Here's a nice quick video I ran into today, and it's so good, that I needed to share it.
Enjoy your Saturday!
I got a Lytro camera on Craigslist, and let me tell you, it's weird as hell.
What is a Lytro camera? It's a light field camera, so it takes a picture in a different way than most. I'm not a scientist, so I'm not going to attempt to go into the minutia of how it works, but I'll tell you this: You can choose focus points AFTER TAKING A PHOTO.
You're probably thinking that's dumb or maybe you're thinking that's amazing, I don't know. Either way, it's a fringe camera with an undefinable market. Who's buying this? Camera nerds I guess.
After playing with it for a couple days, I had a sudden realization that I'm going to test this weekend. The Lytro camera could be the best street photography camera ever made.
Yes, the photos are low res, but we've been using cell phones as acceptable cameras for years now. The camera is small, and doesn't actually look like a camera. You can walk around with this thing in such a way that people may not even notice. The shutter is almost completely silent save for a light clicking sound that is not audible outdoors. It's subtle, and extremely portable.
The selling point of the camera is being able to focus your photos after taking them, which for street photography is a revelation. With street photography, you're forced to live in a moment, a moment that's very easy to mess up if your settings aren't right. You don't have to worry about that now.
Granted, I don't know that it's great for street photography for sure, but I'm going to spend the weekend finding out. I'll come back with my results; I could be completely wrong. I've seen the Lytro for $50 brand new in some places, so for what you're getting it seems worth it so far. It won't be a daily driver or anything serious, but if you're a fringe photography enthusiast, this is for you.
To be continued.
Episode 11 of The 365 podcast was all about doing a 365 project that wasn't necessarily set around the goal of art-making, but rather self-discipline and self-betterment. Tomorrow, I'm starting one for myself, and it'll be exclusively on Snapchat.
Over the past couple years, I've been living a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. I don't sleep much, and I really don't exercise as regularly as I used to. What my 365 photo project has taught me is that when I set rules around something, and make it public, I feel like I can't give up. If I keep my goals to myself, I tend to hold myself a little less accountable.
I'm going to spend the next year living a more active and healthy lifestyle, taking things a day at a time. After the podcast, I realized I should take my own advice and actually try and apply the 365 to something other than just photography. I think this will end up being a lot more challenging, but a ton more rewarding.
I'm also excited about using Snapchat for this project. I think that's the perfect place for it. You can follow me on Snapchat at willmalone365 or snap the image in the post. Day 1 is tomorrow!
Here's our list of tips from the podcast in word form:
1. Take things in small chunks. (Thing of things a day or week at a time instead of the whole year)
2. Find something that gives you steady encouragement.
3. Sleep and Exercise
4. Pick something cheap
5. Pursue it, be active. Creativity or drive won't come and find you while you're laying on the couch.
6. Surround yourself with your goal's environment.
7. Don't be concerned with digital validation. (Likes and Follows don't define you as a person)
8. Get up 30 minutes earlier (Make time)
9. Just go out and do it.
10. Don't pressure yourself into oblivion and define your accomplishments setting checkpoints and rewards along the way.
The secret to getting your creative juices flowing is simple:
GET TO WORK.
After a week of trudging through a creative swamp, I finally have that spark back again...for now.
I've been working tirelessly on the podcast, taking photos, writing, and various other project. At first, it wasn't fun, but once I got into the swing of it, I don't want to stop. I'm loving every minute of it.
The steps I laid out in my last post concerning this matter helped for sure, but the flat out secret to producing work is just to produce work. It's a chain-reaction: you start writing about nothing, than an wild idea appears(!) and you start gaining momentum. Same with photography: walk outside to take photos and things will start coming to you. If you've taken 10 photos and have 1 good one, you've done pretty well.
Once I get internet back to my home (hopefully this week), Netflix will rear is beautiful head at me and I may fall back into my slump, and this process will all begin again. It's a natural cycle, and if you're a person who likes to make things, you'll probably fight this your entire life.
On a different note: Monday's (Aug 10) podcast episode features Kenneth Burke, my friend who has been working on his very own 365 project. His 365 project is much different than mine: He's reading one book a week for 52 weeks. Impressive, right? Well, he's getting close to the end, so I had him help me build a list of tips in audio form on how to start a year-long project. You can subscribe to The 365 on iTunes.
I've grown accustomed to certain techniques in this latest 365 project. (Go check out @willmalone365 on Instagram if you haven't) Now I'm revisiting genres of photography I've left behind while applying my portraiture techniques.
