Inspiration - Inspiration in photography and art good or bad?

The Players

As with most artists I am always on the look out for things to inspire me for my next piece of work. As you might notice, many of my images feature my 4 wonderful dogs. They are very much part of my life and recently I've been imagining what they'd be able to get up to if they were able to be a bit more 'human'. Humanising animals has been done for many years now by artists all around the world. I figured I'd use this to expand my imagination. My image 'The Players' was inspired by a collection of oil paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (September 18, 1844 – January 13, 1934)  made in 1903 for a cigar advertisement. It featured 9 paintings of dogs playing poker plus several others of dogs playing snooker, dancing etc. Having 4 dogs I figured I could place each of them around the table for the shot. I only had one suitable chair in my studio which wasn't an issue as each dog would obviously need to be photographed individually. I am very luck to have my middle (of three) son's work with me as my assistant in my day to day work so he was roped in to helping me! Firstly I had to set the scene, this involved placing the light where I imagined it would need to be (above the table) and then test some smoke to give the right atmosphere. 

Next step, add the dogs! I am so lucky that my dogs are well behaved, this wasn't easy to do at all. I had to decide how I wanted them to look, and in what direction. I then had to keep instructing until they were looking in the right direction.....


And who spotted the 4th dog?..........

Originally Bonnie (1 year old Maltipoo) was going to stand by the table, but she didn't really fit the image so I was sadly forced to not include her initially. Then the penny dropped.....put her in the painting on the wall! I quickly photographed a frame we had hanging on the wall in the house and bingo, my 4th dog could be included. Now to just add the playing cards. It was important for them to be held in the position they'd be added to the image, I always match up angles, lighting etc. 


The old bookcase in the background was from an another image of mine from last year.

The rest was a case of using Adobe Photoshop. 

Tracy WillisComment