Category Archives: Photography

Focusing on Art!

It has been a crazy spring and summer, and I have been both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by all that has been going on.  I have been working on more of the Female Archetype Project which will be soon transforming into the Human Archetype Project as I begin to incorporate male archetypes.  I have been feeling pulled in a million directions while trying to do research for the book writing aspect of the project, focus on my own spiritual journey, pay bills, work with clients and all of the million day-to-day things which come up constantly.  Mind you, I’m not complaining, being busy is a good thing… But it has also caused me to reassess my life, my goals and my focus.

Bearing in mind that I love working with my clients, creating art with and for them, I have decided that I will be severely limiting the commissions I take on going forward.  I will no longer be creating more standard portraiture, but will be only taking on commissions that go along with my painterly style.  I will only be taking 6 more portrait commissions this year and only 12 a year hereafter.  I will still be taking business and actors headshots and taking occasional model development sessions, as they do not take the same amount of creative energy in post-processing and act as a left-brain balance to my personal work.

So, that being said, if you are interested in commissioning a portrait, now is the time to start the process! Email info@artanddiscord.com or use the form on the Contact page to get in touch and we can start planning!

And, to wrap up this blog post, here’s some eye-candy… One of my recent additions to the Archetype Project: “Great Mother, Babalon” with beautiful Aepril Schaile.  I have two more images I am working on for this trilogy and I can’t wait to be able to share them all soon!

 

 

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Why you shouldn’t count chickens…

It has been a crazy past few weeks since my last post, and I am glad to finally be sharing a bit of it with you.

So, firstly, it does appear that I was perhaps counting my chickens a bit early in my last post as the job that I thought that I was mostly guaranteed, did end up falling through. I am sad that I will not be joining a company that I respect, but I am also trying to see it as a positive opportunity to reassess what I’m doing.  Though I am still looking for a full-time position to help pay my bills, I feel that I need to reassess my art business and how I can make more of a living through my creative endeavors.  I am so grateful for all of the people that support me and my art and my heart sings with joy every time a comment is left on an image on social media or I get a message from someone that I’ve never met saying how much they love my work and look forward to seeing it online.

I have thought many times about starting a Kickstarter campaign or doing something similar on one of those crowdfunding type sites and I’ve always hesitated because it focuses too much on just accomplishing a single goal. However my work is continual and the projects that I’m working on intertwine in so many ways but can also be quite separate that I think it would be very hard to set a useful or understandable goal.

It was brought to my attention that there is a new platform which has recently started and which has some pretty amazing artists already using great effect, including musician and writer Amanda Palmer who had also successfully used Kickstarter to produce an album when she left her record label.  I was intrigued because it has a very different, but perhaps more traditional mindset in supporting the arts.

The platform is called Patreon and the principle is that artists generally tend to produce continually and often are hindered by finances from producing as much as they would like. Traditional patrons of artists and musicians would offer them a monthly stipend in order to have access to the artist in ways that others would not. They would benefit from the artists work either directly or by association and the artist would produce work for them and also be able to create the works that they themselves were passionate about.  Patreon takes this concept and modernizes it. Patrons can donate per creation or monthly amounts as low as one dollar and will have access to the artist in different ways, from the viewing of exclusive content, gifts of prints or postcards, video content, behind the scenes, tutorials, and so much more, with each artist creating their own set of rewards and offering different types of access based on the amount of financial support.

So, after doing my own research, I’ve decided to give this idea a shot. My social media content and all the images I create will still be available to see for free. However, because I know a lot of people that enjoy seeing my work can’t necessarily afford to buy it and can’t necessarily afford to hire me to create work for them, I want to offer a different way for people who enjoy my work and feel that it adds something to their own lives, their own way to be a part of how I create and offer them a way to help me create more.

