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Jose Senna

While Maine’s Acadia National Park is one of the most visited parks in the nation, most visitors don’t make it up to the lesser known Schoodic peninsula (about an hour and half away from Bar Harbor by road, less by boat).

During my Fall Foliage workshop we immersed ourselves in this enchanting location for two days, staying at the Schoodic Institute.

1_Bala

Balachandar Venkatesan

2_Woody

Woody Stone

3_Scott

Scott Tansey

4_Thomas

Thomas Barothy

5_Kathy

Kathy Bristor

6_Joe

Al DeValle

7_Barbara

Barbara Wrubel

8_Mike

Mike Buffis

9_Sherry

Sherry Teefey

10_Bill

Bill Mauzy

Now that you’ve seen participants’ impressions in images read what they shared in words.

Read more

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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