It’s Nov 2nd! Rejoice and make your offerings!

thedead sm

My offering is this painting. More will be offered later today.

bigdead

Advertisements

The Random and the Purpose…

Sometimes as a designer and photographerI forget that art is not 100% control. When it comes to graphic design, the process may end up looking controlled, like a scientific process but it’s nori. It does not start off that way. In photography control is an illusion. You are either capturing the randomness of life around you, or you’re creating the moment with lights and make up and such. Even when the image turns out pretty much exactly how you wanted it there is still the random to balance and enhance the purpose. I’m working on a painting and in this the random is even more present and it can be at times so very hard to let the random have it’s lead. Still when I do remember it, it’s presence seldom steps wrong.

Location Scouting

“The location, it’s GOLD . While anyone can shoot a pretty picture, a unique location can make a memorable and powerful photograph and thus YOU become memorable photographer”! 

the way-Editb

Need more proof? Think about it, there are reasons so much goes into location scouting for shooting movies, commercials and advertising”! For years I’ve done my best to offer up photography that takes place in unique locations. My locations often take place in or near or feature buildings and structures that could fall under the title “Condemned”. The grittier the better!

Over the years I’ve grown used to being asked by fellow photographers and models

“Where is that place”?

“How’d you find that location”?

These questions have always been followed up with by

“Can you share that location”? Or “Did you get permission to shoot there”?

In this post I will address what goes into Location Scouting. When I need a location for a shoot I’ll expend about 10% of my effort on Google. Maybe 3% on talking to others on Social Media. The rest is spent pouring over maps and driving around in my car very slowly with my camera and a notepad close at hand. It’s a long and drawn out process that eats up time and gas. If you’re afraid of getting lost and or can not read a map, location scouting may not be for you, but for those who are adventurous the experience is more than worth the occasional wrong turn. The biggest problem I’ve encountered is that for the most part backroads lack a shoulder to pull into, and just parking your car in the road can be dangerous. My advice is this, find a friend and have them drive while you sit in the passenger seat and scout. They can drive while you hop out and get quick shots of places that catch your eye. You may have to buy lunch and road snacks (gas if you’re not using your car) but it’s worth it! Be sure to jot down turns, road names, Highway numbers and anything else of the like. Such information will always come in handy.

Now that I’ve answered the “How” and  “Where”  I can take on “Can you share the location with me”? If this seems like an easy enough request to accommodate then please go back to the paragraph above and read it again. It’s not an easy request for me to grant. After I factor in time, effort and expenses “No”  is usually my answer, unless and there is always an unless, the person asking has a similar location to exchange. But I’d be lying if I said that such an information exchange works for me all the time. Why? Because as I stated at the beginning I like my work to have a level of uniqueness that separates it from others. Choose carefully to whom you share locations and the reason for doing so.

And finally I can address the dreaded “Did you get permission to shoot there”?

Oh and “What if the police were to ask what you’re up to”?

Honestly my answer to the first question is usually “No, I didn’t ask”. The majority of the time there is little if anyway of finding the person I’d have to get permission from, however if you do write down road names and such you do have the beginning of an information trail and can seek permission that way. But often I simply go ahead take the risk and shoot. As for the police? My experience thus far has been this. I walk around with my camera at shoulder height where the police can see it and most drive off leaving me be. I’ve had police and a few State Troopers look at me and say “Yeah that camera pretty much tells me you’re likely not up to anything too stupid or illegal”. Have the  authorities ever asked me to leave? No, not yet but there is always a first time for everything. If the occasional bit of Trespassing or Breaking and Entering of a location or condemned property is worrisome to you, then once again Location Scouting may not be for you. Other hazards to keep in mind are dogs, barbed wire, poison ivy, bees, hornets, spiders, buck shot, and of course structures that could collapse while you’re exploring.  Risks like these are why I’m a bit stingy with my locations, as you should be too.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Ultimately I wanted you the reader to know some of the effort, costs and risks that go into the photography I do. One last bit of insight to pass on for the intrepid Location Scout. Before heading out and while out let a friend or family member know the general are you’ll be in. It will save you a bit of hassle when folks get worried and should you become injured it could actually save your life.

