Archives for Fine Art

Fellow 40: Melanie

Melanie, Age: 40 One of the few advantages of growing older is the “growing wiser” part. Melanie mentioned that the older she gets, the more intuitive she gets. To that end, we set out to create this image of her as a fortune teller. After playing around with the lighting for a bit, we finally hit the right look – beautiful, but mysterious. Without question, a wonderful addition to the 4040 Project!
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Indiana

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Indiana state photography convention. I served as a judge at their print competition, then gave a 3 hour photography program. One of the great things about my job is that I get to be in an industry where people really love their jobs. The folks in Indiana were so friendly and welcoming that I can’t wait to visit there again soon. After the convention we spent a couple of days exploring Indianapolis – including the IMA art museum and the Indy Zoo. What a cool place to visit. Next time, we have to bring the kids!!
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Week 35: The IMA Steps

This week, I had the pleasure of judging and speaking at the Indiana Professional Photographer’s convention. After finishing up my morning program, Heather and I decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Indianapolis Museum of Art. As we were heading into the building from the parking garage, this staircase to the upper level caught my attention. I knew it would be the perfect location for this week’s 4040. I set the timer, then jumped around the corner just as the camera snapped the image. I was hoping the motion would give it a sense of mystery and a Cartier-Bresson kind of feel. After tweaking the image a bit in Photoshop, I ended up with this week’s image.
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Fellow 40: Scott

Scott, Age: 40 It was cool to finally get a musician in for a Fellow Forty portrait. Scott plays bass guitar and I thought it would be cool to photograph him with an upright bass. As luck would have it, I stumbled onto someone who lives right by me that had one! The shoot couldn’t have been simpler. Basically Scott sat there playing-more or less in his own world – while I tried moving the lights around and shooting. I ended up liking this shot best. I adjusted the tone and added texture until the image took on this dark, moody quality.
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Week 33: Vanishing

Week 33: Vanishing Years ago, my friend and mentor Gail Nogle created an image of her mentor – Jay Stock – bent over a camera with his white hair suspended above the viewfinder. That image has always stuck in my mind and I decided to try and put my own spin on the concept. I wanted a scene that was almost totally dark – with the main light source coming from inside the camera – illuminating my face. I had to toy around with several different ways of achieving this – but finally figured it out. It had a very old-time feel to it, so I went with that. I added some cloudy texture and a warm tone – along with some grain. To me, the image seems to be fading away – much like the film camera. This is one of the images that makes the 4040 project fun: trying something I’ve never done before and actually pulling it off.
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Heather

Of all the portraits I have done this year, this has to be one of the ones I am most proud of! When I started working on my Masters of Photography degree several years ago, I decided I would try and get it with at least one image of each person in my family. After a few years of competition, I had gotten merit prints of myself, my two boys and even our dog Annie. The only one I had to go was Heather. The problem with doing Heather’s portrait was that I was too worried about coming up with the “perfect” image. I would come up with an idea, then set it aside – waiting for a better idea to come along. When I started on the 4040 project this spring, I knew I would have to come up with a grand concept to use for Heather. After months of thinking about it – I finally came up with the concept while watching Heather get ready at her vanity. I am a big fan of a painter named Pino who does these extraordinary paintings of somewhat everyday scenes. We put everything together, painted it with a very impressionistic, loose
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Week 30: The Formal Portrait

Week 30: Formal Painting After last week’s high-tech look, I decided to go the opposite direction with this image. I wanted to create a very antique – almost Old Master- look with a strong, directional light and a limited color palette. I tried to be very aggressive with the brushstrokes, getting increasingly loose as I moved away from the center of the image. The final image has a dramatic, but subdued look – which I liked.
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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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The Four Seasons

Back in May, I was helping out with the Westwood School’s Shakespeare play and loved how they were doing really complicated makeup on some of the kids. We decided to try and put together a portrait of several girls – all sporting different makeup. The summer, we gathered up a few brave models and my buddies Sami and Gusi went to work on their hair and makeup. Each girl was made to represent one of the four seasons. I photographed each of them individually on different colored backgrounds and intended to combine them later into one piece in Photoshop. At the end of the session, we did a group shot of all four – just for fun. Months later – when I finally got around to working on the images – I realized (for better or worse) that the group shot was actually the best image. I worked some Photoshop magic to give it a more painterly, antiqued look – which unfortunately makes it really hard to distinguish the different seasons. However, I loved the overall feel of the image and decided it was the one to keep anyways. Maybe someday I will go back and work with the individual
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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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