Questions and Answers
Question for the Community
Question: How have you gotten creative with your photos over quarantine?
I have barely touched my film cameras, I feel like I don’t have anything I want to document while in quarantine - but I’ve been having a bit more fun taking pictures of the houses and funny scenes I see on my daily walks, and sharing the golden ones with friends and family and maybe instagram. I also dabbled with digital collage of my pictures for a while, but that didn’t last long.
My Dream House on the Water
Questions for the Exec
Question: What’s been your favourite creative project in the last year?
This is a hard question! I've never really been good with answering these "favourite" questions, but if I had to pick, I think it would be collaborating with a jewellery account on instagram! I made a video from it that you can check out on the VicXposure YouTube channel! I've been wanting to get into fashion and jewellery photography, so I was ecstatic when they wanted to work together for their upcoming collection! On top of photographing jewellery, I was also able to do a group photoshoot of five people, which is the largest group size I've photographed. It was challenging but also very fun! I really enjoyed the process!
At the beginning of May last year, I finally decided to buckle down and learn how to use editing software. I only seriously took up photography in October of the year before, so I had my work cut out for me with 7 months of photos to work through. I chipped away sporadically over the summer, learning new skills and remembering what had me taking every photo that I worked on.
In November, as winter was starting to sink it's teeth in and cases were rising again in Toronto, I ordered a bunch of prints from the photos that I'd edited. I promptly covered my workspace and bedroom with the prints. They've gone a ways to brighten up these two terms and kept me grounded through these months of lockdown.
You're looking at it right now! To be completely honest, this year has been a major slump for me in terms of doing anything creative. Like many others, I have hardly had the motivation to work on any project for any extended period of time and I have given up on a bunch of things I started on. Although I did do some video editing for other people, I never felt like doing anything for myself. That is why I was so excited to work on VicXposure's first e-magazine so that even if I wasn't feeling creative myself, I could help showcase all the amazing and inspiring work done by everyone else.
I decided to experiment with black and white film! Historically, I've taken to using basic, colour film with an ISO of 400. I like being able to see how colours shift depending on light settings and I have always enjoyed seeing just how different colours appear on film.
In an effort to shift away from an emphasis on colour, I decided to remove that element. B&W film (albeit, still typically using 400 ISO) has been really fun to manipulate. Since I shot most of my B&W rolls during the winter season in Toronto, I found I was able to capture some sides of the cityscape I normally wouldn't because of their bland colouring. I've like the dream-like quality B&W offers.
Question: For finding good locations/subjects for photography, how might you balance noticing the "photo-worthy" details in your familiar environments vs seeking out new interesting environments?
That is a great question! Unfortunately I don't have a guide or any particular tips. I simply will try them out, whether it be looking through my lens in the familiar environment of my room or exploring a new location! It can also be fun to go on photoshoots with a friend (given that it is safe of course) and exchange ideas along the way!
This one will definitely vary from photographer to photographer, but I'll throw in my two cents. In my own photography (which mostly revolves around the city of Toronto), I rarely find myself returning to re-shoot the exact same thing. There's so much novelty around us that it almost feels like wasted time if I'm covering the same ground over and over again. There are exceptions of course and I have a few favourite spots that I enjoy revisiting, camera or no.
In general, I think photographers should follow their nose on this one. If you find yourself always shooting the same things than I think you should definitely branch out. Places also change from day to day, so there's no harm in revisiting to see what you missed, or looking for new details that you didn't see the first time around. Even if the place hasn't changed at all, the person looking into the viewfinder has, so revisiting can be a great way to see how you and your photography have evolved.
For me, it often comes down to what I am feeling like in that moment. I am generally not someone who plans trips to take photos that far in advance, and I usually end up just going out on impulse. I feel like it takes a while to completely know one place and all the photo opportunities it affords, especially with different kinds of weather and lighting and times of year. On the other hand, there are so many places that also have these qualities. I usually don't go out with the intention of covering all the possible locations to photograph as if I was completing a treasure hunt but sometimes if I feel like I am in an exploring mood, I will check out something new. You would probably find more cool opportunities if you did not limit yourself to only one approach. Also I feel like I come across most of my photos serendipitously, so it's never a bad idea to carry a camera with you.
My least favourite thing about shooting on film is how heavy my camera is. If I could fit it conveniently in my pocket, I would carry it with me at all times! If I run into something I feel the need to shoot, I will just use my phone, but for the most part, I don't really have my photography lenses on unless I set out to shoot. Whenever I'm feeling creative, or know I am headed somewhere I've never seen before, I grab my camera bag so I'm ready to go if I see something particularly inspirational.
With that, I'm pretty set in the idea that anything is "photo-worthy" if you feel inclined to photograph it. With film photography, I know how much each shot costs me and that I may not see that photo again for another few months (depending on how frequently I'm shooting/developing). With those factors in mind, I take my time in composing my shot. If it compels you, I say go for it!
Question: How do you get inspired when there is nothing to do? I have noticed I've stopped taking pictures since I don't go anywhere/do anything.
Lockdown has definitely caused my photo taking to decrease as well, mostly because going places and doing the fun things is dangerous. Finding cool things to point your camera at and pressing the shutter is a lot of fun, but photography can be so much more than that because there are so many different creative avenues to explore.
I think two things that I've really leaned into over quarantine are post-processing and learning about different gear. I've been working mostly with darktable and it lets me interact with and enjoy my photos all over again while playing around with the different tools that can bring photos to life. If you have a camera built in the last 5-10 years and you haven't read the instruction manual cover to cover, there's probably something it can do that you might not fully understand or even know is possible. Getting to know your gear can also be really fulfilling, especially if you're interested by the technical side of image capture like I am.
Invariably, as I've leaned into these other sides of photography, I've gotten myself excited about putting my new knowledge to work.
This year has not been my most productive year by far, but I guess the restrictions placed on me has forced me to try and innovate with what little I have. Since I have been only been able to take photos in my house, my backyard, and my neighbourhood, it has made me experiment with angles, lighting and perspective more than before. Photographing the various things in my house but playing around with the environment has provided some enjoyment in this otherwise terrible year.
I too haven't been feeling super inspired. I've only developed two rolls in the past eight months or so. When I notice I haven't shot in a while, I decide to go for a walk in a path I normally don't take. When COVID cases are particularly low, I might even hop on public transit and go to a new neighbourhood to just walk around. Even if I don't end up taking any photos, I've put on my creative cap for an afternoon which can be rewarding in and of itself!
We asked you how you like to take photos. Here are the results!