Thursday, June 27, 2013

All for one and one for all!

Some have had the pleasure of helping me choose my POD over the last four and a half years, and some have never known the true reality of my obsession.  In the recent months I have realized that I am a compulsive maniac when it comes to deleting frames, a lot of times even deleting my most quality work on accident.  Memory is now in cloud storage vs an external HD but every good photographer knows it's best to have at least three back ups.  With Flickr now hosting up to a TB of data I can rest easy and upload full res images to my hearts content, and hide/share whichever ones I so feel.  Although I haven't totally taken advantage of this service, I hope to transition into more uploading of images here.

Today I took a total of 25 images, almost like shooting a roll of film (as sometimes you get lucky and when winding the film you get an extra shot).  Or sometimes you get to 24 and it doesn't click, which seems to be the time you really want to take a photograph!  Anyway I took the all of the images above with my D90 and a 50mm 1.4g lens (except for the two images of the Orpheum sign, I had to go wide with my 18mm 3.5 AI-S for those).  Happy snaps and thanks for watching me grow over the years as a photographer. I look forward to watching everyone's photos as best I can.

Best Wishes,
Chris Collins

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Artist Statement

I've struggled with writing a "Artist Statement" for the webpage I have been working on for the better part of the last month, and I finally think I have it down.  After countless opinions and many family/friends incites I give you my artist bio.  Anymore opinions are greatly appreciated.

Chris Collins began taking a photo a day in January 2009, documenting life through a variety of styles.  Between the landscapes, architecture, street scenes, and portraits he found that the isthmus was meant to be his niche.  Creating compelling images through a journalistic eye, Chris has continued on with his picture a day and has had a number of images published in a variety of periodicals read by many Madisonian's.  As a testament to people of Madison, he has also amassed a collection of 100 (and growing) portraits of everyday people with extraordinary stories.  Truly the everyday photographer Chris' mission is simple, to show an outsider the side of the world he calls home; and to capture what he calls the "Isthmus Portrait."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lake Effect

So this will be the start of a series of blogs about POD's without a meaning, as in a photo that someone has selected at random and is ever curious to know why I took the photo.  Today's photo was selected by my "little" brother Dan and his choice was day 59/365 from the 2013 edition of my project.  

As February ends and we begin March the Midwest can be very bi-polar with the weather, some winters end early and the snow melts and we get puddles a plenty to jump in.  Otherwise we are stuck waiting for the snow and ice to melt for an eternity, and normally those are the years that we find snow piles hiding in June.  This photo captures how I feel about winter on the Isthmus, snow comes in waves and just like the saying about rain "when it rains, it pours" when it snows, it's a blizzard!  Most times that is, while this winter wasn't as harsh as we've had before it definitely has stuck around passed its due this year.  Last year by this point we had already seen 80 degrees and temps maintained a steady 60's-70's through much of Spring, now we have seen snow in April as late as the 19th (as of today)!  Warmer temperatures are forecast for much of the next week, so the snow in hiding best run as it will quickly melt off and vanish for at least another 6 months (I hope).

If you're reading this and would like to submit your POD story request please don't hesitate to email me or comment on this blog.  You can find my full body of work at local paparazzi on flickr.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


"Trumpeter" on Flickr

The sounds of Madison on a rainy Monday afternoon can change by the minute, in one instant a car horn blares alerting the cyclist to move over but overpowering the horn can be a siren of an ambulance rushing to a nearby hospital.  I am one to take in all the sounds and smells that the isthmus has to offer, but recently my health took a turn in a negative direction; not only did I lose my sense of smell with more then likely a sinus infection, but my 75% of my hearing due to an ear infection.  Neither of these are things I wish upon anyone because really, life is very boring when you can't smell/hear things.

Monday my friend Dan came out from Milwaukee to hang out for a few hours, when we left to head into the city a steady heavy rain was falling (to which we weren't going to deter us from hanging out).  A quick change from my work cloths and a new battery in my camera we were ready to depart in the April shower.  As we walked down State Street catching up on one another's lives we heard someone warming up on a trumpet somewhere near our location.  This peeked my ears attention, which at this point I had not a clue were muted with an infection.  I reached into my wallet to bring out all the change that I could: 2 quarters, 1 dime, 2 nickels, and 3 pennies.  This was very uncustomary of me not to have something in paper form in case the opportunity arose to shoot a stranger, with my change in hand I walked over to the open case and dropped my donation within.  The trumpeter acknowledged me with a smile and a nod, I felt a feeling of respect between he and I so I asked if I could take his photo.  He took a moment to lift his lips from the trumpet, to say "go right ahead" and went right back to playing.

