When I made “Innocence of Seduction” in 2016, it was a total labor of love- it combined my love of Golden Age comics weirdness, old timey radio dramas and a collage aesthetic, largely made possible because of Adobe’s Character Animator software. I posted the work on Adobe’s forum and by virtue of having a big fan on Character Animator’s development team, I was invited to take part in a “Motion Comics” panel at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con! The panel is at 1 P.M. on opening day, Thursday July 20th, but you can check out the short film Innocence of Seduction here…
…and my corresponding tutorials on how I made the film, and operate within Character Animator, are on my Udemy instructor site!
One of my secret projects over the last year is the short film/ motion comic “Innocence of Seduction”, an animated collage piece of hundreds of Golden Age comics and old time radio shows. As I’ve developed this process, I created some “how to” tutorials for others who love comics, animation, short films etc. The first of my “Create Motion Comics” series focuses on Adobe Photoshop animation and cleaning up comic art- preview below, full class on Skillshare here.
and the second is all about Character Animator, a sub program of Adobe After Effects. It allows you to motion capture your face and mouth movements to animate without having to set keyframes! Again, preview below, full class on Skillshare here.
The most purely fun thing I’m working on currently is my series of surreal Fuji Instax Mini which I call Twisted on my site. It’s not much more than the same old in-camera effects, but coupled with the lo-fi flatness of instant film, it’s almost prehistoric in its vibe. I attribute this to the “truthiness” of what we traditionally expect from Polaroid or any of its knockoffs- whatever is in the picture is really real. This image of model Victoria Elle shot in Brooklyn last May, and I have the original for sale on my Etsy site.
I started using the Instax wide as “behind the scenes” images, or as I described once to a model, “these are the ones I don’t care about.” Which was crazy because they cost more per image than digital, they were collectible/ marketable, and often they would be the superior version of an image if I did both instant film and digital.
Over the last two years, seeing the response to the analogue images and also wanting to avoid spending a lot of time on the computer messing with images, I decided to take my analogue shoots “seriously”- actually work on getting good images. Compose without having clutter in the background, come up with concepts that would function on the instant film while still having the quirky and/ or special effect look that I normally try to present. I strongly feel our photographic styles should have some consistency through whatever tool we are using, be it digital still, analogue, video, web presentation…
What was helpful was this book, which we have at my local Chandler library, “The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation”:
It’s a lot of images from the 60s-90s where people were radically altered images with paint, exacto knives, chemicals, did unusual subjects, meta photography, and so on. I just checked it out again last week to get inspired.
For sure certain subjects lend themselves to better images- the more cluttered the scene, the worse it looks, in the same way that Guns N Roses several-million-dollar video “November Rain” looks like shit today on a phone screen vs. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. The less “posey” the person, the better the photo looks. Also a strong graphic design to the wardrobe/ background is helpful, a shoot I did Friday w model Kelly Eden had pastel candy stripes as the wall and looked great in the instax.
Anyways, about the gear:
The Instax Wide camera is huge and not really something I can fit in my camera bag while having all my other cameras, lenses, lighting accessories, gopro etc. Last year I got the Fuji Neo Classic camera which is smaller and retro styled, and makes Instax Mini. The Neo Classic is also the only camera I am aware of that does double exposure images (amongst other more specific controls).
People pay the same amount on Etsy for Instax Wide and Instax Minis, and the minis have a wide array of borders you can buy (like cartoon borders, funky colors, etc).
Models love the analogue stuff because of the novelty factor, also they tend to make people look younger than they really are.
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.
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.
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.