In recent years, I have been fortunate to be able to spend time indulging in some of my favourite pastimes - travelling, camping, photography and enjoying good food and wine. They go so well together. Because I have travelled so much and accumulated a large catalogue of images, the processing has been basic and loaded up onto my website as quickly as possible. Hence I have a site almost entirely comprised of what amounts to stock images apart from a few Photo Stories that I have put together. There is no portfolio of my best work .
I now need to start over in terms of developing my photographic style, showing those images that I really love, telling stories with my imagery and developing an online persona. So I have commenced a Unit with University of Tasmania called Photography and Social Media. One of the requirements of this course is that I keep a digital diary in the form of a blog. As I already have a Blog here on my Business Site www.cheridesailly.com, I have decided to use it for my course work.
For those of you who have followed my occasional blogs, come along for the ride if you like. I am undertaking this unit to help me better understand and utilise social media platforms in order to get my work out there in a public arena. I also wish to use it to follow and learn from artists, designers and crafts people from a variety of backgrounds and interests.
I have finally settled on the three Self Portraits that I will use for Project 1. I have loaded them onto Instagram www.instagram.com/cheridesailly/ and shared them with my Facebook site Cheri Desailly . I have also completed my word document to submit via Dropbox to the Photography and Social media Unit home. A bit late due to some ill health and other distractions, but fortunately not penalised for this.
Because of the sort of photography I do, I prefer to convey a somewhat casual, slightly familiar and relaxed feeling to my images, while endeavouring to produce a high quality of photograph. I initially had selected six images and after the very good critiques I received and a little soul searching, the photographs below are the ones selected.
Outdoor Self Getting Ready
In the two images above I am wearing hats. Because I am a skin cancer sufferer (my nose is mostly skin graft), I rarely walk outside the door without a hat. For the more rugged outdoor pursuits of my travel photography I wear the one on the left. I happened to be doing a shoot for The handsome Horse and decided that location would work well for the outdoor self portrait. I have many hats for different occasions, and the last thing I do before walking out the door is to look in the mirror and put on my hat. Hence the next image.
Musical Influences This final image is meant to show a blending of personal, creative and work life. I love music from all eras. The Cat Stevens album cover is straight out of my young adult life. The Blended singer in the background is my son, Locky, who is a full time professional entertainer. Gig photography is part of my repertoire and it is a lot of fun. The mirror ball effect is a photo of Christmas lights taken in Singapore. Other photos from Singapore can be seen on my website, www.cheridesailly.com.
For the benefit of who ever will be marking my project 1 submission. The preceding blog entries for this project start with Week 1 - Photography and Social Media
Well the weeks are blurring into each other now. A bout of ill health and then a week looking after a family property has put me behind and now I'm dragging the chain a bit. It is now week 7 and I still haven't finalised my self portraits or done my final critique. In the meantime I picked up some photography work so I will be quite busy.
I haven't been completely off track. I have been exploring instagram and Pinterest and have started to post images. I have even attracted some followers as well as some favourable comments on my images. I have found some more great inspiration on Instagram. Symmetrical Monsters is a place to hashtag your best amazing symmetrical photos and Barry Cheeseman whose evocative images of people in Vietnam are beautiful. I had started to think that I would use Instagram for just a particular sort of image. Maybe using the influences of people like Steve Scalone and Art Wolfe. Here are a couple of images that I have posted.
On Saturday I was diverted by entertainer Locky who needed some new photos for a website I built for him. It was a raucous afternoon at Irish Murphy's in Brisbane where a group of crazy cricket fans from all over Australia had been celebrating since 10.30 in the morning. They were all so intent on getting into the photos of Locky that I took some for them too (for a small fee). The whole crowd were singing and dancing. I Had lots of fun and was asked to post some on instagram and Facebook. I also downloaded an app called Layout so that I could post a small group of photos to instagram instead of one at a time. Not sure if it worked all that well though as the images are all a bit too small when viewed on a mobile phone. Now to quickly prepare the rest to put on the Client Images section of my website. Here is one of the images I posted on Instagram.
Saturday's events have caused me to rethink the use of Instagram. I am still determined to try to put up high quality images so will have to give it some serious planning and in future be extremely selective.
