Originally published on 06/14/2008
We all know how boring it can get to see the same few poses, faces, or roses tattooed again and again. It’s a strange ethical question in some ways- is a still from a film, a figure model on the internet, or a flower you find on google, stolen property if you trace/redraw slightly, and tattoo it?
You can start fixing this by beginning to create your own photo reference library. If you have a relatively decent camera, whether or not it’s digital (although digital is easier, and what I’ll be discussing here) you can acquire a lot of reference that nobody else has access to.
Photograph everything. Get a big memory card- it’s a write-off- and start taking pictures of the flowers in your garden, ask your friends to pose for you. Have them stand and sit in different positions and make different faces, different emotions and moods. Just be sure to organize your pictures by sunject, not by date! That way you can always find “red rose bud” in the mass of pictures you will end up with.
This brings originality to your work, while allowing you to stay fairly true to life. If you plan to specialize in photorealistic or “color zombie portrait head” style work, you’d better start shooting now, because if I see another devil’s rejects stillframe #13892 again I will scream.