January 31, 2013 | Leave a Comment
In this episode of Real Exposures, David Brommer and I speak about a variety of topics including the value of photography workshops, harnessing creativity, and integrating spirituality in your work.
View my presentations Process & Game Changers in the B&H Event Space here.
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on exploration.
“Not all who wander are lost.” – J R R Tolkien
“I’m not lost. I’m exploring.” – Jana Stanfield
“It’s important for the explorer to be willing to be led astray.” – Roger von Oech
“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” – Ansel Adams
“You can accelerate your development by giving yourself a fresh set of challenges, or the same set viewed from a different angle, every day. Explore a different path – if it’s a dead end, explore another.” – Paul Foxton
“An artist has to be a little like Lewis and Clark, always exploring in new, uncharted directions.” - C W Mundy
“All art is a kind of exploring. To discover and reveal is the way every artist sets about his business.” – Robert Flaherty
“An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.” – Henri Matisse
“I’m attracted to images that come from a personal exploration of a subject matter. When they have a personal stamp to them, then I think it becomes identifiable.” – Leonard Nimoy
“Acting is constant exploration.” – Paul Builfoyle
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E L Doctorow
“Meaning is not thought up and then written down. The act of writing is an act of thought. All writing is experimental in the beginning. It is an attempt to solve a problem, to find a meaning, to discover its own way towards a meaning.” – Donald Murray
“I do not explain, I explore.” – Marshal McLuhan
“This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.” – John Steinbeck
“That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.” – Leonard Nimoy
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T S Eliot
I find this image supremely challenging – because of other people’s reactions to it.
The first time I exhibited this image, over the space of a weekend, in front of this image, four women shared stories of personal loss – a friend, a son, a husband, a father. Over the years, this has happened more than sixteen times Years later, in front of this image, in the same location in the same room, I found myself discussing the death of my first wife with one of the first women to share her own story of personal loss. I could pass this off as coincidence, but that would be irrational. While it sheds a little light on this mystery, Jung’s concept of synchronicity furthers rather than solves it. I simply can’t explain this. This challenges me – and others. Though largely formed of conjecture, the discussions are interesting. Specific combinations of qualities, universal color codes, sacred geometry, archetypes, intuition, precognition … theories multiply. The mystery remains.
When I made this image I wasn’t aware of the themes of death and loss weighing on my mind or heart. I was totally absorbed in making the image. Now, it’s almost impossible for me not to think of it, though I can still see much more in this image.
What people share about works of art may change their own and other people’s relationships to them. What the artist shares about their relationships to the works of art they create often changes the relationships their viewers strike up with them. This process is often encouraged and sought out. It can work the other way too. What people share about an artist’s works of art may change the artist’s relationship with his or her own work. While this type of process is less typical, it raises an interesting set of questions to consider, “When, where, and in what ways is encouraging this exchange most beneficial?”
The process of communicating the experiences stimulated by works of art and the results of those interactions, which continue spreading in many ways, often producing both intended and unintended consequences, is part of the life of a work of art. Though not entirely in the control of the artist, it is not separate from the work of art. Works of art connect us in unique ways.
It’s interesting that the amount of energy imbued in a work of art is not limited to the amount of energy invested by the artist, more is added through others’ experiences of them. How strongly a work of art does this is one criteria, among many, for evaluating its quality and success.
How many ways can you encourage meaningful discussion about your images?
How many ways can you seek useful feedback about your images?
How many ways can you give yourself useful feedback about your images?
January 29, 2013 | Leave a Comment
Julieanne Kost showcases the most exciting new features from Photoshop CS6 and Camera Raw.
January 26, 2013 | Leave a Comment
In this B&H Event Space seminar, David Brommer covers the basic concepts of composition as established by the masters of the Renaissance. Commencing with the classic rule of thirds and leaping into theories of color and balance, David touches upon a range of topics, including image construction, positive and negative space, as well as other advanced composition.
I had a marvelous time in Uyuni, Bolivia with Seth Resnick and Eric Meola after our recent Atacama desert adventure in Argentina. (Find out about our Dec 6-14, 2013 Atacama workshop here.)
These three new images are the first of many. They’re quite similar to several continuing bodies of work – Reflection, Exhalation, and Refraction – and they are also distinctly different. (Preview the Blurb books for each series here.) They are also related to another series currently in development that I’ll share soon. Which series are they a part of? Are they a part of many series?Are they a separate series?
Two previously released images are from the same location, but they don’t have the light effects. Are they a part of the same series?
Why don’t I just title the images with a place and date? Because these images are statements about internal truths rather than external facts.
It would be easy to say, “Use any title you want. You’re the artist!” While it’s harder to do, I think that titles work best when they honor the content of the work and communicate that effectively to others.
It takes time to work these things out. There will be more new images. And, my understanding of this work will grow. How long this process may continue is unknown. But I need to title these images – soon.
It’s Untitled for now. But, not for long.
What would you title these images?
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on experimentation.
“There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge… observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.” – Denis Diderot
“Observation is a passive science, experimentation an active science.” – Claude Bernard
“The true method of knowledge is experiment.” — William Blake
‘Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.’ — Marcus Aurelius
“Doubt the conventional wisdom unless you can verify it with reason and experiment.” – Steve Albini
“It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.” – Galileo Galilei
“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” — Spencer Silver
‘Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.’ — M. C. Escher
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The real measure of success is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours.” — Thomas Alva Edison
‘When you’re experimenting you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, and you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion.’ — Fred Astaire
“It is only through failure and through experiment that we learn and grow.” — Isaac Stern
“The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.” – Charles F. Kettering
“No experiment is ever a complete failure. It can always be used as a bad example.” – Paul Dickson
“There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller
“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.” – Tom Krause
“The true worth of an experimenter consists in his pursuing not only what he seeks in his experiment, but also what he did not seek.” – Claude Bernard
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The combination of experience and experimentation will ultimately yield a personal sound.” – Mark White
“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” – Madonna
“To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching Man to regard himself as an experiment in the realization of God, to regard his hands as God’s hand, his brain as God’s brain, his purpose as God’s purpose. He must regard God as a helpless Longing, which longed him into existence by its desperate need for an executive organ.”- George Bernard Shaw
While studying painting in college, I was given the assignment of painting night. After dark, I took my paint and canvas out into the night – and couldn’t see either. So I found a portable light source, which made them so bright that I couldn’t see beyond them. Next, I used a camera to make photographs to paint from and colors became distorted and moving objects blurred or disappeared altogether. I ultimately ended up painting from memory, drawing on all of my accumulated memories from these attempts to make the final images.
Much later, working with digital imagery, I returned to this challenge. Wanting to avoid the distortions I had encountered before I took a clue from Hollywood, shooting by day and color adjusting those images to look like night. Realizing that the hard multi-colored points of light rendered by the camera eye did not look like what I saw with my naked I, I began digitally drawing stars as I saw them.
I found other people’s reactions to these images fascinating. Knowing that long exposures were necessary to make photographs in low light, photographers would ask me, “How did you get these exposures?” Familiar with the relative relationship of specific stars in the sky, astronomers would ask me, “Where did you find these constellations?” What each viewer knew changed the way they saw, the questions they asked, and their final reaction.
In order to see more, to see more deeply, and to see in more ways, I find myself constantly challenging what I think I know and striving to learn more in as many ways as I can think of.
How many ways does what you know help you make stronger images?
How many ways does what you know get in the way of your making stronger images?
How many ways can you increase the positive and reduce the negative impacts of what you know on your image making?
Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on passion.
“Passion is the genesis of genius.” – Anthony Robbins
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Ferdinand Foch
“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” – John Wesley
“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.” – Charles M. Schwab
“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E. M. Forster
“Purpose may point you in the right direction but it’s passion that propels you.” – Travis McAshan
“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.” – Denis Diderot
“Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.” — Martha Graham.
“What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire.” – Stanley Kunitz
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
“Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.” – Steve Pavlina
“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin
“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.” – Anthony Robbins
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell,
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.” – Federico Fellini
“With out passion you don’t have energy, with out energy you have nothing.” – Donald Trump
“He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
“A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means” – William Hazlitt
“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” – D.H. Lawrence
“Never underestimate the power of passion.” – Eve Sawyer
“Rest in reason; move in passion” – Khalil Gibran
“Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
What I don’t know makes this image more interesting.
Several years after making this image, I couldn’t remember whether I had captured the snow photographically or rendered it digitally or if the appearance of snow was created with a combination of both. It was one of the few times where I felt my experience of my images was closer to the experience others have of them. In this instance, I no longer suffered from the curse of knowledge. I was confronted with a mystery. Rather than quickly rushing to open the file and settle the question, as only I could, I chose to cultivate the question and see what useful insights I could find in doing so.
I looked very closely at the image and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at other people’s images of snow and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at snow and saw more than I had seen before. Because of what I didn’t know, I knew more. Because I questioned what I learned (and the ways I learned), I learned more. Not knowing, can be wonderful! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you don’t know.
Many people look to photographs to confirm what they already know or think they know. I prefer to look to photographs to challenge, expand, and enrich what I know. In works of art, sometimes the things that remain unanswered and remain open become more valuable than the things that are answered and closed. The life of a good photograph extends far beyond itself and our initial experience(s) of it.
How do you know what you know?
How many ways can you challenge what you know in order to experience more?
keep looking »
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