Journey through pictures

By @thethreeshot. You can support him through the RAW event, Sydney.

A little over a year ago, I laid out my photography process on this post. My approach was simple; when I run into moments, I whip out my iPhone and take the shot. As far as post-processing goes, I would simply apply an Instagram filter and share.

I can no longer live by that process.

I now look to run into moments and not just wait for them. I now also have a mirrorless camera and post process with gusto.

The change in process and gear has pushed me to explore more and has given me confidence to collaborate with a few people.

The results are better than before:

 

The BIG difference between iPhone and a serious camera

Quality is the obvious difference. But I found that psychology is just as important. Let me explain.

When I take the Fujifilm with me, I tend to look for the big headline grabbing shots. In stark contrast, when I don’t have it with me, I tend to take simpler life moments with the iPhone as it’s always with me.

On the flip side, having the mirrorless has made me explore more. I can now go out and shoot during low light situations for example and have the confidence that the shot will turn out fine.

I have also been able to collaborate more with my mirrorless as the other person will tend to take you more seriously. Admittedly, I felt a little bit embarrassed when I first went for a shoot with someone with just the iPhone.

iPhone

Phone

iPhone 7+ 

Karlee and crown.jpg

Camera

Fujifilm X-A3 on 18mm

 

Perception is a killer and although I was fine with the iPhone, I really felt that others did not share my view. I know I shouldn’t have given in to peer pressure, but at the same time, I really haven’t looked back.

Post processing

I approximately take 15–30 mins to post process a photo, which isn’t that bad considering some of my peers can take days.

I use a combination of Affinity photo and apps to post-process as follows.

Affinity

I take the shots straight from the camera and do minor tweaks with white balance, highlights, curves and the other usual suspects. On the odd occasion, I would completely change the colour of an object.

After the edits, I export the result and do a few more edits with a few apps.

Total time spent: 5 mins.

Prime

Prime is my go to for applying styles. Like other applications, Prime allows me to select my style/preset and adjust it even more to my taste, then I am able to save that style as a fave.

There is a plethora of great styles to choose from and selecting one is an easy process.

Total time spent: ~1 minute.

Retouch

This app is my go to for getting rid of unwanted objects. There are several apps that do this, including Affinity and Snapseed, but Retouch makes the process easy.

I find the results to be more accurate than its peers which saves a lot of time.

Total time spent: ~1 minute.

Snapseed

This is my go-to post processing app. It is feature-rich from the Selective feature (adjust specific area), to Lens Blur and to other more generic tools like alignment, curve adjustment and more.

It’s an all-in-one app that mirrors the essentials of big post applications like Affinity and Lightroom, with simplicity which like most of the above, saves time.

Total time spent: 10 minutes.

After post processing the apps, I send the final image to the Mac for that final check before posting the shot.

Collaborating with others

I started off taking shots of my surroundings and myself. Pretty soon I realised that I really wanted to capture portraits of other people to grow as a photographer.

And I really got bored of myself.

Approach

Finding people to collaborate with is tough to begin with particularly when I had no portrait shots of others in my portfolio.

I started off taking self-portraits and graduated by asking a few friends to do photoshoots. Then I asked my friends to see if they had any other contacts who were interested.

image.JPEG

 

Reaching out to the active and local Instagram community was easier once I had a few shots of others. The response rate increased and the portfolio started to grow.

Vibe

Capturing others is a big challenge and to help make it easier, I try to ensure that I capture their raw energy and overall vibe.

Before going on a photoshoot, I scan the Instagram profile of the individual and determine their ‘type’. Are they an outdoor individual? Do they like street/urban feel? Are they a hipster and so on.

It’s then a process of letting the other person know what you have in mind in terms of location, outfit and accessories — always keeping in mind that the shoot had to remain consistent with the individual’s vibe. This achieves 2 things: (1) it makes sure that the other person is comfortable and as a result (2) it makes the shoot easier.

The only exception to this process is when the person comes forward and says that they have a particular idea (mood, location) in mind, in which case I mix it up.

Equipment

Now for some boring small details:

  • Fujifilm X-A3 and X-T20. I absolutely adore my Fujis. These days, I’m using the T20 but the good thing about both is that the end result makes the post process easy (whereas others can spend hours on a photo, I generally take minutes).
  • 23mm f2 and 18–55mm f2.8–4 lens. The 23mm is my go-to when taking portraits and mid-range street shots. The quality is superb even during low light situations. The 18–55mm is one that I pull out when I know in advance that Ill be taking shots from a distance, like taking shots of other from a far away cliff (as I do).
  • iPhone 7+. I still use the iPhone simply because it’s always with me. Although the quality is not as good as a mirrorless, they still look great particularly after edits.
  • Joby stick. I rely heavily on my Joby when doing self portraits or when I want a part of myself in the scene (along with the Fujifilm app for control). No branch is tricky enough for the Joby to wrap it’s tentacles around!
  • iPhone tripod. I use the tripod like the Joby and together with remote control, I use the tripod when I want to get myself in the scene somewhere.
  • Other accessories. I have a slew of other accessories ranging from lights (sparkle, torches) to smoke bombs and masks among others. I even have my GoPro Hero 4 in my bag at all times. Admittedly, these only come out when the location and mood calls which unfortunately is not often enough, but they’re there.

RAW Sydney

After 300 photo’s, I’ve been approached by the guys at Raw to take part in their exhibition on Nov 30.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who they were. But after having a look at their site and the diverse collection of participating artists, I am glad to state that there is a match!

If you’re a Sydney local, or if you so happen to be around town in Nov 30, come down and support this local Raw artist.

You can grab the tickets from this link. I’m always open and happy to exchange more details of my journey so far.

And you can always follow me on Instagram here.


EndNote

Photography and being a creative feels quite natural to me. The process of designing a product and imagining the next shot triggers the same creative juices.

The only difference being, developing software takes a wee bit more time.

THE SINNFUL ONE

If you have ever been around for a drink in a bar or simply have been walking around the streets of Newtown in Sydney's inner west, chances are you would have come across artwork by Sindy Sinn.

You cannot miss his style of skulls, roses, motorbikes and anything and everything surrounding the theme of playful death (if there was ever such a category).

Take these classics as examples.   

I was able to have a candid chat with Sindy and I am happy to report that the man is quite jovial even with his busy-ass schedule (his colourful language and the tone of our conversation is rubbing off on this post).

Sindy Sinn profile
Sindy Sinn rings

I was able to grab a sneak peek of his upcoming Nightcrawler Co project which will be launching in a month's time which extends his brand to children.  

An interesting fact: Sindy used to be a touring roadie for bands and came across illustration by chance when he helped create material for bands on tour. The switch came naturally and his name got out organically as people latched on and identified with his no B.S. approach. 

If you want to see read more about "The Sinnful one" check his About page out.   The page does a great job of painting the picture about the dude behind the brand. You can also follow him on Instagram account @SindySinn to check his latest and greatest creations.  

And shout out of "thanks" to Sindy for taking time off and downing a couple of Young Henry's with me. Drop me a line if you ever need shots man!

Perry C@thethreeshot

 

A silent surf

The scene was set one fine Sunday in April.

A quiet beach, the sea breeze and morning swells, the night sky, the crisp morning. Fingers clicked, moments were taken and smiles of acknowledgment passed between friends.

We spent a quarter of the day at the winsome Whale Beach two weekends ago but it sure felt like forever.

This was one day trip to remember.

We're here

Photo credit PC for all of the shots with the exception of the first shot which was taken by the legendary Adarsh (who captured the moment while PC was parking the car). 

The day was a ton of fun and we'll be back out there sooner rather than later!

Hello 2017

Is it too late for resolutions? No, it’s never too late to set targets and lay down a path for goals.

Here’s mine as part of CN:

“What do I want to achieve this year? On tech front, I want to get this idea that’s been itching me off the ground, as in validated by business and users and start the fun part of building the damn thing. 

On photo front, I would love nothing more than stitch together a project with my photography partners in crime here in CN. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility holding another exhibit, or two! 

On the design front, I would love to collaborate and throw something up there again. I do know that when push comes to shove this item will come last unfortunately as I only have so much time. Trading this off guarantees I actually finish something and hopefully what I do complete meets my own personal expectations.

Would like to finish validation and start build by mid year for startup idea and would ideally like to have project or two done with an exhibition slated in the books.

Those are the goals. There’s nothing but hard work between now and midyear / end of year. But that’s a given for me, all I need is a window of opportunity.

I’ve been quite precise in what I want to do and I’ll make a point by putting a reminder up mid year to check on:

  • how I’m tracking with the startup front (with Suraj from CN) and
  • how we’re tracking with a new project in my fellow photographers.

I pretty much owe it to myself to set goals out there and track progress as there is nothing better than having that feeling of fulfilment.

