This is part 3 of my history, written October 14th of 2010 during my final year attending UW-Stout in Menomonie, WI.
On my way back during my final full semester at Stout, I decided to really step things up and concentrate solely on one project. The project was originally called Teenage Wasteland and was a combination of photography and digital painting. The title changed to “Even Nostalgia Isn’t as Good as it Used to be” about halfway through completion.
My first experiment in this series.
Another example is midway through the series.
Another example is near the end of the series.
After this series and my final full-time semester at UW-Stout, I was ready to take another break. I knew I was onto something new and this series pushed me harder than anything else in the past. It gave me more questions than answers. I hit a wall and didn’t know where to go next. I knew I could never go back to the strait-off-the camera and a few tricks in photoshop/lightroom again. I knew that I had to keep evolving and work on something at a deeper level. Questions of money haunted me in all waking hours. How can I make money doing this? How can I continue to devote all of this time now that I’ll have student loans to think about…
Well, just as I was pondering this I was approached to do another commission glamour shoot, I wasn’t too interested at first but felt that the line Katie Holm designed was quite impressive and that I could take the images in an artistic direction. We worked together, Katie and I, on locations. By some kind of wizardry of the universe, I was having a family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells with my dad, mom, brother, and sister only minutes from our decided location. Taken in the Wisconsin Dells. The experience of doing these “high fashion” photoshoots gave me a lot of confidence to continue pursuing it, at least in the back of my mind.
Even though my mind was racing with a million thoughts at once I came upon an opportunity to work with several models and some other photographers. We met at a fancy hotel and took turns working with several models. Everyone was there for glamour shots. I was there with the intent to use these glamour shots for another purpose (image manipulation). Seriously, do we really need any more glamour photography? How exactly does exploiting beauty for the sake of beauty alone make you feel fulfilled as a person? Don’t you need more? I really believe that modeling photography has to be one of the easiest kinds of photography to get into. Hell, that’s probably why I was drawn to it so much early on. It’s extremely “safe” because everyone likes to look at pretty faces.
I knew that these glamour pictures of mine were completely hypocritical to what I mentioned earlier about getting away from modeling photography. Perhaps this was why I put so much effort into transforming them into something more original. These images had a different quality about them and the focus was less about the subject and more about the narrative or mystery surrounding the subject. And now for something completely different. Breaking and entering.
I was contacted again by my friend Sarah who wanted me to shoot her clothing line. Just when I was trying to get away I got sucked back in. I was completely shocked when I saw her outfits, however. They were beautiful and highly original, like something out of a Tim Burton movie.
One of the most successful images from the shoot.
Getting back to the massive amounts of images I took during my family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells, I composed a series called POV (Point of View) where I simply took pictures of my feet in what I thought were interesting places. Most of the images early on were taken from the hotel we were staying at where there were outdoor pools shut down for the season.
A diptych was taken of me getting closer to the water’s edge.
Part of a study on human interaction in the party scene.
I hit another wall, which happens from time to time. I didn’t know what to do next. Just what the hell was I supposed to be working on now. The school was coming to an end and I knew I would have to find a “real” job and make some real money. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I asked myself the question, “what makes you stand out as an artist rather than just another photographer with a couple of tricks up your sleeve?”
The conclusion I had was composites and hyper-realistic photography. This became my main focus and at the time of writing, this still is. This is what I could do to rise above the rest.
I started off with hyper-realism. I had taken a number of images in Grand Rapids Michigan of all places and wasn’t satisfied with a single picture on its own. They were good but not really something incredibly memorable on their own. They were missing something.
My first experiment was with day into dusk scene change.