Category : Photolosophy

I love the smell of fixer in the morning …

yes because it smells like ammonium thiosulfate which is a bit like victory but mostly because it doesn't have to do with all the issues of color balance. Gad but I hated making color prints. I used to do it and frankly only moderately well. Not like my B&W printing prowess as I must say I can make a great looking print in that realm. With a B&W print it's all about your tones and there are loads of options […]

Words from masters of other arts

I ran across these two short bits of thought that totally made sense to me about our job as a photographer in capturing visual moments. Unless you are doing still lives in the studio there is always some variable element. If the subject is a person then even if they are the most trained actor/athlete there are a whole range of different ways that they can perform the same action. It's our job as photographer to direct, and in camera […]

Embracing a lack of quality control

Most of us photographer are control freaks. I've mentioned that before and yes it's still true. I tend to want to have lots of control over the things that I can and let the rest go where it may. I shot on chromes for so long that I could shoot just about everything as a jpg and not really worry that the image won't work. When you shoot a chrome what you get in the camera is what you get […]

Wise man say: “If it looks good shoot it”

It's easy to get overly focused, to get tunnel vision if you will, when on assignment. When time is tight and there is pressure on you to get the images that you need feels overwhelming I'm pretty certain that at some point of stress your creativity shuts down or at least suffers. I try to have as little a feeling of pressure as possible and try to do whatever I can to make the time that I have camera in […]

AC/DC as a lesson in photography

I was having lunch with my buddy Peter … everyone say “Hi Peter!”.   He is the guitarist and singer in two cool bands Shimmersound and Quitters Anonymous. We got talking about the creative process, as we often do, and he said something that really made me think. He said “Look at AC/DC, they have great songs and all that but when you really listen to them there is a total lack of ego there. At no time is anyone […]

You get one shot

One of the things that I most enjoy about being a location photographer is that nothing goes as planned. In a studio you have almost perfect control over your situation: lighting, camera placement, background etc. But when you step out into the 3 dimensional world things get odd fast. That tends to play havoc with the studio control freak dudes. However I love it and think that it adds a whole bunch of new options, surprises, inspirations and the ever […]

But is it true?

We are visual creatures and tend to believe things that we see more than what we hear.  In our visually flooded world we take for granted still, to a large extent, the accuracy or honesty of the things that we see. Take a read from some of the numerous articles and studies that show how manipulated those visuals are especially in the commercial world but also in the editorial one too. Watch this excellent look by the New York Times […]

A bit of mystery

Kenneth Jarecke made a nice post talking about the differences between newspaper and magazine photography here. I think that he made the distinctions very well by saying that newspaper photography because its deadlines are so tight tends to be literal/straight visually and based on answering questions while magazine photography tends to be more conceptual/complex and likes to ask questions. This got me thinking. If you were to read the caption on 3 photos, one a classic newspaper photo, another a […]

My two eyes

It was quite shocking when, may years ago, I realized that my eyes didn't come properly calibrated from the factory. You all know the yakk-yakk about the demise of quality control during the late 60's and early 70's. So, I was worried that I didn't see things "properly" I had them checked out. I was run through a whole battery of tests and after a seemingly endless stream of "Better or worse?" the opthamologist sat down and started just talking […]

Stop, drop and shoot

Man o man! Every so often when I'm just doing something mundane my visual antenna go up and I have to drop everything and search out the stimulus. Some times it's just something interesting but not photographic. I used to feel the need to photograph every sunset I witnessed but quickly realized that not that many are spectacular enough by themselves to warrant bringing out the camera. Some you just need to look at, enjoy for a minute and then […]

Talent vs Gear vs Money

This topic often comes up when I'm talking to amateursor beginning pros. I does get my hackles up when anyone says "gee if I had your gear/funding I'd make better/greatphotos". Ok, let’s face it: all three Talent, gear and money are important, But one is singularly critical to getting good images.  Talent enables you to find, think up and control the intended image, so that you can produce whatyou or your client wants.  Gear enables you to provide a certain […]

Oops! Hey … that’s kinda cool

I gotta say that there’s a lot of planning and thinking that goes into making photographs that are worth a darn. You think about the light, composition, location, subject, what the heck the client wants, what the heck you want, all the gear you think you need, all the gear you might want to bring in case you are totally fooled by everything you think you know … blah-blah-blah. But for me what is the best part is everything that […]

… and yet it’s still uh, me!

David Hobby the creator of the great Strobist blog has created a worldwide, or so it seems, sensation by letting people know how to use small battery powered strobes on location where you would normally think that you had to drag out big studio strobe units. Well that's something that I've been doing for years and it's great to see so many people embracing an approach that gets around our gear head preconceived notions of how to light things. One […]

Dominance and submission

For some reason the term “dance” comes up alot when I talk about the process of making photographs. There has to be a leader, a follower and some kind of pulse that you are flowing with. Who is leading is not often obvious on the outside of that delicate and sometimes brief relationship. But it goes deeper than that. There has to be some kind of control established by the photographer at some time or the photos don’t happen. For […]

All the world is my stage

They say about photography that "the lens points both ways" and that the photograph is as much about the photographer as the subject. All the decisions made prior the the exact moment capture says volumes about the photographer as a person and artist. That said is photography, since despite all the prior work that leads up to being on location with the subject, essentially a mutual performance by the subject and photographer both working in some kind of harmony?  Given […]

Doing the unthinkable

I’m a pretty decisive guy. When I make up my mind I’m pretty much done thinking about it, much to the dismay of some people who know me (Hi honey!), but that does pose a problem when I do a reversal on a prior position. It doesn’t happen often so I wanted to be a good guy and go public about this. Ya see a while ago I made a statement that included the word "never" and when never actually […]

Drawing with darkness

When I was just entering high school I briefly played with the idea of becoming a writer. No that’s not right. I wanted to be a novelist or screenwriter. I wanted to try and tell interesting and hopefully evocative stories that took you on a kind of internal journey.  I found that the characters weren’t as important to me as was the struggle and the overcoming of some kind of uncertainty. I usually didn’t like "good guys" in stories as […]

A kind of graduation

"An amateur does it over and over until they get right while a pro does it until they can’t get it wrong" Chef Mario Battali A while ago I  met a gal who was looking for some photographic insight.  I told  her that she could buy me lunch and show me her folio. So over some very nice French fare I saw a book of very rough photos from a very green photographer who never the less seemed to have […]

She said “How did you ever do it before digital?”

The other day I had to photograph the head of a local cancer center with their new hulking nuclear linear accelerator for deep tissue cancer treatments. Any of you who do annual reports, corporate work or business news do these kind of shots often: you put the camera on a tripod, light the room and subject in an interesting way with strobes while burning in the pretty lights and displays of the machine with the room lights out. Not a […]

All that is old …

yeah you know how that saying goes. Well here’s the deal: I’m about to start a project that has been in my head for a while germinating. It’s taken me a bit to figure out how I want the images to look. I knew that I didn’t want it to look, well, like the bulk of "modern" editorial images these days meaning: that clean almost plastic look of our digital cameras. It needs some character. I don’t like the idea […]

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