Being a photographer is one thing. Owning a photography business is quite another...

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2-21-09 Middle Eastern Dance (7/365)

I have some really good friends in Denmark who own a sign and print shop called Idé-Sign. I used them to print the prints, like this one (called "Love Letters for the Fire"), I had had up in the last art show I was in. Normally I would use my lab, Backprint, attached to my website to sell prints, but I was in Denmark at the time, and I liked being able to talk face to face, photographer to printer. It turned out well. Idé-Sign has this really fantastic paper- that is not actually paper at all, but a very thin plastic material- that has a satin, slightly metallic finish. I think it made my work look great.

I sent the files via email directly to the printer in Denmark. If I had requested, they could have then printed the images and then mailed them to me at home, but why wait?

Aside from having a few minor color issues at first because I forgot to send the prints worked on in ProPhoto RGB, this ended up working great for the show... but what about now?

I have this certain emotional attachment to my artwork. That is why photography works for me. If I sell a print, I can still keep the original file and make more prints. This particular piece I enjoyed creating because it was a throw back to my intense "Fiona Apple days" (I still love Fiona Apple by the way, I just am not as depressed and driven in that direction as I once was).

I'm thinking about selling prints of these images on my website (once I can figure out how to price them). This is where Backprint comes in really handy.

2-17-09 Middle Eastern Dance (4/365)

This is my favorite piece from the show. In fact, I liked it so much, I kept it and it hangs in my living room, which is just as well. Janelle, the dancer in the piece, I was never able to contact for a model release (yes, I know, its even questionable that I should post it on the internet without a model release, but I feel that blogs should be considered media similiar to magazines, which don't need model releases, but that is another debate all together...), also, some of the Photoshop brushes I used in this piece are from Obsidian Dawn. Stephanie/Obsidian Dawn is pretty good about the usage of her brushes though. She has a creative commons license on them and requests that she simply be credited somehow and that if it is a commercial piece and it is impossible to credit her that you contact her and purchase the rights from her instead. I think that is pretty reasonable. On the other hand, though, I also have a love-hate relationship with that idea.

See, for those of you who don't know (and I was one of those people until pretty recently, its only due to my friend and fellow photographer Josh Durr who introduced me to this), these flourishes and designs all over this image are Photoshop brushes. They can be found all over the internet, particularly at deviantart.com. I found these Obisidian Dawn brushes there. The way they work is you can download the already created brush files (they are .abr files) and load them into your Photoshop brush palette. From there you can manipulate and use them the way you would any other Photoshop brush. And see, this is where I get all "I don't know about that".

In photography and art there are rights to protect creators from people stealing their creations. We've all heard of it, its called copyright. Now, if you take a photograph, you own the copyright. Most of the people who make Photoshop brushes take their own photographs from which they make their brushes. That's all fair and good. However, the copyright law says that if you take something and manipulate it extensively that you no longer would be violating copyright if you called it your own or did not give the original author credit for their work because it falls under "fair use". In a different type of artwork under the same subject there is a battle going on between Shepard Fairey (who created the Obama "Hope" poster) and Associated Press (click here for article). So, the thing for me is, do I really have to credit people who make Photoshop brushes?

In this case I chose to because I like Obisdian Dawn brushes and I think that other people should find her stuff. Also, and more importantly to me, I did not manipulate her brushes very extensively. The only thing I did was maybe change their size and flip them. But, even still, does that mean I have to give her credit?

To put this into context: I also am a painter. This is more of a hobby of mine than a money making thing, but anyway. If I buy a Winsor & Newton series 7 Red Sable (fox tail is *kiss* magnifique for painting, especially oil) (yes, I am a snob) brush, one of the finest brushes you can buy, am I then obligated to credit them on my paintings? That just seems silly. And the thing is, aside from that, I automatically am manipulating the Photoshop brush from its original state everytime I use it. So, how is this a copyright violation if I don't credit them?

I am very interested in hearing what anyone has to say about this. I don't know all there is to know about this subject and would like to find out if there is another side to this story.

2-15-09 Sketch

Yesterday I started a One A Day set with the official group on Flickr. I've been meaning to do this for quite some time, but have been putting it off because I keep worrying that I'm committing myself to something I don't know if I'll be able to finish.

