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Tagged With « process »

  • 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

  • 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

  • Road Warrior 102 for the photographer (part two of two)

    In the first of this two-part blog posting, I wrote about all the non-gear related things that make my life easier as a photographic road warrior. In this posting I will talk about the gear related technologies that do the same thing for me. On my educational web-site, The Wells Point, I have a podcast showing all of the contents of my traveling camera bag. It is now slightly out of date, since I recently switched to the smaller Olympus Pen cameras, from the larger DSLRs. But the gear that I take with me (besides my cameras and lenses) has not changed at all. You can see exactly what that includes here. The logic behind switching to the smaller Olympus Pen cameras was the subject of a recent blog entry.

    29

    Jun 15

  • Carpe diem: Seize the moment

    I have heard the expression “Carpe diem: Seize the moment,” bantered about for as long as I can remember. (I am 57 years old, so that is a long time.) I have always known what the words meant, but only recently have I come to appreciate what they mean to me.

    24

    Dec 14

  • 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 In a year or two it will be outdated, as will my cameras and I will have to do this all over again.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

  • 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

  • Melded Arts: The sculpture and photography of Abigail Gumbiner

    Abigail Gumbiner is a photographer and sculptor living on the Central Coast of California. Combing her passion for the two media, she produced her Melded Arts work, which has been exhibited at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art and the Art of Photography Show in San Diego as well as being featured in “The Handmade Photograph” magazine.

    17

    Sep 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 last film project

    Old projects seem to have an odd way of circling back to haunt you. Sometimes that is economically, other times stylistically. An old project is back in mind right now which has prompted me to reconsider how, sixteen years ago I started an informal collaboration with two other photographers, using a primitive imaging technology called “film.” Almost two decades later, that project is coming to fruition, which prompted me to look back on one of if not the last projects that I worked on using film.

    08

    Aug 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

  • Thinking about organizing the personal project

    My favorite kind of photography is the personal project (or photo-essay.) The thing I like the least about them is the time and effort required to keep such projects organized. But, I need to be organized in order to execute the projects efficiently, to promote the work to potential funding sources and exhibitors, as well as to have the same work reviewed and published. I made this podcast explaining how I organize my personal projects.

    19

    Mar 14

  • Approach 6L-24R

    In late December of 2013, I spent a few hours watching planes land at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport.) During the three hours, I made a series of time-lapse animations, which I then made into this short, thirty second video.

    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

  • Three Things Every Photographer Needs to Know About Electronic Flash

    Someone recently asked for a “super basic lesson on flash” in, as they said, “one or two steps.”  When I say flash, I mean supplementary light that is being used when documenting people, places or things as they are presented to you. I am NOT talking about studio work, where you can control the light and the subject. I am talking about when the photographer has to react to the subject and the light as they are given.

    11

    Oct 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

  • 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

  • How to organize the unorganized

    Another query comes in and another blog post comes out…. I received an e-mail with a question that was so good that I immediately answered the writer AND told him I would turn it into a blog post. His question, to put it succinctly was “How could he organize the unorganized?” This is a question nearly every photographer working digitally may have to face.

    22

    Mar 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

  • Getting to the emotional core


    A friend recently attended a portfolio review event for photographers. In reporting back on her experience, two things were very apparent. First, her work was very well received, which was a “pleasant surprise” to her. While the reviewers varied in terms of exactly which images they were drawn to, there was near unanimous agreement about one problem with her presentation, which is what I am going to build this week’s blog entry around, a lesson every photographer should heed.

    02

    Nov 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

  • Google Plus Hangout with Jay Kinghorn

    I recently chatted with fellow Olympus Visionary photographer Jay Kinghorn for a Google + hangout where we discussed our experiences with the new Olympus OMD EM-5 camera as well as the challenges of transitioning from still to multimedia photography. We also discussed the gear we use, where we find inspiration for our work and where we are going next with our multimedia work.  It was a great conversation which I hope you will find as interesting as I found it.

    27

    Jul 12

  • The most difficult thing about making a good photograph

    I recently finished a great class on the “Photographic Tools for Travel Photography” at the International Center of Photography in New York City. I teach all my classes as a building process, where I pile ever growing amounts of information, responsibility and autonomy on the students as the workshop goes on. The end of that process, which is also the end of the class, is when I circle back through all the lessons of the class, to explore exactly what is the most difficult thing about making a good photograph.

