100 Paper Clips

I’ve been short on time, lately, but I’ve been itching for a creative outlet.  I wanted a new project that I could do when I have a few moments of free time.  I wanted something more artsy than crafting.  While playing with my iPhone, I came up with an idea.  Armed with my iPhone and Instagram, I vowed to take a picture of each paper clip in this box.  I would then publish those photographs to a dedicated website.

Here’s a quick overview of my process:

  • Each paper clip is individually photographed using Instagram on an iPhone.  After applying an in-camera filter, each photo is then auto-published to a Tumblr blog.
  • Various light sources are used from around my office building.  It consisted of natural light, overhead lights, lamps, etc.  I did not use any studio lighting.
  • A neutral background consisting of two layers of copy paper is used.  The paper was not artificially altered to create texture (folds, wrinkles, crinkles, etc.)  The differences in background are a result of natural shadows, light values, color temperature and Instagram filter effects.
  • Check it out, if nothing else but for mere curiosity.  I’d also love it if you’d share the website on your favorite social media service.

Here are a few things that I find interesting about this project:

  • Art is instantly created without being labored over.
  • A venue for displaying my work (the Tumblr blog) is instantly created with the auto-publish feature.
  • The work is immediately accessible by anybody with an internet connection.
  • I like using free products and services to pull off this exercise in monotony.  These free services give me the freedom to express myself without investing money into something that may or may not be well received.
  • I’m amused by creating a completely useless website dedicated to sharing a large number of photographs of a mundane subject.
  • I enjoy deliberately contributing to the worthless chatter of the internet (I almost conciser this internet grafitti).

While producing this project, a few interesting questions pop up:

  • How is it that one paper clip photo can be easily dismissed, but a collection of 100 paper clips will make you pause and reflect.
  • Is it really about paper clips?  Or is it about the ease of media creation?
  •  If  art/media is so easy to create with these modern tools, which requiring little to no training to produce, does this become the modern/digital form of folk art?
  • Is my art any less valid than one who has a NY Gallery show?

Of course, art is always open to interpretation.  It can just deeply appreciated or easily dismissed.  Check it out and see for yourself.  Take this project it for what it is worth.  But for me, this was a very satisfying project.  Who knows, I might try something similar again in the near future.

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