Sunday, November 14, 2010

Creative Process - Photographing your work

Uncropped Cactus Blossom Panels
Back today to the visual creative journey. Poetry has just seemed easier of late. I was emotionally devastated by the loss of three years of digital files on my desktop computer and since I make a living with my painting, as opposed to my poetry, I have been most concerned about recovering my digital portfolio. The good news is I have put a lot of it on CD's for entry to shows or promotion of my art to galleries. And I also backed up a lot on FlickR. But some of the newer work had not gone through that process yet so I have been rephotographing it while taking pictures of my newer work

I have a new digital Nikon D90 that has twice the mega pixels as my D70 did and so it has allowed some creative ways to photograph smaller works. Above is four of my 8 x 8 inch cactus blossom panels. They have been a pain to photograph in the past as the easel swallows them and tripod configurations make it hard to square everything up. I photographed these four on the floor with my tripod mounted camera pointed down. Then in photoshop I cropped them to the four and saved and then cropped each individually.

Cholla Cactus Blossom
I like the diamond shape for smaller works and even use it on my 13 x 13 mission paintings. They have in the past been very good sellers. Placing them on the ground and photographing them seemed like a good approach too. I had four of them to rephotograph for my digital archives.
Mission at Moonrise

Mission at Sunrise


Placing them on the floor allowed me to avoid the glancing light through my studio windows as well as squaring up the camera with the painting. The floor method is, however, not going to work with the larger works I do because the tripod legs get in the way. But I am going to haunt some photography sites to see if there is a different tripod or a clip to go to the bottom center of my current tripod that will allow more of this technique.

Even if you are not a professional painter yet I think it is important to record your creative progress. I even print mine out and put them in a hard copy portfolio so I can thumb back through to remember previous successes or failures. I try to carry the successes forward and drop the failures but even in the failed paintings there can be a technique, subject or color I want to work with further.

Record your path. And back it up multiple ways. Don't depend upon only one backup system!

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