The Crestock Interview: The Artist Known as HFNG
Posted Wednesday, 23 May 2007 by Tormod G. Rossavik in Interviews
The person behind the enigmatic pseudonym elaborates on photography, inspiration and high performance speed monsters.
What got you into photography?
- I only began photography less than a decade ago when I bought a digital camera which had a mind blowing resolution of 640x480 pixels (we have sure come a long way since).
Digital cameras allowed me to shoot and see the results immediately. That really grants you the freedom to experiment at minimum cost (no film processing fees .. ok I am cheap). When I am not out and about shooting, I enjoyed sitting in front of the computer tweaking images using PaintShop Pro (now Photoshop CS2).
I became a stock addict about a year and a half ago when I discovered one of these microstock sites by chance while googling for a way to sell photos online. Since then I found half a dozen sites (no mention of competitors) including Crestock.
But Crestock is somewhat special to me because only after a few days I started uploading; one of my pictures got selected to be the “picture of the day” by Judge Ross. After that, the same picture went on to become part of Crestock’s main page! Then I was invited (although I wasn’t told, I really believed that I was meticulously chosen by a panel of distinguished Crestock’s upper management team) to write something for the blog. How cool is that?!What inspires you?
- Downloads! :) It does help motivate me to go out there to shoot and improve myself every step of the way. Because of microstock, I began seriously learning Photoshop to pump up my images and Illustrator to create those vectors. Actually, Kirsty Pargeter
has been a source of inspiration for me to learn illustrator and vectors.
She is still one of the best out there. There are only two kinds of people in the microstock industry, the vector people and the people people. Right now I am more of a vector person and I am spending every free time to learn about Illustrator. It has a pretty steep learning curve and can get pretty frustrating at times when you see such beautiful artwork being uploaded by others. Grrr..
Otherwise I enjoy browsing through Lev Dolgachov
’s gallery for other kinds of inspiration ;)
In making vectors, what do you consider being important?
- To know the trend, to know what’s hot and what’s not. Vectors have to be complex enough for the designers to download them. Who’s going to download a square box or a colored circle, designers can make those themselves. But too complex a vector also doesn’t sell much like those photo realistic gradient meshes (or maybe it’s because of incompatibility issues). Finding the right balance is important.You seem to have a preference to taking pictures of cars. If you would be able to pick a car for yourself from the top shelf, what car would that be?
- If Crestock was to buy me one, then it would have to be a Porsche 911 GT3. Nothing beats German engineering coupled with a clean and sleek design. I would want my images to go that direction too, clean and sleek. But if I were to buy one myself, then it would be a third hand tiny Toyota hatchback cheap to run and maintain. Did I say cheap again?Where you ever taken aback to see for what purpose any of your photos were downloaded?
- So far none in porn sites, I was only there purely for research purposes of course ;) But I do keep Googling myself to see where my images end up. Found some on an environmental document, on someone's wedding card, on a couple of websites in some foreign language and the front page of Crestock! By the way, did you guys pay for that image?With a clean conscience I continue asking, how do you prepare for a shoot?
- If the weather is good I got out and shoot otherwise stay home and create more vectors. As you can see from my gallery, the weather has been acting up lately.
I shoot anything from macro food shots on my kitchen counter to landscape shots of someone's garden. I always carry with me a tripod but not one of those heavy-tripods-that-won't-fly-away-during-a-hurricane kind, just something sturdy enough to hold my camera and lense. I also carry with me my wireless infrared remote to trigger my shutter in order not to give Crestock any reason to reject my images, not that I am complaining ;)How do you prepare your pictures before uploading them?
- I shoot photos in RAW because I want to be able to tweak my images later and also I have a HUGE compact flash card. To prepare my images, first I preview all my shots using Digital Photo Professional (Canon's free RAW converter), mark out those horribly framed or blurred images for deletion (not that I have plenty of those .. ahem). Then from those that are left, I select only the best ones to convert to TIFF before transferring them to Photoshop for some serious pimping.
You can spend tremendous amount of time and imagination working on an image in Photoshop. But that's not what stock is about. You need quality images but quantity counts too. So for stock, I limit my post processing in Photoshop to levels, curves adjustment, some color balance, sharpening, noise removal, cropping and some other secret proprietary stuff (just kidding!) :)
Have a look at hfng´s bright portfolio here