About two months ago I opened up a second Instagram account that focused on one thing only: shadows of things. I had noticed that I had already been taking photos of shadows and when I looked around shadows were everywhere. There was a shadow of a ladder painting stripes against the brick wall of a house. There were shadows of flowers strewn across the sidewalk. I figured shadows would be something I could easily photograph each day and also gain an attention to details that had previously gone unnoticed.
Photographing shadows, as simple as it is, was really mind blowing- I felt like my vision had expanded and I could actually see more than I had ever seen before. I was also motivated to be outside during sunny hours. Cloudy days have ruined my Instagram goals on more than one occasion. But gray skies forced me to be more creative and use indoor lights against the walls to make shadows of interesting objects I had lying around my house including bananas, jewelry and even a knife! Little did I know I was actually teaching myself important knowledge about studio and natural lighting. The first few weeks flew by with ease and excitement but by week three I had to find new things to photograph as my photos were starting to all look the same. I had to travel to new locations and look for new inspiration. I also started feeling that shadows could be somewhat limiting in that they didn't have much of a story to tell. So I looked for more scenes featuring shadows of living things or multiple shadows that painted a visual pattern and texture.
I think it has been a valuable learning experience and I would recommend assigning yourself a project where you focus on one thing only and by narrowing your focus you will end up expanding your vision. Recently at my meditation class our leader said that the most pure things in this would can be found close to the ground: children, animals, plants and the earth itself. Just maybe taking pictures of shadows helps reflect our constant connection to the earth from which we have grown and has allowed me to grow as an artist.
Take a look at my Instagram @shadowsofthings.