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Tagged With « learning »

  • My particular choices for video gear

    I am on my way to mastering video as a way of visually telling stories. A student asked about the gear I have chosen to use during that evolution. That question prompted the following answers, which became another blog entry. Keep in mind that MY answers to these questions are unique to my process. Every videographer / photographer solves their problems differently.  With that in mind….

    18

    Jul 16

  • Road Warrior 101 for the photographer (part one of two)

    I have been making photographs seriously since 1972, when I fell in love with photography during an intro to photography class in high school.  I have been taking pictures for money since 1980, when I graduated from college after studying the history of photography.  I have been traveling around the globe to make photographs (and to teach classes) since 1986.  In all that time, I have used hundreds of different cameras. Along the way, I have picked up a few things that have become constants in my tool kit as a photographer.  They are part of my process, regardless of where I go, who I am working for, or what gear I am working with.

    15

    Jun 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

  • What I am carrying in my camera bag and WHY

    Photographers love gear. I love gear. But, in the end, my gear does ONE thing. It solves my problem(s.) Usually that problem involves getting something in front of the camera recorded for a publication, exhibition or web-site. The gear I use is constantly changing. Every couple years I create a new podcast to show what I NOW carry with me when working. This record of my gear is accurate for late summer of 2014. In a year or two it will be outdated, as will my cameras and I will have to do this all over again.

    15

    Oct 14

  • Travel Selfies

    I was flattered to be interviewed recently by a writer for the Washington Post for an article on “Travel Selfies.” For those of us of a certain age, who need a translation, that mean self-portraits made while traveling. These photos. at their best, both the traveler and the destination they traveled to. The conversation I had with the writer was fascinating and I took it as an opportunity to turn some time well spent into a blog entry.

    05

    Sep 14

  • Real Exposures Interview

    I recently sat down with David Brommer, the force behind the Real Exposures interview series, to discuss what Brommer describes as my “visually striking and highly moving photo-essays for magazines and non-profit organizations, including a project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” We also discussed my more recent photo-essay depicting homes that people had left behind during the recent foreclosure crisis.

    20

    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

  • 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

  • Lighting Workshop with Victor Rodriguez, Jr.

    In November of 2013, I took part in a lighting Workshop with Olympus Trailblazer, portrait and fashion photographer Victor Rodriguez, Jr., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA. During the three hour workshop, I gathered video clips, which I then made into this short, three minute video.

    24

    Nov 13

  • Seven Questions You Should Ask Every Accomplished Photographer

    I have been taking photographs for almost four decades—mostly for money and always for myself. Over those forty years, I have slowly figured out what I wanted to ask the many photographers I encountered along the way.  I have distilled this down to a list of questions that I would ask any photographer, knowing that the answers will help any photographer.

    02

    Aug 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

  • Artfully road testing the Olympus Tough TG-2 camera

    While I was experimenting with the Olympus Tough TG-2 I went a bit overboard in trying to see just how far I have moved past my previous concern in terms of “fearing for the camera’s safety.” What happened was I dreamed up the idea of videos made from weird angles via a rig I would make, putting the camera near the ground to show what it feels like to be riding my motorcycle, a Suzuki C-50, an 800cc Cruiser. In the end it all worked out fine but in between, I definitely had a few of those “do not try this at home” moments.

    29

    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

  • Connoisseur of Light in Singapore

    I am just back from Singapore, having spent three weeks there on my annual visit, teaching and photographing. Every year, I teach a couple sections of my favorite class, Light, Shadow Night and Twilight. And every year, at least half the class starts out complaining about how there is no dramatic light in Singapore. Because Singapore is almost on the equator and has pretty high humidity, there is no question the light certainly is different. This year, I paid a lot of attention to that light and especially to how I dealt with its peculiarities, for another in my blog entry in my Connoisseur of Light series.

    15

    Mar 13

  • Image abuse via Tumblr, Instagram, etc.

    A question came my way recently via email and again during a class in SIngapore. Any question that recurs that often is almost guaranteed to be worth a blog entry. After answering the question a couple times, in person and by e-mail, I knew I had a moderately intelligent answer that became this blog entry.

    08

    Feb 13

  • 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

  • Art and commerce of selecting a workshop teacher

    (Disclaimer, I am a workshop teacher as well as a veteran professional photographer)
    I am a professional photographer. I am VERY proud of the fact that I make my living through my photography. I have been lucky in that most people who pay to use my work appreciate the skills it took me decades to master. I have, over time, expanded my repertoire to include workshop teaching. Over a period of years I have been working to master and excel in  the process of helping others get better at their photography. As I have been doing this, I have been reminded again and again, that teaching is like any other skill: It involves practice and takes decades to fully master.  Also, much like publication photography itself, the world of photography workshops is being flooded with people who have little or no skill as educators.

