Subjectivity (…like walking in the dark with a dim flashlight. .)

By The Sea

By The Sea

 

Art is subjective and photography is art. I once had to sit through a three hour meeting about sexual harassment. I was working at a company and all the employees were corralled into a general assembly and given bagels, sugary pastries and coffee. Then the meeting started as a well versed speaker took the stage and proceeded to tell us all the evils of sexually harassing a fellow coworker. I felt as though I was missing something… as if something was going over my head. I certainly know the difference between right and wrong and as a man I certainly know how to not be disrespectful to a fellow employee be it male or female. But where’s the line? Where is the definitive line? Certainly the behavior the speaker was describing and some of the scenarios were explicit descriptions of things I had seen people (both men & women) do many times in the workplace and no one ever got in any trouble at all. But I sat silent trying desperately to grasp something I had missed. Maybe it was the sugar high from the bagels… I must have missed something. So at the end the speaker asked if anyone had questions and I certainly did. I asked back (in a perplexed way); “While I understand most all of what you spoke of here today, I still do not understand when a person has actually been harassed? Where is that definitive line? The speaker quickly came back with the answer “there is no definitive answer, it is subjective.” Some people may like the behavior and others may find it harassing.” I said nothing, but I wanted to kill someone. You mean I had to sit here for three hours to learn that sexual harassment is subjective. Oh well the bagels were free.

So as a photographer and creative person who loves to produce images that fall somewhere between real and not real this topic of “subjectivity” for me is like walking in the dark with a dim flashlight. Like most all people I know I want to create images that are pleasing to others… but how? How and the hell do you accomplish this task if everything you do is “subjective?” So my answer is “I gave up trying a long time ago” and now I just have fun with it. I rely on composition skills such as rule of thirds, leading lines, rule of odds and so on. The rest is “whatever mood I’m in at the moment and what I have to work with as far as elements. As for; “does anyone else like it?” If someone is holding a print in their hand and they proclaim they like it, sure I take them seriously. If someone is paying me money to create something for them, then I truly believe they like my work… or they’re blind lol. If someone follows me on social media, keeps following me and comments in a heartfelt way, then again “yes” I feel they like what I do. But for all the followers who just push the red heart or hit the like button… that doesn’t mean dittly squat to me. And for sure, to the Time for Print models that come strolling along and fawn all over my work… just save your time and breath with all the honey tongue comments about how much you like my work. Just get to the point and ask if you can have free photography. I know that all sounds a little harsh, but I’m just laying out the facts and these words come without anger, but they do come with reality. Remember it is all subjective and money is what pays the bills, not hearts & likes and sweet comments.

However I am very happy with these two images and I would like to unveil them here on my blog for the first time. Thanks for reading and have a great day everybody.

Stadium Game Face

Sinister Clown Project Shoot (As far as looks Nicole is everything Pennywise is not. )

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I am just a week away from my most planned out project shoot of 2016. I had set a goal at the beginning of the year to “create images with impact” and unlike the typical new year’s resolutions that fall by the wayside a few weeks into the year, my goal still haunts me. It has been a struggle; however I have created a few images that are portfolio worthy. When it comes to my portfolio it is like a game, there are self-imposed rules. First rule is that there are a certain number of images in the portfolio and in order to add an image I must take an image out. So essentially the new image has to dethrone another… and that is the hard part, deciding what goes and what stays and what new images are worthy to add. So this first rule really does dictate most everything.

With all that said I started the year off pretty good with the close distorted facial shot of Nixlot Dameus, it was different, it was creative and it was planned. I hit my mark and I was happy. I could also say the same with the “Ice Princess” look I did with Kendall. Although the shoot was cut short due to time spent on makeup I was able to get an image that was worthy of making a composite that was then worthy of portfolio contention. Then came Ryan McNally and his shoot while being more of a test shoot, it still yielded a good image worthy of gracing the portfolio pages. Many times people helping me with a shoot such as an assistant or even the model are often surprised to hear me say “well… if we come away with five good images today I’ll be happy.” They usually look at me like “he’s got to be kidding” or “he must be a horrible photographer,” when in reality I’m totally serious. Hell if creating portfolio worthy images was that easy, life would be no fun.

So this leads us to the present day turmoil of the “Sinister Clown” shoot. I spoke about it in my latest video update on the YouTube channel, but I will elaborate a little more here.

So to recap; Stephen King wrote a short novel of 1156 pages called “It” and there was a movie or rather a TV mini-series created in 1990. The book is impeccable and King is at his best. The movie was not so great. In my opinion the movie started off great but it started to falter about midway through. In all fairness putting King’s writing into a visual form like a movie is extremely hard to do. So when I see the new revamped images of Pennywise the dancing clown that will appear in the remake of “It” due to be released in 2017, I was really taken back and became very interested. So much so that I decided to use those images as an inspiration for a detailed project photo shoot. Pennywise is one of the many forms that “It” takes on while in our universe and he feed on the flesh and fear of young children. …I know …King is a master at this kind of stuff. So I called the shoot the “Sinister Clown” shoot and proceeded. Now truth be told I had already had an idea for a clown shoot and my original idea was very much the same although not as intense.

