I walk every day around the neighborhood with Coco. Actually she takes me for a walk, and I follow her. We walk at least twice a day, once in the morning and again right before it gets dark. I always take my cell phone with me not to chat, but to take photos of anything that is interesting or inspires me. I’ve found that snapping photos with my cell phone is less threatening for the people or the homeowners in the neighborhood I walk through than if I carry a camera around.
The other day, I noticed two men dressed in white astronaut-like space suits, working on top of the roof of a condemned house. I don’t know what they were doing to this one section of the roof, but whatever it was, they were deep in their work. Watching them as they worked against the sky as a backdrop, brought me back to the first landing on the moon in 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the surface of the Moon. I whipped out my cell phone, grabbed onto Coco so she couldn’t knock me down while I snapped a few photos, as quickly as possible. I couldn’t get very close because of the men at work cones in front of the sidewalk, but I didn’t want to lose this moment, so I snapped what I could. So happy I did because no sooner had I taken the picture, when a huge truck with a crane blocked my view.
When I got home, I had to really blow the photos up to bring up the workers to some sort of focus, so my shots were a bit grainy. After tweaking it here and there, I used the grain to enhance the clouds.
Taking photos for me is about collecting inspiration for my artistry. I shoot objects, moments, nature, people, everything and anything and collect them to keep as my inspiration library. Sometimes the entire subject on the photo is my inspiration; sometimes it’s just a texture I’m after; or just a small portion of the photo blown up. Each photo is a new discovery for me. I like to dissect the photo, and they eventually dictate to me my end result.
It’s all about the process, so when I see a photo I can use, I push my thinking outside the box, to find what it’s pushing me to express. I may use the photo as inspiration for a painting, a design on a greeting card, or a photo print. The bottom line is I really don’t have a plan and the end result is always a surprise for me. All I know is that when I finally finish peeling away the layers and uncover a beautiful design, something inside me always tells me when there’s no more to do and “it’s done”!
For me it’s not about the completed visual being perfect, or having a multi-media graphic that is artistically correct. It’s just about the journey that begins with a photo, discovering and interpreting the creative possibilities, until finally a piece of magic emerges that takes on a life of its own.