Today’s guest blogger is Jen Foshee’ Strout, a.k.a. @puppywings. She hosts her own challenges on Instagram and hosts them as @puppywings_challenges. Jen is a very kind of and understanding person who love to inspire others to create art as a way to cope with life. I love the way she edits her photos. It can be very traditional to the out or the ordinary. Whatever she does is always turns out great !!! Everyone has their own style, Jen encourages everyone to explore everything around you. Then start taking pictures. I agree with her 100%. You never know what your missing out on, photo ops are all over the place. She loves to drive and find far off places out in the middle of no where to photograph. Her thing is to document history. things that people leave behind for the future.
I grew up in San Antonio, TX. Lived my high school/early college years in Orlando/Tampa, Florida. Currently living in Augusta, GA where I completed my fine arts degree in Sculpture. My first love was photography, then printmaking with included photography, then there was no stopping. I liked all mediums, so I chose sculpture because it felt limitless. I love art so much that I became a high school art teacher. I love going to work everyday and teaching the new generation to look at the world in a different way and think outside the box. I love to inspire others, because the act is reciprocal.
*Before I go on with this interview, I’d like to first thank 2 special people. The first is Tina Rice @ashcroft54, the host of this blog, doing this really allowed me to introspect and think about what I do and why I do it, and getting the opportunity to share with others. You’re really doing a great thing here! Secondly, is the guest blogger before me, Tracy Munson @80’s_girl, for recommending me. It really means a lot to me.
1. What’s the top 10 apps you use the most ?
Mainly use it for the double exposure setting, which is a nice function for blending images.
This is my “tweaking” app. I use for contrast, saturation, sharpening, and grunge effects. I really like using the selective adjust tool for tweaking spot areas.
LOVE this app! I have so much fun looking at all the different combinations it has. I mainly use it for the stars and clouds. Just a fun app to play around with.
PhotoFx Ultra (iPad App)
Great for photo tinting, gradation effects, multiple black and white effects. All around a great app.
Really enjoy the masking feature of this app. Works best for my masking needs. The FX are nice too, especially the drop shadow.
I really like the space FX and the frames on this app.
When I’m stuck on an edit, I run it through the random feature to see what I’ll get. Love the element of suprise!
I grab birds, moons and planets stamps from this app. Lens Flare Great app for throwing in a little extra “glint” to anything, especially an eye or any shiny surface.
I call this “the blender”. When I’m completely lost on an edit I put in the blender. I like to randomize it and see all the different ways it will come out.
I love to grunge my pics up with it. It gives a cohesive look to them.
2. Do you listen to music when you shoot your photos & when you edit them ?
No, I usually only listen to music when I’m cleaning or driving in my car.
When I’m shooting I’m usually on a nature walk. So I really just enjoy the sounds of nature and listening where I step. I live near the mighty Savannah River, so I hear that a lot whooshing by. It’s a relaxing sound, become a part of me.
When I’m editing I’m usually enjoying the peaceful silence of my home (being a teacher, silence is a golden thing) or catching up on a few shows, which I’ll have to rewind later because I missed it from editing.
3. Who are your influences ?
First off, I’d like to say major influence is my family. I come from a family that is a big supporter of the arts and has always encouraged my creativity. They consist of my Mom (@bluntmom), my Dad, and my brother (@bfoosh). My Dad has always like shooting pics as a hobby and always let my brother and I have a try at it. My Mom is an artist herself, and has been my whole life. She was giving different materials to be creative with. My brother, has always been an artist in the photography sense. I was always amazed at his cool abstract photos. He had a little darkroom set in our home, growing up.
Secondly, my photography professor in college, Jose Bentancourt has been a major influence on me. He was always pushing his students to try different things and see the world in a different way. It’s because of him I began to see photography as a true art form. I took three courses of his classes, each time learning new techniques of photo manipulation in the darkroom. I’ve always enjoyed his critique formats, where I learned to start making “connections” and “connotations” with images. He is one of those teachers who really made an impression and I still, until this day, I remember the things he taught me.
Thirdly, over the past year, my influence has been the IG community as a whole. Ever since I downloaded the app in November 2010, the world of editing opened for me. I already was a photo freak with my iPhone, but Instagram was fuel for the fire for me. With my first post, I immediately begin feeling the “community” and creative support. I’ve been hooked ever since. There have been some individuals who have been been a true inspiration to me….through their words, images, comments, encouragement and challenges. Let’s see, where do I start? My first influence was @jflex, I discovered Justin in Feb of 2011. His challenges sparked my ability to push my editing to another level. He also pushed me to start my own challenges….and so the birth of @puppywings_challenges . I always appreciate him for that. Another original IG influence for me was @punkyjane now called @whippersnappers, a pro photographer whom I’ve had many interesting conversations with about photography. Always been fascinated by the amazing shots and captions of @mrwhisper. His photos taught me to be brave. The emotional work of @darryls_world has influenced my recent editing style. His edits have inspired me to explore a little more of the sublime side of my edits. I’ve learned to explore a whimsical side of editing from @bongwaterjoe, @bungy32, and @sirreal. I appreciate the influence of @wstairs and @colecokid for sharing their editing secrets. Also, @jasor and @jcjesse make me look at sunsets/sunrises in a whole different way. Basically, everyone I follow on my IG stream I follow because their images and words truly inspire and amaze me each time I look at my feed. I always appreciate the positive interactions with such creative people, it keeps me going. The list really goes on.