I’ve been in the middle of this Archetype Project for the last year, and I thought when I began it last January that I would be much further along by now. My end goal is to create a book with at least 25 images and hopefully to be able to coordinate a gallery show of all of the images. The main problem that I have run into, however, was that I wasn’t getting enough paying clients or prints sales to buy supplies for all the wardrobe, sets and props I make. I couldn’t afford the insurance that would give me access to locations that require it, and I couldn’t afford to rent lighting and lenses that would take the work to the next level.  It has slowed down the process which has been incredibly frustrating;  I have concepts swirling in my mind and no way to bring them to life to the degree that they deserve.

Beyond the Archetype Project I am obsessed with creating images in the old methods, such as by using Wet Plate techniques to create tintypes and ambrotypes; I love my Polaroid and Holga and the images that film produces which require so little post-production; and I am starting to explore the realm of video to add another element to my creative madness.  All of these areas of my work would be able to expand as well.

So, what it comes down to, is that while I don’t need the best equipment, wardrobe, sets, locations, etc, even the wardrobe I rent, or thrift or create takes money, sets and props can be made inexpensively and items reused for different purposes again and again, but the base elements still cost.  I estimated that each Archetype image I create has cost me between $200 and $500, between all of these elements, and its not sustainable, which makes me fear for the future of the project and my work.  This is where Patreon and my patrons will come in.  By donating monthly, even just a dollar, it will help me to bring all of the parts of these images together so I can bring the idea to fruition.  The money will help me to pay for business costs, and studio rental, supplies and wardrobe, and, if there is enough, I will be able to pay the wonderful people that donate their time to help me bring these images to life, which would be the most wonderful thing I can imagine.

So, if you dig my work, if it brings any hint of enjoyment to your life, if you look forward to seeing new images pop up in your social media feed, then please consider a small donation through Patreon.  If all the people that love my work donated a dollar each month, I would be able to produce and share so much more!

That being said, of course, I will have some more time for commissions, so if that is something you are interested in, please email artanddiscordstudios (at) gmail.com

And to conclude, here is a fun spring-inspired beauty image I shot last month with the always amazing Lyndsay Simon from Makeup by Lyndsay, Nathan Prescott who can be found at Trephin Salon in Boston, and beautiful Salina Jade, who is represented by Maggie, Inc.

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Also posted in Beauty, Events, Female Archetype Project, Fine Art, Headshots Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Happy International Women’s Day!

      Today is International Women’s Day, which intends to bring awareness to the oppression and inequality of women globally.  Personally, I think it is insane that in a world which is so advanced in so many ways, that antiquated belief systems which support the idea that any human being is lesser than any other still exist.

      As women especially,  it is important that we support each other, and help lift each other up.  It is always my greatest joy to create images which show the immense variety of beauty that exists in the universe, and some of my favorite sessions are portraits that reveals both inner and outer beauty for a woman to see in herself.  Celebrate and share yourself, your inner and outer beauty, for all the world to see.

You are amazing and you deserve for everyone to see it.

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Also posted in Beauty, Fine Art, Inspiration, Portrait Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Spring is in the Air

So, 2015 is going to be the year that I actually stay on top of posting here… I am terrible at writing regularly, probably because I spent 8 years in high school and college writing and was pretty over it by the time I was done.  But, seeing as that was 15 years ago (holy hell… I can’t believe its been so long!) I figure its time for me to get back into it.

Last year was a pretty rough year and when it ended I was pretty excited to see it go.  When it started, I was very excited to pursue my new fine art concepts for The Female Archetype Project and to do a bit of traveling.  I was disappointed with the outcome on both of those fronts.  Other than the trip I made with my husband to Portland, OR last February, we pretty much didn’t leave MA, and my lofty goal to shoot 20 or more concepts for the Female Archetype Project fell quite short as I only produced about a half dozen images.  We moved to Salem, MA in October, and it was probably the best move we could have made from a creative and general-life-happiness perspective.  This winter has been rough though, as it has been for most New Englanders… but it hit me unexpectedly hard because it was more difficult to see friends and family since they live much farther away now and also because I wasn’t running my husband’s business anymore, I was also not leaving the house, and wasn’t really interacting with many other human beings.  That was pretty much a recipe for disaster with my creative process.

