Monthly Link Dump

New Leaf

Signs of the Times: The BBC has a feature up about photographer Simon Roberts, and his work documenting the recession. Happily, Roberts does much of the talking, and both he and his camera have plenty to say. Some of the pieces discussed (like the Occupy London tent city) are familiar, but some of the others — collaging demonstrators’ signs as well as sale placards — are a different visual representation of the unrest that’s accompanied the downturn.

Bears… in… Spaaaaace! The Daily Mail reports on some British students sending stuffed critters into low Earth orbit using weather balloons. Photography is only incidental to this story, which I’m including because, well, bears, space and science — what’s not to love?

Does This Lens Make Me Look Fat? On Petapixel, John Cornicello explains why the camera adds ten pounds, with illustrations. Elsewhere on Petapixel, Michael Zhang has unearthed a 1902 book on photography mistakes (helpfully titled Why My Photographs are Bad), reminding us that in photography and in life, the more things change the more they really do stay the same.

What is This “Copyright” of Which You Speak? The Register (UK) tells of an English proposal that guts the rights of copyright holders. They do a better job of explaining it than I could, so check the article out at this link. If you don’t live in the United Kingdom, I’d still suggest taking a look, because this is an object lesson in how fragile creators’ rights to their own work tend to be.

The Closest A Cheeseburger Will Ever Get To Kate Moss (and Vice Versa) Design Taxi takes us behind the scenes of a McDonald’s “fashion” shoot, complete with fancy lighting, fluffing, and lots and lots (and lots) of retouching. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about what it says about us as a society when we treat our food like models and our models like meat…

In Which Photography Gets All “Meta” When is a photo not a photo? Wait, let’s try that again. When is your photo not “your” photo? No, that’s not it, either… Well, anyway, the Guardian has a piece on photographers repurposing Google Street View photos as art by applying a bit of cropping, a dash of context, and a pinch of processing, calling it their own, and getting some serious accolades for it. There’s plenty of precedent for this kind of thing, although the convenience with which it’s done is something new. Check out the article, and sound off in the comments below; what do you think?

The Expert Myth (or, Three Books Versus 10,000 Hours)

Oh to be home again, in old Virginny…

What constitutes expertise, whether it’s photography or anything else in life? If you do a quick Google search, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve essentially got two options: to read three books, or to spend ten thousand hours. Wait a minute, that can’t be right…

The “three books” scenario is a simplification of an idea popularized by Timothy Ferriss in The Four Hour Workweek. The somewhat longer version goes like this: You join a couple of trade organizations, read three bestsellers on your topic, give a free seminar at the nearest university and a couple more at big companies, write a couple of articles for trade organizations (maybe even the same ones you’ve joined), and then sign on with a service that journalists use if they’re looking for a service to quote for their articles.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? If you’re diligent (and a quick reader and writer), the whole process outlined above could probably be taken care of in about fifteen hours’ worth of work.

Here’s where that falls apart: let’s start with the books, since everything else probably stems from that (you want to be able to carry on a somewhat intelligent conversation with the people at ye olde trade organization, after all). With that as a starting point, I’m already a potential expert in any number of things, from the Spanish Civil War to Zen Buddhism, cooking, humor, architecture, philosophy, and the poetry of W. H. Auden, to say nothing of photography. So I find, say, a group of fellow Auden enthusiasts. Since the most likely place for that is the English department of your average university, I’ll sign up there and it ought to be a short step from that to giving a free seminar in Auden. Damn, I’m good! It won’t be long, obviously, before I’ve got Charlie Rose, the MLA, and the Associated Press burning up my phone, to say nothing of journalists and scholars wanting to partake of my expertise for the sake of their eager readers.

It isn’t rocket science, and certainly doesn’t take a PhD in Twentieth Century Poetry, to see that Ferriss’s idea is laughable on the face of it. So what’s the alternative? Well, the alternative’s also been popularized, thanks to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, wherein he suggests that to become an expert in something — and not just any expert, mind you, we’re talking about you being the Mozart or Jordan of that thing — you need to devote about ten thousand hours to it. That’s just four hours a day. Every day. For seven years. Or eight hours a day every day for three and a half years. Or you could go on some kind of amphetamine bender and not sleep at all, and you could “knock it out” at something like 24 hours a day for a year and change, and then promptly drop dead of exhaustion and malnutrition.

