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Monday, 23 February 2015

Intro to the instax...

So a couple of weeks ago I very impulsively bought a Instax Neo Classic. This was partially motivated by signing up for the A Beautiful Mess e-course Capture real life in 52 weeks and my frustration that I only ever seem to have virtual photos these days. 

If you aren't familiar with the Fuji Instax cameras they are cute, chunky, instant film cameras. Anyway, so when it arrived I was super excited and loaded it up with the 10 photo cartridge and proceeded to take some very mediocre (and some downright terrible) photos. 

So I read some tips and adjusted my expectations and recently have taken a few that aren't awful...or, aren't as awful as my first. 

 I have just realised that taking photos of instant photos that aren't that good in the first place isn't going to be the best representation of how fun the camera is. 

It is a big hit though. The novelty of having a photo spat out seconds after you take it is such a crowd pleaser and makes giving the photo to someone after so much more satisfying than sharing it online. 
I think so far my photos have taught me a few things about the camera:

- group photos look like they are from the 90's (which I kind of love)

- photos will be darker than expected (I took a picture of snowy landscape and it came out black - weird) so make the most of the 'mode' settings to make them lighter

- there is a slight offset in what you view through the viewfinder and what comes out in the photo

- be prepared to use about 10 photos feeling your way around a camera. I have used lots of cameras from happy-snappy film cameras to old SLRs, digital and this is a different kettle of fish

To the right is my favourite photo so far. I love the contrast, colours and how it looks retro. I also really like this type of abstract architectural photo, so I guess that helps. James took the same photo with his iphone 6 and of course it was much crisper, brighter and vibrant - but I still prefer mine. 

Shop update! Birds, fish and flowers..

After a bunch of procrastinating and some annoying computer crashes I have finally updated my Etsy shop with some of the recent work I have been blogging about: the Hamsa, the white peacock and the Gannets and herring. 

It's fun to see these all laid out together. They are so different but there the themes of flowers, birds and fish that tie them all together. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Gannet diving for herring - papercut

James and I watched the BBC show 'Alaska: Earth's Frozen Kingdom' the other night. We don't often watch nature documentaries which is crazy as we always love them when we do. 

I have always been a bit of a nerd about the natural world, James less so so it's fun to see his reaction to some scenes. One that prompted a lot of commentary was the huge herring shoals that get plundered by birds (gannets in this case) from above and larger fish from below. (James: 'Why are they all in this big crowd?! Seems like a bad idea, if I was a herring I'd be hiding in the reeds').

Anyway, the camera work is always amazing and I had the images in my mind for the rest of the night. 

Then, as often happens, all plans for other projects got shifted when I decided I had to do a papercut of the gannets diving for herring. I was also keen to try out my new Hygloss silhouette paper which arrived a few days ago. 

So, this was a bit of a different style for me. And I will freely admit that on about the 400th fish I was questioning my sanity. But all in all I am really happy how it turned out. It feels like I am pushing myself a lot and it's good.

Right, I'm off to sweep up a million little fish cut-outs that are all over the house. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Finished Hamsa papercut

In what will hopefully be my longest ever work in progress (over 2 years!) I am massively relieved to have finally finished my Hamsa papercut. 

I had lots of other projects that I wanted to get on with but I made myself focus and get this done. Part of my hang up with this was that I had left all the fiddly little bits to the end and it just felt fussy and never ending!

I went back and forth over the borders. I finally settled on the tear drop shapes and I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out. 

As I mentioned in my first post about this piece, it's a bit of a departure from the conventional papercut approach where the whole piece is a continuous piece from a single sheet of paper. My Hamsa is made up of lots of smaller pieces, and man, it was hard. I can't count the number of flowers, dots and tears I lost in the process. Says a lot for the traditional method!

On the flip side though, it was fun to try something new. I especially liked building up the layers in in 'eye' and I love the lotus flower... I may need to get that incorporated into more pieces in the future. 

Glad to have this work in progress finally done! It will be in my shop soon...