A little Daisy Love

Daisies are my favourite flowers. They are cheerful and exuberant. They are one of the few things I can grow without ever having a problem with it, unless if it’s very hot and I don’t water enough. No pests, no diseases, the dog doesn’t eat them either. Win all around.

Daisies belong to the Asteraceae or Compositae, which is an extraordinary large and widespread family of flowering plants with currently 32.913 accepted species names in 1911 genera lists and about 13 subfamilies. Quite the family tree, really.

Like in any family there are some black sheep. The Dandelion, for example, much loved by many, has become a significant weed in some parts of Northern America.

Daisies grow almost anywhere in the world in one form or another. They are mainly herbaceous plants (plants without a woody stem above ground) but they can also be shrubs and trees and climbers.

The daisy also has some fancy family members, which includes food crops, like the lettuce, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, amongst others. The cut flower industry enjoys Chrysanthemums, Gerberas, Dahlias, Tagetes and Zinnia. The Chamomile is a family member, also, and the Echinacea. As well as Calendula, Tarragon or Marigold.

And the whole family is good for bees, because of the abundance of pollen. Not so good for humans with hey fever. But hey, can’t have everything, right.

So I paid homage to my little daisy love with this creation of Daisy Love. I actually had some people be astounded by the fact that this grew in my garden, which of course it didn’t, but in Photoshop. Although I’m flattered because if it looks that realistic then I must have done well.

daisylove

 

 

 

 


Not Top 10

According to the Australian Geographic, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not in the Top 10 of Australia’s Most Popular Dogs. And it’s not in the Top 10 of the Most Intelligent Breeds of Dog, according to the University of British Columbia anyway.

If you live in Australia, you may be forgiven if you’ve never even seen a real Bernese Mountain Dog, they are quite unusual down under.

However, there are few at the local dog club, and they tend to draw everyone’s attention at the Christmas party, when they are dressed up and pull a little cart, especially built for the occasion, to help Santa, tinsel and all. Quite adorable.

Even though I am from Europe and have spent considerable time in the Alps, I have not seen too many of these dogs either, but I have met Suzie, who was my model the other day for a colour splash dog silhouette. She is really only a puppy and therefore looks quite slender.

Bernese Mountain Dogs should be ‘good-natured, self-assured, placid toward strangers and docile‘, all of which Suzie is. Desirable traits for any dog regardless of breed, but even more so for a dog that can reach up to 50kg and more of weight.

If you want to read more about the Bernese Mountain Dog and its history, have a look here.

In the meanwhile enjoy Miss Suzie’s silhouette in hues of blue and purple, with red and yellow splashes xx

bernesemountaindog

 

 


Popping Colour

Colour pop is a photography term that is described as ‘a digital effect in which part of an image is shown in colour, the rest of the image being in grey or a dull monochrome’.

All in all it doesn’t sound too fancy. It is an effect that is used a lot in photography. Some might say it is being overused. It is not a difficult effect to achieve, many cameras and apps are designed to get the job done quickly and easily, and to give photos a dramatic look by converting them to grey or black and white, and keeping a select detail in colour.

However, even though it is considered a bit daggy by many photographers, it is very popular with the wider public. It is a fun look, that can be very effective. The viewers eye and attention is drawn to the coloured areas, making it altogether a striking image and a good experience for your eyes.

Naturally, I’ve played around with it, too, although trying to stay away from the cliche red umbrella in the black and white rainy landscape. It’s a fine line.

Using local scenes, this is some of what I’ve come up with so far.

colourpop

 

 

 


Kaleidoscope Collection

Kaleidoscopes have been around since 1815 when one Sir David Brewster developed them. Already at their time they proved to be a huge success, with over two hundred thousand sold in London and Paris in just three months. Still today they are fascinating for old and young.

A proper kaleidoscope is ‘an optical instrument in which bits of glass, held loosely at the end of a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other. A kaleidoscope operates on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are placed at an angle to one another. Typically there are three rectangular mirrors set at 60° to each other so that they form an equilateral triangle, but other angles and configurations are possible. The 60° angle generates an infinite regular grid of duplicate images of the original, with each image having six possible angles and being a mirror image or an unreversed image.’

I have always been fascinated by kaleidoscopes, and even more so by their endless mathematical possibilities. To me, they are mind-boggling and deeply soothing, probably as well as many kaleidoscope images do reflect mandalas.

Mandalas are deeply rooted in Indian religions but forms of them can also be found in christian architecture and art. Over the last century, mandalas have made their way into western psychological interpretation, thanks to Carl Jung, the pioneer in the exploration of the unconscious through art making.

While mandala and kaleidoscope inspired images in colouring books and the painting and drawing of them is popular in both art therapy classes and for the art lover at home, this digital age has also given us a gazillion of plug-ins and photo-effect apps to turn any and every photo into a multitude of artworks.

