Congratulations! Alumni Andy Batt’s new book Camera & Craft was voted one of the best photo books of 2014 by! (Yes. Many of my alumni are or become working pros.)

“An instructional photography book at heart, Camera & Craft is refreshingly conversational. It does dive into the nitty gritty of professional workflow, but it also throws working photographers from a variety of disciplines into the mix to share their stories and working preferences so that you can build the foundation to move your photographic work to the next level. Once you understand and harness the power of the technical tools at your disposal — combining your camera with your craft— you will become a better artist too.”

Here’s what Andy shared about his new book.

“As a way of going about this backwards, let me start with something that happened at the end. After a year of writing the book Camera & Craft, I went to Argentina with JP and Seth. This was a gift from my wife and business partner Therese. It was a perfect gift—it was an immersion in getting my head back together, and finding time for my own photography. It was an amazing time, and the work I created there is still influencing me and moving me forward. This much needed photographic adventure came right on the heels of delivering my final draft of Camera & Craft to my co-author Candace Dobro so she could do an amazing job of polishing my words and making sure that our book was readable and grammatically correct.

The book was a project that came directly from my teaching the online Digital Masters of Photography program for SVA. My experiences there gave me a good idea of an audience for this book: the inspired amateur and the dedicated student of photography. I wanted to craft a book that was conversational and technical, and meant to be read like a class, from front to back. To be blunt: these days anyone can take a good picture. Smart cameras, good automatic software, Instagram and iPhones—all of these enable anybody to call themselves a photographer. So what qualities drive the rest of us? What is it that distinguishes the professional and the fine art photographer from everyone else? One of the answers to that question—in my opinion—is mastery over the tools you use. Whether it’s cameras, lenses or software, I believe that understanding how they work leads to mastery, and mastery opens doors to creativity. My hope is that emerging photographers will learn to put their cameras on manual and take charge of their photography, and become better artists. ” – Andy Batt

Get the book here.

Find out more about Andy Batt here.

Connect with Andy on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more Alumni Success Stories here.

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David Reinfeld’s new photography exhibit Ideograms opens Jan 29 and runs through Feb 15 at the Piermonts Fine Arts Gallery in Piermont, NY

David Reinfeld describes the work in his new exhibit.

“Intention,  Randomness, and Meaning. This is the central theme of my upcoming exhibit Ideograms at the Piermont Fine Arts Gallery from Jan 29- Feb 15, 2015.  It is a series of images about all and nothing, the source for finding meaning and inspiration in my life. This latest series of composite images traces back to my first attempt to make a composite photograph at JP’s workshop several years ago.  His workshop was transformative for me- finally a way to express my imagination as jazz.  I’ve made thousands of composites since that time and my thinking about the composite process has come full circle.  Making a composite now feels the same as walking down the street taking traditional photographs.  Looking back, I think the idea for Ideograms came to me when I was very young; I remember going to the movies just to see the credits.  The photographs are very much a part of two aesthetic constructs- letters that intersect to create new shapes, and letters pasted on the abstract walls of our culture.  The pictures are large, up to 30 x 40”, organized by the interactions of shape and color across the span of each wall area.

When I make Ideogram images, I look for shapes and colors to create new shapes and colors, sometimes all by themselves.  At first, I felt it was important to use photographs of mine that stood strongly on their own.  Now I am more receptive to using any image, looking for constructs hidden in plain sight. Somehow pictures seem talk to each other in this process regardless of how I intervene.  My role seems to be as a guide with an ill formed idea.

I’ve always been intrigued by how letters and symbols create meaning, something from nothing, imagine that!  It’s a curious endeavor, a bit obscure, but endlessly intriguing. It’s like seeing a print come out of the developer for the first time, each time.”

Read more Alumni Success Stories here.



“Ends of the Earth is a dramatic, photographic voyage of the world’s ice caps and glaciers that depicts the magnificent beauty of the frozen landscape in large format color images.

Martyn Lucas grew up in England and was first introduced to photography by his father, a photographer who taught him composition, contrast, and how to perfectly capture a landscape.  Lucas’ natural talent for landscape photography has led him all over the world, seeing and preserving each new place through the lens of a camera.

Inspired by the Polar Regions, Lucas has quite literally travelled to the Ends of the Earth to photograph the world’s ice caps and glaciers.  These photographs, each breathtakingly beautiful, leave the viewer stunned as they are given the rare opportunity to see the vastness of Antarctica: the coldest, driest, and windiest place on Earth.  Carefully photographing the urgency of global warming and the ice melting at alarming rates, Lucas has been able to present the unseen dilemmas of the world’s climate system.

Like viewing something out of a dream, this haunting exhibition promises to deliver the extreme beauty and silence of the frozen tundra, as seen through Martyn Lucas’ artistic vision.  Each work complements the others when viewed as a whole, and yet each is a distinct work of art on its own.

