Oh orphans. Those loose ends, mistakes, those leftovers we find after all is done and it’s time to sweep up. What do we do with them? Where should they live? Where should we place these renegade creations?
These are questions we asked ourselves after looking through our archives and seeing years of unpublished/unprinted test shots, neglected experiments, and discarded portraits. Much like abandoned children, we felt that our creations needed a home so we came up with the “Orphaned Images” series.
As one might expect, this grouping is seriously disjointed and sporadic. As individual, stand-alone pieces, the portraits range from delightfully beautiful to sadistically deranged (the basic building blocks of our art). However, when presented as a body of work, there seemed to be a strange symmetry to the series, something we didn’t expect.
We hope to put the Orphans up in a few places, but their first stop was Carroll Street Café for the month of October. For fun we decided to name each piece on the night of the reception. That in and of itself became more of a challenge then expected and taught us a lesson in ‘not thinking too deeply’ about the subject. Stream of consciences can be really tough if you let thinking get in the way of it. Though sadly many of the titles were lost by the end of the month, it was a fun little game to play. However, it was more like “a happening”, you had to have been there.
With any craft one has to work really hard to perfect it. The art of photography is no exception. It seems the more we learn the more we realize how much we don’t know. There are so many techniques, so many tricks, and so many directions to go that it’s hard to ever really stop working and learning. And as of the last 5 to 10 years the technical part of photography has literally been turned on its head, everything has changed.
For us, many of these “Orphans” represent hours, days, and weeks of practice. We’ve tested and experimented with ideas on light, composition, composites, and retouching. The “Jellyfish sandwich” piece was especially challenging and worthwhile. I knew I wanted to try some underwater shots and wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it, so we literally just had to jump in and start shooting (with a little preparation, of course). With the help of Emily Norman, we got 2 models, put weights in their pants and threw them in a pool to start shooting. A few months later I was in Monterey, CA and there were literally thousands and thousands of jellyfish in the bay. I had my little underwater camera and from the pier I just held it underwater to get the background shot. The results are pure magic. Another shot Travis worked on was something the band Dead Confederate asked him to do for a possible album cover. Their lead guitarist had a vision that he couldn’t quite clarify, he just said something about a doll. So, Travis simple yanked the head off a toy and went to it. It was certainly one of our stranger Orphans. The “Occupy” image (below the surface shot with dropped coins) was also a bit challenging. We used a 8×4 1inch thick piece of plexiglass that we got off a Nike shoot for our models (Bobb Lovett & Autumn Tobin) to stand on while we shot from underneath. The illusion of shooting beneath the street and showing that perspective is not something you see everyday, so all the more reason to try it! The only piece that was actually shot for the show was, “I will not cheat Death” with Victor, it was an idea we had a while back and were never able to connect it with any other projects. So, we thought it would be a good time to get it done.
So many things have changed in the photography world, and change has come at a rapid pace. It seems everyone has an amazing camera and access to great editing programs and the industry has been severely watered down, but at at the end of the day it’s still the professionals that have consistent style, composition, and know how that should stand out. This discipline include years of practice and for us, that means “Orphans”, expect many more to come!