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Alfred Stieglitz’ extended portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe is a penetratingly honest act of love.

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Christopher Burkett’s makes accurate representation an extension of his spirituality; he celebrates Creation by faithfully transcribing “The Book Of Nature”.

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Paul Caponigro’s “Galaxy Apple” reveals a macrocosm within a microcosm, demonstrating the power of metaphor; ordinary things are seen as extraordinary.

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Eliot Porter’s photography intuited more complex realtionships in nature before the field of chaos science was popularized.

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Pollution or blood? A tense mystery is created by Edward Burtyinsky’s beautiful images of distressed landscapes.

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Richard Misrach’s Desert Cantos examines a single subject (the American desert southwest) in many different ways over a long period of time, creating a dense web of interconnections.

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Adam Fuss’ photograms, as much about shadow as light, share a stance similar to many abstract painters who point to the object created more than what it refers, while at the same time highlighting the distortions that lenses can bring to representation. The questions his work raise are generative.

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Walter Chappelle’s Metaflora series creates images with plants, electricity, and photosensitive paper in complete darkness. What else can’t we see? What would we see if we could?

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Jerry Uelsmann bring’s images in the mind’s eye into sharp focus with the most directly representational medium.

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Robert and Shana Parke-Harrison’s post-apocalyptic poems perform acts of care for the natural world despite their odds of success.

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Courageous and honest or perverse and self-indulgent? The complex mix of beauty and taboo, infused with death and sexuality, and guilded with art historical references and fine craft is extremely provocative. It’s honest but is it Truthful? Is it wise?

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Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs are all most of us see of his ephemeral earth works often made in remote locations. So what’s the real art? The performance? The object created? The photographic record? The books that collects those records? All of it?

………………..

Photographers look at and understand photographs differently than the average viewer. Their years of unique personal experience with the medium is special. For me, their insights open new windows into the medium, the world, and myself. I hope they do the same for you.

In this series of posts, each photographer selects 12 if their favorite photographs and provides a short insight into why these images are so moving to them.

I’m kicking off a series of photographer’s celebrating photographs.

View more Photographers Celebrate Photography here.

Stay tuned for upcoming additions.

View 12 Great Photographs By John Paul Caponigro here.

Read more quotes by John Paul Caponigro here.

Read our Quick Q&A here.

Read our Conversation here.

View video by John Paul Caponigro here.

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The June issue of Shutterbug features an extended interview with me and a portfolio of my work.

Find out more about Shutterbug magazine here.

Read more interviews here.

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Here are my favorite quotes by photographer John Paul Caponigro.

(Thanks to my alumni who suggested I do this. It was a useful challenge!)

“A good question has many answers.” – John Paul Caponigro

“It takes asking many questions from many perspectives to truly understand something.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Inquiry is more important than answers, for it is the questions we ask and the way in which we ask them that defines us.” – John Paul Caponigro

“How do we know what we know? Is seeing believing? Is believing seeing?” – John Paul Caponigro

“The most important question is, ‘Am I asking the most important question?’ The second most important question is, ‘Am I asking the most important question in the most important way?'” – John Paul Caponigro

“Don’t ask “‘Should I …?’. Instead, ‘Ask what happens if I …?'” – John Paul Caponigro

“Action tests ideas.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Seen from one perspective, photography is much more about elimination than inclusion. The images we make with a lens typically eliminate eighty percent of our field of view and everything that is out of our field of view. The shutter slices time, eliminating all moments before and after it opens and closes. Three dimensions are reduced to two. And in some cases color is removed. Can we accurately call these kinds of artifacts unaltered? The act of creation is an alteration.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Every photograph is altered, to one degree or another.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Images are altered in many ways, to many degrees, and for many reasons, so it’s important for viewers to be informed of both.” – John Paul Caponigro

“It’s important that we regularly reconsider, revise, and expand our practices, as our capabilities and needs evolve, both to strengthen our understanding of them and to promote our awareness of new practices and their conscientious uses.” – John Paul Caponigro

“We don’t have enough words for photography. Can you imagine writers having only one word for writing?” – John Paul Caponigro

“Listen carefully. The way(s) we speak about things is revealing.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Many times we are tempted to defer to the documents we create, rather than the direct experiences we have.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Very often there is too little information in photographs to deduce how they were made and even what they represent. We rely on context and supplemental information to confirm our observations, not simply the documents themselves.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Different people can photograph the same things with the same tools and create such different images.” – John Paul Caponigro

“We are the strongest filter we can place on the lens. We always point the lens both outward and inward.” – John Paul Caponigro

“We’re responsible for everything that’s included in the frame. We’re also responsible for what’s not included in the frame. We’re responsible for the way we frame the world.” – John Paul Caponigro

“The frame frames a frame of mind.” – John Paul Caponigro

“We see the world through our experience.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Photography extends our perception allowing us to see and experience more – second hand.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Photographs are never records of the way things are; they’re records of the way things were.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Surfaces simultaneously reveal and conceal.” – John Paul Caponigro

“All photographs are about light. The great majority of photographs record light as a way of describing objects in space. A few photographs are less about objects and more about the space that contains them. Still fewer photographs are about light itself.” – John Paul Caponigro

“A photograph is an invitation to look – and to look at looking.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Many oriental cultures make a distinction between two ways of looking – ‘hard eyes’ and ‘soft eyes’. When we look with hard eyes, we see specific details with sharp focus, but we don’t see the relationships between different details as well. When we look with soft eyes we see the relationships between everything in our field of vision, but with this softer focus, we don’t see all the details as clearly. It’s possible to look in two ways at once.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Looking and seeing are two different things.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Seeing creates growth.” – John Paul Caponigro

“The best plans evolve.” – John Paul Caponigro

“We talk about the vulnerability involved in sharing our work publicly. I don’t think we talk enough about the real vulnerability involved in making art; if we truly engage the process we are changed by it.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Art is a journey of discovery.” – John Paul Caponigro

“Through the experience of art, the powers of perception and transformation can be awakened, in both those who create it and those who re-perceive it.” – John Paul Caponigro

“It’s one thing to make a beautiful thing; it’s another thing to make a living thing.” – John Paul Caponigro

“My mantra is, ‘This or something better.'” – John Paul Caponigro

Read our conversation here.

Read more photographer’s quotes here.

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David duChemin provides quick candid answers to a 20 questions.

What’s the best thing about photography?

The best thing about photography is the gift of seeing – really seeing – the moments in life that otherwise pass so quickly. It’s the elevation of what we normally see as mundane, or perhaps not the elevation of it so much as the recognition that it was beautiful to begin with.

What’s the worst thing about photography?

Like any storytelling medium or art, it’s easy to fall more in love with how we tell the stories than the stories themselves. I think photographers have an unusual relationship with their gear, one that can be beautifully collaborative or strangely incestuous.

What’s the thing that interests you most about other people’s photographs?

I like to see through the eyes of others, to see what I have not. I’m a very curious person and this gives me a glimpse into a world in ways I’ve not considered it.

Who were your early photographic influences? 

My earliest were portraitists, like …

Read the rest of David duChemin’s Q&A here.

Read other Q&A’s by other top photographers here.

Read a selection of David duChemin’s favorite quotes here.

Read other top photographers favorite quotes here.

Stephen Johnson and I discuss personal important moments in photography.

Read our extended conversation here.

Learn more about Stephen Johnson here.

View more photographers on photography video conversations here.

Sean Kernan and I discuss how one knows when a work of art is finished.

Read our extended conversation here.

Read Sean’s favorite quotes here.

Read Sean’s short Q&A here.

Find out more about Sean Kernan here.

View more photographers on photography videos here.


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