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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Artistic Arrogance

As readers of this blog likely already know, I am a big fan of Brooks Jensen and what he produces, both in terms of his personal artwork as well as LensWork and its associated websites and products.  I am particularly fond of listening to his podcasts on photography and creativity on the way to work in the mornings.  I wanted to share one of the podcasts that I recently listened to entitled "Artistic Arrogance".  The title says it all.  This is one I truly enjoyed! http://lenswork.typepad.com/files/lw0823---five-signs-of-artistic-arrogance.mp3

A Note

Several months ago I listened to a Brooks Jensen LensWork podcast that I can no longer identify in the archive since I can't recall the title......and so I don't have a link to allow you to listen to it. The gist of the podcast was that most of us photographers work in isolation with precious little recognition.  But just a small amount of recognition, a small amount of knowing that somewhere your images have touched someone, can be a remarkably motivating.  He suggested that if we ran across work that meant something to us that we should take the time to send off a quick e-mail to let that person know that their work is appreciated.  Off course, at the time I neglected to do that.

But, recently, something made me understand that I should take the time to send off an e-mail like this.  I received the type of e-mail I should have sent to someone after the podcast.  It really was a very pleasant surprise to hear positive feedback from someone whom I had never met.  So I went and wrote a quick note to someone else whose work I liked but had never met or e-mailed before.  What a great idea Brooks had!

So, after you read this, keep the idea in mind.  If, in your internet surfing, you run across work that is meaningful to you go ahead and send off a quick note to the artist.  I guarantee they will appreciate it.

Photography Book Ideas

Like many people who enjoy the art of photography, I also enjoy collecting photography books of all sorts.....fine art photography, photojournalism, essays etc. I don't think there are many photographers who don't also have a photography library. Sometimes, I will just get in the mood to buy a new photo book and start browsing or looking for ideas. I thought I might write about the sources from which I get ideas for book purchases and also ask anyone who might be reading this to contribute other ideas as to where they go to find out about photography books.

There are several sites that I use as information sources. Here are the ones that I use most frequently and enjoy the most:

1) Photo-Eye Bookstore: A great resource! Also, one can sign up for their e-mail newsletter, which comes about once a week. So, with no effort at all, you can have a steady stream of information about the newest quality photography publications.

2) The 5b4 blog...another great resource with book reviews.

3)Podcasts: A good number of photography podcasts, at one point or another, have book recommendations. In fact, I learned about my latest purchase, a book called The Printed Picture, from a recent LensWork podcast. In fact, the last three LensWork podcasts have been related to photography books.

I also look forward to Paul Giguere's Thoughts On Photography podcast. I purchased a real favorite of mine, Secret City, based on Paul's interview with photographer Jason Langer. In addition, every December or January he has an episode about his picks for the best photography books of the year. Granted, it will be eight or nine months until the next book review episode.....but the old ones from years past are still there for the listening. And the podcast is great, so don't just listen to the book review episodes!

4) Finally, I also get ideas from several photography magazines that contain book review sections. The three that immediately spring to my mind are Photo Life, B&W, and Color but, of course, there are others.

Writing this, it occurs to me that I don't typically peruse the websites of the prominent photo book publishers. Nor, and I guess this is a sign of the times, do I generally find photography books by browsing in bookstores. However, that may simply be because your typical brick and mortar bookstore generally has a very limited selection of these types of books.

So, what are your favorite resources for finding out about photography books?

I Love Rock 'N Roll

I love rock and roll......do you? Well, if you love photography AND rock music then you owe it yourself to do two things:

1) Go over to The Candid Frame and listen to Ibarionex Perello's interview with Lynn Goldsmith, who is a premier "Rock Photographer" (though she is a wonderful photographer of many other subjects as well). The interview can be found here, though you will need to scroll down to the Oct 11 post to get it.

2) Buy Lynn's book, which Ibarionex discusses in the podcast, called PhotoDiary. The book is chock full of very entertaining stories about photography and rock personalities as well as great shots of your favorite musicians. And the best part.....I got the book for under $5 (yes, that's a 5 with no zero after it) shipping included. What a deal...and you can get a similar one at Abe's Books here.

ENJOY!

"Thoughts On Photography" Podcast

My leaning in photography podcasts has been towards those that deal with the creative, as opposed to the technical, aspects of the medium. As such, I regularly listen to, and have previously written about, Jeff Curto's Camera Position podcast, Brooks Jensen's Lenswork podcast, and Ibarionex Perello's The Candid Frame. I have as much of an interest in gear and Photoshop techniques as the next person, but prefer to get that type of information from books and websites, particularly since I usually listen to most of my podcasts while driving.

Frankly, I thought that I had already found all the photography related podcasts that would deliver the type of content in which was interested. I was wrong.....I found another. Recently, on The Candid Frame, Ibarionex Perello interviewed Paul Giguere, a photographer that I was not familiar with. During the interview, Paul mentioned his podcast entitled "Thoughts On Photography" and, based on the content of the interview, I thought it would be worth checking out. Well, 52 episodes later, I am glad I did.

So what is the theme of Paul's podcast? "Thoughts on Photography" is about 'living a photographic life'. It is about what happens when photography is important enough to you that it becomes a part of who you are.

I personally find it to be akin to the Lenswork podcast, with a bit of a utilitarian twist to it, along with a dash of The Candid Frame podcast tossed in for good measure. Let me give some broad examples of what I mean. While Lenswork might talk about the idea and importance of the photographic project, Thoughts on Photography might discuss the importance of developing a body of work along with specific ideas as to where and how one might go about having the project seen or published. While Lenswork might talk about photography books in general, Paul might recommend his top 10 books of the year and tell you why he found them interesting. Like The Candid Frame, he has recently also included a nice array of interviews with photographers who I was unfamiliar with. These interviews were interesting enough to motivate me to go to these photographers' websites and check out their work.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Lenswork, Camera Position, and Candid Frame podcasts. I am not at all implying that one podcast is in any way better than the other.....they are all different and, in my mind, complement each other quite nicely. But I do put Paul's podcast right up there with the others in terms of the quality of the topics and discussion, and that is something that I had not expected.

If photography is important to you, check out "Thoughts On Photography" (as well as the other podcasts I mentioned, if you are not already familiar with them). In addition to the link above, the podcast can also be subscribed to via iTunes. I think you will enjoy listening; I find it time exceedingly well spent!

When Is It Done, Revisited

I have previously written about my difficulty in knowing when to stop trying to 'perfect' an image. I ultimately end up reaching a point where I might be continuing to make minor tweaks to an image, but deep inside know that no one besides myself are likely to notice them. Likewise, when making an actual print, I need to limit myself when I reach a certain point lest I continue to try to make better versions ad infinitum.

In regards to this topic, or at least directly applicable to this topic, is a wonderful podcast that I heard today. While I enjoy all the Lenswork podcasts (in fact, I have them all archived on my iPod) I found this one to be of particular interest to me. So check out the Dec 2nd Lenswork podcast called "The Myth Of Tonal Control".

The History Of Nature Photography

I have previously wriiten about Jeff Curto's two superb podcasts, The History Of Photography Podcast and Camera Position. I have been a bit behind in my listening, but in the car today had the chance to listen to the Febrauary 24th episode of Camera Position entitled The Camera In The Cathedral: Camera Position Goes Historical.

The reason I thought that this particular episode should be mentioned is that it is specifically about the history of nature photography. It contains a lot of insights that were quite new to me about the interaction between the technological developments in photography and how they influenced the way in which nature was depicted photographically. For example, it never dawned upon me that since the Daguerreotype was essentially a one exposure, one image technique (meaning that one was not able to make more than one image from each exposure; there was no ability to make copies of the images) nature images were not frequently made in the early years of photography. This is because nature photographs would typically need to be mass produced for others to see, while portraiture was generally considered to be an image to be given to a single person.

Whet your interest? This episode is really fascinating and contains many interesting insights. Check it out here.

Going Too Far

Printing is tough......it is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. I may try to make an image look great on screen, but that always pales in comparison to the effort I end up putting into trying to make a print that looks"perfect" to me. By the time I feel the work is done, I have generally gone through many iterations of the image, making local changes in tonality, contrast, and satuaration to get it to look just the way I envisioned it. I have always felt that the print is the 'final common pathway'; that it is where the artist's final statement is made. Much like the old adage that 'if you love it let it go', the final print is where the photographer lets go of his creative effort and lets it loose on the world. Perhaps a little melodramatic, but I put great stock in the importance of the final print.

Ah, but the purpose of this post is not necessarily to talk about my philosophy of printing. It is actually to pass on some advice I took from from Brooks Jensen regarding making prints. It is advice that I have found to be very helpful and that I thought might be useful to others as well.

