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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Podcast #185 Are you doing Hollywood remakes?

There is a remake or reboot trend that many of my friends talk about with Hollywood movies and television shows. Sure there are some reasons to reboot or remake a movie or show. Maybe it was awful the first time, but the source material was excellent. Or, perhaps there is a modern sensibility to bring to the work. However, in many cases, it can feel like it is laziness or an unwillingness to take a risk on something new and original. 

When you look at your own photographs do you see them as something original or are you starting to do a bunch of remakes and reboots? In this week’s podcast, we talk about how to look at your photograph and examine your work so that you can get out of the rebooting loop and get back to the craft of seeing and telling your own unique stories. 

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Podcast #184 What drives your passion?

When you are in school and getting ready to graduate, or you are starting to look for a job, you often hear advice from people about what to do with your life. Much of that advice was summarized in the book What color is your parachute. In that book, at the core is finding something you are good at and something you have a passion for and where those intersect you can find your ideal job. 

Photography and our passion for doing work that we like often have that same interaction. In this week’s podcast, I talk about how some of the lessons in finding what we are inspired to do and can do in life can apply to your photography. We also talk about how for many of us those passions fall into a bucket list and that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t be making a bucket list but instead doing what we really love. 

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Podcast #183 Packing list to create for a trip that don’t involve gear

I love to travel and take pictures, and fall is my favorite season. In this week’s podcast, we talk about some of the lists that you need to make to be successful when you travel. While most people know to make a list of equipment, clothing and travel documents, I encourage everyone also to consider making a few other lists that are about your creative approach to the trip. 

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Podcast #182 Jealous much? It’s not a camera problem.

If you are a photographer, the only person who cares about your camera brand is you and other photographers. People who look at photographs judge photographs not if they were taken with the “right camera.” However, in our modern day of Internet fame and quick judgment, you might think that photographers are overly obsessed with gear. We shouldn’t be. Equipment is a tool. You are the photographer. 

In this week’s podcast, I am asking for some help in getting us to change how we focus on equipment. If you are trying to learn about new equipment or old, many of the popular sites will pass judgment on equipment sight unseen. They will talk about features that don’t matter, corporate solvency and a host of other crap that has nothing to do with actual pictures. What I would like to see all of us is start to give up bullying people with their gear choices and return to a focus on the empathy and courage it takes to share meaningful work. Support, not the need to get clicks on videos by bashing someone’s gear choice, but rather to celebrate who they are. To do that, we all need to find a better way to share and to push back on those who proclaim their jealousy of fantastic photography by being angry about the tool rather than in wonder of the photograph. 

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