27 November 2011

Do not speak, unless it improves on silence. . .

For most of us the inundation of information upon us at any one time is staggering if not overly abundant and at times even deafening. We end up spending so much time attempting to decipher what we are to make of the multitude of messages coming at us that it seems more energy and conscious thought is spent weeding out than welcoming in.

To this I strongly suggest you allow yourself time every day to enjoy silence. Find a simple moment to commit to doing nothing, absolutely nothing for some set period of time. Be it a minute or an hour, enjoy the silence of mind, body and soul. Speak not nor be spoken to, and for once every day allow silence to be the loudest part of your day. . .

09 November 2011

Is photography an exercise in Buddhist thinking?

Roughly ten years ago in the old days (I know, since when is a mere ten years ago the "old days"?) when film was the standard in photography, the notion of presenting your final image as envisioned when you shot it was a matter of developing the negative through skill, trial and error, and often a bit of luck. Literally and figuratively this meant taking the negative and turning it into a positive, turning it into an image that was as you imagined it when you shot it and thus give it the look you want all who see it to remember and associate with you.

Much like Buddhist philosophy which believes that we are not to change the world but the way we experience it, all of us who use digital capture devices, be it a camera or camera phone to capture the world around us have what I would say is the same responsibility. As photographers at any level we have the opportunity now more than ever to creatively turn the digital negative into a positive, much like life. After all, when you think about it life is one unprocessed negative as we take in the information before us with our senses unconsciously aware in that very moment of "capture". And then, like processing the digital negative from our camera, we wisely decide what to do with the information our senses have introduced into our consciousness so as to produce the desired effect.

So I challenge you to now think of the negative in any situation, photographic as in life, as an opportunity to turn it into something positive. Whatever you do it's your life to live as it is your photo to make. Just enjoy the process. . .

06 October 2011

Voyeur or photographer?

As one who loves to capture select moments of my daily life in photos I start to wonder sometimes what the draw is when I feel so compelled to grab a shot before it leaves my proverbial frame. Am I making art or stealing a moment? Am I the observer? The archivist? The collector of treasured scenes? Or perhaps am I simply an outsider watching the scene unfold before me, akin to a voyeur?

Really, ponder this if you will. Is there a difference between one who stands anonymously in a darkened room simply watching life unfolding outside with keen awareness, and a photographer with camera in front of their face capturing life unfolding before them, this time with a sense of permanence as it is recorded?

Judge not the voyeur, for it is only a matter of time before you are the one being observed as you are photographing another. . .

02 October 2011

Context is fundamental in reading images

Falling down or shooting up? What do you see? How do you see it? In what context is this image resonating within your consciousness, your world, your universe?

Funny how the state of mind we're in at the moment we first come across an image can so dramatically change the way we see or "read" an image. As crazy as it may seem, we've all experienced it when eating something at some point in our lives. Come on! Who hasn't found him or her self shelling and enjoying a delicious bowl of pistachio nuts when, without looking, you shell one and plop it in your mouth and it's one of those rancid bitter ones. Now, think about how that would color your view of that whole bowl you just enjoyed if that bitter one was the last one to be had. What impression do you think you'd have the next time you saw a bowl of pistachio nuts?! Delicious and tasty or rancid and bitter?!

Unlike pistachio nuts, if an photo resonates within you in a manner that leaves you with a bad taste or uncomfortable feeling, fear not! There are always more images in the bowl. . .

17 September 2011

So little for so long. . .

The wonder of photography continues to amaze me even decades after I first began to delve into it. And no, I speak not of the magic one experiences the first time they are in the darkroom with a variety of toxic chemicals, a seemingly blank strip of film and a small lonely red light to illuminate everything within.

Nor for that matter do I raise this point after continually being blown away by the astounding advances in digital capture and post-processing over the years, all of which enable us as photographers to do so much more with our images than we ever thought possible.

No, what truly amazes me is the simple fact that something that can take so little time to make can last so long! Think about it! In 1/125th of a second, maybe even 1/250 or 1/1000 (as in one one thousandth of a second!), you capture something that will be viewed and admired for all eternity! It will live on forever. It can be viewed for seconds or minutes or hours or days, if not longer. And what was the investment of your time? A fraction of a second. That's it!

Okay, so maybe you take longer than that to hone your craft or develop your photographic eye but think about it in the big picture (no pun intended). What other medium of expression takes such a short period of time (measured in mere fractions of seconds) to produce and yet lasts so long (a period of time that remains immeasurable)?

08 September 2011

Do you see what I see?

So, do you see what I see? Really now, you should see it as it's right there in front of you. Oh wait, of course you see "it", the proverbial "it" being that which your eyes and brain are wired to see in this image as well as all others you happen upon, be it by choice or intention.

The point here being that anything and everything you see in the world around you is up for interpretation, thus is the beauty of the visual arts. And for this very same reason you will find I don't title my images, other than the date of capture. After all, were this called "Bored one afternoon and I decided to hold a colander up to the light and photograph it with my iPhone to see what I could do with it creatively", would it mean any more or less to you?!

So, do you see what I see? Or does it really matter anyway?

20 August 2011

But EVERYONE is a photographer. . .

Really? Is everyone a photographer because he/she carries a camera and can inexpensively and with little if any training take a photo?

I bring this up because of the multiple times as of late that others have said to me "I wish I was a photographer", or worse yet hearing from fellow photographers that they are tired of the business because "everyone has a camera", to which I can only reply that everyone may have a camera but a camera does not but make a photographer.

Think about it! Is everyone a race car driver because he/she has a car? Is your neighbor who gardens on the occasional weekend with a top rate hoe, the nicest shovel and a package of Burpee seeds a landscape architect?

I challenge you to be who you want to be, with nary a concern for the potential label associated with it. Just do it and let your effort speak for itself. Who knows? You may end up being hired to design your neighbor's garden while you are out there arranging your plants in such a way as to capture them with your high end Hasselblad gear and associated Phase One digital back, because after all. . .you are "a photographer"!

15 August 2011

Find your style, in photography as in life!

Like a fingerprint, you have a unique style that is all yours, distinctly and consistently you! I speak here not merely of photography but of everything in life upon which you put your personal stamp, be it knowingly or unknowingly.

So, what is the unifying factor here between your photography and living life at large? Simple! You are you and there is no other you! YOU are perfect because you are perfectly you! You barbecue a certain way, wash your car the way you wish, you work and love and live in a manner that is distinctly yours! Now, armed with this very elementary reminder I say you venture out and capture images that speak to who you are, to how you uniquely see the world and then share your vision freely and confidently.

Your goal should not be to please everyone in every manner in every moment. I suggest you let go of the opposition you project into your photography and like everything else you do, let it speak for itself, for your photographic style will be yours and yours alone, just like your barbecue!

09 August 2011

Follow your passion!

Wondering what level of commitment to your craft you adopt. Do you shoot to support your life and all its trappings? Are you "needing" to shoot to feed the sustenance machine that you and those in your immediate world depend on staying well greased?

Or are you shooting because it's what you feel you must do, because it's your passion and your joy and your most innate desire?

I dare say you strive for the latter and trust your instinct, your gut and your heart that your passion can and will successfully not only support the machinations of life but instead will provide for it in supreme abundance. And then, only then will you find yourself quickly realizing that shooting for a client provides a paycheck, shooting for your passion provides a lifestyle!

06 August 2011

Your personality as exemplified by your imagery

What does your photographic take on the world around you say about what's going on within you? Are you capturing what you are feeling and sharing that through the photos you take?

Chances are the times you decide to stop and shoot, be it with your smartphone or your Canon DSLR, there is something resonating within you that compels you to do so. What may seem like a simple photographic grab may just be the result of a deeper manifestation of a feeling or mood you may not even be conscious of at the time you shot it.

Knowing this, might you venture back and look at your photos with a different eye? Perhaps they might now take on a new life? Perhaps. . .

04 August 2011

What other medium happens so quickly and lasts an eternity?

There, but for a fleeting moment in time, sits the scene before you. The mood, the time of day, the weather, the sunlight or moonlight or lack thereof, the person or place or thing within, your placement relative to what you see, the activity around it, the amalgam of the scene is there for but a moment. And what do you do? Capture it with your camera for all eternity!

The irony of this glorious medium of photography is that it and it alone takes so little to capture something that lasts so long (forever in fact, if we continue to upgrade our storage). And what does it take you to make that image? All of a fraction of a second? Maybe 1/500th of a second in the grand and infinite time line of life, death and eternity?

Think about it. I would even suggest you look at life itself as an endless stream of fractions of seconds and covet every moment before you, not just capturing them with your camera but with your eyes, heart, and soul, for those moments too will be fleeting. . .

31 July 2011

Seeing the world in black and white

Take all the color out of your mind, strip your consciousness of preconceived thoughts as they pertain to sunsets and rainbows and black birds and blue jays and let the shape of things before you shape your appreciation for them. One needn't have color to know that color exists since contrast and contour, shadow and texture have a palette all their own.

Go on, look at the world in black and white at times and watch how it colors your appreciation for it. . .

28 July 2011

Is there truth in photography?

Whilst sitting here preparing for tonight's presentation at Apple I am starting to wonder where the truth is in the images I will show. Sure, they are a slice of time at that very moment and for me the truth lies in the convergence of the elements necessary to produce the image right there, right then. I see it, I capture it, I show it.

To the observer of photography, I wonder just what they see? For instance, in this image above is this the shadow of a shopping cart on a wall or is it a shopping cart behind a nearly sheer backdrop? For that matter, does it matter?

As I see it, the truth in photography is what you want it to be. . .

26 July 2011

Does photography show what's there or what's not there?

Been pondering this of late. Is photography about capturing the scene before you, the moment in time that for a split second (or 1/125th of a second, give or take a fraction of a second), everything stops long enough to get recorded for all eternity? Or conversely is it perhaps about recording what's not there, literally. Is the negative space really there? Is it that which is necessary to define a positive image? Ponder that if you will. . .

24 July 2011

Such a supreme pleasure it was to work with Austin and Lisa here in my garage studio yestrday, shooting for hours with JUST my iPhone and a Calumet Travelite strobe's modeling light as the only light source. That, a reflector appropriately placed, a white backdrop, patience, a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously since we are, after all, only shooting with an iPhone, and the end result is a panoply of stunning images.

One of many final images is shown here, but I invite you to come to my Apple presentation this Thursday night if you are anywhere near San Francisco to see a full spectrum of images from this shoot yesterday. All images shown Thursday night will have been shot with, processed in, and uploaded from my iPhone.

Prepare to see the power of the iPhone, the creative vision behind its user (that would be me!), its various apps, and come meet Austin and Lisa, both of whom will be in attendance Thursday!

Until then. . .

22 July 2011

An evening at Apple fast approaches

Project based work, my favorite! Having always waited until the last minute to do school projects you'd think I would have learned by now. That being said, here I am scrambling to put together the very best presentation I can for Apple next Thursday, even though I have had almost two months to prepare accordingly.

How is it going you ask? Let's simply say that I just came back from a terrific meeting with my DJ for the night (Levente) to discuss mixes he'll be pulling together to go with the show. The excitement is building, the ideas flowing, the music will please, and the night to come is almost here. . .

21 July 2011

Finally. . .a website!

So, after decades of shooting, tens of thousands of images, and countless hours spent wondering just when I'd FINALLY put up a website, it's done! There, how hard was that? Quite elementary to be exact, and somewhat enjoyable to be honest.

Now, the only issue remains as just how many images I want to go through to find those that make it on to the site. For now, it is up. It is done! I finally have one item I can cross off my long and overwhelming "To-Do" list! One big item at that!

Well, now that I think about it. Maybe I shouldn't cross it off just yet, I still have to go through my images for an even stronger look. Oh well! So close and yet so far. . .