    10

    Feb 12

  • The future of photography is women

    Among the classes that I taught while I was recently in Singapore, at the behest of Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Filmmaking, was a class on street photography. At the first meeting, I scanned the room like I always do. I saw Singaporeans of all ethnicities, a few Europeans and two people from India. What I did not see among the many eager faces were any men. The class went really well with only women and it set me to thinking about how, I could argue, the future of photography is women.

    03

    Feb 12

  • Why I teach workshops on stock photography

    An old friend, who runs a stock photo agency, saw that I will soon be teaching a class in stock photography near him. He wrote me a friendly but slightly incredulous note, saying “….a workshop on stock photography? Yesterday Pickerell’s advice was to ‘Find another profession.’ “ My reply was to say I am not likely to follow the advice of Jim Pickerell, arguably the longest running writer/commentator on the business of stock photography. But I did want to answer my friend in more depth. So I thought more about his question, why teach a workshop on stock photography?

    23

    Dec 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part three of three)

    For the last two weeks I have been blogging about the important question of where do you learn how to be a photographer? To date, I have explored my take on the future of commercial photography, called into the question the value of formal schooling and offered some on-line resources that can serve as well as school, if not better (and they are much cheaper.) I want to deconstruct a few of those same resources to suggest how to find value in reading them.

    21

    Oct 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part two of three)

    In last week’s blog entry I started to explore the question, where do you learn how to be a photographer? Much of that entry was speculating on what the business of photography will be like in the future. I also called into the question the benefit of formal study of photography, at least for those who want to be commercial photographers.

    14

    Oct 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part one of three)

    Eager young photographers write me often, telling me about what they want to do as photographers and asking for my help. Part of me says to tell them to “…run as fast as you can, away, away from this ever more crowded field.“ Another part of me says, wait, the business continues and is (in some way) growing, doubly so, with the movement of most communications media to the web, which is an ever more image-driven media. So there will be photographers in the future, though not the same kind of photographers as there used to be. I recently blogged about the best college for photographers being the one where you learn how to “think,” not just take pictures. That begs the question, where do you learn how to be a photographer?

    07

    Oct 11

  • Seminar, workshop or class?

    I admit it! I am obsessed about photography education. Of course I am. I teach workshops around the world. My wife is a university professor teaching photography. I run two web sites focused on photography education. I write about photography education on this site (and on other web sites.) I do all of this because as a photographer, I grow as I teach. The more I teach, the more I grow. And I love to grow as a photographer. So, a recent question about education got me thinking even MORE photography education.

    09

    Sep 11

  • The best college for photographers

    My daughter is about to start her fresh-man (fresh-person?) orientation at college. This “momentous” occasion prompted me to think about college in general, as well as my own experience in college. Finally that led me to this blog entry, considering which is the “best” college for photographers.

    19

    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

  • Ode to sunlight

    I had one of those “aha” moments recently. Like so many of those, the actual moment was mere confirmation of something I already knew, but had never (or rarely) articulated. The more I reflect on it, the more I appreciate the insight I just had. Also, the more I ponder what I realized, the more I understand that even at the ripe “old” age of 53, I still have plenty of things left to learn and understand.

    21

    Jan 11

  • Creativity and Solitude

    Recently, two seemingly unrelated events occurred at about the same time. After a couple days of trying to figure out why my subconscious was connecting them, my conscious mind finally figured it out. It started when a friend sent me a great quote about creativity and solitude. I received it, and excitedly passed it on to friends and family. This all happened during the hectic few days of the Photo Plus Expo, the big New York City photography trade show/conference. You have probably already made the connection that it took me a few days to make. Let me tell you about my journey to better understanding.

    12

    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

  • Musings on developing a style

    I have been back in India for a few days after a week in Singapore. Returning reminds me how the chaos of India contrasts dramatically with the order of Singapore. As a street photographer, that same unruliness is one thing that makes India so compelling. On the other hand, as a person who thrives on efficiency and order, Singapore holds an equal attraction. I wrote in the first of these three blog entries about the “journey” that Singaporean society as a whole is trying to take as it moves up the economic ladder. As I see it, such progress will only be made when individuals embrace the more unruly aspects of the creative processes. In this blog entry, I will answer the query of one Singaporean who has taken on that challenge.

    26

    Jul 10

  • First Singapore musings

    I just finished up three short workshops in Singapore. As always, I enjoyed the place and the people there immensely. (The hot sticky weather is another story.) The food is good, the workshop where I was teaching is great and the infrastructure there is amazing. Still, my favorite part of Singapore is the struggle going on about their future. They are collectively aware that in order maintain their status as one of the most vibrant economies in the world they need to keep moving up the economic ladder. The step they aspire to make next, to become innovators/creators of new products and services, has the potential to vault them to the top of the pyramid.