    13

    Jul 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

  • Photography book without pictures

    I just finished a great book on photography. It had no pictures. It didn’t have a whole lot of instruction or technology either. I will be the first to admit that I had my doubts about it when I picked it up, but I thought I’d give it a try. I should have known better, since the publisher also produced one of my favorite photography books. After reading it, I had a new perspective on photography and I also realized it was the kind of book I wish I had written. What book was it? Read on!

    06

    Apr 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

  • The color of black: The paintings of Peter Holmes

    An old friend is a painter whose use of black has captivated my interest (and that of many others.) To introduce others to his work, I made this profile video..

    14

    Mar 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

  • Some good questions

    A high school photography teacher wrote me recently with some questions. As part of her ongoing credentialing for teaching photography, she needed to “…gather information/advice from those in professional photography community.” She went on to ask me a series of great questions from her students drawing on having asked them “What questions they would ask a professional if they could.”

    17

    Feb 12

  • Dumping the darkroom?

    A friend wrote me recently with something of an existential question for a photographer. I knew that answering it was going to be tough, for her and for me. Whichever direction I suggested she go (and whichever direction she chose to proceed) was bound to impact the lives of many photographers for years to come. Like any good existential question, half the fun was simply working through the problem. Knowing that no certain answer was possible (or preferable,) made the process both interesting and frustrating.

    27

    Jan 12

  • About ongoing, on-line critique groups

    The photography world is often dominated by the rage for the latest camera, software or accessory. We all know that (and I am as guilty as the next person in terms of talking those up.) Long after the latest/greatest photo “toy” has been forgotten, there is one timeless thing that will make every one of us a better photographer, which is feedback. There are many ways to give and get that all-important feedback, much of which I have blogged about in the past. In my experience, one of the very best ways to get that is through an ongoing, on-line critique group.

    30

    Dec 11

  • An evening with Jackson Browne

    I attended a Jackson Browne concert in Hanford, California last weekend. I have loved his music since I was introduced to it in high school. I have followed his career and music over the years, attending concerts along the way, when I could afford it and when our paths crossed. The Hanford concert was in a wonderful small venue (and reasonably priced,) so I spent what was billed as “an evening with Jackson Browne.” Throughout the concert (and for days afterward,) I was thinking about my photography, his music and why I felt such an affinity for his work.

    25

    Nov 11

  • Keeping my momentum

    As a self-employed editorial photographer, I tend to work in isolation. As a self-directed stock photographer with less and less assignment work, I need to keep motivated so I can move my work and career forward. One of the real joys of blogging and workshop teaching is that both of those do an excellent job of counterbalancing that isolation and keeping me motivated. I never really thought about this situation in those terms (or really much at all,) until someone wrote me with a question about isolation and momentum.

    17

    Nov 11

  • Sculpted Photographs – The art of Abigail Gumbiner

    A long-time friend is an artist whose latest work is at the intersection of her two passions, photography and sculpture. To introduce others to her work, I made this profile video.

    16

    Nov 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

  • A fifth photographer’s problem

    I have written extensively about what I describe as the four “photographer’s problems” (or questions.) These are issues that every serious photographer should consider regularly. I mention these in classes and during presentations to get photographers thinking about photography’s important issues, rather than obsessing about the gear they use. I am surprised to say that I am thinking of adding a fifth question, but I am not 100% sure. Writing this blog entry may help me think out loud, as I decide, four or five?

    03

    Dec 10

  • The thinking behind my photo-essay “Foreclosed Dreams”

    In this podcast, I take you with me as I am photographing part of my ongoing photo-essay “Foreclosed Dreams.”

    13

    Oct 10

  • Defining my own place in photography

    It is mid-September, which for me means the beginning of my working year. During the summer that just ended, like most recent summers, I certainly worked hard, but I also relaxed a good bit. So, now I am starting my busiest season of September to June. That is when I travel the most for work, teach most of my workshops, give most of my presentations, make most of my stock photos and do most of my assignments. I have been planning out the next nine months or so for the last year and a half. I am aware that in this age of last minute planning, this much advance planning seems counter-intuitive. But for me, such long-term planning allows me to get as close as possible to achieving most, if not all of my goals. Defining those goals has been a long process, as has been learning to manage my time in order to achieve them. That long (and continuing) journey is the subject of this week’s blog entry.

