A little bit about me and my creative process creating photos

in photography •  10 months ago

My reintroduction to the camera

I spend a lot of time taking photos. Photography is an artform that has always fascinated me. It has great storytelling power. Playing around in the dark room my brother and I made when I was a kid is a fond memory. My brother taught me all about the magic of the dark room how to operate the enlarger, what different filters did, how to use the grain focuser to make sure things didn't come out blurry and how to mix the chemicals (he always helped developing the film). He showed me lots of tricks including double exposures (both by winding the film back in the camera and by doing two exposures on the photo paper). He showed me how you could hover piece of paper over the photo paper while you were printing to change how light or dark parts of your photo would be (the pieces you covered would be lighter while the exposed parts got darker, moving it around gently was to prevent lines appearing where you were holding it). Not to go on about it in too much detail lets just say he showed me all I needed to know to have successful fun experimenting on my own. It was so exciting watching the blank paper transform slowly in the developing fluid and come to life. A lot has happened since then!

Almost five years ago I was liberated (from a violent abuser), one of the first things my mother gave me when I was free was a camera. Like a child with a new toy I immediately went outside with it and started snapping shots of all kinds of things. Soon fascinated by the results I had come up with using the macro setting I became obsessed by taking photos of all things small from buttons to pebbles. I took pictures of plastic and rubbish I found in parks, bushland and beside the seaside. I also spent a lot of time taking pictures of flowers, plants and bugs. (I will share some of these curiosities in a future post)

It has really been in the last or so year that I have really started unlocking photography's true therapeutic power, performing stories for the camera. Im not sure what else to call it lol! For someone who never considered themselves any kind of performer this has been quite a mind opening experience . Without restraint I can express myself in front of the lense and in a trance like state. I am freed from the prison of my mind and I am able to face my inner demons head on.


"Escaping the prison of fear"

Preparation and method

Theatrics and Inspiration

I make use of costume,makeup and props. Manically throwing clothes out of my wardrobe and covering my bathroom vanity in a selection of makeup and jewelry I might need. I'll look around for props before I start sometimes they may be part of a costume often they are items I just think would look interesting of film or would be versatile as storytelling devices. Sometimes I grab things from the environment I am shooting in. All and all Its no different to when I am painting in that I am often creating a trail of destruction around me. I find this most enjoyable!

I will often decide on a theme but I try to come up with most of it infront of the camera, this way the final result is spontaneous and packed with fresh creative energies. I really let my subconscious take over and put a lot of trust in my artistic instincts. I'll set out knowing to some degree what kind of story I want to convey for that days shooting, I have some symbolism in mind. I might have had a bad dream or memory I want to face or I might choose an emotion I want to explore. Feelings, memories and stories float around me as I am deciding what I will do in front of the camera. I simply pluck one out of the air and go with it until I feel I have either exhausted that idea or captured a satisfying image I know I can work with.

"Calling my brain"

Equipment

I dont have a fancy digital SLR, I couldn't afford one. I have two pretty average digital cameras one capable of underwater photography. I have a cheap but reliable tripod and sometimes use a floodlight for lighting. For the most part I use one of these cameras with a ten second timer, It's quite a sight watching me run back to pose before the camera goes off !. I also often make use of my Iphone, It's always with me and it takes pretty good shots. Using a timer means I don't have any idea of exactly what's coming into frame and occasionally things don't quite focus how I had planned so I have to take a lot of photos like 50-100 to get 5-10 that I really like. Luck comes my way on occasion and Ill get 20 great shots straight up but thats not always how it works out.

"Am I ready to face another day?"

Editing

There's a huge range of software available for free and at low cost, I become overwhelmed by all the options but I try to just pick out a few and stick with what works. I use my iphone or ipad for editing a lot more than I used to, I used to primarily use my desktop PC or MAC laptop ( often software that is free for pc eg:Photo Scape, costs money for the same functions on a mac). My personal opinion is you have greater variety of quality free software on PC over MAC but that being said I always have my iphone or ipad with me so it's what I end up using the most. The apps I use the most for editing are

  • Pics Art - I think I paid about $5 Aus for this, it has a lot of editing options , a great community for exchanging ideas and thoughts about each other's work and the ability to upload your work to a private gallery.

  • Procreate - This is fantastic drawing software I think I paid about $13 Aus for it and I use it heaps mostly for drawing and painting but you can import photos to it and experiment.