    23

    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

  • Covers in music (and photography)

    I have often pondered the similarities, differences and connections between music and photography. The former is something I have no talent for, other than the ability to enjoy it. The latter is something that I continually find both challenging and rewarding. I have considered these two media throughout my life, initially, as a toe-tapping teenager and now as a working, creative professional. Some recent reading spurred me to sit down and try to make some sense out of the jumble of ideas that I have about photography and music. Some of what I settled on is more philosophical and some is more practical, resulting in two separate blog entries, of which this is the first.

    05

    Mar 10

  • The Wells Point after one year

    The Wells Point celebrated its first birthday yesterday. It has been quite a year. We launched last year just before the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. This year, I am writing from NYC, where I am again attending the Photo Plus show. So, just what has happened within The Wells Point since the website went live on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008?

    23

    Oct 09

  • Learning the language of photography

    Besides teaching workshops around the world, I run a few small on-line critique groups. These usually arise out of workshops where the students in the group have bonded and do not want to end the critiquing/dialogue that is at the core of any good workshop. So we meet in a conference call approximately every six weeks, catch-up on photography happenings and review work together on-line. Some interesting dialogues are born in these meetings. One particular thread of discussion from one meeting is well worth sharing.

    19

    Oct 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

  • Group questions versus individual questions

    I just finished teaching a workshop in Berkeley, California. Being in the San Francisco Bay area, the light was great. The group was very supportive of each other and the work they did was interesting. The questions they asked were many and good. They got me thinking about the questions I am often asked in workshops, in general and what I am trying to do with this blog.

    21

    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

  • Teaching mastery, ethics and excellence, in business and/or photography.

    I was discussing ethics and publication photography with a friend. We were e-mailing back and forth in the wake of the recent news of how the New York Times Magazine photos that were not supposed to be “photoshop-ped” actually were. He was joking that the only thing left was to ban digital cameras and force publication photographers back to using film. After laughing at the thought, we agreed that even that drastic a step would not make a difference. The history of photography is full of folks who exploited film’s perceived documentary nature to their own advantage.

    24

    Jul 09

  • So you want to teach photography workshops?

    A peer asked me how she could make money “teaching photography workshops as a business.” After picking myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I gathered my thoughts and reflected on how I started teaching photography. Tracing the path I took from to aspiring instructor to veteran workshop teacher resulted in this blog entry.

    17

    Jul 09

  • Unraveling the “mystical and unapproachable” in photography

    One of my more regular correspondents, Michael Colby, wrote me with a two-pronged query: “I’d be interested in reading a blog entry about what set you on the path of being a photographer?” He also asked “I still remember, when I was in high school trying to get into serious photography, visiting a camera store. It was almost a mystical and unapproachable place. I take it that serious camera stores were not “consumer friendly’ in the way that any retailer has to be today.” The answers to both his points are intertwined within my own experiences as a young photographer.

    05

    Jun 09

  • The art of editing – The editing of art

    In the last week, I have been editing lots of images, looking at thousands and cutting those down to hundreds (or less.) Over the years, I have become a pretty fast editor who can easily articulate why an image does (or does not) work. When a good friend told me she was having trouble editing down her own work, I walked her through some strategies to help her improve her editing skills. By the time we were finished, I realized our conversation was “made” to be a blog entry.

    27

    Apr 09

  • Learning how to learn, photographically

    When I went to college, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, my mother encouraged me to put my energy into what she called “learning how to learn.” I just finished a workshop where a student told me the best part of the class was that he had “learned how to learn the way to make the best photograph possible of a given situation.”

    27

    Feb 09

  • The workshop I always wanted to attend

    As an aspiring documentary photographer/photo-essayist there was always one workshop I always wanted to attend, but I never could. Now that I am in fact “established,” there is one workshop I really want to teach, but I wonder if other students would want to attend such a workshop.

    06

    Feb 09

  • One photographer’s career path

    This podcast explores my career path, from student photographer to established professional. As I tell my story, I show photographs from the many phases of my career.

    28

    Jan 09

  • Photographs as mirrors and windows

    I often tell my students that their best photographs are the ones that reflect their personalities, life experiences and outlooks.  I was recently giving a presentation, when an audience member’s question stopped me cold and forced me to articulate how that same idea has played out in my own work.

    26

    Jan 09

  • How I learned to critique photographs

    I was reviewing another photographer’s work recently. Left and right, I was tossing off suggestions for improving the images. Though I was thinking intensely about the work, I was largely unaware of my own process, as I critiqued the work. When she asked me how I had learned to critique images so fluidly, I was stopped in my tracks.

    19

    Jan 09

  • A cross-cultural photography workshop experience

    I just finished teaching a particularly fascinating workshop in Singapore through an organization called Objectifs. In my best workshops, and this was one, I learned as much as I taught.

    10

    Nov 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