As far as the influence of famous artists:
I love the photography and edits of Jerry Uelsmann, the dark whimsy of Tim Burton, and the lovely paintings of Gustav Klimt. Last but not least, another big influence is my husband. Has always been honest with his critiquing, letting me know if I’ve pushed an edit too far, if it needs something, or if something is off. He’s always supportive me, snapping an spontaneous shot and reminds me I can’t stand in the middle of the road in oncoming traffic to get a good one. LOL!!!
4. Where do you photograph ? What do you like to photograph ? Why do you like to photograph ?
I really like to photograph nature. I love being in nature, going on hikes down nature trails, or riding my mountain-bike to an explored location. I mainly try to hunt down trees. I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where there is an abundance of trees. I especially like “nude” trees in the fall or winter, but trees with foliage are just as amazing. It can old trees, young trees, fallen trees, it doesn’t matter. I really like to see the way light hits them. The light has to be just right to make it a great shot. I also like to photograph history. I have a historical marker app on my phone. So, on a nice day, I like to find a spot that’s around me or a day trip drive and go to it. I learn something new and I get to appreciate my local history. I find things like covered bridges, civil war sights, oddities, and other things along the way that weren’t on the map.
I have the drive to shoot photos because I feel it’s my way collecting and making sense of the world around me. It makes me stop and “smell the roses” so to speak. There’s a quote I love from the movie American Beauty where Ricky is talking about a floating plastic bag and why he video recorded it. He says, “it helps me remember… and I need to remember……sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.” That’s how I feel when I’m taking photos. They become like little visual relics of my experience I had with my surroundings.
5. While editing what goes through your mind ? Do you think about things going on with you life or just edit ?
Editing for me, is like meditating. It’s a mind clearer, a stress relief and my therapy. All day, I try to get everything complete, everything out of the that needs to be done for the day. I look forward to the last thing I do for the day and that’s edit on my iPad. It’s my reward at the end of the day. I don’t think about my stress, my worries, or work. It helps me pour my heart in to my creations. I try to get at least one edit in per night before bed. It’s a great feeling to go to bed with a clear mind and feeling relaxed.
“Wooden Tripod Horse” – This one is made from three different photos; one from my fathers land, second a tree borrowed from @darryls_world, and the third of my father’s horse, Snowflake. I wanted to create an edit inspired by the work of Jerry Uelsman who combines photo images seamlessly. I first masked out the head of the horse with Juxtaposer and saved it on a plain white square. Then I masked the tree out using Photowizard, then saved that on a plain white square. Then combined both images on Juxtaposer. In order to make the connection seamless, I opened the image in Filterstorm using double exposure fx, and “painted” the image the original images in behind in the connection spot. Then I used PhotoLR to create a symmetrical version of the land. After that I put it in Photowizard to mask in the connected horse with the symmetrical land. After that I opened up the image in ArtStudio, and painted in a shadow. Lastly, I opened it in PhotoFx Ultra and ran it through the Diffision B&W effects.
“Angry Winds” – I’ve been struggling with Twistcam, so I finally got some guidance from a fellow IG’er, @colecokid because I admired his technique. He suggested that I don’t “twist” more than twice and wispy clouds work best. So this is evidence of my success with his advice. After I twisted my clouds. I ran it through Filterstorm double exposure FX several times with flipped, rotated and mirrored versions of the clouds. Then I made two versions of the edit, one B&W (which got from PhotoFX Ultra) and one I put on the random setting in ScratchCam. I didn’t know which version I preferred…..I was inspired but the IG’er, @bongwaterjoe’s B&W/color blend edits. The two were then blended together using double exposure FX in Filterstorm.
“Self-Portrait in Grunge” – I don’t do many self-portraits. When I do do one, it’s really on a whim. This one was inspired by
@jasor’s #shyselfie challenge. This was a simple/quick edit. The fact that it was already an overexposed pic when I shot it, helped. I ran it through ScratchCam’s random FX was satisfied with the surprise.
My final thoughts on Jen and her work. I’m trying my best to convince to join up on iPhoneArt.com (IPA). I know her work would be very welcomed there. She would see other peoples works and be influenced and inspired by their creativity. Let’s hope she joins…she is one incredible person. Next month’s Guest Blogger will be @bongwaterjoe.
Combo Apps: iPhoneography Extreme Editing, a group on Flickr.