has created images that are neither. They seem to be stuck in a weird limbo of reality and unreality, where you are looking at neither a photograph nor a painting. Calling her images photographs does somewhat of a disservice to photography, as her image was not made in camera. Even if her images were not made in camera, the fact that the animals are not photographs she has taken means (technically) that she cannot call her images photographs as it retains elements that have not been taken with a camera, which is what, ultimately, photographs are.

 

At the same time, Miss Aniela does not paint her images (albeit you could argue that the painterly quality she achieves through postproduction could count for something) so the images are not paintings.

 

Is it a piece of art?

 

I’m not sure. Her work seems to have the painterly quality and visual aesthetic that is associated with art but it’s being sold a  photography. (I don’t really want to go into that whole “what is art?” debate right now, but I’ll create a super long blog post about it sometime, soon. Maybe). I can see why it could be considered art. She certainly seems to have taken a huge amount of time to post process the image. So much so, she probably could have painted it in that time.

 

To be honest, Miss Aniela’s surreal fashion series confuses me. It seems to be photography, posing as art, without having been painted, whilst remaining limited to the viewfinder of the camera.

Is it art? Is it photography?

It may be awesome but to be honest, I think it’s both and neither at the same time.