I am applying to the Ladysmith Arts on the Avenue Show, that will happen August 28th, 2011 and I needed to put together a very nice, professional portfolio for the jury process that is happening this coming weekend. So I called Kurt.
We had chatted a few weeks ago, and looked through some photos of pottery from books and magazines and there were very few that I liked. The graded background and lack of shadow or light makes the pots seems to be from some other planet where the basic laws of earth are not in effect. My simple, honest work needs to be in some sort of context in the pictures because when you buy a casserole dish, it is used to make a bubbling brie with ginger, apricot jam and roasted garlic, so you need to hold and interact with the pots. All my mugs go to new homes where they are embraced every day and usually washed out while they are still warm and put in the drying rack so they are ready for the afternoon tea or coffee!
Kurt showed up on time (an excellent starting point amongst us artists) and was very professional about setting up the living room into foreground and background. I was unable to see how the photos would reflect their surroundings but he was careful to look through the camera and then make adjustments to the room.
I, of course, was wearing the usual clay clothes which includes at this time of year, a long sleeved shirt that I cut the sleeves of so that they are just the right length and don't get messy while I throw and wedge clay. Perhaps not very photogenic. The pants have built in grub as they are worn until they disintegrate and the over shirt I was wearing is a worn out, sun bleached colour of red and proclaims loudly in 2 inch letters that I am a "VEGGIE VALET".
I went and got a few fabrics from my closet and asked if they would look nice through the view finder. We decided on a dark long sweater that I had made (knit with 2.5mm needles and took me a year to knit up) and some nice blue jeans that fashionable (great taste in clothes) dave had picked out for me.
It was the fastest morning I had spent in a while and I brought upstairs all sorts of pots that I really loved for him to shoot. I was so excited that Kurt was able to see the glazes and shapes AND capture them in the camera. I see the beauty but when I take a picture there are so many mistakes that no one even sees the pots.
He was working on the shot with me in it for a while and I'm sure he is very used to people being self conscious when the camera is out, but I had no intention of being in any of the shots. There are some really great shots that include parts of me and I felt very respected and actually had some fun (so many women are afraid of having a picture of them taken that looks really bad). There was one shot of me looking down that I balked at and he hit delete instantly which made me feel safe! (oops my ego is showing, haha)
He let me know when he had taken all the shots he could in the time and I started to put the price stickers back on them and take them all back down into the gallery. When I was done running up and down the stairs he had put all his camera equipment away, packed it into the van, and left to go home and work on the editing. I wrote him a cheque and prepared to wait until the last possible minute to get a copy of them so I could run down to the photo print place and run some off for the jury next week.
Kurt worked on them right away and emailed me a few that day then stopped by the next day with a CD of his favorites! He also explained a lot of options for processing and empowered me to try my hand at building my own photo book online, which I did (it took 4 hours) and now I am just waiting for the printing to be done.
I can't say enough about how comfortable I was with Kurt in our home, how beautiful the photos of my artwork are, how professional and respectful the process was and how much I am looking forward to using his images as the public face of my art in the years to come. I have ideas of all kinds from business cards to postcards inviting people to my Annual Solo Show, that I want to make with the new pictures.
I am currently waiting for the photo book but you don't have to. I will post a shot or two a week over time and credit his with his name. You'll be amazed and see what I see (but can't capture) when I look at my own work. Thank you Kurt.