Thursday, August 16, 2012

Foto Skilz


Photography is such an important part of (for want of a better term) Competitive Art!  I like applying to shows and sending images to be considered for publication.  I like competitive events for beaders.  It pushes me to produce my best work.  To dig a little deeper to find a solution to a design problem.  To meet a deadline.  To place my work in the world for others to see.  To see the work of other artists, and to be elevated and inspired by that work.  But none of this is possible, if all you have is your art; in my case, beadwork.  You need a means to send it out to be looked at.  And that means, photography.  Something I fake my way through.  This must stop.  So I have made a committment to buying a new camera, with more than the 4.1 megapixel capability of my obsolete Kodak.  And taking a class (or maybe many classes) to learn how to use it.

But despite my photographic inadequacies, I LOVED working with a skilled model, Jana Merten, to try to capture the essence of "Missing."


I like evocative art.  I want my visual art to take me somewhere.  I want to feel something when I look at it.  I want to be transformed somehow, but I have this idea that my photographic choices are not necessarily the best communicatively, with respect to conveying the beadwork. But maybe creating the right mood and character is equally important.  Hope so!


The series of photos I am showing you, takes me exactly where I want "Missing" to take a viewer. Somewhere "in-between" worlds. Somewhere wistful. Somewhere, lost in a forest. Somewhere not quite precisely here, or exactly there. Somewhere quiet and peaceful, but just a little nebulous. So when we  out shooting at the park, and I spied a patch of dappled sunlight, I thought, THERE! And Jana was willing to wade into the weeds and shrubby growth and make it look amazing.


I realize there are shadows that a professional photographer could and would light differently.  But I like those shadows.  And I like the image above with Jana's face entirely in shadow, because for me, it points to the piece instead of the gorgeous model, while she supports the jewelry magnificently.


 I love this one and the next, below, because "Missing" is actually visible on Jana's face.  Above, there is a reflection on her chin from the Swarovski crystals, and below, on her upper lip.
 

But. enough with this dappled light mania of mine.  I shot first in direct sunlight, which was awful.  There were dark shadows beneath Jana's chin, and stress on her face from the ridiculously bright light.  SO... we went to the shade, and there was still plenty of sunshine to light both model and "Missing" clearly.  But for me, it was TOO clear, and maybe even a little obvious.  And "Missing" is not obvious.  Most people need to understand the title to understand the work, but hopefully, even for those who do not know the full story, it has a an unmistakable quality of emptiness, maybe a little sadness and perhaps, some mystery.


Let me backup a bit.  This piece is my entry in a facebook event, (brainchild of Steven Weiss) Battle of the Beadsmith. It is a single elimination tournament, with 80 beaders from around the world. Please like us on facebook and watch us battle here!  There are just 20 of us left, and the third round of battle is getting underway as I write this. Each round requires a new photo of the work.  Eek! Thankfully, Jana volunteered to help me. In addition to being a client and a friend, Jana is a pro. Her large and perfect features, great body, hair and makeup skills, and modeling experience were a godsend.  She knows many shots at subtly different angles and with tiny changes of expression are needed to arrive a a few good results.
After shooting in the dappled sun, I wanted to try a more casual look for "Missing," with a print dress, and a more relaxed setting at my fire pit.  Again, Jana indulged me, and I'm pleased with the result.  IF I should be fortunate enough to survive the cut from 20 artists to 10, then maybe, one of these is the next photo, but that's a bridge I will cross only when and if I get to it. 


And then, Jana wanted to see the work on bare skin.  She was right, it's pretty splendid that way too!  But I devised a feather boa cover up for her bareness, and I don't love that.  For me, it's too...  well, feathery!  Maybe a little, Old West Dance Hall Girl.  I experimented with Picasa effect tools to try to play down the presence of the feathers, but...  they are still...  feathers.  Feels entirely wrong to me.  How funny that my print should happen to suggest feathers as well.


Whatever the outcome of the Battle, this blog post is meant both to share with you Jana's amazing work, and to thank her for her time, her patience, her flexibility, and her great kindness to me.  I so appreciate it!  Find Jana's website here, and check out her dancing and makeup tutorial YouTube videos here.

14 comments:

  1. All I can say is WOW! I love how you have so many different shots with the light change. I love the quiet of the model with the shouting of the necklace. Just perfect for me. And yep, you made me giggle with the feathery image...thanks

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    1. Thanks so much. Jana was amazing, and I am looking forward to camera shopping this weekend!

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  2. If you can take these kind of pictures with your old camera Marsha, I can't possibly imagine what you will do with the new one! Amazing shots, I think the feather boa one is really good too, brings the soft playful side out of Jana and Missing. She is so statuesque her eyes are like your crystals!

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    1. I like these photos too, BUT I could not send them to the 500 series jury, because they are just not big enough, in terms of pixels. My camera is a limitation. PLUS, plus, Jana did nost of the work here. I just got to go along for the ride. I'm glad for the feedback on the feather boa image, because I have a new idea with that... Thank you!

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  3. Enjoy camera shopping ... incidentally I have always admired how you photograph your work ... thought it was pretty darn great!!!. Oh and I really like the pic of Jana wearing the boa and Missing ... Great shot!!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am OK with my composition, etc. It's just I wish I could manipulate the tool (the camera) like I can manipulate the beads and needle. And the new camera... A Sony a37 http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/sony_a37_review/ seems like it will meet both my jewelery needs. With the ability to shoot with auto focus 7 images per second, it should also do a great job of capturing my dance wear in action. I can't wait for the battery to chargew!!!

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  4. felicidades por el modelo,maravilloso,y la modelo bellisima..

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  5. Absolutely beautiful beadwork! I also struggle with my camera work, so I was happy to see your thoughts and process as you took the pictures. I hope you win the challenge - you deserve it.

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    1. Thank you Terah. I didn't win, but I did learn, grow, get excited and make something I am really proud of that that is worth a great deal. Thank you so much for your kind comment,

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  6. I just want to tell you that out of all of the beaded pieces I have ever seen; This is my favorite. The color and composition is amazing. A truly amazing piece...

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  7. Goodness, thank you! High praise indeed.

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