My kaleidoscope collection is inspired by the mathematical rules on which kaleidoscopes operate. They are all created from an original photograph, taken by me, and then applying a number of layer effects in Photoshop, to create an image that could represent itself if we were looking at the original scene through a kaleidoscope. Many times, my creations seem to be having a tendency to want to be mandalas, too, and as there is no doubt in the balancing-process of the psyche when it comes to mandalas, I let them. This is a creative process, each image is worked on individually, no pre-fabricated action or filter is being applied.

My aim is to create an image that gives the colours, the look and the feel of the original photograph.

I’m hoping that they appeal to everyone who loves science and art, and has a taste for the quirky.

Small prints are available through my store, but large acrylic prints have proven to be popular. They do look stunning in large, if I may say so myself🙂

kfuchsia

kbottlebrush

 


Vintage Junk Mail

Let’s call it that.

A brochure fell into my hands, from 1992. So not vintage, strictly speaking, but certainly VERY vintage in terms of what it was trying to entice us to buy.

Frankly, I cannot remember whether there was junk mail in 1992. I guess there must have been, but not to the extend it’s about today. Even with the ‘no junk mail’ sticker on the letterbox you tend to end up with an array of odd flyers and brochures.

So, this brochure from 1992, from a computer shop located in Glebe in NSW, is newspaper size, 6 pages thick, and has given us a great deal of things to snigger about.

I suggest you make yourself a cuppa and have a giggle, too🙂

Now, I have to make sure I keep this or that brochure from today, you know, to have a giggle in another 25 years🙂

computerreport1

computerreport2


Bias All The Way

Drum roll please for a new product I’ve just added to my catalogue:

DIY Papercraft Cameras: a colouring in and papercraft activity set

P1050659xx

I’ve had these little camera prints for a while. They were living in the studio waiting-room, ready to entertain and keep busy any sibling or parent while I was busy taking photos next door.

They were always well liked. And then one day a Mum wanted to buy some off me, because she liked them all so much.

So I refined them to get them into a proper ‘product’ look and several test runs were done to make sure it all works perfectly fine, and voila🙂

DIY2

 

Mouse-made by me in Photoshop. Available in my studio or in my Made It Store.

I love them, but then I do love colouring in and papercraft anyway, and then it’s cameras, so I guess I’m bias all the  way 🙂


Copies Rock

If you’ve been following my little blogging attempts for a while you’ll know that I have a great passion for old photos. Looking at them, talking about them, the people and places they show, and also displaying them. It’s my thing.

While a lot of people have kept negatives and slides from decades ago, and have the printed photo in an album or a picture frame, most would be hard pressed to find that particular negative or slide to have another print made, should their first print get lost or damaged in any way. And the vast majority of people do not even have any negatives or slides, either because they were thrown out eons ago or because their old photos are from a time where there weren’t any negatives. Or the photo they have hanging on the wall in their bedroom was done by a professional photographer, who didn’t hand out negatives or copies.

Displaying an original is not a good idea, because it definitely will get exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light) and very likely get exposed to dust, humidity, to the acids in non-archival frames, backings and matting, or get stuck to the glass of the frame, which happens more often than you might think.

Have a look around your home: if you have any photos displayed – and you should🙂 – are they the originals?

If they are, I suggest you tackle this task over your next free weekend, and have copies made, or make them yourself. Then you put the copy back up in its frame on the mantle piece and the original photo safely in an archival album. That way your original is not in any danger.

If it is already a copy, well done. Better check you still have that original, or the negative, or the slide, and if not, get a copy of that copy.

To get copies is so easy these days:

  • Use your copy/printer and simply print a copy of your photo. Naturally a copy on ordinary white copy paper won’t deliver a flash result, maybe you want to look into investing in some proper photo paper, it has come down in price a lot in recent years
  • Maybe you have a copy/printer + scanner. Scan your photo, save it on a thumb drive and go to your nearest photo print place. Prints cost next to nothing these days, and if it’s a good photo print place, they will be able to assist you if you have any questions.
  • If you have a fancy camera: put your photo on a flat white surface in a well lit room (no direct sunlight) and take a photo of your photo. You can then either upload on a computer or laptop or take your memory card directly to a photo print place. Or print it yourself if you have a decent printer and want to invest in photo paper.
  • Use your smartphone as you would the fancy camera.

Old photos in particular have odd sizes. Simply print bigger and use some fancy scissors to cut them out, like I did with the two shown in the picture.

Copies rock

Copies rock. I have a whole lot of them of original family photos like that, and I change them around all the time🙂

 

 


A Beautiful, Rare Thing

It is assumed but unfortunately not happening all that often and therefore a beautiful, rare thing: small business supporting each other.

