15 Questions Answered

October 29, 2014 | Leave a Comment |

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Alumni Dianne Morton interviewed me as part of her graduate studies.

She asked great questions, which I recommend you answer yourself.

Here are my answers.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I was always driven to make images – even before I could talk. I was fascinated with two things about photography in particular; one, photography can be used to explore abstraction and metaphor; two, two people using the same equipment side-by-side can make very different images that reflect their personal natures. Pursuing painting first, the invention of Photoshop was my personal tipping point that made photography my primary medium.

Which photographers influenced or currently influence you?

Early influences include my father, Eliot Porter, and Ansel Adams. Photographers who challenge my current thinking in stimulating ways include Richard Misrach, Edward Burtinsky, Chris Jordan and Joel Peter Witkin. Many of my most important artistic influences come from people working in media other than photography – painters, filmmakers, sculptors, writers and even composers/musicians.

I’ve written quite a bit about my influences on my blog – and I plan to write more. It’s a useful process I recommend to everyone.

What motivates you to continue making photographs (intellectually or emotionally)?

I love doing the work. It’s endlessly challenging and rewarding.

Is there one particular piece of advice you could give to someone who has just picked up a camera for the first time?

Get clear about what you want to do and why. Only pursue opportunities that further that in some way. Make plans but stay flexible so you can make the most of every new opportunity.

How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

I decided to do it and worked hard to make it happen. I made a plan. I pursued new opportunities that supported my long term goals. I didn’t plan to write, make public presentations, lead workshops, or consult for corporations; those opportunities presented themselves and they’ve all contributed to my overall success and the fulfillment of my long term goals.

Where do you think you have succeeded or failed?

I’ve succeeded in being a positive influence on the medium of photography and making positive contributions to many members of the photographic community. I haven’t succeeded in making substantial contributions that address my environmental concerns – yet.

What’s in your camera bag and what technology/software do you use?

Canon 5DMKIII and Lightroom/Photoshop. See my website for more on the tools I use,.

What is one thing you will never get tired of photographing?

Nature.

What is one thing you do NOT like to photograph?

Medical trauma.

Jump back in time….what would you do differently if you could?  Do you have a cautionary tale?

I’d steal a little time every day to work on my most important goals. Compound interest pays big dividends. Big chunks of time are hard to find and often compromised or stolen completely. I’m still trying to get this right. Practice makes better. No matter where we are, I recommend we all start practicing this now.

Among your works, which one is your favorite?  Why?

Exhalation I. It heralded a personal break through when my creative voice became stronger and clearer. I’ve had more responses to that image than any other, some of them very personal and touching.

Here’s a link to something I wrote about Exhalation I.

If you could sit across any one photographer with a big cup of awesome coffee, and talk photography/shop for an hour, who would it be and what would you talk about?

What a great question! It has so many possible answers. The final decision would be based on how honest the other person would be and how much they would be willing to reveal. And an hour’s not enough. How about an evening with dinner and wine?

I’d like to sit down with Alfred Steiglitz and Minor White and go further/deeper with the concept of equivalence. I have a feeling part of the solution would be to explore White’s mention of resonance.

I’d like to sit down with Eliot Porter (and possibly Ansel Adams at the same time, if there was total trust and no posturing), to review the history of photographers making environmental contributions and brainstorm ways of making more effective environmental contributions today (if he/they were up to date on what’s happened since his/their death). But then, after engaging this question, I realize I should do this now with Robert Glenn Ketchum. Maybe I should even write a book about it. See what a great question that was?

What’s your favorite quote?

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Above all, what inspires your art the most?

Nature.

Finally, can you sum up your photography in just four words?

Creative Conscientious Environmental Interaction

Enjoy more interviews here.

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Photographer Eric Meola and I share our insights on the creative process in this three-part conversation. In the third installment we discuss the role of chance and surprise in creativity.

EM: In describing how he wrote “Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan said that he found himself writing what he called “this long piece of vomit, 20 pages long.”

“And out of it,” he recalled, “I took ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and made it as a single. And I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me.”

If nothing else, Dylan has always been incredibly prolific. “Practice, practice, practice,” says Bruce Springsteen. And then one day there’s your father’s image “Galaxy Apple.” Is that part of what process is about … the yin and yang between chaos and discipline?

JP: Process is how you get there. It doesn’t just happen. And it unfolds through time. The final results may have come quickly, but it took a long time for Dylan to get into the specific state of flow that would produce his song. The same is true for everyone, including photographers.

This reminds me of a time when I introduced a friend of mine to my father. He said, “Oh, you’re that photographer. Gosh I’d like to have your career. All those 1/125ths of a second. What’s that add up to? A 20-minute career?”

Dylan’s statement, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” seems related to Picasso’s “It takes a long time to grow young.”

EM: And Dylan as a teenager in Hibbing, Minnesota, used to listen all night to Hank Williams and Little Richard on the radio—it was all part of the “process” of gearing up for “Bringin’ It All Back Home.”

You mention using a Spirograph as a child to make circles, ellipses and various radiating designs. And some of these patterns continue to show up in your latest imagery. How important is a sense of wonder to photography, or any art form?

JP: How important is a sense of wonder to a life well lived? I think it’s essential. Keeping our sense of wonder alive and well increases our openness, curiosity, sensitivity, perception, playfulness, passion, pleasure, and many other positive benefits. This is related to keeping our inner child or the childlike (not childish) aspects of ourselves active and vibrant.

EM: We’ve discussed chaos versus discipline in art. What about a happy accident—serendipity? What role does “chance” play in process? In the film Pollock, Ed Harris shows Jackson Pollock stumbling onto the process for his drip paintings. Do you ever look at something you’ve done or have been thinking about and suddenly make a leap to a concept that had not occurred to you before? I’m also thinking of Kubrick’s famous visual metaphor early in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ape throws a bone that morphs into a rotating space station.

JP: There are two questions here. My answer to both is yes …

Read the rest of Part 3 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 1 here.

Read my conversation with Eric Meola about Eric Meola here.

Preview my ebook Process here.

Find out about my exhibit Process here.

“World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, 2013 Harman-Eisner artist in residence, discusses his far-reaching vision for how artists can practice their citizenship, as individuals and through institutions—and how the arts fulfill a fundamental human need by forging and strengthening community.”

View The Essential Collection Of Creativity Videos here.

Read The Essential Collection Of Creativity Quotes here.

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Photoshop CC’s recent addition to its Blur Gallery, Path Blur offers a creative and flexible way to add directional motion to your images in postproduction.

The Blur Gallery now has five effects (Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt-Shift, Path Blur and Spin Blur) that can be controlled from a single panel. Once you’ve accessed one, you can quickly access the others at the same time, enabling you to create complex blur effects in a single stop. Path Blur alone is capable of delivering lots of complex motion effects with one simple path. It’s likely it will change the way you expose, encouraging you to be more experimental. It even may open a window into a whole new way of seeing for you. It’s astonishing! You’ve got to try it to believe it—and to truly understand it.

Read all the details on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

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During my recent Fall Foliage / Acadia Maine Workshop we explored many of the highlights of Acadia National Park; Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Monument Beach, Sieur de Monts, Wonderland and more …  including an overnight stay on the Schoodic Peninsula at The Schoodic Institute).

We had great color, great weather, and great light. Great weather means a little bit of everything; clear sunny days with direct light, overcast days with soft indirect light, fog and mist, even a little rain (perfectly timed, mostly over night). It was an almost perfect study of weather, the many lights it brings, and the many moods it creates. We oscillated between two powerfully magnetic poles, the colorful forests and dramatic seacoast.

People ask me if it’s challenging to make images in a place I’ve visited so many times. I tell them its like reconnecting with an old friend; the relationship gets deeper. What’s most challenging is that many of the subjects don’t complement and even challenge key aspects of my life’s work, so I take a lighter more personal approach and rather than rushing to finished professional results I engage in deep play, asking many questions and trying many things, both new and old, to find more clarity in my creative life.

Here are a few of the sketches I produced on sight with my iPhone.

You can enjoy many more images on Google+.

Find out about my next Fall Foliage / Acadia Maine Workshop here.

Email info@johnpaulcaponigro.com to receive advance notice on our next Acadia Maine Fall Foliage Workshop.

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“Bestselling author (Return to Love, Healing the Soul of America), a world-renowned teacher, and one of the most important inspirational thinkers of our time, Marianne shares the spiritual principles on creativity and leadership.”

View more Creativity Videos here.

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Learn how to make the most of your images!

Come join us for a 3 day no-holds-barred seminar on digital image processing led by two long-time industry leaders!

Demonstrations will include essential new features you need to know about in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC. Master the most advanced cataloging, keywording, searching, and filtering capabilities of Lightroom. Learn best practices for using Lightroom at home, on the road, and even on a network. See how you can efficiently share your images in slideshows, web galleries, social networks and print. You’ll know what to do in Lightroom and what to do in Photoshop, when to do it, and how to move back and forth seamlessly between the two.

We’ll cover all the ins and outs of developing Raw files. You’ll see what every slider in Lightroom’s Develop Module / Adobe Camera Raw does. And then we’ll show you how to double process and even use Camera Raw as a filter allowing you to use all of Photoshop’s advanced masking capabilities. You’ll see two top pros process their own files and each other’s files.

You’ll be dazzled by game-changing multi-shot processing techniques – including HDR, panorama, focus-stacking and more. You’ll be wowed by our creative uses of Photoshop’s most advanced sharpening and blurring tools. Witness the most advanced color adjustment strategies you’ll find anywhere. Combine them with the most sophisticated selections and masks to master the interpretive art of dodging and burning.

You’ll be able to take your files to a whole new level!

Register now!

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These 21 photographers have bundled together 39 different photography products; including training, tools, and much more.

Over 70 hours of training video

14 Photography ebooks

300+ Lightroom Presets

500+ Textures

And much more more!

It’s an incredible value!

Purchase The Complete Photography Bundle II here now!

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5daydeal-sale-dates

It’s only available for 5 days!

The sale ends Oct 20 at noon EST.

Purchase it here now!

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“Bring the power of desktop apps like Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC to your phone or tablet with all-new connected mobile apps. Capture colors and other inspiration, sketch and draw, and edit photos and videos — all on the go. Your Creative Profile lets you bring those assets into companion desktop and mobile apps, so you have everything you need to do your best work anywhere.”

Adobe just released 9 new mobile apps. Six of them are extensions of its major desktop apps. Photoshop Mix and Photoshop Sketch and Lightroom Mobile are for photographers; Illustrator Draw and Illustrator Line are for graphic artists; and Premiere Clip is for videographers. The other three allow you to capture content from the real world and quickly turn it into assets for use within the Creative Cloud; Adobe Brush and Adobe Color (formerly Kuler) and Adobe Shape.

My favorite? Adobe Illustrator Draw (formerly Ideas). I use it all the time!

Find out about these new Adobe Apps here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Photoshop Mix here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Lightroom Mobile here.

Find out about Adobe Photoshop Sketch here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Brush here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Illustrator Draw here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Illustrator Line here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Shape here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Color here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Voice here.

Watch the demo for Adobe Clip here.

Find out about Adobe Ink & Slide drawing tools.

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Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on Simplicity.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ― Confucius

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” ― John Maeda

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” ― E.F. Schumacher

“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” – Edward Tuft

“Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.” – Alan Perlis

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” – Martin H. Fischer

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs

“Simplicity is the outcome of technical subtlety. It is the goal, not the starting point.” – Maurice Saatchi

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler.” – Edward Teller

“The simplest things are often the truest.” – Richard Bach

“A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life.” – Winston Churchill

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” ― Isaac Newton

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy” ― Isaac Newton

“As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.” – Albrecht Durer

“I am not a genius, I am just curious. I ask many questions. and when the answer is simple, then God is answering.” ― Albert Einstein

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

“The greatest ideas are the simplest.” ― William Golding

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” ― Leo Tolstoy

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.” – Bruce Lee

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” – Plato

“Simplicity is the glory of expression.” – Walt Whitman

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.” – William of Occam

“Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” – Frederic Chopin

“Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one’s self by entering into the real sense of things.” – Constantin Brancusi

“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” ― August Rodin

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac

View The Essential Collection of Creativity Quotes here.

Discover more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.


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