Creativity is a wonderful thing. Never static, your mind can be subconsciously mulling over ideas which suddenly burst forth when you least expect them. Inspiration drawn from previous experience or a tangential flight of fancy will coalesce, and a new plan form from untapped possibilities and unexplored connections.

I know – I’m getting a little carried away, but it’s a topic which is close to my heart and one which I find really exciting! This blog post is all about how ideas can grow and develop, and how one shot can stimulate another idea which extends and expands upon your original concept.

I’m going to follow two sequences through, revealing my thought processes and how working on one shot directly lead to the creation of another.

Curtain & Clotheshorse

Curtain Call - abstract art by Jane Trotter
‘Curtain Call’

I took this quirky little shot called ‘Curtain Call’ many years ago as part of a ‘Lines & Curves’ Study. I thought the idea had potential as I found the recurring curves to be quite pleasing. It was almost wave-like and I could imagine gentle undulations moving back and forth.

I created ‘Curtain Call’ by pulling the curtains across the blinds, allowing the sun to stream in from behind. Seeing how well the strong backlighting worked with the shadows on the fabric, I decided to try another shot using these elements. I kept a linear aspect but this time, introduced more colour into the equation. I liked ‘Curtain Call’, but was hankering after something with a brighter ‘pop’, so I hunted out the most colourful scarf I possessed and decided to drape it over my clotheshorse.

The resulting image on the right, ‘Horse and Scarf Perspective’ was more along the lines of what I wanted.

Still not completely satisfied, I started to make the connection back to the blinds in the lounge. While the clotheshorse made an interesting design, it was rather sparse and I wanted more drama in the shot. The repetition of the narrow blinds would give me far more scope with which to play around. So, out came the pegs and up went the scarf!

Colour Contours - abstract art by Jane Trotter
‘Colour Contours’

‘Colour Contours’ was the result. If you’d like to delve a little deeper into how I created this image, please visit its Exposed post where I go behind the scenes in more detail.

I definitely had fun working my way through the process of creating these images. Building upon what I had previously achieved, it was very much a case of embracing the learning curve as things began to percolate in my mind.

Stripy Bag & Shiny Stuff

This next sequence outlines how I used one particular item or prop, in combination with several other objects. In my experience, once you’ve found a favourite item with much potential, you start using it a lot to discover all of the things you can come up with. One of my ‘favourite items’ was, and still is, a very groovy, multi-coloured stripy bag.

Here, I’ve used the stripy bag in conjunction with a large torch. I was thinking about how the bag’s many colours would be reflected in the metallic surface.

Torchlight - abstract art by Jane Trotter

This is what I came up with – ‘Torchlight’. You can see the effect of the torch’s smaller rectangular sections which add an element of texture and particular distinction of colour. It’s a soft image, which to me, has a sense of circularity and an almost 3D effect with the bulb coming out at you.

I liked the idea of reflecting the bag in metallic surfaces and was pleased with how well the torch worked. So next, I decided to go for something smaller – some crinkly tinfoil. As you can see, the colours began to spill out over the foil. I knew I’d have to get in very close, so used a macro lens with a very narrow depth of field.

Air Guitar - abstract art by Jane Trotter
‘Air Guitar’

‘Air Guitar’ is the end result. Perhaps it’s the musician in me, but I see a misshapen and impressionistic-looking guitar rising from the ground. Imagination running amuck, I also envisage a strange mysterious landscape, the ‘guitar’ some ancient, stony monolith.

The final instalment in the stripy bag adventure was a date with a teapot! You can see the wonderfully distorted, misshapen lines and curves, and the dance of colour on the surface of the metal.

Splay of Colour & Psychedelic Brew - abstract art by Jane Trotter
‘Splay of Colour’ & ‘Psychedelic Brew’

I enjoyed this particular photoshoot very much and several images resulted, two of which are above – the triptych ‘Splay of Colour’ and ‘Psychedelic Brew’.

You can check out ‘Splay of Colour’s’ Exposed blog post if you’d like to find out more about this particular image.

A Stimulating Process

I hope this selection of images has given you an appreciation of how ideas can form, and then inform and influence subsequent photo shoots and projects. It can be a very stimulating process. While the journey’s not always apparent from the beginning, it’s definitely fun to look back and review the pathways you took to get there.


About the Author

Jane Trotter is an abstract photographer living in Dunedin, New Zealand. Reimagining everyday objects found around the home, Jane transforms them into colourful and dramatic pieces of contemporary art.

Jane Trotter