Monday, June 26, 2017

Life is a Series of Questions, Isn't It?

Onion domed building in the Georgetown, Texas town square
In an attempt at bringing you even more diverse and obscure calls for entry, I stumbled upon a website called "The Phoblographer." While that title seems to have twisted my tongue a bit, they did have an interesting call for submissions on their website. They have a series of questions one should answer before submitting work. Since I thought this was such a good idea and I'm a good sport and all, I actually thought it might be a good idea to answer the questions even if I'm not intending to submit any work to them. They are cool questions after all, right? So, why not? Heck, I'm game. Here goes.
Describe yourself as a photographer. Think about the who, what, when, where, how and why. Tell me about who you are as a photographer, list what cameras, lenses, lights, films (or plates, or papers) and other gear you use. Tell me about your creative vision when you create and take photos.
I'm a fine art photographer who works with architecture a lot. I like to visually compare man made structures with those found in nature and I have more than a hint of urban exploration in me, especially at night. (I do some night photography.) These days, I use mostly Canon cameras and lenses. I have a Canon EOS 5DS and a walkabout lens that I swear by (sometimes at but mostly by.) My vision is to try to get it right in camera. I'm a somewhat "painterly" photographer, that is, I like to think I'm painting with my camera rather than suffering from a photographic dose of reality (although I do grudgingly admit that is there.)
Why did you get into photography?
I wanted an excuse to get out from behind a desk and explore a bit more, basically, to get outside more often.
What photographers are your biggest influences?
I draw inspiration from both the art world and the photography world. My biggest photographic influences are Joyce Tenneson, Cindy Sherman, Michael Kenna, Julie Blackmon, Jack Spencer, Todd Hido, and Eddie Soloway. From painting, I draw from Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Vermeer, Klimt, and a few more modern painters such as sometimes Austinite pastelist Will Klemm and Julie Speed.
How long have you been shooting?
Started summer of 1992. First exhibition autumn 1992. Should have waited longer but didn't. Meh.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
It's a way for me to make things with my hands. I love the creative aspect of it. I love capturing the passage of time. I love making new memories, exploring, and recording these explorations to share with the world afterwards. It's a way for me to bring dreams to life. 
Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
No question, hands down a creator. I don't bother much with reality. I'm an artist. I photograph the world the way I want it to be not the way it is and I make no apologies for doing such with it. Any guilt or friction that comes from that is on you. (If you seek truth, look elsewhere. I recommend inside yourself as a place to start.)
 What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?
Tough question! I have a sort of "visual ADD." I think a lot about a lot of things when I'm shooting. What I had for lunch, what I want to do with the shot, where I'm going to go next, how the shot fits in with other shots I've lined up, does it work alone...that sort of thing. Generally, though I think about how it would look printed, matted, and framed, hanging on a wall someplace. I follow my eye movement through the image. I do a sort of "border control" looking at the corners and edges carefully. I try to think about the interplay of shapes in the image. I think a lot about perspective and scale. Could I move something? Could I move myself? Is this the best angle? Is the light better over there? It's a series of free form chaos that often leaves me wondering how I ever get images to come out of that madness. Mechanically speaking, I pay attention to the "big" settings, typically aperture, shutter, color/white balance and ISO. I tend to shoot in manual mode or aperture priority so I think a lot about depth of field. Do I want the shot at f/16 or wide open? That sort of a thing.
Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
Generally speaking, I do as little editing as necessary. Since I started in the days of film and worked in the darkroom early on, I prefer to try to get things right in camera. I tend to view post processing as a way of fine tuning an image, almost the way a conductor "tweaks" a musical score. You have to start with a good piece of music and then milk the orchestra to make the most of it. I view post processing as a way of making my shots really sing.
Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio
I'm not really pitching to them so this doesn't really apply but I can do it for this image. This is a shot from a walkabout shoot in downtown Georgetown, Texas, on the square. It fits in with my architectural work.
 What made you want to get into your genre?
I wanted to be an architect growing up as a child. I've always loved buildings, designing buildings, drawing buildings, constructing things. Little houses. That sort of a thing. I don't know why I'm drawn to it, perhaps it's just my nature but I've been this way since a kid so it naturally follows my photography would follow my interests in that area.
Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision
Well, I don't do anything magical gear wise. I shoot with a full frame camera because it's better for night work. I tend to favor prime lenses because they are easier for me to use for perspective and scale. I like the new concept of a sort of "medium format-ish" high-end, high megapixel DSLR. This rig just sort of works for me so I use it. It's durable, rugged, the shots can blow up big enough, I can crop if I have to, it just works so I use it until something better comes along.
What motivates you to shoot?
I'm an explorer type by nature so, if left alone, I would probably go out shooting each and every day. I like to find new places, explore places I've been before, sort of re-visit them. I tend to work on projects so I shoot sometimes for that. I also shoot for clients and so money is a factor (they pay me, I shoot. It's a great motivation.) In my early days, I started visiting all the small Texas towns around my area. I was motivated to visit all the small towns, like I didn't want to leave one out of the mix. Nowadays, it's more often because I need a shot for something like a project or I have a client. 
List a number of your websites
 My websites are Carol's Little World which you can find at carolslittleworld.com, HouseOfCarol.com, and Carol's Little World, the blog: http://carols-world.blogspot.com/. I'm also on Flickr, 500px, and Minted.com just to mention a few others. 

I'd be curious if anyone else answers these types of questions and wants to share. Drop me a link in the comments section if you are so-inclined.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the walkabout lens, from the Georgetown walk this weekend. It was hot, actually muggy out there but we had some nice clouds. Well, they were nice right up until the rain opened up on us, then I hated them. This is one of the onion dome buildings from the historic Georgetown square in Georgetown, Texas, taken with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens.

No comments: