If you are looking for creative inspiration or for some creative fun, then this unique book, Fotoplay! by Marcie Jan Bronstein will be of interest to you. Marcie combines the use of her black and white photographs or photograph fragments, along with written prompts on each page to inspire creative exploration.
Marcie Jan Bronstein has been working as a fine artist, educator, for over twenty-five years and is a published author. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Marcie about her third published book, Fotoplay! She explained that "the seed for the book was planted when my son Noah turned three years old and started drawing."
About twelve years ago the seed developed further. Marcie worked on a Denver Project and later for the Captain Albert W. Stevens Schools project in Maine. At that time she began merging children's drawings into her photographs. Marcie actually did the reverse of what is in her book today.
Two years ago, the seed continued to develop further when Marcie began working at a preschool as an artist in residence. While there, she used paper as wallpaper all around the classroom. Then she added photographs that she cut out from one of her published books I Will Wait in the Car and used them as prompts on the paper for the kids to draw from. She watched the kids reactions and saw "the excitement and how creative they can be."
It was last year when she realized that adults were also interested in this process. She had first introduced the activity as a filler in between her adult Shake Up Your Art and Play Workshop. She couldn't believe the adults positive reactions to the activity. Marcie stated, "They really responded and did interesting work."
Marcie explained her hard work to refine, not only the photographs but also the language and written prompts composed on each page. Originally, the book started out with just images on each page. Eventually, the pages evolved further as Marcie added written prompts that kept the creative process open and did not try to steer the creator in any direction. Lastly, she gave names to each image which gave it a spirit and made it funny. The book started to take off when she made it funny and quirky.
She decided to self-publish this book so that her vision of the book could be produced. Marcie wanted the book to be printed on large, heavy watercolor paper so that the pages could be big and messy. She found a printer in Maine that could help her achieve her vision. The size of the book and weight of the paper makes a difference, it adds to the inviting and fun feel to her book. Here is an example of a page from the Fotoplay! book:
There are so many fun pages of original photographs and prompts to choose from. I had the opportunity to introduce the book to an adult open studio session based in a therapeutic program. The clients enjoyed selecting a page from the book and creating colorful drawings in response to the prompts. Besides drawing, the clients also had fun using the pages as catalysts for creating spontaneous storytelling with one another. I worked along side the clients and also chose one page from the book. I used fluorescent colored pencils. At first I followed the prompt on the page and gave the animals some colorful outfits. Upon stepping back and looking at the image with the added color, and suddenly the animals seemed to be dancing on the page. So I used glitter glue to add a sparkly disco ball at the top of the page. I really enjoyed the process as well! My finished picture is below:
Fotoplay! is an ideal book for people of all ages looking to use their creativity or to inspire creativity in others.
Learn more about the Marcie Jan Bronstein, her work, or to buy a copy of Fotoplay! here: Fotoplay! by Marcie Jan Bronstein.