Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who Are Your Heroes?

As an artist-photographer you should have other photographers that you admire. There ought to be people whose work inspires you. There ought to be a few books on your shelf of photography monographs, collections of a specific photographer's work. It's a bit like your favorite band or music.

Over time there have been a few photographers that I've come to admire:
Ralph Eugen Meatyard
Brett Weston
Richard Avedon
Josef Sudek
Paul Caponigro
Kenneth Josephson
Josef Koudelka (his book "Chaos")
Michael Wilson
...just to name a few.

I might suggest that you begin to spend some time looking at books in our library, or purchasing a few from Joseph Beth, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com. "The Photo Book" from Phaidon Press (suggested in the syllabus) is a good place to start. It has a huge collection of great photographers throughout history that might give you a preview or an idea about someone you might like to explore further.

I think it's nice to have your heroes for inspiration. They open you up your photographic world to new possibilities. And once you become inspired, you have the opportunity to stand on their shoulders to produce your own personal work.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Did You Think You Were A Good Photographer?

So you're in your photo class, and you think you're taking some interesting shots... You're starting to feel pretty good about yourself... Well, guess what, there are a couple of other good photographers out there too that you ought to check out, just to keep you humble.

If you haven't already, you should visit flickr.com.

Sorry to ruin your day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Creativity is meaningless without discipline." From a PBS documentary about a fiction writer that I saw this week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Podcasts = Gold Mine

If you haven't noticed already, there is a great resource on the web now: Podcasts (of which most are FREE). About a year ago I started looking around at the Podcast Directory in iTunes (at Apple). There were some pretty cool things, especially related to photography. One of my favorites was Photoshop TV, where 3 guys sit around and explain Photoshop techniques and current news. They also have a weekly contest for great prizes to try to find the most obscure facet of Photoshop possible. And, it's rather entertaining.

I hadn't looked at the Podcast Directory in a while, but I was curious today and took a peek. I did a search for "Photography" and there were over 50 matches!!! What an incredible resource, for FREE! Not only that but there are countless Podcast related to the Arts, Design, etc. If you haven't checked out Podcasts, it's time.

And don't worry, you don't have to have a vidoe iPod. All you need it iTunes. You download an episode of whatever you're interested in and then you can watch it on your computer in iTunes.

How easy...how informative...how entertaining. It's FREE.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Photo What You Know

When you begin working with the camera everything is new and fresh. You want to take pictures of everything. You're still just learning techniques and skills and how to begin to master this craft. But at some point in time you move beyond this introduction stage to doing something with meaning and purpose. The camera and the print are now means to an end, your goals and artistic ideas.

You start to ask yourself, "What should I photograph?" and for many people a sense of struggle and dread begins to set in.

One answer to this questions that I might suggest is to photograph what you know. These will be the people, places, things, and ideas/themes that you already had an interest in before you ever picked up a camera. You have a history and personal knowledge of these subjects that provide a foundation and unique viewpoint, resulting in work that has depth and style.

Who are the people you know and meet? Where are the places you go or pass by? What are the objects and things you have, collect, or see around you? What are some of the ideas and themes in life that continue to pique your interest or come up in your conversations? AND once you've thought of those subjects, HOW then can you use your camera and the printed photograph to express those things to others in a beautiful and/or meaningful way?

(Shooting at home, a place I know well: the image at the beginning of this post was simply taken at home when I woke up one morning.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quotes of the day

"If a photographer really expects to produce great work, they must, just like musicians, be prepared to practice their craft every day. This does not mean you must take pictures every day, but you must at least practice seeing every day." David Bayles

"The least valuable thing you can tell another photographer is that you either like or dislike their photograph." David Bayles