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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Renew

Renew
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." Lao Tzu

This is the newest piece in my new series. This will most likely be the last piece in the series, but since I was done editing it, I thought I would share it. This image is about strife and conflict like the others but more about the final realization of letting go and finding peace.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Conflict

Conflict
"Life is too short to spend at war with yourself" 

Battle, conflict, strife, struggle....are just a few words that come to mind when looking at this image. We have all been our own worst enemy. Could be due to the pressure we put on ourselves. The high expectations we set. Or  our personality and personal struggles of who we are. Maybe you have two sides that conflict with each other, such as the desire to be the life of the party but the reality of being an introvert.

That was the idea behind this image. That we all struggle and fight with ourselves, whether it's something major or you don't even notice.  Often times those conflicts can be between the person we want to be and the person we are. Struggles between what you hoped and wished for your life versus reality.

Check out my Instagram highlight under shooting in fog to see how I shot this. It's a quick video but you will get the idea :)


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Variant

Variant
"Outward failure may be a manifested variant of inward success" - Kenneth L. Pike

It has been a crazy busy Winter and Spring. My kids play 3 sports, I volunteer at Cub Scouts, was the Team Mom for baseball and we got a new puppy! So I have been shooting and editing along the way, but finding time to regularly post has fallen to the sidelines. I am hoping to be able to post more frequently now that Summer is here. 

So lets discuss this newest image.

Although I have an entire notebook of ideas and computer folders full of images already shot that need to be edited/composited, I had this idea last week and just went for it. I find I create better when I do that, when I shoot the current idea in my head. I am a planner. I like to have my images sketched out, planned and pretty well thought out. However, if I don't get to editing them right away, I can find myself losing interest and they sit in a folder on my computer. 

This image came to me last week. Now I will be honest and say I cannot exactly remember the details. I know I was laying in bed. But I don't know if it was something I read, saw or heard that spurred this idea. But the vision for it popped into my head. The basic idea was just that I would be laying all over a field in different directions.

Now with almost all my images, even though I plan them out, there are some variations I shoot during the shooting phase, so I have options during editing. So with this image, I took photos of my face up, facing both directions, facedown, and also sitting up. I will admit that I did not take a photo of me walking through and I think that would have been really impactful. I wrote a note to go out and reshoot this in a different outfit but this time have me walk around the laying bodies. I think it would make a nice compliment to this one. I just have to get out to my further away field to shoot that :)

This was a pretty quick edit for me. I used a tripod and didn't reset my focus during shooting. I wanted my bodies to be naturally blurry or in focus based on the normal depth. So merging these 11 photos was pretty simple. I had 18 to choose from. I was pretty lucky to have spaced myself out during the shoot very well.

If you are interested in seeing behind the scenes of me shooting this, I did an Instagram story on it. Its highlighted under Faceup/Chair... Instagram

Do you notice something with the birds in this photo?....go take a look..... Scroll down......I'll wait..... before I reveal it to you......

Ok I am sure you noticed the upside bird. That one is pretty obvious. But I also placed the birds on their own separate layers over the bodies in the photo. Then I made them one group and raised them to the sky. So the birds, their size, and way they are flying exact mimic the laying bodies below.

I hope you enjoy my newest image, its part of a new series I am working on :)



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Taphophobia

As you saw in my previous post, I have done lots of October themed portraits where I have dressed up as someone or been a character. If you search through my Facebook, Flickr or blog history you can find even more than what I posted. I even have more ideas. I have had the costumes and concepts for medusa, an exorcism with priest and silly ghost people for about 4 years now. I have a costume closet full of medieval attire and other character costumes I haven't shot. Some even my kids have outgrown before I did the photo. But it wasn't what interested me right now to create.  For this October I wanted to dive deeper into the concept of fear. Fear being something that gets associated during this time of year of costumes, scary decorations and tricks that are played.

Fear is often discussed in my photography groups. However, it's usually discussed in the context of being afraid to create art, or afraid to show your work to others. I don't have fears like that. It's not that I like rejection or that some rejection doesn't sting, but I don't have that fear of putting myself out there and then being told no. I  have submitted to so many "calls for art" in various ways since 2002 that maybe I have just because accustom to getting those rejection emails. However, I've also been really successful. I've been in magazines, exhibitions and won awards. If I didn't put myself out there in the first place, I'd never get a good call/email. Yes it stings when you really think your photo would work well for a call and then you get the "sorry to inform you" email. Or you spend hours on something that someone else doesn't care for. I've learned that if I create for myself and am happy with my finished product then it doesn't matter as much if others love my work.