Many months back, Mr. Jensen made a brief comment in one of his LensWork podcasts to the effect that (and this is not going to be a word for word quote) "you never know if you have pushed an effect far enough until you have pushed it too far". I realized just recently that this advice has been,for some time, in the back of my mind as I work on making prints.

With Photoshop, it has become so easy to add more saturation, more contrast, make local tonal changes etc, that it becomes hard to know before seeing the print on paper (yes, I know about soft-proofing and color management...but, still, while those may be important clues as to how the final print will look, they still don't replace seeing the hard copy and making appropriate adjustments) to what degree adjustments should be made. How far do you go? How much contrast, saturation etc? If some is good might not more be better?

Mr. Jensen's thoughts ring true to me. If you identify where the point is that you have gone too far, you know what the limit is. That is not to say that what is too far for me is also too far for you. That's what makes us all individuals. But once you know when an effect or idea has gone too far for you, then you can work within those boundries to fine tune an image and decide what type of feel you want to give it. It seems more manageable to work within a range or a zone than to work in a sea of endless possibilities.

The Candid Frame: Interview With Rob Sheppard

I have previously written about the superb podcast by Ibarionex Perello entitled The Candid Frame. During each episode Ibarionex interviews a photographer, some well known and others less so. The interviews are always insightful and fascinating.

During the current episode Rob Sheppard is interviewed. I had expected to hear a lot about Outdoor Photographer, for which Mr. Sheppard is editor-at-large. However, this was not the focus of Mr. Sheppard's comments at all.

I found this episode particularly inspiring. Specifically, there was discussion about finding one's own personal vision, the role of Photoshop in photography, and the continued relevance of the craft of photography in the digital world.

I never miss an episode of The Candid Frame. If you haven't listened before, this is a great episode to start with!

Quick Quotes: Dennis Keeley

While in the car this morning, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts.......Ibarionex Perello's The Candid Frame. In the latest installation, he interviews Dennis Keeley, a photographer and educator who serves as chair of the Photography and Imaging Department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

During the interview, Mr. Keeley made a statement that, while not entirely profound in the same sense as some of my prior "Quick Quotes", nonetheless captured my attention and made me think about the nuances of what he was saying. The topic of discussion was the democratization of photography and the fact that there has been an unprecedented proliferation of cameras. In many countries, huge portions of the populace are walking around with cameras most of the time, in the form of cell phones with integrated digital cameras, enabling them to take photographs of anything and everything. During the course of the discussion about the multitude of images being created on a daily basis Keeley notes that today:

"Image is more important than reality."

On the surface, this can certainly be taken as a comment about today's society. However, it became much more intriguing to me as a comment about the content of the photographic image and how that integrates with today's society.

I have posted about The Candid Frame before, and it continues to prove to be, in my opinion, one of the most unique, worthwhile, and enlightening photography podcasts out there.

Classic Tales

So far, all of my posts have been purely about photography which, of course, seems entirely reasonable given that this is a photography blog. However, on occasion, I do run across something non-photographic that I think would be of interest to people who take some of their precious time to read this blog. I don't mean that at all facetiously......time is a very valuable and limited commodity and I am honored that people would take some of what little they have to spare to come my way and read what I have to say and look at what I have to show.

At any rate, over the last few weeks I have come across something that is art related (but not the photographic arts) and which I have enjoyed very much. Perhaps you might like it as well. I am referring to The Classic Tales Podcast. This podcast can be subscribed to via i-Tunes, but I will give you the link to the primary website as well as to the podcast episode download site. For this podcast, BJ Harrison regularly reads an unabridged classic short story that runs anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes in length. Mr. Harrison is an artist; a sculptor, a painter, an actor and, as it turns out, quite an accomplished storyteller as well. He uses his voice to play all the parts in any given story and is an absolute joy to listen to.

In addition to the free podcasts, Mr. Harrison has just come out with his first audiobook, reading Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" in its unabridged, seven hour entirety. Sounds like a long time doesn't it? While I had initially purchased the $9.99 audiobook to listen to (via my i-Pod) during the frequent one hour rides I have to take to Ohio for work, I soon found that I couldn't stop listening and also had it on for every five or ten minute ride I needed to take around my neighborhood. Seven hours never went by so fast, and I honestly wished it went on much longer. He gives such life and personality to the characters that you feel you know each and every one (not, of course, to take anything away from Robert Louis Stevenson). He does the greatest Long John Silver you could ever imagine.

