Creativity.

Paper and Light

Ideas, influence, and inspiration.

The co-founder of The North Austin Pfotographic Society, Josh Baker, gave a super-animated prezzy on creativity at last night’s monthly meeting.

There were a lot of great take-aways, from his use of storyboards and sketches, knowing and breaking rules, to taking advantage of spontaneous situations. Josh’s work is large-scale, and he talked about all the planning that kind of photography demands.

At a couple of points in the presentation, he spoke briefly about inspiration, which I think could be the subject of a whole ‘nutha meeting.

It was an excellent talk!

I do think we’re all influenced by our surroundings, and by filling my life with things I love, the work I do is a direct reflection of my interests.

Plus, my interest in photography is more out of curiosity and experimentation – not business – so I tend to look at things on a much smaller scale. I’m not saying big is bad, I just don’t have the budget, the gear, or the network a working professional has.

But small scale doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.

In September of 2005, I enjoyed an exhibition at San Jose Museum of Art titled “Caja de Visiones/Box of Visions: Manuel Álvarez Bravo.” It was wonderful. The show included about 50 black-and-white photographs.

There were a couple of Álvarez Bravo’s images that I found to be so totally different from the the rest of the exhibit, almost out of place, but demonstrated a playful side. They were pictures of paper, folded and bent.

I was excited to try something similar using a Lensbaby 2 that I’d added to my kit. I’d done a series of macros of a plastic rainbow Slinky earlier that Summer and was happy with the results.

Wash machine

One evening I ventured out to the garage with my camera, the Lensbaby, a small LED flashlight, and this idea.

Working on top of our wash machine, I cut a 3/8″ x 14″ piece of layout bond and curled it tightly around an exacto knife handle, let it fall on a piece of black construction paper and made some slight adjustments to the arrangement.

I then pointed an LED flashlight from various angles at the resulting composition and pulled the Lensbaby away from the camera body to get a closer crop.

The experiment was a success.

Of the eleven images made, I had three of them printed, matted, and framed.

Paper and Light 1

Paper and Light 3

Paper and Light 3

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