I've decided to take a crack at nature photography, something I quickly decided I wasn't interested in upon leaving my tropical home. I have, developed a love of the woods around me, however. They are the ultimate photo studio, and a huge part of my next big project. Consider this project, Portraits of the Woods, as an ongoing study, a way to show variety in what can seem like the most monotonous part of the south.
But, that's not all! You can buy prints of this series today. That's right, I've launched my print shop. You can buy it in any size and printed on almost anything.
I'll be adding more photos to my store as time goes on. (Once I get wifi at my house. I can only hang out at Starbucks so many times) For now, go check out this series. It's a limited run for a couple months, then I'll have another series to take its place. Give it a gander.
There's been a lot of writing about a creative drought going on in my life currently. It's not super fun, but I'm working hard to jumpstart it all again. I've been in this state, a tired, low energy mode for the past couple weeks. Life gets a hold of you and drains every little bit out of you that it can. You can't let the minutia of life get you down though.
Last post I made a list of ways I'm working to get the creative juices flowing:
As a result of #5 I've been checking out some new podcasts that deal with my current dilemma, and I found a fairly new one called Creative Something. It's basically two guys that tackle a certain question pertaining to the creative life. Today, I listened to the episode called "Creativity and Suffering".
In it, they discussed the trope that an artist must be tortured in order to adequately create. Obviously, that idea is flawed, but there is some truth in it. What was determined was something interesting and could be proven by my particular situation: We are activated creatively by emotional extremes. You feel expressive and reflective when you are down and depressed, but some of the same feelings of creativity come when you are joyous. It's the feeling of "contentment" and equilibrium that keep you from creating, because you don't feel the need to. That's the feeling that has you watching TV instead.
Since my routine was flipped on its head when we moved to a new house, at the end of the day I just want to chill out and watch TV or read. I don't want to write or go out and take photos in the heat. I have a full time job during the day already. I don't have feelings in that situation due to my passive consumerism in that moment.
The original 365 project was birthed out of happiness; I had just become an independent college student with almost no rules. Photography was still pretty new, and I jus wanted to take photos, no matter how bad. My excitement acted as a mental cup of coffee. Then, my parents got divorced, and I created 365 Season 2 and began exploring more film photography. What was created was a dark, fictional noir photo essay that dealt with reflection moments before death. (I'll have to re-release that sometime, it's disappeared into the depths of the internet somewhere) Then, the joy and depression combined in what became 365 Reloaded, which was a roller coaster ride. My aesthetic was constantly changing and moody. Now, I've combined joy and darkness in my current 365 project, with more of that to come. My best work was created when my emotions were offset from "contentment"
Now, I go to work, come home, and go to sleep. My life over the past few weeks has been very passive. I'm scared, because I recognize it, but it's just so damn hard to change when you're already there. I don't want to be a tortured artist, or one that must always feel immense joy in order to create. I want to keep a routine of creative exploration that keeps me reflecting or makes me happy along the way. I need to move back from being passive to active. It's the only way to create consistently. I must pursue creativity, because it's never going to find me on its own.
At first, this drought resembled a photo drought, but now, it's turned into an all out creativity drought. I am experiencing the thing that keeps people from 365 projects: A complete loss of ideas and creative drive.
Everyone hits this point eventually, and I'm shocked I made it to Day 200 or so without it getting this bad. This week has been rough for unrelated reasons, and life has gotten in the way. Stress and a busy schedule kill creativity like no other, and the only way I can see myself crawling out of this pit is a routine. (It also doesn't help that I can't get wifi set up at my new house again until Aug 12, spending a lot of time at Starbucks lately)
How do I get out of this creativity-void pit? How does anyone get out of it? Well here's what I'm going to try throughout the week that has worked before, and it could work for you. I'll make sure to report back my findings.
1. Exercise: I haven't been doing this lately, but I was for the most of year so far. It fills me with energy and gets my brain waves moving.
2. Writing: What am I going to write about? Maybe just what's happening in my life, what I ate for lunch, or a list of the day's events. Anything that can spark something.
3. Take more photos unrelated to any projects I have going on right now: writers get inspiration from writing more, not just sitting around waiting for an idea to strike. Photographers take better photos when they take a lot of photos.
4. Get inspiring figures to come to the podcast table: I have a list of people I want to invite to the podcast, and I've been slowly making my way through that list. I want the podcast to inspire listeners, but I also want to be inspired by the people I invite to speak. Episode 9 should be one of those episodes. (Comes out Monday!)
