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Tagged With « perspective »

  • 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

  • The Brazilian Experiment – Part One

    I spent the last few days of May and the first few days of June in Brazil. I was NOT there for the World Cup. In fact, I tried very hard to be out of that country before the start of the big event, to avoid the crowds and the connected chaos. This blog entry (and the next one) will explore my experiences in the biggest country in South America.

    04

    Jul 14

  • The best the world of photography books has to offer

    Spring brings with it the awards season, be they the Oscars or Pulitzers. Never having been nominated for (or a viable candidate for) an Oscar, I don’t follow it all that closely. Having been nominated for a Pulitzer once (by the Philadelphia Inquirer) I have a bit more of a stake in that game. The older I get, the more I wonder about the judging of many of these competitions. The recent announcement of two such annual awards left me more bewildered than usual.

    23

    May 14

  • Why listen to me?

    I write a lot of blog entries, teach a lot of classes and give many presentations. Those are NOT why you should listen to me when I write something or say something. You should listen to me because you think I know what I am talking about. The question is how do you know that and by extension, why listen to me?

    14

    Mar 14

  • The hidden scandal in photojournalism’s award season

    The award season for photojournalism is upon us, like the Oscars or the Grammies. Unlike in the cases of those televised awards, the commentary will not likely focus on who attended which awards ceremony with who as their date. Nor will their be much commentary on the costumes worn, since nearly all the competitors will be dressed in black, the artist’s de rigueur clothing. If the last few year’s post-award scandals are any indication, the commentary will likely focus on digital manipulation, a topic certainly of importance. But, I am guessing the scandal-of-the-month club will again miss the real scandal in the world of photojournalism.

    28

    Feb 14

  • Another round of morality vs greatness

    At this moment, part of our collective cultural discussion is focused once again on the question, “should the personal life of a creative person impact how we judge their work?” Over time, the moral failings of certain creative geniuses have been viewed according to a different moral code. This is not a new question by any stretch, though, in my mind, it has taken an interesting turn recently. The accusations of child molestation against Woody Allen is the most obvious case, but I am actually more interested in the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

    14

    Feb 14

  • Lessons learned jurying a photo competition

    I recently had the privilege of jurying the work for Car Culture competition for the PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont. It was real education, both in terms of photography and learning about the global world of cars. As a photo-educator, I look at moments like this as “teaching moments” and so I wrote this blog entry about the jurying process. (As I also wrote the “juror’s statement that will accompany the final exhibition of prints that will opens at the PhotoPlace Gallery today, November 8th.)

    08

    Nov 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

  • How fabricated images ruin my work

    Another controversy is erupting in the world of photojournalism. The image that won World Press Photo of the Year 2012 is starting to look like it was HIGHLY manipulated or an outright composite. Though I no longer work as a photojournalist, I have been following this (and other recent image manipulation) controversies closely because it directly impacts my own work.

    17

    May 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

  • 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

  • Cafe Coffee Day vs Starbucks (advice to Howard Schultz)

    People who know me are aware that I don’t drink alcohol, be it wine, beer or hard liquor. I do love my coffee though. In fact, am something of a “specialty coffee” junky (as the marketing types call it.) Starbucks will soon be opening locations across India, expanding into a country and culture that I know relatively well. I am rooting for Starbucks to change the India specialty coffee market, but not for the reasons you might expect.

    01

    Feb 13

  • Ten views, one sunrise, Bangalore, India

    For a recent sunrise in Bangalore, India, I used ONE camera (with an intervalometer) which took one picture every eight seconds and then the camera made ten different versions of that same image using the built in art-filters. These creative image processing options (or art filters) alter the image to look like a line drawing or to mimic cross processing, pin hole, diorama, etc. In the final video, I show you the unaltered sunrise and then I use about six seconds from each of the ten different versions of the time lapse piece, all showing different parts of the same sunrise. I play them sequentially in the finished the video which goes through all ten video filters during the video.

