What's your Spirit Animal ? Creative process
This article is my creative process, starting from inspiration to final shots. (Final shots with before afters will be in a separate article!)
I gather all I can from a theme that I want to explore for a shoot. Books, quotes, art, movies, music etc.
Pax - Sara pennypacker
The Little Prince
"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.
"Please--tame me!" he said.
"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."
"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."
The next day the little prince came back.
"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . ."
"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.
"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields."
Fantastic Mr. Fox
I write a tale, if I have a creative block I just fill the blanks:
Once upon a time there was_____. Everyday, ______. Until one day_____. Because of that _____. Because of that _______. Until finally ________.
Then I draw very clumsy sketches. I also make decisions about tones, lights, structure, etc.
I figure out everything I need and I look for the right model.
In this case, the model's name is.. Fox. I met her at my local liquor store a few days after I sketched the shoot.
I take the photos. For this photoshoot, I wanted a green backdrop. So I lifted my mattress up and made a home-made photostudio, a bit ridiculous, but it is more than enough for what I had in mind.
This step might seem kind of useless, but I re-sketch everything "better", and very fast, so I have a strong idea of the final composite. (And if I need stock images that aren't mine, this is meant to try images out until I purchase the ones I'm actually going to use)
The background I used on both images was made from scratch, using different brushes. (clouds etc.)
The second image of the model, won't be used for the final shots.
If I were to die in a week, what would I be doing?
Very close to a year ago, I was sitting at my regular bar, and a guy asked me "What would you be doing right now if you had only a week left to live?". Of course I answered "I would get the f*ck out of here, make art and contact my family."
That question really put things under perspective and really stroke me, yet, guess what I did? Nothing. I kept on going to the same bar almost every single day, completing all my homework at the last minute and avoided talking to my family. It would be pretty natural for me to say that it was one bad year for me, and it was all my fault. I wasn't very generous, my actions were all selfish and I assumed a lot of things were other people's fault.
Grief is a complex process, it started two years ago with the death of my father, and it sneaked up on my subconscious and showed its symptoms in unexpected and hidden ways. But it is also one thing I seemed to enjoy blaming.
Thankfully, over the course of the year, I wasn't entirely useless and I have created photographs, paintings, drawings, diary entries that I am proud of.
I will give you all that comes to mind when I think of "2016".
I started the year exploring watercolors, during Spring I spent 6 hours a day in a darkroom, went through the Summer on 90%stock photography and photoshop, and finished the year with work I absolutely loved doing. A huge mix of all the mediums I experimented with, and funnily enough, I came back to the way I shot when I started to realize photography was my calling, 8 years ago!
Last movies of 2016.
Eyes of my Mother
Most disturbing thing I have ever seen. Visually a masterpiece, everything about it was just the way it was supposed to be, but, I do not recommend it to anybody! Spent the last 30 min crying with my eyes closed.
Visually attractive to my eyes (If you look at the tones of my images, you will get why). I was surprised by how endeared I ended up feeling.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I seriously loved it more than Harry Potter! I've been so obsessed with creatures and monsters, that this movie was exactly what I needed in order to keep the "monster flow" going.
Here are my last books read in 2016. Books you all know.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
A classic, and the second to the last one of the year. Just the fiction I needed after a year of learning how to stop being so damn proud and stubborn.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass - Carol Lewis
Last book of the year. It's such a shit show, it's too crazy! I like The Little Prince so much for its simplicity, and the space it gives you for you to say "I will pause and think now". When do you get to do that in Wonderland?! Oh well, after reading it, I did enjoy Tim Walker's book "Storyteller" many degrees more, since I was already living in Wonderland at that point.
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - J.R.R Tolkien
Of course. I'm all about fantasy and imagined worlds. This one needs to be visited and revisited as many times as possible.
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist - Walter Kauffman
A present from my Godfather. Getting into that would take at least an entire other article, and the appropriate mood or "flow".
Chromeo's Old 45's! That song followed me since the first of January til the 31st of December. That shit's awesome.
Wise Blood's Alarm. Why doesn't anyone know this! Everyone that has come over to my place and heard it, also happened to fall in love with it.
I have so many other songs to share, but those two really stood out of the crowd.
If you want to get out of your way to hear what I've listened to this year, feel free to follow my Spotify here. I have a playlist for each month of the year. (No seasons in San Francisco, you gotta keep track of time one way or another!)
I think that's it for the 2016 sharing. I really wanted to share my favorite photographers, painters, etc. But if I don't limit favorites, this would go on forever. There will be separate articles for them.
I'll finish this entry with this touching, touching image. This is how I will approach 2017. And this is what I would do if I were to die in one week.
I thought I would share with you people a little piece of myself, of my work, of what inspires me, as often as possible.
If I don't have any of my work to share, any before afters, any behind the scenes, I will still share things that I see, hear, feel on a daily basis and that feed my work.
I hope all this will help you or inspire you in a way or another!
None of the following work is mine, this is just some of my today's brain food
Monster Project, Christi du Toit