Well, today I wasn't really feeling it, but since I started it yesterday I felt I really should not skip one now. I also think that it is good for me creatively to make myself try to find a way to fight through my particular block for the day and be creative anyway. So, I looked around for inspiration, found my sketchbook and got all excited about this sketch I did a couple of days ago. I took it into Photoshop and thought about combining it with some photographs I had already taken and/or applying brushes to it etc. I started to play around with it and this came to me and I was all happy because I had gotten some experiementing done and had come up with a piece for my One A Day, yay! And then just before I posted it I looked at the group rules- The only acceptable material is photos.

You've gotta be kidding me! After all that?!

2/365 Grapes

So, in the end I posted this photo that I had in my archive. I didn't make it today, but it is a photo (and I've never posted it before):

 

2-14-09 Smile Originally I was completely intending to talk to you only about a personal irk of mine as of late, that is the absolute somberness there is out there in photography these days and how ridiculous it is to me that it is "cool" to be sad, but then while exporting this image I found something new to rant about. But first things first, smiles...

 What is the deal these days with portrait photography? Now I'm not saying its not ok to be depressed, because I was depressed, severly. I even have been to therapy for my depression and "unfinished business" as my therapist put it. One of my favorite books, even, is Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel because I think it perfectly describes what depression feels like (I'm also thoroughly amazed she found energy to write the book because depression, if nothing else, is completely energy consuming), but, really, when you feel awful, even though finding an expression for your feelings is totally valid and worthwhile, wouldn't it be good to focus as well on what makes life worth living? I had to do that too. I'm just sayin'...

 Ok, color spaces. Just a really quick note (because I'm on my way out the door); we all know that sRGB is best for computer screens and then Adobe1998 is good for printing and that ProPhoto RGB is best, but what you may not know is what the difference actually looks like when you are sitting at your computer trying to export something from Lightroom. Long story short (because, I'm now late, but I had to tell you this), sRGB makes the colors you are working with in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom that you see in the program come out like you saw them in the program when you save it or export it and then look at it in another program like IrfanView or in Flickr on your browser. Adobe1998 makes the reds and orange turn to yellows and greens, while ProPhoto RGB also does this but pushes them even farther in this direction. I always knew what each of these color spaces did, I just never saw it in action before like this. So, if you are ever planning to export or save something to be posted on a website or viewed on the computer be sure to use sRGB. You can always change the color space later for printing.

That's all for today! Now I'm off to a going-away party! 

I have a friend who is moving from Southern California to Utah, all of the sudden, in the middle of winter. I have to find out why.

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Well, first of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Alexis Evanoff and I am a photographer.

I'm on an adventure, just at a new beginning of it. I have just moved to San Diego, California from the Los Angeles area where I was born and have lived for most of my life. I had established myself up there with several regular clients, also doing contract work for a few studios. In my beginning years in photography, my convenient location in the world allowed me to cover a lot of the local music scene (which included a lot of well-known people) and since then I had established myself and become known for doing photography of the performing arts.

But now I'm in San Diego, where nobody knows my name.

So, this is the challenge, re-establishing my small business and starting all over again. Not to mention, this time, I'm doing it newly married.

The nice thing about this time around is that I have some experience with this behind me and I've built up a decent resumé and portfolio to show people. I actually am old enough to know what I'm doing, and still, young enough to have the energy to begin again.

So, we'll see what happens.

Incidentally, this is me on the left. Each of these are linked to my Flickr where you can see the original in a bigger size.

I apologize that I am not a very good or cooperative model, even with myself. In fact, just to get myself to loosen up, in the last two shots you can see that I'm singing out loud with the radio. I just felt it only right that the first entry have me in it so you can see me at least once, since I am usually never ever in my own images, you know, since I'm making them.

The thing I'm really getting into on a personal artistic level right now is textures. Photoshop brushes work very well for this and its fairly easy to make your own, but in this case I did not do that. To create the shadowy ghost-like effect, that is especially prominent in the second image down, I used one of my favorite techniques- The flash-blur. More on that later...

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