List of supplies I generally take along a Location hunt. 

Camera, note book, a gallon of water and or anti-freeze, spare tire, matches or a lighter, a cooler with bottled water or what you like, energy bars etc. Also a good idea to take along a glow stick or two, an extra set of clothes, hiking boots if you have them and a pocket knife and yes keep a First Aid kit in your car.

Should you wish to hire me to do a shoot that could add to your portfolio or if you just want an amazing photograph of yourself by all means contact me at 615-977-2695.Of course if you’ve any questions or comments please leave them at the space provided or email me at jerry.winnett@gmail.com 

Evil Bess aka The evolution of a cover design

I’d like to thank Justin Stokes for taking time the other day to get me going on blogging about my work. One of the many ideas we bounced at one another was detailing the evolution of my creative process.

For this first blog on the subject I will tell you about Evil Bess, also known as the evolution of a cover design, an exercise in stock photo usage and manipulation.

A while back on a engagement shoot in a small town I came across a porcelain doll that had been set up in a hair salon. I loved it. I took a little bit of time to get a shot with plans on just filing it away incase I ever needed a stock shot of a porcelain doll. A year later I came across an online site that hired designers to do covers for independent self publishing authors, for a flat fee of $600.00. Though not a great payday it was still not a bad, especially since this was for unknown authors. The selling point for me was this, a designer could choose the genre they wanted to design for with little if any restraint. I chose Horror.

original Bess

This is Bess as I found her. 

I’ve always found porcelain dolls to be almost as creepy as clowns, with this in mind I went through my stock photos* until I found the doll I’d photographed a year earlier. Playing around in LightRoom to alter the over all lighting and temperature of the overall piece was my first step. Next I decided Bess (she looks like a Bess), needed a bit of damage. Inside my head I’d written a bit about Bess. That many years ago Bess was the last true evil witch in the country and as she was dying she consigned her soul to a porcelain she’d prepared for her death. Maybe she was truing to evade witch hunters? I dunno. But anyways she’d consigned herself to this doll. A century later her doll had been purchased in a curio shop by a young practitioner and was now in danger of breaking out!

Do I always make a backstory for my pieces, no, but it’s fun when I do. Opening up Bess in Adobe Illustrator I drew out  the cracks that appear on Bess’s face. Once done they were opened up in Adobe Photoshop then dropped upon Bess’s face as needed. Some of these cracks were inverted and then placed side by side, others received air brushing around them. Others were smeared in length while others shortened. Yes, I did actually research similar cracks to get the right look.  I decided that Bess needed some eye work. Once again I went to my collection of stock photos looking for doll eyes. Once found I took bess removed her original eyes and exaggerated their creepiness by erasing a large section of the skin around them. Next I took the new doll eyes and made them as a layer that would side under the areas that had been erased. After that a bit of black to give a cavernous effect to her stare really set it all off.

evo bess1Bess 10

Evolution of Bess

Was I done? With Bess yes. But not with the over all cover design. Next I took Bess and tilted her to the right to further increase the viewers sense of apprehension and fear. Almost done? No. No I wanted a font that would really offset the whole look. While I thought about going with a more Victorian font I ultimately went with something a bit more modern. After all Bess was an old witch but this was a modern story. Finally after a bit of airbrushing to the title I considered myself done. As done as I could be. After all the text would eventually change once an author bought the artwork and relaxed my mock title with their actual title.

 In a glass Bess

The final product

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of the Process series.

If you’ve any questions or comments by all means leave me a message.

 – Jerry Winnett, Artist.

  • For the most part my stock photography is made up of my own work.

Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”

Mictecacihuatl

Every year on my birthday I try to arrange a special shoot as a gift to myself. One year it was Shannon Million the famous Burlesque performer on a custom built motorcycle.

shannon bra_033-Edit

This year it was Nashville artist Ash Soto as Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”. I’m a big fan of Dia de los Muertos and this is the year I decided to pay tribute to the holiday which takes place Nov. 2nd.   As for the creative direction of this series I wanted to include another interest of mine and that is the look of vintage Horror movies from the the 30′ – 50’s. Movies that featured actors such as Borris Karloff,  Bela Lugosi, Elsa Lanchester and Lon Chaney senior as well as Lon Chaney Jr. I’d say I mission accomplished. Below I’ve included an excerpt from a page that gives a bit of history for Dia de los Muertos. Read, enjoy and follow the link.

Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is a unique festival that is the result of 16th century contact between Mesoamerica and Europe. Conceptually, it is a hybrid, owing its origins to both prehispanic Aztec philosophy and religion and medieval European ritual practice. Ceremonies held during the Aztec summer month of Miccailhuitontli were mainly focused on the celebration of the dead. These were held under the supernatural direction of the goddess Mictecacihuatl.(1) Both children and dead ancestors were remembered and celebrated. It was also during this month that the Aztecs commemorated fallen warriors. According to Diego Duran, a 16th century Spanish priest, the Aztecs would bring offerings of food to altars in honor of the dead. They would also place small clay images that were supposed to represent the deceased on these same altars.

http://www.dayofthedeadsf.org/history.html

As the holiday comes closer as well as Halloween I will add more images to this post. For Now I give you these offerings upon the altar.

_F4Y0007-Edit-2 copy_F4Y0113-Edit-2 copy_F4Y0470 copy

_F4Y0359-Edit copy sm_F4Y0354-Edit copy SM_F4Y0151-Edit copy SM

If you’d like to contact Ash Soto for modeling, consider that she also did her own make up. She’s multi talented and you’d do well to hire her. Her contact info is…https://www.facebook.com/ashley.mooney.779?fref=ts

Photography Etiquette 101

Photography etiquette 101.

Let’s talk about etiquette, if you model for a photographer, whether it’s collaboration or you’ve paid for the image the photographer is ultimately the owner of the photos and the finished work. Unless you’ve the express written permission from the photographer DO NOT EDIT, CROP, or CHANGE the photographer’s finished piece. Doing this may violate the photographer’s Copyright, and that’s not only a breach of etiquette it’s also illegal. This bit of etiquette instruction goes for  Models, MUA’s, Hair Designers, Stylists, etc including the random everyday person who may see an image and decides “Oh let me see how this would look”. Don’t be that person.

I find myself writing this because since 7:45 this morning I’ve been coming across examples unsolicited photo edits of photographers works by models, unknown wedding guests and even a Hair Dresser. In one instance I was asked to remove an image for a photographer from a group I admin. On another Photographers group, members were asking how best to handle a wedding guest adding a filter to a wedding portrait they’d found on FB. I’m not out to rain on anyone’s parade nor am I trying to kill off anyone’s spark of creativity. Copyright laws exist for the photographer’s/artist’s protection and must be respected. Now we’ve all seen an image and had a thought on how we thing something can be improved. If you feel you’ve the skills to improve the image and have been using Photoshop, Lightroom and or Illustrator for quite sometime then go about doing this the correct way. Contact the photographer and express your idea. I would say do this in person or via text and GET WRITTEN PERMISSION. Do not get upset if your suggestion is not taken or welcomed. That’s simply how it goes. If you really feel you could create a better piece then my advice would be to either hire a photographer and do some creating, or pick up a camera yourself.

Below I’ve pasted a bit about Copyright taken from the the form you can get from the US Copyright Office.

What Does Copyright Protect? Copyright in a work of the visual arts protects those pictorial, graphic, or sculptural elements that, either alone or in combina- tion, represent an “original work of authorship.” The statute declares: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.”

Photographers and artists in general if you need more info about Copyright and would like to talk to an attorney for help doing so I recommend Slone & Vrablik, PLLC, http://www.svnash.com

On a side note do not ask to buy the RAW images off of a photographer, unless you’re willing to pay quite a bit of money. Even if you are willing to do so, don’t be surprised if the photographer still says no. Today’s RAW image is yesterday’s negatives.