So, here we are, close to the end of the winter and I’ve started to meet some local folks and my brain is starting to right itself.  I have decided to expand the Archetype Project to explore more than just female mythology, so it will now include male characters as well.  I have been renewing my obsession with comparative religions/mythologies and I am fascinated by how many stories repeat from culture to culture, even amongst groups that have no obvious connections geographically or historically.  I am excited to start the expansion as soon as the snow melts and I’m in the midst of the insane amount of planning it will take to pull a very epic shoot together to explore a ubiquitous character and the many tales that he is featured in.

To wrap this up, I am hoping to blog a few times a week, so keep your eye peeled for more posts.  I am planning to release some behind-the-scenes videos, photoshop tutorials, and the many tales that will come with the photoshoots that are on the books already in the coming months.  And to tide you over until the next post, I’ll leave you all with a few shots from a recent day of fun I had with a local model, Charlie Vagabond, and a photographer/model/adventurer Grace, from Fading Grace Photography.  We had a great day of playing dress up and created some fun images that I am quite in love with.  Enjoy!

 

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Credits:

MUA: Crissy Zarbano

Charlie’s corset: Jane’s Corsets

Charlie’s Vest: Redfield Design

Feather Mohawk and Distressed Armband: Discord Industries

Also posted in Fashion, Portrait, Wardrobe Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Tintypes: What the heck are they and why do I keep talking about them?!

The wet plate collodion process was developed by Frederic Scott Archer and introduced in the 1850s.  It became a very popular photographic process by the end of the decade and virtually replaced the first photographic process, Daguerrotypes.  It remained popular until the 1880’s, when it was replaced by the gelatin dry plate process, which was a more convenient process, due to its increased sensitivity (leading to shorter exposure times) and the fact that it could be prepared in advance and used at a later time.

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Frederick Scott Archer – by Robert Cade c. 1855

The wet plate collodion process is a fairly simple one, requiring the photographer to dissolve a soluble iodide into a collodion solution and coating a plate with it.  The plate was then immersed in a silver nitrate solution in the darkroom, put into a special plate holder, and while stil wet, put in a camera and exposed.  The solution is only sensitive while it is wet, and so it was imperative to expose the plate during that time.  It is developed by pouring a solution of iron sulfate, acetic acid and alcohol.  It is finally fixed with a solution of sodium thiosulfate or potassium cyanid.  Again, the plate must be developed and fixed while still wet, because as it dries the collodion layer becomes waterproof and does not allow the solutions to penetrate and react with the silver nitrate layer.  The final part of the process involves applying a varnish, to protect the surface of the image from scratches, although often they were immediately put into protective cases and left unvarnished. This process was valued because it shows a high level of detail and has amazing clarity when exposed properly.  It is also interesting because the silver halides in the silver nitrate solution are sensitive to actinic light, which means that it is more sensitive to blue and uv light, so colors and light-waves in that spectrum show up extremely light and colors in the orange and red end of the spectrum show up significantly darker.

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Preparing and processing a collodion wet-plate. From Gaston Tissandier, A History and Handbook of Photography edited by John Thomson, 1878.

A Tintype, which has also been known by the name of melainotype and ferrotype, was a process patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith,  using the collodion process on a metal plate.  Originally a thin sheet of iron was coated with a dark lacquer, also known as japanning, which is similar to enamel paint and was used in China and Japan as a decorative coating for pottery and made its way to Europe in the 17th century. With a tintype a direct positive is made on the sheet, which is slightly different from using glass, in that you can make either a positive or negative image with a glass sheet.   Tintypes were also less fragile and cheaper to use, which was a great benefit to photographers who, as the process became more popular, would travel around the country, working at carnivals or fairs, or would travel on their own, going town to town with a cart of their materials, a portable darkroom and props. The process also became popular because, when compared to the daguerreotype, it is a much quicker process, taking only a few minutes from start to finish, and is significantly less fragile.  They were easy to carry around on a person, and were popular during the Civil War for this reason, as they would survive the difficult conditions soldiers were in and would not break or add much weight to their belongings. 34_4_amelia_tintype   Tintypes experienced a level of popularity through the 1870s and 80s, as it was finally supplanted by paper-based photographic printing processes, though some carnivals and fairs continued to see its use at photo booths and it continued to be used on smaller levels throughout the 20th century. 34_2_amelia_doll_tintype The contemporary resurgence of the wet plate process is a fascinating development in the photography world, with many new users responding to the ubiquitous nature of digital photography in our lives and the lack of value in an item that literally anyone can produce at any time with a number of devices.  We are lucky that a group of photographers and chemists studied the process in the late 20th Century and after much experimentation and researching old photography manuals, were able to put the pieces together to recreate a number of these processes, which allows those of us finding ourselves interested in the 21st Century to have clear sources of information as well as a number of workshops and groups available to participate in to learn the process.