Let’s step back, take a deep breath, and consider a couple of things for a minute.

First let’s think about what these books are about, and what they’re for. Ferriss is neither the first, nor last, person to come up with his own little “system.” Thing is, Ferriss is talking mostly about “information products,” which is a polite marketing term for putting as little information in as large and glittery a package as you can, and getting people to buy it. When you’re interested merely in commoditizing information for people who’ll probably skim something once and then move on to the next shiny object/package, Ferriss’s formula, his three books’ worth of information, probably is quite enough.

Gladwell, for his part, wrote his book to talk about people who stand head and shoulders over the rest, and how they got there. The book’s called Outliers for a reason; these people are abnormal. In a good way, granted, but there’s nothing average about them. If you’re looking to be the Lance Armstrong of photography, then ten thousand hours isn’t an unreasonable amount of time to spend on your craft, but it rather begs the question of where that leaves the rest of us.

The short answer is to find a middle ground. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous quotation, from which this site takes its name (“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”) is probably a good place to start. That’s not to say that you’ll be an expert after the first ten thousand, or even the ten thousand after. However, if you’re not seeking to become some kind of photographic ubermensch, or to simply turn out commoditized crap, it does represent a happy medium. It sidesteps the “expertise” issue, to be sure, but it also allows us to comfortably and realistically master the medium while still accomodating the rest of our day-to-day lives. That, I think, might be more useful than the shortcut of a handful of books, or the headaches that come with aiming for thousands of hours. As an added bonus, it also allows us to cultivate a mindset that allows that photography isn’t something with a clearly defined endpoint; it can instead be a life’s work… one day at a time.

Postscript: There’s a different, and interesting, take on the ten thousand hour rule on Chris Anderson’s blog The Long Tail, which you can read here:

Meantime, if you’re so inclined, you can check out The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss here*, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers here*

Your purchases through the Amazon affiliate links above (marked with an asterisk) help to support The First 10,000. Thanks!

Joerg Colberg’s “Photography After Photography” Considered (Or, A Response to A Provocation)

This Photo Has Already Been Taken (?)

Joerg Colberg has two thought-provoking essays making the rounds on the web right now. The first – we’ll get to the second shortly – came out earlier this month; in “Photography After Photography (A Provocation),” Colberg argues that the medium is now “dominated by nostalgia and conservatism. Even the idea that we now need editors or curators to create meaning out of the flood of photographs ultimately is conservative, looking backwards when we could, no we should be looking forward.”

We’ve been here before. First of all, this isn’t the first time that photography has been democratized. Indeed, what we’re witnessing now is just a logical extension of a process that began with the first Kodak cameras a century ago. What has changed is not just the gear that enables the work, but also the means by which that work – potentially all of it, and pretty much all at once – is viewed and shared. In other words, there’s more of the past hanging over us than at any time before in our history, and since by definition there’s so much more past than future, it’s become that much harder for newer and more innovative work to be seen. On one hand, anyone with a broadband connection could theoretically view your work. On the other, good luck getting them to find it among the other couple billion or so photographers (and tens of billions of photographs) out there.

Furthermore, every art form has cycles of stagnation and rebirth. As Colberg notes, photography was supposed to be the death of painting ‘til painting discovered abstraction. Rock dies as regularly as the drummer in Spinal Tap, but some new thing – a pinch of punk, a dash of grunge – brings it back to life. The likes of Henry Moore and Duane Hanson similarly took sculpture to new and unexpected places.

I think that one reason that digital photography hasn’t delivered on its promise quite yet is because it’s a potentially new medium, but dressed in old clothes. But then, it doesn’t help much when we’re predicating not only our understanding of what something is, but also what it’s capable of, on old models. The amount of possibility someone can find in, and wring from, new things comes from the ability to find and exploit the differences between the new medium and the old one, rather than using them the same way they would’ve used the original. Spray paint on canvas seems almost as silly as laboriously composing a still life in oil paint on a subway car, just the same as playing a Moog like a piano (I’m looking at you, Rick Wakeman) overlooks a huge palette of textural possibilities, not to mention the difference between an Edison wax cylinder and Brian Wilson getting Pet Sounds out of his head and onto multi-track tape.

