For a long time I’ve wanted a somewhat better self portrait photo to use on various accounts and websites. I’ve been using the same old boring picture of me standing in front of a blank wall for ages—three or four years, probably.
Since I had, at around the same moment in time, reluctantly caved to the pressures of modern society and signed back up for Instagram, I figured I could make this into a bit of a challenge for myself. What if I took a selfie every day for a week? I mean, not exactly one, but at least one. Every day. For a week.
So I did. Not only did I end up replacing my boring old photo with an awesome new one on most of my accounts, but I learned a critical photography skill that everyone, new or old to the craft, should live by.
I think anyone who does creative work can benefit from this advice, so I’m writing it down here on the internet.
I’ve always wanted to make prints of my work available to buy, and through the years I’ve sold one-offs to friends and family, but until now I have never tried to scale that up into a sustainable business. Thanks to Etsy, I have done it!
I want to talk a bit about how I chose Etsy as the storefront for my work, but before I do that go check out my shop!
Yes, it is true! After more than five years offline, Single-Serving Photo has returned!
It’s been a long road to reach this point. Five years ago, this blog was on the WordPress platform (self-hosted), and fell victim to repeated takeovers by “script kiddie” hackers who enjoyed replacing the entire site with a hideous message of domination, obviously taking advantage of some exploit in WordPress or one of the extensions I used.
I tired of restoring it from backups every day and trying to track down the issue; I did have a full-time job after all. So I let it go, I stored the backups and I moved on with my life.
I’ve always wanted to restore access to some of the most popular articles here, and so finally over the past week I have migrated everything over to the Jekyll system, which generates a completely static (and therefore un-hackable) website, which is what you’re reading now.
I’m not sure yet if I will make new posts here, although I do still consider photography to be among my major hobbies and I am always trying to learn new things, so it’s possible that I will use this forum to share them with all of you. If there are any of you left.
If you’ve stumbled onto this website by chance, you may like to start by browsing through the Essential Reading page, which contains a selection of reader favorites.
I have implemented Disqus comments, so please do leave remarks on any posts you find interesting or useful! Also feel free to reach out via Twitter; you can find a link in the site footer.
First and foremost, a happy new year to all of you, my lovely readers. Whether you check in now and then or have been a reader for several years, it is solely for you that I do this. Believe me, when I talk to myself I don’t do nearly as much editing.
Anyway, what better way to ring in the new year and to step back from the commotion of life, if only for a moment, to appreciate the bigger picture than… With a picture? A picture exactly one year in the making, in fact.
Michael Chrisman, a 31-year-old photographer living in Toronto, set up a small pinhole camera on January 1, 2010, overlooking the city’s skyline. On new year’s eve, he collected it. The developed picture is shown to the right, and I have to say, I love it.
Dennis Calvert shares a really neat light painting technique on his blog that he calls “Man on Fire.” It basically involves creating a darkened silhouette by firing a remote flash behind a subject to overexpose the background behind them, and then “painting” in the silhouetted area with some neat little light wands.
I’m sure you could do this with subjects other than people and with light wands other than the ones Dennis uses. The result, I think, is pretty spectacular. Because the background is blown out, bits of light trail that go outside of the silhouette area become wispy and look very cool.
Believe it or not, the image is straight out of the camera, no post-processing or alterations at all.
Go check out the whole article on Dennis’s blog where you will also find a time-lapse video of the making of the image, which is pretty neat in its own right.