Since I started the #gettheresolutionoutthere, I thought to ask the good guys at CN what goals they had for the year and they came back with this:

And we also have a few soon-to-be-published goals by the other guys:

Adrian

“I would like to get back into my photography as lately I haven’t been doing it as much as I would have liked. With that, I would like to pimp my pics at some stage this year too.

Would love to get a new camera too — fingers crossed, Nikon releases a new full frame.

And I would also love to travel this year. Not sure where but hopefully by the end of the year.”

Kat

Goals? Finish my new book this year but at a minimum, get the draft out to my editor.

Suraj

This year I would like to focus on improving my health and increasing physical fitness through yoga.

And at the time of writing, I’m still waiting for the rest of the crew to get back to me with theirs.

But no matter what comes back from the rest of the crew, here’s to everyone achieving what they set out to do this year and beyond!


This post first appeared in Medium from Perry from CN.

Upcoming photo exhibition on 9th Nov

We're thrilled to be holding our first photography exhibition in the inner west of Sydney, Australia at the Blacksheep Bar in Newtown.

We’re thrilled to be holding our first photography exhibition in the inner west of Sydney, Australia at the Blacksheep Bar in Newtown.

Blacksheep isn’t simply the name of the venue but also a fair descriptor of the show itself: four individuals, distinct from their native flocks, coming together as a collective to showcase their idiosyncratic styles, unified in purpose by that which makes them stand apart.

Most people tend to think of exhibitions as genteel daylight affairs confined to lofty galleries and other quarantined art-spaces. We choose to see it differently. We believe that photography exhibitions are a perfect and natural fit for multiuse places like bars, where conversation flows and people can just kick back and relax.

Moreover, we love Newtown - our equivalent of Williamsburg in New York or Shoreditch in London - where the streets are vibrant, the people are diverse and open-minded, and the bars are hip cool, none more than the Blacksheep. We'll see you there.

So who are the featured photographers?

 @patches_mcgee

@patches_mcgee

 @aiddy81

@aiddy81

 @helloperryc

@helloperryc

 @in_cog

@in_cog

And what kind of photos should we expect to see?

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 4.58.22 AM.png

What are the specifics?

The exhibition opens on Wednesday the 9th of November and will be running until sometime in December. 

The bar itself is quite easy to find. It’s a licensed bar in the evening which means no kids allowed – sorry. 

Anything else we need to know?

Spread the word, we’d love to see as many people as possible down there.

Just drop us a line if you have any Q's.

 

Festival Magic

This is a personal account by PC of his experience at Splendour in the Grass, a music festival in Byron Bay, Australia.


It’s been over a month since the festival rocked my foundations and gave my soul a musical awakening. Now is as good a time as any to diarise the events.

I went to Splendour with my work bumchum KC. It’s fair enough to say that he is not as big a music groupie as I am, but he is big on trying new things and exploring Byron — and that’s the kind of spirit that makes for a great partner on a weekend like this.

Let me begin.

Our stay at Mullumbimby

AirBnB

I was skeptical about AirBnB.

The only other time I did a B&B arrangement was with my larger family way back when. I always felt that I had to tiptoe my way around the house. Perhaps I felt that way because of my mum and all the early morning break-ins I used to do coming back home during my younger years.

Whatever the reason is, this first AirBnB experience was any BUT uncomfortable. Our host Paul was a recently retired, cordial South Australian man who, along with his wife, were used to having people around (they shared their 5 bedroom home with family friends).

Life around this part of the world was a lot slower than Sydney. We had nice morning conversation during breakfast with our host and crew, talking about the big country, the festival, art and every random topic that came up naturally.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about my preconceived notion.

That first morning

That first morning was something that I will always remember.

This is the view that I saw as soon as I ducked outside for some fresh air.

Morning

I stood there stunned for a few minutes. This was absolutely alien coming from a place where people live on top of each other.

The cool morning mist, the valley, the old paddocks, the imposing mountain range which outlined the landscape. This was just so picturesque.

To accentuate the perfect morning, I encountered a wallaby as soon as I turned around. The little guy looked at me bemused as we both had our Stand by Me moment.

Stand by me

I had a nice wander around while looking for a place to do my morning exercise.

I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like being out in the magic. It sure makes for a nice change from my usual gym.

Here are some shots of the around the country..

 

There isn’t a lot of things happening around. And that’s just perfect if you want to chillax and still be within arm’s reach of Byron Bay.

If you ever get a chance to go to this part of the world, I would strongly recommend staying at the charming little town of Mullumbimby.

And if you’re really lucky, you might even draw Paul. Check him out in AirBnB.

The Festival

Being a Sydney-sider, the only thing I really knew about Splendour was that it was our biggest festival around winter (if not the only one).

I also knew that it attracted huge names like Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and Kanye West. I end up kicking myself year-after-year and think “Well there’s goes another great lineup down the drain.

But I really had no idea what actually goes down during the event itself.

Atmosphere

I had zero expectations and no baseline.

The closest comparable event I’ve been to was the Big Day Out in Sydney, which during my time, was held over a day. Splendour is a 3-day event.

Looking back, Splendour had a few distinct advantages: it’s held during winter, the lineup is lighter than the heavy BDO, it’s an all ages event and it’s in Byron Bay.

Winter means less alcohol. The BDO was held in the middle of summer.

BDO acts included heavy sounds of Metallica, Rammstein and System of a Down. The heaviest act in Splendour was Violent Soho, which is more punk-rock Green Day-ish than Rammstein industrial death.

All ages meant that you’re just as likely to be moshing with them youngunswith Santigold as you’d be singing along with the grey-haired brigade over The Cure. There were a fair few children around too. That cross-section was refreshing.

And what can I say about Byron except that it feels like Newtown* with a beach.

*Newtown is hip like Williamsburg in NYC or Shoreditch in London (or so I’m told).

The grounds

Splendour is set over a huge area in the North Byron Parklands (at least for this year). Like most events, it had a few stages for the music acts.

In addition, it also had a few other quirkier spaces like the Tipi forest, the global village, a comedy tent and an Amish area.

And there were a LOT of shops ranging from food trucks, to official Splendour event apparel, licensed alcohol grounds and hippy odds & ends.

All of the areas were spaced out adequately and came together nicely.

The Music

Discovering new music has got to be the best thing about these events.

My targets going into the festival were the more established acts of The Strokes, At the Drive In, The Avalanches, The Cure, Santigold and Gang of Youths.

While I was impressed by those guys, I walked away galvanized by a few local acts that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to.

The following bands grabbed the crowd by the nuts, a sign of not only their current popularity, but their wildly entertaining live energy.

Friendly Violence

Violent Soho are cool, loud and enjoyed large local support.

I saw these guys by accident as I was jockeying for position to watch The Avalanches. I then witnessed the dudes from Brisbane whip the crowd into a frenzy with their take-no-prisoners Australian alternative rock.

Here’s a vid that captures the feeling of what it felt like during the moment.

Happy to report that their WACO album is the shiz too.

The Psychedelic Kings

I didn’t expect much from King Gizzard & the White Lizard. They played in the late afternoon and therefore weren’t a headline.

I followed a large crowd make their way to stage. And I was pleasantly delighted with what I saw — an avid mosh made up of rockers, hippies, dads and all other types.

I had to give it to these guys: they had the most crowd-surfers during the event. No mean feat for a psychedelic rock act.

That SWAG though!

Sticky Fingers are outrageous. These alt-rock-reggae inner-westies* wound the ardent crowd up as soon as they strutted their way on stage with all their rock god “I rule the roost” swagger and attitude.

They walked it, they sang and they delivered the good vibes!

I felt downright awful for being the last to know.

Here’s a sneak peak of the guys.

Interesting tidbitGold Snafu live was one of the few magical gems I have ever come across. Random strangers grabbed me — i.e. put their arms around me — for the la-la-la sing along as I moved through the crowd.

There was some kind of happy magic happening here.

*Inner-westie are residents of Sydney’s inner west area.

The music in pictures

  STIFI: That cheetah print and that shirtless guy at the back

STIFI: That cheetah print and that shirtless guy at the back

Festival gotcha

Here’s a gotcha: the parking.

The further away you park from the venue, the better. If you park too close to the venue, the chances are you’ll be stuck there forever and a day trying to get out after the event.

We had a tough time getting out on Saturday night, and I’m taking about an hour and a half tough here. And apparently it happened last year too!

If the opportunity presents itself, the further you park, the better.

Byron Bay

Double B is my favourite spot downunder. It’s got magical beaches, kick-rear walks, a dramatic lighthouse and a chilled out vibe.

The beach

We had a chance to wander around on a sunny winter Sunday. The temperature hit a chilly 25 degrees (it hit 26 the day before). Although the water was a tad bit cool, the sun kept the swim just right.

