How can we grow as photographers – my new years resolution

We talked earlier about “the rules of photography” on the blog and I think I have made my point that I like to bend the “rules”. Or as some of you have pointed out, there are no rules, only conventions that we use when we make our pictures. Continue reading How can we grow as photographers – my new years resolution

the creative process is never linear

The creative process is never linear. Since it’s the end of the year and a convenient time for self reflection, I’ve recently realized something about myself:  I like to shoot my photos within the loose framework of a series. I may shoot under the larger umbrella of toys (or LEGO) but within my photographs you will see consistent themes running through my frequent social media posts. Continue reading the creative process is never linear

Scale and Toy Photography

How you approach scale will effect your toy photography. Whether you are creating a still life like Kristina with toys as your subject or merely trying to bring your toys to life, you need to be aware of how scale can help you tell your story.  Do you want to create images with neutral scale, forced perspective or do you like the playfulness of sharply juxtaposed scale?

When combined with toy photography these three techniques can lead to interesting possibilities.  So what are these three techniques and how can you use them? Continue reading Scale and Toy Photography

A different type of Photo Challenge

When Kristina was visiting in Seattle for the opening of the latest StuckinPlastic exhibition an idea for a different type of photo challenge was born.  We had plenty of time to chat and we realized that we both like to challenge ourselves in the most esoteric ways. It also seems that we both have The Photographer’s Playbook by the Aperture Foundation. Soon an idea was born. We came up with a different type of photo challenge for ourselves, our fellow blog mates (if they choose to participate) and for you.

These challenges are based on The Photographer’s Playbook which is a series of photo assignments and ideas aimed at getting the reader to think about photography in new ways. They are also designed to kick all of us out of those safe, comfortable habits we so often fall back into.

After finishing my best of 2015 photo book I realized I really want to pair my photographs with words. Right now I pair them with inspirational quotes and this has been satisfying up to a point.  Now I want to push myself to go beyond other peoples words and incorporate my own text with my photographs. I am a big admirer of Darryl Jones and Matt Rhodes and how they incorporate stories, poems and anecdotes about their characters. Their words add a richness to their photographs and enhance my enjoyment of their work.

So in honor of that goal Kristina and I have decided that our first challenge would be: Words and Photographs.

“For this assignment, print one of your photographs on one half of a sheet of paper. On the other half, write something about the picture. The key is to write something that doesn’t destroy the magic of the photograph. Write in a straightforward way. Do not use adjectives or fancy words. Do not explain the picture; enhance it.

Once you are done, fold the piece of paper in half. Is the picture better without the writing? If so, repeat the assignment with different photographs until you’ve made a combination that is more than the sum of its parts. ” – Alex Sloth, The Photographer’s Playbook

This assignment excites me because this is exactly what I want to be creating with my photography: words with photos where the sum is greater than the parts.

Kristina and I have given each other two weeks to complete one successful combination and to report back here about the process. This is a challenge open to all who want to participate. If it goes well and we are successfully pushed outside of our safety zone, or inspire you, then we will try this again. In the mean time, I am going to put my thinking cap on and see if I can find an older image that could benefit from a few words.

~ xxSJC

I realize that now is a very busy time for most of us, so this may not be the best time to launch a new challenge. Perhaps you would like to sit this one out and see how we do? Maybe you are game from the get go?  I would love to hear your reaction to this latest challenge. 

Brown Bear Fishing (edited)
Is this image in need of a story, a poem or a personal anecdote to give it more content? Perhaps.

I challenge myself with the light

In the genre of still life photography we can control everything. We can control the light, the angle, the composition, the motive, what fits in the frame and not. That is one of the things I like about the genre. But the ability to control everything can make me feel a bit predictable as a photographer because I can almost foresee the final result.  That is good in one way and boring in another. So to challenge myself I have come up with the idea of trying to have elements in my photo-sessions that I can’t control or don’t know all about. Sometimes I use the weather as such a parameter but most of the times I use the light.

Light is essential for us as photographers, if there is no light we can’t make a picture. We are painters of light, with the camera as our brush. Continue reading I challenge myself with the light

Google+ is not a Wasteland

I want to let you in on a little secret: Google+ is not a social media wasteland. It’s actually alive and well! I know you are shaking your head in disbelief, but really, you have to trust me on this one. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask East Mountain or InkBlot Photo.

I started posting to Google+ almost two years ago when we first started StuckinPlastic. Me2 and I divided up the social media duties and he took on Facebook and I said I would monitor and try to build an audience on Google+. I have to say it’s been slow going for both my own photography as well as our Google+ StuckinPlastic family. (I think most of the people we have met through G+ have moved over to Instagram.) But with the changes that Google has been rolling out over the last few months, this has all changed. Continue reading Google+ is not a Wasteland

How to Judge a Good Photo via Social Media

It’s time for me to beat my favorite dead horse: metrics. I talked ages ago about The “Like” Trap and more recently The Problem with Metrics and I don’t feel any differently about any of it now. But Me2’s post yesterday on how he chooses his Little Book, plus events in my own life, compel me to revisit this issue. Continue reading How to Judge a Good Photo via Social Media

Myths

I make pictures to explore the world and in some ways my photographs make me see the world through different eyes. But as I have confessed earlier I can’t make fiction, I can only retell stories I know or have heard of, and that is why the myths are so important in my photography.  Artists have always looked to the myth to find inspiration, and I’m no different. I think the reason is simple; we as humans love stories. In classic literature the myths represent some really great stories; I explore the stories that I love in my still life photography.

One of the myths that I come back to repeatedly is the myth about Icarus. Continue reading Myths

Best of 2015 Photo Challenge

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

Just like Ansel Adams, we realize twelve good images a year is a tremendous accomplishment that should be celebrated. So last year we challenged our readers to come up with their own 12 best images, turn them into small photo books and exchange them with us. Everyone who participated was thrilled with the experience, especially Me2 and myself, and requested this to be an annual activity. Continue reading Best of 2015 Photo Challenge

I would vote for Seattle

I know that we already had a vote for the next location for the US toy-photo-safari, and we came up with Chicago as the winner (60/40). I really like Chicago, but after a week in Seattle with Shelly as my host, I have to say that you might want to reconcider and put your vote on Seattle instead.

Continue reading I would vote for Seattle