PDN – Turning Objects Into Ideas

A few months back writer Kris Wilton interviewed me about conceptual still life photography. I forgot all about it until I flipped a page, and there I was, along with a few fellow practitioners. According to the article conceptual still life is really hard. So if anyone out there has any aspirations, you might as well give up now.
For me, I feel like the hardest part is making an idea satisfy the masses. Not thinking a good one up. There are tons of great ideas. Once you have an idea to illustrate a story, you simply need to make it fit the magazine’s look, satisfy the style of the photo editor, the photo director, the art director, creative director, and obviously all of the editors, and all of their spouses, and the office cat.
If an idea can do that, all you have to do is take the picture! One time I had an idea for a magazine that I knew was perfect. But they weren’t going for it. So I went ahead and did the shoot, but added this extra option. It ended up running as the cover. Maybe I just did a terrible job sketching the idea out? Who knows. The cover looked good though!
But there are two sides to this coin. Frequently an idea is okay, but after a few back and forth emails and a phone call, that idea can become something really special. I think there is a perfect place between collaboration, and art by committee. Wherever that place is, I’d like to be there as much as possible.
Side note; the article mentioned this type of work typically does not look photoshopped. That made me happy.