And just to keep things interesting, a dolphin appeared a metre in front of me (and yes it scared the bejesus out of me at first).

It’s whale season time apparently and it was not uncommon to see dolphins during this time too.

Bonus!

The shops

There are enough shops and cafes along the town centre to keep the curious tourist occupied.

Byron has a big surf and hippy slant to it — you’ll be in a surf/skate shop one moment and walk out of a cafe with your chia pudding the next.

There’s a lively pub at the main beach which looks like the place to be in the evenings.

But we opted for the very Bali-looking night time food hub around the corner. Lots of choices to satisfy the wandering hunger.

The lighthouse walk

You can’t be a tourist in Byron without doing the lighthouse and the walk leading up to it.

Depending on where you start, it is easy to get sidetracked by the stunning beaches (Clarkes and The Pass). The walk is a lazy 20-minute ascent with magnificent coastal views.

And then you get to the lighthouse.

There’s not much else I can say about the lighthouse other than it is the icing on the cake and that it is all that it is hyped up to be.

Fun fact: the lighthouse is the most eastern point in Australia.

And here’s the magic.

Endless

What more can I say?

About

I’m big music fan and I’ll give anything a go.

My attention span is as quick as a flick up of Instagram pics, which is where I house my memories. But when it became clear that wanted to rap around more words to the memories, I decided to start writing it down.

Check out my Instagram for more festival highlights.

Here’s to next year!

n.b. We also have this post in Medium.

iPhone photography

One of the most challenging questions I have received from a newbie of an Instagram group that I ran was “I want to take good pictures. Can you show me what to do?” Now I am an iPhone only happy-snapper so I was quite flattered that this person even asked.

I answered her question by rabbiting on about focussing and to keep things simple, being conscious about light, the rule of thirds, contrast, blah blah blah. I lost her after a minute, so I had to take a step back and say “what about I write a post about it and share it with you.

This is not a technical article on photography. As I said I am an iPhone guy.

I can best describe myself as someone who likes taking moments because frankly, that’s what you do with your phone. I generally focus on capturing culture — walls, beaches, people etc. The best photos I take are usually random and as such, I like storing that moment as it is with very little post-processing.
What I’m not at ‘the moment’ (pardon the pun) is a heavy camera with equipment guy that goes to a location and waits for a specific moment to come to him. I run into moments, I don’t set-up shop and wait around for them.

And it goes without saying that I don’t do client work and I also don’t take photos with intent of having them framed in the back of my mind (but I’d be more than happy to frame shots if the photo ends up that way).

So let me start with what catches me as a photographer.

Things that catch my eye

Studying my photos, I have 5 broad categories that catch my eye.

Colour

I love colour and a big portion of my collection is dedicated to all the wondrous colour we have all around.

The bolder the colour combo, the more likely I’ll be tempted to grab my phone and take the shot.

 

Culture

Just like art preserves culture, I like to think that my pictures represent the ‘sign of the times’ i.e. the current and changing times.

I don’t consciously go out and think “what part of the times should I capture today?”. This is more an unconscious choice, so there must be something in my subliminal that attracts me to this area of the world.

 

Things that are different

This is often the hardest thing to find as most everything has already been done to death. But I guess I like focussing on things that are not so run-in-the-mill.

Now that I look back on the pics that I have, I can see that all of them are a combination of man-made structures framed against nature.

 

Well designed

There are so many aesthetically pleasing, well designed spaces and objects out there.

These things continually inspire me to write, design, and build things — even if they are completely unrelated to what I do. I draw inspiration from these things to get me in the mood to create.

 

Note: to be fair, I draw inspiration from most everything I share.

The beautiful world

I quite enjoy taking pictures of nature and it’s beautiful surroundings.

Like most of my shots, I don’t overthink the moment. I simply see it, whip out the phone, take the shot, then swiftly put the phone away as I really need to savour each moment as much as I can.

 

Taking the money shot

When I see something of interest, I do a few things to make sure I capture what I see on the frame while minimising the distracting elements around it.

Circling the subject

Stop if you’ve heard this before: You see something interesting, you take a shot, review the snap, then come to the conclusion that you’re unhappy with the result (too much noise in the background, lighting is all wrong, the main features don’t stand out etc.).

These days I walk around the subject in order to find the best angle for the shot. The lighting, for example, could be better a few paces to the right, or it could be that the defining features of the subject are best presented when you’re a few steps to the left. It’s really hard to say sometimes but taking a few pics while circling will at least provide choices.

Zooming in (or out)

Some snaps look better with just a little bit of natural background in the frame. Others look better with a lot.

Pinching to zoom in and out enables me to focus on the main subject, ensuring that I capture just enough of the limelight as it warrants.

Walking backwards and forward

Similar to pinching the screen, the focus here is keeping the main object as clean as can be without noise.

I usually keep my hand positioned so that the camera is pointing to the object and walk backwards and forwards until I am happy.

Portrait and Landscape

Some images look naturally better in portrait mode. Others look better when you flip the phone sideways and take landscape shots.

This trick really depends on the subject and it’s surrounding.

Taking lots of shots

It’s a little bit arrogant to think that I can land the money shot with a single shot (and it gets even trickier when the subject is in motion). That’s when I start to use burst mode or I simply keep snapping as I move.

I found it easier to find ‘the money shot’ when there are a few photos to select from.
I take a few shots while circling, changing angles, pinching, walking backwards and forwards and flipping the phone. Then it’s really a matter of looking at all the pics you have taken and selecting the best one.

Of course, there’s a bit of work to do in selecting the right photo after you’ve taken a few shots. Then it’s a matter of doing some final edits before sharing the pics to the world.

Post processing

I do very little post processing compared to others that I know who spend hours on end. More often than not, I am a filter away from publishing a shot — as I prefer to keep the picture as natural as when I saw it.

Here are my quick essentials which rely on the built-in editing capability on the iPhone and the filters on Instagram.

Cropping

I tend to leave most of my pics with their natural background in place.

There are times however when I might have overshot the picture and have left too much of the background than the image warrants. This is when I tend to crop things out to remove the noise.

 

Brightness

I reserve changing the brightness setting for night photography or when the shots turn out too dark.

 

I’ve never really had to do the reverse and darken a photo, which is always an option, but it’s just not my style.

Filters

The main point here is to keep it clean and to keep it bright (which is more astyle-thing than anything else).

I usually stick to 1 or 2 filters depending on the shot. For the outdoors, I usually go with Gingham to accentuate the light.

 

And I usually go Juno when I want to emphasize colours.

I use these filters on Instagram with the prior pictures that I’ve taken in mind. When I look back to my body of work, I want to make sure that there’s a consistent theme and mood that a group of photo sets.

Black and White

I don’t generally do Black & White shots at the moment (it might change in the future, but natural colour is my thing).

I only really reserve Black & White filters for (a) when I really do like the main subject in the picture but there are too many distracting elements that surround it and (b) occasionally there are some pics that really tend to look better in B&W to capture the mood.

 

B&W pics are few and between (but who knows what the future holds).

And I don’t use Photoshop

I’m just not a big post processing guy that’s all and I like my snaps to say it like it is.

The less polish, the more realness.

Another thing that works against potential photoshop use is time. I just don’t have time to fiddle around in other applications before I publish. I have a lot of moments and I like sharing them the way it is.

I’ll leave the heavy post-processing and photoshop work to the people who do client work or are into the heavy polish.

Why iPhone only

I’ve heard what photographers have to say about iPhone-only guys. But to be honest, everyone is different and it’s as simple as that. My objective and use could very well be different to the next guy. I’m an in-the-moment guy, not aset-the-scene man. I, for the most part, will happily stop and pop out a shot every so often and I’m quite happy doing just that.

I also like repeating the ol ‘The best camera is the one you have with you’ spiel. And I’ll try to explain that by going over what I mentioned in the opening:

Moments equal my iphone, it’s always with me and it’s easier to capture the random nature of moments with something that’s always with you.
The moment might come around walking on the same street every single day. The light could be shining a little bit differently at an object, or I could be passing through at a slightly different angle. When the beauty of the object reveals itself, that’s when the phone comes out.

The stars might only align every so often, but I’m sure glad that I have my phone with me to capture that moment.

The flexibility of Instagram

Instagram is anything you want it to be. It is so flexible that it allows you to capture moments and publish at the same time, or you can capture moments and do a #lategram (unlike Snapchat ‘snaps’ that disappear).

You can immaculately manicure and add a lot of polish to your shots or you can do very little.

You can add videos, stories, quotes, sillies, share photos of your artwork / doodles or anything else you might want to brand.

Or you can do a combination of all of the above.

The many different types of users and uses should really be celebrated. There’s no right / wrong way to use it. Let’s celebrate the platform and it’s diversity for what it is.

