"Round we go, 'round again, circles. Play this game over again."

So, every year, around this time, I look at my portfolio with this massive pit in my stomach.

 

"Is this enough? No it's not is it?"

 

It's no surprise that I make a lot of my work around this time of the year. With awards looming its the kick up the butt to make my next body of work for whatever show is happening that year. Each year I need to make THAT image, the one that translates into sales. For me, awards translate into cash. I'm one of those wierdos who's fans love owning the award winning stuff. Its my own strange reality (Though maybe I beg you to love the obscure stuff too...) And every fucking time the looming pit of defeat hits me in the face like a wet flannel.

 

Because the fear of not making THAT image, the one that my fans will love lingers in my head.

 

"Is this enough?"

"Is this too crazy? Too weird? Too... I don't know... too much like that other photography person I can't remember the name of? Is this too boring? Am I too boring? Should I stop this INSANE merry go round? Maybe I need to climb underground, quit photography, go work a desk job without this bullshit? Fuck I cant do that, what about this uni degree I never finished but have HECS debt up to my eyeballs for. I probably should use that right? Fuck what a waste. Why do I bother?"

 

People remind me "Gee you have done this before, you have DONE this, like, you have WON this and defeated it. Why keep doing this?"

 

I ask myself every year.

 

Every year I'm reminded, without it I don't have the kick, the push to change, the push to evolve. I watched my work go from mediocre to something that makes my heart sing with all its geeky goodness in the space of 5 years. Imagine 10? Imagine 20? This is where all my heroes were born, this arena is where they all rose and sometimes even fell (but usually rose again)... why would I give that in? Why would I not walk the path of those I looked up to before me?

 

And I'm aware I can decide not to do this. I can pull out at any time and not hurt like this. Not face the feelings of "enoughness" and self worth every year.

 

But every year was transcendent wasnt it? Every year you learned something new. A harsh lesson you NEVER expected to face.

 

Year 1. You measure up.

Year 2. You are enough.

Year 3. You don't have to win physically to have a huge emotional win. Don't be lazy. Don't be complacent

Year 4. Success feels like failure. You are about to succeed more than you ever imagined, but the judgement about your life that follows will kick you in the face harder than anything you expected ever. You will hit the ground face first in the mud and you will HURT like nothing else because your wildest dreams came true but everyone expects you to be as big as that title (You're not, you are the speck of dust). What now?

Year 5. Let go. Relax. Release the technical reins and just DO IT. You learned to appreciate this. You are blessed with being here again and for the first time ever - You are yourself in this spotlight.

 

But then the other feelings, the feelings that you know are irrational because those years have taught you they are. There is an INSANE push for perfection. Looking at poses and photos desperate to find the geometry in the human form. Desperate to find the composition that will nail it. DESPERATE to find... something. Anything really - not to wow the judges, fuck the judges, it's been the harshest learning experience NEVER to make work for the judges. What judge? There are hundreds all from different backgrounds.

 

No.

 

I'm desperate to wow me. I'm desperate to look deep in my squishy heartguts and ask myself "What do you need to say this year Greenslade?"

 

Because when I do that, I find other people. Others like me. Make the art to be a beacon - the art is a lighthouse, find the people. Find the people who see the way you do. The more you find the more normal you feel. I don't want to win this. That's not the point. The point is, put the work in front of the biggest audience of people you know... and hope some messy little freak like you sees it. Give the work space to find its home. Give the work a chance to tell you where it wants to go in this world.

 

You will never EVER get anywhere holding your work back from the world afraid they will hate it. Because you equally never see it fly.

 

So here we are, back at the drawing board. Back facing the arena, back wondering why its all worth it. Back pushing myself harder and harder so that this art I make can go into the homes of hundreds of people. (And it did didn't it? Wasn't that a shock)

 

I'm sharing this because maybe others feel it too. Maybe just maybe we can all admit that we love the process, but hate the stress.

