Monday, 17 January 2011

Congratulations Phil Roeder!

Congratulations to Phil, who completed his 365 Project with this photo:

1.15.2011 <end of the road> 365/365

His set is filled with diverse subjects: interesting portraits, great architectural shots and macros. I enjoyed seeing his use of color and light and his use of creative angles. Phil kindly agreed to answer our finisher's interview questions and share his favorite photos with us. Enjoy!

What inspired you to begin your 365 Project?
First of all, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of professional photographers at different points throughout my career. As an admirer of their work I thought this was a great way to have a better appreciation of what goes into taking and making a good photograph. Secondly, while I originally joined Flickr more nearly five years ago to use primarily as a place to store photos, over time I began to follow more and more the photos of others which made me want to improve my own photos. A 365 project seemed like the best way for me to do so. Finally, as luck would have it, our Canon Powershot died a year ago, so we purchased a Canon EOS XSi and added a couple of lenses; this was a great way to have fun with the new ‘toy.’

How would you describe your photography in just a few words?
Unfortunately, I didn’t develop what I’d consider to be my own “style” during the past year. At the same time, I’m now comfortable attempting almost anything. In the end, I guess I am always trying to look at things a little differently. If everyone is looking at something from the front, I want to see it from behind, if everyone is looking at something from the top, I want to get underneath.

What surprised you the most about doing the 365 project?
First, actually completing the project. I assumed something – from an emergency to apathy – would have derailed me but, good photos or bad, I kept pushing forward to the end. Second, winning first place in the Still Life category at the Iowa State Fair’s Photograph Salon. It’s a huge photo competition and was a big confidence boost. Finally, while it didn’t involve my own work, the reaction to my father’s photographs from the 1950s that I posted to Flickr; the response was overwhelming as tens of thousands of people viewed and commented on them.

What did you learn during the course of your project?
In my opinion, a 365 project is a better learning experience than any photography class could ever be. It forced me to become more confident with my equipment, with my processing (which is the area I still need to work on the most), and most of all with my own eyes, always on the lookout for something new to shoot. And for me, to do it right, it also meant looking at the work of others, from contacts on Flickr to picking up books to attending galleries to regularly checking photography blogs and web sites.

Do you have an interesting story about taking one of your 365 photos that you would like to share?
What ended up being my favorite photograph of the year (see below) was a complete accident. One summer day, when the temperature was in the mid-90s, I stopped at a downtown fountain hoping to simply get a shot of a water stream in mid-air against a bokeh backdrop. As I was doing that these two young girls and a baby – each in a different colored pastel dress – walked through the background. My first thought was “get out of the way,” but I shot a few frames anyway. When I saw the result later I loved it. The girls were nicely framed under the stream of water and their dresses added just the right, subtle touch of color to the image.

What are your future photography plans?
I suspect that I will post as many photos to Flickr in 2011 as I did during the past year. Rather than a 365 project I am doing a 52-week project for this year, so I can do more of a “best of” photo from the previous week and not feel as pressured to do something each and every day. At the same time, I want to do some documentary-type projects; rather than focusing so much on a single photo for the day do more collections of photos around events or places. In addition, I have some interest in the possibility of an exhibit, and am talking with someone about that, as well as entering a few competitions this year. Finally, I am very interested in doing something more with my father’s photographs and will explore some options.


3.12.2010 <freedom> 57/365
The photo that won First Place in the Still Life category at the Iowa State Fair Photograph Salon, one of the largest competitions in the nation.

7.13.2010 <nollen plaza> 180/365
An ‘accidental’ photo that ended up being my favorite of the entire year.

8.14.2010 <scrambler> 212/365
I loved the expressions, especially the fact that the Grandfather seems to be having more fun than the little boy.

8.21.2010 <spider> 218/365
My favorite attempt at a macro, this one of a spider in its web in front of our home.

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