People I admire

There are so many ridiculously great people out there that I admire who either take photos for a living or are just sharing moments (and others that take photos for a living but just share moments on Instagram — there’s a big difference as I’ve pointed out).

Here, in no particular order, are a few guys I enjoy following:

These guys and a slew of others on Instagram are a great source of inspiration.

Sharing moments sometimes help inspire others to create, or it can simply make others feel good about the world. And that’s worth sharing.


About this post

I also felt compelled to write this post because of my dear friends: the Canon / Nikon / pro crew. They have been grilling me from time to time about buying real equipment. Guys — I’ll get to it one day.

..but hang on, the iPhone 7 is coming out!

n.b. This article was first published in Medium by @helloperryc

Lessons when you don’t breakeven

This post is a sequel to Old Fashion Viral post.

If that post is too long, here’s a 1-line summary: Our collective group organised a day event to sell our designs and spread the word about our group.

Now the market day flew by and it was a — failure. There’s no need to beat around the bush, when you don’t break even, then you just lost money.
But if profitability is the only success measure, then unfortunately the group must be a sad basket case. Thank god, we’re more than that.

So it’s time to lick our wounds and throw down a few hard lessons learned.

Location is everything

Newtown here in Sydney is a nice melting pot of bohemian, alternative, avant-garde, young ‘seemingly’ well to do professionals and young ‘seemingly’ struggling professionals. It’s the Camden of the UK and Greenwich Village of New York (you get the picture).

 Crowd is passing through rather than stopping

Crowd is passing through rather than stopping

Although a lot of these progressive types have a lot of time for dogs (and animals in general), not a lot of these locals actually stop by the local Saturday markets, which is seen more of a passthrough market more than it is a market you would conscientiously stop by on a Saturday.

We knew it going in, but we really felt it during the day.

So what are we going to do about it? We’ll have to know our market more and pick a better location next time that’s more contained, that people actually go to (rather than pass through). A good indication is to look at pictures online of the market and see if people are sitting down inside the market (like they do here).

In our area this translates to GlebeMarrickville and other markets where the crowds are larger and foot traffic is kinder.

Seasonality matters

Winter is a bitch. It’s not even that cold according to a member (an ex-Londoner that says “this is like our Summer”).

When the seasons hurt your crowd, the smaller numbers hurt the number of potential paying customers. That’s a kick in the groin any way you look at it.

 Don’t be fooled by these happy faces — we were kinda cold on the day :)

Don’t be fooled by these happy faces — we were kinda cold on the day :)

So what are we going to do about it? Well we can’t really pick or wait that long for change in seasons — but if anything, we’ll try to avoid a cold day outdoors again (particularly if it’s pass through market).

Equally, we’ll select a market that’s indoors (hopefully with good heating).

Events matter

Our event coincided with the elections. Now how could we have missed this? Our bad.

What we also need to do is a little bit of targeted marketing and put a pop-up shop during specific events e.g. present our dog designs on a dog show.

So what are we going to do about it? Check the calendar and make sure it does not coincide with a crowd sucker.

But it also means hitting events like the Dog Lovers Show specifically for our dog tee initiative (as I’ve alluded to).

Have business cards

I refused to believe it when a partner suggested that we should have business cards. I said “Come on man. Let’s just direct them to our site and it’ll be right.

Here’s what I saw: People pass by the stall next door and ask for cards (and she was ready). People came to us and we redirected them to our site. Thinking about it, if passersby don’t remember it in their head then that’s a potential lost customer. Until technology can provide a frictionless way to give someone a business card (hmm..) then business cards still matter.

So what are we going to do about it? Design one, hand it out to CN crew, distribute it in events or to anyone that enquiries.

The chosen platform of choice is Moo. It’s now time to create a design and run it with the team.

Important items upfront

 In practice

In practice

We had top sellers (based on online sales) and signup forms for passers by to write their interest (we had other products not on display) behind other items. It’s easy to think about it in hindsight, but not an obvious thing in the moment.

So what are we going to do about it? We need to put top sellers and important items upfront, put it above the fold as they say. For us that translates to the You had me at woof designs at the front of the shop with our business cards for easy access.

To extend this lesson, we could have in theory walked around with our signup form and business cards and had a chat to people about what we do (the next lesson below).

Engage them

 The engaging Matias makes a sale

The engaging Matias makes a sale

When a passer by seems to be interested in a product, engage them. There’s a lot of judgment that comes to engaging: when is the right time? When they linger for 5 seconds or more? When they seem to be fixated on an item?

How do you engage without making it feel like you’re being pushy?

These are very difficult questions to answer but one does get better over time.

So what are we going to do about it? Get the sales people ready, get that timing right and get our charm on. That’s easy to say but it’s one of things that practice and time solves.

Listen to experts

Listening to other business owners is always a good idea, particularly if others have been through the same thing in the past.

We were positioned with another business owner who had a similar products and she shared her experiences with us.

 The crew with ‘Plantfaced’ clothing

The crew with ‘Plantfaced’ clothing

So what are we going to do about it? Follow her tips. She did tell us about Glebe and Marrickville markets, and she also mentioned that The Commune is worth checking out.

And now it’s time for us to make some enquiries.

Social Media

Writing about it through social media before, during and after the event is a must do activity for any startup. We’ve seen an increase in activity in each platform when we share information on events like this which is obviously a good a thing.

We’re admittedly slack in some big platforms like Facebook and Twitter though, which is something we need to correct.

So what are we going to do about it? We need to increase our presence in Facebook and Twitter.

Execution is always the key and what we really need to do is to divide the tasks and share the load equally e.g. play to our strengths and get people that are more active on Facebook to share the info on the platform. The olddivide and conquer rule applies.

We might even have to extend this lesson and find an expert in the domain.

Final notes

In all honesty, breaking even was a stretch given that the main items were for a non-profit (RSPCA).

But outside the dramatic ‘profitability matters’ opener, we do at least want more enquiry form signups during the day.

These things take time and effort — but we’re up to the task.

Big thank you to these cool cats for making it happen

 The Collective Network over the weekend

The Collective Network over the weekend

Come down and connect with us. We’re a fun bunch :)


About

Our creative group is as diverse as our backgrounds. We design, do photography and create software in our humble group.

Check out our ‘Collections’ for more details.

Old fashioned viral

We hopefully will stand up a physical shop in the local markets to meet as many passers-by as we can, in a bid to present, and hopefully, sell a few of our products. Going online viral is one thing — and it takes a considerable amount of effort to convert the casual visitor into sales.

But our strength in the CN community means that we can greet people with the good old fashioned handshake with a “hello, how are you”. This will hopefully be the difference in connecting with people; we want to grow viral locally first — then branch out.

Here’s what we’ll have.

Them Pups

Top of the list will be our dog design range of shirts, hoodies and caps. These adorable pups will not only make you feel comfortable and make you look hip, but they will also make you feel good knowing that sale proceeds will go to RSPCA NSW (yes, we are accredited).

We’ll have stock on site but we’ll also have a sign-up form to capture orders just in case.

CN Range

On the side we also have our own range of CN shirts and cap. Now the proceeds of these will go to the blood, sweat and tears of our own designers to fund any future initiatives.

 

What future initiatives? We have 2 of them already in development.

Photo exhibition

Our creative group actually started as an Instagram meetup and there are a few of us who enjoy taking pictures (some professionally).

Here’s a range of what we do:

 

We plan to have some of these snaps on display in the markets with a signup form, so we can alert everyone to our upcoming exhibition.

Startup Ipsum

Building software is no joke. It takes a ton of time and numerous iterations to find and work around all those kinks around the software. It makes it even harder when life takes majority of your time.

With all said, we are progressing through our Startup Ipsum initiative — which allows users to create their own content (copy and design) for their future website.

Tech

 

Note: We’ve redesigned the application. More details to follow.

We’ll also use the markets to spread the news by word of mouth, with alerts sent by email to those that have signed up.

Say hello to the crew

If you’re in Newtown area this Saturday, come down and say hello to the Collective Network crew. We’ll be more than happy to give you a high five and have a chat.

 

n.b. we’ll hopefully be receiving confirmation that we’re good to go for this Saturday by Wednesday. We’re excited!

#letsgo #helloworld #homeofcreatives

5 minutes with Matias the animal surfer

The 'Surf Animal' joins us in this edition of the people behind the Collective Network.

And this animal is none other than Matias, our resident animal advocate whose drive in helping animal shelters has inspired us to create our dog tees campaign.  

Let's hear all about his story in this edition of 5 minutes.


Mati

What are the earliest memories you had as a child?

I have a very vivid memory, I must have been 2 and a half years; I was in my bedroom (it was dark) and I was asking my mom for some milk (well more than asking - may be shouting).

