An Artist Collaboration

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!.

The artist fine-tuning with a charcoal stick

The artist fine-tuning with a charcoal stick

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Taking on the tasks

As I start to ramp up my schedule in arranging shoots, networking, contacting models and even landing a pair of credentials for New York Fashion Week, the need for planning is key in executing the game plan while building a process for the behind-the-scenes aspect of photography. As you would learn, the hardest part of getting yourself off the ground isn't the time spent behind the camera. It's when you're acting as your own business manager, secretary and communications coordinator. It goes far beyond camera bodies, lenses and memory cards!

The first step in filling the calendar with shoots and meetups, as well as other photography-related events, takes just that- a proper desk pad calendar. Sure, the calendar app on your phone, Google or other online calendars are essential as you're constantly on the go and need to sync your master schedule. But at the end of the day, it pays to go analog and pick up a desktop calendar to help flesh out your appointments. And don't forget to include your personal obligations, or you'll need to bump, move or worse cancel important engagements. The visual aid (photography, remember?), as well as the repetitive nature of physically jotting down your shoots and meetings feel a little more tangible and gratifying than solely keeping everything in cyberspace or on a phone dependent on a charge. This *major* addition to my arsenal ran me less than an iPhone Lightning Cable!

Now... onto what's on tap! The main highlights take place mid-month, as we're looking at a pair of events that will be a first for me, during New York Fashion Week. The first show, ASC Fashion Week takes place February 10th. The following Friday, I've been granted all-access to the New York Fashion Gala for Exalt Fashion on February 16th.

That said, there's a few model shoots thrown in for good measure- so be sure to check back here, Facebook and Instagram as always. And for some street photography, you can also see my personal IG project page as that is a passion of mine.

Get organized!

Get organized!