March 19th, 2014
"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." an apt quote, perhaps cliche', but true to it's core.
I tend to be more of a lurker in most discussions on FAA. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because quite often what I may say has already been said, and I see little value in chiming in just to repeat what others may have already written, and probably expressed it better than I could have.
Business is personal. ALL business is. To say that it is not personal is not really being honest about what business is. As producers of art, we sell our wares in the public marketplace, and therefore it is a reflection of who we are personally. If I am doing something wrong, or right, it is a direct reflection of my abilities or lack therein. If someone criticizes my methods, then it's personal. It's a direct reflection of me, and any criticism is about me. If I'm wrong, then I am wrong.
Being is business is not for the weak or the timid. Business is tough. As a commercial photographer for more than 25 years now, I can tell you that every job I didn't get hurt like hell. It's a punch in the gut when you believe that you are the best photographer for the job, and it goes to someone you may not respect or for reasons you know are less than fair. It's even worse when you didn't get the job because your portfolio wasn't of the caliber they were looking for.
If someone gives you advice on what they think you may be doing wrong, or what they think you need to improve upon, take it for what it's worth, and don't let it pin you back. Some people communicate with direct hits, aimed at getting their message across in the most direct manor, and others walk you around awhile before opening that door.
So suck it up, and play business for keeps. Because it's personal, and it's not a game you want to loose at.
March 10th, 2014
This tractor is a part of my childhood, in a way that a lot of people can relate to. It belonged to our neighbor, Ernie. He was a real clever guy, and he built this tractor from scratch, using metal and parts from who knows what. That's the kind of guy Ernie was. The kind of guy who did everything himself. He worked on his own cars, he built the house that his family lived in, and he worked the land that they lived on. Hard working, self sufficient.
I got to ride on this tractor when I was kid, maybe eight years old or so. I never drove it, but I got to sit on the fender and ride along. I remember my feet hanging over the sides and watching tires spin below them, too innocent or naive to realize how dangerous it was. It was a more simple time back then and we took more chances. Life was full of dangers, and riding on a tractor was one of them. We never fell off, and none of us was ever hurt, but I'm sure we weren't going that fast either. When your 8, and riding on the fender of a tractor, even 5 miles per hour is a thrill ride.
Ernie is gone now. And the farm is too. The tractor sits by the side of the road, a memorial to what was so wonderful and innocent about life back then. Funny, I always thought it was bigger.
March 10th, 2014
A childhood friend of mine got out of prison a few years back, (no euphemisms, just prison time) and when he came home, he had inherited property from an uncle that needed a bit of clean-up.
While visiting this friend, I saw this chaise lounge in one of the piles getting ready to be loaded for the dump. The sun was late in the day, and I took the opportunity to set up the shot before the light went away. Even though I had no connection to this actual piece of furniture, it still brought back fond memories.
I remember seeing my sister and her friends lounging about poolside on similar chaise lounges, baking in the sun with cocoa butter tans, bikini straps off, and piquing my teenage, shall we say, curiosity? My sister had a lot of good looking friends. Of course when you are a teenage boy, all your sisters friends are good looking when they are almost naked laying in the sun!
I sort of chuckled to myself while shooting this image. It had stirred up some old memories, and I wondered what ever happened to those girls, so long ago?
March 5th, 2014
I've spent my entire adult life working as a commercial photographer. It's a blessing in many ways, and sometime not so great. It's true that I get paid to do what I love (taking pictures), but it's not always hi-fashion models and champagne nights! We all have our war stories to tell, and certainly mine are no more interesting than most others.
As a commercial photographer, you have to be able to incorporate your abilities to execute a clients ideas in a way that satisfies their needs. Many in the fine-art world have a dim view of this practice, labeling it as selling out, or being a hack. I like to think of myself as a skilled craftsman who successfully created artwork that conveyed my clients products or ideas. What mattered to me was getting the work, and doing it well. The artwork I produce to sell as "Fine Art" is a world apart from what I create with my cameras for my clients, but It is a large part of who I am, and many of my clients appreciate what I create for personal work as much as they need to see what I do professionally.
In the best of both worlds, my commercial work would merely be my fine-art incorporated into client specific assignments. With any luck, that day will come. It's a long haul though, and you have to keep pushing those ideas out there, and letting the world know what you're up to, and that at a moments notice you can be there for them, to shoot that assignment your way, and that they're going to love it!
-S. Peter Lopez
My commercial work can be seen here: http://www.yopedro.com/
March 4th, 2014
Continuing my series of wooden artworks, this flag is constructed for four different species of wood veneer.
March 4th, 2014
Working with an old familiar tin, sometimes the simplest concepts are the most fun to execute.
February 27th, 2014
I read a discussion recently that really got me thinking. The writer opined that some people on FAA were not artists, and just weren't that talented by his reckoning. I read his post, followed the discussion, and tried to understand his position. The arguments against his position were quite convincing, and I didn't think he did a very good job defending his post. I understood what he was saying and I agreed with his statement that some people just aren't artists or that talented, however I didn't think I could actually point to anyone that I felt fit his definition.
Some artist record scenes that they did not create. They use as a basis for their art, locations that were built or designed by architects, curators, designers and art directors, and they make artistic interpretations of those creations. For their part, they merely have to set up their camera anywhere in that locale, and point and shoot. The art is not only in that they have chosen to include that scene in their artwork, but then they go on to interpret the image into what they feel the image should look like. So their art is something of a collaboration between the creators of the scene, and their interpretation of that scene.
Some artists are recorders of life. These are the photographers who keep a camera in hand because they might see something that they believe needs recording. It might be a bird on a fence, a red door on an old house, a bicycle leaning against a wooden fence, a restored automobile, a flower in the crack of the sidewalk, the sun settling over the ocean, or even a quite moment between two friends on a park bench.
Their creations may be defined as, "This is what I saw, and I want to share this with you". Sometimes their composition is poor, their framing is off, the detail is confusing or a little blurry, and there is little doubt that this image may never find a buyer. Their vision is absolute. They know what they like, and they incorporate that into their creations. I admire this because it's an ability that I do not have. I see all the same things that they do, but I am not compelled to include these things in my portfolio.
The same could be said for just about any and all objects we create, the examples are limitless. When it comes to creative activities and art, you should do what pleases yourself, whatever that may be. If it's your cat sleeping in an awkward way, or a nude in a sensuous pose, or a leaf on the sidewalk, be true to yourself, and let the critiques be damned.
February 26th, 2014
How often do you change your creative style? Is it once a year, twice, never? There is something to be said for consistency. There are artists who's style defines them. Once they settle into a rhythm, they follow that and a river of productivity flows from there. They may change themes, and content, but the work has a vision, a sort of thread that ties it all together, whatever that may be. What is created for commercial clients is quite often, at odds with what is created for personal reasons. Yet clients quite often enjoy seeing the personal work. It's important to follow your passion and your vision, it's just as important to define a personal style too. Let the world know who you are. Be consistent in you vision and style, and never settle for anything less than your own vision.
-S. Peter Lopez
November 5th, 2013
It's never enough to create one more, or even two. It seems to me that if one could distance themselves from the constraints of purpose, and create without thought or reason, then certainly one could achieve satisfaction from any creative endeavor.
When you care more about what you produce than if you produce, you risk falling behind. So to keep ahead of the calendar, it's better to produce what you will and let the critics be damned, particularly the self critics. Do it often enough, and certainly strive for the next opportunity to do it again, and soon enough you have a body of work that will surpass your own expectations.
It's not what we do that matters, it's doing it again that really counts.