    24

    Sep 10

  • The thinking and tools behind “Carnival, time”

    In this podcast, I explain my thinking and the tools that I used in making the podcast (time-lapse image animation) that I call Carnival, time.

    08

    Sep 10

  • Exercising Inspiration

    In this podcast, I share a multi-media piece that I made in India. Then I explore the inspiration that motivated me to make that piece.

    25

    Aug 10

  • Late summer snippets

    After six fascinating weeks in India I flew home and I plunged right into a workshop in street photography at ICP (International Center for Photography) in New York City. Then I returned to Providence, to complete the sale of my house, move out of that and into a new apartment. Next week I am off to the Maine Media Workshops to teach another workshop. So, I have been busy! I have also been gathering snippets to share as the summer nears its end.

    20

    Aug 10

  • A public radio interview with David H. Wells

    In 1992, I was interviewed by Melinda Whiting for Artscape, a public radio arts and culture program in Philadelphia. Our discussion started with my Middle East work. It went on to explore the intersection between art and photojournalism. Though the interview is 18 years old, the questions it raises are still relevant.

    28

    Jul 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

  • preserving memories, sound or sight

    I blogged (and podcasted) earlier this spring about the discoveries I made during my in-depth spring-cleaning. I explored what I learned about my own photography as I reviewed, edited and purged thousands of old photographs and transparencies. More recently, I have been similarly reviewing, editing and purging other old recordings, documents, files and papers. Some were personally poignant and others were professionally compelling. The entire process is worthy of at least a couple more blog entries.

    21

    Jun 10

  • Gear and old gear

    My last blog entry, exploring gear and goals left me thinking about my own gear acquisition history. I have written before about how, these days, I tend to be slow to adopt new gear. I only displace technology that works well for me if the newer technology is a notable improvement. (DSLRs that capture video are one example of a notable technology shift.) I will be first to admit this was not always the case. In college and during my first few years as a freelancer, I churned through different sets of gear. I was trying to figure out who I was as a photographer (and which technology would help me make the photographs I wanted to make.) In looking back, I have noted that certain pieces of gear have stayed with me throughout over my career, including some that have been with me a very long time.

    14

    Jun 10

  • Goals and gear

    A friend wrote me with a variation of the most common question I am asked, “What gear should I buy next?” In a technology-based pursuit like photography, the question appears to make sense. This is doubly so in a creative pursuit which is largely shared through advertising driven media. Before I answered him, I grilled him with a few more questions. Then I came back to him with a suggestion for the one thing that every photographer should be spending more time and money on, especially these days.

    11

    Jun 10

  • The inspiration for an image

    The podcast walks you through the process as I have an idea for a photograph, think it through, take some pictures, look at what I have done and keep working on it till the photograph has just the feeling I want it to have.

    07

    Apr 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

  • At the intersection of the art and craft of photography

    While spending a week in Calcutta, India, I saw (and photographed) many things. Having previously spent little time in Calcutta, everything I experienced and pondered there seemed to be doubly intense. This was quite a sensation, since going anywhere in India is always so intense. In the future, I will share some of my experiences and thoughts that came out of my time in the place also known as the “City of Joy.” One thing I did that was especially interesting was to see an exhibition by an Indian photographer, Prashant Panjiar. The work I saw exists almost perfectly at the intersection of the art and craft of photography.

    25

    Dec 09

  • Singaporeans and Creativity

    I just finished classes in Singapore and India, two countries that could not appear to be more different. In Singapore I taught evening seminars, while in India, I taught a class over four days on “light, shadow, twilight and night.” Regardless of length, all the classes were journeys of sorts, physical and/or intellectual. On all of these “trips,” I was accompanied by different groups of Singaporean photographers. Working in such divergent countries, just a few days apart, got me thinking.

