What do you do if you are bored with photography? What do you do to channel your creative juices after photography has left your soul empty? Do you try something different, or do you mix photography with another activity?
Seven years ago, John Wilhelm was in the middle of a creative challenge and asked the exact questions from himself. He had grown tired of shooting the same images. Wilhelm was thinking of the same thing that many of us do, “I’m shooting the same thing that has been shot a billion times.” He began to photograph fascinating subjects from various angles, revealing distinct aspects of the subject. Wilhelm later packaged his photographs in the Polaroid format, naming the images “ipolas” and marketed them as Polarize.
Wilhelm captures pictures of his beautiful family and transforms the photos into a photo grounded in daily life, but with a few levels of humor. If asked where the humor comes from, he states, “Well humor in any form, comics, movies, books are always important in my life and is part of me.” I was struck by his humor at the moment I asked him about the kind of photography he may have taken seven years ago and he said “For example doing weddings (or funerals),” and included an emoji to indicate weddings and funerals can be considered two distinct things.
So, seven years ago, with a low desire to take photos straight and a sense of humor, and an ardent nerd Wilhelm embarked on a journey to master Photoshop to create a new creative outlet. With only a basic knowledge of Photoshop and its capabilities, he was required to increase his understanding of the software so that it could produce the images that he had in mind. I’m always curious to know how people master Photoshop and the many ways to get the image you want. With the many formal classes and unofficial videos, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and then give up in frustration.
Wilhelm said that he is using various programs to create his photos, like Photoshop; however, he also uses Lightroom, Cinema4D with Octane Render, and ZBruzh. Of course, he did not start with all this software. In the beginning, he mainly focused upon Photoshop and would follow tutorials by Uli Staiger to master compositing techniques and painting shadows, making choices, and how to blend elements seamlessly. He also listened to Calvin Hollywood for Retouching abilities, and the ability didn’t happen in a flash. Wilhelm informed me that “I guess it took three to four years to reach a somewhat higher level.”
Enjoy his photoshop skills with the below-listed images.