Category "Project Imaginat10n"

In early February 2012 I was sitting at home, bored and thinking what could I do to entertain myself. Being a photography enthusiast I grabbed my DSLR and along with my wife brainstormed some ideas about potential subject matter. At the time I was living in Salem Massachusetts in an old house built in 1800 (possibly 1790) and the topic of ghosts came up. Having done some light painting photos back in 2006 I came up with the idea of a fake ghost photo.

To begin with we thought of having one of us run around the corner of the hallway into the living area to capture some light streaks in motion. Then I remembered a Christmas present I had received – a small RC helicopter that had a floodlight at the front. Suddenly I was thinking of possibilities for photography opportunities. I then thought of old horror movies like “Poltergeist” and “The Entity” a mix of stairway ghosts and electricity came to mind and this was the birth of a photo that went on to win me national acclaim.

Fast forward a few months, and I am at home after a day at the office, jaded and waiting for dinner to be ready and the phone rings. An unusual number so I am hesitant to pick up thinking its likely just a telemarketer. I answer and for about 10 seconds am confused as the person on the other end is talking about my photography and saying I am a finalist in some contest. Then I suddenly remember that a month or 2 before on a whim I had seen a banner on YouTube for a contest staged by Oscar winning director Ron Howard and Canon Cameras and entered the photo into it for fun.

Over the next month I used all my online and social media savvy to get my photo noticed and voted for by friends, family and colleagues. It paid off dividends when I received a call from Canon’s PR agency informing me I was one of the winners and was in the running to be selected by 1 of 5 celebrity directors to have my photo serve as inspiration for their film to feature at the Project Imagination film festival in Manhattan. Being from a small town in Scotland I never would have thought 10 years prior that (a) I would be living on the other side of the Atlantic and (b) I would be a winner in a US wide photo contest.

A month or 2 later a series of emails went out from Canon’s PR agency informing people of the celebrity selection process. The second email that went out was regarding Twitter founder Biz Stone’s selections. I was amazed to see my name and photo mentioned in the selection. I called my family to inform them and couldn’t believe how things had turned out.

A lot of waiting, talking online with fellow winners and joking amongst colleagues at work followed. Finally I received an invitation the the Big Apple to see my vision come to life in front of a cinema full of talented photographers, and celebrity guests. I spent 4 nights in Manhattan – surprisingly my first trip there for a guy who had spent 7 years in the Boston area and I can say it was a real trip to remember. I arrived at the Lincoln center in the theater district of Manhattan with my wife and great expectations for what the night would bring.

The reception before the films where shown was a real extravaganza. As I walked in I could see my photo on a massive monitor with a clip from the movie it was incorporated into. It was almost like a spoiler – but a happy one as I was glad to see it was used in a very literal way. I mingled with some other contest winners, introduced myself, took photos and just basked in the atmosphere of such an event.

We all went into the auditorium about an hour later to view the films. 10 films where shown in all – 5 directed by celebrities and 5 by contest winners on their own budget. I can in all honesty say the quality of the films was fantastic – every film for me had some draw and I was very interested to see how others pictures had transitioned to the big screen. The second film of the night was directed by Biz Stone and entitled “Evermore”. It had strong themes of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem “The Raven” and was a dark but ultimately uplifting drama starring Lisa Eldestein (House), (As Good as it Gets), (What Women Want) to name a few. To see my photo on the big screen in front of a theater of hundreds of people was a surreal and amazing experience to say the least.

After the films ended everyone gathered for a party upstairs in the Lincoln Center’s main lobby. It was weird to be in a room with people like Jamie Foxx and Eva Longoria etc. I was very pleased to get the opportunity to spend some time chatting to Biz Stone (Twitter Founder) to thank him for selecting my photo as well as having the courage to portray an experimental light painting in such a literal way – a way that truly honored the original photograph. It was a real highlight of my creative journey so far and it only gives me more encouragement to keep pushing the boundaries of art and photography. Sitting here now a couple of years after the whole adventure began in the woods of Maine, it only confirms the fact that if you try in life – anything is possible.

Below are some photos from the evening itself as well as the film that the photo helped inspire.

A still from Evermore on the left and my original photo on the right.

A still from Evermore on the left and my original photo on the right.

The Finished Film “Evermore”

Biz Stone has finished his short film for Project Imaginat10n with the film titled Evermore.

Evermore is a story about a small family who all share a love for the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. The family suffers personal loss with the passing of the grandmother and the granddaughter devises a plan to unite the family using Poe’s famous poem “The Raven”

Amoungst the film’s stars are Rene Auberjonois (Deep Space Nine) and Lisa Edelstein (House).

It is an honor to say the least to have my photography included in such an exciting high profile venture. Below is a short video of Biz Stone on set discussing the film in more detail. The film is set to premier at the Project Imaginat10n film festival this fall in New York City.

“What I want to do is play. One of the ideas I have is to tell a story within a story, and this will allow me to experiment with certain capabilities, and I want to be able to push creatively and technically,”
“I want to work with the cinematographer and the director of photography and ask a lot of questions … ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?’ Hopefully at the end of this, I’ll be able to do more.”

Biz Stone – Regarding Evermore for Project Imaginat10n

 

Below is a set I created on Flickr which contains my personal favourite shots of 2012. This year I have been more active than ever in photography. I was lucky enough to win some contests. First I won my company photo contest and now have my winning image hanging on the wall of our office and then I won a national contest called Project Imagination, a contest run by Canon USA and endorsed by director Ron Howard.
As a result of this win I am having my photo inspire part of a short film to be directed by Twitter founder Biz Stone. I also won $500 worth of Canon camera equipment which I have yet to spend (at the time of typing this).

So all in all its been an awesome year for creativity and I am very much hoping that 2013 will see this trend continue as I start to get even more serious about my photography and where I can take it. I have plans for a book project. I have several themes in mind from slow exposure photography to decorative gravestones of New England.
I feel I am bursting with ideas now. I would also like to try and get a show for my photos at a local gallery or dining establishment. Here’s to a great year!

 

I have been informed that my photograph has made the final cut and will now feature in the Project Imagination film festival. My photo “Stairwell Entity” was selected by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to feature in his upcoming directorial debut under the tutelage of legendary Hollywood star and director Ron Howard. I am at this point unsure what the movie will be about. I do know the other photos that will be used to weave the plot which are as follows:
Stairwell Entity
Here is the full list of images Biz chose to inspire his film:

1. Danielle Austen – “Dry Dock” in Backstory
2. Rachel Procell – “Fly” in Relationship
3. Mike Williams – “Have I Missed Something?” in Goal
4. Brooke Shaden – “The Sharing Game” in Obstacle
5. Sandra Rouse – “Morning” in Time
6. David Pritchard – “Plague Doctor Mask Portrait” in Character
7. Tom Stirling – “Stairwell Entity” in The Unknown
8. Sammie Saxon – “Lost In Blue” in Mood
9. Zach Isaacson – “Escapes” in Setting
10. David Saylor – “Discovering limits” in Discovery

I will be attending the premier of the film next year and will provide photos from the event. In the meantime any publicity i might get from this will be posted in the newly established press section of this website.

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