    18

    Dec 09

  • Watching as artists embrace and transform a new technology

    In my last blog post, I discussed ways artists/photographers use technology in both intended and unintended ways in order to tell their stories and/or express their ideas. This kind of hybrid-ization of technology is an ongoing process. For me, the latest stop on that path is in multi-media/video. My wife’s work, animating family photos, is her newest step in that ongoing process. I was recently reading about a new technology that I have already been using in its intended form. I realized how ripe that same technology is for experimentation. Soon artists/photographers will be exploiting that same technology in new and unintended ways. I think the really fun part will be watching this happen, observing the explorations as they happen rather than looking back after the fact and only then connecting the dots.

    11

    Dec 09

  • A new look at complaining about the “good old days”

    I was exchanging e-mails with Bob Krist, a freelance photographer who works regularly on assignment for National Geographic Traveler. Our dialogue started with the idea that when we were younger, the older photographers we admired complained about the good old days. I wondered if, today, when he and I are no longer young and are more prone to complain, are we just being nostalgic or is something really being lost in today’s photography market/climate?

    04

    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

  • A photographic collaboration ten years in the making

    Ten years ago, I became part of a collaborative project photographing an exquisite old building in Tucson, Arizona. For me, photographing the building was the easy part. All I had to do was draw on the skills I often use in my previous “light studies,” my ongoing series of photo essays on the light and atmosphere of different places. The hard part was collaborating with two other photographers, while keeping my eye on the long-term prize, the finished project. It took a long time but the effort is near coming to fruition.

    20

    Nov 09

  • A lesson in seeing and working a situation

    This podcast explores the many different ways you can photograph one subject

    07

    Oct 09

  • “Working” a situation by changing the point of focus

    This podcast explains how to “work” a situation and make a variety of images of a subject, by changing the point of focus.

    29

    Jul 09

  • Editing and critiquing photographs of India

    This podcast shows the process of editing and critiquing a set of photographs of India, which were created by workshop students from the Objectifs Center in Singapore. The goal was to get from approximately sixty images per person down to about twenty images. The final twenty images should tell the viewer something about the photographer as well as how they experienced India.

    17

    Jun 09

  • “Working” a situation when photographing

    This podcast explores the important process “working” a situation, making a variety of images of a given subject, by changing the photographer’s position, the camera’s orientation, the focal length of the lens, etc.

    03

    Jun 09

  • On the question of creativity

    I had an e-mail exchange recently with student on the question of creativity. He was not asking about software or lens choices, though those are perfectly valid questions at different points. He was asking the biggest, toughest question of all. I was impressed that he was able to articulate the question. He seemed impressed with my answer. That was when I realized that our exchange was worthy of a blog piece.

    29

    May 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

  • The important process of naming a project

    The members of a critique group that I head recently had an email dialogue about what to call one of the member’s ongoing projects.  As the process unfolded, I thought about my own struggles naming my projects and how the naming of a photographic project is arguably the most important step in the process of defining and shaping such a project.

    13

    Apr 09

  • The early photo-essays of David H. Wells

    This podcast explores the evolution of my photo-essays, including many of my grant-funded projects, including my work on the pesticide poisoning of farm-workers in California, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, fishermen in Gloucester , MA as well as the communities of South Asian immigrants in America

    25

    Mar 09

  • The background of the “light studies” of David H. Wells

    This podcast explores the evolution of my “light studies,” which are photo-essays on the light and atmosphere of a given place. The first “light study,” on a train station in Philadelphia has since led me to do these projects across the globe.

    25

    Feb 09

  • The best flash card wallet I have ever used

    Regular readers of this blog may be wondering when I am going to stop writing about my “philosophy” and return to talking about cameras and photographing. I will right now. In this post, I am going to highlight one of the most important pieces of gear in my camera bag.

    13

    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

  • What makes a great photography workshop?

    I have posed this question to thousands of photography students. Some were in my workshops, others had worked with other teachers and many had done both. Base on what they told me, I think I have a good idea what makes a great photography workshop.  I am happy to share that, (in what I hope is only a mildly self-promoting blog entry.)

    02

    Jan 09

  • Importance of timing when photographing at twilight

    This photography podcast explores the importance of timing when photographing at twilight.

    22

    Oct 08

  • Guatemalan Bus Station

    This photography podcast uses images and audio to take the viewer on an informative, visual journey into part of life in Guatemala.

    08

    Oct 08