Alternate Perspective On April Assignment

Barry Grivett is a regular contributor to our monthly assignments. His images are usually accompanied by a note about the assignment and his experience through the process. My favorite notes from Barry are the ones regarding an assignment which he admits is outside his normal realm of photography,  but feels invigorated by the challenge it presented him or what he learned. For the April Assignment-Paper Airplanes, Barry had a very interesting take on the photographic task at hand that he gave me permission to share.

Ask my wife, I’ve GOT to be the most literal person on the planet – engineer type, techie, whatever. Hey, I use a letter opener to open bills!

Operating from that paradigm, I began to form my strategy for making photos for the assignment, “paper airplanes.” I looked at origami which I love,  I considered paper-mâché,  and I found a little paper cut-out of a warplane for starters.

Even though I spent 37 years in the aviation industry involved one way or the other with maintaining commercial airplanes where following precise instructions is critical (& NOT following the rules can lead to disaster). I quickly realized this assignment was not about ‘paper airplanes’ but photography (duh!).

But, wait…in keeping with & honoring Marie Osborne’s original concept, “Paper Airplanes” is allegorical/metaphoric having nothing to do with actual/literal paper airplanes and everything to do with “stretching your wings” and pushing beyond the limit of what you think you can do or have done.

My ‘greatest aspiration’ certainly would not involve a warplane. Did I mention I tend to over-think/analyze EVERYTHING?

So, I’m sharing images which represent moments in my nascent photography adventure where I especially used all my imagination, skill & tools at my disposal or allowed myself to be pushed outside my comfort zone–as did cellphone photography.

Here are my (personal) ‘paper airplanes’:

Autumn Mosaic: When I made this image, I used all the skill and tools I had;  light is coming from the recently-risen sun (behind me and from my right), but already overwhelming. So, I diffused it with my white umbrella then used a silver and gold reflector to illuminate the scene from the left. This created warm lighting and a useful shadow under the leaf  (which I’d placed there after making several unsatisfying images of the dry cracked mud alone). Of course, the camera was on a tripod.

Zebra Maze: For me, the zebra abstract was a stretch: (1) I never really worked in B&W, (2) with no background in art, I didn’t even know this ‘look’ (B&W, no gray) was a genre until after I did it. Photographed at the Denver zoo, right away I liked the repeating pattern of the two heads (wished there were three; as shot they were facing my left).



Cornering is Key: Generally, I don’t do photojournalism, but my wife saw this and we seized the opportunity. This image is an example of us working together at our best. She directed me and found a good location. I photographed to capture a scene with good composition that tells a story.

To what height(s) do I want to soar? What is my greatest aspiration as a photographer? I want to startle, to arouse viewers’ imaginations & senses as does (usually, but not always) the best poetry/music, tactile emitters, palate exciters & aromas…in a pleasant way.