Lovely Jen from Tupsy Turvy Designs is a small business and a fellow Made it seller. She took it upon herself to interview some of us about our businesses, why we’re doing what we’re doing and our future aspirations. She not only wrote about it in her blog but also promoted extensively in her social media. A generous and lovely thing to do.

So here I’m returning the love and invite you to visit her page, read about her journey, scroll through her blog posts, maybe sign up to her newsletter, and indulge in her creations in her Made it store.

Thank you Jen xx

 


Digital Ironing

It was very exciting when a client hired me to digitize a large part of her collection of her late mother’s fashion illustrations.

Fashion illustration was the main form of advertisement for fashion designers, clothing manufacturing companies and department stores. The designs were not only displaying the styles of their day but also a certain lifestyle.

The collection I worked with consists of fashion illustrations from the mid 1930s, fashion sketches on full double-sided magazine style spreads from the 1940s and 1950s, and lots and lots of smaller ‘practice’ works. Women’s faces and figures, hairstyles, hands, gloves, shoes, house dresses, evening gowns, aprons, underwear, handbags, beach scenes, scenes with children and babies, neatly sketched bottles advertising the benefits of face lotion and powder, ladies’ fashion patterns, advertising for ‘floral seer sucker frocks’ and ‘toddler straw bonnets’. Full page drawings enticing the women of the time to buy dresses in ‘linens, to take you through the summer in cool, crisp perfection’ and beautiful evening gowns which were ’emblazoned with the royal signature to put you in the mood for the festivities of coronation year’.

Did I mention I love my job? I spent many happy hours photographing the vast array of sheets of lose papers of all kinds with overall very little damage. Mostly, the sheets have yellowed with age and there’s always the odd specks and stains. And odd paper sizes. The most damage consisted of creases and folds and bent pages.

My brief was to digitize, not only for safekeeping and convenience of sharing the images with family abroad, but also to enable the client to use some of her late mother’s works to create anything from wallpaper to pillow covers to greeting cards.

For privacy reasons I cannot show you too much of this collection, but I have put together some links for you to have a peek at. They should give you a great idea of the beauty I had before my eyes that day🙂

Fashion illustration from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s.

As I mentioned the most damage was creases and bent pages. I show you a few examples of what I mean:

DigitalIroning

DigitalIroning2

I call it digital ironing. It may seem like a quick fix and move on, but it’s not. And being me, there’s a lot of fine tuning and coming back to the same work several times because I may have overlooked something. And there’s always the danger to ‘overdo it’ in Photoshop, especially in this job, where the brief was to maintain the original character of the work, so I tried hard to get each image as close to what it would have looked like on the day it was created.

DigitalIroning3

But yes, creases = digital ironing, you get the picture😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sweeten the Deal

Children are my main subjects when it comes to portrait photography.

In my experience, very few children are totally keen and relaxed and eager in front of the camera. Ideally, their parents are in the adjacent room sitting on the couch very relaxed, flicking through my photo books and product displays, while I start my little routine, where I take the children into the studio and ask them to help me set up this and that and move a chair and turn on the studio lights.

But even so, most children can feel very ‘put on the spot’ in that situation. And I am supposed to, within minutes, make them totally love the situation, me and the camera. I do admit that I am struggling with this part of my job.

We may use the big mirror to check their hair and practice silly faces. I have some props, sometimes parents bring a book or a toy, but mostly their brief is to have the child smiling their happiest, most natural smile and looking fully into the camera.

I find that even the very shy, fearful or grumpy children do everything you ask them to, but they will not look at me or the camera and they certainly will not smile a natural happy smile. I have gotten some very odd looks by parents while I go through my repertoire of children’s songs or nursery rhymes where I appear to make silly mistakes with the words, I’m getting inexplicable hick-ups, speak in animal language and have even resorted to the fart-app. I know, I know.

Most children will eventually laugh, but they will not look at me or the camera, even if their life was to depend on it. I have tried lens buddies, frankly I’m not a fan, they may work really well with very small children but with the 3-5 year old-ish ones I’ve used them for: no such luck.

Eventually I realized I have to sweeten the deal. I’ve heard of photographers who use M&Ms as bribe, but I’m not sure I want to photoshop chocolate off teeth in post production, plus, these days a lot of children are allergic to chocolate.

Years ago I found an article and had made a note about it. Finally I have re-created this great idea. It’s pretty self explanatory: buy Pez dispensers, use scissors to cut a slither off their feet on either side, slide into flash hot-shoe of camera.

Because it’s such a small item (unlike most lens buddies), the children will have to focus to really see it. And Pez lollies are gluten and lactose free, therefore not an issue with food allergies. And no chocolate teeth, yay.

So there’s my 5 cents worth of wisdom when it comes to photographing children: sweeten the deal🙂

 

SweetenTheDeal