Visual Collections

creative cultivation
It’s great getting e-mails from many of you about your collections—and with enthusiasm! Why not comment about them here??

Collections are important because they inspire and they express themes. They are:
• symbols of our interests
• reflect our personalities
• provide visual ambiance or atmosphere
• distinguish us from everyone else

For example, below are a few more photographs of my glass collection, echoing my “Creative Cultivation” theme. Each of these paperweights reminds me of an idea—much like the stereotypical light bulb image. But within each is a unique blend of luminous shapes and colors, vivid almost as if lit from within. Several seem to encapsulate whole galaxies within their frozen miniature space. Blessed with 52 in my collection, each is treasured and carries memories of a time and place.

Shooting photos of a collection can be done fairly quickly. The two master shots to create the “bullet” images used below (see end of this post) took four hours. I have a large glass table and I lined up the orbs from small to large. It was tricky getting the right angle and space between them. So most of my time was spent in trial and error!

If you want to do the same for your own communications, I can walk you through the process. Allow about 8-10 hours per theme.

TIPS FOR CREATING GRAPHICS FROM COLLECTIONS:

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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1.Tie your collection in with your topic. The glass paperweights work because they represent creativity to me.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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2. Plan from a layout. How will the images be used? Gather parameters and sketch the style and treatment that you have in mind. I wanted a long vertical shot to crop into the bullets used in my posts (like this one).

glass collection of Liane Sebastian 

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3. Compose a tabletop composition. Choose a background, set up elements for how the camera ‘sees’ versus how you see; there is a big difference.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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4. Set up camera with a tripod. This will ensure that each shot will be sharp and allow a progression of development. It is also crucial when shooting a series.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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5. Photograph your collection either as a group or individually or both. Once you’ve done all the set up work, shooting both gives you more possibilities for not a lot more work.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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6. Test, test, and test again. I have my laptop to look at the images as I shoot. Bigger on my screen, I can see things to tweak until it fits my layout. Nothing is absolutely perfect, but I try. These shots took me about four tests, but then I changed the selection of the glass and had to start again. Then another four tests.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian 

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7. Size and crop. Because I was cutting up one photograph, I didn’t have to do very much sizing for these. Once I knew my width, I cut each one out of the master. This step, however, can take quite a few hours if you have a great variety of images to coordinate. Plan for the size that they will be seen. I knew that these bullets will be small, yet they still express a glimmer of the orginal. I can use them larger for other applications.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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8. Post the images on your remote hard drive so your site and/or blog has access.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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9. Set up your image library to keep them easy to find. Use in all documents that pertain to the assigned theme.

glass collection of Liane Sebastian

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10. Continue to collect and contribute. Online is a great place to share your collections. I am particularly fond of this glass collection, but I also collect small statues of owls, tortoises, fish, and bird Beanie Babies. I collect buttons, tea pots, small wooden boxes, shells, stamps, and birdhouses. Then I collect quotations, spiral photographs, maps, and Wise Women contributors.

With whom do you share your collections?

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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2 Responses to “Visual Collections”

  1. wisdomofwork Says:

    Applying this unifying blue bordered circle, I’m finding more ways to unify my own graphics. The collection approach is expanding, especially with the glass orbs. The crystal appears in “Winter Glass,” https://wisdomofwork.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/winter-glass/ my photograph for the season–Liane

  2. Is Good Enough Good Enough? « Wisdomofwork's Blog Says:

    […] the idea business, I use a lot of symbolic images, think in series, and scale to venue parameters. My blog https://wisdomofwork.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/visual-collections/ is about how the theme for this page translates into series that can be used as a library. Rely on […]

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