A further issue arises when it comes to subject matter. If we stop to consider abstraction, it’s clear that painters have it relatively easy, whether we’re talking about Mondrian’s playfully severe geometry, the fierce urgency of Pollack’s later work, or artists like Mills or De Kooning’s melding of abstraction with more straightforward figurative painting. A painter can invent out of whole cloth, nothing but paint and imagination. One of the intrinsic (and highly obvious) limitations of photography is that you’ve got to have something in front of the camera for it to make much sense at all. The supply of “stuff” to place there, and angles from which to photograph it, while bewildering, is finite.

Another reason that photography seems stuck is because it’s a hell of a lot easier to “fake” it in photography. Whether it’s the camera or the software used after, it’s all too easy to use a preset that replaces the usual process of trial and error. In contrast, you can’t set a guitar, paints, clay or a rack of lamb to automatic and have a reasonably acceptable result at the end of it. The short-term mastery (and let me emphasize, I’m not talking about the longer-term effort that we put into learning and perfecting the craft if we want to get it right) is much easier than it is in other media. Taking painting as an example again: if you’re not very good, you either learn what you need to learn in order to move to a point where you get better, or you realize you’re a hopeless case and you stop. With photography, it’s easier for the average person to get into a rut of careless technique because it’s easy enough to get to “good enough.” Bypassing the trial and error means that you pass up a process that leads not only to understanding, but also – vitally – to accidents. Honestly now, how often do you hear photographers, photography teachers, or books on photography – in short, the places where your average photographer gets their information – to have more, and better, accidents?

Until relatively recently (i.e., the last 200 years or so), we took for granted the idea that the work of art was a “finished” product, a finite event. In tandem with that has usually gone the assumption that the work of art was in some sense inviolable, the text or object being somehow beyond alteration. As Benjamin reminded us in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, if you’re looking at an “original” print on a museum wall or if you’re looking at a facsimile in a textbook, it’s the same piece.  The work of art has traditionally been done once and then been finished–even mechanical reproduction giving rise only to more copies of the same finished product– but this no longer needs to be the case. Rather than just our approach to a given work evolving, the work itself could also be evolving right along with us. Photography is episodic by nature, and just as we don’t expect to open the New York Times, or turn on CNN, and find the same news we did the day before, it might help to approach photography in a way that allows us sufficient ambiguity that something new reveals itself each time we view the photo.

So what happens when photography stops being finished? What happens when each thing is free to be not only what it is, but what it might be, a stepping stone to something else? This way, you have something that’s always changing, growing, evolving; something that is intuitive and responsive rather than limiting or dictating responses and consequences.

Which brings us, in typically circuitous fashion, to Colberg’s second essay, “The Digital Revolution Has Not Happened (Yet?),” wherein he states:

In the past, progress often meant something new, something that not only could not be done before, but that was also pushing the boundaries. In a nutshell, photographers often took the new tools to expand the medium.

Colberg states in his first essay that he’s not quite sure exactly how to get photography from where it is now to where it’s going, and as I think about it, I’m not entirely sure myself. I think, however, that in the problems as he states them we might at least find the seeds of a solution.

As I alluded to earlier, it’s not just the change in the capture medium that we need to take into account. The medium in which it’s viewed should also have made some differences, but hasn’t quite. Yes, some slightly more adventuresome souls print on canvas or metal, to say nothing of various art papers. When someone figures out how to combine still imaging with the technology that’s emerging in 3D printing, there arises the potential for something that hybridizes both photography and sculpture.

Similarly, taking advantage of how most people currently view photos (on an LCD or LED screen) suggests that there are possibilities for display that allow for genuine interactivity (allowing others to actively manipulate, or somehow participate in, what would otherwise have been a “final” result). What if, instead of simply tweaking and processing a picture a bit, the photograph and its delivery system itself were reacting to you simultaneous to your reactions to it?

For that matter, what if photographers were to attempt something akin to remixing? Rather than being viewed as a finished artifact, songs – not only the song that acts as the foundation for something, what we’d consider the original, but often other people’s work as well – become the raw material for something that sometimes is barely recognizable as the original. Might it not be possible to find some way of doing the same to the printed/pixelated photo? There’s precedent for this throughout artistic history (and plenty in photography, whether it’s montage, the darkroom, or Lightroom). Like a Moog, however, it might be helpful for someone to come along that takes these things out of the accepted/expected realm and into uncharted territory. In other words, we could move the photo from pride of place as an art object to something that’s altogether more elemental, namely raw material to be reassembled and recontextualized.