 

Maybe we can be a bit kinder. Maybe we can high five each other occasionally and be like "Hey you got this, you are showing up. You are giving your work space to be seen. That's what matters. That's all that matters"

I will piss on your grave - and other stories of love

So, every time I need to explain something, it has been pointed out to me that I do it in stories. It's how I roll, and the people close to me, we do the same thing. I know love when it comes out in a rant, it's how I find my people. Endless rants and stories that tumble out into a narrative of love and learning.

This week has been hectic. Actually, this month has been hectic, but brewing in the background something pretty sinister has been going on. Some of you have seen the shit fights break out on my Facebook pages. I don't heaps want to delve into it, I'm not into public shaming, but I want to make it very clear I'm pretty over it. It got out of hand the moment the harassment started in private messages. It's one thing to post it on my wall, it's another to start getting weird away from public view.

Some would say the hate is a reason to start changing my actions.

Others... well...

… here's the thing. You may not like me. You may follow my personal pages for reasons I don't entirely understand.

I want to share a story though, one I have taken with me through my whole life, this isn't for the haters, this is for those who go through similar shit to what I do. I will never impress any haters, it's not my job to. It's my job simply to connect to those who want to connect and to listen to them in return. Sometimes we disagree, but that's a side effect. 

I was that "troubled" kid, the one kicked out of home at various times for various reasons, the one that had absolute no fear in telling people to "go fuck yourself" - I was kind of intense and hard to handle... heck I still am. I took no shit.

One of the times I was kicked out of home I ended up at the house of some friends of the family. It's worth noting, if anyone was going to educate me on being a fucking badass it was going to be a lesbian police woman and her wife. She was everything you can picture a lesbian police woman to be. She had seen more than I could imagine. This tiny green haired girl wasn't anything she hadn't seen before. She took every curse word, every weird story, everything I said in her stride.

Why was I at her house? Well, a story I don't tell often is the one where I got pretty heavily bullied on my walk home from school for being – well a lot of different things but the main one was a lesbian. By definition there isn't a fucking thing wrong with being a lesbian (and you are an asshole if you think otherwise), and the truth of the matter was that I wasn't entirely straight but I wasn't a lesbian either. They had been picking on me for months and this story had to come to an end. The poor girls didn't know what they were getting into the moment one of them spat at me and began pulling my hair. I was admittedly tiny, but a freaking scrappy little thing who wasn't afraid of two school girls. I came out of it reasonably okay, but it completely paralysed me emotionally. One of them had a bloody nose and the other ran screaming up the street.

How the FUCK could I justify myself as a good person by the end of that day? Both girls ran away crying telling me I was a fucking monster. I felt like I was growing up into some sort of circus freak. Is this my life? If I choose to walk the path of resistance will I always face this shit? Will I always have to physically defend myself for things I both was and was not all at once?

The police woman was pretty used to picking my ass up from school when things went badly. She bundled me into the car and with the kindest gentlest demeanour she could possibly muster (she was a hard ass) she asked

"Whats up today Greenslade?"

We went home in the car in silence and I remember barricading myself up in the spare bedroom crying my eyes out wondering how the fuck to get through the school year. She quietly knocked on the door and sat on the end of my bed.

"Kid, what's going on?"

There was silence

"Oi, kid you know I can help you"

"I know..."

"Out with it"... and with that, the weight of the world came piling out, filling the room with tales of hair pulling and chewing gum being spat at me. Of being followed home daily and having rocks thrown at my head, the bruises down my back like scales. Of being picked on for looking different, for my mum being a “whore” because she was a single mum who just so happened to date someone (the horror!), I was picked on for my dad leaving to another state (He must hate you! - He loved me very much), I was shredded for all the things they couldn't understand about my life.

I could never be enough to impress those girls.

If only I was different. If only I could be straighter, prettier, less into weird music and odd clothes. But that wasn't my jam. I knew it. I was pissed off about it. Pissed off or the circumstances I was born in.