But yes I want others to like my work too :)

So back to fear.....I wanted to approach fear a little different. I wanted to tap into what non photography/personal fears there are in the world and then create based on that. This is going to be an ongoing series for me as I explore this concept more. And with many fears in the world, I have lots of subject matter to explore :) I do not plan to explore fears of anxiety or self doubt or other very personal fears. I want these images to be relatable to a wider audience, and they will cover what everyone knows as a fear. I want the viewer of this series to already understand the concept and appreciate the images without having to personally have that fear themselves.

So first in my Phobia Series is:

BURIED ALIVE 

Or otherwise known as:

Taphophobia
Taphophobia is the irrational fear of being buried alive. It is closely related to other phobias such as: fear of death (Thanatophobia), fear of tombstones (Placophobia), and fear of tight and enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia*). 

When I take a self portrait, whether its a silly photo of me as a cartoon character or something like this, I always try to go fully "into character". I think of my self portraits as acting. If I don't believe it, its not believable to the viewer. When I did my 52 week family self portraits, I would say this every week to my family. They had to become whatever character I was asking them to be. So yes, for this group of photos I had to get into character of being buried alive. I must admit, it was pretty exhausting. When you do something that is heaver like this, it can drain you, as if you really experienced it. 

This first photo is the main image for this phobia. It's a woman in a glass coffin with dirt being thrown on top of her. In this image she fully knows what is happening and so does whoever is doing this to her. It's pretty scary to think about as it was no accident. It's being done purposefully and she knows there is no good outcome.

I already have an ongoing Ghost Series and a few of those images take place in cemeteries, so I didn't want to be redundant with doing something similar to what I have done before, but I wanted to include a gravesite. So I came up with a way to keep with this phobia and not replicate something I have already done. 

The silly take away from this photo is that is was VERY hard to get my hand/arm dirty with just dirt as I didn't want it to be mud. It amazes me that my kids can get dirty by being outside 30 seconds and I was trying to get dirty and it kept rubbing off. I had to rub dirt all over my arm after every take and still much of this "dirt" is photoshop.

Now I am going to share this, as its already been picked up by an agency, but its not 100% my favorite, and feels like I want to do more with it. I had a similar idea to do this with someone on top of the grass. I had it figured out, just the edit didn't quite go together. I still have it on a folder to work on and I will share that version if I get it done :) But I can see this image being presented in a few different ways, so it may be something I revisit at some point. But its the most clear cut Buried Alive of the three :)

And this last image will give you your behind the scene of how I shot it. I am really that close to the top, I did not lower the top to make me more confined. I climbed onto the bottom of our coffee table and put a brown blanket over the back to make it look like a box.
See I don't post in over 2 weeks and boom a long post with 3 images! Hope I made up for the absence while I finished football season and dove head first into busy portrait season :)

 *I totally see me exploring [claustrophobia] on it's own for this series.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Throwback Monday? Sure why not! 

The last two weeks have been really crazy with my portrait business as October is my busiest month of the year :) I have been creating, I just didn't have as much time to edit or post.

I know I create more fine art self portraits now, but my creative fun self portraits are what started me on this journey back in 2011. So I wanted to share some of my October themed self portraits I have done. Well, the ones that are not Ghosts as my Ghost Series is its own thing :)

And stay tuned this week when I share my newest "scary" photo  :)

Enjoy!







Thursday, October 4, 2018

October: A Year from Now?

This month's blog topic is: "Where do you see yourself Artistically or Creatively a year from now"?



My portrait business is pretty steady and every year I can predict how much I'll make or how many clients I will have. I can tell you that I will be in the same place a year from now, as I am right now, and was last year. The bulk of my clients will be between July-November, and I will be shooting families, mini sessions and senior portraits. I will be photographing my boys playing football and probably planning my 2020 year. I do a few things each year that changes it up, but its very stable and doesn't fluctuate dramatically either way. But its how I like it. I set my business up to be exactly that. I only take on as many clients as I can handle while juggling family life, sports and volunteer work.

But when it comes to my fine art, it's not as clear cut. I could create amazing work and just never click with a gallery or find the right submissions to enter. Or I could win several competitions, awards and/or money and be on a fast track to success a year from now. (I think its obvious I would hope for the later) ;)

Some of it will depend on my determination and drive (both of which I have), but some of it is also subjective. A curator or juror can love my work and another one hate it. I have already had plenty experience with this. I have been in shows where I win a 1st place or Best of Show award and at another exhibition that same photo doesn't make the show! The one thing I have going for me is that I don't let rejection define me. I have had plenty of photography rejection. It's one of the reasons I create for myself. If I love what I am doing, then I am not defined by whether I make a certain exhibition.

