Two posts I wanted to mention from this weekend. First off:
The great Toolmonger blog has featured one of my props. I’ve been following Toolmonger for awhile; it’s updated daily with posts about tools: new tools, cheap tools, how to use tools. Pretty much anything you would want to know about tools. I’ve been meaning to add it to my blogroll on this site, so this is as good a time as any.
Second, the Houston Ballet has a blog. On Friday, they wrote about making props for Marie. It has some good photographs showing the techniques they used to make a lot of the fake food.
Flickr, if you don’t already know, allows people to share photographs. It’s a massive website, and you can easily get lost. I’ve broken it down to help you navigate around.
The Commons. The Commons is a place where organizations can post their massive image libraries. Some organizations include The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, and the New York Public Library. Most of the images are documentary, so it is a good source for primary research into historical time periods. The organizations do a fair job of organizing their images, making specific pictures easy to find. Another great thing about the Commons is that many of the photographs are in the Public Domain (check each one to make sure), allowing you to use the image itself in a show without a license.
Places and Map. If you need photographs of a certain place, you can use these to find (usually contemporary) pictures taken there.
Tags. Flickr users can add keywords, or “tags” to their pictures to make searching for them easier. For instance, you can see all photographs tagged with “furniture“. This gives a lot of results, but you can further revise your search by looking at “clusters“, which are common groupings of related tags. For instance, furniture is clustered with “vintage, antique, old“.
Search. When all else fails, there’s good old-fashioned search. You can search through tags or descriptions. This is also where you can search for multiple tags, or search for a photos where one word appears and another doesn’t.
I’ve spent three summers at the Santa Fe Opera as a props carpenter. It’s a great place to build props and expand your skills, and the shows they produce are top-notch. I would definitely encourage any beginning props people to apply to their apprentice program.
Below are some links to news articles that tell some more about the props shop at the Santa Fe Opera.
A slideshow produced by the Santa Fe New Mexican. It looks behind the scenes of the prop shop during the 2007 season, when I worked there as a props carpenter. I’m not in any of the photos, but you can see a cart I built for La Boheme.