The woman took a deep breath. She listened to every word. When finally she pulled a tissue out and put it in my hand.

"You have snot bubbles on your face"

We giggled, the waves of emotions changing from a shit storm to calm as I cleaned away tears and snot. It was the first smile I had cracked in days.

"Kid, when people ask you to dance, you fucking dance. do you hear me?"

"Yes"
"You fight back do you hear me?"
“Even your parents”
“Okay”
"You're a tough little shit and you know it. Use it okay? You fought back. You did what the fuck you had to do"

"Okay but..."

"No! listen to me. This bullshit that people hate you for and give you shit for now? They will love you for it one day. They will fight along side you one day, do you understand me? You just have to keep being you and that's going to suck for a really long time. They are gonna say some shit about you and hurt you. But you will find other messy little freaks with weird hair, who got picked on in high school but went on to be super fucking cool and you will fucking love the hell out of them and they will love you okay?"

"Okay"

"You know how I know that?"

"How?"

"Well, I have a pretty amazing wife don't I?"

"Yeah you do" I laughed. It's true, her wife was one of my favourite people in this world.

She went quiet for a bit.

"Can you hold on for me? I need to see you grown up"

"Yeah"

"Okay. Promise?"

"I fucking have to promise, don't I? Or you will kick my ass in heaven"

"Kid we don't believe in heaven, fuck that, I'll piss on your grave instead"

So... I guess nearly 15 years later here I am. Holding on so some woman won't piss on my grave. A messy coloured haired freak with a bunch of other messy coloured haired freaks (And not so coloured haired freaks and people who are by social standards pretty normal) who love her. The best part? Loving all those who support me in return is pretty easy. You all just rant and share stories too. You hear me and I do my best to hear you.

We are doing our best, but the thing that comes with visibility is more of the haters come on in, but the haters are joined by more magical messy humans... more people chanting over and over again

“See me”
“Understand me”
“Get me”

And we do don't we?

Fuck you are excellent. Fuck you are loved and cherished for being ranty angry people full of life and opinions who get angry for all the right reasons. 

I had a human teach me about anger recently. I struggle with it, I hate confrontation even if I am well capable of it. They told me that loving anger is perfect. The kind of anger that stands up for its people because it wants to make the world a better place, that's a pretty beautiful anger. They modeled it to me by standing up for me through some pretty weird shit. I saw it in action and thought it was magical. It reminded me of my sister, political, blunt and full of fire, it reminded me of my best friend and her loves, the fight they put up for each other every day in a world that doesn't see them. 

And fuck I'm angry this week. I think we all are pretty angry in some way aren't we?  

So to my broken bloodied, bruised, fucked up, angry, messy weirdos...

...Thank you for proving a ranty police woman right...

...In honour of her, lets keep holding on.

If we let go, lets agree to lovingly piss on each other's graves...

Someone needs to hold us accountable. We need something to keep us going...

Hair of the Dog 2017 - photographic conference

Sorry about the crappy phone photo, I am sans camera at the moment working away from home!

I finally got a chance to emotionally process Hair of the Dog and all that it was. I have been madly on the go ever since getting home. I'm sitting here going through all of the gorgeous gifts, notes and lovely things everyone has given me over that weekend.

 

I want to take a moment to say a big THANKYOU! I present and speak a fair amount but something about that weekend was majorly different. I was presenting work I hadn't entirely spoken about before, I got way more real and messy than usual. I didn't think you all would believe the glitchy fun stuff I had been working on was as cool as I thought it was.

Presenting at Hair of the Dog

Presenting at Hair of the Dog

 

But weirdly enough... you all got on board. You all got carried away with the whimsy and delight that is the playground I'm currently dealing with. And in return, you all shared your own ideas of how to make this stuff bigger and greater than ever before.