I quickly checked my settings, to make sure that I was set up for street portrait in overcast light and then stuck my eye solid to the viewfinder.  A quick on the go composition was in the works, first clicking off three frames focusing on his fingers.  The instrument slightly blurred, and the position of skin on metal came into view.  As I adjusted my focus I realized what stunning eyes he had, the stone cold look definitely showed the dedication to his art.  So I turned my photographic focus to his eyes and the stare ingrained in my mind.  His hands flurried the keys, I fired off a quick burst of 5 more frames and smiled him and thanked him for his time.  Walking away I knew that I was done taking photos for the rainy Monday, the sights and sounds from a single man playing a trumpet were more than enough to keep me satisfied.  I held back from deleting any of the photographs in camera (which was a challenge in itself), and now share the "rejects" from the shoot with you.

Happy snaps until next time,
local paparazzi

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Great Debate

Black/White or Color Portraiture?

When you look at a portrait what gives your mind more of a jolt of fresh emotions?  Black and white or color?  As a photographer who has grown over the last few years capturing many faces of people I've known for my whole life, as well as total strangers who have been willing to allow me to capture them as they are; I still find this to be the ever constant struggle.  As the saying goes "a picture's worth one thousand words," humans by nature tell their story through their expressions.  Portraits in black and white draw out the textures that make us who we are; whether it be scars, wrinkles, pimples, flaws make us pay attention to the the finer details.  I love when I meet a stranger who has a great beard or wrinkles like a pug, while this sounds mean they are the finest characters and often have the best stories to share.  I also find that because the details that are brought out via the black and white conversion, as an artist I focus more on the subject; the background is not an important piece of the picture.  

While many of my portraits are in black and white, I am stretching outside of my comfort zone and trying to bring pictures to life.  With color, it's easier to take in details in the photo aside from the subject; for example an outdoor portrait in a flower field.  When your brain processes the colors and takes in the scene, you sometimes smelling the colors.  No that's not drugs talking, but the human brain can think of colors as scents and vice versa (at least my brain does).  I see green and the first thing I can think of is fresh cut grass, on a warm summer morning.  Orange processes to late summer sunsets, blue is a very open minded color as many it could be water or the sky at the right time of day.  Colors are what we make them, we can manipulate and destroy them but at the end of the day it's just like a palette of paint.  Mix/match create but isn't that what art is all about?

I debated for a little while tonight about what do with today's POD, and decided that I would go with color; but knew that it would give me something to write about.  While I hope that not all my blogs turn out to be as boring as this one, I much appreciate if you've taken the time to read this.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"It's all about the little things..."

365 project circa 2009 etc.

A quick summary, my name is Chris Collins also known as "local paparazzi" and I live in the heart of the best Isthmus in America that is Madison, Wisconsin.  Starting January 1st, 2009 I have been documenting my life through taking and posting at least one photo a day.  I set out to do this as a challenge to myself to see life through a new set of eyes, and to grow as a photographer (to which I have).  As of today, I have snapped a photo daily for 1548 days consecutively and while sometimes I wonder if the inspiration will diminish and I will stop taking a photos.  I have to sit back relax and remember it's all about the small things.  Just because I don't like a photo doesn't mean that others wont, most of the photos I choose are carefully selected from a large assortment of the days catch.  This blog is to give an eye to what I like to think of as my "creative genius" that most don't see.  A little more writing with photos that didn't make it on the cutting room floor.

"25 min. max"
Today I went on a photo adventure with my friend Brecken, while she is still new to the whole "photo adventure" she has a keen eye for composition and a knack for finding intricate details in the little things.  This is what I ended up keeping from our walk, and although I would have preferred to shoot this on my FE with a roll of Ilford 400 I wanted instant gratification.  With spring in the air and our daylight dwindling, we wandered the UW campus.  It's rather quiet with most of the students gone on spring break to tropical destinations, and that bit of serenity made it much easier to be more detail orientated.  It's truly a shame to see many of the buildings that are landmarks in my mind vanishing, while new is the way of the future Madison should embrace the historic value of them.  These are merely ramblings of a madman and I may further detail them later.  But as the sun dropped below the horizon we finished our walk and ventured into the blue hour to find something to munch on.  A smile for each face and photos to go with!

                                                          That's all for tonight..