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Patsy Doing Things: Photography in a Pandemic

By Mia Ballesteros

[All opinions are my own and based off an observational standpoint from content found online. All images belong to @StuffByPatsy.]

2020. What a year..

What started off as being the best year ever quickly turned into the worst as soon as the news spread about the global pandemic, COVID-19. Like most people, the shutdowns took a major toll on my mental health, my school work, and most importantly, my daily routine as a photographer and creative. Being a senior in college during this time might have been one of the toughest battles I have ever had to face during my school career. But, thankfully this battle taught me how to find inspiration through anything, especially from the minds of other young artists, such as digital photographer and editor @StuffByPatsy. Thanks to Patsy, I started to learn how to be my most experimental and innovative self when it comes to thinking about photography in a pandemic.

I came across Patsy’s Instagram shortly after I started my last semester of college. What first captivated me about her work was how colorful and otherworldly it was. Chaotic, yet orderly at the same time. For me, looking at her images was like peeking into a different universe. One look at her Instagram and you are transported into a world filled with oversaturation, distorted shapes, and backgrounds that seem to melt off the screen. Her work was nothing like I had seen before and all I wanted to do was learn how to create in this same manner. Luckily, as I continued to dive deeper into the world of StuffByPatsy, I came across her TikTok account, where I discovered she had posted videos detailing how she produced her Instagram creations. To my surprise, some of the work she made that at first seemed difficult and time consuming had been created using simple editing apps on her phone.

Final result...

This changed the entire game for me. Before I saw her TikTok videos, I had come to the conclusion that her work had to have been made by using high-end editing programs that of course cost time and money to use let alone understand. For example, some of her images that to this day I use as inspiration showcases a certain technique that can be seen in a lot of her work. This specific technique takes her subjects into consideration as a background and by distorting and adding special effects turns into a completely different image. By doing this, Patsy is able to create captivating work that appears to have much more effort put into it than it really does. And did I mention she made these on her phone?!

As time went on and as the pandemic continued, I noticed a shift begin to happen not only on Patsy’s Instagram but with creatives on all different platforms. This shift was very obviously influenced by COVID-19 and being on lockdown, as it forced people to rethink how content would be produced at a time where the biggest challenge was not being able to physically see and spend time with one another. It was at that moment that I started seeing the term facetime photoshoot pop up all over social media. Photoshoot? Through facetime?? How could this be possible? Now not being able to see one another in person was no longer a problem in terms of creating amazing work. Okay but you might still be wondering, how the heck can you do a photoshoot through facetime? Let's break it down.

Everyone uses facetime. But, if you’re an Android user or simply live under a rock, Facetime is a way for you to video call friends and family from the convenience of your iPhone. Simply put, facetime photoshoots are exactly like regular photoshoots, just virtual! The photographer sits on one end of the call and the subject on the other while the photographer prompts the subject with how to set up their phone and posing. This newfound artistic approach to photographing completely shook the creative world as it gave photographers a way to still do their job while at the same time remaining safe during a global pandemic.

Well, leave it to Patsy to take this trend and absolutely run with it. Her take on facetime photoshoots not only showcased her talent for being able to perfectly pose her subjects but also a glimpse into the magic of her creative mind. She constructed mystical worlds filled with cowboys and mushrooms, magic 8 balls, and elves. I’ve inserted some of my favorite facetime photoshoot images of hers down below.

If you haven’t come to this conclusion already, Patsy is the definition of complete innovation. While she had the opportunity to simply take pictures through facetime and leave it at that, she instead decided to take those images and digitally manipulate them to become something unique and one of a kind. Her use of real-life objects combined with fun poses and bright outfits allows her viewers to not only gain a plethora of inspiration but also imagine themselves inside this world that she has successfully created. At a time where creativity seemed to be dwindling due to the depressing social/political climate, she was able to shine a light on the artistic possibilities that arose during a pandemic.

For a little more in-depth example of how facetime photoshoots work, check out this TikTok of a few that Patsy has created.

One of the main reasons I chose to research and write about Stuff By Patsy is because she has continuously exhibited the Simplex Minds mindset of making the complex simple. Through her TikTok and Instagram editing tutorials, she successfully teaches her followers how to achieve the same aesthetic and artistic style as her. Opening the door for other creatives to get the chance to see that making amazing work doesn’t always have to be so difficult is exactly what we here at Simplex Minds want to showcase to our audience. The fact that she is so open and upfront with her creative process is such a welcoming way to inspire other creators and is just one of the many reasons that Patsy is one of my favorite young artists of this generation.

For more dope art as well as a glimpse into the magic that is StuffByPatsy, follow her here on Instagram and TikTok


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