You've been on this account for 9 years. Wow! You do quite a few different forms of art. What got you into photomanipulation?
Before I found dA - must've been around 2002/03 - I was into learning HTML and wanted to try to create my own website to do so. But with a website come graphics (back then, css was not really on the table yet, so you had to do everything with images and mouse over effects in java or something - I can't even remember it's been so long). So my boyfriend suggested I try Photoshop. I soon found out I could do more than make buttons: signatures, banners, wallpapers... When I arrived on dA, the biggest revelation for me was that I did not have to restrict myself to "useful things", but could make art just for the sake of it. It changed a lot(!) for me and I have been hooked on manips ever since. Actually, I bought my first camera to finally be able to take stock photos myself and now photography is one of my hobbies, too
What sort of stock inspires you? Does the stock gallery on dA provide that inspiration, or do you look to other stock sources?
That's a tough question because I can be inspired by a lot of things, from model stock to objects and from animal stock to plants. I guess it depends on my mood a lot. But I think in general, I can say I am drawn to the more unusual stock (even though I don't always manage to use it): for example, weird costumes, poses, angles in models; exotic locations; series of images that could be put together to form something new and big yet fitting (for example different buildings of the same style, stuff like that)... I have a dislike for model stock where in all poses of a series the model is shot from the front and looks straight at the camera. While these shots can be useful, I find myself looking for stock where I can put something in the model's line of sight.
I usually stick to dA stock for three reasons: one, I don't have so much time to search high and low; two, I mass-download and only a small fraction gets actually used which for pay stock sites would mean a lot of money spent for little outcome; three, I find that dA caters more to manippers than other stock sites do because stockers here want to see what is done with their images and see them used in cool images. While on other stock sites, photographers upload to get some money for their stock and usually don't see what is done with it. They just know who their clients are: professionals who use their stock for advertising, book & cd covers, webdesign, editorials etc. It's a different sort of use they cater to, one where the person using the pic probably wants to have as little work left with it as possible. On dA, we're "more artsy" and looking for that odd pose rather than how little work we will have with the pic.
You were a PM CV, and you're also the provider of really great stock. This gives you a great insight to multiple parts of deviantArt. What types of stock and resources are photomanipulators looking for, and does dA do a good job of providing those?
I think in principle, dA stockers certainly do a good job at providing stock. As I said above: they want to see their stock used so they try to cater to the needs of the manip community and thankfully also beyond. What I mean is that while often, the same kind of images that are currently en vogue, will pop up all over the stock gallery, there are thankfully always also other images on display that are used seldomly by manippers but are still provided for the odd user who might need something out of the ordinary. If someone asks me if they should stop providing stock because they feel their stock is rarely used, I will always encourage them to keep going: it's the diversity that is great about dA and a unique quality of dA stock. We have people from all over the world contributing to the stock collection - you can get anything from sci-fi stock to temple ruins, from polar bears to tropical fish. You won't find that anywhere else and certainly not so freely given as it is here. I sincerely hope the manip community is aware of this and will remember to abide by the few rules most stockers here have when using their stock to keep it that way.
Over the years you've doubtless seen trends come and go. Do you see trends in stock coming from trends in photomanips, or do trends in photomanip come from those in stock? What is hot right now on the PM scene?
I'm afraid, I don't really know what is hot at this moment - I haven't been online all that much this summer and just got back from a two week vacation
However, from experience I can say that stock will influence the manip community more than the other way around. Most dA manippers don't shoot their own stock, so they will use what is offered, so when a popular model stock hits the gallery and one or two manippers who are visible in the community use it, others see it and use it and it thus goes viral on dA. The more a stock image is used the more it is visible and the more it is used again (often in similar ways, unfortunately). Of course other stockers see what is currently high up on the list for manippers, but jumping on that bandwagon is harder in that you may not have the resources (location, costume, model, etc) to do something similar. Plus, until you can jump the wagon it might have moved on already. So it doesn't make much sense to chase after a certain theme in this way for stockers. What you can see is that the overall quality (on a technical level, like clear pictures, no cut off limbs, usable angles etc) has been constantly going up, because that is what will get used more and that stockers will cater to the seasons and holidays ahead of time so people will be able to use their stock. For example, Halloween stock comes online in late September, early October. If you put it online on Halloween, it is too late to be used in a Halloween manip this year.
What are some of your favorite photomanipulated pieces? For these pieces, did you start with a stock you just HAD to use, or did you have an idea first and then go looking for stock to fit it? Is that how you typically work?
I often see a bunch of stock images that "click" in my head: I can see them together and start from there. It's easier than trying to recreate a specific idea because for a specific idea you need specific stock and that is often hard to find. Not because it doesn't exist, but because the search term you are using may not have been used by the stocker - either because they didn't bother with keywords (bad!!!) or simply because you can't think of that keyword that will bring the right stock. In recent years, with working full time, I have very rarely tried to create something specific because of this. It just takes a lot of time that I don't really have
For example (my last three faves):
I stumbled over
and loved the angle
I saw the girl stock and just had to use it
was done because I saw the tulip stock
As both a photomanipulator and a stocker, do you feel like the stock gallery is continually getting better, or have we hit a sort of creative plateau? What do you think the stock community can do to improve?
I think it's always getting better
Every time I catch myself thinking "there's just nothing new" (or something along that line), I stumble upon something to prove me wrong
Just never stop uploading even the strangest of images (or especially those
) and keep doing what you do in terms of fostering the community and all will be great! There is hardly any other gallery on dA where people are this welcoming and encouraging to newbies as in stock & resources. And hardly anywhere else do you see so many community activities (contests, features, interviews, how-to articles,...) as in stock and resources. So keep it up!
Thank you so much to Jasmin for doing this interview! Go show her some love on both of her accounts, kuschelirmel and kuschelirmel-stock!