5. Expose myself to new work and art: I want to research things I know nothing about, watch movies I would have never watched otherwise, listen to new music, etc. Anything that could jumpstart my mind with new stuff of my own. I want to make original work, not just "cover songs". To make groundbreaking stuff, I need to experience groundbreaking stuff. I need to break art apart and find what's different, what makes it stand out. Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time at the coffee shop.
I'm gonna apply these steps this week, and see what happens. I know some good has to come out of it no matter what since it's all mostly worked for me before. Life gets in the way a lot, but life feels a lot easier to manage (at least for me) when I have a steady creative output. If you're in the same boat as me, give it a try.
So...haven't had a "new" photo for my 365 in a few days, so I've remedied that by creating double exposures by combining old images. Here are a few:
It's possible that I appear to be breaking the rules of the 365, however, I've been spending each day exploring and tooling with past images, finding uses for ones that have fallen away. I'm enjoying it very much; it's teaching me what I love about the medium in the first place.
That said, I've had a shortage of subjects to photograph (due to my busy schedule and having to move to a new house), and I've been working hard on my podcast. I'm also planning out some more photo projects (post-365), which are going to be really exciting and possibly some of my best work yet. You'll hear more of that in the coming months.
I do still have quite a bit of film to develop, so hopefully you'll be able to see that soon. Don't forget, if you want to keep up with my stuff day to day outside this website, you can follow me on Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram: willmalone365 (same for all of them), my podcast page is the365podcast.tumblr.com, and my personal Instagram account is still just @willmalone.
I've encountered a common attitude among many professional photographers, one that discourages beginners from the art. After my latest brush with this attitude problem, I had to write this book to encourage beginners and prove that you CAN be a photographer no matter what walk of life you come from. Maybe this book could even serve as a reminder to professionals that you can't just sit on your haunches; it takes creativity beyond the act of taking pictures because the medium is so accessible now. Having technical skill with the camera doesn't make you stand out, but that doesn't mean you can't find ways to have your work be seen. Be an active photographer as opposed to a passive, defensive one.
Since I came from a "zero-art" background, I know becoming a photographer is possible. I still have a long way to go before I become the photographer I want to be, but I can see improvement and a greater understanding of the medium developing through my years of photo taking. I want to share the knowledge I've gained with others who feel like they "aren't creative". Everyone is creative, some just need to be shown that they are. Not everyone is in it to make money, some may just want an outlet, a hobby.
Photographers wouldn't be photographers if they didn't love the art. Why not share our love with others?
Look for the book in September, and sign up for my newsletter (to the right in the sidebar) for updates.
I fill out my Moleskine almost daily, and before I knew it, I noticed I had a whole book written. "Whole book" is a loose term, since ebooks are an almost un-quatifiable size.
The idea of "Everyone can be a photographer" is one I've adopted over the past few months. You saw a little bit of it in my recent blog post "Photographers have an attitude problem". Photography gave me a feeling of purpose, helped me realize that I was able to be creative even thought I didn't know how to draw or paint very well. It's also is a big part of my upcoming DSLR Introduction workshop this fall.
I'm excited to share it with you. Keep an eye out, it's coming out in September.
From the first time we hung out, she won me with her wit and sarcasm. For some reason, she continues to treat me with love and patience, despite me being impossible difficult to deal with. I've never experienced the kind of love that she gives me, and I don't think anyone could ever match it. There's no one on this earth that is as loyal as she is, or as unconditionally loving as her.
She didn't have to come on my podcast (which is really about nothing), but she did it anyway, purely out of love. She didn't have to humor me and my narcissistic pursuit of a podcast, which is just a more creative way for me to hear myself talk. She loves me far more than I deserve, and she definitely deserves better than me. I'm thankful for her, her generosity, her servant's heart, and her sense of humor more than anyone can know.
Anna Malone is an amazing human being. The world needs to know. Here's her episode of The 365, give it a listen.
Today, based on the awesome recommendation of a friend (Chris from Episode 2 of The 365 podcast), we got to check out the art district in Miami, Wynwood. Galleries were everywhere, but what really struck me were the murals. There were TONS of murals, in fact, there was an outdoor exhibit made of walls and doors with some awesome art on them. After today, I fully believe every town should be riddled with murals of different styles. Chattanooga has a couple cool ones, but we need to up our game there.
Let's be honest. The Paul Walker mural immediately won my heart. We can only have so many founding fathers and Steve Jobs murals. Let's honor someone who left us far too early, who didn't necessarily leave a huge legacy, yet they encouraged and excited people through their work. RIP Paul Walker
Pretty cool wall. If this was in Chattanooga, I predict a bunch of hipsters and tween girls would regularly have photoshoots in front of it. Speaking of which:
(Not pictured) My visit to Panther Coffee within this art district. Delicious coffee, so I bought a pound to take home. Really glad I got to explore Miami a little deeper this time around. I'm a big SoFlo fan.