I have no connection in any way with Mr. Harrison, I just very much enjoy what he has done. Give the podcast a shot (I particularly like 'The Lost Phoebe' by Theodore Dreiser). Tell me what you think. If you like it you will certainly also enjoy "Treasure Island", which I think is even better than any of the podcast readings.

Hope nobody minded the brief departure from photography!

Photo Marketing

I heard something that was quite useful and interesting yesterday on Jeff Curto’s Camera Position podcast. I thought it might also be useful to others and so I am posting the information.

If you have an interest in marketing your photographs, the last 13 minutes of the Camera Position podcast #46 entitled “Passion and Profession” is quite interesting. Actually, as I have mentioned previously, every Camera Position episode is worth listening to. After hearing the podcast, I was intrigued enough to purchase Mary Virginia Swanson’s book and will ultimately report back as to how useful I feel it is.

To listen to the podcast go to the Camera Position website here and scroll down to Episode #46, where the file can be listened to.

The LensWork Podcast

Brooks Jensen, the editor of LensWork magazine, puts out a wonderful podcast, usually several times a week. If you are familiar with the magazine, (and if you aren’t, see my post here) then you know what the LensWork philosophy and mission is. That same philosophy, which is to say the discussion of the creative aspects of photography, carries through to the podcast as well.

Unlike some of the others I have previously reviewed, the LensWork podcasts are fairly short, usually only 3-6 minutes min length. They are quite focused and to the point. Most importantly, they are extraordinarily insightful and though provoking. In addition, Brooks has a great ‘announcer’s voice’ which is a pleasure to listen to. In short, the podcasts are simply a pleasure to hear and offer a lot to think about. If you have not yet had the chance to experience them you really owe it to yourself to check them out here.

Administrative Note: I have been able to make daily entries since I started this blog just over 2 months ago. I have many ideas for upcoming posts, but feel as if I don’t want to dilute the quality of the postings by feeling absolutely compelled to post on a daily basis. Needless to say, it does entail time and energy to prepare them. I would much rather write something of interest and that is well thought out than try to simply ensure that there is a daily blog entry. Though they might not be daily, I do plan for them to be very frequent (perhaps even daily at times). I surely hope that this will not deter folks from checking back in frequently!

Portfolio versus Project: A Dilemma?

Last week, I listened to the latest Candid Frame interview...excellent as usual. William Neill was being interviewed, and the discussion turned to assembling a photographic portfolio. There was an aspect of this conversation that intrigued me and, to a certain extent, confused me. I have been thinking about it since (the mark of a good interview….raising as many questions as it answers!)

When assembling a ‘portfolio’, intensive editing is needed to ensure that only one’s best work is used. The concept which was mentioned, and which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that it is better to have too few images that are outstanding than more images which include average photographs. In the latter case, the average ones will lower the overall quality, bringing the outstanding ones down as well.

But how does the idea of a portfolio interact with a defined project? For example, I have been on several workshops across the country and could assemble a portfolio of what I consider to be my best images from these trips. But, one might say, there would be no common theme pulling it all together. Fair enough. Instead, I could assemble separate portfolios with, say, 10-20 of my favorite images from each trip. That way I could have an “Oregon Portfolio”, a “Michigan Portfolio” etc. But to me, this is somewhat problematic because during a one week workshop there is no way to capture the many faces and moods of an area in enough depth to call it a ‘portfiolio’. What about all the seasons, the different weather, different times of day..…can’t do it in a week. I could choose the best shots from each of several trips, but then I am back to lacking a common thread.

Which brings me to the dilemma that I have been thinking about. As I have mentioned before, I am currently working on a project photographing a local state park. This allows me the opportunity to capture an area during different seasons, in different weather, at different times of day and in different light. It allows for a deep exploration of an area. But, I have to face it, while Western Pennsylvania has a good deal of natural beauty, it is a beauty that is very different from the grand vistas. There are no majestic rugged mountains with long fields of poppies, only small mountains that have been smoothed by weather over the millennia. No raging rivers carved into deep canyons, only small ones. No oceans crashing into sea stacks, only….well, no oceans at all.

So, as I work on my project and choose images to go into that portfolio, I realize that while they do belong grouped together as part of the project, the majority of them would not ‘stand alone’ as beautiful landscape images. It may be the best that this particular park has to offer, but, nonetheless, the majority of the images would not be included as part of a ‘greatest hits’ portfolio.

Questions run through my mind. Are there different ‘reasons’ for different types of portfolios? How does a ‘project’ portfolio differ from a ‘greatest hits’ portfolio? To whom should each be shown? Should they be ‘used’ differently? Throughout photographic history the great photographers have made many moving portfolios in areas that are not ‘stupendous’……. is it just that I am not ‘good enough’ to portray the mundane in a special light?

I am not sure of the answers to all these questions. I do think there is something to be gained by thinking about them. And I do think that by working my way through this project I will have also have begun to at least approach some of these issues. I also feel, rather strongly, that it will help me to grow as a photographer.

Camera Position Podcast

So you already listen to Jeff Curto’s History of Photography Podcast, which I talked about in a prior post. It’s great, it’s informative, it’s entertaining. But say you need more…….more Curto. Well, there is a place where you can get that extra bit more, and it’s his excellent ‘other’ podcast entitled Camera Position.

This is entirely different from the History of Photography classroom lectures. The Camera Position podcast is perhaps best described by Jeff in his own words as “a podcast about the visual and creative processes in photography, not the technical. Using images and the spoken word, my podcasts are about the ‘why’ of photography from the point of view of the creative photographer.”

Always thoughtful and entertaining, the podcasts run about 10-20 minutes, but I guarantee you will be thinking about the topics covered for longer than that.

Over the course of time, I plan to post about more of my favorite podcasts, and when I discuss them will put each one in a new 'Favorite Podcasts' sidebar.

Administrative Announcement: For the moment I have decided to try turning on 'Comment Moderation'. The reason is not that I have received spam or inappropriate comments. The reason is a bit more utilitarian. For the life of me, I can’t get the blogger software to e-mail me the comments that people post. The upshot of this is that, as the number of blog entries grows, and as more comments are made in the blog, it has become impossible for me to know when new comments have been posted with the exception of the most recent post or two.

I just can’t seem to get this fixed and so I am hoping that by turning on “Comment Moderation” all new comments will at least filter through the “Moderated Comment Inbox” enabling me to get a look at each of them. I do enjoy getting comments and hope that this mild inconvenience will not deter anyone from making them. I plan to post them all except for any spam that might come this way.

Thanks for visiting.

When To Stop

I admit it. I am a perfectionist. This can be a problem. If I may quote Brooks Jensen from his recent interview with Ibarionex Perello on The Candid Frame, “The practical consequence of perfection is procrastination”. If one is constantly and persistently trying to improve a print, as Brooks put it, “the work simply won’t get done”.

I can vouch for that. It can take me several weeks to take an image from RAW format to a completed print. However, I do have a ‘day job’ as well as kids. My photography time is therefore somewhat limited and so maybe it turns out that I am not quite as pathologic a perfectionist as was being described in the interview. But, trust me, it is a problem. And this year I have decided to solve it! I thought it might be useful (or at least therapeutic for me) to describe how to properly diagnose and cure this photographic malady.

How can this diagnosis be made? How can you tell if you might be a fellow sufferer? Based on my personal experience, I can offer the following. When you find that you have a large stack of ‘test prints’, both as small working prints and in final size, that’s a clue. When the changes made between print ‘versions’ tend to end up being so minor that when you ask your spouse (or insert ‘significant other’) which version they like best they tell you they see no real difference, that’s a clue. When you find yourself thinking that the reason your spouse can’t tell the difference between versions is that they have an unrefined eye, yup, that’s a clue as well. And when you start asking your kids the same question because you think their vision is probably better than your spouse’s, that, too, is a warning sign.

The cure can be difficult, but I am willing to relate what I am trying, and which seems to be an effective remedy. First, I made a photographic New Year’s resolution. I have decided to complete a defined, discreet project over the course of the year. I have given myself a well-defined goal and deadline. To meet these goals, I need to have 30-40 completed prints by the end of the year. I currently have five images printed and completed, so I am right on schedule. I know that I have to complete 3-4 images a month.

Perhaps more importantly, I am learning when to stop trying to further refine an image. I am not saying that you shouldn’t ask anyone for their opinion, but when your spouse tells you that they don’t see a big difference between images, they’re probably telling you the truth. And, by the way, your 12 year old kid’s vision is probably not that much better than your spouses and it is certainly not more refined.

