Alumni Beal & Hartford Collaborate On Big Successes

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This summer, two of John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step AlumniKathy Beal  and April Hartford completed cornerstone projects in Santa Fe, and their success was enhanced by their support of each other.

The second week in June, Kathy Beal debuted her new active wear line, “Embodywear Fashions – Fit For Your Inner Goddess”, on the runways of Santa Fe Fashion Week. Her assistant for the event – April Hartford. Kathy reflected “it was getting close to show time, and I’d been so focused on getting the

Kathy reflected “it was getting close to show time, and I’d been so focused on getting the new product in and the website launched, that I neglected to look for an assistant to help me out during the three-day show. So I sent a last minute text to April, and she replied almost immediately – absolutely, I’ll be there! Really, I couldn’t have pulled it off without her help.” One benefit for April – she got to be one of the first to try on Kathy’s new fashions! Here

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In mid-July, April Hartford was busy preparing for her opening “Transgender, One Person’s Journey” an exhibition of not only her incredible photographs portraying her journey, but some of the best educational materials available today for the transgender community. Shortly before her opening, she went to Kathy’s studio to put together a few outfits to wear during the exhibition and Embodywear Fashions quickly became a sponsor for April’s exhibit.

April shared, “Kathy has been instrumental in both feedback of my images and exhibition set up. One issue I face with such a personal story being laid out for all to see is a sense of protection. Wearing outfits designed by such a special friend helps ground me when at my studio. Though our work is so different, we come together through shared experiences and friends helping each other move past any obstacles or stumbling blocks in our paths.”

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Magic really does happen when artist’s get together!

If you’re in Santa Fe, New Mexico …

Experience April’s exhibit thru October 7, 2017.

Transgender, One Person’s Journey

April Hartford Studio

539 Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe, NM

Open for public viewing Tuesday’s, Friday’s, and Saturday’s from 1-6pm through October 7, 2017

April@aprilhartford.me

Tour the studio virtually here.

Follow April on Facebook.

Learn more about April Hartford here.

Contact Kathy for a tour of her studio and an expert fitting for your own at Embodywear Fashions!

Kathy@kathybeal.com

Visit Embodywear Fashions by Kathy Beal.

View the runway show here.

Like Embodywear Fashions on Facebook.

Learn more about Kathy Beal here. 

Alumn Olaf Willoughby On Collaboration & Creativity 2

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The Creative Space, Part Two
In part one of this post I imagined an inspirational photographic location – a creative space – and then looked at how different artistic disciplines might interpret that space. I ended with the question, ‘how can we enlarge the creative spaces we inhabit to energise our work?’ Let’s look at an example from last year’s workshop, using poetry.
Following an introduction looking at Japanese books illustrating haiku poems and touching on the work of Duane Michels, you are given two poems with the request to visualise them photographically. This introduces text and therefore activates both the left and the right brain.
The process of finding a hook on which to hang a photograph forces us to study the meaning in a way quite different from reading a poem in a book. It stretches our imagination, helps us think in terms of metaphors and pushes us to explore new directions. It is a simple technique but it works. The first reaction is surprise. It seems baffling but we teach tools which help conjure up images out of words . So the initial reaction is quickly followed by intrigue at the challenge and usually delight at the refreshing end result.
But is the idea of enlarging your creative space right for you? There’s an easy way to tell but you will need to set aside a few hours.
Look back over your work of say, the last two years.
Pick twenty favourite images from each of those years.
Lay them out in Bridge, run a slideshow or preferably look at postcard size prints. Review that body of work. What do you see?
Using free association, what are your strongest impressions? Here is a starter checklist;
Rational: choice of lens/camera, depth of focus, vantage point, colour palette, image composition, post processing style …etc.
Emotional: human interest, decisive moments, emotional qualities, use of analogy or metaphor … etc.
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Scribble spontaneously the words which come to mind. Do it quickly and don’t hold back. We’re looking for a plentiful supply of first impressions. Then repeat for the second year. Using the mind’s natural ability to detect patterns, look for recurring themes in words and images, similarities and differences. What is the overall picture? What are the repeat patterns? Are they positive or negative? Then consider this equation:
Do you have a strong signature style which you execute consistently across different creative spaces?
Or is it that you are traveling the world basically taking similar pictures?
The question is: in short, are you in a groove or a rut?
Most of us fall somewhere between the two. And where we fall on that line tells us what we need to do next. Whatever the outcome, this is a useful exercise and I hope you benefit from it. If you like the idea of seeing how different artistic disciplines can influence your photography it is easy to try out the poetry example above with a friend.
If you’d like a more comprehensive approach to enlarging your creative space, then please check out the ‘Visual Conversations’ workshop I co-teach with Eileen McCarney Muldoon at Maine Media College in July and at the Leica Studio, Mayfair, London in August.
Visual Conversations
July 10th – 16th, Maine Media College, Rockport, USA
Aug 23rd – 25th, Leica Studio, London, UK

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If you have trouble in deciding on your best work in the first place, then check out John Paul Caponigro’s site which has a host of terrific references including a PDF called ‘Finding Your Best Work’.
Find it here.