A glitched image created in workshops for Hair of the Dog

A glitched image created in workshops for Hair of the Dog

 

I came home mega inspired, even though it was probably my job to inspire you. They say you learn more as a teacher than you do as a student and I think that was indeed the truth.

 

SO thanks folks...

Also....

I thought I would clear up a story that you all have super politely asked me about. I told a story during my keynote, that was about playing a ukulele to a human being who may never hear it - it kind of had no ending. It left you all wondering who I was playing it to and why. Sorry beautiful normal world humans who weren't there... we have an agreement that what was said there stays there... I guess you will just have to come to an artist talk to hear about it. 

Even if there is no ending to that story, I guess I'll let you in on a little secret...

I found out, messages have been sent across oceans in the form of postage stamps and art well before a ukuele was even owned. I found out maybe this is a dance thats been going on for 12 years but time always said "no" - except for this one time it said "yes" (remember the Wine and the music?)

Me with Kate Pardey (my platonic life partner who kept me in check and sorted the entire weekend) tuning Happy the Ukulele before going on stage.. Thankyou to Kris Anderson for snapping this on his phone!

Me with Kate Pardey (my platonic life partner who kept me in check and sorted the entire weekend) tuning Happy the Ukulele before going on stage.. Thankyou to Kris Anderson for snapping this on his phone!

As for the neighbour - He keeps listening in on the messages. Some actually get there now. In the wee hours of the morning between timezones and text messages. He's privy to a story much grander, full of "aweee fuck" moments and sillier than the one I let facebook know about. But I guess dear Hair of the Dog folks, that's a story we all keep together right? The rest is left for me, the neighbour, Happy the ukulele and a human far away. 

Kate holding the Mic up so people can hear me play Happy the Ukulele across an ocean 

Kate holding the Mic up so people can hear me play Happy the Ukulele across an ocean 

And that is it. There isn't any more I'm willing to give. Remember stories and secrets are all pretty magical and how we choose to tell them - well motherfuckers that's the best part...

You will probably find out the ending in artist talks to come...

Mad thank yous to the IMPRESSIVE Hair of the Dog team, the other presenters and to Kate Pardey, who keeps me sane when I can't handle life...

Me and Kris with our handmade Safety Unicorn Badges. We gave them out to people over the confrence as a way for newbies to get to know us a bit

Me and Kris with our handmade Safety Unicorn Badges. We gave them out to people over the confrence as a way for newbies to get to know us a bit

Anya Anastasia - Rogue Romantic and Tort E Mort

Holy macaroni! 

Fringe season is nearly upon us! And what better time to tell you all what I have been up to.

I'm really excited to share with you new work created for Anya Anastasia, one of the most badass ladies to grace the international cabaret scene. We worked together on two shoots, one for her show Tort E Mort - Songs of Cake and Death, as well as her show Rogue Romantic
 

I don't want to be an artist anymore...

"Do you love your job?"
"No. not right now"

The room falls a bit silent. 

God why are you saying that Gee? Why? Seriously this is a person who needs you to tell them you love this shit. That photography is the most incredible thing ever. 

The truth tumbled out like a dick joke at a family gathering... awkward and misplaced. I was in a class of students. We were talking about life in the real world of photography. And I guess for a split second I wanted to tell the, horrible, honest, gut-wrenching truth. 

I called a friend. "Why did I say that? Am I a fucking idiot?"
"Nah Gee, your just too real sometimes. You're that asshole who looks someone in the eye and gives it straight. It fucks you up sometimes, but would you rather lie to them?"

I swore long ago not to lie to students. Not to pretend this is a perfect world. To give it to them straight. To tell them its gonna suck but to keep going. 

But the question of why I hate the making process right now has been in my head for months. Why for the first time ever I had to admit - I don't want to be an artist right now. 

My creativity feels wrecked by years and years of making her do the work. Of forcing shit up hill that doesn't always push. Guys, you see the super shiny happy side to this. You see the awards won and the work that's made and the best parts of the showreel. You don't see the sweat and tears behind closed doors. 

