You say you’re not creative?

October 28, 2009

Owen skull&crossbonesWhether I’m talking with people about my work in advertising, or the painting I do for my own pleasure, the conversation often reaches the same point. In one way or another, people will tell me that they’re not creative at all.

It would be really easy to get on my soapbox at this point and talk about how pretty much all of us start off as creative kids, drawing and writing imaginative stories. But somehow we often lose that “skill.” Whether it’s our educational system, or kids’ peer groups, a lot of kids don’t stick with it. And like anything, if you’re not doing it often, you get rusty and that rust leads to a further lack of confidence.

Dead crowWhoops, what am I doing way up here? I must step down.

Anyway, I firmly believe that is not just about imagination, it’s about seeing — really observing — what is around you all day, everyday. There’s a beauty that we just don’t see — or worse, we take it for granted.  To really see it, you need to give your eye practice. You need to see in compositional terms. And one great way to do that is just to take a lot of photographs.

Grace blurI do. On the right side are pictures I’ve taken of my kids (I do this a lot because, well, they’re my kids. But also because I tend to paint portraits, so I like to look at how light plays across faces.) The crow was just a bit of road kill that I saw riding my bike home from work one day. I think it was worth getting off my bike for. You don’t need any good reason to take pictures. Take lots of them.

Which leads me to something that Seattle photographer Chase Jarvis is doing.  He’s taken the expression “the best camera is the one that’s with you” and turned it into a great iPhone app (the best “camera” iPhone app in my opinion, and I’ve used a lot of them), a book, and a web-based photography community.

Here’s Chase explaining it himself. Read more on his blog post.

I couldn’t have said it better myself (though I tried).

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My friend Michael shoots

March 18, 2009

the-ferryman-cometh-copy1Practically every morning I ride the ferry over to Seattle with my friend and co-worker, Michael Nalley. Fairly often, he’s on his computer massaging a photo he’s taken recently. I often watch with amazements as he does this. Why? because I see a lot of the same things he does (Bainbridge Island ain’t that big, and several of his photos are things I’ve seen many, many times). The truth is that he sees them and captures them in a way that makes me see them again in a new way. That may not be the exact definition of “art” but it works for me.

Check out his work at www.michaelnalleyphotography.com.


Statistics, visualized

February 11, 2009

I wrote a recent post about a visualization of the rate at which Wal-Mart and Target stores have opened over the last several years.

Well, this is on a similar theme — bringing statistical information to life, visually.  Seattle photographer/artist Chris Jordan has an amazing series of works called “Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait.”  In it, he brings to life America’s consumption habits (among other things) in a way that really stops you cold.

This shot from the exhibition shows two million plastic beverage bottles — the amount used in the united states every five minutes.

2million-plastic-bottles1

Can’t see the bottles?  Seriously, check out the images — including close-ups — at Chris Jordan’s site.


Shooting with your iPhone

February 9, 2009

img_0221Perusing my Twitter feed one day, I noticed a blog post by Seattle photographer Chase Jarvis.  While Chase is a gifted photographer and we had just shot a campaign with him for one of DDB Seattle’s client Chateau Ste. Michelle, this particular post was not about anything too high-end in terms of photography.

No, it’s about getting great shots from your iPhone and you can read it here.  There are a few tips (hold the camera with both hands, press the shutter release and then compose your shot– and release when you are ready), and a few suggestions for handy ap downloads.  It’s definitely worth the read if you’re taking photos with an iPhone.