Refractions II Creating a new body of work can start with a whiff of inspiration from anywhere, and that inspiration can come to you at anytime. All of my iPhoneography Books have been born out of some form of this process. The idea of taking a subject, exploring a process, and working through a series of improvisations, much like a jazz musician does, can lead to really interesting discoveries you wouldn't ordinarily find any other way.
This latest series, iPhoneography Book IX (Refractions), came from watching a lot of film noir movies lately (I'm a huge Bogie fan!), such as "The Maltese Falcon", "The Big Sleep", and "Citizen Kane". With their exquisite use of creative, directional lighting to build a mood and ambiance of suspense and intrigue, unique and sometimes jarring camera angles and juxtapositions to keep the audience slightly (or completely) bewildered, but at the same time curious about where the story is leading, a film noir motif seemed the perfect place to start a series of iPhone (or mobile, if you prefer) images.
I decided to explore this series with some simple, common objects we all know and use, which also have some psychological undertones we've seen in noir films. I also chose to use the iPhone and the Hipstamatic App for the tintype old film quality it has. The more I look at these images, as a complete series and in the context of the film noir genre; the male/female dynamic and tensions, the potential for plot violence (why is it so often the knife that is the culprit?), the juxtaposition of light and dark elements, it almost tells a whole story with a tragic ending.
I didn't set out to create a story from a fork, spoon and knife, but that is what I see now in retrospect. What started out as playing without conscious intention can grow into something with more depth and interest if you give yourself permission to explore a subject as a series of images, rather than simply as one-offs. You may find that out of a series of images created in this way, only one or two might be worth keeping. That's ok. Photographing in series can sharpen your eye and creative thinking, and help you see strengths and weaknesses of your images as to how (and if) they do really fit together. This is what magazine editors do and look for when they need a photographer to illustrate a story.
Remember, as a photographer, you are always a storyteller. Whether you chose a single image or a series of them, always you tell stories.