Yesterday I was able to enjoy an afternoon moment of simple joy. After a couple of difficult days, struggling with home school and work schedule overlaps and uncertainty about both my job and the new normal, I was able to catch a bit of a break.
The weather was amazing, absolutely perfect. Warmer than had been predicted but not hot, clear blue skies, light breeze, perfect.
Two of my three kids were playing in the backyard while I watched. My son slipped on some dry grass that is always the last part of the lawn to turn green, and then grows like crazy all year long. The dry patch had been shedding tiny brown stalks all spring and this gave us all an idea.
Nothing like a bit of natural confetti and moments of down time to experiment with a camera.
It had been a few days since I had really taken any pictures, and longer since I had taken anything that I felt really excited about. Despite the simplicity (or because of it) I found myself enjoying the process, my kids, and the moment all at once. Something I really needed.
Nothing more to be said except that I hope all of you can find a slice of bliss amidst the stress of our shared uncertainty. Shout-out also to Yuri for inspiring in part the idea for throwing things into the air and taking pictures of them with his No Gravity project, though my interpretation wasn’t nearly so daring.
Inspired by my last session stuck downstairs in the playroom with my camera, I approached the next one with a much more open perspective.
The actual objects in our playroom don’t interest me very much as subject matter for photos. Much the same with my photography outdoors I am more interested in the overlapping of textures and patterns, and the small details that get overlooked. When surrounded by man-made objects, which do not generally have their own inherent natural qualities or details, I was struggling to figure out where to point my camera.
The answer to this question, as the answer to so many questions of my childhood, was legos. I liked the idea of restricting my viewpoint, and using objects to disrupt the objects in the room so that they wouldn’t be recognizable in the photos. This way, it wouldn’t matter so much what I was shooting, rather how I was shooting.
I created a simple viewfinder/tunnel out of lego (duplo to get technical) windows so that I could focus the light and attention of the camera.
That, combined with the multi-colored strings of lights that we have set up down there were enough to create some really interesting abstractions using a close focus and bokeh from the lights.
The lego frames were semi-reflective, and by adjusting how they lined up I was able to create slices of the round light glow, and to multiply the effect in some interesting ways. One of the most interesting things I learned is that my mirrorless fujifilm x-e1 isn’t always going to create what I see on the viewfinder. Several of the lights that I saw clearly on my screen did not show up after I had clicked the shutter. Something to do with the angle or intensity of the light.
Once again the power of play wins out. I guess I will continue taking this lesson to heart, especially given that we are potentially going to have to spend some serious time social distancing in the near future depending on how things go.
For now, I hope that everyone is able to take a step back, take stock, and find some unique perspectives to help brighten up the day even when things don’t initially looks so positive.
After several absolutely amazing days where we were treated to a preview of summer the dream has been snatched away. Freezing drizzle, along with having the kids off school on spring break, has created the perfect environment for cabin fever. Oh yeah, at at least two of the family are sick right now, so we’re also trying to keep people separated as well as sane.
All of this has been driving me a bit crazy as well since I haven’t been able to get outside and shoot anything besides family pics.
Yesterday, feeling trapped in our basement play room with the pent up energy of a three and six year old, I managed to find a quiet pocket of photographic experimentation to escape into.
We have had a shiny gold set of bed sheets for several years now. I can’t quite remember where they came from, but their current home is in the play room where they are regularly used for building forts and tunnels.
Inspired by the way the cloth was draping and catching the light I decided to do my first staged photo shoot. Using various props to hang the fabric from I tried to create interesting patterns of folds, loosely tugging and piling the fabric so that it would fall somewhat haphazardly, creating a look based on the nature of the material and not something that I had carefully arranged. Thankfully this was a very simple process and lent itself to simple reconfiguration and quick adjustments.
If nothing else it was a great experiment in composition and balance of positive and negative spaces. Limiting the scope to simple color and shape really allows one to see how they interact within the frame.
I can also see how creating abstract photographs of other materials would make for an interesting project. The ways in which other items like paper would create texture through crumples or overlaps could be similarly interesting. Never though I would ever consider shooting indoors, especially not arranged shots in a controlled environment, and I likely won’t spend much time going down this road, but it goes to show that allowing oneself to play with even the strangest ideas could open doors to new perspectives.