I live in Alaska, and have lived here my whole life. Okay, I did move to Arizona for a hot second but it wasn't for me... Creatively, it can feel like a total struggle. Alaska was basically colonized with a boom-and-bust mentality. Our current economy fluctuates and we will see steady periods of little growth. What that means is we don't often see updates to buildings and businesses and things get pretty rundown around here. What that also means is that this town can be bit of a time capsule if you just adjust your eyes and see the *magic*. Three years ago I started a little personal project. I began to search out Wes Anderson-esque environments and locations around my town. Last week I went to our old bowling alley. At one time the alley served as a terminal for Pan Am. I love how weird modern Alaskan history is... I also took advantage of our (totally empty!) railroad ride last summer. That was unplanned but when I stepped on the train I was ecstatic.
Most people have LOADS of these locations around them. Trust me. If Alaska has them, you do too. You just have to have a keen eye and know what to really look for.
What I look for in an environment is:
*Color theory! I pay a lot of attention to color palettes...
Are the colors complementary? Monochromatic?
Do they have a vintage color palette? Sometimes I look up specific color palettes and try to match them!
*Lines. Oof. I love lines and linear perspective and Wes Anderson is great with lining subjects and objects up!
*SPACE. Anderson is also wonderful at using negative space and wide shots.
*Vintage build/furniture or any nod to nostalgia (like a bowling alley!)
When I add in a person to the environment, you can push that color theory more with their clothing and props.
After I take a photo I generally add my Margot or Holly preset and add warming filters. Sometimes I may adjust my colors until I love them.
Personal projects inspired by music videos, novels, and films is such a good way to push yourself creatively. I love the adventure of searching for totally weird industrial backgrounds and finding that magic in a world that I grew up in. Often we think we *MUST* travel to find this type of inspiration, but the pandemic and Covid-19 pushed me into a creative corner, and made me search out and find what I wanted where I was already at. Don't be afraid to push your colors and your image in Photoshop. Most importantly, have fun. This is by far one of my favorite personal projects. It's a slow process to find locations, but there really is no end in sight to what I can find and create.