“Sean Kernan shares exciting exercises to help you tap into your well of creativity as a photographer.”

View my video conversation with Sean Kernan here.

Read another conversation with Sean Kernan here.

Learn more about Sean Kernan here.

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Members of my newsletter Collectors Alert just received a very special offer. Two prints for one very low price. It’s the best deal I’ve ever offered.

Collectors Alert will give you previews of new images, tell you the stories behind them, offer you special discounts, and alert you about upcoming exhibits and publications.

Sign up for my newsletter Collectors Alert here.

Inquire by emailing me at jpc@johnpaulcaponigro.com.

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I have been honing my photographic skills over the last several years. Making strides in composition, story telling and mechanics of photography, I still lacked some finer processing skills and the art of printing. I decided that a Print is the ultimate goal of a photographer. There is just something very tangible, very permanent about a print. Anybody can flick though a series of images on an electronic device. But actually taking the time to make a print, matting, framing ,hung on wall and lit well -takes considerable more effort. It also then requires more contemplation by the audience. I think they place more weight and value on the print than in electronic form. They are more willing to commit more time with the print.

During the span of a year, I completed both of John Paul’s Intermediate and Advance printing classes. At that point I believed that I had achieved the skills required to attempt my own Print Portfolio.

There is just something substantial about the physical print. Let’s face it, we can casually look through ton’s of images on our electronic devices. They are there and then gone. But having a book full of prints is something completely different. You engage two more of your senses, touch and smell. Every book has a certain feel and personal experience to it. It evokes more of an emotional response than the electronic equivalent.

So my goal with this project was several fold.

1. Create a body of work of 24 images
2. Improve my image processing
3. Improve my print quality / skills
4. Share with as many people as I can

A decision had to be made on the format of the book. Landscape, Portrait or Square. I deiced that the square format was the most versatile of the three. With a square book I could print any aspect ratio that I wanted and not feel constrained to a particular style. Since I knew this book was going to be a work in progress and may change over time, I thought being versatile was a good trade off versus being locked into a portrait or landscape format.

The next decision that I had to make was the size of the book. I based this partly on common size of paper available. The other influence was what kind of reaction I wanted from people when they viewed the book. I made 5 prints on 13×14 inch and 17×18 inch papers and then just stapled them together to simulate the two sizes of the book I was considering. I printed horizontal, vertical and square images. I had my own opinion and then solicited several peoples opinions. The larger size won hands down. You would not think that 4 extra inches would make that dramatic of a difference but it really did. It took the scale of the book from something casual to something cherished. The larger size was just so much more engaging.

The paper choice for my Epson 9900 printer, (after some experimentation) Epson Ultrasmooth. It brought an extra dimension of depth to my ice images. The warmth of the paper gave an extra separation to the printed images. I decided that the easiest form factor would be to use 17″ wide roll paper. Then I would just allow the printer to cut the sheets to a length of 18″. This way I would not have to do any post printing trimming of the prints.

For the physical book, I had a custom binding post book and slip cover made. I choose the binding post style so that it would be easy to replace prints and so that I could completely change the theme of the book if I desired. For materials I choose Black on Black on Black. This might be generic, or called corporate, but I liked the neutrality of it and its future potential. Each of the three surfaces were a different material, so that added a subtle variation to the book. I added just a splash of Red into my debossed logo. The inner front and back sheets are sanded mylar. This essentially adds an end sheet to the book and enhances the experience when opening the book.

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I learned a lot through this process. It was a great growth experience. Having a project focuses your mind and creativity. Completing a project gives you a sense of accomplishment. Sharing the experience – I hope I can inspire all of you to do something wonderful.

Find out more about Michael Quinn here.

Read more Alumni Success Stories here.

Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, ca.1980

Enj0y this collection of quotes by photographer Gary Winogrand.

“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“The photo is a thing in itself. And that’s what still photography is all about.” – Garry Winogrand

“I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“I have a burning desire to see what things look like photographed by me.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand

“In the end, maybe the correct language would be how the fact of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts transforms it. A photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else.” – Garry Winogrand

“The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

“There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described I like to think of photographing as a two way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand

“What I write here is a description of what I have come to understand about photography, from photographing and from looking at photographs. A work of art is that thing whose form and content are organic to the tools and materials that made it. Still photography is a chemical, mechanical process. Literal description or the illusion of literal description, is what the tools and materials of still photography do better than any other graphic medium. A still photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space. Understanding this, one can postulate the following theorem: Anything and all things are photographable. A photograph can only look like how the camera saw what was photographed. Or, how the camera saw the piece of time and space is responsible for how the photograph looks. Therefore, a photograph can look any way. Or, there’s no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs. I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the picture as judgment that the photograph is good.” – Garry Winogrand

“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.”- Garry Winogrand

“You see something happening and you bang away at it. Either you get what you saw or you get something else – and whichever is better you print.” – Garry Winogrand

“There is no special way a photograph should look.” – Garry Winogrand

“A photograph can look any way.” – Garry Winogrand

“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.” – Garry Winogrand

“Photos have no narrative content. They only describe light on surface.” – Garry Winogrand

“For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film… if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better.” – Garry Winogrand

“I don’t have messages in my pictures…The true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film.” – Garry Winogrand

“I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions.” – Garry Winogrand

“I get totally out of myself. It’s the closest I come to not existing, I think, which is the best – which is to me attractive.” – Garry Winogrand

“I really try to divorce myself from any thought of possible use of this stuff. That’s part of the discipline. My only purpose while I’m working is to try to make interesting photographs, and what to do with them is another act – an alter consideration. Certainly while I’m working, I want them to be as useless as possible.” – Garry Winogrand

“No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something.” – Garry Winogrand

“The only thing that’s difficult is reloading when things are happening. Can you get it done fast enough?” – Garry Winogrand

“There are no photographs while I’m reloading” – Garry Winogrand

“You have a lifetime to learn technique. But I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter.” – Garry Winogrand

“There are things I back off from trying to talk about, you know. Particularly my own work. Also, there may be things better left unsaid. At times I’d much rather talk about other (people’s) work.” – Garry Winogrand

“Great photography is always on the edge of failure.” – Garry Winogrand

 View 12 Great Photographs By Gary Winogrand here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographer’s Quotes.

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Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, ca.1980

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View more 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers collections here.

Read Quotes by Gary Winogrand here.

View a documentary on Gary Winogrand here.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator) shares his thoughts on creativity.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Creativity Videos.


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