I remember my mom walking in with a smile and giving me the milk bottle.

Awww. That's cute. Is one of your parents a software designer or developer? Or did you have a close family member that introduced you to development?

Nope, none of my family members are into the tech industry.

Oh really. So what were you good at as a kid?

I was kind of good (well, that’s what I thought at that time) at drawing, especially when doing cartoons or superheroes; I used to spend hours doing quietly drawing (and my parents were very happy with that).

I did some craftwork with clay, only modeling animals. 

Right. And so what was your first job?

I was a lifeguard; I was 19 years old and after 15 years swimming I decided to use my water skills to make some money.

I have to admit it was a great job, I met lots of fun people.

 

If you did not have to create a product or any work for a client, what would you be doing?

Back in my days of software designer, I would have created some application or system for my personal use.

Sounds like you enjoy doing development.

Yes, I do actually. I find it challenging and fun :)

Do you dabble in music? Do you listen to music when you do work?

Most definitely, I love to listen to music when doing any kind of work.

Sometimes I play all the music I have in shuffle mode, that’s like a roller coaster of music, memories and emotions, I love it!!

Fa

Who inspires you? Who should we follow?

People who is passionate about saving and protecting animals. I recommend to follow @Peta, @WWF_Tigers, @wildAid, @TakePart, @action4ifaw, @ASPCA,  @world_wildlife, @peta2, @WWF

Would you do anything else?

Yes I would like to help more animals and do some volunteer work in remote areas of the planet with wild animals

So what gets you out of bed?

Life itself!! I enjoy life a lot, every day a new thing might come up, so let’s make the most of it!

Is there something else that you would like us to tell about yourself that we haven’t touched on? 

I love water, I can spend hours in the water, surfing, swimming or diving; the ocean is such an amazing source of energy and life; feeling the power of a wave and the movement of the water is a unique experience.

It's very hard to describe the state of mind when I’m on it.


We sure feel the same way with the ocean. It is such an amazing, positive source of energy that's quite strong and calming at the same time. 

We also feel the cause that Matias is driving hard for - which is why all proceeds from our dog tee products go to a non-profit. Please help us, help them.

We'll see you shortly in our next edition of 5-minutes.

CN
 

Our product page has landed

Houston, the product page has landed.

 

It's been a long time coming since we've been building the exciting #dogtees initiative. At a high level, that's:

  • Creating and designing the product
  • Putting the product page together
  • Negotiating with manufacturer
  • Discussing proceeds with animal shelter
  • Social media promotion

And the list goes on.

In parallel, we were getting stuck right into the #loremipsum project - affectionately known as 'startup ipsum' - creating the coming soon page, developing the product, marketing and so on.

Now both initiatives are at different stages of maturity. The #dogtees are now available! 

We are still building all the good stuff behind the scenes for the Startup Ipsum. But we thought it best not to delay our fab tee / singlet / hoodie designs, and launch the goodies right now.

A few things to note

Sizing, Colour and style

We all know that fit is incredibly important when purchasing clothes online. This is why we have included a table in each product that has all the size measurements, for all people big and small.

Our colours come in black, white and grey. We are in a position to source more colours; feel free to reach out if you're feeling particularly colourful.

We can also import hoodies with zippers (and not just pullovers). We're happy to cater for your needs and have included this option with our hoodies. 

Shipping

We use Australia Post for shipping out the goodies locally: 

Parcel post (5-6 business days)

  • Small satchel, 35.5 x 22cm, Up to 500g = $8.25
  • Medium satchel, 40.5 x 31cm, Up to 3kg = $13.40
  • Large satchel, 51 x 43.5cm, Up to 5kg = $17.10

Express post (next business day)

  • Small satchel, 35.5 x 22cm, Up to 500g = $10.55
  • Medium satchel, 40.5 x 31cm, Up to 3kg = $14.80
  • Large satchel, 51 x 43.5cm, Up to 5kg = $24.15

If you are outside Australia and are wanting to support the good cause, and wear these tasty designs, drop us a line and we'll see what we can do to bend those rules ;)

Got Q's?

We'll have A's to your Q's, so like always, do not hesitate to drop us a line.

We sure hope you can support us in developing our collective, particularly with our #dogtees immediately. Those adorable little creatures need our help!

 
 

Making a better Lorem Ipsum

We are fans of Lorem Ipsum here at Collective Network.

 

HUGE fans like most of the people that use it. It is a great way to add some copy to quickly visualise a design during its initial stages.

The problem with Lorem Ipsum is that its value diminishes after those initial iterations when both client and designer have refined their work. What is actually required after this point is a better Lorem Ipsum.

A lorem ipsum generator that creates content, copy and design, based on a category. Wouldn’t it be nice if the tool would then generate a filtered list of content, helping the user’s focus during those crucial first steps?

And thus, this idea was born.

How it works

We have taken this idea and broke how to use such a tool in 3 simple steps:

  1. Select your category
  2. Generates the copy
  3. Add your design

As a user, you can then have a play around with your the results, by editing the copy, adding some more swag to the design, drag and dropping sections, adding / swapping / uploading your own images, adding icons and much more.

You can even save and download your work.

Let’s take a closer look.

Selecting a category

Use cases

The first challenge in designing a better Lorem Ipsum was its many uses. People use placeholder text to build just about any website, from travel to fitness, restaurants, photography, their own portfolios and multitude of others. A few will even use it as a play around when designing a section within their site, like their own blog.

The idea of adding a “category” to generate content specific to the category selected was then conceived.

Wouldn’t it be great if the tool was able to generate travel-specific content when the “travel” category, heading and/or paragraph was selected? Imagine the time and money it saves the user who might otherwise have to pay someone to write this all up.

Users

Making it easier for the user should always be the top priority when designing a new product.

And who exactly will be using this tool?

Everyone from a product guy, designer, developer, sales & marketing professional, or simply anyone that has come up with an idea. A user can iterate through an initial idea easily without having to hand it off to a designer.
A designer can use the tool to quickly, before launching into Sketch, Photoshop or their design tool of choice.

Generating Copy

After selecting the category, the user can then select a heading and description — and the tool will automatically generate an accompanying heading and description for that category.

 

All heading and description copy relating to Travel will be generated when selected by the user.

Similarly, all copy relating to Health/Wellbeing/Fitness would be generated with the selection of “Fitness” category, and so on. We, therefore, added a story card on the board to build that core feature.

Design considerations

Now in our head, copy wasn’t enough; we also wanted some design elements in our tool to contextualise what the user is building.

A person reading a travel site might expect the content to also include photos, which could be a key selling point in such a site.

Based on the category, we then added a card up to generate placeholder pictures specific to that category. The user would, therefore, have the ability to select an image which would generate random photos. Some of these will be generated through stock photos from Unsplash, and others will be taken from our group of talented photographers! [note: There are a fair few photographers here in Collected Network.]

 

We also added the ability to swap photos in case the user was not satisfied with the random photograph generated.

And as an added bonus, the user can also have the ability to upload their own images should they chose.

Design? Why bother?

And why even bother with adding design with a copy based tool? Context.

What better way to visualise your design than with real images (particularly with your own photos!)

But copy is STILL king

We have followed the universally accepted ‘Copy is King’ approach by presenting the block for copy prior to selecting any design elements. This approach ensures that copy is the key focus when the user starts to use the tool.

It is fairly obvious to the user that when they select images, before they select copy, that the output might look a bit odd — unless, of course, if that is the effect they’re going for.

Other bits of functionality

Drag and drop sections

To ensure flexibility, we will also allow users to move sections in different areas. In the scenario where a user creates the following content:

H1: Travel Australia
P: Australia is a country, and continent, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans..
H2: Sydney
P: Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design..

The user should be able to move the H1 (heading) and accompanying P (paragraph) below H2 if they so choose. The added functionality allows the user to have a quick play before settling on a final design.

People

We will create avatars of random people with an accompanying description if the user selects on the people icon. This will enable users to contextualise their site with real people.

The people and descriptions will also change depending on the category.

For example, the people generated for the Travel website will be travellers with some tall travel tales as description text; whereas if the user selects photography category, the people images generated will change to that of photographers (with accompanying text once again).

Blog

As you would’ve guessed, hitting the blog icon will generate a random blog specific to the category. A travel category will generate a travel blog (if selected) just like a fitness category will generate a blog related to fitness and wellbeing.

 

Contextualising the content is once again the key to creating a succinct experience for the user. There is simply no better way to design a concept in your head than providing you, the user, with tools in context, of what you have selected in the category. The aim of the game is to make the users thoughts concrete (as much as we possibly can).

Download

The output to all this is HTML for the copy and images will be exported via png files. We have also added a card for ‘copy to clipboard’ function.

