Sometimes images come out of nowhere and other times there is a clear line of development. I thought I would share with you one of those moments. The story of the one image and the choices that were made along the way.
I enjoy looking at other toy photographs work. I’m inspired by their creativity and awed by their inventiveness. I like to think that in someway I will be able to reach their level of creativity and engagement. A couple of years ago I came across this image by Chris McVeigh which showed a robot looking at his reflection in a pond. The reflection is not a robot, but a little boy. I fell in love with that image; the robot that dreamed of becoming human. This past spring I watched Kristina set up a shot in a puddle. The beauty of this image reminded me of the image by Chris. While I’m inspired by other photographers, I try to not use ideas that have already been done, and done well.
Stuck in Plastic is running a competition on Robot photography. As we’re writing the article we’ve been examining why we’re attracted to the idea of robots. This has gotten me thinking about my own idea of being a ‘seeker‘ of knowledge, experiences and adventure through my own photography. I like to explore the ideas of what makes us human as well as explore my environment with a sense of child like wonder. I find Robots to be an appropriate vessel for these ideas. Combine that with a “whatever floats your boat” competition on BrickCentral and Brett’s #Legogirlstothefront challenge and it was time for an idea that has been percolating for some time in the back of my head to be attempted.
My idea was to have two robots rowing across a pond. The female robot would be leaning over the edge of the boat looking at her reflection, transfixed by this first glimpse of her own face. I wanted the focus to be primarily be on her reflection rather than on the mini figures. I had no idea if this was possible, but you never know unless you try!
The fountain in my front yard has remained silent for many years until this summer. My son took it into his head to fix it. He spent a couple of days dissembling it, cleaning it out and filling it up. It has one large pump in the middle and a smaller pump to move the balls in a circular motion around the pond. It’s a great location for a spur of the moment photo shoot.
My original vision was to place the robots in the row boat in the pond with the glass balls casting colored reflections across the surface of the water. I was hoping for a dream like, other worldly quality. I had an opportunity to add some bright, primary color to an image, rather than relying on the subdued colors of nature, and I wanted to see what would happen.
This image came the closest to the idea that was in my head. But now that I see the image, I find the color to be a distraction. Rather than focus on the main action in the boat my eye jumps around the surface of the image. I don’t know where to look! It’s a beautiful image, but the viewer can’t focus on the action. I consider this a beautiful fail.
As I often do when I’m struggling with an image, I changed my view point. When I looked away from the light and directed my lens to the shadows, the colorful balls were replaced with deep browns and blues. I like how the image is cut in half by the light and dark sides of the image and how this line combines with the angle of the boat. My biggest regret is the lack of clarity in the reflection.
Somewhere between the color full version and moving my set up to face the shadows, I snapped this photo. The instant I saw it in my view finder, I dismissed it. I didn’t like the strong line created by the bokeh on the fountains edge.
Yet, when I looked at all of the images, this was the one I kept coming back too. There is a feeling of spontaneity in this image that is lacking in the others for me. The female robot seems more ‘alive’ in this image than in the others. I like the strong vertical line across the image and how it forces your eye back to the main subject. I also like how we can see more of the location, we aren’t as close as we are in the second photo. If I had really been on my game I would have managed to get the water moving too, but maybe I can leave that for the next time I attempt this image. I like the concept and I’m sure I will revisit it, maybe with different character, or maybe with the robots again.
For photographers, making choices can be extremely difficult. But it is in the deciding that we’re able to create our own style, our own vision and our own unique stories. I hope you enjoyed this peak behind the scenes into one photographers journey through that process.
You have one more day to enter our Robot competition!