Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Soap With Shoes?!

We are having a blast over at Soaper's Retreat (facebook group) and the challenges keep on coming.  This week, I decided to do something a little different, ya'know....to get people out of their comfort zone, to think outside the box.  That's always what I loved about certain teachers at Antioch (where I went to college).  I was constantly challenged to view from different perspectives, to analyze and feel things from a different view, whether it was art, music, education or philosophy.  I quite like the challenge of thinking outside the box and approaching things in new perspectives.

This week:  Shoe Photo Challenge

My pic was this one with my favorite pair of shoes....my old, worn Uggs.

Here are some of my favorite photographs from all of the entries:

Julie Weghorn
I adore this shot!

Michelle Rhoades
This girl nailed it!

Jennifer Farmer
Only entry with the shoe ON....well done Jennifer!

Rosie Carbajal
Excellent framing!  Reminds me of the vintage Vogue photos.

I want to thank everyone who participates in these challenges, to all of the members in the Soaper's Retreat Group and for every single one of you who read my blog.  Your love for soap and your support and encouragement of me and this blog make me feel pretty special.  Thank you.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Favorite Soap Top Photo Challenge on Facebook

One of the reasons I set up these photo challenges, is because I think we can all work on our photography skills.  Even ugly soap can be made beautiful with the right angle, light and focus.  I encourage all of you to step outside your comfort zone and really play, flounder, hone in and improve your own setting-the-stage for your soaps. 

There were some amazing soaps submitted this week.  I am truly floored by some of the talent out there and are inspired by the images... the soap itself.  Again, this wasn't about the most beautiful tops (which there were dozens of amazing ones!), this was about photographing your favorite tops. 

Many of you have created a mood so deep, that it has successfully taken me to another place outside of my room.  As if I experience a few seconds on another plane, in a different time and space and if I were connected to a breathing machine or heart rate monitor, I'm guessing the images actually had a physical impact as well.  Not just creative thought.

Imagine for a moment: an image that you've seen that transformed your mood or gave you relief even for a moment.  Then get behind your camera and move around your subject until you FEEL something and click.  Then stay behind the lens and do it again.  And again.  I took a photography class in college and I was taught to examine images that gave me an emotion or took me to the past or rekindled a memory I had forgotten.  That is special when you can examine, then reexamine why it moved you.  Was it the light, the blurred background, the colors, expressions on faces, the unknown....what wasn't said?  All this works to tell a story.

Soap may not tell a story to most, but to us it has a history within ourselves.  Our hard work, our love for science or art, our sweat and tears and sometimes our feelings of worth.  These are our creations and because they are special, we need to deliver all of that information, emotion and love, outside of ourselves and into our image for others to view and experience.

These two are mine, though not thought provoking necessarily, but the first one has a sense of playfulness.

 Joanna Schmidt

Joanna Schmidt

So, without further ado, here are the photographs that moved me.  Not just beautiful soap, but a mood that captured my attention and took me from my own reality for a few seconds.

Clara Lindberg 
Creamy mohair and goat's milk soap with cinnamon & neroli.

 Kate Boisoneau
Poppet: smoky sweet caramelized sugar, roasted almond, rich cocoa, and airy, creamy marshmallow

 Hajni Kele
Witches Brew

Just because most of these are close-ups, doesn't mean those are the ones that are moving to me.  Lighting and focus have an impact as well.  The one interesting thing about macro shots:  it brings attention to details that are normally overlooked.  Many times it shows the care and beauty that isn't normally seen upfront.  It lures the viewer in and captivates them.

What are your thoughts?  Please share in the comments below...

xoxo Joanna