I'm in the midst of a major shift of images from one computer hard drive... to a network drive... so they can be accessed by other computers on our network. It's a process that I've been dreading. I have made more work for myself by not being as diligent as I could have about consistancy of work flow... and duplication of efforts. Well, water under that bridge... time to get it all together. Distraction is a major problem when I am reviewing files from past shoots and stop to focus on the images that I've overlooked... or put aside to work on as time allowed... and never did. Case in point... Ms. Rebecca Lawrence... I hope we will be seeing you here in the studio in the near future. Looking over these images from a very quick shoot earlier in the year makes us long to work with you again.
Ahhhh... this project is going to take forever!!
I posted this photo of Vik Tory on the Feature page of the site this afternoon... and on our Facebook page. I hope you'll visit both to see all we've been up to lately! This image has collected a number of questions about the process including whether or not I added the "mask" to the image after the shoot. The answer is yes, I did add the mask... and the ribbons... the stick the mask is on, the background textures and other details. I consider this a photo-montage... a collage of images that become a 'fantasy' image... like the ones that we feature at the top of the Facebook page with the moon and birds, etc.
Here are the images that are combined to make the 'Hidden' image:
These elements are put together... one on top of another in Adobe Photoshop and then processed with the PS tools to change how they relate to one another... to create the image that is in my imagination.
That's it in a very small nutshell... lol!! Of course the message is... you must not believe everything you see! :)
Thanks for asking about what and how... now... back to work!
I read a good number of blogs and discussions on-line in the groups I am a member of. Linkedin has a lot of active groups that produce lively discussions about art, techniques, advice about equipment and problems associated. One topic that seems to pop up on every one of them, eventually is inspiration... how to get it... where to find it... how to maintain it... what it is... Personally, it's a matter of movement for me. I need to keep observing, looking at new things that interest me... and at old things that can be seen with 'new eyes'. I never know when something will pop out of nowhere and inspire an idea... a concept... and I'm off to make it happen. (Sometimes in slow motion, as I've mentioned before... but, I usually don't let an idea die completely.)
This week, I was buying some fabrics for an upcoming photo session, a bolt of red lace nearly fell off the rack at the local fabric store as I walked by and the wheels started turning. I was not in the market for red lace but... something struck me and I saw an image in my head... not completely formed... but... at the end of a photo session with our friend and model, Kell in the studio yesterday... we experimented with one last concept while the lights were plugged in. Dave captured a few images while we played with light and distance... and camera settings. I'm pleased with the results... but not finished with the red lace. That inspired image is still in my head, waiting to be realized.
Where did you 'find' your last inspiration?
We've been traveling to St Martin for the last 8 years to escape a little bit of winter and breathe deeply... and eat those famous French pastries that lure us every February. Not to mention it's a bit of a different scene to capture on this beautiful island just east of Puerto Rico.
So off we go with extra carry on luggage strapped with tripods and chocked full of speciality lenses or additional camera bodies. This year we managed the extras without any problem... due mostly to Dave's organizational skills and a photographic roller bag with enough nooks and crannies for the most obsessed photo taker. Did we use it all? Well, no. But, not having a certain lens when you want it is worth tears... so we travel prepared and if the macro lens never leaves the case... well, so be it!
From the first day of our 2 week stay this year, the morning sky from the house we rented was a feature. I was up most mornings to record the infinite cloud forms, and light qualities. Mornings are always a personal favorite time of day and no more so that gazing on a very w i d e tropical sky on a beautiful island. A few more mornings of inspired calm and serenity... and they start to work their magic...
The last couple of weeks are a blur of activity... new floor, draperies, shooting sessions and finally hanging some of the abstract photographs that we've been printing and framing on the open gallery wall as planned.
This latest step has been difficult for me. Choosing from among the hundreds of images that I've captured and processed over the last 4 years has been daunting. There are so many favorite catagories of macro and close-up grunge that I love... and so many images finished and waiting to be printed, uploaded to a photo gallery e-commerce site like Fine Art America, Redbubble or 500px... or framed and hung. I have just felt overwhelmed. Organizing one's own images takes a lot of concentration and focus. I seem to be short on both in recent days. BTW... this photo looking at the end of the studio shows the new floor... but, before the draperies covered the wall with the big doors. The changes have been amazing. And that is part of why it been important to get the framed prints hung properly... to be finished (or at least LOOK finished) for visitors and clients coming to the studio.
Rather than choose a theme from the different groupings of images I have, I decided to hang a grouping 'salon' style in different sizes with images from all over the spectrum of my interests. The colorful result is a great way to see the Gallery walls finally full of our work. The Studio/Gallery is open when we are here so if you are in the area, call us and drop over to check it out. Thanks so much for all your great comments and for the encouragement that those of you who have had a chance to drop by the studio have shared with us. Most appreciated!
