I've been shooting still life commercially for 9 years, mostly footwear and apparel, for Nike, adidas, Keen, etc.—ortland is a huge footwear and apparel town. That said, the top-down, or laydown in apparel speak, type image has been in my arsenal from day one.
I never really thought to apply the top down technique to any personal projects until I discovered my friend Rob's scissor collection. This guy has been collecting scissors for 20 years, and I wanted to photograph a huge group of them. I thought it would be interesting to see all the different types together, and a giant scissor image would be pretty cool. 400+ scissors, 10 hours, and some very sore limbs and the scissor image was done.
This led to other ideas, and I started down the path of making all these collection images. I often collaborate with my stylist, Kristin Lane, who also has a passion for collections and a background in retail, so it's a perfect fit.
We bring tons of stuff into my studio and begin sorting what we like most and placing them on the paper and go from there. Some images contain individual or group personal collections (camping, housewares, rifles, cameras) others I go and dig out of Goodwill or buy lots on eBay (cassette tapes, 8-tracks, VHS tapes). The beachcomber image was an offshoot of another personal project about the coast towns of Oregon and Washington I've been working on for a while.
I have several collections lined up to shoot and get offered more all the time. It's a personal project for both Kristin and I, so whatever strikes our fancy, we'll photograph. Promoting this work has led to various commercial and editorial assignments as a team, all the while feeding our curiosity.