The Drive to Create

The first time I ever created a piece of art it was copying a picture from the cover of a Tarzan comic book. I was a pre-teen and wanted to trace it but couldn’t because I didn’t have tracing paper. So I sat down with a blank sheet of paper and copied the image as best I could. It was my first time at creating art and the first time I realized the personal satisfaction of doing so.

This started what has been a very long journey of creating for the pure joy of it. I had already been playing with a camera but it would be years before I started using it creatively. In the years following I experimented with various forms of illustration techniques ranging from pencil to oil paints. I wasn’t always great at it but I tried it. As I got older I tried other forms of art such a sculpting (total disaster), to building and painting miniatures of peoples and cities. Whatever the medium I was fascinated with the creation process.

When I picked up the camera again as an adult I was taking pictures to use in graphic designs that I was creating as an art director for a local firm. It was almost a year after getting the camera that I started taking portraits of people. LIke many my first images were copied from what I seen others do. As time progressed I started looking to develop a look that would be own. Through out this I wanted to know how to photograph anything and everything. Just as when I did illustration I didn’t want my work limited to a particular genre of photography. To that end I experimented with various types of photography from landscape to portrait, but it was photographing people that captured my interest the most.

As I started making my step from doing photography on the side to doing photography for a job I immediately decided to take the advice of those that have gone before me and shoot not just when I had an assignment but just for sake of shooting an image. In my commercial work I have shot for corporations, private consumers, and magazines. This has included shooting fashion, editorial portraits, buildings, and even road signs. Some of these jobs has allowed me to be creative others have been just to document and record for the client. Because of this I have had to push myself to create, even if there is no client.

Experimenting with merging photos into drawings with a cross hatch style.

Experimenting with merging photos into drawings with a cross hatch style.

These personal shoots have been the source of developing a look that is my own. They have also allowed me the freedom to experiment with ideas that make use of  my use of lighting and color but is outside of my normal scope of images. Recently I have begin to experiment in fine art portraits. I first began with some simple images with texture and color adjustments, recently I’ve begun experimenting in creating composite images by combining elements from various photographs.

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For the woman on the ladder I shot her and the ladder in a studio setup on a solid black background I merged it with a scene from a fort I had visited a few weeks earlier using layers. The water I created in post using a duplicate of the image. In this instance the image came after the shoot. I had shot my model with no exact plan of where I would place her till later. We shot several different poses which became part of an entire series of fine art images. I also shot the same model wrapped in a large red bedsheet to create a long dress which later became the image of her standing in the falling light. In both cases I had to be certain the light of the images matched in direction and feel.

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With the woman laying in red I planned the image out in advance of the shoot. I had seen an old picture of Marilyn Monroe laying nude on a red silk sheet and thought it would be cool to make the red the primary part of the picture and let the model be small in a sea of red. To do this I shot her from above using two red bed sheets, one under her and one laid over her. We shot a series of poses arranging the top sheet in different positions. I then shot a series of just the sheet with the same lighting folding the sheet differently each time.  In post I enlarged the canvas of my image with the model to a 30×30 square. Then I placed the elements with just the sheet around until I had filled and blended in all the sides and corners.

Now I am starting the process of creating images based off villains from the Disney movies, putting together a series of portraits of 50 Strangers, and getting my geek on by building some superhero themed photos out of very cooperative models. None of these are for pay. Its not just about making money though obviously the need to make money exist and I hope to attract the attention of people who would hire me for my creative vision. The end goal is to expand my imagination. To create artwork that inspires not only myself but others to go and create something of their own.

I also want to create new styles of images so I don’t become locked into one creative trend. While I understand the need of clients to know what to expect, I also want clients to see that I can get outside my own box and create something different. It may not be something I am hired to do (though I certainly would enjoy the process of creating like this for clients), I am more concerned with the creative process. The exploring of ideas and dreams to see a final image take shape.

Over the rest of 2014 and beyond I will continue to explore ideas and concepts both for my clients and on my own. The drive to create is stronger in me now that it has ever been. As the saying goes, “Its not the destination but the journey that counts.”