August self portrait: Forced Perspective … and here is my deflated sigh

Many of you know I’m doing a 12-month self portrait challenge with fellow photographer Sunny Lee.

For our August self portrait, the theme of Forced Perspective was chosen. And by chosen, I mean I didn’t choose it.

I found myself in a depressed state of “what to do?” and “I’m so uninspired” and “I hate this theme” and “I’m going to Kill Sunny Lee for choosing it.”

Yesterday, I thought of a great idea, but executing it ended up being much more difficult than I anticipated. My concept was to do a forced perspective of holding a drawing of my face in front of my face, while looking through the top view of my Hasselblad viewfinder, and then using our stand-in Mannequin’s body underneath the camera to make it look like another forced perspective.

Like I said, execution wasn’t as simple as I thought.

I started with a photo that Bill took of me during a light test.

Ryan helped me with the drawing. I gave the drawing a whirl at first, but it turned out crappy. I used to draw self portraits as a teen all the time, and it wasn’t easy when I wanted to rush through it.

When I got the images from the shoot, I decided to nix the second forced perspective of the body underneath camera. I’ll post an example below the fold for you to see.

You’ll notice that I thought the image was going to be upside down for some reason, but the image is reversed left to right. You can see below that it looks like my wedding ring is on my right hand.

I’ll also post my concept drawings as well as my original drawing. Enjoy.

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This is your brain on drugs …

Remember that 80s commercial when you were growing up — erhm, I was growing up — of butter bubbling in a frying pan and then two eggs dropping into the pan with the voice saying, “Okay, last time, this is drugs. This is your brain on drugs …” here’s an update to that video.

Original commercial here.

We need more creative heroes to stand up to the #Showtimes of the world. Stop working for #FREE

Last week my brother sent me this article from adweek titled: “Meet the Hero Designer Who Publicly Shamed Showtime for Asking Him to Work for Free How Dan Cassaro’s tweet became a rallying cry” 

Essentially, Dan Cassaro stood up for all of us who are seeing more requests to provide creative services for gratis. Showtime sent him a letter asking him to join a group of designers to submit ideas for a boxing match event in Las Vegas. If his design was chosen, then he’d get a prize package.

The exchange was posted to Twitter, where hopefully it’ll get more legs.

Mind you, Showtime took the stand that no one needed to accept the challenge, if you will.

But as a photographer, this is a growing if not grown challenge that we are faced with more and more often. The music industry alone is riff with photographers who work for nothing, or next to nothing, covering concerts and festivals for magazines, blogs and other publications.

The point is that a boxing match in Vegas is far from a low-dollar event. Money is flung like pooh from gorillas’ filthy hands at events like this. It makes the discrepancy between the poor and rich look like a fenced-in circus with all the poor wander around outside wondering how a thousand men could bet thirty times their annual income on a single fight.

I’ve been asked to work for gratis, and unfortunately, I work for gratis on occasion. I feel like a hypocrite. I’m still growing my business, and growth takes risk. But it’s articles like these that encourage me.

From the linked article:

In the week since, Cassaro’s tweet has become a viral rallying cry for creatives who feel besieged by expectations of free work. It has more than 5,000 retweets and 5,600 favorites, and has become one of the topic’s most electrifying moments since Mike Monteiro’s “Fuck You Pay Me” speech in 2011. 

Showtime issued a response to BuzzFeed, saying the network is “a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional.”

In response to the question, “Has Showtime responded directly to you?” Cassaro says (emphasis mine):

They wrote me a short and very polite email. Honestly, it’s less about Showtime and more about these hack crowdsourcing campaigns that certain agencies are selling to them. There are lots of folks doing very cool things with user-generated content, but to ask professionals to compete against each other for potential “exposure” is completely different. It’s demeaning, and it lowers the value of everyone’s work.

A comic friend of mine used to have a bit about how you shouldn’t get upset if your food is tainted at a fast food restaurant like Taco Bell. “If someone spits in your food or drops it on a dirty floor and picks it back up and serves it to you,” he would say, “Is it really that guy’s fault? I mean, minimum wage equals minimum effort.”

If minimum wage equals minimum effort, what does free get you?

Think about that all ye greedy corporations and businesses hoping for a gratis deal from the guys and gals with the savoir-faire to represent you.

Newsflash: creative people walk … and walk often

From this column called, “The Speed of Inspiration” by Wayne Curtis in the Smart Set at Drexel University.

To be creative, to restore flow, we need at a minimum more downtime, a shelter away from ceaselessly incoming rounds of dirt and dope and scoop and poop. And this is not just a Cape Cod for the mind, a time to relax before wading back into the sifting and processing. Daydreaming, it turns out, is part and parcel of how the mind works, of how it locates and makes sense of the data we’ve already accreted and the links between them.


Walking with a touch of agreeable languor is an underappreciated gift — it endows us with the time to disentangle that logjam in our head and let the flow start to move again, then to build unexpected bridges between notions and ideas. A walk among trees and meadows is always welcome — merely being amid nature is a proven salve for mind and body. But even walking in a densely urban environment where you’re still under siege from Lilliputian mercenaries in the information army — armed with messages in store windows, ads plastered on passing buses, dudes dressed like fruits trying to entice you into a smoothie shop — you can still feel at a remove from The Information, as if viewing it from the far side of a wide moat. Walking creates a mobile oasis as it primes the well of creativity. It’s more essential to visit now that even in Wordsworth’s days of endless rambling.

Read on