Those things might, admittedly, be some time off. For right now, photographers are working in well-trodden forms (street, landscape, portraiture, etc.) that may be reaching – or may already have reached – the limits of their possibilities. On the other hand, because someone hasn’t yet pushed the envelope to its limits doesn’t mean there’s no more pushing to be done. I’m not sure that we’ve exhausted the possibilities yet, and because of that I think it’s entirely possible that there are people out there doing very innovative work right now. Maybe someone, or even several someones, has been doing precisely the kind of work of which Colberg speaks, but, like Vivian Maier, doesn’t get discovered ‘til time, fashion, and innovation have all long since moved onto new things.

But if we reframe photography (pun only partly intended) – what it’s for, how it works, and what it’s capable of doing – we might move closer to something that’s always changing, growing, and evolving, that is capable of being intuitive and responsive rather than limiting or dictating possibilities. In the meantime, the rest of us will fumble along as best we can, looking for and trying new ways of seeing and new ways of creating until, by sheer stubbornness and persistence, someone somewhere arrives at something truly new.

MTV and Photography

MTV Logo (from

I get to thinking about MTV every so often, and then I try to stop because it makes me sad. I’m old enough to remember when the channel first went on the air in the early 1980’s, and the absolute mess they made of the television dial in those early days. Production values were rough around the edges even for the time, the programming was an eclectic mess (you were as likely to see the Charlie Daniels Band or King Crimson as Modern English), and everything about the channel gave the impression of something being made up as everyone went along.

Over time, things changed. While I miss those freewheeling early days, I realize looking back that the creeping change from a DIY ethic to the slick, corporate, non-music playing behemoth that the channel has become was probably inevitable, mirroring the death of free form radio at around the same time. But there’s another lesson to be drawn from the whole debacle that MTV has become, and it’s one that artists of nearly any stripe can learn from.

To quote a song that was big in ’83 or thereabouts, “Money changes everything.” It doesn’t have to, of course, but it tends to do just that. If you stop to think about the early look (and, for that matter, the early playlist) of MTV, you start to realize that it was cobbled together from whatever was available and affordable at the time. A mix, in other words, of improvisation and desperation. As the money started to roll in — reflected both in the channel’s slicker production values, and also by the attention (not to mention cash) paid by bands and record industry types — much of that improvisational spirit started to wane. Innovation, such as there was, fell by the wayside, to be replaced by programming that had the look and sound of that one person at every party who talks and laughs just a little too loud to let you know they’re edgy, or having so much fun.

What’s that mean to the rest of us?

When we start out in our craft, most of us (there are, of course, always exceptions) are broke, relatively speaking. We can’t afford all the best stuff. We don’t have the same tools, or knowledge, or sense of history, that the heavy hitters in our little niche have. Some people piss and moan and flame out, but others look at what they’ve got and decide that one way or another, they’re making this thing work. They improvise. They break rules they don’t even know they’re breaking, then invent new ones on the way to learning the old ones.

I don’t subscribe to the O’Jays school of thought on money… it’s not the root of all evil. At the end of the day, it’s a means to an end; in other words, like anything else in your kit, it’s a tool, and whether it’s a good or bad thing depends on how you use it, or misuse it. Some of this gets back to the idea that if we just had a bit more (x many more lenses, x many more dollars), it’d all be better. We’d be better. We’d have more tools, more time at our disposal, and we could finally get around to that project we’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s street photography in Melbourne or photographing polar bears on the ice floes.

The thing is, just the same as the gear doesn’t make us better photographers, the money doesn’t either. Your net worth and your artistic or human worth are not one and the same. I’m not suggesting that we should all subscribe to the myth of the “Starving Artist,” since artists who consciously decide to suffer for their art for the sake of some kind of misguided “purity” generally want us to suffer right along with them. But we ought not to mistake the means for the end, or think that there’s a single magic bullet that’s going to get us where we want to be.