I am at the point with my fine art that I am stepping things up and really want to see improvement and success in 2019. I am creating artwork each week, submitting to galleries, creating and submitting photos for a book cover company and looking into lots of different avenues to sell my work.

So what are some of my 2019 goals? 
Here are my top 10 goals for the next year.

1. I want my images to be displayed in exhibitions in galleries. For this I just have to keep submitting. Which currently right now there are quite a few calls that fit my work. So fingers crossed I get a few more of my images in various galleries in the next year!



2. I want to create a series or two or three. What is a series? A series is a smaller body of work that has cohesive feel between images and possibly has a message. They are usually created to be paired with the other images in the series. Which is what galleries want to see, especially if you want a solo show. So if you have seen any of my work before, much of it is individual pieces. They each are their own individual story and although could be paired with my other works, are created as one piece. A series you may have seen from me would be my Ghost Stories, where I am a ghost in each image. My goal is to refine and create a few more images for that series and then send it out for submission. I have one other series I have been working on the last week (3 pieces already complete) and another 2 series ideas I want to explore. My goal would be to have 4 solid series in a year from now. If I have more than that great, but I want at least 4. Plus I still want to allow time to create plenty of my individual images each week too.



3. Submit for a solo show. I want to grow my art career. One way to do that is to have a solo show. A year from now I want to have all the tools available to make that goal a reality, if it isn't already. Honestly, I am very close to being ready to do this. I want to put together a full portfolio and pitch a solo idea to at least one gallery in the next 12 months. I also want to look into solo show opportunities and calls. EDITED: Well I just got a call that I will be having a solo show in Auburn in September 2019!

4. I want to continue to grow my social media. Instagram, Facebook and my blog. I tend to forget to post, forget to comment, post too late, or post too early. I have been really working at getting better at this the last few months. It's something I really want to work on in 2019 and I hope a year from now I have a better following and a work flow for uploading and sharing my images.

5. Along with the above, I'd like to do a recurring weekly segment, for at least a few weeks.  I have one idea that shows how I get some of my ideas. Would be fun to show one little secret to my creativity and also how others can use my method to create their own art even if they aren't the most creative. Hint: it would be called Wheel Wednesday :) I'd look for it in 2019, after the holiday season :)


The next two go together:
I want to create every week. Over the last few months the weather has been great. I have been able to shoot a lot because its been warmer and dry, but now its the rainy dark season. I will need to keep up and keep creating through the winter months and find ways to stay creative. 

6. Every week I want to have one day where I devote to shooting and editing my fine art images. Even if its just a few hours that day. This way I at least have one image being started/worked on/in progress every week. Some weeks I will be able to edit those right away and other weeks I may have to hold it off, but at least I shot something and am getting into a routine.  Ideally, I will eventually have more than a few hours or more than one day to devote.  

7. Every week I want spend at least 30-60 minutes shooting something for a book cover. Since being accepted by a book cover company, I have mainly been submitting older work, or work I already created for a different purpose. I want to start focusing on creating images for the purpose of book covers and doing more of the weekly challenges.



8. I want to research more about submissions that may pay. I want to look into magazines that pay for work.  I also want to explore more submission contests. Submissions that have either a prize package or a monetary prize. I think if I could find some ways to earn a little back from my art that it could keep it funded and moving forward.

9. I want to look into more avenues for selling my work. If I do show at galleries, there is a possibility of sales, but I have been looking into how I could sell products or have an online store front. By this time next year I would like to have figured out another avenue to sell, either online or at a local store. I want to research what types of products may work or if prints will be the only way to go.

10. Last, but not least, I'd also really love to put together a self portrait class or workshop (if you have ideas for this, shoot me an email!). I taught a self portrait class to some students last year and would love to expand on that and teach my techniques to others. I know many would love to learn how to take photos of themselves :)




Sunday, September 30, 2018

Gravity

Gravity
"I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so" -Wicked

Starting today this image is at the PSA International exhibit in Salt Lake City! Until October 6th :)

Just a few quick thoughts today as this was just a crazy one I did this summer. I had fun playing with the concept that each wall had its own gravity.

Enjoy!



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