Getting Creative With Fujifilm Instax

Kelly Eden

model Kelly Eden in Los Angeles shot on instax mini

I still have my Polaroids from my youth.  They seem to mean more than the actual prints from negatives.  So as much as I’m a devotee of shooting digital in RAW and taking the time to craft a final image, printing it big and framing it, nothing feels quite like a sweet slice of analogue.  

Brooke Eva

model Brooke Eva double exposure

Many photographers who shoot digital with models are also doing instax wide and instax mini images with the models and selling them as collector items.  It’s certainly helped me offset some of the costs of doing these shoots.  Others work solely in the instant film format and have built their careers around it.  I’m making a concentrated effort to have these instant images still feel like quality art and not completely cast off, “unimportant” (as I once described them) images.

Brooke Eva

model Brooke Eva double exposure

Some strategies to express in instax the surreal feel I like in my photos is through double exposure and filtration through prism and star filters.  These two images were both done with model Brooke Eva in her home in LA, actually in a parking lot behind a house.  The only Fuji Instax camera capable of the double-exposure is the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, and even though it costs a bit more than the typical Instax Mini camera, it’s worth it for both its specialized controls and it’s beautiful style.

New Simpsons/ Futurama Masks

I frequently make masks inspired by the Simpsons and Futurama.  At their respective peaks they are my favorite shows and have probably shaped my brain more than anything else- more than Star Wars, Star Trek, the Muppets, the Beatles, any other slice of pop culture you could name.  It’s a joy to do these masks even if they come out as very primitive renditions of the characters.  Too bad one can’t make a whole art career doing Zoidbergs!  These and other sculptural masks are available on my Etsy.

2014-08-21 07.51.30



Photos from the Road #1: Verronica’s Prom

Verronica Kirei model Jodi Vaughn hmua

Verronica Kirei model Jodi Vaughn hmua

I just wrapped up 4 days of shooting around Vancouver, British Colombia, and Portland.  This was a “model shoot only” art making trip and it was a complete blast, and lots of great images got shot because I was 100% focused and got new ideas from each shoot which I could utilize in the following shoot.  This happy photo was with model Verronica Kirei and hmua Jodi Vaughn in Portland, a model I absolutely highly recommend to anyone.  Helpful that that sparkly background was a “designated selfie” area in the basement studio we shot in!

For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site.

Satyr Comma + Cat

Model Zuri w/ cat

Model Zuri w/ cat

I photographed this model with an Egyptian Cat in my backyard two weeks ago. The cat and the jewelry belonged to designer Satyr Comma. Of course it’s ridiculously hot to shoot outside in the Arizona summertime but we had the fortune of being able to run inside and cool down between takes. Shot with my Fuji X-E1 and two umbrella monolights.

For more photoworks goodness peruse my Etsy shop, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site

From Stills to Video

Since I got my Fuji X-E1 I’ve had fits and starts with producing video. There was some difficulty getting the video files to work with anything, so I relied on my iPhone in Macedonia and at other shooting opportunities; then, with a bit of frustrated googling I found out about the codec needed for Windows Movie Maker that allows anyone to edit their DSLR video files, no conversion necessary. Hallelujah.

This video is part of my “Summer Challenge,” where I force myself to make 7 videos in one week. The videos can be ANYTHING- meaning a tutorial, a time lapse, video art, a music video, whatever- but I need to learn something new and challenge myself to improve on them each time.

This video, “Jonathon’s Pueblo,” was shot on a Saturday night and Sunday morning July 26-27. I had no plan and no idea what the soundtrack was going to be, so the imagery had to be something I found around Phoenix. As a still photographer I’m used to wandering and getting inspired by whatever I come across- except I’ve gotten very far from street/ cityscape/ nature photography, and mostly work with people. These were very creaky muscles.

The locations ended up being Arizona Falls, Rio Salado Nature Preserve and the former “Way Cool Hair” salon in downtown Phoenix. Any use of natural elements- water, wind, light etc.- is a good strategy when you don’t have any people to move around in the video, and I was also blessed to come across a few critters and a bunch of landing airplanes.

Since this was the most video shooting I’d done on my 6-month old camera, I tried out some of the internal film presets including the “black and white w/ red filter.” It really didn’t matter since I ended up converting everything to my own high contrast black and white preset in Adobe Lightroom. The final video mix was done using the free Windows Movie Maker.

The song I chose was an edit of an ambient track I made last year called “Jonathon’s Pueblo.” I tried to let the song guide the editing process, and where the music gets strange I did a little slowing down of the water. Not sure if that completely worked, but this video is about trying new things and seeing what sticks.

I am really excited about making videos, and using them in an expressive way that merges the imagery I use in still photography with animation and the music/ soundscapes I make. It’s no secret that video content is prized on sites in ways that still photography or music simply isn’t, so if it’s another marketable skill on my toolbelt, then faaaaabulous.

Interview: Phoenix New Times “100 Creatives”

Self Portrait med format
This week I somehow appeared as part of the Phoenix New Times’ “100 Creatives” series profiling Arizona artists, designers, musicians, etc.  This is the interview I did with them:
1. I came to Phoenix with: my wife Vesna and dog Mulder.
2. I make art because: it’s an uncontrollable compulsion to make stuff.
3. I’m most productive when: the kids are in school!
4. My inspiration wall is full of: things that make me happy- art from Australia, framed records, Dr. Zoidberg fanart…
5. I’ve learned most from: podcasts like the Candid Frame and Brooks Jensen’s Lenswork.
6. Good work should always: reflect who you are as a person, and be given opportunities to live and breathe outside of one’s hard drive or closet.
7. The Phoenix creative scene could use more: community art events that aren’t based around buying, selling or partying.  Stuff that is about neighborhood beautification and is open to regular folks.
And a few questions for background:
- What’s your age?
- In what city do your reside?
- What’s an average day like for you?
Up at 6, computer stuff (email, etsy, blogging, photo editing) from 7-11, then physical stuff like sculpting or photographing after lunch.  When the kids are out of school I’m usually all theirs, but then I teach photo and art classes 3 nights out of the week.  Summer breaks reverses everything where I teach a lot in the day and make art/computer stuff at night.
- What are you working on currently?
Learning 3-d model capture, and devising gallery show material that takes photographs off of the wall and puts them in a more installation-type environment.  I’m also scanning various people’s skin and making custom viewmasters that are art pieces of their own.  Even though it’s July I’m making sculptural masks for the December art walk tables, since the process of building inventory and getting them fired and glazed takes so long.
- Any big projects coming up?
I released an album of music with local model Lacheln on July 14 of this year and we’re making music videos for some of the tracks.  Because I don’t have a lot of true video equipment I have to do these as time lapses with huge piles of xeroxes… it’s a lot of fun, and a way to bring different parts of my creative output together.  In August I’m doing a mini-tour of LA, Portland and Vancouver CA, shooting around a dozen models for the raw material for all the above mentioned projects.
- If there’s any other biographical info you’d like to include, please do.
I currently teach adult photography and art classes/ workshops for City of Chandler Rec, City of Tempe Rec, Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe and Art Intersection in Gilbert, and teen art classes for Mesa Arts Center.