A strategy to limit image modifications needs to be devised, particularly if, like me, you have ‘gone digital’ and it has become all too easy to continue making minor ‘tweaks’. My strategy is as follows. After I have gotten the image where I want it and have gone through four or five small test prints and one or two full size prints, I look at the differences between the current and the last two versions. At this stage, I think one knows, in their heart of hearts, if the changes being made are minor and if a viewer is going to be able to recognize them. When that stage is reached, I then compile a list of all the further minor changes that I might consider making and give myself one final opportunity to apply them in one last Photoshop session before making a final print. Then, the moment of truth. I force myself to make an irrevocable and final choice between the last two versions….no going back and making further adjustments. It’s either one version or the other. Period.

It is definitely working. I do see myself becoming more productive.

A Beautiful Quote About Creativity

In my January 15th entry, I mentioned Jeff Curto’s History of Photography podcast . This is one of several excellent podcasts that I listen to regularly, and I was planning to mention the others intermittently over the next several weeks. However, yesterday I listened to one that really struck me, so I feel compelled to write about it now.

I am talking about Ibarionex Perello's The Candid Frame. First, a bit about the podcast. In each episode, Ibarionex has an in depth interview with a photographer, some well known and others less so, but always one with something interesting to say or a viewpoint worth listening to and considering. I have listened to each installment and each has been saved. Not a one has ended up in the recycle bin. They are discussions that can be listened to again and again.

So what has motivated me to write about The Candid Frame right now? In the last installment, Ibarionex interviews Brooks Jensen (whose podcast I also plan to write about in coming weeks), the editor of LensWork magazine. During the discussion they talk about the ability of creative photography to, as Ibarionex puts it, “show me the world in a way I hadn’t seen it before”. Brooks goes on to mention that once people have seen, say, Ansel Adams’ prints of Yosemite, the majority of images that are taken of Yosemite tend to be repetitions of what has already been done.…that, in effect, Ansel has taught us what images of Yosemite should look like and we willfully comply. Ibarionex responds by saying that one of the reasons that he enjoys teaching photography to kids is that they frequently come up with incredibly creative images because “they’re not burdened with what’s come before”. Whoa! That really struck me. I was in the car driving but I still had to rewind the MP3 player to listen to that segment again. Creative because “they aren’t burdened with what’s come before”. Burdened.

I found this an interesting insight into the creative process and an absolutely marvelous way of expressing it. Knowledge as a detriment. That might be true only for the creative process. We try to teach kids ‘how to do things right’ and perhaps ultimately end up putting them into a funnel where they are constricted by rules, possibilities are lost, and end results are all similar. Of course, we need to do that for certain things, some of the basic school subjects come to mind, but perhaps we shouldn’t be doing that for creative endeavors.

During a lecture on creativity that Jeff Curto podcasted (is that really a word?) last year, he mentioned a study that reinforces what Ibarionex suggested. I would link to the podcast, but can’t recall which specific episode it was. He talked about an experiment in which a small dark circle was drawn on a piece of paper and shown to adults, who were asked what it was. They invariably responded that it was either a circle or a dot. However, when children were shown the same picture their responses were much more creative and entertaining. The dark circle might be ‘the sun’s evil twin’ or ‘a telephone pole as seen by a bird’. They simply hadn’t yet “learned” that it was merely a dot.

The Candid Frame podcast did invariably return to the possibility that not knowing what had come before could be, as Brooks put it, a “double edged sword”, as one must know photographic history in order not to reinvent the wheel. However, double edged or not, there is a lot here, I believe, to think about. Sometimes, if I am going someplace to photograph, I purposefully try not to look at work that has been done there before. Perhaps I should do that more frequently. In addition, I know that sometimes I get my best images by throwing away the “rules” and giving myself the freedom to experiment and fail…..or succeed.

At any rate, The Candid Frame, check it out. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. There are already 24 archived episodes that you need to catch up on!

Tomorrow, back to discussing some images…….

The History Of Photography

Who was it that said something along the lines of "in order to know where you are going you need to know where you have been"? And so it is with photography. The history of the medium is fascinating and filled with major technological advances, drama, personal disputes, and changes in the way we view our world. All this within what is a relatively very short period of time. If we take photography seriously, I think it behooves us to know something of the medium's history.

There are certainly a number of excellent photographic history books available. However, I am going to make a non-text recommendation that I personally found to be an exceptionally enjoyable way to learn. Jeff Curto is a Professor of Photography at The College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, who podcasts the lectures from his History of Photography course. He is a compelling, entertaining, and engrossing teacher whose podcasts are truly a gift. They are exceptional and I recommend them highly.

The home page for these podcasts is here, and the series can be subscribed to through any podcast client, such as iTunes.