  • Sketchclub - this cost me about $5 its fantastic it works with procreate well and It has a huge library of brushes uploaded by users, Its also fantastic for creating transparencies something I do a lot.

  • AdobeCapture - FREE!! This little gem was only brought to my attention recently but its has a few really neat functions including a kaleidoscope maker or pattern capture and vector maker or shapecapture , if you think a bit creatively there's a lot of versatility with the images you create in this app.

  • rookiecam- Again I think this cost me like $5, I just use it for the black and white film synthesiser which is fantastic but just be aware that because it's really attempting to imitate film there's often a limit on how large to can print your images before they look blurry.
    I definitely use other apps occasionally but like I said those are my main staples.


(These aren't buttons, I haven't figured that out yet, I'm still learning!)😄

Final Notes

The pictures I have included are from 3 different series, I've included them as they relate to the type of photography I have discussed in this blog. The first two are watermarked "Pixieminx" (NOT PIXELMINX as I am known here) this is because Pixieminx perry is my username on Pics Art, I have since changed the water mark to the red signature "K.J.P" my initials, mostly because I feel it's more original to make your own signature than to watermark with a pre loaded text. I have so many areas of interest regarding photography and so many photos to share that it can be a challenge structuring my writing and choosing what to include. I haven't included detailed descriptions of the meanings of my photos or the symbolism I use. I want people to make their own interpretations but if you're curious I am happy to discuss them in more detail in the comments below. I have spent quite some time preparing this and hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about my process. Until next time Love each other and peace out

pressing post is the scary part!

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100 percent upvoted ^^ very nice keep it the good work ^^

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Hey!Thanks for the feedback! I've been working hard on the next post.

Wow great post! Happy you found a tool that you can express yourself with!
The gear is nothing. In the words of Chase Jarvis, "The best camera, is the one that's with you."
Photography can be used in so many ways, and that's what makes it so unique. Sometimes I take a more artsy approach, sometimes I just run and gun for travel blogging.
HAHAHA I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND the running in front of the camera with timer. It might be wise to invest in a remote of some sort.
I miss the days in the dark room, but I am finding photoshop and lightroom 10x more fun, just because it seems so limitless.
Look forward to seeing more post and pics!

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Hey! I am really glad you enjoyed my post.

Nice quote and its very true my grandfather always said a bad tradesman blames his tools. I miss the romanticism of the dark room but not all the disappointment and expenses! Digital photography is fantastic and is so accessible for people to learn and afford.
I love the running to pose part it stops me from overthinking what I am doing and keeps it spontaneous! I just need to work out plugging my camera in to my laptop while I'm shooting so I have a rough visual (somthing for me to look into). But you're right a remote would be fantastic and a versatile tool, I could make some stop animation with a remote, without the risk of bumping the camera around. :-)
Thanks for taking the time to comment !!




@carlgnash from the @humanbot Human Certified Original Works Initiative has manually determined this post to be the original work of the post author. To learn more about this certification visit the Badge of Originality genesis post:
https://steemit.com/art/@carlgnash/the-badge-of-originality-human-certified-original-works
and see also @carlgnash's totally unofficial mission statement:
https://steemit.com/curation/@carlgnash/what-human-certified-original-works-means-to-me-a-totally-unofficial-mission-statement-from-just-one-person-in-a-decentralized

Thanks for being an original content creator! You rock!

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Thank you it totally rocks socks!!

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aw you warm a robot's metallic heart with such adorable humanisms

Wow...great post...really liked the editing apps you mentioned...thanks... pleased to upvote and follow

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Thank you so much! I am glad you liked reading it and found the information useful!

Glad you went past the scary past and 'pressed post'!

Enjoyed reading and the pictures. Especially enjoyed the part about photography being therapeutic for you. Always good to do something that helps you in more ways than one :)

Cheers to many more such posts!

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Thank you for the lovely response to my post! I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading it.

great post

do you have Instagram?

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Thank you! Yes My insta is pixieminx_ku

Dude! Really impressive post right out of the gate for you! I guess you aren't into beating around the bush, huh? Just gonna jump straight on in to awesome posting? LOL

I love everything about this. I really enjoyed your brief trip back down memory lane to the early days in the dark room with your brother. I am sorry you were in an abusive situation but very glad you are left that behind and have rediscovered your love of photography. I think your description of "telling stories" through photography is just awesome, and perfectly describes your photos as well. You really are telling stories, I think your photography speaks loudly. The new red sig is awesome btw.