Alumn Olaf Willoughby On Collaboration & Creativity 1

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Olaf Willoughby
The Creative Space, Part One
Imagine yourself in a favourite photo location. Maybe for you that is Street shooting in Bangkok or Brooklyn. Or for this post I’ve chosen a beautifully backlit waterfall in Iceland. You excitedly pull out your camera and start shooting. You already know that you’ll get at least some good images. You smile inside at the expectation of processing, posting and printing. Right. Job done. Where to next?
This is a well trodden path which produces some great images and good friendships. But this time let’s not rush off. Instead let’s pause, rewind and consider some alternative scenarios. Consider that location as an empty ‘creative space’ waiting to be filled with an interpretation.

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Now imagine a painter walks into that scene. How would she see the light, the movement and the colours? She has the advantage of being able to add and subtract elements on the spot whereas photographers can mostly only do that in post processing. Which elements might she accentuate and how?
Now rewind and imagine a poet enters the same creative space. He has more leeway to convey the full sensory impressions; the deafening sound of the waterfall and the delicate touch of the spray. The poet might consider how in Iceland it is easy to feel a deep connection to the elemental forces of nature. How trolls might live in the rocky recesses of the mist covered mountains. Is there a photographic equivalent to this kind of inspiration?
Finally, rewind again and imagine you are a composer entering the space. What kind of mood could you conjure up with the full complement of musical instruments at your disposal, ? How do you capture the majesty of a landscape? As Gustav Mahler said when a colleague enthused about the view of the lake and mountains from his cabin at Attersee in Austria, ‘Don’t bother looking at the view – I have already composed it’. How can we approach a fuller sense of the potential of the scenes in front of our cameras?
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You get the point. When we are in our personal photographic creative spaces we are seeing only one small part of the creative whole. A good analogy would be our eyesight where visible light is only a small part of the total electromagnetic spectrum, only one version of reality. There is more to be seen.
Similarly each of the artists above will interpret the magic of that creative space in very different ways. Whilst this is a simple point to understand intellectually, very few of us are skilled in a variety of artistic disciplines. So to expand into any of these spaces seems in practice almost impossible.
And this is one of the much debated issues in photography as an art form. The instrument itself is quite limited. Yes we can stray into impressionism with camera movement, into the surreal with multiple exposures and blend modes and into metaphor with ‘equivalents’ (http://www.moma.org/ collection/works/44200?locale=en)
But these are ‘technical’ solutions and only slightly change how we think about and see our images. So how can we bring some of that artistic inspiration available to other disciplines, back into photography? How can we enlarge the creative spaces we inhabit to energise our work?
There is a way that Eileen McCarney Muldoon and I have developed and teach in our workshop, ‘Visual Conversations’. The principles are covered in part two of this post to be published next weekend.
Meantime if you’d like more information on the workshop please check here:
Visual Conversations
July 10th – 16th, Maine Media College, Rockport, USA
Aug 23rd – 25th, Leica Studio, London, UK 
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Alumni Success Story – Jerry Grasso's Moorish Influences Exhibit

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After being featured in Lens Work magazine Jerry Grasso’s Moorish Influences goes on to be exhibit at Photosynthesis in Manchester, CT from March 12 – April 9, 2016. The opening reception is Saturday, March 12, 5–7 pm.
“Jerry Grasso’s photography depicts the progression of the Moorish architectural influences from the Great Mosque at Córdoba to the final grandeur of Islamic art in the Alhambra, the magnificent palace/fortress of Granada.  Ordered repetition, radiating structures, and rhythmic, metric patterns form the basis of the architectural influences of Moorish history in southern Spain.”
Find out more about Jerry Grasso here.
Explore more Alumni Success Stories here.