 

 

There are many reasons that photographers explore wet plate, and is currently used for fine art images (including still life, conceptual portraits, and landscapes), traditional portraiture, portraits during Civil War Re-enactments most commonly.  Tintypes can be produced on tiny plates as small as a 35mm frame and as large as the wall of a box truck and every size in between.  Cameras are found in antique shops, but are also being made new by a few companies world wide, or sold as kits you can make yourself.  You can also modify cameras that you already own and shoot wet plate using toy-cameras like Holgas and Dianes, Polaroid cameras, Pinhole cameras and any 35mm you can find… it is a pretty amazing medium to be able to explore and there are almost endless possibilities for its use. I am obsessed with the tintype process because it reminds me of my first photographic experiences as a child, when making pictures was like magic.  I played with photo-sensitive papers and created silhouettes of insects, flowers and leaves and thought it was possibly a miracle.  Later, I was able to take my tiny little camera and capture images of my family, friends and pets, send the cartridge away and get back a few days later a permanent record of those events, which was only slightly less magical.

 

When I first started collecting tintypes, it was because they were so different from other vintage photographs- there was something haunting about the images and something timeless.  When I finally was able to attend a workshop with Mark Osterman at the George Eastman House, I saw the magic of the process and it reminded me of my childhood, at which point I was hooked.  As my first plate was developed and the image started to appear, and then when I fixed it and the cyanide swirled away and exposed the image underneath, I knew this was going to be a process that I would love and would add another dimension to my photography.

 Here are some iPhone shots I took during the Tintype workshop we attended last fall at George Eastman House with Mark Osterman:

The whole still life set up plus camera

The whole still life set up plus camera

The back of the camera: everything is upside-down!

The back of the camera: everything is upside-down!

Jae is pouring his plate

Jae is pouring his plate

Draining the plate prior to putting it in the Silver tank

Draining the plate prior to putting it in the Silver tank

Jae putting in the plate holder with the sensitized plate.

Jae putting in the plate holder with the sensitized plate.

Jae rinsing the plate after fixing it.

Jae rinsing the plate after fixing it.

Jae drying the plate prior to applying the sandarac varnish.

Jae drying the plate prior to applying the sandarac varnish.

Tintypes are all about chemical mixtures and finding the right combination of the basic components to create the right solution for your environment and your needs… it is about experimentation with both chemicals but also with light and exposure.  It isn’t like digital photography, you can’t change it later in post-processing— you make one image, that can never be replicated and cannot be changed once you are done… it is a finite process with a number of variable that will effect your image.  And for me, it is magic… it reminds me that while sometimes it isn’t a perfect plate, not everything has to be perfect to have value.  I love that I mess it up and don’t know what changed, what I did wrong this time that I didn’t do the last 10 plates I made…. is it more humid, colder, dryer?   All these things change how the chemistry will work and have to be taken into account… and then exposure can be an issue… is there more daylight or less? What color is the subject wearing?   It takes skill and practice and still it sometimes even then, it doesn’t work out the way you think it will.