I'll have about 5 rolls of film to develop after this trip. Excited to see what I got. You'll probably see more Wynwood when those are developed.
I've always had a fascination with palm trees growing up. They grow in the direction of the wind, they bend, they grow insanely tall at times, they shed, they can grow coconuts, and they have a very distinct shape. There are people who's jobs it is to climb them and cut them back so the branches don't crush your car. Palm trees are really crazy if you think about it, and they are also a sign of paradise.
I don't live in a place where I see them too often anymore, but when I do, they are all the more special. During this week, I've been using the fiery branches for double exposure "experiments".
Today My wife and I head with a couple friends to South Florida. We had a lot of downtime at the airport, and I hadn't taken today's photo of the day yet. Had to get creative.
The theme is "Double" so I figured I'd do a double exposure via the iPhone (as to not get tackled for wandering around the airport with my huge DSLR) Decided against doing a true double exposure and just stuck with the idea of double through reflection instead.
Here's some other shots via my iPhone:
Here are this week's Double Exposures. I'm quite pleased with this batch.
Here's a quick one when I just snapped two shots one after the other. I liked how I managed to capture movement while avoided the whole blurry photo look. I think I was lucky and the dark wooded background was flat enough so only the subject was blurry.
Here's one of my wife. I took a photo of her, then took a photo of the trees out of focus as the second image.
I did the same thing with my usual guinea pig, Woody. (below)
I think the key to making more original double exposures is to almost completely avoid making it look too clean. The overly clean style looks like it could be made in photoshop, which instantly makes people less interested in the process of it.
The "clean" double exposure is the look I feel like is most often striven for, since that's the typical idea of what a double exposure is. I think I'm beginning to prefer the more subtle look, where "double exposure" isn't the viewer's immediate guess.
I'm beginning to make moves on what my original "Locus" project was meant to be. Once the 365 ends, I may bring that project back, this time, performing my original vision for the project. I don't quite know how I'm going to go about that yet, but that will be a new challenge for 2016. For now, 2015 is for re-tooling, reinventing, practice, and experimentation.
I'm about half way through this 365 project, and it'll be my last for a little while. Hopefully, out of that decision comes a bunch of more focused projects, maybe even attempts at gallery work. We'll see what the next 6 months hold.
Christmas and summer are the two times of year I really get through some movies, books, and television. With it being the summer movie season, tons of new films come out every week. When I get a vacation, I get to read a bunch of books. Then, of course, there's summer television, where the lesser known shows get some spotlight. Here's what I'm checking out now:
1. Mad Max: Fury Road- Amazing practical effects, stunning cinematography, amazing soundtrack. Best movie of the year so far for me, hands down.
2. Jurassic World- a lot of dumb stuff in it, but it was just so satisfying. You can't help but like it.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron- It's the biggest superhero movie ever made, nothing will touch it for years to come.
4. Harmontown- documentary based on my favorite podcast and one of my favorite writers
5. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief- scary
. Face Off- I watched this years ago, but didn't realize it was the greatest movie ever made until recently
1. Halt and Catch Fire- lesser known show about the "computer era" in the 80s. It's fully fictional, but references Apple, IBM, and other big real companies of the time. The first season is on Netflix, the second is on the air. SUPPORT THIS SHOW! It barely got a second season, and it's only getting better. I want a third so bad.
2. True Detective Season 2- Doesn't seem to have the same distinct feel of the first season, and has a lot more moving parts. The premiere was confusing, but set up some interesting plotlines. I'm excited for where it's going.
3. Chef's Table- Netflix show about cooking made by the creator of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Each episode is an hour long documentary about a different, original chef. The show is very well shot and super interesting. Watch all 6 episodes now.
1. Daring Greatly- Great book by Brene Brown about vulnerability. It's a must read for everyone.
2. War of Art- Book by Steven Pressfield about fighting the Resistance, the force that keeps you from doing your work. It's a nice kick in the pants for any artist and/or creator
3. Southern Reach Trilogy- I'm not usually into fiction, but I read the first book and was hooked. It's very grounded in the real world, but gives off some supernatural vibes ala True Detective. I'm currently reading the second.
Next up: I'm about to start reading a book about the Beatles break up called You Never Give me Your Money. I'm saving it for the beach though.