Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Value of Personal Work

So, the other day I'm thinking about the value of personal work and how great it is to do something that fulfills that hunger to create.

Generally speaking, I have a hard time distinguishing personal work and commissioned work. Why? because both are created by me and whether it's personal work or commercial/editorial work I still give it my all. However that is not what defines personal work.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I was sitting at my computer and had this innate desire to shoot something that would allow me to spread my creative wings and fly. However, it was raining so the flight would have been short. So I grabbed my lighting gear and headed over to my parents house, (garage more specifically.) The plan was to shoot my brother with his guitar and maybe invite his drummer buddy and have a shoot with them together. I thought I'd capture them in a cluttered garage like the garage band they are. However, his friend couldn't come over, so I shot my brother instead. In my opinion this idea wasn't epic, it was just an idea, and besides I was doing something that I really loved. I knew that through trial and error creativity would lead from one thing to another to the third and forth and hopefully to something visually interesting.

A few weeks later I had to shoot high school player of the year all stars, where I was to shoot them in a make shift studio vs. on location. I immediately knew there was one shot I wanted to recreate. It originated during this personal project and now was super easy to recreate. Plus, the deadline to create these images was supper tight... they literally had to be shot in minutes!

The lighting set-up, composition, post production and so on, all came out of this self funded, self inspired personal project. The lesson being here, is that if you grab your gear and shoot an open ended project, you may discover something that can be very valuable. It may not come to fruition tomorrow or even in a week; however, you will have your back against the wall and many eyes burning at your back. It will also be the time when you reach for that specific technique and knowledge that you've discovered while working on your personal project.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My First Billboard

If you recall my May 27th Twitter post it read something like this, "Just got confirmation that one of my pics will be used in billboard ad (my first!) in June. Im not kinda excited... but EXCITED!" Few days later on June 2nd I posted a sneak peek of what the billboard ad will look like via TwitPic... I was pretty exited about this and I still am!
Me next to my first billboard along RT 332 in Farmington, N.Y.

So the other day I'm driving down the road to a colleagues house and unexpectedly I see my photo on a billboard ad. Did I just see what I thought I saw? I wanted to slam my breaks, pull over and run over to the billboard ad and get a better look. And maybe give it a hug or something.
Billboard along RT 332 in Farmington, N.Y.

A month before this, I knew my photo was going to be used for a billboard ad. I was excited! I was trying to imagine how I would feel and react when I would finally see my photo blown up for a billboard ad. When the moment came I was still surprised and did a double take. The following day I went over to the billboard just to stand next to it and see it up close and take photos. Even more so I was curious to see how well my photoshop work held up as the image was blown up from the original 9.5 inches to 7-8 feet tall. Everything looked good!
(PDF of the billboard design.)

If you are wondering how this came about. In February 2010, I was recommended to photograph of Mr. Rayburn and Gibson when Mr. Rayburn made a significant donation to Wood Library (in Canandaigua) for the $4 million expansion and renovation project. The original use of the photos were for public relations use. Later on I was asked if I could prep this image for a billboard ad.... this was the time when I really did a double take and reread the email a few times.

The original photo of Mr. Rayburn and Gibson.

I'm not sure how long the billboards will remain up, but if you are driving north on Rt. 332 in Farmington, N.Y. the billboard is nearly by Loomis Rd. and the railroad overpass. The second billboard is along West Ave. in Canandaigua, N.Y. on the west side of the railroad overpass.

Smaller banner as it hangs outside Wood Library in Canandigua, N.Y.

A view along West Ave, in Canandaigua, N.Y. with billboard to the left.