The reason we get so much from studying Shakespeare is because he put so much of his world into his plays in a loving way. Shakespeare’s body of work is one of the most complete and well-rounded in all literary history. He wrote Tragedy, Comedy, History and whatever you want to call the plays that don’t fit into these generic categories. Shakespeare created works of art with joyful and powerful language that open wildly entertaining dialogues about life, love, and art.
You can read Shakespeare in so many ways because there is so much in them and to them. The plays are so compelling because of the subject matter but also the style and especially the language. Shakespeare’s dialogue powerfully transforms even the darkest human tendencies into a performance worthy of witnessing. He makes art out of commonplace everyday events and shows the same care when writing sublime or terrifying moments when powerful people do horrible things. The attention to language renders each moment in the plays equally interesting.
Like great painting or photography, the subject matter is less important than the handling of the form. Edward Weston could photograph a bell pepper or his muse with equal intimacy and sensuality. This quality of affirmation, of loving the process of creation, is a kind of creative play that sometimes translates into work that is forever interesting. Shakespeare’s plays are great because of how much he includes with equal amor.
Shakespeare’s plays are stories rendered with a painter’s care for detail, tone and style about the human condition. Using language like some multidimensional paint, he creates a world that reflects a passion for the art form of theater. The love of language and of making plays elevates the subject matter and renders it all equally interesting. The tragic and comic outcomes, the virtuous and villainous characters, the countryside and the courtly settings: these dualities become unified through the force field of loving attention.
Working with color and composition in food and product photography.
Do you need to photograph some food or products for your marketing purposes? There are some tried and true methods I use to get mouthwatering images easy on the eyes, but I also like to research methods and to keep learning new things, so I stay inspired and varied in my creative output.
One YouTuber who I really like for tips and tricks related to food photography is The Bite Shot. Joanie Simon approaches food photography as an artist and has wonderful ideas that produce great results. I watched her video “Using Color Theory in Food Photography.” In this video, she talks about Josef Albers, of the BAUHAUS movement, and refers so some ideas in his book “The Interaction of Color.”
I had some bags of Big Pete’s Treats Lemon Cookies to photograph with some cut up lemons, so I decided to do some shots using a purple paper to give the image some design elements. It’s a very basic idea that complementary colors are pleasing to the eye, but Albers via Simon helps us to understand why this technique works. When you overlay two colors the color of the ground is subtracted from the color on top, causing the color to move in that direction in the way it looks. If I had used a green paper or orange paper it would have affected the appearance of the yellow. Since there is no purple in yellow, the yellow retains its hue even on top of a colorful ground.
The thing about color is that it is an endless way to experiment with your photography. Being intentional with color helps to understand how it works.
Try to create a photograph with two colors only. How did you balance the colors? What was the mood you were going for? Try different color combinations and see how it changes the way we read color.
You always heard older people talking about how fast time moves, but it wasn’t until you actually had experienced enough years to feel it for yourself that this mysterious element of time began to take shape: acceleration. My dad used to share an explanation for it. He thought that you always feel the same age internally and can remember what it was like to be younger, so the more time passes the faster it seems to go. It’s mostly an effect of the conflict between knowing that a lot of time has passed and feeling that it was just yesterday. He has a rare capacity for memory, though. He can remember slight plot details and character points from novels he read twenty years ago. When I stop to remember things that vividly stand out in my memory, like the earthquake of 1989, it doesn’t feel like yesterday, at all. For me, it feels like a different lifetime.
Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.
Portraits are an engine of artistic production. In the past, only the powerful were able to afford having an artist make a portrait of them. Today, with cell phones and selfie sticks, there’s a lava flow of portraiture erupting with volcanic intensity. More people have been both photographer and subject than ever before. Portraiture is a force.
Social media is driven by portraits. A big percentage of the photos that are made every day are of people. From the covers of magazines to the profiles of social media platforms, good photos of people are more in demand than ever before.
We want to help you to look great. We want to show your friends how confident, happy, and interesting you are, these days. We want to show your clients or employers how on top of the game you are. We want to show your love how attractive you are. We want to show the world your beauty, shining from the inside.