I have finally started sorting photos that might suit instagram and have actually managed to load one. Of course this means that I have to get my portfolio sorted out on my website too so am going to be busy. Keeping my emotions under control when selecting my best images doesn't come naturally. My partner Jim Evans, is very good at critiquing me and that helps. In the end it's my decision and, while I take on board his advice I don't always follow it. I also allow myself a bit more free rein in my photo stories.
Apart from the UTAS course I am also doing an online course with Photo Artistry - Grunge. I am learning lots of techniques for adjustment layers, masking and using textures and backgrounds. I have a very large collection of textures and background photos as well as an extensive archive of a great variety of images. I am now finally learning how to make use of them. That's where my next Self Portrait comes in. This is one I think I will put up for the UTAS course assessment. I would welcome feedback on how it can be improved. Below are the images I selected to use. I used layers, multiply as the blending mode, opacity, to reduce intensity and masks to erase through. The layers were the bark of a hoop pine tree, lights in Singapore, and Locky, a Brisbane based accoustic entertainer. Hope you like it. #smputas
Christmas Lights 7 LockyLocky (Mark Lockyear) is an acoustic rock entertainer playing most nights in some of Brisbane's most popular pubs. Locky's guitar designed and crafted by Daniel of Gowan Guitars
Self Portrait - Blended.#smputas
My partner Jim and I recently went up to visit Suzie Poultney who owns the Handsome Horse. Formerly known as Pretty Ponies Australia, The Handsome Horse offers classically tailored equestrian apparel and accessories. Suzie also designs and makes some beautiful products such as her whips for the equestrian market. We were there to help Suzie set up for photographing stock. Suzie and her husband Greg have a lovely property just out of Landsborough in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland. Her artistic flare is everywhere to be seen in and around the house and stables so while Jim helped Suzie I took the opportunity to explore, set up and take self portraits.
Setting up for the self portraits was an interesting exercise. I had the use of a wireless remote for my camera and that certainly made things a little simpler once I got it working properly. There was a fair bit of toing and frowing to check exposure but the hardest thing was getting the focus right. I had wanted to use a fairly shallow depth of field and was not always positioned correctly to achieve that. The shot in the mirror was worked out by moving a broom with a bucket on it until I was sure the camera could see it. Focus on the bucket and then change places with it. Didn't always work though. The images are are a bit soft still. I also tried with and without flash. Last but not least, at the stables I also had to keep a horse at bay so that the tripod didn't get knocked over. Below are the fruits of my efforts. I'll be back up there in a couple of weeks so might do some more and better.
I had wanted to do an on location self portrait however, no opportunity presented itself for me to get out with my tripod during week 4. Finally I decided to try an Iphone selfie. The one and only selfie done with my Iphone prior to this was in front of the Collosseum in Rome and that was purely because there was no one with me. I fiddled around and tried a few different angles and some window light. I forgot to smile and looked very stern so started again. Eventually I managed to take a photo I was reasonably happy with. Seems it's all about the angles.
My intention for the Iphone selfie was always to blend it with one of my floral photos. I had photographed some mass displays recently at the Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba. I used some painting filters and then lens blurring filter on the flowers and then overlaid it on my selfie and blended using Linear Burn. I then merged the two layers and made them slightly smaller than the original floral background layer to give the image a border. I think the flower layer has become perhaps, a bit too contrasty, although, I am reasonably happy with the final result.
A Floral Self Portrait.
During Week 4 I have really started to explore other forms of social media. I found Tumblr annoying hence the use of my blog on Zenfolio. Instagram still interests me the most and am going to spend some time with a couple of people who use it for their businesses. Pinterest also interests me and once again I have found a couple of avid Pinterest users so more to follow in later blog entries once I have consulted with them.
I have also turned my mind to the 2nd assignment. I think it could be really interesting and I need to plan it. I have a number of projects that are works in progress as a result of travel that I have undertaken in recent years. I have a large collection of backgrounds and textures that I really should do something with. I also want to do a series of photos called Burnt as everywhere I went up in the Kimberleys the land was burnt and there were some dramatic images to be had. There is also the large collection of bird photos. So I probably could just use what is in my archive but feel that would not be in the spirit of the course and what would I learn?. So, I have decided to do a social documentary topic, Aging and Technology. More on that later. For now, I have to do some more selfies and convince some lovely octogenarians I know to let me take their photos.