Archive for the ‘Imagination’ Category

Steve Jobs and The Creative Spirit





“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  Steve Jobs

Nickel on a Park Bench, Savannah


Steve Jobs’ advice is important for all aspects of our lives. But his words really resonated for me in thinking about creativity in my photography.

At a photography workshop in Savannah, one afternoon our assignment was to go out and take a picture with a very narrow depth of field – that is, where only a small part of the image is in focus. I walked around the city for a while, looking for subjects. What will the workshop leader like? Will the other students come up with something better than I can? I was getting more and more tied up in meeting others’ expectations – or what I thought others might expect of me. I took a lot of dull pictures. Then, I sat down on a bench in one of the squares and just took a deep breath. Without really thinking, I reached in my pocket, pulled out the only thing I had, which was a nickel. For no particular reason, I propped it up on the other side of the seat. I noticed some interesting neon lights on the stores bordering the square.  Then, I lifted the camera, set the aperture wide open, focused on the nickel and took one picture, shown above. It’s one of my favorite images from the past few years.

For sure, I still often fall back into the trap of worrying about how others will respond to my work. But time and again, my best work happens when I simply let go and shoot – when I’m not trying at all – to meet some perceived expectations of others or even of myself.

If we truly have the courage to follow our intuition and our heart, as Jobs suggests, all will be well – in our art and in every area of our lives.

Below is one more of my favorite images, taken earlier this year. I had a free day at the studio and just played with a couple of slinkies, trying different lighting ideas. Playing was the operative word – in some of the shots, like this one, I just threw the slinkies on the table and shot them where they landed.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

Slinkies, in the Studio

Photography Fun with a Martini Glass!

When there’s a free day at the studio, I’ll often have fun trying something I’ve never done before. I can spend hours happily experimenting – and just playing.  My Slinkies shoot was was one example.  This week, I’d seen a neat photo in a magazine of a lime being dropped into a martini glass. I wanted to try it!

The lights are tricky when shooting glassware.  In these images, I had three lights, two at about 90 degrees from the line of sight and one slightly behind. The studio flash is so fast (about 1/2000th of a second here) that it can easily freeze the water – no pun intended. I used a cable release and dropped the strawberry with one hand, while triggering the shutter with the other.  In the first few images, I caught the strawberry a  few few inches above the water, and so had to learn to wait a bit on the shutter. After some trial and error – and lots of mopping up spilled water – I got the hang of it.

The lime didn’t work so well by itself, so I dropped it with some other things – in this image, two marbles.  Towards the end of the day, I got a bit too exuberant, and broke the glass on one drop. Sadly, I didn’t capture the broken piece flying away – maybe next time!

Here’s a closeup of the shot above. As always, your comments and questions are appreciated. Bottoms Up!


Ballet Dancer

Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting with Wilhelmina, a young ballet dancer. Her mom assisted as makeup artist, wardrobe stylist and all around photo assistant – Thank you, Cynthia!

The shoot was great fun. We were trying traditional ballet poses, but also some informal, ballerina-at-rest looks, following in the tradition of Degas, as in the image below.

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director of The American Ballet Theatre, said, “I think most dancers would agree that the art of ballet chooses the dancer, not the other way around.” I can see how ballet chose Wilhelmina.  She is totally committed to improving her skills and begins her college level training later this month.

Many of the images from the shoot were converted to black and white, such as this:

We experimented with a variety of lighting styles. In the image below, I used one fairly harsh direct light. It’s a bit faint in this version for the blog, but I liked the subtle shadow of her arms on the paper behind Wilhelmina.

We took a lot of pictures in this shoot and it was difficult to choose just a few  for this blog post. We close with one of my favorites. If you want to see more images from the shoot, here’s the link to my website. Be sure to view these in “slideshow” mode to see the pictures full screen. Thanks, as always, for your interest in my work.