"So do you like your job? Really?"
"No, I don't love this right now"
"How come?"
"The pressure to successful at every turn is pretty extreme. The pressure to make every image I have ever made into a high selling gold award is pretty awful. I'm not in love with that. I don't love living in the public eye so much, I don't love making work that's sale-able and worrying if it is sale-able. I am terrified I'll never make another Tribute to Carl Sagan even if its not rational because the past has told me that I always come back swinging bigger and better than before. 

I want the world to go a bit quiet. But it won't. It's always going to be this way and the more I love and do this work, the louder its going to get. 

I'm terrified because the truth is that I would rather play a ukulele badly than use a camera well. I would rather finish a video game than finish this work that has been my lifes work."

"Then why the fuck are you doing it Gee? Just stop. Leave it all behind"

That question has been kicking me in the guts for days. 

And I guess when it comes down to it, as tantalising as the mistress of distraction is, she doesn't understand that me and Creativity have a thing. When we work, we really nail it. When we make, we push past even our own wildest expectations.  Distraction is fun, but its a blowjob on the side in comparision to full blown love.

This is the longest relationship I have ever had.  I treat Creativity like her very own being. Because she is.  This is a life long marriage and like marriage - you work at it. Some days suck, Some days (like today) you have your head in your hands crying because, that creativity bitch? She decided not to show up. Somedays are magical - They are the best feeling in the world. Maybe I'm fighting back to the magic. 

Maybe I miss her, but dont know how to look her in the eye.

Shes disagreeing with me at every turn. She invited her friend the critic to our private date night and now... 

...Critic and Creativity are nit picking everything and Im angry. 

But I know what this means. I know I haven't been loving her enough. I haven't looked her in the eye for a while and told her how beautiful she is. I avoided her. I know all that terror is her trying to call me back to this thing I do.

Then theres the little voice again, "Go home you fucking idiot. You know this will work itself out"

So here I am. Fighting with the thing I adore the most in the world. Begging her to come back to me and help me work. 

And were gonna do it. We aways do. 

But art is hard, feeling this open and vulnerable about not making alot of personal work lately feels weak. What a white girl issue. 

Maybe I just need to admit, I need a cheer squad. Maybe me and creativity, we need our community to get us past the rough patch. Maybe we need to say we need some help. Some wise inspirational words from our creative brethren. 

We aren't done yet. We promise you we aren't done. We know this is normal. We know in theory, we are frustrated - wich is good, Because frustration means we are about to have a massive breakthrough... this pain? It means we are on the path...

That time I Won Australian Illustrative Photographer of the year not once... but TWICE in a row

Holy freaking moley! What an INCREDIBLE week it has been. For those not in the know the past 7 days I have been on one incredible photographic pilgrimage to the motherland of photography - the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) and The Nikon Event - both events together is called Incite.

Below is a bit of a video about whats involved, Plus a hilarious cameo with me at the end...

 

This time last year I treated myself to a tattoo - it was very simply an image of the first piece of art I ever sold, with the words under it "Go home"

I got it because I had just won the Australian Illustrative Photographer of the year for 2015

Fresh tattoo of "Go Home" thanks to the lovely folk at Wolf and Wren

Fresh tattoo of "Go Home" thanks to the lovely folk at Wolf and Wren

 

And I needed that tattoo - I needed it because I can tell you guys right now I did not feel like I deserved that title.

 

And what "Go Home" means to me - well its a philosophy I have learned to base my entire life on. It means - no matter what happens, no matter who you meet or where you go, no matter what good or bad or in between goes down - always go home. It could be the worst day ever, it could be the best day ever. It's my job to find my way home. This idea is based off a gorgeous Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk



 And home for me isn't a house, those who know me know I have never had a solid family or home base. For me - like Guilbert, home is the thing you love more than you love yourself. The thing you do regardless of anything else going on. For me thats art. Home for me is sketchbooks and drawings, concepts and ideas, nerdy nights in front of screens and beauty. Always beauty.