 

The outputs from our Lorem Ipsum tool can then be used as inputs when the user builds their real website.

This is, in fact, the real benefit of the tool: It is the first stepto mocking up a website (or simply a design), for creatives, product types, designers, developers, marketing pros and anyone else out there who intends to create a site.

We have even included the traditional Lorem Ipsum text if the user so chooses. The tool is meant to be the first step in the design process — which is one of the reasons why we decided to call it “Startup Ipsum”.

Where to from here?

We are working hard behind the scenes building all the good stuff that comes with the tool; there are a few other features and surprises we haven’t even mentioned.

We would love to give you updates and absolutely welcome any feedback that you may have through our sign-up form. We’ll also do the rounds with meet-and-greets, predominantly here in sunny Sydney as well as promote our initiative through social media.

You, the user, are the key to letting us know what you would like to see in this tool. Let’s think outside the box and shape our first few steps in the design process together.

Feel free to reach out to us at any time.


Them Collective Rascals

This fabulous initiative is brought to you by the following#CollectiveNetwork rascals, specifically:

The handles: Perry CMark B and Suraj D.

Drop a ‘hey there’ or follow us on Collective Networks and through our own handles. We appreciate that :)

 

5 minutes with Carol from Mimpy and Co.

This will be the first in a series of interviews that drills into the people behind the Collective Network.

In our first edition of "5 minutes with.." we catch-up with Carol, our resident graphic designer from Mimpy and Co. In our 5 minutes, we get to know more about Carol's past, her present and her prediction for tomorrow!

Let's hear it from the lovely Carol.


What are the earliest memories you had as a child?

Mmm, one memory that comes to mind was when my foot got stuck while climbing a tree. Of course, I started freaking out and my parents ended up having to call the fire department to come down and cut the branch to free me. I swore to never climb a tree again haha.

Oh haha. Hella funny. Sorry to hear that! 

So, is one of your parents a designer? Or did you have a close family member that introduced you to designing?

Neither of my parents is into design and no one in my family is within the creative line of work.

But my mother was always a fashionista, I think her sense of fashion and style had an influence on my creative side. My father is a headstrong man who served over 20 years in the military. So looks like I’m the only one in my family within the design industry.

And were you good in art as a kid? Drawing, sketching, craftwork etc?

I don’t know if I was any good, but I always looked forward to art class. It was one of the classes I’ve always enjoyed and really concentrated in.  

And let's now fast forward a bit. What was your first job?

My first job within the industry was working for a design studio in Perth. My boss was nice enough to hire me and give me the experience I needed to move forward in my career.

Working in the design studio I learned things that have helped me become the designer I am today.   

Invaluable experience! And if you did not have to create a product or any work for a client, what would you be designing?

If I’m not doing design work for a client I usually work on my own marketing content, for example, Instagram posts, Facebook posts and updating my website.

But I’m currently brainstorming a series of prints to design for my online shop.  

When you look back at the breadth of your work, what is the most common style / theme that constantly comes up?

My style has slowly evolved over the past years and is still being refined.

At this moment I aim for my style to be clean and simple, focusing around minimal colours with the strong contrast of black and white. 

And can I just add that minimal black and white is working out quite well!

Why thank you.

And so what is your design process? How do you start and what are the steps to completion?

My design process consists of doing lots of research (online, magazines, books, asking people questions, etc.), then going to the drawing board sketching as many ideas and concepts as I can.

Once I’m happy with the sketches, I pick the designs that stand out and extend and continue working on them.

Then I’ll have a few concepts that I’m happy with and can present to my client.

From there I work with the client on improving and finalizing the design.  

Nicely broken down there.

What happens if you are lacking inspiration. What do you do to spark creativity?

I try to change the scenery by getting out of the office. I’ll go for a walk and get some fresh air, grab a coffee at a local café, I’ll try and go to creative workshops, or if I’m feeling stuck I’ll catch up with like minded people and bounce ideas off of them to help get me motivated. 

Do you dabble in music? Is music part of your design process?

When it comes to working alone in the office, Spotify is my best friend. I’ve always got it playing in the background and the playlists they offer are fantastic and keeps me from wasting time on picking tracks. It helps me get motivated and gets me in a positive headspace. Great for getting in the creative zone.

Good stuff.

And outside your work, are you into photography? Is there a particular subject that you like taking?

Photography has always been an interest to me and it comes hand in hand with design. It’s hard because all the photos I end up taking are for work.

But lately my photos all consist of my pug, she’s my new obsession and every moment needs to be captured with her because she’s so adorable.  

She is very cute indeed :)

 

So who inspires you? Who should we follow?

@furrylittlepeach is definitely at the top of my list. She has a major talent for illustrating and has a bubbly personality it seems - love her work.

@seekerloverdreamer Zoe Weldon, is a social media ninja with a vibrant personality, she’s great to follow because she’s fun and quirky, which I love!

We'll definitely check those 2 out based on your recommendation.

Would you do anything else if you were not designing?

Since elementary school, I’ve always been drawn to being creative. Nothing else stood out to me, whether it was what I was wearing, to the layout of my bedroom, to DIY projects, I have always been creative at heart. I can’t imagine doing anything else, it’s definitely a part of who I am as a person.

Where do you see yourself in 3 - 5 years time?

I would like to expand Mimpy and Co. and have a team on board, along with running my own monthly publication focussing on creatives and their own businesses. 

All achievable before that time! 

Yes, haha.

And the final question: What gets you out of bed?

Lately, it has been my puppy, Mona Lisa, she wakes up bright and early at 6 every morning wanting to play. So the first thing we do is go for a walk to start our day.

Should've seen that one coming :)


We would like to thank Carol for all her contributions to the #dogtee initiative. We are over the moon with her incredible designs and very impressed with her collaborative spirit! More power to you Carol!  

We'll see you shortly in our next 5 minutes.

Collective Network
 

An interview with Gabriela Herman

We are on a DAMN ROLL and we are completely beside ourselves to bring you the incredible, the spectacular and the truly inspirational Gabriela Herman!

Now I - P to the C -  personally have been following Gab's work since she blew the net with the Bloggers series way back when. And I have watched her art explode over the years with brilliant captures that stimulate the senses and provoke thought. 

Without further ado, let's learn more about the wonderful Gab and her remarkable journey.  


Hello Gab! Welcome to the interview.

How have you been?

I’m good, just got back from a trip to LA so right back home now here in New York.

Are there a few exciting things happening in LA?

Mostly social, visiting family and friends. I managed to also do a quick shoot for a project so...yeah.

Very nice.  

So let’s start the interview by delving into how you got started taking photos. Your parents, what are their backgrounds? 

OK, so my mum is Brazilian and moved to the States after medical school and met my dad through an exchange program - which was in Long Island where my dad grew up.  

And yeah, my dad is a lawyer.

So your mum went to medical school and your dad is a lawyer..

Yeah, so no creative types.

OK. So how did you fall into this?

I went to a private school in New England and most of my friends followed the more traditional path of going to college and studying law, medicine, business, etc. I went to Liberal Arts college, I was a psychology major so I never really considered photography to be a career even though I got right into it in high school. Not that it wasn’t a possibility..

Right. So it didn’t stand out?

Yeah. So I went to Brazil after college and that’s really where it all started to fall in place.

You know I did a psychology major because I enjoyed the readings.

Oh yeah. Do tell us more.

So I was living in San Paolo and working a regular job and in the background, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And it was there that I decided to try and see if I can pursue photography more seriously.

So I quit my job and worked for free as a photographer for 6 months and told everyone in San Paulo that I wanted to work as a photographer. And through that, I ended up going on a trip with this photographer to the north of Brazil which was a really eye-opening experience. 

He introduced me to one of the top photographers in Brazil and hooked me up with a job as the lowly studio floor bitch. But yeah that’s how it all started.

So it was there in Brazil where it all happened.

Yeah but I have been doing photography passionately since high school but when I was in Brazil it was like “You know I should really try this”.

Very cool. 

So just a little bit more on technical aspects - what is the camera you use?

I have always been from day 1 a Nikon shooter. And you know it’s tricky as here in New York, none of my friends use Nikon; they’re all Canon. So there’s no one that I can borrow lenses from and stuff like that.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll get really excited and go “Oh YAY you’re using Nikon too!” 

..but yes, I’ve always been a Nikon girl. 

So it’s like that up there. Haha.

Not sure if you read my last interview but I’m an iPhone only kinda guy but that’s more due to convenience. I don’t take photographs for a living so I’ve never had the need to invest in one. But a few of my friends who are into photography are like “I really like your shots man but you’re not a serious photographer with that iPhone”. I personally think that comment is silly because no matter what I use, it’s more about the final result. I can walk, stop and shoot more naturally with an iPhone as it’s always with me. I don’t have to overthink it.