To top it all off that was a really nice little discussion of the editing apps you use, I want to try a few of those out now! I have had picsart for a while and love the crap out of it.

Well okay enough gushing. Suffice it to say I love you and am very happy to follow you! Cheers - Carl

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Oh WOW Thank you so much for such detailed feedback! It's really given me a boost! I will definitely keep putting the effort in on creating detailed posts regularly! I don't write a lot so it takes me a while to structure it all together, your lovely comment makes me feel like I am off to a good start. I am so glad you enjoyed it!
I love Pics Art too its an awesome editor and I have made tons of PIcsArt friends!
I am totally following back of course! Thanks again

I really like your articles and I am curious about the meaning of photos and symbolism of your own

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Hey thanks for reading and I am glad you liked it!
I am happy to share a little bit about the symbolism I used and the intended meanings.
Escaping The prison of fear

  • The lines on my shirt sybolise that I am a prisoner (like a classic prison uniform)
  • The lines in the backgroun represent my prison
  • I use the black string to represent negative emotions in this case fear and anxiety
  • Often I will include stripes and lines to represent tension and anxiety

In my past when I was in a violent relationship I was not allowed to do anything; I wasn't allowed to have friends, go out (unless accompanied or to buy him alcohol, drugs or food). I was not permitted use the toilet (without permission), listen to any music he didn't like ( I could make the list of my restrictions in this situation go for pages). So I was very much literally a prisoner. It was also that my thoughts if out spoken were always put down, challenges or dismantled. So I was a prisoner in my mind. Now away from this situation I struggle with memories, battle constantly with my confidence and spend a lot of time feeling incredibly anxious and fearful. So Pulling the black string from my mouth is intended to be a symbol of that struggle. I am trying to battle these negative emotions and draw them out of my mind.

Calling my Brain

  • The phone represents my childhood and my past in general
  • The suitcase symbolises my brain
  • Often when I use a white backdrop it's intended to symbolise something about my head space

This one is a bit tricky to explain but Ill try. It shows that I struggle to hold everything together but the person on the other side of the phone thinks I am fine (remember the person on the other end of the phone is my brain). My brain is emptying its contents on the ground and has become empty, I struggle to remember things short term, but I remember the torment of my past which is my bagage. Over all its meant to show that I am constantly carrying this useless baggage everywhere I go and show how I struggle to hold it all together in my mind. Im in a vicious cycle of telling my brain everything is ok when its not forgetting that my brain knows its not because it is me. (like I said this ones a bit tricky to explain)

Am I ready to face another day?

  • The dark backdrop and the bright sunlight creating a spotlight effect represent a stage

The stage is the stage of life and I am the actor.
I wake up I have a shower, I look at the sun beaming in so gladly and despite the beauty of the day I think I don't know if I can face another day. My expression is scornful. It is almost as though I am angry that the day is so beautiful, how dare the day be so beautiful when I am so scared and feel so pitiful and blue. I am looking at the viewer trying to show how I really feel at that moment I am telling them a story that is also true to them, that is a very human story that perhaps sometimes all we would all like to retreat to the back of the stage and into the darkness.

I hope these explanations were interesting to you and you enjoyed reading them. It is nice to have interest in my articles. I am sorry it took a while for the reply but I wanted to take the time to answer thoughtfully and respectfully. peace and love

this post deserves at least one vote.
here, have mine :)

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Thanks, I'm hoping to get more, or at least a few comments would be nice, but one is a great start!

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That should be a nice curation reward :)

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WOW thank you!!

Wow nice and detailed post, quite a bit of information. Pictures are great as well.

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Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! :-)

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can i remind you of a Typo in your 4th headline "Equiptment" should be "Equipment"

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I know right! LOL

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Why did you do this to me spell check? WHY!!!! Not to mention I read over it like a hundred times!!!

Interesting approach :) keep up with this good photos!

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Hey! thanks for the lovely comment!

I love the term phototherapy. What a wonderful story about transformation and growth. Your images are powerful, but paired your story really takes it to another level. Thank you for sharing!

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Thank you so much for such a nice response. I am really pleased that you enjoyed reading and that you liked my photos and story.