That is a picture of Kyle bending over his great idea for covering the foundation extensions in the studio... which looked fine when it was a "garage" for the race cars and had a grey rubber tile covering it. But, somehow, the grey rubber covering the extensions didn't add anything to the ambiance of the new dark walnut floor. So, the crew at Alan Smallman Builders in Boxford, and Kyle Smallman came up with the perfect solution... to cover the foundations to look like baseboards. Well done! And just in time for the 10 foot charcoal draperies to be installed over the big sliders at one end of the big room. Now the real work of making all these changes pay off in the ability to create some different looks for the images we want to make begins.
No sooner had we voiced that thought when the opportunity presented itself to take advantage of the changes. We had two days of shooting scheduled but only two days to find some furniture, accessories, fabric, props and... find our inspiration. Several wonderful things occurred then... Our wonderful collaborator, Donna McKinnon spent a day shopping with us and introduced us to the most fabulous place to interiors fabrics (Zinmans in Lynn, MA)... loans of props and accessories were made... Alan Smallman came to our rescue with a furniture solution overnight... assistance was 'volunteered' by my friend Jane Dean to my eternal gratitude... and everything came together finally for two intense days of making some lovely images. Models Anastasia Arteyeva and Rebecca Lawrence are true collaborators who brought their own creativity to the concepts suggested as we knew they would. Ana even picked up a piece of black velvet and belted it to create a period "dress" that worked perfectly when we had no wardrobe to fit the mood and period of the shot we were trying to achieve.
I had the oddest feeling this morning turning on my computer and having that uncomfortable feeling of dejavu. The visual that triggered the goosebumps on my arms was the featured Bing image of a winter landscape in the snow... a hillside covered with trees in snowy garb... and a night sky. It immediately triggered a memory of one of my 'Accidental Images'. The top image is a screen capture of the beautiful image (copyright Getty Images) on the Bing home screen this morning. The bottom image is my accidental
An accidental image is an image of something that looks like something other than what it is... like a cloud that is shaped like a fish... or a potato chip shaped like a profile. In this instance, I have a photo of the same scene... night sky, snowy winter trees on a hill. Only difference is that mine is a macro photo of the blade of my garden edger!! Can you see it?
Some of my accidentals are featured from time to time in the Black Wings Gallery.
OK, I get the part in my SEO education about having something new on the web site on a regular schedule... and keeping the Facebook page fresh with something to link to daily... something to keep people coming back to the site or page often... and something to talk about in the blog... I get it. But... nowhere in the stuff I've read does it say where the time comes from to do all this in addition to doing the JOB, creating the WORK that you do... So far, all I see is layering on more tasks. No wonder people start off great with lots of activity on the social sites and then give up... and you see something new months later. (OK, we'll see if we're one of those.)
Meanwhile, one thing I do like to do is use the images we create to make new images to upload onto these social (and now necessary) marketing tools. I've been changing the 'cover photo' on the Facebook page to reflect seasonal styles and I changed it this morning to a composite photo of Carly Erin O'Neil... together with a photo of the swans on Johnson's Pond just up the street from the studio. The overhanging evergreens are in the pond image. The snow is another 2 images that came from some generous artists at Redbubble.com. They were kind enough to allow downloads of their snow art and they have been used many times to create the illusion of a snowy winter day. The composite was created using Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5.
This is how my brain feels right now after a few hours of trying to understand what search engines are looking for... how they find the proper sites, pages, images... that people are searching for. And, of course, how to "optimize" the site we've just put together and launched. My brain is spinning with header and footer codes, links to page descriptions, page titles, social media and who's Twitter account should be tweeting... tweeting what? Hey... I'm not totally in the dark. I've got a Twitter account. It was great fun during the recent election cycle (especially during those "debates"... the tweeting was very entertaining!) But... learning to make it (social media) work for a business is "involved" with a whole language to learn. We creatives living in the "Photoshop" world already are emersed in another parallel universe!! OK... I'm up to the challenge and I'll let you know how it's going. Drop any tips you have for me here. :)))
BTW... this is a drawing by Escher... a master of the tangled landscape... like where I find myself at the moment. ~ Susana
Hey! Finally... got our web site turned on... and have been deilghted to welcome our friends to view the work we have been doing for the last three years. Those of you who know us as 'car' people... will be surprised to see what we've been up to. The big race car garage has been transformed into a photo studio and gallery... and, a little at a time, the cars and all their 'stuff' has dissappeared. There are more changes coming to our 'garage' space in the next few months and we'll be sharing the changes and fun here in the blog that comes with the web site... and on our page on Facebook. Click on the little 'f' symbol at the top of the pages on this site... and be sure to 'Like' us there so you get the latest about what's happening in the studio. More later... back to work... :)))) ~ Susana
Photography has been a love of ours for longer than our motorsport activities, so converting the "garage" into a photography studio was a natural thing to do. The large space affords us lots of options for backdrops and settings, and with the forthcoming improvements will be an even better stage for our photographic efforts.
We've been fortunate over the past few years to work with wonderful models who've contributed their talents and ideas to our evolving skills as photographers. As you explore our web site and Facebook sites you'll find the results of these collaborations. I'm excited to be able to now share our work with you. Enjoy! ~ Dave
David and Susana... we'll both be blogging here and will identify who says what. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. We love to hear from you!