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Monkey House

Monkey House
The monkey house has been of great support to this blog over the past few years, helping me customize the layout of my website and a lot of behind the scenes tinkering. I am grateful for the work, and it was only appropriate that, someday, they’d have a more extreme portrait taken for me to show my thanks.

The vision for the monkey – that’s what they call him – came naturally, obviously. Which doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I need to work on creative for hours, days or weeks beforehand; getting ideas from the subjects on their personalities, ways I can show their character and bring it out. It’s one thing to take an image that captures a moment, a unique skillet itself, but to pre-envision a shot, especially a technical one, takes some work and doesn’t always come as easily as this one did.

The work is, largely, Vision. Big “V” – the idea – how to present it, and being able to make compromise when the time actually comes. I want the readers of this blog to help their own vision along, maybe find some inspiration in the words of others (I know you’re not getting a lot of that from me obviously *wink*). So I’m going to give to you what has recently been given to me: a gift.

I’m a fan of the inspirational readings of Craft & Vision, their ebooks (at $5 each) provide a value rarely seen in the photography industry. If you don’t like reading, the imagery contained is worth the admission.
But I’m going to let you cheap right out, I’m giving away a $20 gift certificate to Craft & Vision. All you have to do is leave a comment; tell us about a vision you turned into an image, something you created all on your own share a link, or even tell us about something you WANT to do, but haven’t done yet.

Leave a comment and I’ll select a winner, at random, Friday June 10th at 12 noon (EST). I’m looking forward to the tales!

Update! Congratulations to Marcus Taylor who shared his vision of a long-exposure waterfall while taking a lovely portrait of his wife. You can see his image here.

You can see this photo bigger over on Flickr, as well as the setup for the monkey here.

22 thoughts on “Monkey House

  1. Greg says:

    I love the way this turned out! The monkey has lately learned to give a "camera smile" (which looks like a grimace more than anything!), but there's not a shred of it to be seen here. That's a totally genuine joyful look on his face and I love it.

    Was great hanging out with you, gawking at your gear, and letting the monkey teach bad habits to your youngest, as well. I can't imagine how any other "yearly family photo" is ever going to stack up to this; we may just have to hire you on until he's "too old and too embarrassed" to do photos with his family. 😉

    Again, great shot. Who would've thought he'd have such a strong grip at only 2 years old?

  2. Chris Ward says:

    Can I leave a link to my image of Lily catching Kate jumping from the swings? http://www.cyberward.net/blog/2011/06/lily-catching-kate-jumping-from-the-swings/

    This image came about after watching some of the posts on this blog. These are my kids. They are always looking out for each other, which is where I got the idea of Lily trying to catch her.

  3. Here's the vision that I turned into an image: http://www.invisiblegreen.com/laura-at-crow-creek-falls

    I've always loved shooting waterfalls and always thought it would be cool to do a portrait with the silky water effect. I finally got a chance on Memorial Day to experiment with one of my favorite subjects, my wife, and after a bit of tinkering managed to get the shot above that was almost exactly what I was after.

  4. WTL says:

    I actually laughed aloud when I saw this photo.

  5. Great photo. My son has that exact same costume.
    I've been a big fan of Craft and Vision for a long time and I had the good fortune to have lunch with David duChemin a few weeks before his unfortunate fall in Italy. I was inspired by his trip and want to do one similar but with my whole family. We would travel the US by RV and photograph endangered species in every US National Park

  6. Pinky says:

    I love the dynamics here and I had a great time going through your photostream. It's always a treat looking at children's emotions captured for posterity. Always true and heartfelt.

  7. Sheila Rose says:

    This is CUTE. I have wanted to get a photo of all my nieces & nephews being the animals they love/act like most. One needs a monkey costume like that. 😉

  8. PC says:

    I love photography. I look at pictures on magazines, on the net, listen to various podcasts, and take a LOT of photos myself. I want to become a photographer, but I also do not want to leave my full-time day job, which is interesting and inspiring, though in quite another ballpark workwise. Combine that with family life….. Whew! But wait a minute – maybe I can combine family life , photography, and another full time job? Shooting photos and sell them at junior sports venues where my family participates? Hmmm – have to look into that…

  9. hj says:

    Very cute! I love C&V. They give great advice that I have used a lot. My vision that I made a reality was the day I walked into the middle of a pond to shoot a waterfall from a unique perspwctive. It was COLD!

