You are…

May 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

This is a dedication to Jesi-An, who thinks that she isn’t creative enough to start a blog yet can tie a bow on a perfectly wrapped present with ease.

jes is beautiful

You’re ideas are unique and your opinions matter.

We all have different ways of expressing ourselves, the hardest part is finding the medium. You will find yours.

Talk to editors like a photojournalist

May 27th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Every editor works differently, it depends on their mood as well as the wonderful assingment they task to you, the photojournalist. There are some things that Stephen Voss, Washington D.C photojournalist has learned through his time in the political capital of the States. He shared with us what you can take into account when dealing with magazine, newspaper and web editors.

Obama by Stephen Voss

  • Essentially, do the job as the editor wants it. Keep them on the loop in the job and deliver pictures on time.
  • Be professional in every thing you do, every contact you have with your editor. Don’t write emails like it’s a social event, capitalise, take pride in what you’re saying. At the same time, juggle this with working on your relationship with the editor. You want to have staying power in their mind.
  • Talk about your ideas and ask if they have anything in mind for the shoot. Make it a collaboration process so your relationship is stronger.
  • Use their cues when it comes to the level of communication. Some are happy with letting you do your own thing, other editors want to know exactly what you have in mind. Be receptive to their level of involvement.
  • As a freelance photojournalist, you’re working on a per job basis so search old emails when you get repetitive business. Having that personal touch and remembrance is a little thing that will make you stick out from the pack.
  • When creating photos, Voss shoots what he wants but edits what he gives. “Magazines that I know are a little bit more conservative, I don’t necessarily submit all the photos I take. Others are more open.”
  • Do everything when you say you’re going to do it. Never make excuses after a shoot, no matter how bad it was or how little time you had.
  • Above all, create photos that are professional, focus on lighting.

Stephen Voss freelances for the Washington Post, NPR Business Week and the Smithsonian. See his work if you like to see his style.

Voss recently did a post on three pro photohsopping skills. Have a gander.

Your experience shapes your creativity

May 25th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

© Tash Jayasinghe

Realize everything that you experience, every piece of content you consume plays a role in shaping your personality, even if at a subconscious level.

It is all influence one way or another. You are in many ways a product of your experiences and stimulus.

In one sentence, your creative output can be thought of simply as a personal interpretation of external stimulus.

Excerpt taken from wiki’s How to Be Creative.

Logan’s bangers and mash

May 22nd, 2009 § 6 comments § permalink

Logan's bangers and mash

The funny thing about our making-of; I had my wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. Come Thursday, I was all gung ho to eat some real food. I made the mashed potato but then the pain killers I took an hour ago kicked in and I was stuck on the couch while W. took over. I couldn’t even drain the potatoes. My hand-eye co-ordination was that whacked out. Those American drugs eh. The plus side, I was assured W. can still follow a recipe and I haven’t turned his brain to gobblegook.

The best thing is, this is such a week day meal. Quick and satisfying. I was a bit hesitant of adding two onions to five sausages but it was great. It caramelises down to a yum sauce.

Prep time – 10 minutes
Cook time – 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g good quality pork sausages
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 100g/4oz red grapes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (balsamic will do in a fix)
  • Pre-made mashed potato made any way you like

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in large frying pan set over a medium heat. Tip in sausages, cook for 10 mins over medium/high heat, turning every so often. Stir in onions, then leave to cook five mins more until sausages are browned and onions are softened.
  2. Add minced garlic, fennel seeds & grapes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. The grapes should start to soften. Pour over vinegar and swirl aroud pan (The fancy word for this is deglazing). Cook for a few more minutes until onions are sticky.
  3. Serve with reheated mash.

How to cut a cake, by Cake Love

May 22nd, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

There are times when I don’t care if something is blatant advertising, if it’s cool, it gets picked up. After all, great advertising can be creativity at it’s best. Think of Mastercard’s adverts. They’ve changed the whole meaning of “Priceless”.

Cake Love, a Washington D.C store had a handy little card on how to cut a cake. I thought I’d share it with you.

Cake Love

Cake Love

I had the best freaking cupcake at Cake Love. The impatient teenager behind the counter told me their one-liner about waiting ten minutes for the butter in the cake to melt. I’ll be honest, I dismissed her but waited five minutes for the bus and ate it on the ride home. It was messy, sticky and spicking awesome. It was like eating icing sugar, butter and vanilla essence, disguised as cake. If I go on any further, this would be a post on my other blog and would verge on orgasmic, so I’ll leave that train of thought here.

If you want to drool over their menu, go ahead.

Compile a book of fond memories

May 20th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

© Tash Jayasinghe

My brother last summer in Sydney. © Tash Jayasinghe

Gone are the days when I take all of these wonderful pictures while on
holiday and then forget about it. Too many memories have gotten lost in
my well-organised folder system and this is the perfect way to bring
back scrapbooking minus the huge time previously required.

