Lots of stuff to cover today, friends of the Art Box!
I set up an Instagram account to link with this blog, which I PROMISE is going to go live on here at some point. I was going to do it on the CANDY post, but after I typed everything out and set my phone down, I totally forgot to do it. That’s why I can’t post from my phone, too many distractions. Since I am on my computer today, hopefully I remember this time…
FIRST THING IS FIRST. We got some more snow over the weekend, so honestly, week 7’s capture almost didn’t happen, as I am finding out that my car doesn’t perform very well in snow. Go figure, right? Someday I will be one of those people that can look at someone complaining about their car’s performance in snow and be able to say “really? My _______ car is INCREDIBLE in the snow!” Alas, not this time, and not for the next 6 years (at least) while I pay off the loan. Really, though, I love my car, so it’s worth the troubles.
Speaking of driving, this badge is a hat pin, and served as my great grandfather’s PA driver’s license in 1918. Pretty cool, huh? My dad showed me this while we were visiting before we started shooting. He also gave me two mystery rolls of film that I need to process and a book that I wrote when I was 11. I am pretty stoked to read it, actually.
CAN’T SEE THE FOREST 2016 Melissa S Jeffrey
Saturday afternoon had this awful but beautiful misty haze about the city, which was awesome, and fed my obsession with shooting branch patterns back lit by the sun. Yes, it is a thing that I am obsessed with. Could be worse, right? Blow, heroin, porn… lots of things could be worse.
ENTHUSIAST 2016 Melissa S Jeffrey
So, the challenge for week 7, I took some issues with. I can’t remember the exact verbiage of the challenge, but it went something on the lines of “Depict someone’s story without showing their face.” My problem is that, shit, that’s one hell of a disservice to anyone by implying that their “story” can be summed up in one photo. I mean, even someone with the simplest life has more aspects of their “story” than can ever be combined in one photo… I feel like the author of the challenge should re-word that particular theme. Or, I am being difficult again. Probably the latter.
I shot my pops brushing the snow off of his camper. Camping is one of many stories that make up my dad’s existence, and it is not without it’s own struggles, especially being Cleveland. It must be nice for those folks in warmer climates that can set up their camper and never have to worry about snow melting and leaking in. Ah, CLE. You’d think we would all just leave, but we don’t.
This wasn’t shot to satisfy the challenge, as I already had plans for that photo, I shot these because “eh, why not?” Then I got really cold and I retreated into the house where I stalked the cat and talked to my step mom. He was dressed for that kind of activity, I wasn’t. Still, it was fun and I figured I would share. Thank glob for Photoshop, too, because between the blowing snow and that hazy fog there was very little detail in any of the pics of him outside. #PhotoshopToTheRescue
ALKALINE TRIO 2007 Melissa S Jeffrey
As I was coming up with the ideas that I wanted to use to satisfy this theme, I started thinking about all the times I have already shot this concept (somewhat). Back when all I wanted to do was shoot concerts, I always got the most satisfaction out of shooting the instruments versus the classic concert photos you’d see in a magazine. I really can’t count how many instruments I have shot, never realizing at the time that I was doing it. Anyway, I shot this photo at the Vans Warped Tour in Chicago back in 2007 for Nikon (not my normal brand of choice, as I am a Canon shooter, but Nikon sent me there, so I had to use their equipment, I was impressed #TeamCanonANDNikon).
ART 2011 Melissa S Jeffrey
My grandfather lives in an assisted living center with my grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease. She is basically non-verbal and can no longer care for herself, can’t feed herself, use the facilities, etc., but he is still cognizant and can still get around on his own for the most part, so he spends (or, spent, as he doesn’t do it as much these days) his time painting. This is the perfect example of why I take issue with the theme of the week, here is a photo of my grandrather painting, but what I can’t show you is that part of his story where he lives in a nursing home with his wife of almost 60 years who doesn’t recognize anyone but him. This doesn’t show how he fixes her hair for her, or how he sits with her while he watches television, clutching her hand. I could show you plenty of those photos, but they won’t show you that he has an artistic soul. They wouldn’t show you that he inspires me every day in image making and in printing. There are too many stories to be shown in just one shot.
That being said, I decided on one particular theme in my shots of my dad. My dad has been a heavy truck mechanic his entire adult life, and that is only part of his story. My dad is a badass. I wanted to show these shots in the “gritty” portraiture style so common on Pinterest and Instagram these days, and for the life of me, I looked and could not find the name of the guy who started the trend, or popularized it anyway. I cut an article out of a magazine years ago that talked about this “new” style of portraiture and had the guy’s name right in the name of the style, and I cannot find it. My apologies for my lack of research, just know that I spent more time searching for that person’s name than I spent writing this entire post. (LOL)
I did, however, manage to find the names of two folks who are practicing the style in their own work and blowing people’s minds with their images. Mehdi Bouqua and Lee Jeffries are two of the top names that come up in a Google search, and I promise you, they do not disappoint. Bouqua uses very high contrast, a look that I am very fond of, but I don’t feel my captures are strong enough to pull off, and Lee Jeffries uses that “gritty” street style that I also LOVE LOVE LOVE but don’t feel I have the chops to pull off (yet). Anyway, I shot a couple shots of pops while he was in his natural settings, cranked up the film grain and shot long exposures. Plenty of Photoshop was applied to get that “gritty” feel to the photos, and I am super pleased with how they turned out, even if they don’t tell my dad’s story, per se.
SMOKE 2016 Melissa S Jeffrey
DADDY’S HANDS 2016 Melissa S Jeffrey
So, while I do not believe that anyone’s “story” can be summed up in one photo, I believe I captured what I set out to capture. My dad is a badass. I am sure I have some sentimental bias going on, but hey, my photos, my blog. Hahahaha!!
Week 7 captures done by Monday morning. I love it when I am ahead of schedule! Please don’t think that this means I won’t try to capture more fitting in this theme… I had A LOT of ideas for this one, but I don’t know if I will have time to shoot them all. To hell with that, yeah? Time to fight the mediocrity of daily life and start living for art, right??? Too bad Mastercard won’t see it that way.
UNTIL NEXT, FRIENDS AND FIENDS, MAKE LOVE AND IMAGES