Here comes the travel! I love stretching my legs and getting deep into shoots, making videos, meeting other creatives, collaborating, working with old favorites and new talent.
San Francisco is a city I’ve been to a couple times but shockingly never did anything creative in.
Portland is hosting Photolucida Portfolio Reviews and I’ve got a lot of days in a row in a city where I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of creative talent.
In Palm Springs, I’m attending the Palm Springs Photo Festival, but it’s under the guise of taking my very first pro workshop with portrait legend Frank Ockenfels III.
Then in May… it’s a full on art making trip to NYC. I haven’t been in close to two years and it’s a bit more difficult to get to the East Coast, but thanks to my inlaws moving to Arizona, it’s not a question of “who will pick the kids up from school?” any more…
If you’re a creative talent in ANY of these cities, drop me a line and let me know who you are! dbmillerphoto (at) gmail.com
My second piece of video art to prominently feature a model is out- “Exile”. NSFW w mild nudity.
Like my previous piece, “Unity”, it was mostly shot on my GoPro Hero 4 Black, with some footage from my Fuji X-T1, featured a single model (in this case Trish Davis) and had music composed by me after the rough assemblage. The nature imagery was shot on the peak of San Jacinto, a mountain near Palm Springs.
I’ve posted extensively about our Hawaii trip, so to wrap up, here’s a short travel video shot about 70% GoPro Hero 4 Black and 30% Fuji X-T1. A week after the experience I find myself thinking a lot about the uniqueness of a volcanic island full of cliff jumpers and fitness nuts and a mountain in the clouds.
January and February were like attending Artist Boot Camp. Certain things I had been creating over the last few years- the model photography, ceramic masks and indie dance music- had started feeling stale. I was repeating myself, and the work wasn’t selling as much in 2014 as it was in 2013.
With a new tricked out Macbook Pro, and new Lightroom catalog + Adobe CC subscription, I went for a “scorched earth” policy that I wouldn’t mess around with old material or continue down old pathways. The three areas I wanted to grow were in new digital imaging like 3D Printing and laser cut etching, Video Art, and sculpture.
The classes and tech regarding 3D Printing, prototyping and laser cut/ etch I’ve mentioned in a post about TechShop Chandler. After my month there I had 3D printed a medium format camera, some action figures my son designed, assorted GoPro mounts; at the same time I had laser cut some signage, a large etched cube to make my daughter’s head into a Minecraft character, and a bunch of photos translated into etchings on mirrored acrylic and black acrylic. The process of making vector graphics for these machines forced me to learn Adobe Illustrator and the various iPhone and iPad apps that relate to Illustrator.
In regards to video, I taught myself Adobe Premiere Pro (with a little help from Lynda.com and various youtubers) to make better videos, and made mini-challenges about layering, cutting, time lapse, transforming photos using the “kids are in the picture” style, and more. I also figured out how to make animated Shadow Puppets in Adobe After Effects, which will factor in to some upcoming video art pieces.
The ceramic sculpture skills are currently getting a kick in the ass from a class in Hand Building Sculpture at Mesa Arts Center with an instructor who I really admire.
The value of learning new skills and challenging ourselves to think in new creative ways cannot be overstated. For example:
-each photo shoot or sculpting session I do now has behind-the-scenes GoPro footage mixed in Premiere Pro CC that also incorporates my music.
-The sculpting looks more professional, ideas are more fully realized, and they can get used in still photography or video animation.
-All new work I make becomes advertising for the classes I teach myself, alongside the advertising that happens when I meet people face to face in the places where I’m a student.
-Places like TechShop are creative incubators that lead to collaborations with other artists, like a costume designer I met.
-As much as artists struggle against it, whatever is the latest technology tends to get the most eyeballs- people in 2015 are as into creative 3D printing and video trickery the way I was when CD burning was new in the mid 90s.
I think artists of every level routinely need workshopping, classes, mentors, etc. to stay current.
During my recent Hawai’i trip I came across a group of young native Hawaiians jumping extraordinary distances off cliffs into the ocean. The image below features a boy probably around 14 years of age. The locations where they were jumping were by South Point, Kona, the southernmost tip of the island and in fact the entire United States. The upper image was at South Point, with a big hole leading to a cave that brought in ocean waters. The scary bit about that cave was the tide would suck out a huge percentage of the water- the cliff jumper couldn’t be too sure of how much water they were actually jumping into.
These guys, prior to jumping, would audibly say things like “I’m scared!” and then just do it.
The entire text of both articles is below, but it’s worth backtracking to the original posts and there’s more photographic examples of what I’m talking about. I’m aware that there are many more non-photoshop techniques to make stuff interesting looking, but these are what I most commmonly use.
There are times when I love the computer and all it aid me creatively, and there are periods where I’ve spent so much time staring at a screen I want to scream. These are the times where I want to make tactile art- get hands wet, use paint or drawing, burn, freeze, and otherwise engage in a physical process while working on photos. I…
Children of photographers are frequently hams, as they perceive that’s what pleases their parents. I shot a ton of images of my kids during our Hawai’i trip and they are among my favorite images of the trip.
Magdalena has long been my favorite model and she knows it enough to actually ask for money for posing. These images of Maggie were taken around the city of Hilo on the west side of Kona, Big Island Hawai’i.