 

This year I had the pleasure of winning Australian Illustrative Photographer of the year for the SECOND year running. Guys - I was blown away the first time, but to have retained that title - I am completely humbled. I'm humbled because this is the title that so many photographers I grew up loving, have won before me.

 

I was also a judge this year - and for a moment I want to talk about the extreme privilege that was. Those who know my life, know where I come from, know the awkwardness I always feel deep down inside, know how often I ask myself "Do I belong here?" "Do I deserve this?" - you will know I never pictured myself being ANY of this. I never thought for a second I was allowed the privilege of a voice let alone a voice worth listening to. This year I sat on panels with photographers I had looked up to for many years. Masters, Grand Masters - all these folks I had been staring at in the pages of the APPA books my entire photographic life. Somehow I was sitting there with them - my ideas thoughts and opinions on images as equal to theirs as theirs was to me. It was a big deal - and I have learned so much from their vision and thought processes over the week.

 

But man was it overwhelming. My gosh was it scary to sit next to them and have to say why I felt how I felt about images. It takes so much guts and vulnerability to be up on that panel. To be watched by people all over the world and to have to stand up for every thought process you have whilst there. I kept asking myself "do you belong?" and the answer always was - "it doesn't matter... Go home" - and if home is loving images and loving art - if I choose to live there and speak from that place of love - then there is absolutely no disputing I belong. And I found out over the days - I did belong - and that feeling was pretty cool.

 

I came home with a pretty full heart. With deeper friendships with my AIPP friends and family than ever before. I feel at peace - something I can tell you last year I did not feel.

 

I came home feeling the deepest sense of belonging I have ever felt. You can hear me talk a little about it in this video: https://www.facebook.com/AIPPOfficial/videos/10154025023228687/

 

So here's to another year I wasn't expecting on the roller coaster of having this title. Heres to a year of having it, and feeling as if maybe just a little - I might have earned it. I have learned so much since last year - and I cannot wait to report back in another year with everything I have learned.

OH! And I got my Master of photography! You can now call me Gee Greenslade MPhotog. I HAVE LETTERS AFTER MY NAME GUYS!!!!

Me after getting my Masters with the ever so glorious Chris and Wanda - two of my favourite people to catch up with at APPA

Me after getting my Masters with the ever so glorious Chris and Wanda - two of my favourite people to catch up with at APPA

OH! And I got my Master of photography! You can now call me Gee Greenslade MPhotog. I HAVE LETTERS AFTER MY NAME GUYS!!!!

Thankyou to every human being who has played a part in this. To the folks who helped my rush around driving prints everywhere and supporting me whilst I was stressing. To my printers, to the people who sell this work and support it. To my beautiful models in this work, My sister Moira, my other sister from another mister Rachael and the incredibly beautiful Braeda.

 

Guys you are loved. So... very... loved.

Below is a bunch of the images I entered. If you are interested in purchasing any of them pop on over to http://delaliff.com/collections/gee-greenslade

Blue and others 61x91 keylined.jpg

The Making of "Technologic" Gold at the South Australian Professional Photography Awards

Technologic was a massive project to take on, especially considering the message I wanted to convey and the ideas I had in my head for the end result. I knew from the get go this was going to be a challenge - but I didn't really know in what ways. 

For reference this is the final shot:
 

Gee_Greenslade_Technologic_Gold_Award_SAPPA_South_Australian_Professional_Photography_Awards

I called upon the awesomeness of my friend Demi who has super glorious long hair. I thought at the time this piece would have long sweeping locks throughout it, but as time went on I recognized they may not fit what I want to do, so Demis hair got lopped off half way through the making of this image

Gee_Greenslade_Original_Technologic_Gold_Award_SAPPA_South_Australian_Professional_Photography_Awards

I wanted to make an image that talked openly about the tension between the life we have on screen and the natural world, in a way that wasn't preachy, didn't tell anyone what to think, but simply just aknowledges that this exists.