Portraiture is a great way to affirm the good in others. We want to bring out the best in you.
I invented a dance. It started with my assistant. Last year, I grew busy enough to require help. I was lucky enough to have a colleague at Sleepless Media, Jennifer Gallagher, introduce me to her daughter. Now, Jackie helps me run my day-to-day operations: editing photos, assisting on shoots, and providing administrative support. Together, we update various social media accounts with fresh and original content that we create.
One of my favorite things about doing social media was enhanced when I hired an assistant: it’s a lot of fun. Like all creative work, it is also competitive and difficult. Some people may not take social media seriously, but if you want a business to pay you to provide them with social media marketing, then being as professional as possible is key.
Part of that means keeping a vital connection to the material. It means renewing and retaining a spirit of joy in the work. When we represent a business, we make the case that they are the best choice in their category. In order to express this claim clearly, we need to have creative flow happening in our work. As an artist/writer/thinker/maker/seller, I have a lot of experience being able to consistently find inspiration and that is partly because of the techniques I’ve developed over time to stay fresh, tuned up, and ready to be creative.
Social Media Marketing requires a lot of work, including: photography, editing, research, and writing. A good deal of this activity happens in the studio in a typical office space environment. Lots of sitting at a computer doesn’t necessarily lead to creative flow or great ideas. When I was working on my own, I would use skateboarding to keep me feeling creatively awake, but this El Niño season has kept the roads pretty wet, so I wasn’t able to get enough time in to satisfy my desire for balance. This plus having an assistant who is now also spending a lot of time at a computer and the ever-present need to come up with new marketing strategies led me to invent a dance.
The dance is based on a physical therapy exercise: the lunge. It is a walking lunge in four parts that goes to a four count rhythm. I named it the Time Slap in honor of my friend Shawn Barney Barron, who passed away last May. He called time lapse photography time slap and so the dance is a way to honor, remember, and to heal. Barney was a great break-dancer. He was also a great marketer.
The dance, as well as being a daily practice that increases creativity, is a marketing technique. We are recording ourselves doing the dance in various places in public with the goal of reaching the Ellen show to perform our dance and to talk about our marketing ideas. Artists who have some facility with multimedia are well equipped to provide social media marketing for small businesses. Social media are channels you can use effectively to reach relevant audiences.
Yesterday (Monday morning) the day after Valentine’s Day, I woke up at 4:45am as has become my habit. Lemon water drank, coffee brewed, I sat down at the laptop and woke it up with a gesture. Immediately, in my Facebook Timeline, I saw a video that drew my attention. It was a clip from an episode of the television show Nature. This one was following a group of Innuit hunters through the process of building an igloo and going beneath the sea ice during the low portion of a King Tide to hunt for mussels. Watching these people attune themselves to the rhythm of natural cycles in a life and death dance with time inspired me. That’s the kind of thing I like to view: different ways of being that leads to imagining the lives of others.
Then, wanting something to listen to while I edited photos, I went to Timothy Ferris’ podcast and clicked on his interview with Seth Godin. Timothy Ferris is a self-help guru who is interesting and worth the listen. I always learn cool new things from his podcasts, so they are a go-to edifying source of background noise when I’m working. It’s definitely more than just entertainment, as he is constantly asking questions geared to find actionable takeaways in an effort to always provide value to his followers. Ferris does it right. He’s interested and so he’s interesting.
He had high praise for Seth Godin and I was ready to like him too, but upon listening I grew more compelled by the minute. Funny and self aware, Godin is a fount of wisdom and useful advice. He’s the kind of guy you’d be lucky to have as a friend. Non-threatening, but entirely badass, he’s a ninja of thoughtfulness. Out of all of the cool things they discussed in this podcast, however, the one that stuck out the most was about parenting. Godin, in answering Ferris’ question about what advice he might have for parents, said: “Busy is a trap. Busy is a myth. If you spend two hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them, and solving interesting problems, then you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that.” Such a simple idea, but profoundly true.
How we spend our time is the most important decision we make on a daily basis. Carving out two hours a day to spend with your kid solving interesting problems is the most important investment you could possibly make as a parent. The intricacies and nuances of parenting are so varied and important, but spending time is the foundation.