Podcast #197 Different doesn’t mean original

In rereading The Zen of Creativity again, I discovered a paragraph where he talks about how being different doesn’t make you original or unique in your creative practice. This week’s podcast dives into how we approach our photography and photographic work as it relates to originality. You often read about how important it is to be different in photography to stand out from the crowd. Yet, when you look at photographs are they really that unique or even that different. I many cases, photos often look the same even when different. So what is it that we should focus on rather than just trying to be different. Originality comes from the work origin which in turn means from the source or place where something arises or is derived. It isn’t applying something different in the darkroom or photoshop. Originality comes from a new source or place. Shouldn’t our goal be to find originality in our work rather than just trying to be different?

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Podcast #196 Season of giving

I get asked by family and friends this time of year what makes a good gift for a photographer. In past years, I have talked about books or gear that I think might make for a nice gift. This year I wanted to return to this idea but provide some other gift options that I think most photographers could appreciate but might not ask for.

If you are a photographer, give you photographs to family and friends. Nothing is more meaningful than a gift from the heart you created. This gift will also force you to finish your images and make some prints which is always good practice.
Give meaningful feedback about someone’s work. Take the time to send the photographer an email or take them out for coffee and really talk about what their work or one of their projects. The feedback will mean so much for than a passing like on a social media app.
Give away old cameras so that others can start their road into photography. 
Give or create a space for you to be creative. Give up on the pressure of making something, improving, selling and try to relax and remember that it was the love of photography that got you started with the camera. 
This year I am recommending books not related to photography, but to other interest, a photographer might have. It might inspire them to do more work or help them better understand a project or photograph they have undertaken. 
Tickets to a museum to see some art.

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Podcast #195 We all live in Crazytown

We all have a house in crazy town. As much as we like to think that our crazy thoughts, insecurities, and ideas are unique, if you spend time talking to any creative person, you will quickly find that they have crazy thoughts too. In this week’s podcast, I spend some time talking about how we live and work in crazy town. I hope that once you learn about your own sense of crazy that you might find support and friendship by sharing your own version of crazy with others. 

Sometimes when we share, we learn that we all suffer the same insecurities, fears, hopes, and dreams. If we spend time only focusing on our own story and voice inside our heads, we can go crazy. By sharing and listening to the stories of others, sometimes we can break down those fears and barriers that hold us back. 

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Podcast #194 Should it be easy?

When you read content on the Internet, you will eventually run across material that falls along the lines of five easy steps to a good photograph or three easy ways to make killer portraits. There are literally thousands of these lists. I imagine I have written...

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Podcast #192 Distance and intimacy in photography

Someone asked me recently about what is the correct distance to shoot a photograph. I was a first taken back by the question because it seemed a little strange to me. After digging a little, it was apparent that the photographer was interested in making sharp photographs. So we talked depth of field and subject distance impacts as options. However, the topic got me thinking more and more about distance as it relates to intimacy in photography. 

In my experiences, one of the most significant indicators of a great photograph is the level of intimacy between the photographer and subject/subject matter. You can feel it when you looked at a picture when the photographer was really connected to the work. As we continue to find ways to see the difference in the world, I feel that we strongly desire a connection to people and place. In our photographs, if we can find a way to make more intimate relationships to the objects on the other side of the lens, we might just see that our true intimacy comes from building real ties to those people, places, and things. Even in a fleeting moment, we can find respect and harmony and trust through the lens. So in this week’s podcast, we take a dive into what intimacy might do for our work. 

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Podcast #191 Imagination and our photographic process

I have always been amazed by people who are willing to share their imaginations with others. The more fantastic the story, the better. For me personally, I think we all have those stories in us, but for some reason, many of us don’t share them. In this week’s podcast, we are going all in on the importance of imagination in our photography. 

This doesn’t mean that you are doing compositing or making crazy sets to photograph, but it is about really allowing your storytelling to be about the worlds you live in and imagine every day. Sharing the fantastic of what you experience. In the podcast, I talk about how imagination in my cats to kids all showcase how everyday things become amazing, but we as adults often forget how to allow that to escape. Or even worse, we treat it as crazy. At the end of the podcast, I give you a couple of ideas to help you connect with your inner imagination and hopefully find a way to let it out through the camera. 

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Podcast #190 Light , time and ambiguity in photography

In this week’s podcast, we focus on how at the core essence of photography is two things: light and time. Without either of those, there is no photograph. Yet, most photographers know that there is more to a photograph than those two elements. One of the most significant aspects of talking about and reading a picture that often gets overlooked is ambiguity in the photograph. This ambiguity of time, content and context are also crucial to our understanding of the photograph. 

Much like our memory, a photograph is only a fragmented representation of what happened in front of the camera. So, if we are to understand what makes a good photograph or how to create a good photograph, how do we deal with ambiguity and issues of time when looking at and creating work. 

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Podcast #189 Focus on the ideas

If you read about photography and critical thinking in photography, much of that writing is about the importance of ideas and thematic concepts in art. It doesn't matter if it essay's from Brook Jensen's Lenswork magazine over other year, Critical Thinking in...

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Podcast #188 Authenticity in photography

To thine own self be true.

-Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

In Hamlet, Polonius provides some last words of wisdom to his son as he gets on the next boat for Paris. While this quote has been stated over and over again, I think it’s something that is still true for photographers today. At the core of the quote is how you have to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Of course, if you know Hamlet, you know that even for Polonius this is easier said than done. 

In this week’s podcast, we talk about the importance of authenticity in our photography and creativity. At the end of the day, we can only create the things that are inside of our own head and experiences. To create real authentic work, we have to create work that is true to who we are. That is our genuine work. However, it is easy to avoid creating meaningful work because of fears, regrets and a host of other emotions. The challenge we all face is to work with all our feelings and reactions and find a way to create photographs that are reflective of who we are today and what beautiful worlds we see for tomorrow. In the podcast, I talk about how I look at and respond to my work and the challenges and hopefully offer up some ideas for you to use to step forward in creating your own meaningful work. 

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Podcast #187 Importance in finding shades of grey

In this week’s podcast, we examine the importance of finding the shades of grey in our black and white world. It is, in many ways, more comfortable to approach our understanding of the world when we can quickly categorize and define people, places, and events. However, in our rush to judgment, we can often misrepresent what is actually happening in our experience. As a creative individual, I personally believe that it is our job to find the subtle nuances in the world that make up our story and experiences. Then through that lens of awareness do we create our art. The artist is always searching and trying to connect to even the smallest change and shift in the way they see the world. It is in those observations do we find our own voice.

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Podcast #186 This isn’t horseshoes

When I was growing up, I always heard the phrase: Close only counts in horseshoes, and atomic bombs. Later in my career, I had a boss who always said: “good isn’t good enough, and perfection is the enemy of done.” These two phrases have been bubbling up a lot for me in recent weeks during my photography. This week’s podcast is about how those two sayings are shaping my approach to some of my photographs.

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