The Blue Max Project

© 2016 Thomas Emme Some Rights Reserved

Making "Dreams" Come True and a New Year's Wish

"I am a piano player, but yet I'm not.  I am a painter, yet I'm not.  I am a novelist, but I'm still working on it."

Jack D. Hunter

Several years ago a few of my more artistic leaning siblings decided to replace the usual exchange of gifts with a themed annual "Christmas Art Challenge".  When my sister set this year's theme as a self-portrait, it took me about 30 seconds to remember the quote above from Jack D. Hunter, author of "The Blue Max".  

I have thought about that quote a lot over the last year as The Blue Max Project developed.  It has gone slowly, but I continue to push my knowledge of World War I history and my skill level at photography, graphic arts and writing.   I decided to put those skills to the test in the art challenge this year and searched for iconic images of writers, artists and World War I fighter pilots.  

These three caught my eye, not only for who they are, but for how the camera caught them in these portrait shots.

Ernest Hemingway sitting out in the middle of an open field on a rugged table typing away on his trusty Underwood.

Salvador Dali, not the usual goof ball funny-face, but laser focus on his painting.

And of course...Eddie Rickenbacker looking cocky and relaxed, sitting in his Spad cockpit.

The next challenge was photographing myself to fit correctly into the picture with minimal editing.  I used all my photography toys accumulated over the last couple years.  Light stands with high wattage florescent bulbs, camera on tripod, remote trigger, wireless SD card and the iPad.  I placed a white backdrop in my office, set up the tripod and lights and took test shots while holding a print of the portrait pictures and ipad in one hand and the remote trigger in the other.  I would take a shot, wait for the picture to stream to the iPad, check it out and adjust my position.  I'm glad my wife didn't come home in the middle of this, I'm sure she would have thought I lost my mind!

This proved to be the easy part.  I needed to be a better character actor to get the right expression on my face.  Needless to say it took a few tries. 

 Hemingway

Hemingway

 Dali

Dali

 Rickenbacker

Rickenbacker

After much review I felt like I got images that hit the mark.  

 Intense......

Intense......

 All about the eyes....

All about the eyes....

 Cocky and confident.....(and perhaps a bit goofy in my case!)

Cocky and confident.....(and perhaps a bit goofy in my case!)

I knew I needed four images and considering the title was "Dreams" I decided to pull the one image I could find of decent resolution from my childhood.  From the looks of it maybe a fifth grade class picture....just had to find a body to attach it to.

 I don't remember ever having an apple on my desk, but close enough.

I don't remember ever having an apple on my desk, but close enough.

One last touch, I added some text on the black background.  Probably sending a little message about dreams, I picked pairs of words that resonated for me as I think of how I spend my time, old/young, now/later, self/others, give/take, past/present and fantasy/reality.

Put it all together and here is what you get.

So my wish for 2017?   Like everyone else, I struggle to find time to do all the things I should do, face challenges at work, be kind and caring towards my family and others, pay the bills, live a healthy lifestyle.

Your dreams might be a little silly....but yet they're not.  You have plenty of time to get to them...yet you might not.  Whatever your passion in life, find time in 2017....to keep working on it!