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Tagged With « education »

  • One photographer’s perspective on the election and American exceptionalism

    I get it. I am a 59 year-old, white male. I work in a field that once provided me with a very good living, a field that has been decimated by changing technology and globalization. The work that I used to get paid good money to create is now done by people overseas, or by others in America, who get paid much less than I ever would accept, or by machines. But I am still troubled by the recent election result because American workers, like me, have been displaced by changes in the economy and labor market for decades if not centuries. Adaptability to change is a hallmark of what has been dubbed “American exceptionalism”. So what changed in this election?

    14

    Jan 17

  • Ways not to ruin your photography workshop experience

    I love teaching photography workshops. I get to help others improve their photography. I get to see the world through their eyes. I get to see new and interesting ways to see and photograph the world. I get to go all sorts of interesting places. I even get paid to do all that. Along the way though, I see people make the same mistakes over and over which ruin their workshop experience.

    28

    Dec 16

  • Situational awareness is the key to better photography

    I teach workshops overseas and domestically. I photograph overseas and domestically. In both cases there is one skill that I practice over and over that makes a huge difference when I photograph. It is the one thing that every photographer should master, whether or not they are attending one of my workshop (or anyone else’s.)

    28

    Nov 16

  • Crowd-sourcing your editing

    Every photographer knows how hard it can be to edit a large set of images down to a select few. Every photographer also knows how that process is key to strengthening any photo-project. The way that I handle this same challenge is that I now often crowd-sourcing my editing.

    21

    Nov 15

  • Critiquing 101

    The very best way to improve as a photographer does not involve any particular piece of gear or course of study, nor does it involve apprenticing yourself to a master photographer. Impoverishing yourself by working on nothing but photography as something of a photographic “monk” will not do it, either. While all of these things may improve your photography, the best way is much simpler, yet for many photographers it seems much harder.

    31

    May 15

  • Opportunity and Hazards Attending Portfolio Walks

    “You get only one chance to make a first impression.” This adage rang through my head as I walked through a sea of photographers with work on view at the 2014 Society for Photographic Education (SPE) portfolio walk. These increasingly popular events are often held over a two- to three-hour window during a photography festival or conference. They tend to be casual and are usually open to the general public for free, in contrast with the more structured (and fee-based) portfolio review. As an informal event, a portfolio walk is more in line with introductory networking opportunities than as a venue for print sales. Here are a few lessons I noted last year, as well as helpful tips from eight of the SPE student scholarship recipients I corresponded with to research this story.

    25

    Mar 15

  • Cultural concerns every traveling photographer should know about

    Photography requires gear. Duh. That’s a given. Yet, the most important tool any photographer has is their mind, their eye, their humanity and their adaptability. Those are priceless, both in the fact that you can’t buy them and the fact that they are what will help you make exceptional photographs whenever you travel. Before you leave for any other culture, smart photographers prepare by reading up on cultural concerns they may encounter on the road.

    27

    Jan 15

  • Jurying the Far Away Places competition

    I was asked to be the juror for a photography competition on the theme of Far Away Places. As I reviewed the work, I tried to keep in mind the summary of the call for entries: From the far corners of your backyard to the far away country it takes weeks to traverse to, we want to see where you end up when you go “far away”. As I was editing, I was thinking how could I explain to those photographers who did not make the cut, why that had happened? So I kept notes as I went, which make up this blog entry, one that ideally would serve as the answer to those photographers who did not make the final cut.

    10

    Oct 14

  • Zen and the Art of Photography Maintenance

    I started riding motorcycles before I even took up photography, way back in 1972. Both riding and photographing require a lot of practice to achieve mastery. Both pursuits can be rewarding (or frustrating) as that expertise develops (or fails to.) Both involve complex technology with numerous opportunities to spend more and more money. Both are frequently enjoyed outside. Both involve disciplined vision and constant awareness of your surrounding environment. Thankfully, in only one pursuit can a mistake result in injury or even worse—death. While I was riding recently, I was reminded of what is arguably the most important similarity between the two, at least in the eyes of a photographer.

    22

    Aug 14

  • The Brazilian Experiment Part Two

    In early June we were in Brazil. I wrote earlier about my cultural experiences in South America’s largest country. This time I am writing about my experience with photography and photographing in Brazil.

    27

    Jul 14

  • Sampling my CreativeLive workshop

    I recently gave a class on personal projects and the photo-essay that was recorded and broadcast over the web by CreativeLive. Photo essays are compelling, dynamic, vivid mission statements of a photographer’s work — every photographer should have a working knowledge of this narrative art form. You can get a sample of the class by watching this preview segment.

    16

    Jul 14

  • Tiffinbox interview: Creating Powerful Photo Essays And Personal Projects

    In advance of my CreativeLive course called “Create Powerful Photo Essays & Personal Projects” I sat down to talk with Seshu Badrinath of the tiffinbox site to discuss the class and how photographers can create photo essays and personal projects as well as publish them on their own.

    28

    Jun 14

  • Road trip road tips

    My daughter is setting off on her semester abroad in college. She chose not to go on a college-sponsored program in some sunny and warm spot, where she might be surrounded by other American college students. Instead, she chose to enroll in a university in the chilly, damp and often gloomy U.K., to follow her passion, costume design for the theatre. Needless to say, I am very proud of her adventurous spirit.

    10

    Jan 14

  • Clearly crossing a fuzzy line

    Last week I blogged about intellectual property in general and the theft of photographs in particular. The line between the borrowing of ideas and concepts, verses actual stealing of intellectual property can occasionally be fuzzy. But the thefts I was writing about were clearly over that line. In writing that blog, I was prompted to think about my own borrowing/appropriating/reusing.

    03

    Jan 14

  • I was wrong but they are even more wrong

    Throughout my career as a commercial photographer, I have had a fairly consistent attitude about copyright theft (and its impact on my imagery.) This was based on my world-view of the photography market and my ability to realistically respond/control that. A recent experience has shown me that my attitude was, to put it bluntly, wrong.

    31

    Dec 13

  • A GREAT question

    A former student of mine, who has gone on to great accomplishment, wrote me with a GREAT question. My answer was be used on his blog page, but I thought it was such a good question that I am cross posting it on my page as well.

    06

    Dec 13

  • How and why I use Tumblr

    A wise student asked me:”Tell me about your Tumblr. How it works & how it serves your purposes.” I thought it was a brilliant question, that if I answered it fully, would benefit many photographers. So, I made a podcast answering his question(s.)

    17

    Jul 13

  • Finland? Finland!

    I spent the first two weeks of June teaching a photo-essay class to university students in Finland. When I started the class, I was worried if it would go well. I have a hard time working with college students, since most of them don’t want to speak out in class, out of fear of “sticking out from the crowd.” Since those same students were Finnish, a notoriously shy people, it had all the makings of a train wreck. I am thrilled to say it turned out much better than I expected.

    28

    Jun 13

  • How a liberal arts education saved my career again and again

    College graduation season is upon us and with it discussions about the importance of educating young people for the so called “jobs of the future.”  With a daughter half way through college, I have plenty to worry about in terms of her future. Yet I am here to make a last stand for a liberal arts education, the one thing that has saved my career again and again.

    07

    Jun 13

  • Photography as a second language

    With graduation season upon us, thousands of photographers-in-the making will soon be graduating from institutions across the country. The commencement speakers those students would be listening to will be loath to admit it, but getting paid to be a photographer is dying as a career option and it is clearly time for a new paradigm in the business of photography.

    10

    May 13

  • Copyright workflow of one professional photographer (me)

    Registering your photographs with the Library of Congress is THE most important thing any photographer can do to protect their intellectual property (their photographs.) While it is not a difficult process, it can be tedious. In this podcast, I walk you through my copyright registration process, in great detail.

    29

    Apr 13

  • How to Build Awareness for Your Work

    This week’s blog entry is a cross posting of a blog that was the result of an interview I did with photographer and marketing expert Cindy A. Stephens for the Boston Photography Focus blog, which is sponsored by the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. The blog was posted on February 13th, 2013 and was titled: “How to Build Awareness for Your Work.” Below is the full text (the interview and the blog that was built around the interview.)

    22

    Feb 13

  • New Bollywood Satirized work from Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

    Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (my wife) has created new work in her series Bollywood Satirized, work that she describes as “…a critical commentary on the societal expectations that I experienced as a woman growing up in India.” The work is going up outside, on the walls in Bangalore, India, to riff on the Bollywood posters she is satirizing. This video shows the process of displaying work that was made recently in response to the horrific Delhi rape.

    20

    Feb 13

  • Being interviewed via Google plus

    I had the pleasure of hanging out on Google plus (and being interviewed by) Frederick Van Johnson, the ball of energy behind many interesting photography projects including This Week in Photo. I enjoyed the hangout immensely wanted to share it.

    25

    Jan 13

  • Alienating users, customers, members, readers

    This weeks blog is angry and to the point. The only question is whether or not I should “name names” in terms the parties whose arrogance and stupidity prompted this rant. The obvious reason not to name them is because I might be “burning bridges.” There is actually another, arguably more important reason not to name them. Read on to see what I am so annoyed about and what my thinking is on the question of naming names.

    21

    Sep 12

  • The business side of workshop teaching

    In my last blog entry, I wrote about how interns/teaching assistants can maximize the opportunities that such professional opportunities can offer them. Since then I have received a few comments and queries based on what I wrote (including two that are at the bottom of that blog entry.) This week I want to answer another professional development question, in this case about photography workshops, which I saw posted in a forum. It was one of those rare questions that I see on line which I actually feel qualified to answer.

    17

    Aug 12

  • A word to the wise for interns and teaching assistants

    In the general media and especially the business press there has been a lot of discussion (yelling and screaming) in the last year about internships. Most of that noise revolves around the question of paid vs. unpaid internships, which can also be thought of as job stealing (unpaid) vs job making (paid.) I have blogged a lot on internships in the past and I can argue both sides of the paid vs unpaid question. What I am blogging about this week is what interns should be doing once they have internships, paid or unpaid.

    03

    Aug 12

  • Learning to podcast the easy way or the hard way

    An email came to me awhile back that was succinct and to the point. I filed it away in the pile where I keep things that I need to “think about it for a while before blogging about them.” It got me thinking about how I had moved from complete ignorance to a level of accomplishment in one area of modern communication in a short period of time. The teacher in me kicked in and I started wondering if I could really take someone else down the path that I took from beginner to practitioner. I am not 100% sure I can, but this is my best effort.

    09

    Mar 12

  • Singapore suggests

    In January I spent three weeks in Asia, mostly in Singapore. As always it was a stimulating trip on many levels. The food was great, the company equally good and the workshops were a blast. I have been trying to put a bit of distance between myself and that experience. I want to figure out which parts were really important and blog-worthy (and which parts were fun when they happened but don’t have much long term meaning.) I do this because unlike some bloggers, if I write about something to soon after it happens, I usually emphasize the wrong thing.

    02

    Mar 12

  • Who really knows what they are talking about

    As a blogger, I am competing, (in theory) with millions of other bloggers for your attention. In my mind, the hardest part of the job is coming up with things to write about that others have not already explored. As of late, I have discovered that the best blog entries arise out of the intersection of my personal interests, input from others and recent events in my life. This week’s blog came out of that same place. It explores the question of how do we know who really knows what they are talking about?

    02

    Sep 11

  • To put differences aside for the common good

    With summer vacation here (and all of Rhode Island’s many summer distractions calling me,) I worried that I might not have the patience to write something in depth. Knowing that most readers are probably equally distracted, I decided to write about something a bit smaller. In this case, I want to explore how the national headlines and my recent personal experience teach the same important same lesson, but only one of the two incidents came to any kind of really positive resolution.

    05

    Aug 11

  • Blazing a new path in your photography education

    For me, blogging, like life, is most interesting when seemingly disparate things come together in unusual and thought provoking ways. A recent series of events got me thinking about photography workshops in particular and photography education in general. Since I studied the history of photography, work as a photographer, and teach a fair number of workshops, this is not new territory for me. What is new is where my thinking ended up at the end of the mental twists and turns that I recently went through.

    22

    Apr 11

  • What’s in a name

    I am in California, working on my project “Foreclosed Dreams,” where I have been photographing inside foreclosed houses. I am also teaching a series of classes. I am spending a lot of time on my new MacBook Air, running my photography business from the road. In between all this, I am working on building Photo Synesi ( http://photosynesi.com ), a new on-line critiquing system that connects serious photographers around the world. Through Photo Synesi, we help aspiring photographers get better through personalized feedback of their work. The title of one of the projects that was recently reviewed caught my eye because it perfectly described what we try to do.

    01

    Apr 11

  • Introducing Photo Synesi!

    Photography has been one of the constants in my life since I fell in love with the medium back in high school.  In the nearly forty years since then, I have been continually experimenting with different ways to both photograph just the way I want while making a living at it.  Along the way, I have worked selling cameras, done portraiture, weddings, studio work, fine-art photography, university teaching, etc. Of course, I have also done a lot of the editorial photography that has sustained me for the last decade.  During the last couple years I have finally come to appreciate the upside of what once looked like an helter-skelter, ever-changing career path.  

    27

    Nov 10

  • Photography workshops as creative communities

    I just finished teaching a great class in street photography. The students were lively, the locations we photographed were interesting and the creative community where I was teaching was incredibly stimulating. During the time I was working at the Maine Media Workshops, I dined with, talked to and saw the work of some of contemporary photography’s masters. In the class I was teaching, there were people who had the potential to be the next generation of photography’s masters. On the way home from Maine, we stopped in to see an old friend, a former assistant who I had worked with years ago at the Workshops. It was eight great days immersed deeply in the community of people who love photography. It got me thinking…..

    30

    Aug 10

  • Even more summer-time snippets

    I read a lot about photography every day. (Duh!) I encounter hundreds of links, varying from idiotic Viagra ads to Nigerian bank scams to interesting photography sites. Though I am pretty good at knowing what not to look at, and waste time clicking on, I default to the idea that it is better to look than it is to risk missing something of value. This blog entry explores recent links where I have clicked through and I have been rewarded for my efforts.

    06

    Aug 10

  • War stories, part two

    In the first part of this series of blog entries, I wrote about recent ethics controversies spurred by student photographers going to places like Haiti in order to develop their skills and their portfolios, as they photograph the horror of that nation’s earthquake/disaster. I appreciate the ethical issues raised by such actions, but my overarching question was, and still is, how do aspiring conflict photographers develop the skills required for covering war/disaster? In this blog entry, I will talk about how I developed my own, limited skills in that area of photojournalism and what I learned in the process of gaining those skills.

    16

    Jul 10

  • War stories, part one

    For the last few months I have been carrying around a copy of a commentary written by the National Geographic photographer, turned university professor, Steve Raymer. It appeared in the March, 2010 issue of the magazine, News Photographer (which is published by the National Press Photographer’s Association.) He talks about the photography of Haiti’s earthquake/disaster as well as the ethics of students going to places like Haiti in an attempt to develop their portfolios as they photograph that horror. All of this, and last week’s “bandh,” here in India, prompted me to tease out some of my own “war stories” and put them down in type.

    12

    Jul 10

  • A Lesson About Lessons in Photography

    Golf, as a sport and the popular obsession with it have long mystified me. Even in the wake of the recent crash and burn of Tiger Woods, I normally would not follow it much. However, a friend who is as much a golfer as he is a photographer has pressed me to write something about golf and photography and I did so back in October of 2009. I would have left it there but I recently stumbled on a great article in the New York Times titled, “A Lesson About Lessons,” by Bill Pennington. As I read it, I thought that much of what he wrote applies to photography as much as to golf.

    17

    May 10

  • Out of the eyes of babes

    About a month ago, my teenage daughter saw the new, sleek Olympus camera (the E-P1) that I have been using lately. She said she wanted to try it out. I was not sure if she was motivated by purely adolescent curiosity or her generation’s obsession with the newest, latest thing. I do know that although she spent her childhood in front of my camera being photographed for fun and work, she never has shown much interest in being behind the camera. Watching her use the new camera and then looking at the work she made set me to thinking (and blogging.)

