Saturday, February 21, 2009

Links for 2009-02-20

Interesting links gathered from all over the Internet

DELARGE: Flickr finder tool - Find flickr photo owner / user by photo id, url or filename Nifty! Have a direct flickr url or filename and can't figure out who the photographer really is from that? Just paste it here and the magical flickr elves will figure it out for you. (tags: photography flickr tools search)

Friday, February 20, 2009

"I'm going a hundred miles an hour down a dead-end road."

Just some notable quotes that struck me as I was listening and watching this.

"I placed myself against my peers this year and was ready to walk away from the camera for good. I have so far to go and I'm tired. It was time to reinvent myself again but I didn't have it in me to even try."

"I've been driving as fast as I can for as long as I could remember. I've been stuck at this breakneck speed and it seems as though I can't get out of first gear. By the end of last year, I was throwing rods and the gaskets were blowing out like birthday candles."

"Chances are you have your voice. You can say whatever you want to say right now. So what are you saying? What are you doing with the time you have right now?"

"Some of you are the real top ten photographers in the world and the rest of us don't even know you're alive. You don't even realize how amazing you are. Some of you are just getting started. Be patient. Don't rush. Chill out. You are on your way. Some of you suck and you really need some help."

and shortly followed by

"Every photographer in all of the history was a horrible photographer for some period of time. They learned. They grew. They had dark days. They persevered. That is the way of the artist."

Talk about hitting you like a five pound sledge. In the grand scheme of things, I haven't been a photographer for long, but I've definitely stepped into these dark, lackluster corners of creativity. It's sort of cathartic and uplifting knowing that even pros get this way at times.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Links for 2009-02-18

Interesting links gathered from all over the Internet

Magnum Blog / Wear Good Shoes: Advice to young photographers - the photo blog of Magnum Photos Tips from the pros and things you'd probably only pick up at the bar. (tags: photography inspiration photographers advice)

10 ways to break photographer̢۪s block :: Photocritic photography blog 10 things for inspiration when you are beating your head against the wall creatively. (tags: photography photo tips inspiration motivation creativity)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things that make you go HmmMMmmMMmm.

Good vs. EvilHello. My name is Travis and I'm a Firefox Tab-a-holic. I first realized I had a problem a few months after my first hit of Firefox. I was young. I thought I was invincible. I could quite anytime because I was only using it to relax. First it was just one or two tabs a day. And I began seeing how much better I thought my life was if I just had a constant stream of two or three. Sometimes it was a crazy day and I ended it with seven or eight open. But each tab was so very important as it contained useful information to me.

Always useful.

But soon, I discovered that I couldn't get enough of them. I was popping them like a mescaline-crazed nerdy Hunter S. Thompson on a crack binge with a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey. I was opening five and six tabs an hour, leaving them open for days and weeks, always going back to reference each page. Bookmarks? Bookmarks are for pussies. You don't ever go back to a page once you've bookmarked it. But an open tab is a constant thorn in your side. A reminder of something you must act upon.

Once it's open, do you keep it? Do you read it it? Do you leave it there until you have more time to come back to it? Maybe you just let it sit there and stew like a half-written poem bubbling and boiling until it erupts with the furor of a mad poo-flinging monkey. It's a hard call when it comes to having to close a tab. They're all like my children now. Could you cut off one of your children? I thought not.

Anyway, tonight I had an epiphany. I have a problem. I just can't let go of my tabs. I had 48 open going back months. Things I popped open intending to "read later". I have a tab open from Sept 2008. Why do I know that? Because it was a blog posting from some random blogger I follow, dated from September.

As I looked through each of these tabs this evening, I remembered why I kept them open. There were bits of paragraphs, little thoughts, and random sentences that leapt out at me for one reason or another. And I've come to the conclusion that if I don't write something about them, they're going to haunt my tabs till kingdom come.

So ...

Over on Positive Space Blog, Dave drops this quote:

Just as important as being able to stand up for your choices when you’re right is an ability to admit when you’re wrong. Maturing as a designer means learning how to tell the difference.

Dave Shea Creative Advent 2008

Two Sides... and it gets me thinking. I'm pretty stubborn about my opinion and it is pretty difficult for me to take a step back and listen to opposing ideas, but once I realize I can do it, it is refreshing to hear what other people have to say about a design or idea. It sort of goes back to what I was talking about in Thievery gets you everywhere, only a slightly different facet of it. If you're not paying attention to the ideas of others you're going to grow stagnant with your own opinions and thoughts.

Over on Seth's blog,

The old adage is that for someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. [...] But what if you've decided that in fact, a hammer is exactly the tool that will solve your problem? My advice: hire a guy who only uses a hammer. Odds are, he's pretty good at it.

Seth Godin Look for the guy with a hammer

Yeah, the right tool for the right job. Don't second guess yourself about it.

I don't remember where I saw this quote by Diane Arbus, but I liked it nonetheless.

I never have taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse.

Diane Arbus

It's a struggle to come up with an interesting photographic idea. What I've found with following through is that sometimes they work, most often they don't. Some of my favorite photos have come from happy accidents and others are born of an idea that turned out so much better than I could imagine.

Finally, sometimes you just need to try a different path. I'd been in a slight rut lately with my photography. James, a photog buddy of mine, invited me out to the studio Monday night to shoot with Stephanie. He'd wanted to do some white-faced photos of her with makeup on. It was a good evening. We ended up playing with the idea of the makeup, mostly. She was quite animated at times and kept opening her eyes really wide (which would freak James out ... and she'd do it again and again creating a vicious circle). It was fun. Different, but fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hooray Music!

