Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust selection committee has made their final image selections for the upcoming Picturing Maricopa print exhibit. The photo's above will be my contribution to the exhibit. I will have two 11 X 14 prints for the exhibit. I know that seems hardly worth the effort but that was the deal up front. You either got three - 8 X 10's or two - 11 X 14 or one 16 X 20. Their are 15 photographers so their still will be a good selection of images to look at. The point of the project wasn't about us anyway it was about getting our non-profits usable professional level photography for their marketing and advertising use.
The Picturing Maricopa exhibit will be held in the Burton Barr Law Library at 1221 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ. October 27 from 3 to 5pm. Everyone is welcome. Look forward to seeing you there.
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 12:10 AM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This is an environmental portrait of a family I photographed for the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Project "Picturing Maricopa".
When I get an assignment or pursue a portrait, I usually have all kinds of ideas rush through my head on how I want the final shot to look. So many times I want to make a picture that looks and feels a certain way. I want to render a representative portrait and at the same time develop a style that reflects me as a creative.
Sounds great but that's never how it ends up. My experiences have taught me to be flexible. I think all the ideas that run through my head are based on previous experience and books I have read throughout my photographic life.
How many times have I thought to myself, I will try a stark black and
white Mary Ellen Mark type portrait or a Richard Avedon white seamless portrait or a mega lit Jill Greenberg portrait. I guess this is normal and I accept that I have pre-visualized expectations. It's my visual library all coming to the surface. I love the quote by John Szarkowski "every photo is derived from a previous photo".
My point is with all this knowledge and photographic foundation my photographs never look like I originally thought they would. The preconceived ideas might work sometime but rarely. I always seem to make the best pictures when I keep myself out of the process.
The portrait above is a perfect example. This was to be a family portrait in front of the apartment in Gila Bend, Arizona. While I was making the 55 mile drive to Gila Bend my mind was running like a PBS Masters in Photography documentary. I was going to put my heart and soul and apply all my years of experience into this portrait. It was going be a signature image.
When I got there, I meet the husband and immediately talked to them about what I wanted to do. I explained my goals for their portrait and for the story I was working on. They were totally on board.
As I started to shoot it become clear within 10 seconds of shooting the little guy in the white cowboy hat wasn't on board. On this late August day it was 115 degrees outside and we are heading into PLAN B fast! Plan B and I are very familiar friends. The little guy wasn't going to let my pre-visualized master piece photo session take place. At least not on my terms.
Actually I should thank him when he is old enough to understand. As a result of him breaking up the formality of the portrait he made me shoot photojournalistically. I just kept shooting as the family portrait fell apart. As a result, I think I got a very interesting image that is far different from my original idea. I like the light and the disjointed feel and structure of the image. At this point its a real moment and not something contrived and forced.
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 1:49 PM
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I just concluded a project called Picturing Maricopa paid for by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. This is the cover page of a PDF portfolio I created for the project.
Below is the project in their words from the press release.
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is presenting a community photography project called Picturing Maricopa. Few nonprofit organizations have budgets that allow them to hire professional photographers. Yet, we know that quality photography is essential to “tell their stories” to clients, partners and potential donors.
Piper Trust has designed Picturing Maricopa to hire Valley professional photographers to photograph Maricopa County nonprofit organizations. We hope the project will showcase some of the most talented photographers in the Phoenix area. Piper Trust will hire a group of 15 local photographers, based on the recommendations of an advisory selection committee, and assign each to take photographs of one of 15 human service agencies sometime over the summer. The goal is to capture the essence of each organization’s mission through images.
At the conclusion of the project the Advisory Committee will make final selections of all the photographs turned in and a print exhibit will put on display. The time and location has yet to be determined.
Now is that cool or what!
I was matched up with the non-profit medical group called Clinica Adelante based in Surprise, AZ..
Clinica Adelante is a full-service medical group who serves out-lying and under-served areas of Maricopa County. I visited clinics in Buckeye, Sun City and Surprise. I also followed two families to their homes.
I hope to post more on the project as we get closer to the print exhibit.
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 1:24 PM