You have resources now. Use them. Use the gear you’ve got, granted, but also don’t forget to use the time you’ve got in the best way you can. Don’t wait for a set of conditions to be met in order to do what you want. Wing it. Can’t get the polar bears in their natural habitat? Head for the zoo (just don’t pass those photos off as something they’re not). Can’t make it to Melbourne or Mumbai? Unless you’re living in a ghost town, there’s things going on and people living their lives just steps from your door. Improvise! And later on (or right now, if that’s where you are as you read this) when you have the resources to burn on anything you’d like, and can shoot whenever and however you’d like, remember where you came from. Revisit it from time to time.

Don’t let what you’re doing now — the creativity you’re bringing to bear on your craft, whether it’s born of desire or necessity or some combination of both — be overtaken by the desire to shoot, or to be, something else. Shoot as though you have nothing but this camera, this shot, this now to get it right (or interestingly wrong). Shoot as though nothing but the photo matters. And, perhaps most important, shoot each time as though the only payoff you’re going to get is the love of the process.

…And More Photographic Randomness

It’s time* for your monthly installment of good reads from around the web; links go to the original posters’ websites.

For starters, there’s a thought-provoking (and certainly debate-provoking; read the comments) post on Jim Harmer’s Improve Photography, titled In DEFENSE of Momtographers Everywhere. Read, and join in the debate.

Point-Counterpoint, both courtesy of PetaPixel: A bride complaining about “wack” wedding photography prices (be sure not to miss Nikki Wagner’s thoughtful response**), and a photographer suggesting that people who want his work for free come and work for him at no cost.

A sure way to gin up controversy? Make a top 10/20/50/100 list of anything. You want proof? Complex’s The 50 Greatest Street Photographers Right Now is it.

Popular Photography has announced their 2012 Readers Photography Contest. Details are at this link. One caveat: I haven’t yet read the terms and conditions to see if they’re reasonable, so I’d suggest you have a look before entering.

A great little post is up on Inspiration Feed, titled “8 Digital Photography Tips to Tell Your Children.” It’s good reading if you’d like to encourage your little one to get behind the camera.

A very short film called “School Portrait” is making the rounds lately. It’s a collaboration among Greg Ward, Agnieszka Mruk and Liang Peiyu, who are grad students at London College of Communication. Ward’s website notes:

Many years have passed since the photos were taken; physically they have all changed, but to what extent are they still the same people? In general, most people have had school photographs taken of themselves when they were younger. The photos are fantastic visual records of how people once were, however how often do we look back and reflect upon what we were like as kids? Sometimes in order to know where we are going in life, it helps to remember where we have been. (h/t

One time years ago, I saw photos from Japan of construction machinery that was painted in pastels and festooned with stenciled butterflies. More recently, I came across this gem from Visual News: a series of decorated manhole covers from various Japanese cities.

And finally, if you need a shot of inspiration:

*Porque I said so
**Which, incidentally, should be required reading not only for brides but anyone who’s thinking of hanging up their shingle as a wedding photographer

Follow Friday: Ubuweb

The UbuWeb Homepage

The last few times I’ve done the Follow Friday thing, I’ve typically included a few people whose work is compelling and from whom you can learn something, a bit about them, and where to find them. This time out, I’m trying something a little different, and only suggesting a single “follow” or destination, a website called UbuWeb.

Thinking of it as just a website is a bit deceiving, and is a bit like calling the MoMA “a building.” This isn’t your ordinary website. What started out in 1996 primarily as a repository for concrete and visual poetry has become a veritable museum of unique, often-forgotten, art by often-forgotten individuals. While there’s not a ton on here that’s related to photography, there’s enough on the history and theory of nearly everything else to make this a vital stop if you’re trying, on one hand, to expand your cultural literacy (which, remember, should not be limited to any one art form), while on the other, trying to venture a bit off the beaten path.

And that, to me, is one of the best things about Ubuweb. It takes people who are kinda-sorta household names, or at least known by name to people who know a little bit about art, or film, or music, and fleshes them out. You’ve probably heard of John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Buckminster Fuller or Kenneth Anger, but in a lot of cases some of these names are only that. We have a vague awareness, but there’s not much to go with that name, nothing to anchor it or suggest a life (or life’s work) behind it. This provides content, and context, also making connections between collaborators, schools of thought, and historical periods, all outside of the obvious and better-known names we were given in some cursory introduction to something or other.

