Digging into your archives

I hope that you and your family are safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. I have been having some conversations with people lately about how they create their work. In the course of those discussions, I have found that a lot of people seem to focus on the next thing. However, in my experience, there is a lot of information to be gained by returning to your own photography library and looking at it with new eyes.

In this week’s podcast, we talk about a few different ways to dive deep into your older work looking for new patterns, concepts, ideas, ways of seeing and hopefully gaining some new insights into your process. There is a lot to be gained by learning to see patterns and ways of seeing even when we weren’t aware of them at the time we made the photos. Hopefully, if you take the time to do a little digging, you might be surprised at what you learn about your approach to photography.

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Thinking about time and photography

I hope that you and your family are safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. As we all have been forced to make changes to our daily routines, it got me thinking about time. Time is one of those things at the foundation of photography, and I believe, defines a unique aspect of photography as a medium and form of communication. I also have begun to really realize the awareness impact of having less time everyday can have on my approach to my work. As photographers, we are bound by our sense of time and relationship to time in our work. We can extend time, compress time, slice time or shift time. In each image is some how our relationship to time.

In this week’s podcast, time takes a center stage and I talk about how our approach to time, loss, memory, and abstractions alters our thinking and approach to making photographs.

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Training puppies and language in photography

I hope that you and your family are safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. We recently added a new family member, Cora the dog, to the house. She is a loving, energetic ball of Aussie Shepard fur. Lori and I are working at training her to be a happy, well-adjusted, non-cat chasing member of the family. Part of that training is Lori, and I getting on the same page about the language we use when talking to her in training. After all up, down, lay, sit, stay, come, here, touch, and a ton of other words are meaningless to a puppy, yet to learn, we have to use the same words with her each time.

I also have been listening to the language around COVID-19 and the notion of social distancing being inaccurate. We need physical distance of six feet, which is no necessarily social distance. Social distancing can imply isolation and lacking contact on all levels of interaction, which isn’t entirely accurate. When you take these two things together this week, it got me thinking more and more about our language we use to talk photos. In this week’s podcast, we take a look, again, at how the subtle use of language can have a significant impact on how we think about and move forwards in our photography.

Also, if you are interested in learning about Photoshop from the safety of home. You can join me, and 19 other instructors, for a virtual Photoshop summit from April 13-17. You can register using the link below. The affiliate link, if you decided to upgrade to the VIP package will kick me back a little dollar and cents love.

https://danieljgregory.krtra.com/t/mr5y01WfKsrK

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It’s a long, long road

I hope that you and your family are safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. For a lot of us, we are following stay-at-home orders and not going out much. For those of you stuck in essential jobs, thank you for continuing to do your job. I have had several conversations with my photographer friends about how they are dealing with all of these changes. For many of them, while stressed about the general situation, they felt it was an opportunity to really dive into their work. While this has been true for some, for others not so much.

In this week’s podcast, I talk about how important it is to remember that not only is dealing with our current crisis a long road ahead, but so is photography a long road. Along that road will be many stops, twists, turns, and changes. What matters most is that you find your center and focus on the key things you need in your life now. For some that might be going all-in on photography and for others, that creative spark might seem gone. No matter where you are, know that the journey will continue. Finding your center and focusing on what matters most, keeping your energy up, and recognizing that sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack when we aren’t getting done all that we thought we would.

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A turning point in your work

In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the importance of recognizing when you hit a turning point in your work. This might be technical, where you finally learn your workflow tools and feel confident editing. It might be in learning how to use some camera features that you always planned on learning. The turning point might also be more in your artistic vision as you learn to communicate more deeply what you are thinking and feeling behind the camera. No matter where you are in your process, each of these turning points furthers you on your journey and should be celebrated for what they are, a gift.

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More things change & the fear of simple mistakes

I am often amazed at how often we get caught up in the most simple of problems. It doesn’t matter if it is as simple as picking a new camera or picking out what image to edit and print. We can spin around and around trying to get a problem resolved that we have made more complicated than it needs to be. Many times, the best images, solutions and ideas have a simplicity to them. Not that they aren’t complex in composition, meaning or structure, but rather our experience of those images and ideas make them more than the sum of their parts.
In this week’s podcast, we take a look at some of the simple mistakes we can make as photographers and how to put our best foot forwards to getting what we want out of our photography.

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Putting your best photographic print forward

As photographers, we should be making prints. There are a whole host of reasons why we should make prints: the materiality of it, shareability, improved seeing, longevity, or some other reason you might have. We also spend a considerable amount of our time looking at photographs that are mere reproductions of the original image. In this week’s podcast, I tackle the importance of looking at the best prints and reproductions possible. Often when we think about someone’s photographs, it is from copies we might have seen on the Internet or in a book. In many cases, those will pale by comparison to the original work (and in some cases exceed). As viewers and creators of photographs, we need to make sure that we are putting our best foot forward in our prints and also contextualizing the work of the others so that we can properly evaluate their work.

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The misguided adventures of composition in photography

Photographers are an odd bunch. We often find our conversations drifting from one absolute to nothing be absolute. One area that I have always found interesting, and seems to fit this back and forth, is how approach and talk about composition. When you learn about photography and photographs, we talk about the rules of composition, elements of composition, and how they should be followed. Then as soon as tell people to follow them, we ask them to break the rules to be exciting or showcase examples of a photographer who has been able to make interesting photographs by not following the rules.
In this week’s podcast, I take a look at how our misguided approach to thinking about and discussing composition can be a problem. We will look at how photographs with composition and not subject are no better than images with good subjects and no composition. Ultimately, we need to understand how various elements of composition come together in a photograph to help us understand and appreciate the photograph, intention of the photographer, and possible meanings of the photograph. While composition might be all about connecting and making space and dimension in a photograph, as photographers, our ability to understand composition is central to getting work created that speaks to who we are as photographers.

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How does being focused on production lead to unnecessary pressure in our photography?

It is really easy to feel overburdened when working on your photography. There is so much to learn, photograph, and share that you can quickly start to feel like you are under a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver. It might be pressure for time, expectations being met, desire, or just plain ego. No matter the cause, the notion that we are under so much pressure to produce that we get stuck might be caused by how we think about production and creating meaningful work.
When we get under too much pressure, it can result in us not having a chance to create meaningful work. We begin to think about all the things that can go wrong or breakdown in our process rather than celebrating the good. What we need are some release values to help us identify and remove some of the pressure. In this week’s podcast, we take a look at how the idea that pressure and production of images are related and some techniques or release values to help us move past and get out from under this feeling.

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When the camera does it job better than you thought possible, then what is the excuse for bad photographs?

I was having a conversation about the advances in camera technology and how at some point in the not to distant future the camera will make a perfect captured frame with exact colors, focus, infinity depth-of-field possibilities, etc. My friend was all excited about that possibility. I, in turn, asked what happens when the camera is no longer to blame for a bad photograph? And if it isn’t the camera, how is that different today.

In this week’s podcast, we dive into that question of what is really at the core of a bad photograph. Over the course of the podcast, I talk about how if we assume the great camera exists, what impacts will that have on how we critique, edit and review our work and the work of others. In the end, I realize that even with today’s amazing cameras, it might be time that we stop making excuses for not seeing as if they were rooted in the camera faults because one day, that may not be an option

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How sacred places, people and things can change our approach to our photography

A sacred place or thing historically as been often associated with the worship of a deity or god. However, something can be sacred, even outside the context of religion. There could be places, people, ideas, or things that inspire, stimulate, are worthy of honor, or hold meaning in our lives. These sacred things could be very personal or allow us to connect with something bigger than just ourselves.
In this week’s podcast, we talk about how our approach to sacred can impact our photography. In some cases, it can shine a light on what matters to us when we photograph. Other times, it might help us understand why we gravitate towards one photograph over another. Other times, it might help us not pick up a camera out of respect for someone else’s sacred place. As we discuss this notion of sacred in photography, I hope that it gives you a chance to reflect on what is important to you in your work and how your work might be able to provide you with an opportunity to honor what really matters to you.

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Notions of the precious photographic moment

A friend recently recanted a story to me about how, when he was in school, they were only allowed to shoot one roll (36 frames) a week for homework. No more than that one roll for any week. He talked about how each frame became more critical because of the discipline and experience you had to have to get the best of the week in those 36 frames.
As he was talking, he mentioned that each frame was more precious than he imagined when he started. That got me thinking about the notion of precious in photography. This week’s podcast takes a look at how we approach the things we photograph, places we photograph, and ideas we photography as a container for what is precious to us. Rather than focusing on what is sharable, likable or not, this week I talk about how we can shift our approach to thinking about work and creating work so that each of however many frames we take are precious little gems.

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