As you think about your approach to photography, there are only a couple of factors that come into play. At its most basic level, photography is light and time.
In this week’s podcast, I talk about how our approach to time can have huge impacts on how we create and view our photographs. Behind the camera, time is one way we bound the frame. We might limit time to fractions of a second, or we can extend it for days, weeks or months. However, what is it about time not behind that camera that causes such dramatic changes in our approach to photography.
It doesn’t matter if you are making your art for art sake, to learn to live or some other reason. How you find ways to extend, step out of time and return to times that matter are foundational in your approach to your work. In my process, I find that how ideas are found and lost, my approach to living with a print and the speed at which I feel I need to work all have impacts on my work. I hope that in the podcast, you find a way to think about your approach to time and how to get the most out of it.read more
I have been in several conversations over the past few weeks about the impacts of fear in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you are talking politics, art or families, fear can show up in many ways.
As I got to thinking about how fear shows up in my work and what is at the root of my fear, I realized that in my creative life and photography I could work from the limits of fear or lean into abundance. This week’s podcast is about how fear can show up in our work and the value of focusing more on the wealth that comes from our creative wells.read more
I was asked recently to help a friend understand how to use depth of field on a new camera. They had always been using an iPhone and just wanted to know how to use that feature of their camera.
The idea of depth stuck in my head as a critical aspect of the photograph from the depth and illusion created by the paper to the emotional connection to the work. There are always layers and depths to a photograph. In this week’s podcast, we talk about three key elements to depth in photography.
First, I discuss the impact of matte versus glossy papers and how they can shift our focus from the photograph as an object to the subject as a focus in print. Second, I talk about how emotional depth allows us to connect to work in a more meaningful way. Finally, I focus on how we can create more depth in our community by avoiding common critique traps and focusing on real relationships with people that can help move our work forward.read more
I have been struggling lately trying to understand why so many more bad photographs are out there. Part of it is a volume game. Part of it is an education game. However, I am not focusing on the bad photographs from someone who doesn’t aspire to make great photographs. This weeks’ podcast is focused on why a photographer who wants to make great work continue to put out bad photographs.
As I spent time reflecting on this, I realized that we spend so much time consuming bad photography that it impacts how we see behind the camera. Like eating nothing but junk food, it is hard to be healthy when nothing good is consumed. So how do we get better? We spend time looking at better work. Look at photo books, museums, and photographers we respect. Spending time with great works inspires us to do great work.
To be better at making good photography, we need to find a way to consume good photography. By removing and eliminating the terrible part of our visual diet, we can work to see better and make better photographs. Sure junk food now and then is ok, but you can’t live on cake alone.read more
One of the most overlooked skills to develop as a photographer is good note taking habits. Before the wealth of data provided by digital cameras, note taking was essential to understanding your exposure, subject matter and development needs.
Outside the understanding the technical aspects of photography, note taking can also help you to relate and connect with your work in the field. Note taking can help you remember the emotions, feelings, and sensory experiences you were having while taking a photograph. Because photographs lack all the senses outside of seeing, it is easy to forget that smell, texture or taste might compel us to make a photograph. By taking notes, you can help remind yourself of the experience or better yet figure out how to incorporate that experience into your photograph before you click the shutter.
In the end, we all want to make better photographs. Taking notes can help you learn more about your technical and artistic choices faster. You will have a record of why you did what you did and a solid foundation to build from when you can reference what you were thinking at the time.read more
This is the 200th episode of the podcast. Eva, my australian shepherd, is in the studio today like always. She wanted to remind me that it is the 1400 dogcast. Anyway, dog humor aside, this week’s podcast is about being thankful for connecting with photography. There have been so many people who have influenced my work over the years, and many of them have no idea how much impact they have had. Over the course of the week where I was thinking about those people, I got to thinking about how important photography is in connecting us.
So as we turn into 2019, I hope that you find ways to use your photography to connect with others by sharing, talking about and viewing the work of others. Using your photography not just to work on skills and technique, but rather to find a way to build real connections to people by sharing ideas, stories and feelings in the capture of light.read more
This week’s podcast starts with a quick rant against people who review photography gear, products, and methods which they haven’t ever used the product. I am amazed at how many people use a product for a few minutes, hours or never use the product and still feel qualified to write a review. If you find people who are writing or speaking about products they don’t use, it might be worth your time to find a different reviewer.
The main topic of this week’s podcast is about the hardest thing in photography. In my work with others and more hours than I care to admit in my introspection, I feel like the hardest thing to do in photography is be authentic without reacting to our insecurities. The willingness to stick to who we are as photographers against a tidal wave of opinions telling us to do or be something else is so hard. We are inundated with people telling us to be something else, photograph something else, or try something new when really what we should be doing is focusing on how amazing the chance to see through the lens and experience more of ourselves photographing things we love. That is the essence of photography. Being amazed by the world around us and finding our connection to the places, people, subjects and emotions. Yet, there is so much noise around us telling us to be something else. The gear we need. Lessons to learn. Things to avoid because others photograph them. Learning to turn off everything that keeps us from being who we are and were meant to be might just be the hardest part of photography.read more
As the end of the year draws closer, I keep hearing more and more people talk about how tired they are. The holiday season and current state of the world has so many people I know feel like they are burning a very short candle at both ends. This week’s podcast is focused on how we get to the point of exhaustion and some ways to hold, live with and move through the experience. I know in my own practice the regular everyday life events keep me busy. When you compound holidays, the loss of my brother a year ago, ever-changing software to learn, photos to take and so many other parts of my photography to keep on top of, it can be so hard to stay on top of it all.read more
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?read more
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.
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.read more
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...read more