It’s too easy, perhaps, to be scared off by the sheer volume of culture, between what’s available online, in libraries, in museums and elsewhere. There, I said it. There’s tons of “output.” Films, music, books, photos, paintings, not to mention all the things that are hybrid forms of different media. Don’t let that frighten you off or keep you from learning more. If you wait for the right starting point or the right invitation, it’s like deciding you’ll learn to swim once you’ve seen the right water molecule; it’ll never happen, and you’ll end up paralyzed by indecision.

Instead, welcome this ocean (or, if it helps, think of it as a swimming pool) into which you can dive at any point (trust me when I tell you, it’s deep enough even in the shallows that you can dive safely) and immerse yourself. Spend a few minutes, an afternoon, or a lifetime, but by all means, find the time and make the best use of it you can.


Okay, you still want a starting point? Kenneth Goldsmith sums UbuWeb up rather messily (appropriately enough) here. If you’re looking for something more concrete by way of suggestions on a place to start your exploration, here are a few personal favorites:

A collection of Alfred Stieglitz’s proto-Dadaist 291 magazine

An overview of Germany’s Bauhaus

Robert Hughes’s The Shock of the New (BBC TV series, 1982)

Leslie Thornton’s Photography is Easy (Short Film, 2010)

Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic which also contains the original version of the haunting, strangely moving Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet)

And if, after all that seriousness, you need to descend temporarily into silliness, check out the Ubuweb 365 Days Project, which curates all sorts of strange, wonderful (and wonderfully strange) music from all over.

“Are you going to finish that?”

Overcaffeinated and Oversaturated

Opposites: Ansel Adams, besides painstakingly composing his photos and sometimes waiting the better part of a day for just the right lighting, also meticulously developed his own film, dodging and burning to perfection. Henri Cartier-Bresson, on the other hand, would compose quickly, then send his photos out for processing. For some photographers, once the “decisive moment” has passed, that’s all she wrote. The moment’s been and gone, the photo’s in the can. End of story. For others, there’s not so much a decisive moment as a cascade of events that in some sense prolongs the photo, both before and after the shutter’s been pressed.

I don’t think they had CVS or Walgreens (much less Photoshop) in those days, but photographers have tended to fall on a continuum between those two points. The question that always hovers over us is, “When is this photo done?” Is it when the photo’s taken, frozen on film or encoded on a memory card? Is it after we’ve made a few small crops and tweaks? After we’ve processed it more than your average can of deviled ham? Or just after we’ve paused to vacuum the cracker crumbs out of our bellybuttons?*

When I started in photography, my enthusiasm for post-production was matched only by how awful I tended to be at it. Sometimes it was because I was using the wrong tools for the job; other times, it was because I was using what could very well have been the right tools, just with a little too much enthusiasm. To say I was heavy-handed sometimes would be an understatement… think of the photographic equivalent of opening a jar of pickles with a hammer, and you’d have a pretty good idea of the end results.

Over time, I’ve learned (I hope) to edit with a lighter hand. A touch of sharpening, a few tweaks to the lighting or white balance, maybe a crop… Which isn’t to say that sometimes I’m still not tempted to throw everything at the photo just to see what sticks.

But enough about me. What about where that leaves you? How do you know when the photo’s finished, what the right kind, or amount, of processing is?

You just do.

"Meh" Angel

What did you have in mind before you made the photo, as you set up your shot and chose your settings? How about when you took the photo? What was your subject trying to say, or what were you trying to say through your subject? If you’ve gotten your answer straight from the camera, lucky you, you’re done. If there was something else you had in mind, or in your mind’s eye, then post-process to your heart’s content ’til you get it where you want it. This is the photographer’s equivalent of “season to taste.”

Of course, tastes vary. What looks “artistic” to you might, to someone else, be not unlike dumping turmeric over grapefruit, or playing a kazoo during one of the more somber bits of a requiem. What’s “done” to you might be “overdone” to someone else (maybe they prefer RAW, or at least medium rare). That’s okay too.

Tastes also change. You may start out preferring a very deliberate process, with great care and time taken at each step, only to move toward a quicker and less self-conscious process (and/or vice versa). That’s fine. It’s all part of the (post-) process. At the end of the day, it’s your muse you’ve got to follow, and your vision to which you’re accountable.

*Just making sure you’re paying attention.

More Photographic Randomness

Got a Light?

It occurred to me tonight, as I was looking through my Favorites in my browser for something to write about, that I’ve got a lot of little odds and ends worth sharing that wouldn’t necessarily sustain a post on their own. I’ve decided to just lump them in one place and let ’em simmer for a bit.


Allen Murabayashi’s Rant: I Love Photography might just be the best thing you read on photography this year.


Grover, portrait photographer:

Hopefully Grover doesn’t take the “professional” photography advice from 27b/6 seriously (warning: do not drink anything while reading this post)

Dorothy Brown gives photographers a reminder that once in a while, we really should step in front of the lens instead of spening all our time behind it.

Sure Beats Putting Posters on Telephone Poles: check out, a repository of lost cameras…

A bit of photography humor from the reliably awesome xkcd:


Now you, too, can look like a supermodel, thanks to Fotoshop by Adobé:

And, finally, The New York Times’ “Lens” blog has a photo essay made up of contest entries from Kodak’s early days.


Photo Opportunity: Perigee Moon, 5/5/12

Get your cameras (and tripods) ready. Tomorrow night is a Perigee Moon, when the moon will be closer to the Earth (and appear somewhat larger in the sky) than at any time this year. If it’s your first time shooting the moon, check out How To Shoot The Moon for tips (and go easy on the Cinco de Mayo libations).


Follow Friday

Getting Ready For Her Closeup

Haven’t done this in a while. Here are a few photographers worth getting to know, and where to find them:

Zack Arias:

You want to start a “revolution” in photography, yeah. Whatever. You’re not. None of us are. Shut up and go shoot pictures.

Zack’s a commercial and editorial photographer who’s based in Atlanta, Georgia, but looking at his portfolio, you get the impression that he’s not home very often. His client list is as varied as the locations in which he’s worked: Spin, the Alternative Press, Carter’s / OshKosh, and USA Today have all featured his photos, and he’s shot in New York, Dubai, and India (among other locales).

Forget all that. Visit his site. Don’t just look at the photos, even though they’re gorgeous. Listen to, and read, what the man’s got to say, as in this recent post from Dubai (make sure you scroll to the end). What makes him worth following is that he’s willing to share the good, bad, and ugly of what he’s learned.

Twitter: @zarias

Chase Jarvis:

Find your thing and do that thing better than anybody else does that thing even if you think
that thing has no value because I promise you that it does. And I promise you that other people will see this value too.

Chase is equal parts videographer, photographer, and motivational speaker. He’s another photographer who’s not afraid to give back, and who’s an unfailing booster of other good photographers with something to say… in fact, it was through a post on his blog ages back that I started to follow Zack Arias. He’s not one to rest on his laurels, or on all the awards or accolades he’s gotten. Take a gander at his book The Best Camera is the One That’s With You, and for a good example of why you need to read his blog, check out The Hit List: 13 Things Crucial For Your Success [In Any Field]. Whether or not his style is your cup of tea, if you’re interested in upping your mental game as a photographer, Jarvis’s website should be one of your first stops.

Twitter: @chasejarvis

Sabrina Henry:

This journey of mine has no planned route but it does have a purpose: to express what I see and how I see it.

Sabrina Henry’s site, which launched late in 2008, has charted her unique vision and the journey she’s taken in getting there. In common with Jarvis and Arias, she’s not only a dedicated sharer and teacher, she’s also interested in pushing (or just eliminating) the boundaries in collaboration between photographers (read this post, a new IDEA, to see what I mean). In addition to her own site, Sabrina is also an active contributor at Craft & Vision and Rear Curtain. 

Twitter: @sabrinahenry

Photojournalism Links:

Sites that share photos are a dime a dozen, and I personally think that half of them exist mostly as aggregators and search engine magnets. Happily, that’s not the case with Photojournalism Links, curated by Mikko Takkunen. Takkunen’s own work is mostly journalistic, and with Photojournalism Links, he collects and shares some of the best of what’s out there in journalistic and documentary photography. While print journalism has taken a beating in recent years, and online journalism still seems to be finding its form and voice, there’s ample evidence on display here that regardless of how things have turned out with their various outlets, there are still plenty of great photographers doing great work, even if it’s a bit more challenging to find it than it used to be.

Twitter: @photojournalism