The Judy'sWow, awesome news! Last year, on a lark, I got invited to the Austin Music Awards by my good friend Scarlett. I asked if there was any chance I could bring my camera to the show. She poked around and got the OK from the show director. I ended up having quite a bit of fun and got some amazing photos of musicians like The Judy's, Gary Clark Jr., Billy Gibbons, and many others. My photos apparently made the rounds of the event staff and were well received.

The other evening, Scarlet called me up after having just gotten out of the first volunteers meeting for the award show. I'm getting to come back to the show and take photos again! I'm so looking forward to this! And with luck, I'll have my D300 by then so I'll have even more fun.

You can see my photos from the 2008 Austin Music Awards on my Flickr stream.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thievery gets you everywhere.

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don't bother concealing your thievery--celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-luc Godard said: "It's not where you take things from--it's where you take them to."

-- Jim Jarmusch

By way of Wizwow's blog.

This sort of dovetails back into a conversation I had with Morgan a month or so back about certain photos being done already. We were talking about pinup art at the time, but it really translates into many other realms in photography. Take The Red Cloth as an example. My inspiration for that came from an ad within Instyle ... or some other women's magazine. I forget.

As a photographer I look all over the place for ideas and suggestions on what to do next. Heck, at one point I was going through every single photo that came across the Strobist Flickr group stream to see what other people were doing. Alas, I can't do that any longer because of the sheer amount of stuff that comes across the stream now. But the point is, I gather my creativity from seeing what else is out there. Or what isn't out there. You have to pay attention to both.

I take the bits and pieces I like, remix them, and throw them against the wall like spaghetti to see what sticks. Quite a lot doesn't.

I think Jarmusch had it right. Nothing is original. But, the way we cut and whack at those things we pilfer makes them original long enough for someone else to steal. It's the nature of the art.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Links for 2009-02-01

Interesting links gathered from all over the Internet

Portable Lighting | LIGHTING ESSENTIALS : For Photographers Wizwow discusses techniques for using speedlights on location to combine ambient with flash for a more natural feel. Definitely some cool stuff. (tags: photography lighting flash tutorials strobist portrait)

45 Must-See Incredible Resources And Inspirational Collection To Discover The Best Of The Web In January - Opensource, Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers Some interesting links here for things like photoshop. (tags: photography photoshop tutorial inspiration webdesign)

57+ Free Image Gallery, Slideshow And Lightbox Solutions | 1stwebdesigner - Love In Design Various slide show and gallery solutions for websites. (tags: photography gallery lightbox javascript slideshow)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

25 things.

D in BlueThere's a meme going around on various social websites where you tell 25 things about yourself that someone might not know. You're supposed to tag 25 people who you want the same thing from but I really don't care to go that deeply into the meme.

  1. My first camera was one of those a 110 film camera. I think it was from kodak, but I don't remember. I recall it having one of those flash cartridges that had 4 or 8 uses on it.

  2. I quietly lust after new camera equipment. It's not uncommon for me to sit with a B&H catalog for hours.

  3. I've shot digital cameras for the last few years but I want to get a Holga just so I can experience film and have fun with it.

  4. I have a hard time remembering that I'm supposed to talk to the people I'm photographing. I zone too easily and have to constantly remind myself to not do that.

  5. I know it's been a good evening shooting in the studio when I have to lay down and pop my back. Sometimes you just have to lay there and relax.

  6. I get an adrenaline rush when I'm shooting for a long time.

  7. I love Ansel Adams and his photography, but I don't think I could ever be a landscape photographer. I absolutely hated his autobiography. I thought it was dry.

  8. I don't have any formal training in photography. Everything I've done has been self-taught and gleaned out of many mistakes.

  9. I find it funny that people are surprised when I tell them I'm only shooting with a Nikon D40. For a consumer-grade camera, you can really do a lot with it.

  10. I suck at photoshop.

  11. I understand the meaning of the word "deviant". Unlike a few photographers I know. ;-)

  12. I'm not big on shooting models. I like photographing people I've met. I find they have more character, even if they may not be considered "pretty."

  13. After working on Strobist techniques for the last year and a half, I can no longer look at porn because I spend more time figuring out the lighting setup than I do looking at what's really in the photo. Sad, isn't it?

  14. Photography has been the longest hobby that I've ever been able to consistently follow through on. This surprised my wife because I have a bad habit of getting bored with something in midstream.

  15. I prefer low key photography to high key. I like the moodiness and darkness of shadow.

  16. I have a long term goal of changing careers and becoming a full-time photographer. Another 6-8 years of hard work and I might have a shot at it.

  17. I like the look of leather and latex in photos. I don't know why. I just like the shiny highlights.

  18. I plan on going back to school and getting a degree in photography. Or, at the very least, getting some college-level classes done. I think it will help out my abilities going forward.

  19. One of the best things that has happened to my photography is gaining access to a studio. I've had such an improvement in the last six months because of that. It's been a great source of learning and practice.

  20. My next home will have a 20x30 studio. Mostly because I'm lazy and want to be within walking distance of it whenever I'm at the house.

  21. Joe McNally rocks my socks. He does things with light that I find positively amazing.

  22. Why, yes, I do look at women's magazines for ideas. Why do you ask?

  23. While I shoot a lot, I have no earthly idea on how to print photos so they look good. Ironic.

  24. There's a pair of hawks that lives on a road near my house. Every time I see them I think about taking a photo of them, but ... it's hard to do when you pass them doing 60mph. I think they sit there taunting me and laughing loudly in a shrill hawkish way. One of these days I will stop and get that photo.

  25. Getting bored with photography is my biggest fear and something I constantly struggle with. There have been times where I've gone a month without taking a photo and I have to kick myself in the ass to do something about it.

The young lady at the top of this post is Donica. This was from our first shoot in January. I love how this blue turned out in the light. Heck, I just love how all of the photos turned out.