So there were many things to plan. Who would be the model, who will do make up and where the hell can I get decent wardrobe. After all I want this to be… as makeup artist say “an HD look” meaning “high definition.” “HD” is the big buzz word these days in the makeup and FX world. We used to say “movie quality” and now it is HD… Whatever!

So I asked a cosplay model who dresses up as a clown often and she was all in. Well until her personal life took a turn and she was relocating. So here we go we are hitting barriers before the race even starts.

I put a casting call out on Model Mayhem. Well let me tell you there is a reason why it is called “Model Mayhem” and that Mayhem part is a wild ride. I specifically asked for models that had experience in “cosplay” and it resulted in getting hits from models who clearly can’t read.

Then I get one model that looks valid and appears to be creative, says “yes” and she can do her own makeup and I tell her what the inspiration is for the shoot. She agrees and then starts adding her own inspiration that is not in the same direction as mine. Essentially what turns me on about the new Pennywise is that he does not look like a standard clown. In the 1990 movie the clown was very standard Claribel-ish or Ronald McDonald-ish. The new Pennywise scares me… and I’m not afraid of clowns at all. So this model wanted to go in a different direction AND… after all that she tells me she will be free in a few weeks. Hello…

Here again it is hard to convey your passion, inspiration and importance to others. So when you do find that special person that clicks it is like being in love, two creatives on the same level is rare and amazing all at the same time. I have to stop and say that every one of my project shoots gets treated as if it is a paid shoot. That my friend is how you learn and how you get better. My projects have deadlines and must meet my expectations to be considered a success in the end. Sure it creates stress, but I always say “no stress, no success” and that is how I roll. Now I don’t always transfer that stress to a model because I want him/her to be relaxed and natural. All the while I’m the one stressing over the shoot.

So two years ago a young lady by the name of Jade left a really nice heartfelt comment on my Mayhem page after viewing my work. I reached out to her and thanked her. We had a wonderful phone conversation and I got the feeling she was a true creative person. I ran off to Thailand a few weeks later and we lost touch. But I remembered her and I found her again. I presented the idea to her and she was down with it, so I commissioned her to do the Sinister Clown look. She has given me a hope of confidence that she can create an HD look.

So now for the model… Oh the model? So I changed direction and went 180 degrees the opposite direction. This cannot be a Time For Print model, this has to be someone who can take direction, someone I can trust to show up and someone I like to work with. So I asked Nicole Gallagher the beautiful face you see on the opening page of my website. As far as looks Nicole is everything Pennywise is not. She is pretty, elegant, female and just a really sweet person to work with. Pennywise on the other hand… well is an evil rotten clown with fangs. But Nicole holds all the qualities to make for a great shoot. On time, takes direction well and is a cool person to work with. So I asked and she said yes, yes to sitting for 2 plus hours while Jade applies the FX makeup that will be composed of a special prosthetic head-piece that Jade will custom make.

Now we have a model and a makeup artist, all we need is wardrobe. So I got an idea to shoot the Sinister Clown in a “Renaissance” context. I had seen it done with Batman, Robin, The Joker, and The Cat Woman and so on. This then entailed many hours of searching on the internet and those hours turned to days and finally I found a rental place in Oregon that had something that I hope will work.

And lastly I will say that I am currently working on lighting diagrams for all the different shots. So yes this shoot is complexed. Will it turn out great images? Time will tell. And as a side project I hope to shoot a time-lapse of the makeup application as well as behind the scenes video.

Please stay tuned and I will be talking more about this project in the coming days & weeks.

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I Love My Blog (When I first started up with my blog it seemed almost pointless, but as time passed…)

Model Whan Nasert-Corrente 1/125 sec at f/8.0 ISO 50 105mm

Model Whan Nasert-Corrente 1/125 sec at f/8.0 ISO 50 105mm

I miss writing blog posts. Although I did not write them every day I still miss doing it. I have spent so much time the past few weeks working on the new YouTube channel and trying to populate it with content. Trying to get the channel up and moving so to speak so it won’t be so pathetic and boring. However in the past 3 to 4 years that I have been writing periodic blog post I feel I have improved my writing skills somewhat and I have learned to keyword and hashtag and all that other fun stuff that sometime feels like you’re doing nothing. But when I Google a model’s name and my images appear at the top of the list or at least in the ten results I guess whatever I’m doing is working.

When I first started up with my blog it seemed almost pointless, but as time passed I found that writing blog posts did more than promote my images, it helped me think more about my photography and what I wanted to accomplish. It gave me a “focus” (pardon the pun) of sorts. It also gave a platform for people to rip-off my images and “yes” that has happened too, but I think that happens to almost every photographer today who has somewhat interesting images posted to the internet.

So while video is the thing of the future I will still continue to write posts and attach images to them. I like writing because it is a time when I sit down and relax, collect my thoughts and focus on an image. Vlogging is very different because I have to edit the content and render the video and then upload to YouTube or wherever. Either way vlogging is very different. I thought it would be easier because I would not have to type… I type slowly and I am constantly checking my grammar and spelling, however once the post is written and completed and ready for upload all I have to do is proof read and hit “publish.” As opposed to the editing and rendering of video that takes time. So I know my written blog will never go away and meanwhile the YouTube and Vimeo channels will continue as well.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading.