The power of the photographic interview

One of my favorite exercises I use to teach photography and learn about my own work is called the interview project. This process involves you doing enough research about a photographer you are inspired by or want to learn from and then create a set of 10 to 20 interview questions that you would want to use to interview them. In some cases, you might be lucky and be able to use those questions to interview the photographer. Still, sometimes they might no longer be alive. Either way, part of the process is to answer those questions as if you were the photographer. This will help you get some insights into how you might approach the work. You then use those same questions, slightly modified to fit your work, and then interview yourself.
The podcast this week walks you through the process and so possible insights you might be able to get with a simple little exercise that gives you big rewards in understanding your own process and work.

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The value of small changes you can make even in a year of crazy to boost your photography enjoyment

Sometimes it is the little things that can make all the difference. In a photograph, it might be a shift in POV or depth of frame. In our printing, it might be the right paper selection. No matter what you are working on a small change can be a big deal. However, as the days seemingly run together in this year of COVID, I got to thinking about how easy it is to miss the small changes since everything and every day seem to blend. 

This week’s podcast takes a look at how small changes can impact your photography and work. Hopefully, they can inspire you to try out the same or think about what small changes you will carry forward even when things shift out of our 2020 way of being.

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How do you define photography and the impact of non-photographer based photography

I often think of photography as an active verb. It is something that we do, see, and respond.

There is, however, a whole set of photography that is created without the photographer. Video and photos are created by surveillance systems and unattended cameras. These photographs and videos are used for evidence for the most part to show the actions recorded by these cameras without the influence of a photographer.

This week’s podcast takes a look at how we define photography in the context of who and how the image was created and the responsibility of photographers to help have meaning conversations about intent and context for how images and videos are made.

Please remember to keep safe and wear your mask!

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Don’t blame the viewer, except……

Sometimes I hear someone say something and it gets me thinking about my approach to my photography. I recently overheard someone say don’t shoot the messenger. This got me to thinking about how many times we blame the viewer for not getting our understanding of our photographs. 

This week’s podcast is all about how we can help to overcome our frustration with others when they just don’t get our work. It is easy to blame the viewer as just not getting it, but I believe there is an opportunity for each of us to step back from our work and think about our approach. Are we as clear as we can be with our story, emotion, composition, and frame? Do we know what our work is about? Do we have clarity of purpose in our work or is it still vague in our mind? We can’t really expect someone else to get it if we don’t on some level get our own work, can we?

The one exception I have to not blaming the viewer is around personal experiences.

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Lessons learned from software release notes in my photography

This week’s podcast dives into how to think about your photography and ideas to approach your editing using some of the concepts and sections you find in most software release notes. This release note template gives us an opportunity to create a plan, outline, and goals for editing. They can also serve as a to-do list when we need to make new work going forward. I am sure most of you will never dive deep into software release notes. Still, I think you can get something useful from the practice that industry has adopted.

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How do you define a photograph?

This week’s podcast dives into how we define a photograph and photography. For me there are three key aspects of a photograph. They are time-bound, indexical, and is represented by an object of some type (print, slide, etc). For you, I imagine you might have different ideas of what might be a photo. I hope that you get some aspects to consider and spend some time coming up with your own definition of a photograph. 

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Creativity is not left brain or right brain, you need a whole brain.

There are a number of aspects of photography that fall into two camps. There are artistic decisions and technical decisions. For some people, you might think of this as left-brain (technical) and righ- brain (creative) decisions. However, to be successful, you need both sides of your brain to make a good photograph. Not only both sides but also some language around how both sides work together to make a successful photograph.

When we can talk about how our camera decisions help or hinder the experience of a photograph, we can make better photographs in the future. We can, with this enhanced language, also provide better feedback to other about there work. RAther than focusing on what f/stop, we could focus on the effects of sharpness in an image as it relates to how the image is seen. So much of photography is about learning to translate what we see in the world into the image even when what is in front of us is shifted by the camera options. When we lack the language to describe what we want, we can make decisions with the camera resulting in work that often feels empty. Learning to be able to have a language to describe what we want and how to get it with the camera makes the artistic side of our work easier. This week’s podcast is a deep dive into the important distinction of these two sides of our language and how to balance them for the greatest impact.

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Do you keep getting distracted?

One of our listeners sent in a great question about distractions. Her question was a two-part approach to dealing with distractions.

The first was dealing with the distractions of editing the wrong images. The second area was dealing with distractions outside of editing.

We take a dive into both of these topics this week and look at some ideas for dealing with these distractions and approaches for when it might be ok to be distracted.

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Lessons relearned in night photography and oh yeah, wear a mask!

Make yourself the best photographer in the world. To do so, all you have to do is wear a mask. If you think it kills your freedom, put one and walk around and see if you can still do things. If you can, the mask hasn’t destroyed your freedom but has kept the rest of us safer.
In this week’s podcast, I reflect on how our emotional state can drive how we approach our photographs when we are out in the field. The shifts in emotions, feelings, and experiences while out with a camera can drive composition, framing, and technical decisions we make with the camera. Being aware of these shifts and changes can make a significant impact on our work. The more aware we are of this impact, the more likely we are to get images that resonate with who we are and the stories we are telling.

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Are you asking yourself the right questions?

I get asked a lot of questions about photography. Some are good, and some are not so good. When we look at our own work and spend time behind the camera it is all about asking and answering questions. Is this the right composition? Do I have the right settings? Is my narrative on point? 

In my experience, when we ask the right question we get what we want in our photography sooner than later. So, this week’s podcast is a look at the process of asking questions and how we answer those questions in a effort to make the best picture possible. 

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Five projects for the week to keep you going when stuck at home.

As COVID-19 continues to build in the USA, I thought I would use the podcast this week to share five things you can do with your stay at home time. These to-do items will work even if you aren’t stuck at home under quarantine. Still, these to-dos can help pass the time and improve your photography and photographic inspiration if you are at home.
Read and do the work in one of your photography books you bought
Inventory your camera gear for insurance and to do a keep, sell, donate, or shelf
Make a viewing wall for looking at prints
Make some new photography friends by reaching out to photographers you follow but haven’t connected with at some point
Do a 10 for 10 project. You will just have to listen to learn what this is all about.

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