    14

    Nov 12

  • Questioning the insider vs outsider perspective

    My wife and I presented our work to a group of photographers in New Delhi recently. We built our presentation around John Szarkowski’s idea that (broadly) photographs are either Mirrors and Windows (as in mirrors of the author or windows into other people, places or things.) It was of course fun. But it also got me thinking about photography, culture and a whole mix of other questions which naturally led to a blog entry.

    12

    Oct 12

  • Good storytelling is good storytelling

    Last week I wrote about how I was going to stop blogging on a fixed schedule. That still holds true, but since writing that, I had one of those “aha” moments where I was prompted to think about something in great depth. All that thought and pondering shouldn’t go to waste and so here it is as a blog entry.

    11

    May 12

  • Two dogs

    I was on the other end of the camera recently, for the first time in a long, long time and it was a fascinating experience.  Being “on camera” is not something I do very often, so I was bit wary. Although the resulting images looked good (at least to me,) the entire process from start to finish was as interesting as the final result. A photographer being photographed! If that’s not the start of a good blog entry, I am not much of a blogger.

    16

    Mar 12

  • Rolling, time

    This podcast offers the viewer a whole new perspective on an adrenaline-filled motorcycle ride through the streets of Providence, Rhode Island.

    14

    Jul 10

  • Fading Fast

    I have been in Bangalore, India, less than a week and I can already see a lot of changes. Some of those are in the urban landscape and the culture. Others are in my own thinking and the way my mind’s eye processes what I encounter. I suspect that these collective changes will make this an especially interesting time to be in India’s so-called Silicon City.

    02

    Jul 10

  • Black and white vs Color (part three)

    This is the final of three blog posts exploring the question of using color vs black and white in photography. To date, I have shared work that was intentionally made in color and later converted to black and white for comparison purposes. I also shared work that was made in color, but was intended to be experienced in black and white. After sharing those two sets of work I also wrote about factors to consider when choosing between the various media. In this last entry, I will offer some other, last thoughts on the two media. These points, and in fact all three blog entries apply to both looking at existing work and to making new work.

    14

    May 10

  • Black and white vs Color (part two)

    In my last blog entry, I started exploring the question of black and white vs. color photographs. Specifically, I was talking about how a photographer should think clearly about the intentional choice of using one or the other for a given project. To get started, I suggested that readers look at a set of my photographs, exploring the foreclosure crisis, in both color and in black and white. The set of work that I offered in both media, was made in color and later converted to black and white. While those photos were intentionally created and presented in color, what about work that was made in color but was intended to be seen in black and white?

    10

    May 10

  • Black and white vs Color (part one)

    One thing that I love about blogging (and teaching,) is how both have helped me take a half-baked idea and clarify it. Like most people, my head is a jumble of ideas that come and go. Certain ideas appear more often than others, and the most persistent ones eventually take on a life of their own. When they do that, they move from my head out into the real world, through my photography, my teaching or other behavior. One such idea that has been rolling around in my thinking for a long time finally crystallized this last week.

    07

    May 10

  • Pictures, purges and process (part two)

    As of late, I have been writing about the massive spring-cleaning I have undertaken over the last few weeks. I am pretty much done with this archival edit and purge. I have also been thinking how much fun it was looking through thirty plus year’s worth of work. In all, it was a good starting point to reconsider the evolution of my style as a photographer. If I had to give that journey a title, as I went from a beginning photographer to an established professional, the best phrase would be “moving the goals posts.”

    03

    May 10

  • How do you critique photographs?

    How do you become a better photographer? That’s the big question isn’t it? In my experience, the best way is to take a lot of pictures and then get serious feedback on those same photos. (The second best way is to look at the work of other photographers.) With that in mind, then how exactly how do you critique photographs? As I say in my classes, “Saying wow, neat or cool is not critiquing photographs.” To seriously give (and get) feedback on photographs, we need a common, serious, analytical language for critiquing photographs.

