Getting away from it all
The feel of water
Life has a way
The fern forest
Everything dies, even buildings.
For my friends back home!

Death on vacation

This small series of images is what happens when an idea pops into your head. An idea so crazy that I had no choice but to run with it. After playing with this 4″ custom figure created by my friend Dennis on a recent vacation, I sense the possibilities for a larger project.

I’ve been looking for a new challenge. A project that can take my work behind a single image or even a short series. I’m currently running a workshop on Storytelling. I’m fascinated by the possibilities of combining toys and a variation of the Hero’s Journey. I think there is real potential for toys to tell impactful stories of all kinds. Death on a Vacation fits the bill for me perfectly.

I had great fun playing with my Lensbaby lenses with this completely different scale of figure from my normal LEGO. I felt I was able to capture more detail in the environment. My only problem is that poor Death didn’t have a scythe. My Death figure feels a little too much like Darth Maul or something similar. Luckily I have clever friends and a scythe is in the works for future adventures.

Exploring the story possibilities

Now that I have the seeds of an idea and a proof of concept it’s time for me to get series about exploring the story possibilities. I need to answer questions like:

  • What would cause Death to take a vacation?
  • What would this vacation look like
  • Would they do different things than typical humans on vacation?
  • What obstacles must they over come?
  • Does Death meet anyone on this trip that helps them find their way back to their job?
  • Is it even possible for Death to take a vacation?
  • What is the climax of the story?
  • and what do I want my audience to take away from this story?

I’m not sure what the answer will be to many of of these questions. I will need to create a mind map of ideas and image possibilities to help me find these answers. Then I can gather a more props, plan appropriate locations to photograph and see how this story develops. With a little luck I will be able to bring this idea to a positive completion.

It’s amazing what happens when you embrace ideas that bubble up. I firmly believe that there are infinite ideas in the universe. But more often than not we aren’t practiced at listening to what the universe is telling us. Im glad that Im getting better at listening so that when death on a vacation popped into my head I didn’t ignore it.

Growing as an artist

For the past year I’ve felt like I hit a wall with my photography. I want to continue to grow as an artist and I need to challenge myself to do this. It would be fabulous to be able to create something bigger than the single image stories I’ve been focusing on. I realize that there are plenty of red threads running through my work at the moment. Sparkle Fairy Unicorn Princess, Mouse Guard meets The Art of War and all the floating images I’ve been posting lately come to mind. Any one of these, plus Death on a Vacation can potentially be expanded. To take my work to the next level I want to grab onto one of these ideas and build it out into a monograph or small pdf book.

Carving out time to create is never easy. Growing as an artist and pushing on to the next level is also never easy! But it helps to have friends and creative support to both inspire and provide accountability. I’m grateful to my friend Kristina who has helped and encouraged me along the way. I also want to thank the wonderful people in my workshops who inspire me to grow in new directions!

Who inspires you?


You can check out other Six Image Narrative here.

Are you interested in creating a larger series of images or even a short visual story? Tell us about your big creative dreams in the comments below.