Photography by Scottie Cameron / Words by Sarah Wasko
I am one to personify everything.
I have spent more time thinking about how objects must “feel” in certain situations than I want to admit. Photographer Scottie Cameron brings this peculiar habit to life. You don’t have to be an object with a face, like a car or a wall outlet, to emote the feels. The way he crafts his portraits gives life to unexpected items. You would never know he is only into still-life “for the girls and the parties” and the promise of “world-wide fame and fortune.” This guy.
Cameron’s use of objects and shadow is indicative of some serious artistic prowess, but he is making it look and sound easy. He collects objects that are relevant to the job and works with them in different positions and lighting. More often than not, his preemptive sketches are thrown to the wind, and he just starts throwing objects around. He says, “It really is just a matter of moving things about until it starts to sing, and then grow it from there.”
People are annoying. Objects don’t demand really specific craft services or talk about their cat too much. Cameron explains, “You can manipulate objects to take on any mood or personality you want. Although the same can kind of be said for photographing people, being at the mercy of someone else’s character is often an extra element that is very unpredictable.” Some may enjoy this unpredictability, “but with still life”, he says, “It is completely up to you.” His monopoly on the situation makes for a great deal of creative agency. Cameron says, “Be it through arrangement, composition or lighting, you can make a potato look happy, sad, or ashamed of its body shape. It’s very entertaining.” Toy Story, what’s good?
On his blog and website, you will find a variety of GIFs accompanying his images. GIFs have been looping their way into the photography world, but Cameron isn’t taken. His opinion: “They are fun to make, but still images, I believe, have more impact…Gifs sure are good for watching someone fall off a ladder or cats doing dumb stuff, though.” There is a marriage between humor and tension living in Scottie Cameron’s portraits. He, however, is partial to the humor. He says, “I like to joke around a lot. If it were up to me things would be a lot funnier, but that’s not what pays the bills too often. Perhaps through this forced constraint of seriousness the humor turns to tension and there’s some kind of nice harmony.” Agreed.