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  • Hanuman Jayanti

    People in Bangalore, Karnataka, India seize the moment as they celebrate the birthday of Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god) by lighting 100,000 clay oil lamps in the heart of the city.

    28

    Dec 15

  • Breathe

    A brief meditation on a trip from a beautiful place in Oklahoma. The memory of that place, Quartz Mountain, stayed with me as I traveled back home.

    30

    Oct 15

  • Haridwar Time

    Haridwar is an ancient city in India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometers (157 miles) from its source, enters the Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára. Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus.

    07

    Jun 15

  • Singapore Time

    Late January and early February was a blur of teaching classes in Singapore. Embracing that feeling, I made a video to try to convey the energetic experience of my eighteen days there.

    18

    Mar 15

  • Waterfire Promotion Video

    In a promotional video that I made for WaterFire Providence, you can hear from the volunteers what a powerful experience they have volunteering!

    20

    Feb 15

  • Me and Jackson Browne at Tanglewood

    Ok, so there were 18,000 other people besides me and Jackson Browne on July 4th at the Shed, in Tanglewood, Massachusetts (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.) I was not even have seated particularly close to the stage. But I have been listening to (and following) the work of the California singer-songwriter for a long time. As I listened to him play and thought about the shows I have seen over the years, I note some similarities in our careers and our creative processes.

    26

    Aug 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

  • Photography books with authorship

    Last week I blogged about a couple of my favorite photography books, neither of which have any pictures. This week I am thinking about photography books that actually have pictures in them. What got me thinking about these books is how the authors each bring something special to their projects. I am not writing about the books because the photographers are my friends (though some are.) I am writing about them because each of the photographers in question has done one or more things to make their books interesting and distinctive.

    13

    Apr 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • What 9/11 did NOT change in my photography

    Last week I blogged about how the terrible events of 9/11/01 changed photography. (Or maybe more accurately, how the photography that came out of that day highlighted the changes in the culture of photography that were just picking up speed at that moment.) That essay was written from the perspective of a blogger first and a photographer second. This week I approach the same topic the other way, as a photographer first and a blogger second.

    23

    Sep 11

  • First impressions are lasting impressions with web sites

    I look at a lot of photographer’s websites. Most times I am looking to learn who they are and what kind of photography they do. In some cases, I may be checking them out in case they are under consideration for a position as a reviewer in our on-line photo-critiquing system, Photo Synesi http://photosynesi.com/ Other times, they may simply be professional peers (or competitors.) In still other cases, I am looking because I am told they are the latest “hot” photographer and I am looking at their site to figure out why they are defined as so “hot” (and I am especially curious how they got where they did in their careers.) In all cases, I use roughly the same strategy in looking at photographer’s sites. A photographer recently asked me to look at his site, and I decided to review his site using the same system I use in looking at every photographer’s site.

    15

    Apr 11

  • Some thoughts on stock photography

    In this podcast, I answer a friend’s query about how she might get start doing stock photography. By keeping my comments a bit open ended as well as talking about my experience in stock, I turn what might have been a one-to-one conversation into something of wider use for other photographers. During the podcast, I use video screen-capture along with my narration to explain and show what I am talking about.

    15

    Dec 10

  • 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

  • What I learned at the California Photo Festival

    Last week, I was one of thirteen photographers teaching at the first annual California Photo Festival. The instructors brought a diverse range of styles to the temporary community of photographers that briefly sprung up near San Luis Obispo, California. As I flew West, I was very curious about how the mix of instructors (and photographic styles) would work together. Now that the festival is over, I can look back (and talk about) what happened, at least from where I was sitting. The lessons I learned will benefit most any serious photographer.

    01

    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

  • Formulating the grammar, aesthetic and style of multi-media

    During my recent time at the Maine Media Workshops there was much discussion about what is being called “convergence.” The idea is that in the future, still images, video and audio are going to converge into one common media. With nearly all communication moving to the world-wide-web, that logic is largely irrefutable. The works that results from this mixing of media is currently referred to as multi-media. The faculty, staff and students at the workshop spoke often about that. I have been making such multi-media pieces myself, often for this site. To me, one of the most interesting things about multi-media is that as a new medium, we have a unique opportunity to formulate the grammar, aesthetic and style of this new media-in-the-making.

    03

    Sep 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

  • The contracting of our collective visual culture

    I make most of my living as a stock photographer. Stock photography is rapidly changing. Those changes have been impacting me (and my peers) for quite a while. So far you are thinking to yourself, none of this is big news. The news is that recently, the pace of that change hit a tipping point for me (and I am guessing for the larger world of stock photography.) If you care about photography in general (and stock photography in particular,) then what has been happening lately is especially bad news.

    18

    Jun 10

  • Critics and controversy

    There is a new exhibition of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. I look forward to seeing it in person in the near future. I have long been a fan of Cartier-Bresson’s work. His was some of the first important work I saw when I was studying the history of photography. The work showed me how photography could be so much more than just a representation of the scene in front of the camera. Up to that point I had learned most of what I knew about photography from a commercial photographer turned photo teacher. Starting from that point, Cartier-Bresson’s work was a paradigm shift for me. In the recent review in the New York Times of the new Cartier-Bresson exhibition, the reviewer is attempting to similarly shift the paradigm of how we should consider the work of Cartier-Bresson. His approach struck me as almost absurd (and his review had factual errors.)

    12

    Apr 10

  • Onward and __ward in the world of stock photography (part two of two)

    Because I make my living primarily as a stock photographer I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to understand the “stock market.” (I am not referring to the one in New York City’s financial district.) Today, the market for and suppliers of stock photography cross the globe. So the more I know about the business, the more successful I will be within that growing global market. In the first part of this two-part blog entry I wrote about which of my own images seem to work better and why. Now I am writing about other concerns that any stock photographer (practicing or aspiring) should think about.

    05

    Feb 10

  • Onward and __ward in stock photography (part one of two)

    I make my living primarily as a stock photographer meaning most of my income comes from licensing the publication of existing images. This is compared to being primarily an assignment photographer or a teacher of photography (though I do plenty of both.) The stock photography business is known to be increasingly competitive, with too much supply and not enough demand, the classic signs of a declining market. A few recent experiences served to remind me which parts of the market for stock photography are still doing reasonably well and why!

    01

    Feb 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

  • 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

  • Isolated or interacting, that is the question

    Back in August, I wrote a blog post titled “A big, what is the meaning of life, kind of question.” I was intrigued when a friend wrote me back with his answers to the questions that I had posed (and then answered.) Some of his answers were so specific to his life and work that, though they were interesting to me, I am not sure the points he raised would be of interest to anyone else. He did raise one point that is almost universal for photographers, which became the seed of another blog post.

    28

    Sep 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

  • Adapting to new technology verses adopting a new philosophy

    As commercial photographers, we are continually adapting to new technologies, moving from black and white, to color (then to slides) and now to digital. Similarly we are often expected to adopt new strategies and philosophies as the market we work within changes.  More and more folks I hear from are finding that second process of adopting harder to take, and I am not sure it is just a function of our advancing ages.

    13

    Mar 09

  • The future of commercial photography and percieved value

    A friend wrote to suggest I “talk about photography as a business and how it relates to our economic times.” I was hesitant at first, unsure what I could add to the discussion since my expertise is minimal when it comes to economics, business or marketing. I thought about it for a while and realized I did have something I could add to the discussion.

    02

    Mar 09