To help spur some creativity, I have purchased a book on Amazon called, “Creative 52: Weekly Projects to Invigorate Your Photography Portfolio” by Lindsay Adler. This book provides a new project each week. It is written by a fashion photographer, so I expect to start shooting more portraits than I have in the past. This alone is a departure from my regular subjects of landscapes and still life.
WEEK NINE: MAKE A MESS
When I read the assignment for this project, I gasped! Make a mess? This goes against everything I stand for when I make a photograph. I plan the placement of the subject, the lighting, the camera settings all to get the final, clear print – but to introduce a random occurrence in the form of a mess? I wasn’t sure I could pull this one off even if you put a gun to my head.
The examples used in the book involve throwing paint, dirt, powders of various forms – all things that I do not want flying around my studio. It’s bad enough trying to control the dog hair! After much thought, I came up with a workaround – it’s something I’m good at.
I came up with an idea to make a mess after the shoot. I planned the shoot (and it was clean and controlled) – but the final image would be a paint splattered canvas.
My subject is a vintage toy cap gun that I bought at an auction last year. I actually bought a number of them just to have in the studio. Auctions are great for finding weird one of a kind items to shoot.
As you can see, it’s not messy. I shot this while hanging it by thread in front of a white background. I took my time with it and there was nothing random about it (yet). In other words, I was cheating on this assignment.
I had the image printed on canvas (30″ x 20″ final size) and stretched it in the studio. Now comes the fun part!
With the help of an artist who knows her paints, we came up with a good color and consistency to throw at the canvas. I stapled the full canvas to a wall in another studio and just went for it. Splattered paint in random places. It actually felt kind of good.
I used a small spatula and made about a dozen or splatters before I felt it was ‘done’.
In the end I have new appreciation for ‘randomness’. It’s something I need to allow more of in my photography. Control is one thing, but giving fate a little input won’t hurt, will it?
Here is the final canvas hung on the wall. It’s called “Don’t Shoot”.
Image taken with a Nikon D800e and 105mm macro lens.
1/25s – f/9 – ISO 100 – 2 1000w studio lights (one on gun, one on background)
Thanks for reading – if you have any questions or comments, just let me know below or send me an email.
Project 1 – One Color
Project 2 – Faceless Portrait
Project 3 – Tell a Story
Project 4 – Negative Space
Project 5 – Symmetrical Image
Project 6 – Museum Inspiration
Project 7&8 – Collaborative Print
Project 9 – Make a Mess