I started with I cutting Demi out, Putting her on a white background and threw some branches over her. I cut her body off because I knew I just wanted her face. 

I followed the same process as the Carl Sagan piece (see previous blog) by dodging and burning these branches to dead black and dead white. These branches were quite literally the tree outside my house looking up

I followed the same process as the Carl Sagan piece (see previous blog) by dodging and burning these branches to dead black and dead white. These branches were quite literally the tree outside my house looking up


So far the process was much the same as my Carl Sagan image. I made everything black and white so that I could add the colour washes using blend modes. My choice of colour wash this time was some images of an amazing sunset I took early this year. 

Seriously how amazing is this sunset? Words cant describe the fun I had that night right outside my house!

Seriously how amazing is this sunset? Words cant describe the fun I had that night right outside my house!

From there I made some colour changes with hue and saturation and a fair amount of curves. 

Heres where everything got super fun and interesting. I had the major base of the image all set out. I had mirrored the sticks and framed Demi in the centre. 

I feel especially in photography we are caught in a bit of a loop, the same ideas about our craft are being preached time and time again, so many people lament a time in photography (the film era) that I feel for myself never left us - we just have to see digital differently. 

For me the one thing I missed was the physicality of negatives (film for those playing at home). I loved doing all that crazy dumb stuff like scratching my film or destroying my negatives, playing about with developer and chemistry. There felt like a randomness to it that digital was always missing.

However about two years ago, inspired by a book I had bought from Stolen Projects called Alphabent (check it out here: http://stolenprojects.com/store/alphabent) I began to experiment with data bending or glitch. I cant even explain the fun I had with this process, it felt like I had a chance to re-connect with that hands on feeling that film once had, but in a digital way. 

Glitch or Databending is the process of deliberately corrupting images. Corrupt files is usually something that every photographer DREADS, but in this case I got up close and personal with my images in notepad, a sound program called Audacity, kicking about old scanners, pulling out memory cards before the whole thing had loaded - almost anything I could do to corrupt files. You can check out some of this stuff for yourself here:  Be sure to back your files up! I absolutely always had multiple copies of my images because it is super easy to ruin them completely. 

So I began the process of glitching this image in as many ways as I could. I cant tell you exactly what techniques I used on each piece, honestly I go into a crazy breaking things frenzy when Im doing this stuff and so I really lost track of what did what. But here is some of the glitched images I ended up with

From there it was a simple case of picking the glitch parts I liked and adding it into the piece using a mixture of masking, opacity and blend modes. 

The final touches came in the form of a bit of binary code... because why the hell not! I knew I wanted the binary to be fuzzy and imperfect, maybe wizzing past the image a bit. I also REALLY wanted you to be able to see the pixels in the binary, so I photographed it with my phone up close to the computer screen. I then inverted it and used blend modes and dodge and burn to overlay it onto the image. 

 

The final step was to break one of my cardinal rules when using Photoshop... AVOID THE FILTER MENU (Aside from blurs and noise) but in this case the Mosaic filter with its pixelating effect was a perfect addition. I wanted one side of the image to be falling out into pixels and the other to remain solid, so I made a copy of the entire image, pixelated it and brushed it back where I needed it. 

Then our image was finished! For reference this image got a Gold at the South Australian awards and a Silver with Distinction at the National awards. Whilst it didn't do as well as I wanted it to at a national level, this one is without a doubt my absolute favorite because of how complex and fun it was to make. 

Hope everyone is having a spectacular day!

xx Gee

The Making of "Carl Sagan" - Gold Award in the Australian Professional Photography Awards

Woah what a ride the last few days have been! I have had many e-mails and questions about my award winning Illustrative portfolio in the Australian Professional Photography Awards I don't even know where to start.

