Monday, June 04, 2007

Norma Desmond

floating free
My son has Aspergers Syndrome and I originally came on flickr to post his photos and artwork as a way of building his self esteem. Then I discovered that I could use photos of him to illustrate how life is for us living with, and embracing autism. I have a couple of sets which show the positives and negatives of having Aspergers syndrome mainly to increase awareness of the realities and not the myths surrounding the autistic spectrum. This is from one of them. I also chose this one because it is one of my Polaroid shots from my holga toy camera, which is one of my favourite cameras.

This photo is one of a series called ‘Metropolis’. I chose this one because it illustrates how inspirational flickr is. I created the set for a group called Das Kabinett which is a great collection of atmospheric photos, manipulations, collages, montages that are influenced by the German Expressionist movement in film. It is just one example of how being in a flickr group can stretch your skills and make you produce more interesting work, as do the TWTME challenges and competitions.

And the questions...
1: How long have you been involved in photography?
I had a brownie camera when I was 9 years old. Film was an expensive luxury though so it was for holiday use only. My Uncle Stan gave me his old pentax slr when I was 18 and I upgraded to a Nikon to go travelling in the early 1980s. I had a long break from photography and got myself a digital camera to record my son growing up. Since discovering flickr I have re-discovered photography, and more importantly the beauty of film. I never travel without at least two cameras now.

2: Equipment you use?
This is a bit embarrassing now considering a year ago I just had an Olympus point and shoot. I now have a Canon 350d for digital stuff. I have several toy cameras – holgas, Diana clones and my lovely lomo lc-a. I have a fabulous vintage graflex twin lens reflex, a few Polaroid cameras, a duaflex for ttv (through the viewfinder) shots and have just splashed out on ebay for a hasselblad 500 c/m. I have only put two rolls of film through it so haven’t seen the results yet.

(Yes it does seem excessive when you have to write it all down!)

One of my most important bits of equipment is the computer, film scanners and photoshop.

3: Mac or PC?
PC with huge hard drive and several back up drives.

4: What inspires you?
Well my wonderful son is my biggest inspiration but I do get inspired by a variety of things – particularly words and music. My problem is that I get inspired by so many things that I often have several different projects going on at the same time.

5: Preferred subject matter?
I could never restrict myself to only one style or type of photography. If pushed I’d have to highlight people, trees, buildings and plants.

6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.
Minimalist shots – I just don’t seem to be able to do it.

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?
My son who always says ‘It’s OK’. My partner Tim who is a trained artist and always says ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks’. He’s right of course. Doesn’t help the doubts though which happen often as I’m a perfectionist (or as Tim says obsessive and compulsive!).

8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop
All self taught. I often find tutorials on the web if I need to learn something new. I’m trying to learn flash now for a new website – bit of a challenge.

9: Plans for the future?
I’m working on a new website to show my photos in a different way. I’m currently making some themed movies using my photos and music, which seems like a good way to show several photos quickly. I’ve got loads of projects planned and not enough time because of my day job. One plan is to try not to stay up till 2.00am every morning catching up with all my contacts on flickr.

10: In one word, describe your photography.

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