Friday Inspiration: Miss Aniela

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When I first saw the work of Natalie Dybisz aka Miss Aniela a number of years ago now I was absolutely floored. At the time I was still relatively naive with regard to the possibilities of what could be created in Photoshop and had imagined that her surreal imagery were not just a product of a fertile imagination but also prodigious camera skills. The fluency with the tools is certainly there but it a solid understanding of how to shoot so that the required elements are available for the final construction in photoshop. Take a look below to see Miss Aniela at work and to hear her talk about her process.

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Friday Inspiration: Julieanne Kost

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As I look around for ‘how to’ resources for lightroom and photoshop one of the people that I continually come back to is Julieanne Kost. Julieanne is the Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist for Adobe Systems, which means that she spends much of her time on the road speaking at conferences and teaching how to get the most out of lightroom and photoshop. I recently worked through her ‘Advance Photoshop Layers‘ course on the CreativeLive site which was excellent. She’ll be teaching during the upcoming Photoshop week on CreativeLive which will be worth checking out.

Many of the examples that Julieanne uses during her demonstrations are from her personal projects. Her book Window Seat is quite interesting and now available as a digital book. Well worth a look. It’s the photoillustrations, such as the one above, that of course really capture my attention given my interest in assembling images from parts. Check out the videos below to see more of how these are constructed:

Friday Inspiration: Penny De Los Santos

I came across Penny De Los Santos on a recent episode of The Candid Frame. Although she’s billed as a ‘travel and food photographer’ she has had quite a journey that included a personal project photographing inside a women’s prison in Nuevo Laredo and stint with the National Geographic. Her photographs transcend the usual food photograph genre, well worth checking out.

Check out Penny’s story in the introduction to her CreativeLive Workshop:

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation was coined by Clay Christensen in 1995. Clay Christensen’s website says that disruptive innovation ‘describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.’  Really we’re talking about those game changing innovations that spur a revolution in how we think, behave and do things.  The development of the automobile wasn’t a disruptive innovation – it was a toy for the super rich – Henry Ford’s model T – a car for everyone – was.  I haven’t done a comprehensive analysis but it’s hard to imagine a time in history where there has been so many disruptive innovations in such as short space of time.

In the last 10 years digital technology has changed the game across a variety of industries and has had a hugely impact on how we create and deliver our art.  I first took notice of this in the music industry.  Purchasing habits have changed dramatically, most of us rarely buy a physical artifact – the CD – any more.  I bought a CD for the first time in probably a year recently, it was an album from one of my friend’s bands and I could get it before it made it to the iTunes site.   This is a rare exception for me, but a typical lack of restraint, most of my music purchases are now digital downloads.  Even the CDs that I buy will be imported into the digital music library that I have on my computer.  In addition to changing how music is delivered to the consumer, digital technologies have changed how music is created.  Musicians now have access to technology that makes it possible to record their work at home, with the production quality that a previous generation would have had to go into a big budget studio to achieve.  They can upload their newly recorded songs to their website for their audience to download without the need for a record label.  How cool is that!

The book industry, in denial for a while, is staring at the same kind of revolution that has swept over the music industry.  The growth in the number of books that are being downloaded is remarkable.  Take a look at how much real estate your local Barnes and Noble gives to their Nook reader – there’s a reason for this.  Digital books are here to stay!  The technology is available to make it very easy to write, edit and publish an e-book without the need for a book deal.  It seems to me that Seth Godin is at the leading edge of this revolution with the Domino Project.  Essentially he is throwing out the rules of how things were done in the past and reinventing the book publishing game.  This is something that just about anyone can do, perhaps not on the same grand scale, but the technology makes it quite possible.

Photography has been hugely disrupted.  I can imagine how it must feel to have been a photographer for 20 years and have the game change so dramatically in a few short years.  The advent of digital has led to the demise of film companies, radically reduced offerings from others, specialty printers are feeling the pinch, stock sales are off and yet this is a great time to be a photographer.  We’re in the middle of a revolution, the old rules don’t apply, which means we’re free to make it up and make it happen.  Try some things, run with what works.  Chase Jarvis appears to be the poster child for the new generation of photographers who are exploiting new technologies and new ways of doing things.  He was taking photos with his iPhone before it was a very good camera, his photos became a book and an app. He regularly lifts the curtain on the inner workings of Chase Jarvis Inc. on his blog – from how he packs his bag for a shoot to a the occasional daily diary of a shoot.  With the huge number of people taking up photography, there’s an incredible demand for photography education. What’s the most disruptive thing that you could do to the photographic education market?  Give it away for free! With Craig Swanson, Chase started CreativeLive, a website that hosts and streams workshops with some of the best working photographers today – Jeremy Cowart, Zach Arias and Tamara Lackey to name but a few.  While our projects may not have the same reach that Chase’s do, there are opportunities to be had, so let’s go be disruptive!

Why Photographs Work: 52 Great Images Who Made Them, What Makes Them Special and Why

I’ve been thinking a lot about vision, voice and style recently.  Perhaps in part because I’ve been listening to David DuChemin on creativeLIVE.  One of the exercises that David suggests to help develop your vision is to take a look at other photographers work and ask what were they were intending with the photograph.  This and much more can be found in David’s eBook ‘Vision Driven‘.  I’m much more of a techno geek and so delving into this kind of descriptive activity is very difficult for me.  So how to start?

George Barr‘s latest book – Why Photographs Work: 52 Great Images Who Made Them, What Makes Them Special and Why is as good a jumping off point as I can think of.  Each of the 52 photographs is first discussed by George and then the photographer also provides a perspective on the image.  This is quite a unique opportunity to get behind the scenes with some of my favorite photographers – David Ward, Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, & Michael Kenna to name a few.  There are also a good number of photographers here that I wasn’t previously familiar with, such as Christopher Burkett & Michael Levin, whose work is quite well worth further study.

I am reminded that there are other sources for a discussion of making of the images.  Many coffee table photography books have descriptions of the photographers intent at the back of the book, along with the technical details.  Additionally there are a number of ‘Making of . . .’ books worth a look.  Perhaps the most notable is Ansel Adams’s Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs but I’m sure there are others.

Recognizing that I have these resources to hand to help me develop the language skills that I need to describe the intent of a photograph I’m off to practice!