Well our normal blogger Connor Tomlin is busy being all collegiate, so this week I, Lesle Lane will actually blog for myself! Don’t worry she will approve the content before it’s posted.
Each job that I shoot is to fulfill the requirements and specifics that my clients put upon me. Sometimes I have to shoot 30 shots a day in an e-commerce type style other times, when shooting high end food, I only shoot 4 shots a day but in the end it’s all for a clients marketing and advertising needs. I am by definition a commercial artist, as are many of my clients. Photographers, architects, animators and graphic designers are very different from traditional artist where their work exists for it’s own sake. A dictionary definition goes a step further saying that a traditional artist “produces work to be appreciated primarily for its beauty or emotional power.” That is not to say of course that commercial art isn’t beautiful – it absolutely can be – but in the end it has a specific purpose and drive to it that traditional art does not have.
So where does the commercial artist get relief from constantly being in the box their client puts then in? Personal work! Some of my competitors are excellent at making time to spend time in their own mind – creating on their own behalf without an art director or client guiding them. I must sheepishly admit I do not take time for my own work near enough.
Last week I took my students to a construction site for my Commercial and Industrial class at the Art Institute of Indianapolis. It had been a long day for me – one of those shoot 30 shots for e-commerce kind of days – and although I was grateful for the opportunity to take my students into my playground I had no intention of shooting. Heck…I’d been shooting all day. Then one of my students challenged me to a photo duel, and did it with a pretty sassy attitude, telling me there was “nothing creative” at a construction site. Well if you know me at all – challenge completely accepted!
What an evening I had. I can’t express the joy I felt by simply looking through my lens just for me. Seeing a construction site not by trying to fit into a certain web format – or worrying about showing this or not showing that. I walked smoothly and confidently through the mud and all the stress of the day left my shoulders – the furrow of my brow was replaced with a smile and surliness of my fatigue was replaced with laughter and joking.
You see when I say I love what I do….I truly do. My passion for the camera isn’t one like a traditional artist. I am passionate about businesses and corporations that need my help translating their message to their audience. It’s what I’m good at and what drives me.
However, every so often each commercial artist I know should take a moment and participate in their craft as an amateur. My mother (a fine art photographer in her own right) loves to define herself as amateur even though the general public thinks it’s a derogatory comment. An amateur by definition is “who participates in an activity for pleasure.” In other words as artists, we should all take time to have fun with what we do.
As I left the construction site with a lifted spirit, I was floored as I drove home and saw what every architectural photographer dreams of….a beautiful glass building without signage, fire hydrants or stoplights and a gorgeous sunset; a reward of sorts in my opinion for taking a selfish moment to shoot just for me. – LL