This weeks artist showcase features Handy Andy Pandy, a conceptual photographer and photomanipulator based in Melbourne, Australia. His inventive work shows off his photography and Photoshop skills, presented in very creative ways. Many of his images display his unique style of humour – often to the point of eccentric & oddball. He also loves creating impossible photographs and illusions, leaving the viewer scratching their head in wonderment.
How did you get started in photography?
I was first bitten by the photography bug in 2011. I’d never had any real interest in taking photos before that. I didn’t even use my mobile phone’s camera. One day I was visiting my parents for the holidays and was laying out in the backyard on the grass, staring up at the cloudy sky. I was there for a long time, feeling peace as I looked up at those big fluffy clouds. I had a thought: I wish I could capture and keep this peaceful moment forever. A few seconds later I realised that’s what cameras were for, so I ran inside and grabbed my father’s old Minolta camera. I took a bunch of pictures of the sky, the grass, the garden. The first few photos turned out horribly (especially looking back on them now!) But I was hooked on being able to click a little button and have an image pop up on the screen, a moment frozen in time forever. Once I started playing around with Photoshop and tried out some conceptual ideas, I was well and truly addicted.
I kept at it for a while, then found myself in a bit of a rut where nothing I shot ever seemed to come out decent. I grew more and more frustrated at my inability to create anything I was happy with, eventually packing away my camera. I came really really close to giving it all up, I was that frustrated. But by chance I watched a Phlearn.com video about motivation and doing a 365 Project. I thought it sounded like an awesome idea, so a couple of weeks later I threw myself into my own 365 project, determined to find my love of photography again. I definitely found it, and though I had quite a few bad days, I never missed a single day which is something I’m extremely proud of. I can’t envision a future without photography.
Can you tell us more about your photography?
I love shooting conceptual portraits – I love telling stories, especially wacky and oddball ones. I’m obsessed with Photoshop and all the amazing things you can do with it. I love creating optical illusions and doing my best to make them look real.
I love big, bold ideas – I once covered an entire room in newspaper (including the furniture), dressed myself up in a suit made of newspaper and sat down to read a newspaper. I’ve covered myself in icecream and chocolate sauce, ruined my apartment with buckets of confetti and glitter and rosepetals. Photography is a great “excuse” to do something a little weird 😛
More than anything, I love humour, bad jokes and puns. I try to work them into my photos as much as I can. If my photos make people smile, I’m a happy chappy.
I draw inspiration from everywhere. People I meet, movies, weird ideas in my head, books, nature, objects in my apartment, other photographers. I’ve keep a digital notebook (Evernote) and jot down anything that comes to me through the day. I have hundreds of half-formed ideas in there, and I go through and flesh them out into a complete concept and then shoot it.
3) What equipment do you use?
I’ve got a Nikon D7000 which has served me well since I started photography. Most of the time I use a 50mm lens, but I’m also a fan of my wide-angle 12mm lens. I’ve got a Sigma 105mm Macro Lens I use occasionally too. I’ve got 3 speedlights (2 YongNuo’s and a Nikon), a Feisol tripod and more props in my wardrobe than I know what to do with. For post-production I’m using Lightroom and Photoshop CC. I use a Wacom tablet and a Smudgeguard glove – makes life 10000 times easier!
To see more of Andy’s work, check out his website.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and the artist retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.