I've really been challenged over the last few months to pursue what I'm passionate about in photography, not just projects that will make money or be popular on Instagram. Who do I want to be as photographer? What kind of art do I want to create? What's my "style"?
It's a difficult thing to define oneself, and while it might seem limiting at first, it turns out there's a lot of freedom in specialization. It frees you up to know what to give your time, effort, and passions to. It allows you to feel good saying "no" to projects that would be draining to you and allows you to focus on the projects you do pursue.
So how do you find out what your passion is? Look at your inspiration. Which artists inspire you? What kind of art keeps you up at night? What type of photos do you look at and say, "Damn, I wish I shot that?" For me there are quite a few, but I always come back to Leibovitz (Annie, in case there was some confusion). Especially the cinematic work shot for Vogue. The moody landscapes, the bold colors, the high fashion. I love how epic those shots feel. I want to create art like that. So that's what I've set out to do.
Now there are obvious hindrances, first and foremost being budget. Those are huge productions with massive budgets (for Annie, at least) for travel, wardrobe, gear, etc. Well, this is a personal project so my budget was less than massive. And my epic landscape options were a bit limited (to like none). So I spent some time problem solving (aka learning Photoshop), and came to the conclusion that this would need to be a composite project.
The first image in this series is titled Hysteria, and is based loosely around longing and chaos and drama. I knew I wanted to work with this Icelandic landscape because of the drama, and once I found the basic images for the back plate, I knew my colors would be green in the landscape and red for a striking contrast in color. In the same Facebook post I found my model, the dress from a local designer, and an incredible makeup artist and my wife to style. For $0 dollars. That's pretty cool, and this project would have been impossible without their help. Can't wait to show you the rest!