The artwork of this incredible photographer is nothing short of captivating, revealing the massive size of the ice and the strong current and movement of the icy water.  Viewers are welcome to come celebrate this incredible exhibition January 10, 2015 for the opening of Ends of the Earth, located in the Bunzl Gallery.  Visitors of The Bascom also invited to Martyn Lucas’ Artist Talk and Reception Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 5 to 7 pm at The Bascom.  Experience the wonder of Martyn Lucas’ Polar Regions photography through this breathtaking assemblage of photographs. ”

For more information, please contact The Bascom at 828.526.4949 or visit

Find out more about this exhibit here.

Find out more about Martyn Lucas here.

Read more Alumni Success Stories here.


Alumni Jerry Grasso’s photographs are featured in the current issue of LensWork magazine. It’s a dream come true for him. Congratulations Jerry!

“One of my “bucket list” items was to be published in what I consider to be one of the most prestigious magazines dedicated to the promotion of fine art photography in the world today: LensWork Magazine. I have been a subscriber since 2004. In fact, I credit the podcasts of editor Brooks Jensen as one of the early influences on my artistic training. There are so many great, brief articles related to photography; more than enough food for thought.

I am humbled and honored to say that my series, “Moorish Influences”, has been accepted and will appear in the December issue #115 of LensWork. My interview and images will also appear on the Extended Edition dvd. And, one of my images even made the cover of the issue!

This series is an exploration of the progression of the impact the Moors had on Spanish architecture from 711AD to 1492AD. This impact can best be described as ordered repletions, radiating structures, and rhythmic metric patterns. These designs captured in my work are based in spirituality. The Islamic view of the world in general emphasizes and symbolizes the infinite nature of the one God. For them, there was an infinite pattern of forms that extend beyond the world and symbolizes the infinite essence of God.

I would like to thank John Paul for his training, guidance and support over the years. Also, I would like to thank my fellow Next Steppers for their encouragement and artistic suggestions that have helped me solidify my goals and techniques.

My dedicated perseverance and determination continues to sustain my passion and my vision. I look forward to my continued growth as I explore new projects and experiment with new visions. And thanks for indulging me in my moment of success!”

Order your copy here.

View Jerry’s statement here.

Find out more about Jerry Grasso here.


Louisa Paez Michelin’s new exhibit opens tonight Thursday, Dec 18 from 6-8pm in Boca Raton, Florida.


Find out more about Louisa Paez Michelin here.


Disko Bay #4, 2013

Sam Krisch’s new exhibit Elements opens at Virginia Tech in Blackburg, Virginia Friday, December 5, 2014 (5-7 pm) and runs through Sunday, February 1, 2015.

“The sheer power and splendor of nature in far-away places is the subject of Sam Krisch’s photographic practice. Over the last five years, Krisch has journeyed to remote locations ranging from the Mohave Desert to Antarctica to capture stunning images of ice formations, the raw force of turbulent waters, and empty expanses of desert landscapes. This exhibition presents a selection of the artist’s digital photographs created between 2013 and 2014, in which his approach to composition verges on the abstract, taking the work beyond documentation into a world of pristine, yet daunting, beauty. These are gorgeous, even idyllic landscapes, tinged nonetheless with the terrifying knowledge that these worlds are slipping away in an irreversible trajectory caused by human forces. Krisch lives and works in Roanoke. He is the adjunct curator of photography at the Taubman Museum of Art.”

Find out more about the exhibit Elements here.

Find out more about Sam Krisch here.

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Exhibit through December 4, 2014

“On Fertile Ground: The Wing Lee Yuen Truck Farm”

Lufrano Intercultural Gallery for Peace

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, FL

The Importance of Personal Projects – By Doug Eng

“We de-prioritize personal projects due to lack of time, commitment, or guilt about working on something that doesn’t generate income or Facebook “likes.” It’s easy to make a great snapshot or prioritize paying work, and hard to find personal projects with depth and meaning. In 2007 my family’s farm of 70 years was being sold and I struggled to find the motivation to photograph the vacated buildings and family houses. Fortunately curiosity overruled and I reconnected with a lifetime of memories of monthly trips to the farm. As I walked through the property with my camera, vague memories were brought into clear focus through the act of photography. Each space, object, and smell, triggered a recollection of my past and realignment with my own origins. The images sat on my computer for several years. In 2010 I received a grant to create an exhibit for the public. I used a framework provided by JP to bring the body of work to a completed state for exhibition with great success. In late 2013, the Lufrano Intercultural Gallery for Peace at the University of North Florida provided another opportunity to exhibit the project. I decided to re-visit all of the images, both content and process. I was surprised to find the difference 4 years made in my own interpretation of the images. Photography is a wonderful medium that allows us to continuously evolve our message. Only after I began to write about the project several years after the images were made and the land sold and cleared, did I realize the importance of creating the only visual record of this American story. I am reminded of a quote by Emmet Gowin: “There are things in your life that only you will see, stories that only you will hear. If you don’t tell them or write them down, if you don’t make the picture, these things will not be seen, these things will not be heard.” It may not be obvious to you why your personal project is important, but it is. Work on it now, before your “farm” is gone. “

Lean more about the On Fertile Ground project here.

Lean more about Doug Eng’s photography and projects here.

View more Alumni Success Stories here.


By Olaf Willoughby

“A Visual Conversation sets up a rhythm, a pattern of communicating in which images fit with one another, with a chosen text, a piece of music or artwork of any kind. It helps develop our voice and vision.

Working through a series of Visual Conversations, each becomes a stepping stone which exercises the creative muscles and takes us beyond our regular shooting routines.

Visual Conversations work so well because they are based on the centuries old principle of ‘call and response’. A tradition of improvised exchange evident in everything from Hindu spiritual chants to modern day blues/gospel and jazz. From Japanese Renga linked poetry circles to folded paper stories.

How does this work in practice? I select an image which resonates, share it with you and ask you to shoot an image which rhymes, fits or starts a conversation with the original. Pretty straightforward, although there are systematic approaches to doing this. And still more ways of building that into a dialogue.

Now what if I select a painting by Rothko, or a poem by Edgar Allen Poe or Roberta Flack singing, ‘The first time ever I saw your face’? It’s a little more difficult. It requires more intense study and understanding of the original work of art to interpret it photographically. It stretches our minds to think about art in new ways.

Or how about if we develop the conversation into a narrative through storytelling? There are multiple permutations leading into other exercises…. I’m sure you get the idea. Add into this group discussion and feedback and it becomes an exciting learning experience. Each call and response takes us out of our routine and asks us to think differently about our photography.

But that’s not all. What makes this special is that your creativity can be extended beyond assignments into the process itself. As you’d expect, some Conversations involve working solo but others take ‘the road less travelled’ and involve working together on shared projects.

There is a spectrum of co-operation in the arts. Whilst some prefer to write books alone in coffee shops, others operate in collectives. Some partner up at different stages in the production process (choreographer/dancer, author/editor) and some of the most famous simply collaborate. Think Lennon & McCartney, Picasso & Braque. Look around. Every movie, play, symphony, rock ballad, even architectural space and garden involves artists working together. Yet collaboration is rare in photography. There are examples like Bernd & Hilla Becher or today, the Starn Twins but they are few and far between.

Occasionally we catch a glimpse of the collaborative spirit in photo workshops. At the end of the day, participants gather to share their solo work and you can feel the buzz in the air as people are amazed at the different ways of seeing and shooting, even though they were often at the same location.

Sharing projects captures that buzz and helps us let go of the need to control. We both give and receive in creative decision making and come to see our own work in a different light.

I’ve experienced the benefits of Visual Conversations and collaborative projects first hand. They are fun but clearing the creative blocks arising from routine ways of working can be challenging.Expect to be jolted. But also expect to benefit from taking a different approach to your photography and returning to your personal work refreshed and enhanced.

I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Eileen McCarney Muldoon, a talented photographic artist in Jamestown, Rhode Island. We’ve captured that creative buzz and put it into a workshop. We’d be delighted if you would check it out. Even better, the course includes complimentary access to Leica equipment.

Plus a guest appearance during the week from a world renowned digital artist. I’ll leave you to guess who that might be!”

For more information contact: or

Recently I got “Discovered”. I awoke one morning to 3 emails all from strangers. The Huffington Post, UK SWNS and the UK Hot Spot Media. They were all wanting the work that I had published on the Adobe Behance website called “Greenland Reflections”. I had published several images from my trip to Greenland in 2012 as I was preparing for my return trip in 2013. I wanted to see what was working and what was missing so that I could more fully flush out a body of work. Well a blogger found me and posted my work on My Modern Met that got noticed.

This would not have happened if not for two key events. Since I began this journey in 2010 I have been working extremely hard on my vision and my mechanics. John Paul has been there on so many occasions to feed my imagination. To coach me and then to set me on my own path. There has been a lot of help freely given by the Next Step group over the years. In person, from the website and over emails. The group is so diverse in their own visions and mechanics that it allowed me to dream. To dream bigger than I ever thought I could.

The second event is sharing. You have to share your work to some degree to get noticed. I’m using Behance, Google+, Facebook and more recently Dropr. I generally only post images on Google+ and then post a link to that on my Facebook feed. You need to put your work out there for people to find. There is of course the downside to sharing as well. But you have to just take the risk and get yourself out there.

I have been trying to write something to accompany the images that I post. It generally has to have a theme that the image pairs well with. I think that sharing your thoughts along with your vision makes the work somehow more personal, more intimate, more intriguing. I think that it allows the audience to connect with me on some level.
In summary – Dream big, really Big. Then work hard to get there. Then allow your work to be seen. Allow yourself to be known.

Learn more about Michael and see more of his work here.

Collaborative Creativity – Olaf Willoughby

March 31, 2014 | Comments Off |

Why don’t photographers collaborate more often?

Collaboration is how we get through the day. Most of us have some kind of interactive support; from partners, teachers, friends and family. It is also commonplace in science and the arts. From Marie & Pierre Curie through Rogers and Hammerstein to Picasso & Braque inventing Cubism. Andy Goldsworthy even enlists the land as his partner.

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