Saturday, 12 February 2011

Making ART

Making ART, originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
Started a 52 week project based on the book Soulpancake. More info here for a fun group if you want to tag along.

The wk 2 challenge: Art at Arms length - "Make some art out of whatever you find around you."

OK, so I took this literally and "made" ART

Letter A
- Through the Lens - National Geographic's Greatest Photographs
- Exposure - Jane Bown
- Firewire Cable

Letter R
- The Art Book - Phaidon
- Moleskine Notebook
- Dexter - DVD boxed set Series 4
- The Cathedral & the Bazaar - Eric S Raymond

Letter T
- Masterclass in Photography - Michael & Julian Busselle
- Visionmongers - Dechemin
- Balancing Agility & Discipline (A guide for the perplexed) - Boehm & Turner

Monday, 7 February 2011

Guitar Licks & Serendipity

Did a shoot this afternoon with a good friend..... John Parkin. I have know him for years since we were work colleagues 10+ years ago. Now he is my son's guitar teacher. He agreed to help me out with a photo training assignment....
Guitar Licks & Serendipity, originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....

Project 52 - Assignment 4:
"A local entrepreneur has just been nominated by a national conference as the number one leader in his/her industry… a new and upcoming industry. The magazine needs an image that shows the person in either an environment that shows their working area, or how his/her business/industry effects _____ (environment, people, energy, people or technology). Note although the assignment allows for a faux description - this is actually full reality."

This is John Parkin.... a guitar teacher extraordinaire. He is able to connect with pupils and teach them how to play the music THEY want as well as teach them all the building blocks required to be a competent and eventually great guitarist.

He does this by taking the (pupil selected) music track and de-constructing it into all its basic parts and then explaining them all individually, plus demonstrating them. Each of these components is then taught, supplemented by the appropriate scales, arpeggios, exercises etc to build sufficient skill to play that component part well. These are then reconstructed by the pupil and John playing various parts between them.

He teaches my older son & I have sat in the background listening to music tracks that I have heard many times before and hearing them with a completely new perspective, and heard my son's progression to playing the piece correctly.

The scales, arpeggios & exercises all build general competence, plus the student remains motivated because they are playing music that appeals to them. Occasionally John adds additional pieces to broaden the students learning & appreciation.

This deconstruction & reconstruction is an extra skill that is learned throughout this process..... Although my son not currently in a band, when he has, he has been the person using these same skills to work out who should play what and how the music needs to be adapted so that it is within the playing capability of the various players.

So where does the innovation come in.... John is currently in the process of constructing a set of interactive DVDs that someone can follow to gain the same skills and building blocks for their guitar playing.

This was a fun shoot..... I entered it at the last minute as I was struggling to find a suitable entrepreneur. Thank goodness I remembered John & that he was flexible enough to immediately participate.

Spent a couple of hours with him doing various setups of him, 8 of his 16 guitars (some of which are collectors pieces), and the various equipment & speaker stacks.

Had a list of about 4 or 5 different poses that I walked in with, but wasn't sure what would actually be possible with the room constraints. Lighting worked out on the fly for each different setup.

For this particular shot I wanted a visual joke based on the dual meaning of "Guitar Lick"

Strobe illuminating the blank wall behind him making him pretty much a silhouette. The reflection of the wall in his glasses giving his face an extra dimension was serendipity rather than planned.

Project 52-4: Photographing an Entrepreneur (face), originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
For this particular shot I wanted his face almost full frame with the guitar neck only as context.
Decided to keep the lighting simple with alot of darkness and shadow. Hence only 1 Bowens strobe with a 60deg reflector from beside his face

Project 52-4: Photographing an Entrepreneur (wide), originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
For this particular shot I wanted him (full body), his guitar and the equipment stacks.
Decided to keep the lighting simple with alot of darkness and shadow. Still only 1 Bowens strobe with a 60deg reflector but with barn doors to restrict the light to just him & part of the stack.

These are the assignment particulars:
Vertical Image
8.5×11 ratio.
Templte provided with text to be overlaid 

You must deliver:
2 photographs, the entrepreneur’s business description (faux, of course) and a paragraph that explains what the entrepreneur has done within their industry. They will both be vertical. One close up in environment, and one in a more expansive shot with more environment. We also would like to see your shoot planning docs, any sketches you are working with or have done for this image, and a lighting explanation.
See below for my images with the text template.....
Final versions, originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....

Jim Shields Photography

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The marks we leave.....

The marks we leave....., originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
The words in the fingerprint are the lines from Rudyard Kipling's poem "If". This poem is one the marks my father left on me.... He used to quote it every now & again, and when you read the words they are actually a pretty good set of values to live by. (Words included at the bottom for those that don't know this poem already.)

Folk who used to know my father and who know me always remark how similar we are... appearance, attitudes mannerisms etc. All in all, pretty happy with that - he was a good man.

Makes me wonder what sort of marks I am leaving on my boys.... at 18 & 20 already, most of the shaping from me is probably already done & dusted. They are both boys to be proud of, so I can't have screwed them up too much.

Project Soulpancake wk 1 - Examine your fingerprints.

P.S. Given that wk 16 task is "learn a poem" I may finally learn the damn thing. Always wanted to be able to quote it....
P.P.S. It's an old photo of Sebe & me from over a year ago to which I added the "fingerprint" today
P.P.P.S. People remark Sebe looks like me too. Nathaniel is lucky enough to take after Natalee appearance wise


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on’;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling
Jim Shields Photography