  10. amanda says:

    aww, love this. everyone genuinely looks like they are having a good time. and why wouldn't they? 🙂
    I used to do more conceptual self-portraits, but since I moved to my current flickr account, I've tried to go for a more natural, candid ("candid") feel with them. But 90 of the time they are pre-visualized in that I have a specific image in mind when I start shooting, from location and camera angle to outfit and pose.

  11. Lisa K says:

    This monkey's face full of joy and laughter really makes the photo pull you in. Wonderful! I had been stuck looking for ideas in my new hometown, which I found uninspiring. A friend told me about the C&V e-book Close to Home by Stuart Sipahigil. I used this philosophy to hel ome photograph a local Audubon Bird Sanctuary and turn it into a kids' book that the school where I wourk can use. I still struggle for inspiration, but the C&V folks help me when the going is tough. I think this link will show you my book: share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=1EZtmbRq4Zupg

  12. kari says:

    This is the cutest image ever!!

  13. Danielle says:

    Fabulous image Justin – so funny! You know how much I love these! Great giveaway too!! 🙂

  14. Anna Epp says:

    Great Job Justin!! I love your composites! I do have a vision and am working on getting it together. The shoot is next week so you will have to wait to see it, but I am hoping it turns out as great as the way I see it on paper an in my mind….stay tuned.

    p.s. LOVE Craft & Vision 🙂

  15. neeroc says:

    Man you rock these! And what a fantastic smile on the monkey. love, love, love

  16. Lynn says:

    This photo is awesome! I think it's my favourite of all the ones I've seen on your blog.

  17. Michael says:

    Nice strobist shot! ( I agree, the SB should have been a tad higher?)

    I recently acquired one more strobe, and am ready to exercise my strobist-learning-mojo!

    A local concrete train bridge/tunnel has had the dubious honor of being known as "Bunny Man Bridge". (The Bunny-Man was supposedly and escaped convict that killed his fellow inmates and local folk!)

    My idea is to dress my son with bunny ears, and silhouette the figure inside the tunnel with several different colors from the strobes behind.

    It should go over well with the local high school kids!

  18. Danny says:

    As most people do at one point or another I am going through a photographic slump at the moment. I do have a vision, I am traveling Australia and would love to capture the ancient and modern spirit of this vast land. I have always done landscapes and that just isn't doing it for me anymore. My new vision is to capture the people of a place. To convey the human condition of a busy city like melbourne or a the tough life of an outback town. My big problem is that I am very shy and intimidated by the thought of photographing strangers. I don't know if there is a craft and vision book that covers anything like this but any inspiration at the moment couldn't hurt.

  19. I was in Italy recently on a landscape workshop run by David Noton. On one of the mornings we were dropped off at the top of a hillside full of small flowers. We had to scout out a location for the following days dawn shoot. I wandered far down this hill until I found a photogenic-looking tree and I knew I had my shot. The sun would pop over the mountain, I could get a nice starburst effect, and I found a small patch of flowers for the foreground. I spent most of the day thinking about the location and the image I wanted

    This is the "record" shot from the previous day

    We were back up on the hill at about 5am and I sought out my little patch, composed, gardened out some dead grass, and hey presto! I got *exactly* the shot I was after. It's one of my proudest photographic moments. In fact, I was so pleased with that one shot that walked back up the hill and sat down to admire the morning. I didn't need to take another frame there. I was completely satisfied.

    Here's the final shot

  20. Jeff shaw says:

    Vision is definitely something I am really working to constantly define and articulate. The merging of telling a genuine story with a high production value is what I usually get caught up in, but I'm learning to just get out and put something together…knowing that the story will shine through.
    The vision I am currently working on is a project titled 'Voices of a city' and it's a collaboration of stills, video, and original music to capture the unique voices, work, and passions or those who really define my city. They might not be the richest, the most recognized, or the easiest to identify, but I'm trying to capture the hearts of people who are seeking to positively speak and serve our community. The project will wrap up with a live concert that is going to incorporate all of the pieces that I am collecting. It's tons of work but I'm so excited to it all come together and to have the opportunity to let people's stories shine.
    Thanks for your inspiration on this fine spring evening.

  21. HaroldJones says:

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