I struggle with one simple process. The process of serializing my thoughts into speech or prose. Serialization, bit by bit, piece by piece completely opposed to my nature. That’s just not how I come at anything. I come at anything as whole, in parallel. It’s all connected and wired together through multiple threads connecting all of the pieces to each other in multiple places. I struggle to maintain only one of those particular connections at a time as we are limited to in our serial speech and prose — in our textual communication.
That particular hang-up, handicap, obstacle, hurdle, bugaboo; whatever it may be is directly related to another struggle. The struggle of where to begin and where to end. See what I mean? Having a conversation with me is probably a daunting task. I am positive it’s exhausting and every once in a while entertaining. Seemingly random topics pushed onto a stack only to be popped off in arbitrary order. I assure you it’s not some ADHD kind of thing. Quite the opposite — more obsessive. How the hell can you possibly talk about thiswithout establishing a frame of reference of that and of course a level set on the other thing so that the this we started with makes any god damn sense. You see from another point of view with a different frame of reference it’s completely different. See… Exhausting.
That brings me to today’s dilemma. Something I’m usually good at, the headline, it’s just not baked yet. Too bad I’ve got a soft deadline of today or tomorrow to promote a new workshop I’m hosting in two weeks. It’s completely baked in terms of what I’m going to talk about, how that will be demonstrated, all of the stuff I’m going to do forcing participant engagement. I’ve got the shot/setup list done. How each one is related to the topic at hand. Hell I’ve even got about 5 working titles. Too bad that actual title just doesn’t have the succinct hook that it needs. Too many words that have too many coded meanings to me and my intent for general consumption.
As usual I shoveled all of the raw materials for this event into the hopper and mixed in some stuff I thought was important for anyone serious about the art of photography. I even choose an approach vector. That was two weeks ago. Letting that simmer as a whole eased the burden of sequencing an actual event that has a start a bunch of steps and gets to the end. Too bad it wasn’t enough time to spew out the catchy title. Casual glance would lead one to believe I was super great at coming up with that sort of thing along with the market-speak on the fly. In reality — not so much — just seems that way due to a particular set of notions getting shoved back and forth for a very long time and coming at them from as many angles as I could think of way way way way before it ever came up in a public conversation.
So where does that leave me? Candidly, I have a fairly banal, crappy but workable title and subtitle. I even have some bland but informative marketing copy. Let’s call that plan “C”. I’m hoping plan “A” or at the very least “B” pops out before tomorrow.
How about an exercise in crowd-sourced creativity? Sound like fun? I’ll give you my original brain dump style bullet list of “notes to self” on where my particular focus was. I’ll give you my original shitty-crappy working title. That will give anyone with comment lots of room for imagination without pinning you down to any specifics — that’s all taken care of in exactly what and how I’m going to do this thing. Take a crack at an awesome title. Make it enigmatic. Make it specific having no idea of the specifics, I don’t care. I hope any ventures are horribly crappy — even so my sarcastic comments on them is fuel. Better yet, maybe there will be a fantastic one or one that uses a fantastic word that’s out of my field of view.
And here are both:
Exploring The Line Between Fine Art Figure And Conceptual Portrait.
- Emotion is hard to do in a workshop. To one degree or another things become “real” at some point. Honesty is important.
- Real photography - camera controls, composition, contrast, lighting motivation, framing, story.
- Abstraction? What is it? Forget any Webster’s definition or embedded notion for now. Let’s talk about what it can be and also that it’s not a binary thing to turn on or off.
- Surrealism and “real” thoughts. When does the banal become surreal?. Some Examples.
- Story. Story is always important? Story is about what you want to say. Good stories leave ambiguity and leave room for the viewer’s/readers’ thoughts, reflection, imagination, and usually ask as many questions as they answer. Answering all the questions is usually boring and pedantic.
- Lighting treatment as related to story and intent.
- Composition is everything when it comes to story, feel, emotion, and message. Composition includes framing - framing is first. Composition is also about relationships between everything included in the frame as well as the viewer and the viewer’s point of view. Point of view and relationships are the power the photographer has complete control over.
- Lighting to support the message/story/intent.
- Subject/model direction. Here’s what I think about and what I do. A couple of points I believe are essential based on what I want. Not about what I do but about provoking the emotion/gesture/expression that supports your story/message/intent. Proving reaction is the goal - at least it’s my goal. Extremely related to VERY FIRST POINT. This is rapport.
- Photographer/Subject collaboration.
- Example of Nymph's discussion before the workshop. Choices of photos I chucked out. Some indications of where her head was at - possibly her preferences - maybe her comfort zone or interest. We have the choice to go with that or go completely opposite and get a totally different set of body language/expressions/attitude.
- Collaboration, direction, interaction, provocation. All photographers and subjects are different. Don't focus on a recipe but more on finding your personal approach. Directness vs Guidance or even misdirection. Depending on your personal approach and interaction style indirect can work far better than direct. Ex: Smile as a direction vs finding something that provokes a smile or a laugh - there are a million different smiles. Finding a reaction usually gets you something real or more likely the feeling you are after.
- Common ground. Movies, actresses, characters in a story, show, movie, play, or even a book.
- Feel and reaction govern everything not just facial expression. Body language, gesture, expression, emotion are usually clear in almost every element of the subject.
Help a guy out.