Beauty in the trash


So they say that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I suppose - no I  know - there is truth in that. These shots are all done on old metal shelves I pulled out of the trash in an alley once. A long time ago, I lived in the city and it was a trove of discarded things that I was constantly drawn to and always dragging home. Like a bird that spots a shiny object, I would see something out of the corner of my eye and come to a screeching halt....OK maybe sometimes I would just have to do a U turn... but you get the idea.

I found these shelves back in the day before "up-cycling" was hip, and I KNEW they would serve me well over the years. I have always lived a life that took the "reduce, ruse, recycle" thing to heart and it has served me well when it comes to finding backgrounds and props. Over the years I have "rescued" many a thing from allies and roadsides that may have gone unnoticed by others. I'm one of those people who can spot a four leaf clover from 10 paces, so I guess it's just a thing. I have what some people enviously call a "photographer's eye", but I just think it's an innate sense of finding the loveliness and uniqueness in ordinary objects. I do admit I will always cringe at throwing away something I can imagine I might be able to use someday. I'm not a pack rat, I just sound like one.

But, I think it's safe to say that eye for detail serves me well as a photographer. I previsualize for a living. I try to imagine how a thing will look in a setting that will make it pop or make it seem at home. I don't rely on fancy special effects or slick, black plexiglass studio set ups. Sure I can shoot that way, but I leave it to the guys who like that sort of look. Why be normal? Why do the typical product styling when I can bring whimsy and color into the mix? This is my style, and though it took me years to realize that a "style" doesn't have to be something you work consciously at, it has taken me a long time and looking back at my body of work to see that I have a style - it's authentic and it's as natural to me as breathing. I guess it's safe to say that it's just what naturally comes to my mind when I start to work with an object. I have learned to trust that somewhere, in the closets and shelves of my studio, the right thing is waiting for it's 15 minutes of fame as the element that is just right for this shot, this time.

Thanks for reading my blog. You can always reach me by emailing info(at)armstrongstudios.com  I'd love to hear your feedback!