A love story

Just imagine this: since you were twelve you have been passionate about a sport, let's say soccer. Every time you've met someone new, you told them about it. You were so damn excited about it and you wanted everyone to know about it. It became the thing everyone associated you with. "You know Tom?" (Let's just pretend your name is Tom for this bit okay) "Tom? The one who loves soccer?" "Yes! That Tom" And suddenly, you stop loving soccer. It's not exciting anymore, you don't feel passionate about going out for practice anymore. So you slowly stop going to practice, or big games. What do you do next, how will people see you now?

That's exactly what happened to me, not with soccer though. Everyone who knows me a little bit knows that I've never been a fan of soccer. Anyway, let's back to the actual story I wanted to tell. Ever since I first got my hands on the little point and shoot camera we had at home I've been drawn to photography. It started out with taking photos of tomatoes and vegetables in my grandfather's garden to doing somewhat conceptual self portraits. When I entered secondary school that's who I was, the guy who takes photos. For a very long time it stayed that way, I loved taking photos and sharing them. The Flickr community played a huge part in that.

Around three years ago things started to change, I forgot how to enjoy taking photos. So I took a break, for a few months. After that I felt guilty because I hadn't missed it. I forced myself back into it and took some photos, shared them online and enjoyed the buzz of the lovely feedback I got. After that wore off I went back to not taking photos. So far, I haven't gotten over it.

After all of this, I don't identify myself as a photographer anymore. Maybe it was childish that I ever thought that highly of myself to begin with, I'm not sure. I stopped putting it in my social media profiles and stopped telling people about it when they ask about my hobbies. I still take photos but not in the same way anymore, it doesn't have a purpose. They're not for sharing, they're not to fulfill some kind of artistic side of me. The photo's are memories, experiences and a personal library. I've finally come to peace with it, I'm not a photographer. There, I said it. 

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
— Jack Kerouac

My workflow for conceptual photos

I've been trying to get back into the routine of being productive and as a result I've been able to complete a lot of things on my to do list in a fairly short amount of time. Making a new conceptual photo was one of those things. I thought I'd use this opportunity to share my workflow with you guys. A conceptual photo is a completely different feeling for me than any other shoot, it requires a special approach. Let's get into it!

Usually there are two ways I come up with new ideas. One is when I get inspired by a prop, location or movie scene. Then it's usually a really quick process where something pops into my head. Those are usually really vague and I stay very flexible during the shoot. It all comes together in post production. This was not the case in this photo so I won't go into detail.

The second way usually happens is usually on those nights where I'm unable to sleep. Those are the nights when I'm thinking through all kinds of random things, and sometimes a photo idea pops up. This was also the case for the photo I released this week called "from the ground up." One night a couple of weeks ago I made this little sketch at 3am.

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It took a couple of weeks for me to be able to go out and shoot because I'm commuting between my home and my student room in Brussels. There is no way I'd be able to shoot this in the city so I had to wait for a weekend without rain. That turned out to be a serious problem in Belgium. So there we were, three weeks later, ready to shoot. 

The shooting process was pretty easy since I had a good idea of what I wanted the final product to look like. When I'm out shooting a conceptual photo that needs heavy post production I look at it like a puzzle so I shot in a couple pieces. First of all the legs in the right position, the torso in the right position, then I had a blank sky shot and some extra shots of an even pathway to use as source for the twisted ground.

I thought the editing process would be difficult to explain so I did a screenrecording. Definitely check it out if you're interested in seeing that! 

When I started I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull it off and it was a process of trial and error. I'm actually really pleased with the final image. I hope you enjoyed this peek into my shooting process. Thanks for checking out this post.