Archives for 4040 Project

Week 26: Abstract

Week 26: Abstract Some weeks I have a very specific concept in mind and go after it. More and more frequently, however, I find myself pacing about trying to figure out what to do. Trying to think up something that I can actually pull off before the deadline -but still be something cool. At this point, Heather usually makes a few suggestions and I quickly refuse to do them…. however, during that moment I usually get an inspiration. I head off to create the image and Heather shakes here head and promises to not help me next time. This week, I KIND OF used her idea. She suggested I do a profile shot that was a silhouette. I originally had nixed the suggestion, then had an idea – I would do the profile but crop and color it in a way that would make it almost abstract. I think if someone saw this image by itself, they might not even know it was a person – which is kind of cool.
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Week25: The Guitar

My son Dean has been taking guitar lessons for the past month or so. Watching him practice kept reminding me of how I used to love wasting time trying to learn songs on the guitar in my dorm room. Last week I finally broke down and bought myself a guitar. It has pretty much consumed every free minute I have had over the past week – so I figured it should be featured in this week’s portrait. I had to play around with a few different lighting styles until I found just the right look. From there, I tweaked the contrast and added some color in Photoshop to get the final image above. I love the way it is very dramatic, yet very low-key.
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Week 24

As daunting as it can be to have to create a self-portrait every week, there is one big upside to this project: I’m not really accountable to anyone except myself. I don’t have to follow any of the rules of traditional portraiture. I’m not restricted by any guidelines whatsoever. It really is quite freeing! As photographers, we are taught to not use this style of lighting (called broad lighting) in most cases. It tends to be less flattering, makes people look heavier, etc. Even though I set out to do a broad-lit portrait, about halfway through shooting I thought, “this might look better by switching back to a more traditional lighting setup.” I made the switch and it did look better – in most respects. Luckily, I came to my senses and reverted to the original plan. After all, the whole project is about branching out – so I had to proceed with the plan, regardless of the result. I chose my favorite image and went to work with adjusting levels and playing with the tones a bit. I even spent a lot of time adding several scenic elements to the background – but as the portrait progressed in Photoshop,
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Week 23: Candyman

My pal Gusi is studying theater at OKCU. Last semester she took this makeup class and learned all these crazy techniques. We decided it would be fun to use one of these for the project. This look was created by covering my face with little pieces of candy and cupcake sprinkles. Lots and LOTS of pieces. I thought it would take 30 or 40 minutes, but it actually took her 2 1/2 hours. Honestly, I don’t know how she did it- what a trooper! Creating the image was lots of fun. Taking off the candy and makeup afterwards… not so fun!
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Week 21: Back to Basics

While last week’s image was busy and colorful – this week goes in the opposite direction. I went with a very simple, high-key setup. No props, simple clothing and a white background – about as simple as plain as you can get. It is kind of like 40@Forty “unplugged.”
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Week 20 – Halfway There

Hard to believe I am halfway through with the 4040 Project. Turning 40 has never been so much work!!! Last week I displayed some of my work at a show in Dallas. Over the weekend, I managed to unload the paintings out of the car and moved them to the studio temporarily. When I went into the studio today to do my portrait, the paintings were in my way – all over the studio. I figured I might as well put that to use and incorporate them into this week’s portrait. Its kind of an artist’s “family portrait” … sitting in the studio, surrounded by a few of my babies. The difficult part was figuring out where each piece needed to be – since I couldn’t look through the camera while I was sitting there. I would take a test shot, move a painting a bit and reshoot. Once I got them arranged properly, I had to decide what kind of expression to use, how much of my face to show, etc. I ended up going with just the eyes…. to me it just made more sense. The funny thing is – all those different colors don’t look too bad
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Weeks 18 and 19

The past couple of weeks have been all about trying to take a regular headshot and turn it into something out of the ordinary. Last week, I took the portrait and turned it into a stone bust. My buddy Chase told me about this technique and I thought it would be fun to try. Overall, I think it turned out pretty good – but a little creepy. For this week’s image, I decided to pep things up a bit and go with a more colorful image. I followed a similar strategy… starting with a plain headshot, then adding and subtracting elements from it until it was much different than what I started with. I’m not sure what to make of it… so you will have to tell me what you think. If anyone is interested, maybe I’ll upload a few images to show how I progressed from the original image to this final image.
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More 4040 Images

The past two weeks have brought two very different images to the collection. Week 16 is a tribute to the great Rene Magritte. Basically, I recreated his painting “The Son of Man” It was fun to try and replicate such an unusual image! This week, I went the opposite direction – with a much simpler creation. Basically, it is just me sitting in a chair on the backdrop with a single light source. Quite a contrast between the two images – but that is really what the entire 4040 Project is all about.
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Week 15: A Splash Of Color

Last week, I spent a few days at a photography workshop that focused on using color. For this week’s 4040 Portrait, I decided to try and push my use of color to the max – and use a lot more than I would normally feel comfortable using. I created a simple portrait then started adding on the paint! I even recorded the process. At some point – when I can figure out how to convert it for the web – I may even post it online so you can see how it unfolded.
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