  1. Buy a brand new moleskin, the bigger the better.
  2. Buy one of those gel pens. Sure the colour runs out quicker but your ideas are bolder because of it. I honestly believe that.
  3. Do something fun with your best mate, a holiday is best but a trip to the nearest park with a stop at a coffee shop will do. Document it with photos.
  4. Take turns writing your favourite memories about the trip on your way home. As soon as you get home, hit “print” on the best photos and pick them up asap. No excuses.
  5. Cut and glue pictures into your moleskin.
  6. Repeat until book is full.
  7. Put away and completely forget about your book for at least one year.
  8. Find it again and feel positive about your happy memories.

Sarah Von suggested this new kind of memory list and I love the idea. “I use lists to organize, plan and plot my take over of the world. I don’t, however, usually use them for the more snuggly, sweetly blurry parts of life. Lists seem to belong to the left side of my brain, all numbers and bullets points and logic. But there’s no reason we can’t harness the fun of list-making for more soft-focus purposes, right?”

I agree whole-heartedly Sarah, and I intend to take the advice to heart.

Oh, lensbaby

May 18th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Lensbaby Composer

The biggest argument against a lens that blurs edges for you is, couldn’t you do all of this in Photoshop? Yes, you could but I think of it this way, if you take pictures on the fly in colour but intend for them to be black and white, how often do you remember it when you’re transferring the pictures to post-processing?

I got a lensbaby composer and I love it for two reasons. Firstly, I have the macro kit, which means I can get so close to my subject I can practically touch it with my lens (ok, I’m 5cms away). For someone who has a limited lens kit, this is awesome! Have a look at some of the close-ups.

Secondly, after a day or two of taking photos with the lensbaby, you start imagining what images would look like with the “sweet spot” focus and blurred edges. It’s fun.

I recommend spending the extra $100 and getting the Composer instead of the Muse. It’s easier to handle and frees up your hands to press the shutter.

Let me know what you think of the photos. The baby is Aaryan Paul, a well-behaved kid my friend Neha gave birth to about seven weeks ago. The children are Natalie and Rebekah Van Dort, a couple of bouncy cousins in Pennsylvania.

The beauty in a simple poem (how to write one today)

May 13th, 2009 § 8 comments § permalink

cuileannMy first inclination when something beautiful or interesting happens is usually to write about it, to try to pin down what makes it linger in my head. Or sometimes a poem comes from emotions that seem too strong to just talk about.

Writing a poem for me feels sort of like solving a problem. It’s figuring out how to articulate my experience of something with the right words to make the experience real to someone else. It’s trying to find the words and phrasing that are good enough for the reality, and hoping that my experience of it adds something new to it, or bring out an aspect of it that someone else might not notice.

I need head-brewing time, but it also helps me to be able to look at all the different thoughts I’ve had about a certain line or idea, rather than have to stick with what I can remember last thinking. So I’m getting more into the habit of writing down notions for poems as they come to me.

Once some phrases or sentences have started nudging me, I just get everything out on paper. Any images or strings of words, all the different ways I could write a certain sentence, words that I’ll choose between eventually.

I try not to filter the ideas, at least not consciously.

Some poems take shape a lot more quickly in my head and when I dump them out on paper for the first time, I find they’re actually relatively polished, but some start out much more jumbled and require more conscious sorting-through.

After I’ve had some time away to let the ideas clarify themselves in my head, I can return to what I wrote. I’ll start pulling out the parts that really say what I mean and setting them into verse. Then I just fiddle around with the line breaks, word choice, the phrasing, and the structure, experimenting to find what seems most effective.

I consider a poem finished (enough) when it sounds good, when it has a point, when the language is doing what I want it to do, and when I think the poem as a whole communicates whatever prompted me to write it. For me, a poem is partly about what happened—the story you are retelling—and partly about your response to it—the impression that it leaves on you, why you think it’s meaningful enough to retell. I want a poem to leave another person feeling as if she had both seen what I saw, and then seen it through the lens of my experience.

I’m not constantly rewriting, but a poem is always open for further revision. I usually blog a poem at a point where I’m still messing around with it in small ways, so no, I never leave a poem alone after I’ve posted it.

Err on the side of simplicity and immediacy.

Make certain you’re not limiting yourself.

What you have to say is all your own, and if it doesn’t resemble what you’re used to considering creative, perhaps that’s as it should be.

Creativity is present in the way everyone processes the world. Before you pass judgment on yourself, give yourself time to figure out what it is that is important for you to say. Find a medium of expression that suits you, and take some time to learn it.

This is what I wondered at today, this is what I loved

A poem by Cuileann, 09.

how California poppies
grow in the arms of the streetcar tracks:
thick and heedless

seeing a man button a statue into a dress,
carry her over his shoulder into a hip-deep fountain and
leave her standing peacefully there
(in this square of murky green water)
in the middle of the financial district,

one hand steadying the bowl on her head.

Thank you Cuileann for your guest post. This is why I love you.

Cuileann has a poetry/thoughts blog. Her favourite poets are Naomi Shihab Nye, Franz Wright, Anna Akhmatova and W.H. Auden.