    05

    Apr 10

  • Learning how you learn, photographically and otherwise

    I recently finished my annual class built around photographing the Tucson Rodeo. The weather was great and the pictures were even better! Most everyone we encountered was happy to be photographed. The class was a small group, so everyone got lots of attention. Because it was such a small group, I had time to analyze how each person learned. By the time the class was over, events had reminded me that in some ways, the most important thing ANY student should learn is exactly how they do learn.

    12

    Mar 10

  • Lessons in the business of photography

    Last Monday, November 9th, I gave a presentation in New York City at the Apple store in SoHo. It was titled “It’s the journey not the destination (but who does not like a good destination shoot?)” I was one of two photographers presenting that night. When I agreed to do this talk, months ago, I thought it might have made for a somewhat interesting evening. Little did I know, just how interesting that whole evening would actually be!

    16

    Nov 09

  • What can the assistant bring to the photographer?

    When I wrote the recent post on “Group questions versus individual questions,” I was obviously writing about that topic. But, I was also using the process of writing to clarify my own thinking on that subject. As I started to answer a query from a student in the Fotovision class that I just finished in California, I ended up similarly clarifying my own thinking on another topic.

    25

    Sep 09

  • Why photographers need editors

    There are numerous aphorisms about what separates the serious/successful photographer from the amateurs/posers. Great quotes, such as: “Hobby photographers worry about equipment; Professional photographers worry about money; Master photographers worry about light” are already out there. In this blog entry, I propose to add one more to the list.

    18

    Sep 09

  • Working outside of the Photo-shop centered mainstream

    On my ride home from the Maine Media workshops, where I was teaching a class in street photography, I reflected on everything that happened during the workshop. It was a great group of photographers, who grew as individuals AND supported each other as they went through the sometimes-difficult process of growing and changing. Many things that were said and/or done are potential seeds of blog entries. One difficult question that I heard from two different photographers is what I am writing about this week.

    31

    Aug 09

  • An update after a week at the Maine Media Workshops

    I am finishing up a great week at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine. There were a whole bunch of small highlights during the class that I think are worth sharing.

    28

    Aug 09

  • Free, useful photography tutorials

    Last Monday night I spent an hour watching an on-line photography tutorial, in this case a lesson in Photoshop. This coming Monday I plan to do the same. In fact, for as long as the “Monday Night Light” program is continuing, I hope to be enjoying free photography tutorials.

    14

    Aug 09

  • Workshops, teaching and the transformative power of photography.

    I am heading off to Guatemala later this week. Besides getting away from the lingering winter cold in Rhode Island, I am going there to teach. That got me to thinking about workshops and teaching as well as why I do it and the transformative power of photography.

    23

    Mar 09

  • The history of photography of California farmworkers

    In politics there is the so-called “Washington read” which, according to Word Spy is: “The perusal of a book in a bookstore that consists of checking the index for references to oneself and reading only those parts of the book.” I never thought I would live to see the day when I did my own version of the “Washington read” of a book, but that happened recently.

    01

    Dec 08

  • Marketing is the key to being a professional photographer

    The longer I work as a professional photographer, the more I am reminded that taking pictures is the easiest part of this job. The hardest part is marketing your work and yourself. I have tried various marketing strategies over the years, some more successful than others. All of them are built on the idea of regularly getting your work in front of the folks who will pay to use your images. So how do you find those folks?

    21

    Nov 08

  • Some thoughts on being a professional photographer

    This podcast explores important questions that aspiring professional photographers should be thinking about.

    19

    Nov 08

  • Highlights from the PhotoPlus expo in NYC

    There were hundreds of new and interesting things to see at the PhotoPlus expo in NYC. A couple jumped out at me as interesting and important to the aspiring and accomplished photographers who visit this site.

    27

    Oct 08

  • My favorite photography book

    One of my favorite photography books of all time is a remarkably simple book called On Being A Photographer.

    29

    Sep 08