    16

    Apr 10

  • Some downsides of digital imaging

    Digital imaging has transformed photography in many ways, mostly for the better, as far as I am concerned. One downside of digital is that photo-educators, like me, are nurturing a generation of photographers who have never used film nor developed photos in a darkroom. The next generation will, by and large, have missed the magical experience of watching an image come up in the developer. That moment was what hooked me (and thousands of other photographers like me) on the magic of photography. I recently came to appreciate other downsides of digital imaging.

    15

    Mar 10

  • Variations on a theme

    In my photography, my teaching and my discussions with other photographers, the idea of variations on a theme comes up often. For me, one of the joys of looking at photographs is seeing the different ways that photographers interpret the same thing. Yet, when some photographers come together to talk or photograph they can get territorial about their imagery and their ideas. Recent events have reminded me why this kind of thinking is limiting.

    29

    Jan 10

  • How do we think about the “age” of a photograph?

    I have been thinking/writing a lot recently about how photographs “age.” I do not mean physically, though that is an important question. I mean in terms of how we experience them as old or new. Recently, I blogged about my wife’s current project, photographing three or more generations of Indian women and turning those portraits into animated, multi-generational family portraits. Last week, I wrote about the importance of making actual, physical prints in order to preserve important memories. More recently, I was corresponding with a friend about his images, which were made decades ago. We were trying to figure out when an image changes from something contemporary (even if not recent) into a historical document. Since most photographs capture a moment in time, all this pondering makes some sense. On the other hand, it may just as likely be that I am extra sensitive to the passing of time, having just had a birthday.

    11

    Jan 10

  • An introduction to critiquing photographs

    This podcast introduces a clearly delineated set of criteria to use in critiquing and analyzing photographs, regardless of the type of photograph.

    30

    Dec 09

  • An editing exercise – part two of two parts

    This podcast takes you through the second section of a two part process of editing a large number of images down top a select few.

    02

    Dec 09

  • Thinking about photographs, not photography

    I spend a great deal of time thinking about photography (duh.) Recently, I had some encounters where I was pressed to think about the photograph itself. As I was thinking about that, I noted that most of my energy is concentrated on the process of photographing, rather than on the outcome of that process, the actual photograph. As I listened to other people talking about actual photographs, I had a “chicken vs. egg” moments, where I was unclear, which came first, the process of photography or the product?

    27

    Nov 09

  • The biggest little gear discovery that I recently made

    When I was at the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City in October, I was looking at all sorts of new gear for photographers. I saw many things there, including one item that completely captured my attention. Before blogging about it, I wanted to buy one and try it. I have done that and now I am ready to tell you about the biggest little gear discovery that I made at the Photo Plus trade show in New York City.

    23

    Nov 09

  • An editing exercise – part one of two parts

    This podcast takes you through the process of editing a large number of images down top a select few.

    18

    Nov 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

  • How photojournalists frame issues, for better or worse

    I recently read an article by Steve Raymer, a former National Geographic photographer who now teaches at Indiana University. He was discussing how photojournalists “frame” issues. He was not talking about the literal framing of images or the composition, but rather how concepts and ideas are organized and presented by photojournalists. That got me thinking about my own work and how I had “framed” different issues that I had explored over the years. I also started to wonder if the way I framed things had helped or hurt my career.

    21

    Aug 09

  • Frequent Flyer (Part Two:) Commuting for personal and creative purposes

    I fly a lot for work, like most photographers.  I initially commuted for personal reasons like most people do. I wanted to be with my family as much as possible, while I was working on projects that seemed to always be “somewhere else.”  Eventually commuting became an integral part of my creative process as a photographer. This blog post is an argument for the idea that most photographers who work on long-term projects should consider building commuting into their creative processes.

    19

    Jun 09

  • The importance of original source material

    My daughter was recently talking to me about her growing passion for studying history, primarily through what she said were the best part, original source material. That reminded me of two points in my early life as a photographer, when what is now known as original source material changed my perspective on photography.

    20

    Feb 09

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