Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer | Project Ten: Same
I’ve had this idea ruminating in my head for months. 12 months, apparently, as I just looked back at the post that was the inspiration for this shoot. Literally a year ago, Red Rubber Studio put out this Project Ten series for their ‘Alone’ theme. I was hooked. Very modern-day-Where’s-Waldo.
So when the theme came around this time for ‘Same’, I wanted to do something similar. Originally, my idea was to set up a tripod and photograph myself. I have this crazy hair that can become anything you want it do and figured it’d be really easy to create other versions of my self simply by altering my hair. Of course, self-portraiture is never easy, and I have an amazing husband/best friend who understands this and volunteered to be my guinea pig… down to the point of growing and shaving a beard. That’s dedication.
So I photographed these images fairly late in the game due to the beard-growing… and maybe a little bit of non-voluntary-procrastination. I had limited light, a shortage of ideas, and a lot of curse-words for Photoshop during editing. Although not at all where I started, here’s where I ended up.
Where I started, though, was this genius idea of multiple ‘YOU’s’. You can’t deny that there are multiple versions of yourself. We all have them. I’m not talking about multiple personalities on a psychological scale, just … different you’s. The happy you, the sad you, the determined you, the lazy you, the you that goes to the gym, the you that goes out on Friday night… mentally we have the ability to prepare ourselves for ANYTHING… and vice versa, we have the ability to let ourselves get wrapped up in and sucked into almost anything, too.
There’s a positive and negative side to this, but we all have it.
My thought was to combine two of those ‘people’ into one image. You… hanging out with…. you. Sort of like those mind games that show you two pictures that LOOK the same on the surface, but then after close comparison, and circling all the things that are different, you realize they aren’t the same after all… but they sort of are…
In my head it was beautiful. Executing it, on the other hand, has been a nightmare. So here’s a breakdown from the artist side of what I learned doing this project:
- Don’t change too many variables. In order for things to feel ‘the same’ while still seeming different, you have to keep something. For those of you who don’t know the subject of the images, the loss of the beard, change of clothes, and addition of the hat make him seem like a totally different person. If you didn’t know him, you may not even get the idea that this is still the same person. If I were to do this again, I would have probably kept the beard and changed the clothing… only because this is my husband and I dig the beard. 😉
- Lighting, angles, and depth of field are your worst enemy. Ok, I’m exaggerating because I’m still ‘in the moment’ and they are. I had the good sense to THINK about using a tripod, marking the spots where I set it, etc., etc., but when it came down to it, I didn’t do this. I’m not entirely sure it would have helped. I had to photograph multiple locations, then go back to each one and shoot again. It was impossible to get the SAME.EXACT.VIEWPOINT. for each image, so there were automatically some discrepancies. Even if I’d used the tripod, the angle at which I would have shot (height, tilt, etc.) would have been impossible to recreate. I would have had to have worked one image at a time… thus making the beard loss impossible and the clothing change my only option. Of course, the lighting (even though overcast while shooting) changes from minute to minute, so none of my lighting was consistent, even mirroring my settings. And something I didn’t consider at all was that the focus would be different from image to image the way I was shooting. I should have set up a high aperture and focused on a specific spot keeping the same focal plane from image to image. You probably can’t tell there are issues with the depth of field because these images are sized small and I blended the images together to sort of ‘mask’ this error, but zoomed in and photoshopping these together I hated how carelessI had been.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. Seriously. Isn’t the point of this project to push your creativity – to bring us all back to our roots of photography? Well, mine lay in years of experimentation. I’ve had a camera since I was a kid, but I also studied photography in college. I spent four years in a darkroom because I feared I’d never have access to one again. My fingers are crossed for one, still, someday. Maybe in the garage? Hint, hint. 😉 I missed out on a lot of photoshop lessons. Sure, I attended some of them – the ones that were required – but the way our classes ran was that you picked your medium (film or digital) and you spent your time accordingly. So after the required Photoshop lectures and assignments were over, I spent my time in the darkroom. I am 90% self-taught when it comes to Photoshop. This sort of editing is time-consuming… it takes a level of patience I don’t have and requires attention to (but NOT obsession of) detail. These images are FAR from perfect… especially to me… but I love the way they turned out. And I don’t plan on changing anything about them. The point is – you take a vision and you do your best to turn it into a reality and how it turns out IS perfect… to you. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
So while I realize there aren’t ten images to view, there actually are ten images. I’ve used ten different images, or combinations of images, to create five illustrations that show the progression from my original idea (the middle three images) to an end goal of plays with symmetry (the first and final image). All illustrations of the same and each on their own trick of the eye/mind. And each one perfectly imperfect in their own visualization of ‘same’.
Check out Stephanie’s take on the theme this month and stay tuned for some upcoming changes to the project next month!
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Lifestyle Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.