Yeah, It’s not really about the tool..

Exactly.  

Back to you. What is the process, of choosing subjects. Well, do you choose a subject or do you choose a project when you take photos?

Depends. Are we talking about my own personal work or paid work?

Good point. Your own personal work.. 

In my own personal work, I tend to lean more towards portrait kind of work because in my paid work I don’t tend to have a lot of portrait assignments.

So yeah in my own personal work it tends to be more about people but in my paid work it depends on what the project is.

OK. So when you do your own personal work, do you take pictures for yourself because you find it interesting or do you shoot for others, because you think others will think ‘that’s cool’.

Well, that depends if there was a project in mind.

I think a lot of portrait photography is about the relationship between the photographer and subject and what transpires between them, and what happens when you’re collaborating with them. 

Right. And the pictures comes out more naturally then. 

Uh-huh.

Next one - do you do a lot of post-editing?

No, not too much. I have actually a certain colour palette in mind that I veer towards and that happens in the light room.

But I don’t do crazy retouches, removing things or multiple layer touchups. I just like cleaning up images up a bit to remove distracting elements. 

The minimum.

And that’s something that I noticed immediately in your incredible landing page. The images are very clean, and the images and colours work and blend together nicely. 

Did I mention I love the colours? I love the colours Gab! 

Thank you.

And yes, I do love my colour.

I’ve seen your site change over the years by the way as I have been following your work since Bloggers blew up.

Yeah, that was my first body of work that was getting recognition. 

I remember back then that one version was with a girl by the pool.. 

..yeah that was me! 

That was you! Haha, cool. 

I love doing self-portraits and that was during a time when I had a lot of time to do personal work as well. 

Magical time! I’ll get back to Bloggers in a second but thought to ask you this obvious question before we completely skim over it: Are you a colour or Black & White girl? 

Haha. You know I first started in B&W when I first started with film. 

But when I switched to digital, I became a colour girl. 

Yeah. I know you do it justice as well. 

So let’s get back to Bloggers. How did that one come about?

It was kind of organic. It wasn’t like “I need to start a new project”. 

A friend borrowed a camera of mine and I went over to pick it up and at that time she just came out of the shower leaning over the computer with the towel over her head, and I was like “Oh, hold that pose right there while I get my camera..

Haha.. 

And that was the moment I noticed how beautiful the light coming from her laptop was..

That was really late at night or really early in the morning, right?

Yeah, that was in the evening really late at night. 

I shot 4 frames and I came home and as soon as I uploaded the shots on my computer I was like “Whoa, there’s totally something happening here..

That is where I got the idea of shooting more people in a similar fashion. 

So that was during the time when blogging was really coming to fore with all these blogs coming out of WordPress. I was reading all the blogs about photography - that was the world I was in.

Right. And that’s when you took the next step and got other subjects..

Yeah. And that’s something I remember a mentor of mine in Brazil said: “The hardest thing about doing a project is starting. But once that’s done, you get into a roll and it moves through different ways and directions.

Starting it is very hard, but once I got that first shot of my girlfriend for bloggers, the project just came about naturally and I started shooting more and more.

Yes, that was an incredible project.

Speaking of which, you have some other great projects out there.

What about Beetlebung farm - how did that one come about?

That one again was very organic, I didn’t think about it as a project. So I was hanging around with my friend Chris who is a farmer and I was just really fascinated by what people were doing around me. I would volunteer on the farm and stuff. And it was all very fascinating; getting your hands dirty on the soil, getting food prepared..    

You know I never shot food that way before. I always thought of it more as shooting it in a studio with lights and all. So it was very natural and felt really comfortable for me during that time. So I just started building a body of work when I was there just for fun. 

After a few summers after I built that body of work, that’s when I realised that I had something going.

 

So you literally have your camera everywhere you go, take pictures where you can, review and reflect until you get to the point - hmm, I could actually hook these up all together here..

Exactly. You know I have a lot of ideas for projects and then I have projects that are just born out of shooting naturally until you see a project collection form.

Yes! Those to me are the best projects because you shoot what comes naturally..

Yeah, because those are the ones that you are passionate about. 

Exactly because it comes out naturally. It’s not a project where someone says “You must do this..” Not that I’m saying those don’t work out well, I’m not saying that all. But what I am saying is that those shots that have a natural rhythm, the honesty usually comes out in the pictures.

And by the way, that pig’s head was quite brutal!

Haha. Yeah, that was a bloody sequence in my portfolio book.

That one struck a chord with me. When I was growing up in the Philippines, eating pork was staple, so I was indifferent to those things back then. Now however I can see why it’s confronting; but that’s probably because I’ve been here far longer than I’ve been there. 

Anyway, let's get back to you - what I really like about your photographs is your ability to focus on interesting things.  So in the Beetlebung portfolio for example, the focus on the main subjects are incredible. When you shoot pictures, do you try to move or rearrange subjects in order to make the shot really stand out? Or do you find yourself leaving things in their natural environment?

Yes, I leave things as organic as I can. I don’t try to meddle things too much nor do I have a stylist to touch things up. I like keeping things as natural as I can.

Yes and that’s what I noticed with a lot of your projects; they come out real natural and look very comfortable in their surroundings. Your latest project The Kids has that too, and I’ll add that the stories in there are such an interesting read - not to mention, the layout, design, photos and audio really adds up to make it the complete package. 

And of course, it’s a very personal story.               

So I am assuming that Kids was inspired by your own personal story right?

Yes. Kids is definitely the most personal project I could do at this point. You know I can’t say it will be the most personal in my career but definitely is my most personal right now which is what inspired me to do this. So I used the project not only to tell my story but also to meet other people, which turned out to be like therapy.

 

Right. And I’m assuming it’s a growing collection as well.

Yes, it is. 

And is it receiving a lot of coverage? 

Yes it has received wonderful press.

Unlike the Bloggers series which got tons of press as soon as I shot it, for the Kids series I was making sure that I had everything together and fully packaged before putting it out there. 

Right. And it's a well-packaged product indeed.

And so who inspires you? 

That’s so funny because I was talking to a girl this morning about photography stuff and she asked me this very question, and I’ll give you the same answer: “I am definitely inspired by my peers”. I like watching my friends and seeing what they're shooting. 

I know some photographers don't like looking at other people’s work; they don’t like being influenced so on and so forth. But I like checking out Tumblr to see what my friends have been shooting. And yeah I do that for people that I follow, that is so inspiring to me.

I used to do that when blogging was becoming a big thing a few years, I would watch what people were putting up. I really take out a lot from all that.

So are there any photographers you have in mind that we should be checking out?  

Yes, definitely Ryan Pfluger for portrait work; so beautiful, composition, colour, mood. Basically, everything he posts, I’m like “Damn, he killed it”. 

Another person that I quite enjoy is Elinor Carucci

And favourite people?

Well, my family and I are super-close. I have got a younger brother and sister. When I’m in LA, or when my brother is over here, we hang out a lot together. 

And yeah I would do that too with my sister and my mom and dad. Even though they’re divorced, we still get to hang out often, so it’s all cool.

That’s good.

It’s awesome, yeah. 

And my mom’s side of the family is HUGE. She’s one of 7 siblings so I have lots of cousins in Brazil which is quite nice. 

Oh very nice.

So what get’s Gab up in the morning?

Oh. Well, probably my husband going to work!    

Hahaha.

Haha. Yeah, I usually travel a lot for work, so then it’s probably the sunrise that gets me up and out shooting. 

But when I’m at home and not shooting things, and those are usually slow mornings, I try not to get up too early, haha. 

Yeah, me too.

And my final question to wrap up - what should I ask you that I haven't asked you yet?

Oh man, haha.

Well, I guess you touched a lot about my personal projects but we haven’t gone deep into my work. 

No, I haven't and that’s a fair point. Let’s get right into it..

Yeah, so my personal projects are very different to what I get hired to do. So it’s more about the travel work, and food work, editorial work for a lot of magazines. I just started shooting for the NY Times this fall, and I’m getting a little bit more portrait work which is great because I do a lot of portrait work in my own personal projects.  

Right. So when you shoot portraits for work, it’s easier as it’s something you do anyway. 

Yeah.

OK cool. Well, from my perspective this has been an incredible interview Gab. We covered a lot here..

Yeah, it’s been nice to talk to you. It’s good to see that you know a lot of my work. Some people will talk to me but would not have gone through my website so they wouldn't really know my work.  

Yeah, that’s because I’ve been following you for a while. Not like a stalker mind you hahaha. But as a fan. You inspire me to lift my game in whatever creative I’m currently into.  

Thanks once again Gab, it’s been a pleasure. 

Likewise.


ABOUT

Isn’t Gab fab? Not only is her body of work incredible but she is also a great interviewee and person to talk to. Make sure to check out her work  here.

