Lecture – Academy of Arts in San Francisco

Tonight from 7-9 in San Francisco at the Academy of Arts, I lecture on my work and creative process with an eye towards advances in technology. The lecture is free and open to the public – sponsored by Canon.
Here’s an excerpt.
I often encounter resistance to new practices in photography. Some say, “You can’t do that.” I reply, “I just did.” They respond, “But that’s cheating.” I counter “Whose game are you playing?”
There’s no such thing as cheating in the creative arts. There is such a thing as misrepresentation. As creators we all share a responsibility to disclose our process so that viewers can react in informed ways. This has never been more true than today, where technology challenges many of the assumptions that were almost too easy to make in the past. This cultural dialog is an important part of understanding where we are today, how we got here, and where we may be going.
Listen to my artist’s statements here.
See my work here.


  • shaughnphotography

    25.11.2008 at 02:22 Reply

    Dear John Paul,
    This evening I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at the Academy of Art University. I am a graduate student in the school of photography as well as the big guy that came up and spoke with you after the presentation. You couldn’t have come to my school at a better time. I am half way through my graduate degree and am about to start my thesis project. I was wondering what you would say is the best way to do your most personal work. I am interested in so many different types of photography that I have trouble creating a personal style. I won best fine art portfolio and fine art image at my schools spring show, so I know I can create good work, but I always find myself questioning every move I make. I know that I am a student however, I get so bogged down trying to learn and keep up with everything all at once. What would you say is the best way to relax and do my best work.

  • johnpaulcaponigro

    26.11.2008 at 08:17 Reply

    “Follow your bliss.” Do the work you care about most. Don’t talk yourself into a good idea. You’ll have lots of those. Do the work that has deep personal resonance for you.
    Try this exercise. Look at all of your images at one time. Pick only one, with the idea that you have to destroy the others. You’ll find your answer this way. Now take that image and develop it into a body of work. It’s likely you already have a few others that relate to it.
    Of course, over time you can develop multiple bodies of work. Pick one and stick with it long enough to bring it to critical mass. Completion or closure may never happen, but once you have enough to create an exhibit or catalog or something useful (something you can use to share the work professionally), you’ll have done enough work to go deep enough to really understand it. That work often contains the seeds for your next step too.

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