02 February 2010

Kapowing! - Kapowing the Everyday

by guest columnist KatieKapow (''')-.-(''').  Follow her on Twitter.
Opportunity – it’s everywhere.  That’s true for so much in life.  A couple of questions I am often asked are:  “Where do you get your ideas?” And “What is your inspiration?”  The only answer I can think of is also the simplest:  Well, everything!  One of the first things a good photography teacher will tell you is to constantly shift your perspective.  A common error is to center everything at eye level.  Although this is not a bad approach in some scenarios, you may miss what’s going on around you.  Today I wanted share a couple of Kapowing notes on being prepared and looking for the unexpected.

Kapow doesn’t take photos, she pounds life into paper, that’s what they say at least.  A shopping cart, the sky above your car’s sunroof, the top of your dresser, a popsicle, these sorts of common everyday items can become eye striking subjects when posed or looked upon from an interesting perspective.  I remember being tasked with assignments in photography class such as the oh so popular, “Take a photo of an egg in an interesting composition.”  When handed this assignment, my fifteen year old brain reacted with an “oh yeah, right, an egg.” But I find myself challenging my developed skills with a similar mission on a daily basis.  

Since I’m constantly looking for opportunity, I must at all times be prepared for it.  My suggestion is to invest in a good, high mpx pocket camera.  I’ve gone through a few of these, (since I beat them up more than my old school Trapper Keepers),  and much adore my Sony CyberShot.  Another awesome tool (thank you, technology) is the camera phone.  Don’t be afraid to use it!  I’ve seen some amazing things done with Blackberry and iPhone cameras.   There’s even an entire movement right now surrounding the iPhone camera and its resulting art called “iPhoneography”.  #TrueStory

So let's say you’ve got your camera and you’re ready to go.  I can’t tell you “what” to look for but I can show you what I’ve found.  (^_^) 

The Shopping Cart “Shopping in Fallhttp://katiekapow.com/photos/2009/11/shopping-in-fall/
Taken: November 15, 2009
Camera: iPhone
I was on a work break (yes I still hold a day job), re-entering the store.  Watching where I was walking while stepping over a curb, I noticed that this little, inglorious row of shopping carts had a nicely scattered collection of leaves around its wheels.  I whipped out my iPhone and kneeled down on the ground, despite the odd looks in my direction from surrounding shoppers.  As they were grabbing trolleys off the line, I was making art.

Taken: January 23, 2010
Camera: iPhone
Visiting Seattle on a quick trip, @Pointgiver and I met up with a friend, @MacHopper. We had some dinner and visited a little crepe shop.  While they were ordering I gazed at the shop display, drooling slightly and was mesmerized by the colours and perspective.  The patrons enjoying their crepes giggled at me, but iPhone armed and ready,  I pressed my cheek close to the glass and snapped this landscape.

Taken:  July 18, 2009
Camera:  Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xti
A very sleepy Kapow (who slept in her clothes the night before, yay partay WHOOP WHOOP!) was about to hop in the shower when my “eye” told me to stop.  The colours, the randomness of my scattered clothes conveyed a wonderfully artful normality that could have been in any home that morning.  Since I was at home and had all of my cameras at my disposal, I had time to grab my Canon, (my normal work camera), and capture this moment.  It may not be a gallery quality piece that I would hang in my living room, but subject matter that looks away from the traditional and the common – yes!

Otter Pops “My Sweet Tooth has a Rainbow” http://katiekapow.com/photos/2009/07/my-sweet-tooth-has-a-rainbow/
Taken:  July 18, 2009
Camera:  Sony DSC-W220 CyberShot
Inspired by my earlier shower capture, I was enjoying some otter pops (popsicles) with my friends on a 110 degree Southern Oregon day.   The contrast of the frozen pops against the dark, hot asphalt off my back porch gave me an idea to spread the pops out like a rainbow and take a photo.  Although this piece is posed, the idea came from something very simple and average: the heat and the colour of the icy frozen treat.  This odd little number is among the top ten ranked photos on my website archives.  

Mouse pad CD Hair Dye “Best Day Evar http://katiekapow.com/photos/2009/08/best-day-evar/
Taken:  August 18, 2009
Camera:  Sony DSC-W220 CyberShot
Things I love:  Music by Utada Hikaru, Chococat, and pink hair dye.  This day just rocked for me as I finally got the new Utada album, a fresh coat of pink to my hair, and a Chococat mouse pad.  Childish Kapow can has happy things! (^_^)  I wanted to capture my cheery moment, and rather than have a friend take a photo of me holding all of these new items, I spread them out on top of my desk and collected this composition.  Even though a big part of what I actually do is post processing, I believe even without the tweaking I did in post that this is a better representation of that day’s happiness than a portrait of me with a smile on my face could ever be.  I still look at this photo and can't help but smile, remembering how stoked I was when I received the gifts.

Being able to answer the question of where I get my ideas is not easy.  There’s a whole lot of world out there and to put it very simply, I try not to miss anything.  I’ve been humbled by my lipstick before, a piece of bread, a stack of rolled coin.  It’s kind of funny how such everyday, seemingly mundane objects are so complex and interesting if viewed with open eyes.  It’s easy in our busy lives to move around so quickly, taking our morning cup of coffee and such for granted.  I challenge you, tomorrow morning to wake up with “new eyes,” as my husband would say, and look for the beauty in your bed sheets or your breakfast.  You may just be surprised by the unexpected.  And if you feel like sharing your Wednesday morning camera photos, drop me a line at katie@katiekapow.com – I’d love to see what you come up with.  

Kapow (''')-.-(''')

 Random Fact Of the Week About Katie★Kapow (''')-.-(''')
I punch colors. Photoshop is just another tool in the kit of the modern artist, and I employ it liberally. Purists may argue that the resulting shot is impossible, but I argue that my photography isn’t about what purists, or anyone else for that matter, sees. It’s about what I see. Kapow!!!

all images in this post © 2009, 2010 Katie Winters.


Pulp Tone said...

I feel the same way! Take from everything and in the end that becomes your influence which one days influences others. Because you made your own style. Great post!

Tyler Weaver said...

The best part about editing this whole little blog experiment has been to learn about the various approaches people take to their creative endeavours.

Katie, I applied your Photoshop punchiness to a commercial I made for a contest. Brought the whole thing to life in a different way than I had anticipated.

So happy to have you on board.

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