The lure of new and exciting locations for the creation of images is tempting.
When I had my first cameras growing up on a farm in Iowa I photographed little of my surroundings. I remember however, how a 90-mile car trip to the zoo tapped my right brain. And by using a Polariod Swinger, I had near immediate gratification and couldn’t wait to swab on the protective liquid to preserve each moment. I’ve never really thought before how Polaroid was so akin to digital in immediacy. It sure beat dropping off the roll of film at the local town’s drug store and waiting a week for the prints to come back.
For most photographers and creatives when encountering a new place or a less familiar place we see in fresh ways. Since we have no preconceived baggage we think and move and capture the surroundings in a more innovative manner. Its like our self-consciousness is gone. What do we do now in this era of saving money? We need to change that mindset and shoot in our own backyard and still have it come out fresh and exciting. We must force the obvious. We sometimes just don’t think about what is in front of us – or back of us as the case may be! Ask your photographers to shoot their own backyards for you. As you think backyard, think familiar. It doesn’t have to be quite so literal. For instance, have them walk down their street that they walk down every day or drive their car down that same road they drive down everyday and have them photograph it. The results they capture may surprise you and them.
As our visual histories grow we amass an arsenal of ideas that can morph into new images and new statements. Although I didn’t initially use Iowa as my photographic backdrop, I did begin to plot how I would incorporate it in my ideas. Over the years as I went back home that evolved into different interpretations, provoked by memories and an added understanding of my own artistic statements and driving forces.
Send the photographer back to his/her childhood home. And mix it up a bit. Imagine what could develop by having two photographers switch back yards. Expand your backyard to familiar surroundings, your neighborhood, your hangouts, your daily jaunts and your city. You can stay local and economize while at the same time add tremendous value with an exciting visual outcome.
Author: Gerry Thies
Bio: Gerry Thies is a photography consultant and artist. He worked at Corbis as VP Director of Photography o 6 years and has held various creative roles in the industry