Monday, January 8, 2007

Digital Photography Creative Process & Digital Photo Tools

I just sent this piece off to my good friend Melanie Yazzie recently. Melanie organizes what are called "print exchanges" with other printmakers and artists. Melanie is a wonderful artist and a living dynamo of an artist who has been organizing some of the most amazing print exchanges for quite some time. Thanks Melanie!

While giving an art talk this past fall at the University of New Mexico as part of the "Migrations" exhibit, one of my fellow panelists was talking about painting and his process of making art. He was pretty proud of the fact that he could paint a painting in around 4 minutes. Hmmm. As a photographer, we've been used to making exposures almost instantly, but that's different. I challenged myself to make the art piece that I'd pre-visualized as fast as I could. It took me about 20 minutes to make this piece from a number of images that I made for it, and I am very happy with how it turned out.

It took me a lot longer to shoot the pieces, though, so it wasn't really made in 20 minutes. But on the other hand, I always have one camera or another with me so that I can capture things that I see every day that look interesting (in addition to the photographs that I actually make in a studio setting). This means that if I'm going to school and the light looks very unique on some clouds, I'll stop and photograph them. You can't plan stuff like that, unless you have some kind of god power. Say I'm driving to school and I want some very dramatic clouds. I jump out of the car with my arms outstretched and in my most commanding voice yell, "Like, Cool Clouds, NOW!!" In this scenario I'm playing the role of an omnipotent artist, so the clouds obey, giving me not one, but maybe a half dozen dramatic variations of cool clouds for me to shoot. Ha ha. Well, you can see why I just settle for carrying my camera around. It's ok and works for me.

I was carrying around my very cool little Sony V1 digital camera that day (this was purchased from the winnings of the Santa Fe Center for Photography Project Jurors Choice award). What is cool about it is that you can shoot true infrared (IR) photographs with an IR filter screwed onto the front. None of that simulated crap that you get from most digital cameras, this is the real deal. Anyway, ever since I photographed "The Feather Series" back in 1992, I learned that one could get some very dramatic, yet common looking clouds when shooting with IR film. I like how the sky looks kind of like Earth, and the power lines are about what humans do. I've been photographing hands lately and liked how it looked with the clouds. If you look closely you can see kind of an animal print on the human hand. We're definitely the most peculiar animals on our planet in my opinion...

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