Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Sara's Garden Project

I have a few hobbies aside from photography, and one of my loves is gardening. I enjoy the little miracles I see every day when I'm walking around admiring the beauty. I tend to enjoy flower gardening a lot more than working with vegetables. I do enjoy pulling something fresh from the garden and eating it, but I have never been one for working in the kitchen and the thought of all the work involved with preparing things for long term enjoyment does not appeal to me one bit.

Back to the garden...in May I was digging up some weeds and out popped this little gem...


...a miniature oak tree :)  After much admiration, and going to the house for a camera to take a portrait, I replanted this mighty oak in the woods behind our house. I checked on it throughout the summer and it seems to be doing well so far.

Taking that photograph got me thinking that I should try to take portraits of everything in my garden. That thought led to taking flower portraits in situ with my professional set up (insert laughter here):

which turned into portraits like this:

or these (set up with a piece of white bristol board instead of black):


Then I decided it would be easier to pick some and take them indoors to photograph:

These were seed heads I had saved from the previous fall to photograph "sometime"



And then I tried to get artsy and creative in different ways:








The great thing about this project is that it can go on forever. I am nowhere near done photographing all the things in the garden....and not even close to scratching the surface on the creative side.

When other photographers tell me they can't find anything to take photos of, it always gives me pause. I have never had that problem, but I guess there is that expression...simple minds are easily amused :)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Showing your work

Groundless
 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I sometimes struggle with the question: how do I want to share my work?

This year I have shown my work in two solo exhibits and two group exhibits...all local venues within the province. Earlier this summer I decided to try something different and I answered an international call for a photography exhibit with the theme "Water". A Smith Gallery is located in Texas, and the exhibit was curated by Doug Beasley, co-editor of Shots Magazine.

I received notice in August that one of my images was accepted (Groundless - pictured above). There were 930 submissions and 55 of them were selected for exhibit, so I felt quite honoured. The exhibit opened on September 10th and runs until October 31st. A virtual walk through was held on September 25th, and Groundless is shown in the photos below, images that I received from the gallery owners:




As far as I know, there are no galleries in Canada that charge for submitting your work for a juried exhibit. Usually there are restrictions regarding the number of images you can submit for consideration. However, galleries in the United States seem to run differently. This particular exhibit cost $38 (US funds) for 5 entries.

So why pay to enter when there is no guarantee of being selected? Good question. 

In addition to the entry fee, if you are successful and you don't live in the area, you need to send in your framed image or pay for the gallery to print your image and rent a frame. Due to the cost of mailing a framed image, as well as the unreliability of mailing across the border, I decided to have the gallery print and frame my image. (a cost of $35 US)  

So by this time I have invested $73 US ($92.36 at today's exchange rate).  Although it's great to be able to put an international exhibit on my resumé, I really can't think of a reason to continue with this method of showing my work.

I would have loved the opportunity to meet with the other photographers by zoom and listen to everyone talk briefly about their work...that would have been a great experience. Otherwise, I can't think of a benefit to pay $100 to participate in an exhibit. Now....if my image sells I might change my mind about that. But I won't hold my breath for that to happen...lol.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Why do I create?

 

The Gift


Last year I was determined to add colour into my image making. This was a result of someone telling me that they found my images to be depressing since they were often black and white, or very muted, as well as minimal. 

So I involved myself in a few projects to get some colour into my photographic life.  I worked at these projects and started thinking...YES, I can do this! I can create with colour! And then somewhere along the way I realized that YES! I can create with colour! I can be an image maximalist! But you know what....I don't want to! 

Minimalism, subtle colour, high contrast black and white images. These are images I enjoy looking at, and these are the images I want to create, images that move me.

I love creating images and am lucky enough that I enjoy doing this in many ways. I enjoy discovering something with my eyes and capturing it with a camera. The technical aspect is not important to me. I could use a phone camera, a point and shoot, or my "good" camera. 

I also enjoy creating composited images on my computer by taking elements from several different photographs and creating something new that comes from my imagination. I have a vast library of photographs I've taken over the years...strange things that I captured without knowing why. Now I have a way to use all those elements to create something new, and I love it. I love creating something that no one else will ever be able to create because they don't have my library...and they don't have the same vision as me.

I belong to a photography club, and I have been told so many times that what I do is not photography. Why does everything need a label? Why can't I make the images I want to make without other people telling me that it doesn't fit into their notion of photography? I'm not entering into competitions with these images...I'm just creating images that I enjoy making.

Struggling artistically is something I do now and then. I go through this phase every so often when I want to throw up my hands, pull everything off social media, and beat a hasty retreat from the public eye. But I do feel the need to share my work in some way, so the question is...how should that be done? Something to ponder.

The bulletin board above my desk is filled with printed images that I have created this year. I think they are good. I think they are leaps and bounds over the images I exhibited at a gallery in January...work I created in 2019 and 2020. 

Maybe I'll share them someday. But maybe it's okay just to have them on a bulletin board for me to see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Creating a still life

Balancing Act

I've talked now and then about generating ideas and how I get inspired. In January 2020, together with artist Helen Eaton, I created a group called Inspiration Collaboration. In a nutshell, we provide inspiration images at the first of every month and anyone interested creates any form of art using those images as their inspiration. 

This month, Helen's image was Basket of Peaches. I knew right away that I wanted to create a still life using peaches. I had two challenges...first, to wait for peaches to come into season here in Nova Scotia...and second, to think of a creative way to display my peaches. I decided that trying to stack my peaches was a good place to start...in contrast to Helen's peaches which were spilling from a basket. 

One thing I learned: I need a lot more practice in still life photography. Aside from lighting, my biggest challenge is placing the items. How many peaches should be in the bowl? How many should be on the table? What kind of background should I use? How much (if anything) should be reflected on the table? Where should the light come from? Yikes!

Here are some of the things I tried:



As you can see, many of the images are too dark. I purchased some studio lighting earlier this year, and I have yet to learn the trick of using them. Either my images are too flat, or too dark. I want them to look natural. Maybe my trick will be to go back to using only natural light...lol.

I did manage to balance five peaches (one is unseen in the sugar bowl), but I didn't like that image as well as my final selection. I want to post it here....all peaches balanced for a few seconds before falling on the table and floor.

I have been eating bruised peaches since I completed my photo shoot!

Monday, June 7, 2021

On Landscape Magazine Article

On Landscape Issue 232 - Sara Harley - The Trailings Project
I'm very honoured, excited, and basically just thrilled beyond belief to have an article published in the UK based On Landscape Magazine. You can read the complete article (including 16 photographs and approximately 2000 words) at this link:

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2021/06/the-trailings-project/