I have decided to spend the next couple of days talking about how that work was made, because the biggest question that keeps getting asked is "Is this really photography?"

Here is the finished piece - just for reference. 

Here is the finished piece - just for reference. 


Before we begin, if you love this piece and want to grab yourself a copy you can go straight here and its all yours! https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/253045751/gee-greenslade-limited-edition-ode-to?ref=shop_home_active_1

Alternatively pop into DeLa Liff in Rundle Place Adelaide to nab your copy in store. 

Since the rules state that all work in the awards has to be completely 100% photographic, I can tell you now that it is, I even had to verify it with the awards team! For the record, they do call us and make us prove our work really is photography. The honest truth is that my work contains a lot of Photoshop, which is generally the nature of the Illustrative category but it still remains 100% completely photographic with ALMOST close to darkroom techniques - just the digital version.  In fact I use a whole lot LESS Photoshop when I'm working on things like this than I retouch a simple fashion shoot. I'm about to show you how!

My photography in this work is VERY basic but has been developed over years of trial and error. I used to try and make complicated light setups and make it hard, but in the end simply laying my props on white paper with a single defused light has worked well for me. I employ the use of white paper rolls as white backdrops for nearly everything I photograph that doesn't include real life people.

Here are the stock photos I shot on my office floor using a Nikon D600, a Bowens Espirit 400 strobe pointed at my white ceiling to defuse it and a very simple 50mm lens. Nothing fancy! 
 

My twig, this was about a foot tall, found blowing around in the wind outside my house. I love this thing! 

My twig, this was about a foot tall, found blowing around in the wind outside my house. I love this thing! 

The roots of my dead chili plant! I'm a terrible gardener! This is actually only one of the shots I took of the chili plant, I rotated it to get different angles so that the roots looked different in each shot

The roots of my dead chili plant! I'm a terrible gardener! This is actually only one of the shots I took of the chili plant, I rotated it to get different angles so that the roots looked different in each shot

I spent an afternoon with some water colour paint found in Spotlight and canvas paper. I painted the paper first with water and flicked the paint on the page allowing it to run everywhere. Warning! This is a hell of a lot of fun but gets super messy! Notice that the chili plant has a whole lot of dirt that has fallen off it... that dirt was what made up the bodies of the people!

I spent an afternoon with some water colour paint found in Spotlight and canvas paper. I painted the paper first with water and flicked the paint on the page allowing it to run everywhere. Warning! This is a hell of a lot of fun but gets super messy! Notice that the chili plant has a whole lot of dirt that has fallen off it... that dirt was what made up the bodies of the people!

That is legitimately all the photographs it took to make this work. I then set to work blanking out the background of the twig shots using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop. I wanted to make the twigs as black as black could be and the paper as white as white can go! 

I removed the twigs I didn't want from the chili plant, lined it all up so the tree was straight, then used blend modes to make the two look like they were one. 

I stretched the roots of the chili plant down to create that beautiful elongated effect and added a few more roots and dirt in from the other shots of the chili plant I had. 

Then using blend modes in Photoshop I added the water colour texture over the top. I copied and pasted it a few times to make it solid and used a hue and saturation layer to get the greens I wanted. 

How were the people made you ask? Ah! Simple! With all those sticks and bits everywhere I had arms, legs and question marks. I simply cut and pasted the sticks and dirt into a shape and Wham! People! The seed on the little twig at the top of the branch is their heads (I used a little liquefy to get the shape and cleaned it up with a bit of masking) the arms and legs were from somewhere in the top right of the tree and the round part of the question mark was in the middle right of the twig kind of where the twig is making that "E" shape. 

If that makes no sense here's a quick markup where I have shown where all the elements come from:

Gee_Greenslade_Carl_Sagan_Markup

I hope that gives some insight into how this work is made and how fun and simple it can be. 

Tomorrow I will show you all how my Technologic image was made with Glitch art techniques! Super exciting!

Lots of love
Gee Greenslade