White with Two

For those who spend longs night online, this should be a welcoming view: Loads of Coffee :







For those who have their coffee on the drive to work, you might recognise this view:



So take your time to buy a few cards with these photographs, then post in your car, or your office, or maybe in your bedroom so you can see them as you wake up … it will be worth every cent!

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TShirts on My Body

I have bought a LOT of shirts from my Redbubble collection over the last eight years!

I find them incredibly comfortable and can be worn both in warm and cold weather. Only once I have made a mistake in size, but it was worth it to find out what the T-shirt would look like!

EDIT 9:48 PM 24/07/2016 - Here is a short video I created a few years back but only recently uploaded to Youtube. I undress myself of about 12 of my favorite Redbubble tshirts

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Finding my Photo Mojo (Again)

Sub Title: Shooting Boots

Yesterday I had the weirdest and scariest moment of my life.
I thought I had lost my photo mojo!

I quickly connected my Canon L-Series 70-200mm f4 IS USM lens to my Canon 50D (I dream of having a 5D some day!), went out the back door and started searching for something to shoot.

Lo and behold, I found my father-in-law’s old leather boots, both covered in character that only time and hard-work can give. With ripped toes exposing the steel caps beneath, plus stretch marks where they have been hastily pulled off his old weary feet, these boots were instantly my subject of the day.

As the afternoon sun hit the backyard, I quickly found a surface apt for the job: The top of a honey-heater-box, coated in dirty white paint (because dirt fell on whilst the paint was drying) was perfect for the job!

As you can see from my photograph series of boots below, I still have my photo mojo!

Always feels good to shoot an interesting subject and shoot either with natural or appropriate lighting. Oh, photo mojo, you complete me!

Passing Judgment Online is Never Easy

One of the photography-groups I have integrated into upon Facebook is aimed at TOG’s, MUA’s and Models. It enables all of us to network for photo-shoots, discuss issues and compare ideas. What I also enjoy about it most is ‘Controversy Wednesday‘ – where one or more people will put forward an arguement or statement to see how the rest of us may respond.

My favourite question to-date is:

What judgements do you put on people without actually meeting them?
Do you label people and then believe that is all that they are?
How often do you open your mind to think of the many possibilities that they could be?
I think that many on this group are very judgmental – (or) am i saying that to stir you all up or am i saying what i think?

Whilst I have already submitted my answer within the group (which, by the way, is a private group), I felt compelled to expand and explain my response out. This was my response to the group:

Stone Reflection

Judgement isn’t just for negativity. Honestly, I have days I want to leave this group because I feel like lint in the bellybutton of so many AMAZING photographers, but I stay because I am enjoying being inspired by your work. That’s my judgement.

I needed to write so-much-more, but realised I really wanted to send the message to more than just that small audience.

The following text is much more than I originally anticpated writing here, yet feel better for saying all that can read below…

“On the issue of judging people by their words and actions online BEFORE actually meeting them – that’s something I think about often. In the real world, I can be quite shy … right up until the moment I feel comfortable speaking to you. Why? Because so many people just don’t get my sense of humor, think I am crazy or simply don’t act like I do.”

“Plus I am not a trained photographer, I’ve done no online nor campus study in the arts. The school of hard-knocks and the university of blood sweat and tears are my backyard. Nobody taught me about 3/4 composition, so I don’t shoot to win, I shoot because I like a view. Why am I saying all this? Because judgement is all about the way our brains see. When I look at other people, I look at your eyes, not the skills you posess. Think about that before you even suggest that membership or clubs or groups with fellow photographers is going to make me feel better about myself. It probably won’t, because I don’t shoot to be judged. I don’t necessarily want anyone to say “Well, that composition is a bit skewiff” – because maybe it is meant to be.”

Actually, that reminds me of a situation that happened in an Art Class in High School, circa 1984.
My brother had drawn a perspective showing the lines of the walls and ceilings in the house we lived in at the time. When he passed the drawing in to be marked, our teacher red-lined it with true perspectives – and told us that that the house couldn’t possibly have those angles. It wasn’t the digital-photography age, so all three of us boys had to convince him that the room really did have odd lines between the walls and ceiling!

My point being that art, architecture, and life are all subjective. Our own views determine all the factors that contribute to the (either current, circumstancial, or potential) existance of a time and place. For photographers, everything they see can have a different appearance. Light, weather, emotion, so many factors impact on any resulting artwork. Therefore, judgment by peers can really only be about the resolution, the focal point, and to question the subject matter. Does this alone happen?

As a moderator of four art groups on Redbubble dot com, I am required nightly to determine what is and is not artwork. Too often I find people puttting happy snaps of people and moments which clearly don’t meet the guidelines I put into place when I took over moderation-duties of the groups. The former moderators saw my reasoning, and let me push these issues forward. Consequently, I have two groups where ONLY artwork of the HIGHEST QUALITY (where ‘quality’ is a generic term for the afore mentioned judgment-points) is/are accepted.

I manage to do this without any training in art-appreciation nor photography-judging. I see so many photos each and every day that I know I can tell you what is and isn’t art. Some might say that one person’s BDSM-photography cannot compare with a HDR-landscape. I say they can in as much that if you can convince me the subject is well lit, composed and presents a story of some description, it is art. Yes, of course, I sometimes turn a blind eye to work where the artist is so-close to meeting that fine-sand-line.

Bread Crates

Where was I going? Oh yeah, people who are judgemental of other people’s artwork are often saying more about themselves then they are about the work.

By this I mean that if you don’t like a style of photography, don’t look at it. If you don’t like it, who are you to judge? Simply move on and get on with your life. When you spend the time to write an ugly comment, you might end up being the one that looks ugly, not the artwork you dislike. If you do feel the need to include a comment, make it constructive not destructive nor demeaning.

That’s it, I’ve said my piece on this issue.

POSTSCRIPT: As an ardent writer on many subjects yet not one for posting my own thoughts, I should also tell you that I wrote this piece in less than hour. I often find that the quicker I write a piece, the more raw it becomes. The less editing (and I mean of material, not speling misteaks), the better I feel the work will be. So I welcome your judgment, oops, thoughts on this post.

Donating Photography for a Worthy Cause

I am donating three framed photographs, from the 20 that I exhibited during my SALA 2010 exhibition, to a silent auction at my day job.

Why? Well, it turns out that one of my work colleagues is participating in SuperCycle 2012.

What is this all about?

Most of us would know somebody who has been affected by cancer, whether it be ourselves, our family, our friends or one of our work mates. According to evidence, people in regional areas around the country have lower rates of survival from cancer than city folk.

A group of friends who all work in the superannuation funds around South Australia AND enjoy riding bikes around our beautiful state got together and said “We can do something about this!”

So they approached the Cancer Council of South Australia with the idea, arranged everything and set about press-ganging anyone listening into participating.

Consequently, the event is now a 1,000 kilometre charity event that will take the riders on a week-long trip around four wine-making areas, including the Spencer Gulf, the Southern Flinders Ranges and along the Murray River. Lots of beautiful parts of our beautiful state!

Why am I donating the framed photographs?

The group’s goal is to raise money and awareness of the accommodation services provided by Cancer Council SA to regional areas around the country.

To help my colleague raise as much money to support the Cancer Council, I volunteered three framed photographs from my collection that will be sold in a silent auction to the staff of my department. It just seemed like the natural thing to do.

But it has taken me a while to choose which works would sell highest in the auction!

Tonight I have made the final choices.

Check ‘em out:

They retail between $120 and $200 when bought framed from my Redbubble photo gallery, but I have no idea what they will sell for during the auction. I’ve got no idea when the results will be revealed, but I’ll be sure to let you all know!

PS. Some of you may notice that the article has changed quite radically from what was originally posted. This has happened at the request of the cyclist I am supporting.

Getting your Art Accepted on Redbubble

Walking Alone on Reeves Point, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

I won’t deny it: As head moderator for the South Australian RedBubble group, I am (and continue to be) incredibly harsh on what does and does NOT get accepted.

I re-wrote the requirements about 4 years ago, and I’ve made it plainly clear what the group is about : ‘HIGH grade, frame-worthy, photography and paintings that BEST depict South Australia ‘.

So as head moderator, I read the ‘rules’ regularly – to ensure I am abiding by the terms I set down. It would really help if members would also read them. The amount of work I reject is because of these three main reasons:

1. Please desist in putting your signature or name on your art. Yes, the great masters do it. None of us quite to that standard yet. Note: Your name will be on the back of the art when someone buys it.

2. No extraneous text (particularly religious, persecutionary or hate messages) required. This is your art, not a Hallmark card.

3. No bordering/embossing/etc necessary. Your artwork should fit from corner to corner. Let the buyer add a frame if they want.

Oakbank House, by Stephen Mitchell, on RedbubbleThat’s the basics. BUT – There is one more issue that needs saying:

4. Your work needs to be high quality and worthy of exhibiting.
I want you to show the world that South Australia is worthy of visiting, our artwork is second to none, and our artists have integrity and passion for their skill.

A LOT of the work does meet these guidelines, but I do find that during the twice a week I am moderating the submissions for inclusion I need to hit the REJECT more often than I hit the ACCEPT button. Yes, there is a little discretion on some work – mostly because the artist has met the requirements more often then they have not.

Wait, one more issue:

5. What I will make clear is that even if you are a South Australian artist we will NOT accept your photographs shot in another country. That ain’t how it works sunshine, but kudos for trying!

I’m not sorry for being so blunt about this, but I have managed to keep the quality of this group up to a fairly high standard.  If you feel that an artwork in the work doesn’t meet the grade, you are welcome to inform me. Don’t bust-the-chops of the artist, that isn’t fair-play.

I look forward to seeing the photography and paintings that gets submitted, truly. Each week an amazing myriad of images make the grade for inclusion. Join the group and add artwork that the whole world would love to peruse, photograph, frame and display in their home or office.

Cape du Couedic Light House by Stephen Mitchell

PS. Yes The artwork included in this article are all my own. Whilst I am sure many of the artists in our group agree with the sentiment above, they probably prefer to be seen adhering to the rules rather than being concerned over them.

ex·tra·ne·ous/ikˈstrānēəs/
Adjective:
~ Irrelevant or unrelated to the subject being dealt with.
~ Of external origin.

Nine New Tshirts

Oh, to wear one of my many tshirts!

My creative mind wanders in so many different directions taking in tonnes of information each night, and my analytical mind finds new ways to create the new ideas from my creativity. Consequently my collection of shirts vary in designs, layouts, colours and concepts.

Here are the latest nine shirts to appear…

I’d love to have ‘Living like there’s no Tomorrow‘ appear in the mail. They’re selling at at about $25, yet they are worth every cent: These shirts keep your chest-hair warm in winter, and your under-arm-hair cool in summer.