As I was sorting through images for the website, there were quite a few that just didn’t fit into a set category. Often these are images that were created for personal reasons- either to enter in competition or just as a fun creative exercise. Here are a few of my favorites- along with the stories behind them.
We’ve all been there. You are trying to create something and you just get overwhelmed by the blank canvas in front of you. Whether it is writing a letter, painting a landscape or creating a portrait, the first step is usually the hardest.
I met this artist at a show several years ago and loved his colorful painting style. I thought it would be interesting to put him in front of a blank canvas, then photoshop one of his own paintings onto his head – as if the painting is already inside him trying to get out. The simplicity of the subject and scene really make the splash of color leap from the page.
Take A Bow
I created this image during a senior portrait session of a girl who was passionate about ballet. The hallway is actually quite barren and dark, but by bringing out the colors- and adding a few of my own- it elevated the image into a much more beautiful piece. I’ve had a canvas print of this image hanging in my office ever since it was created.
The Four Seasons
This was a portrait representation of the four seasons. The girls came in and had someone do their hair and makeup to reflect the different colors and moods of the shifting seasons.
I don’t remember exactly how this came together- I think one of the girls wore the makeup in a theater production or something. Regardless, it evolved into a very cool piece.
After photographing the girls, I took the image into Corel Painter and spent hours applying brushstrokes and texture. The final image falls somewhere between a photograph and a painting.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit China with my wife and we were lucky enough to visit the great wall. Of course, getting a photo of the wall – standing ON the wall with all the people around- proved to be a difficult task. How do you take a picture of something so iconic and have it not look exactly like EVERYONE else’s photos?
I decided to go for the look of an old Chinese tapestry – like you might see hanging on a wall. I incorporated warm brown tones and introduced several layers of texture. I eventually ended up with this aged/antique look, which I think served the image well. From there, I just added “Great Wall” in Mandarin at the top and placed the image on a textured background.
Several years ago, I flew to San Francisco to photograph a friend for his online dating profile. After doing the traditional headshots, we decided to go for something crazy and set our sights on a portrait of him sitting in the middle of the street reading the paper in his robe- as if he never leaves work.
Believe it or not, this isn’t a Photoshop image. He was actually sitting in the middle of the road and I was standing in the middle of the intersection with my camera. In hindsight, probably not the smartest idea – but the image we created is one of my all-time favorites. It was also one of my first images to be accepted into the prestigious PPA Loan Collection.
More importantly, the image was a hit online as well. It caught the attention of the woman he would eventually marry and they are now happily married with a house full of kids.
I had seen the beautiful Cypress trees in Caddo Lake, Texas and decided I would spend a few days there photographing them with my new infrared-converted camera. We packed up the family, rented a cabin and spent a few days exploring the area. Unfortunately, I just kept coming up empty. There just weren’t any scenes that caught my eye.
By the end of our last day, I had given up. I had not created a single “Wow” image the whole time, so we packed up to head home. On the way out of the park, we pulled over for me to take one last shot of the lake before we left. The minute I saw this tree, I knew I had found what I was looking for.
The infrared look gave the incredible tree an even MORE magical look and the deep tones of the water provided a nice balance. The images scored a 98 in competition and earned a spot in the Loan Collection.
Pieces of Me
No collection of personal images would be complete without a self-portrait. I’ve done several over the years, including an entire series of them when I turned 40 (The 40@Forty Project).
This one, however is probably one of my favorites. It was an attempt to reproduce the classic Cubist look -but with photography. It proved to be waaaay more difficult than I would have imagined and left me with a much greater respect for Picasso.