I received an email from a colleague telling me that they had to have emergency surgery and they needed me to cover their class for a few days. It was an art class that was emphasizing the making of images rather than the recording of an image. I was happy to help out but the next thing I did after replying YES was to start thinking about what I could do for the class.
This problem of making art is exactly why I love digital photography so much. It is so malleable and you can truly create an image that has as much imagination as a painter who faces a blank canvas and has to draw upon their inner vision. The other thing I thought about is how I take photos with my cell phone practically every day and that this library of images creates endless possibilities of combinations.
In preparing to give a class demo I went downstairs to my studio and pulled up my cell phone photo library and searched for images of these moths I had remembered photographing in Montana while on a fishing trip. I thought the wings were perfect. I also thought about a demo I had given the year before where a model named Anna helped me out. With Anna and the moth wings I had my subject.
Next I had to figure out the background. Again I went to my cell phone library and pulled up images of low clouds and fog at Priest Lake during a winter trip with my wife. Now with the subject and background figured out I thought about how I could add some exture depth and texture so I found a piece of scratched up aluminum and photographed that to add a little texture to the scene.
Finally I managed the color grading and overal tonal quality (contrast) to add to the emotional quality of the final image. A final image really consist of these four elements:
- Color and Tonality
I put this image together in about 30 minutes in an exercise of pure creative play. I didn’t over think it and I just had fun which is what I hoped the students would appreciate. When it comes to Art I think that if you aren’t having fun you are doing something wrong!
Art like this is purely intuitive and spontaneous once you have mastered the technical skills of Photoshop. By using the cell phone camera I am further reducing the technical barrier and allowing myself a freedom to simply think and react and then collect elements that I will use later on when I am back in my studio.