Saturday, July 30, 2011

one sequin at a time

     Francesca and I were at Goodwill about a month ago. We always go there to look for photo props. I think I got a denim jacket and some lace and as we were checking out she saw a roll of sequins for $5.00. At first I was like, no. I didn't want them at all. But she kept bugging me and told me we could use them for something. So I gave in and got them. Since then they have been sitting in my car slowly rotting away. I couldn't think of anything to use them for. But Francesca suggested that we wrap her head in them. (these are the kind of friends I have). And then my mind started going.

     I have done things similar to like that in my past work. Both times were with caution tape. I liked them because of the letters on the tape gave a cool pattern to the image and the bright yellow was also a nice touch.


     This time I wanted to do something to really show the sequins. The first thing that came in my head was to do it at night. That way I could use some type of lighting to reflect off the sequins. I thought of using my car head lights, but I knew they would be too strong and bright. I walked around my house looking for things and I found a box full of candles from my birthday part I had. They were perfect.

     I thought of having Francesca sit at the head of the table sitting straight up looking across into the camera. There is something very eerie and mysterious about mask, or wrapping a head. Something about not being able to tell the identity of someone. Two images were brought to my head when I thought of this. One was from the strangers. That movie has to be one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. Without their mask it probably would not have the same effect. Another image was from a short clip played at the Lady Gaga Monster Ball tour. It was called the manifesto of little monsters. You can watch it below.

the strangers
manifesto of little monster

      Going with that idea when it came to editing I wanted to keep the visuals that were in that video. Black and white with some grain. I also wanted to keep a since of eeriness that the film the strangers had. I didn't want to use her natural hair. I wanted it to have a little bit of fantasy. So we used a 60in blonde wig. I thought visually it would be better to wrap the sequin strands around the hair rather then under. 

     The positioning of the candles was a bit tricky. I didn't want them to be so perfect and set up, but I also did not want them to be scattered around randomly. I have to position them to light the shot too. I used no other lighting then the candles.

     I have to say I have some of the best friends in the world. I don't know many people that have friends that would willingly allow them to wrap their face in sequin strands and light candles all around them and have them sit their for 15 min barely able to breath and sweating like crazy. But I can say I have friends like that. And I love them. She sat there like a pro. lol 


     I'm leaving for vacation in less than 4 hours and I haven't packed yet a single item. All day I went school shopping since I am getting back the day before school starts and I shot these pictures at 10pm. But I wanted to get the shoot done and have a blog post for you all to read before I go. Hope you enjoy it. 

xx austin 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

denim, leather, and heels

     These past few days I have been really into fashion editorial pictures. I've been looking at tons of fashion ads to see their pictures. One stood out the most to me, Guess. I came across their ad in vogue magazine and when I was in their store yesterday I saw life size pictures covering the wall.

    I got so inspired. I love high contrasted black & white editorial shots. I spent the last few days at Emma's house and we really wanted to do a photo shoot. I wasn't positive on which direction to go in. But I did know I wanted to shoot some polaroids before. The first thought was makeup. I always loved the big cat eye Amy Winehouse always wears, so I wanted to start with that.

     As soon as we had the makeup on Emma the Guess photoshoots came in mind. Now we had our idea to work off of. I wanted lots of denim, leather, and heels. Thinking of the vintage 50's kind of look made me want to incorporate Rosie the Riveter.

     First thing we did was Emma's makeup. We shot a few polaroids then we went out to our location. This was the first time we brought change of clothes and shoes and a bunch of different things. I have to say, it was one of the most fun shoots we did together. We didn't really plan too much or force anything. Most of the shots were natural when Emma was fixing her hair or looking at someone jogging, and I think that helped the photographs.

     We had so much fun shooting and I wanted to share a little 'behind the scenes' blog on the day. I'll be uploading more in the next few days to my flickr.

xx austin

Sunday, July 24, 2011


    I often get asked why I shoot with film, after all I own a nice expensive camera. Why bother? It's hard to explain to someone who has never experimented with film why I love it so much. Or maybe someone who has used film. Maybe it's personal.  What I can say is that there is something magical about film. Whether you shooting photoshoots, your crazy friends, or just a simple scenery at a family vacation. Once you shoot your roll of film you go get it developed and you can hold them in you hands. Unlike digital these pictures won't get lost in cyberspace. 

