Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Play with the Plastic

I was feeling a bit stale in my approach to photographing. Maybe it was just the aftermath of a long cold rainy Oregon winter, but I thought I needed a change of pace. Something to shake loose the cobwebs and see things in a new way. Yadda yadda yadda. So I signed up for a workshop. I’ve taken several workshops over the years, and taught quite a few as well, but it’s always nice to get together with other folks with a shared interest/passion and have some fun. You don’t have to have a definite agenda beyond maybe trying something new, learning a new trick or two, or just taking a few pix. So I signed up for an all-day field trip to Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island is, not surprisingly, an island in the Columbia River northwest of Portland, Oregon. It’s mostly farms, beaches (some clothing optional!), and wildlife refuges. The workshop/fieldtrip, offered by the Newspace Center of Photography in Portland, was led by Susan Bein, a long time Photoshop guru, photographic artist, and genuinely nice person. The first stop on the excursion was the Bybee-Howell farmstead, an old house that is now overseen by the State Parks Department. Susan had brought along a 400-foot roll of plastic intended for use as a painter’s drop cloth. It’s very lightweight, translucent, and tends to drift in the air and billow in the breeze. As we were walking up to the house, she asked if I wanted to use the plastic in some photographs. After all, that’s why she brought it along.

I looked at the plastic, looked at her, and thought, “Are you kidding? That is nothing that I would ever photograph!” But I said, “Uh, no thanks,” and shuffled on. Now remember that I signed up for the workshop for a change of pace, and here I was turning down something that was a definite change of pace, for me anyway. Not a shining moment for yours truly. Well to make a short story long, once we got in the old house and I saw how she was using the plastic, I did take some photos. And I did have a good time doing it. And I even like the images I made.

Moral of the story is: if someone offers you some plastic to play with, take it and have fun with it. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Susan.

Below are a couple of shots of the plastic in the old house. Spooky.

No comments: