All About The Image – The Interview


All About The Image’s Woodrow Walden did a short and sweet interview with me by email recently.
You can read the final results here.
And you can compare the rough cut Q&A version here.


WW    Have you always known you wanted to be an artist, or did you have other aspirations as a child?

JPC    Art has always been a part of my life but I didn’t commit to making it a career until graduating from high school. At one point, I seriously considered becoming a marine biologist.

WW    You were raised in a very artistic household. Your Father of course, is photographer Paul Caponigro, and your Mother is graphic designer Eleanor Caponigro. How much influence would you say that had on your decision to become a photographer and eventually a photo-based digital artist?

JPC   Both of my parents have had a tremendous influence on me. They laid my foundations in photography (dad) and painting (mom).

WW   What was your first camera?

JPC    I don’t remember. The most significant camera I remember receiving as a gift was one of the two Dierdorff cameras my father used to photograph the megalithic monuments in the British Isles.

WW   How old were you when took your first photo and what was the subject and do you still have it?

JPC   I don’t remember. I remember my first significant moment in photography was photographing a black cat in an Irish field with my mother when I was less than four years old – and the amazed look on my mother’s face when the cat couldn’t be found in any of the several images we took.

WW  What was your first job?

JPC   I assisted my mother in her graphic design studio.

WW    What was your first big break, and what lead up to it?

JPC   My first exhibit in 1986 at the Maine Media Workshops – with my father, Eliot Porter, and George Tice. That confirmed I could do this – well. In 1991 I became an artist in residence at Kodak’s Center For Creative Imaging, which culminated in a solo exhibit. That set a course for my career.

WW   Where do you find your inspiration?

JPC    Nature.

WW    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

JPC    Instead of becoming a jack-of-all trades, develop and market your own signature style.

WW   What’s the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?

JPC    Chart your own course. Be as creative with your career as you are with your images.


WW    The “tools of the trade” have changed exponentially since you started your artistic journey. Do you tend to be an early adopter of new technology?

JPC    I tend to be an early adopter of technology. I like the flexible mindset working with new tools encourages.

WW   Tell us about the tools that you currently use and why they are essential for you.

JPC    Pencil or pen and paper. Apple iPhone and Mac Book Pro. Canon 5DMKIII. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Epson printers.

WW    Of those, what’s the one tool that you couldn’t do without?

JPC    Only pen and paper or the iPhone can work alone. The others all work together. I’m most interested in their synergy.

WW   When you started, there were no digital images and “post-processing” was done by hand in the darkroom. Do you feel that today’s technology has taken away the suspense/thrill of not knowing how the final image is going to turn out?

JPC    More than ever, the thrill of discovering what an image will become through post-processing is alive.


WW   From concept to completion, on average, how long does it take you to complete an image?

JPC    The time it takes to move from concept to completion varies – a lot. Concept – 1 second … but really 50 years and counting. Exposure – 1/125th of a second … up to several hours. Post-processing – 1 minute … up to 40 hours. Printing – 5 minutes up to 6 hours.

WW   What’s the longest you’ve ever worked on a single image?

JPC    Actual hours logged – 40. Yet, I’ve revisited and remastered images I made 20 years ago. How do you measure the significance of the times in between?

WW    What’s been your favourite project to work on?

JPC     My life. I consider my life’s work one big project.

WW   During the CONTACT Photography Festival you’ll be teaching a 3-Day Master Fine Art Digital Printing Workshop at Vistek. What can the attendee’s look forward to during the workshop?

JPC    An overview of the interactions and roles played by the many components in a digital imaging system. A quick and practical way to correctly implement color management. A streamlined fine art workflow (maximizing quality and preserving flexibility) using Adobe software. Best proofing practices. Finished prints.

Read more interviews here.

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