     There is something very personal with film. If you allow it to be. They can be locked away in your drawer or tucked neatly into an album. There is nothing secret or bad you're trying to hide. But they are almost like memories. I'm sure some of you think digital can be memories also, and you're right. But, film is different. 

     For me I shoot film during the summer, when I'm most happy. I don't have to worry about school or drama or anything. I don't have test to study for or projects to get done. I can relax and be a kid. And I think that carefree happiness translates through my work. When I get much older I will have these pictures to look back on and take me back in time to these summers. I see them as mini time transporters. 

     Film also carries a simplicity to its pictures. First off I do not have to worry about retaking, because you can not see the pictures you took until they get developed. Second you do not have to worry about editing and getting everything perfect. Most times you will see photographers say "SOOC" which stands for straight out of camera. With film everything is "sooc". They are just raw shots. and there is something special about that.

     I have to be careful when I get my rolls developed because they will usually throw away the shoots that aren't usually accepted. Like the two above. If I hadn't said anything they would have been discarded. I find the both of them to be beautiful. I love light leaks because they are random and you don't know which pictures it will happen to, if any at all. 

     My last trip to Hawaii I only shot with film. For the very reasons I've been talking about. I did not want to deal with my 365 or trying to adjust my settings to match the bright sun light on the beach. I didn't want to worry about trying to get my brothers to be models and rigging up some make shift photoshoot to fill a spot. I honestly just wanted to say screw the canon. It's heavy. I didn't want it around my neck, or weighing down my bag. I wanted to wake up and go swimming, build sand castles, and look for shells. And most of all enjoy myself. So that's what I did.


     I haven't decided whether I'm going to shoot film once the school year starts or not. I probably will because I have got much more into it this summer than last. If you enjoy photography or even if you have never tried it I would suggest you go and get a simple film camera and give it a shot

xx austin

Saturday, July 23, 2011

inspiration behind the scans

     So if you follow me on flickr you would have seen my newest pictures. If you were wondering how they were done I did them with a scanner. I have been out of inspiration lately and wanted to do something without my camera. Being a photographer that isn't easy to do. I've used a scanner in the past but there is only so many things you can do, so I thought. The first thought was to use my rosarys and crucifixes. I always wear a rosary, nice little fashion statement ;) 

     At first I was going to create this artistic religious statement with these crosses by arranging them to make this concept. But I thought the whole framing was missing one main focal point. It was too busy for the eye. So I thought to incorporate my hand. But just a random hand in the frame doesn't do any good. Then I thought of a movie I watched with my friend called stigmata. Then all the pieces came together so I wiped out some paint and made it happen.

     I was very happy with how the whole effect came out, but I wanted to push it more. I wasn't finished with the scanner. So I went around my room looking at my things trying to find something to use. It became difficult because you can't just throw anything on a scanner and scan it and be happy with the results. 
     I wanted something both conceptual and visually pleasing. So I noticed these flowers on my desk. I cut them from my garden and had them in water. The other day I examined them and noticed that they grew roots. So when I saw them again I thought it would be a really cool concept to scan the roots. I had the visual down but conceptually a bunch of roots doesn't do it for me. So I thought about plants in the ground. Which made me think of death, being buried. So I decided to play off of that idea. I was very excited to see how it turned out.

     I wasn't finished with the scanner just yet. I wanted to create one more piece while I had all my creativity running. I did a piece a few weeks ago with hair from a my little pony. You can see that one here. So I began thinking of other media. I already had used hair and now plant roots. I have these feathers over my desk that I got from Hawaii. I liked the idea of feathers but I didn't know how to use them and if they would conceptually make since. 

   But there was one feather that I knew I could use. It was a peacock feather I brought home from the island that I wanted to use in a picture. I have a peacock eel in my fish tank. It just so happens I was watching him swim around the other day just examining his pattern and markings. And They are called peacock eels because of there tails. They have the same markings as the birds feather. I thought how they use them, as do peacocks, to distract an enemy because the feathers have these eye shapes. Then the concept came to me. I wanted to play with the idea of the feather being used as an eye. But instead of the feather making you think it was a living thing, use the feather to disguise a living thing something dead.


     So that was a little explanation behind some of my pictures. I always enjoy reading how other artist come up with ideas and the process of how they got to them. So I thought I'd share a few with you. Maybe one of you will enjoy it :)



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Introduction of sorts

This will be my new blog. I've had some in the past but haven't stuck to them and really updated them that much.
My name's austin. i like taking pictures. i pretty much think that lady gaga is god. and fashion is cool too.

check me out

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