For completeness, Gab also sent us a list of people that inspires her:

Friends:

Well known:

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the fab Gab, or anything else you would like us to cover below.

 

 

 

Talk to the Paw product launch

Dogs, we heart them.

A few of us are quite passionate about our best friends. So much so that we're in the process of doing a charity drive to raise money for an animal shelter. The drive will be centered around Tee's (hoodies and singles also available) that we've designed with great care:

Coming up with the designs was the fun and easy bit. Carol and Perry bounced around ideas left, right and centre until they landed on 6 designs of choice. Then we trimmed the designs in half as coming up with 6 design variations would have been a logistical nightmare to produce, warehouse and ship. We managed to trim the designs down via customer tests (landing page, SurveyMonkey) from our network.  The insights were invaluable! 

note: We're sure that there have been hundreds out there that have faced the issue of "should we or shouldn't we warehouse stock?" The 'For camp' argued that warehousing stock was more cost effective and was the traditional route of doing business. The 'Against camp' countered that  warehousing faced potential challenges in holding stock that may not sell - men's, women's, small, medium, large and variations. In the end, the latter prevailed ('supply only if demand is known').

In the background, resident Surf Animal Matias, has been busy reaching out to the animal shelter. We're even looking forward to taking this idea forward with other organisations (more details to follow).

This has all been a breeze so far (the progress has been easier with a collaborative bunch). Executing on the idea is the BIG challenge i.e.

  • put together a landing page for pre-orders,
  • build awareness through word-of-mouth, social media and charity drives,
  • set-up the production system..

..before Thunderbirds are GO

Here are some modelled puppy's with our 2 designers:

Carol
Carol and PC

We can't wait to get this out there.

And we hope that you'll join us for the good cause.

Collective Network
 

An interview with Bjorn Valdimarsson

We don't often have a chance to interview people who inspire us and so imagine my excitement when I received the opportunity to have a chat with Bjorn - one of my favourite photographers.

Bjorn and I go through all things photography, from what got him started, to the equipment, photo subjects and a whole lot more.

Let's dig right in.


Hi Bjorn, thanks for accepting this invitation to do an interview.

Not a problem at all. My pleasure really.

So let's start off with - what got you into photography?

Well, I first came interested in photography almost thirty years ago when I started to follow some young Icelandic photographers that had a new and different approach in their work. Then I began to look at other photographers work and slowly to make my own photos. Sometimes I’ve been shooting a lot, sometimes less.

How long have you been a photographer?

Well, I´m not sure if I can call myself a photographer. At least, I have a full-time job doing something else. Perhaps I am rather a photo enthusiastic but of course these things are always debatable.

Over the last few years, I have been very active and enjoying photography more than ever. I shoot every week and many evenings I try to do some processing or reprocessing. Work on my website, my Flickr or do something connected to photography. I also spend time on looking at other people's websites and photo books.

Good stuff. I guess it's easier to check out other people's work these days on the net.

Did you take any formal education to become a photographer?

No. I have learned all I know by talking to and learning from photographers, reading magazines and books, looking at all kind of photos and visiting countless exhibitions and by going to courses.

Today it is easier to learn from the internet, Youtube etc. than it was two decades ago. I also enjoy to watch movies and learn from them.

So what type of camera do you use?

Today I use Fuji XE-2 with 18-55 mm lens and 27 mm lens. I used to shoot on Rolleiflex but now I only use it once or twice a year. I really like the Fuji. It is small, so I can travel with it easily and the quality of the photos from it is outstanding.

I'm an iPhone only kind of guy and I know a lot of people have encouraged me to buy proper gear. Perhaps one day.

And what is your process for choosing subjects? 

I only shoot what I like. Ageing things, the land, roads, winter weather and the people of Siglufjörður – past and present, to name some subjects. I do not sit down and think; what’s next? Many of these projects somehow come to me and a big part of them are ongoing.

I don’t think I can ever stop shooting abandoned farms or my friends in the Siglufjörður to name some.

Do you do any post editing? If so what do you do? 

I do a lot of post editing and I can spend a long time on one photo. I think the art is really to try to let the people that look at my photos get the feeling or mood that I felt, but still without noticing or thinking of the processing.

I think the best processing is when you hardly noticed what was done, but still get the wow feeling of the place or moment. I never add or remove things in my photos. I only do colour adjustments, contrast, exposure, darkening of edges etc. 

Of course, in B&W things are different. With the black and white we go someway out of the real world into another, often magical place. I really love B&W but I find the monochrome processing even more difficult than the colour work.

Funny you said that as a lot of people automatically assume that B&W is easier.

What places would you really want to capture?

I think that after people in their own environment, I enjoy mostly the ageing structures and objects that are slowly becoming a part of nature again, and the magical winter mood here in North Iceland. 

And who inspires you? 

It is hard to name some favourite photographers but I can still say that I love looking at the work of Ragnar Axelsson, Alec Soth, Jonathan Harris and Sebasto Salgado.

Does music inspire you? If so, how does it influence your photos?

Music is a very big part of my photography. I love driving in my Toyota Hilux on the remote country roads here with some music on while look for photo subjects. I never go on a photo tour without Miles Davis' In a Silent Way and Kind of Blue. I always take few CDs with my on these tours but I never leave these out.

I do also listen a lot to music while processing. It depends on the mood I am in what kind of music I choose, but usually, I listen to some of the softer jazz music or piano or cello sonatas.

Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier is perhaps my fave processing music. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Beethoven and Bach are my favourite musicians.

Nice.

And to wrap up, what gets you up in the morning? 

The day ahead and my morning coffee :)


A B O U T

 PC

PC

I have 3 fave photographers right of the top of my head and Bjorn is one of them. I would like to thank Bjorn for giving us the opportunity to do this interview. Check out Bjorn's jaw-dropping work on his website located here

I'll be reaching out to my other 2 favourites shortly (fingers crossed).

I know that the other guys from Collective Network have their own cherished photographers too. Perhaps one day they'll get to share their own stories right here too.

 

The week of our next meetup

Our first meetup was kinda small and humble in a lot of ways. It was Friday afternoon and the rain would not stop from the day before. I was asked by several people whether the meetup was still going to go ahead as planned, which really should have served as a 'confidence warning' on the attendance. In the end, there were a few who were already committed and I did not want to disappoint them. And so the show went on.

And for the few that weathered the storm, the day - the early evening, really - was worth it:

I have mixed emotions on the week of our 2nd meetup; on the one hand, I am quite excited to host a bigger party and meet a few more good people (18 going with 85-strong in the group at time of writing). But on the other hand I will also miss 2 key members dropping out due to other commitments. [note: @decamino and @kwokchan - we'll miss you guys!]

We are also supposed to have some good weather, clearing shower apparently, which means we'll have an opportunity to take better shots. We'll venture out and chase the sun to #Barangaroo and #Walsh Bay for some epic shots, spill over to the #Lord Nelson for a swig of its famous brew (ale/cider/water for some), waltz through #The Rocks for some old Sydney shots, and head down to Frankie's for their beloved pizza. There will be a lot of tagging of people and places, and we'll cause as much noise as we possibly can. I'm excited again!

But let's just cross our fingers and hope the guy up there holds the sun up on Friday. 

This will be a long week, but - bring on Friday!

@helloperryc

Collective Network
 

We are the Collective Network

There have been thousands, if not millions, of would-be programmers that have started their journey by printing these words to the console:

We are not strictly a tech startup, although there are a few developer types in our ranks, but it does seem quite appropriate that we start our blog by saying hello to everyone and introducing ourselves: We are the Collective Network.

We are a group of individuals that have come together to share some moments with you, through this site and through social media. We are bound by the love of taking photos, tagging and commenting on each others snaps through Instagram. Every so often, we come together as a group for a drink and a laugh, and we spread the love through our Insta group.  

It all started when the digital creatives @kowloonboy and @helloperryc were having a chat about Instagram: 

@kowloonboy: Dude, I hate to break this to you but you're not #instafamous. No one is going to troll you. 

@helloperryc: I don't know about Insta man, I don't like it when people troll others. I'll stick to Flickr thanks.

@kowloonboy: Because I'm on there. Kate is on there. A fair few of us are on there. Share the love with your colleagues man. Add us and let's have a laugh.

@helloperryc: But give me one good reason why I should be more active on it?

 

And with that innocent suggestion, the adding, tagging and friendly banter began.

The group has since grown to include other creatives in our wider circle. We're all here to share a little bit of our ourselves, our moments, our creations and our expertise in our own areas. We sure hope that you'll come and join us on travels

Let the good times roll.

note: @kowloonboy has since moved on to greener pastures late last year. We wish the cheeky rascal the very best!

PC

Collective Network