One way to enjoy yourself, stretch your boundaries and grow in your journey is to take on a personal project, such as a collaboration. It can be with a fellow photographer - or in my case, an artist!
I was lucky enough to be able to photograph a local artist and educator, Melissa Maiello, busy in her studio at The Studio at Suite Pieces. It was a chance to both document an artist intently focused on her work, while observing the skill and vision being executed in their style. This was also a fantastic opportunity to see the effort and time that's spent behind the scenes as they get their idea or concept onto a canvas or paper. During her session, Melissa was working on three projects she's been spending time with in the charcoal medium. Her workflow took her from one piece to the next, so she could keep her mind fresh so as not to obsess (something to try in my own workflow for post-processing images). Melissa currently has a studio full of large-scale charcoal drawings focused on seascapes and a historical seaside fort. Her style is multi-dimensional, with attention paid to fine details and layers that create an emotional, rich depth. While photographing her in action, there were moments I had to pause in order to take mental notes on her creative technique. There are details and nuances in her scenes that are pleasant to study with a critical eye, but don't necessarily convey the intricate level of work to arrive there. It's not a surprise at all to understand her work has been featured in local galleries and recent showcases.
Now having this experience under my belt, I urge anyone looking for fresh ideas, new motivation or a change of pace to reach out and connect with someone you admire who can give you inspiration and act as a muse. Not only will it provide you with a creative shot in the arm, it can also open up new channels to those invaluable networking possibilities. Furthermore, it will give you a chance to try out new techniques or help you get to know any new gear you've picked up. For me, it was getting additional practice with a fairly new lens while also incorporating a flash and umbrella combination in a journalistic, on-the-fly situation. This will only help for location-based work where time is precious and a client's time is valuable.
One of my goals for the year was to take on a personal project. Over the last couple of months, it's taken shape as I've laid the groundwork to collaborate with a number of people in certain creative settings; the theme is capturing artists of many forms. Melissa's session was the first in a series that will be shared here as well as well on Facebook and Instagram. So stay tuned, pay attention and reach out if you have any desire to participate as well!
You can view Melissa's image gallery in the Project Gallery.