The portrait of Jae created during the workshop:

TWallDuggan_JaeDuggan_Tintype-4   I am just starting on this journey and I can’t wait to share this experience with as many people as I can.  I am creating tintype portraits at the studio in Watertown so anyone can have access to this unique process and can have a one-of-a-kind image made of themselves that they can treasure and pass on to their descendants.  It is important to remember our roots and to understand how things that we take for granted now, came to be.

One of my Skull Still Life images:

TWallDuggan_Skull_Tintype-2One of the Portraits I’ve created this Spring:

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Also posted in Fine Art, Headshots, Portrait, Wet Plate Collodion Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Beauty with Heather Schofield

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of working with Makeup Artist Heather Schofield of HS-Artistry at The SOPHA in Manchester, NH.  We brought in two models neither of us had worked with before and had a blast creating some fun beauty shots!  Lavanyai and Kira were great sports and I am excited to share my favorite shots from the day with both of them!

Kira:

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Lavanyai:

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A Tintype Adventure

At the beginning of August I had the pleasure of taking a workshop at George Eastman House with Mark Osterman, who studies and teaches vintage photographic techniques. My husband and I went to Rochester, NY for 2 days to take the workshop with 8 other participants and learned a bit about the process of Wet Plate Collodion photography, and were given instruction on how to prepare a plate to photograph with as well as how to develop and fix the image. It was such an amazing and inspiring experience and as I now am gathering the materials to add this process to my repertoire, I plan to add the option to have a tintype portrait created during portrait sessions and also as a separate service before the end of December. I am excited to start on the process and can’t wait to share the Fine Art pieces I’m already planning in my head.

Here are a few examples of the images that we created during the workshop!

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Also posted in Fine Art, Inspiration Tagged , , , , |

Amanda’s Dark Art Portrait Session

A few days before Halloween, I had the pleasure and privilege to photograph a portrait session of a young mother and wife who wanted to treat herself to a session for her birthday.  She told me during our consultation that she loved creepy things, halloween and Rob Zombie…. my first thought was, “YES!!!”  My creative tendencies lie in the direction of dark imagery to begin with, and being able to create art like that for a woman who not only appreciates the art, but wants to be a part of the image is my dream!  We decided to work within a few different concepts, and created a broad variety of image styles.  Here are a few of my favorites from the session!

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Hair and Make Up was created by Lyndsay Simon, of Makeup By Lyndsay, I created the outfit in the last two images, as well as the train on the black dress in the top two images.  The autumnal headpiece was created by me for my Discord Industries Etsy shop.

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Black Friday through Cyber Monday Promotion!

I just want to let you all know how much I truly appreciate your support!  It means so much to me that I have people who are interested in my art and are enthusiastic about the pieces that I create… I love being able to share my creativity and passion with you all!  To show just how much I appreciate you guys, I am offering a promotion from Friday Nov 29th through Monday Dec 2nd on my Etsy page: www.etsy.com/shop/ArtandDiscordStudios and enter BLACK25 during checkout to save 25% off any print purchase.   I’m also offering the discount for prepaid session or print vouchers, just use the CONTACT page to send me a message about what you are looking for and I’ll get you all set up!  Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and enjoy the Holiday Season!

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Also posted in Fine Art, Portrait, Products Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Beauty Test with Erika and Makeup by Lyndsay


Erika is a gorgeous girl who came to our rescue last minute, when the model that Lyndsay, from Makeup by Lyndsay and I had planned to work with last week was terribly ill, and we had to track down a model an hour before our shoot.  Erika had never been in front of the camera before, but she did an amazing job and we had a ridiculously awesome day!  We started off by experimenting with a bit of a grungy rock and roll inspired look, which we transitioned into a bohemian/warrior style because we were having so much fun… it gave me a chance to finally pull out one of the vintage slips I found at Brimfield this summer and I was also able to incorporate the Fire Dragon Mohawk I created a few months ago.  For our second makeup look, Lyndsay created a fun glamour inspired look, and I got to pull out a cute pink dress I picked up a couple of years ago-  all in all, we had a blast and I was able to not only create some amazing beauty headshots, but we got to play a bit with fashion and fine art images as well.  Here are some of my favorites for the day!

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