Alumnus Michael J Quinn Featured On Phoblographer

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Alumnus Michael J Quinn was recently interviewed and his work featured on Phoblographer.
Here’s an excerpt.
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“When you’re surrounded by so much awesome beauty from nature, how to do control yourself and not take pictures of everything?”
Michael J Quinn
“In the beginning, I did take pictures of everything. Not uncommon for me to shoot 10,000 images during a week trip, which is way too much. It makes editing and pairing down images almost impossible. The sorting process becomes daunting and thus does not get done. It is only after repeated trips and mentoring by both John Paul Caponigro and Seth Resnick, that I have begun to see better in the field. Make much fewer captures but at the same time increase the quality of the images that I am capturing. I am able to pre delete images before capture. That is to say that I can mentally edit.
Is this shutter click going to result in at least a 3 star image? If not, don’t click. This is a learned trait and must be practiced. I still have a long way to go, but I am making progress. During my recent 4 week trip to the Arctic, I shot less than 5,000 images. This makes the editing process much easier.
I have more confidence in my abilities which plays a role too. I have the confidence that I can capture the scene with enough depth of field, exposure and focus. Slowing the capture process helps as well. If there is time, taking a moment to really look deeply at a subject, interpret my emotional response to a scene and then make the capture. Having a plan also helps in the capture process. Plan out what type of story or stories that you have going and where the holes are in your story. Then when you are in the field you have a shot list of images that you are looking for. It makes it much easier to sort through the chaos in the field and find the gems. You have to be prepared for the new opportunities that arrises as well – like when a Polar Bear pops his head out around a rock, but having a plan will focus your attention. Reviewing while in the field is also a valuable tool. You can confirm that your technique is working. You can look for new patterns and themes in your images. Finding new stories to tell is always exciting.”
Read the rest of the interview here.
Learn more about Michael J Quinn here.
Read more Alumni Success Stories here.

Alumni Doug Eng's Exhibit Streaming South

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Alumni Doug Eng discusses his new exhibit Streaming South.
“Last spring, paddling a kayak became the first steps of my journey home. My birthplace and residence is Jacksonville, FL, on the St. Johns River, a 310 mile artery dotted with spring fed creeks. I often photographed a glimpse of a creek from a bridge or trail and always wondered what lay beyond what I saw.
“Streaming South” started as a desire to produce a series of intimate landscapes of individual creeks, depicting remote places in the style of early 19th century landscape painters who visited Florida and found an unspoiled paradise. Florida has changed dramatically since those times but I knew that a version of the “real” Florida may lay deep within these creeks and I wanted to find out.
Over the course of one year, I experienced the seasonal characteristics of the landscape in 33 visits to 12 creeks. I created thousands of images and started a blog, streamingsouth.com, to record each outing with comments and additional writings.
Once I began my explorations, my outward excitement about what I was seeing shifted to a personal introspection concerned with ethics, morality, respect, care, and gratitude. Not only was I given a gift of incredible beauty, peace, and solitude, but I was exposed to neglect, disrespect, and violations that stirred deep emotions. I always appreciated where I lived but never had an attachment to anything specific. I never cried when I saw trees being cut or became resentful of a dock or bulkhead on a riverbank. I never laughed at otters eyeing my passage or spent time collecting discarded bottles lodged in the roots of trees. I never witnessed the awe in a perfect reflection of over-arching trees forming a cathedral in the middle of a stream. Now things are different, I have changed.
When photographing the “environment” you make choices. Do you focus on beauty or despair or exactly what exists? It’s an easy decision for me. Beauty and peace connected me to my home. Not the plastic bottles, beer cans, old tires, and keep out signs. I believe that my advocacy for attention to these rare places must appeal to what is positive and good about our home. First connection, then care. That’s how it worked for me.
As a result of this project, I have developed a special connection to my Home. Connection is about participation, hands on experience, and being present. You must step out your door and cross the line. To really care about a place, to cherish it for what it does to our hearts and souls, to really connect with all that it is, creates the cognizance necessary for responsible, actionable stewardship. These are only pictures, but they represent in a very real way what is here and now and beautiful about our earth and where we live. This work is my advocacy. I am grateful for finding a glimmer of enlightenment through photography for myself and to share with others. The journey continues.”
Find out more about Streaming South here.
Find out more about Doug Eng here.

Alumni Scott Tansey Featured On Leica Blog

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Alumni Scott Tansey describes his recent feature on The Leica Camera Blog.
“I took these images on a Fall Color Workshop given by John Paul Caponigro at Acadia National Park. I had recently completed a huge five-year project taking panoramic images of Los Angeles (my home town). It was time for a change, and I needed a creative spark to do something different. As I mentioned previously I had attended a printing workshop given by John Paul Caponigro, which changed my photographic direction, and I thought his workshop would give me kick-start on my creativity. It did, but not in the way I intended. I was going to shoot the fall colors. Southern California is not as noted for its fall colors as Maine is. However, when I went to shoot the fall colors, they did little to inspire me. The light was lousy, and we missed the peak by a few days. On the second day of the workshop, after much frustration, I went to our last stop that was a rock pile. Oh, wow! The evening light and the colors and the patterns of the rocks spoke to me. For the rest of the trip I focused mainly on taking close-up images of rocks on the Maine coastline.”
Read more on The Leica Camera Blog.
Read a second feature on The Leica Camera Blog.
Find out more about my Maine Fall Foliage Workshop here.

Play With Your iPhone To Improve Your DSLR Photography – Charles Adams


Every year, during my Acadia Maine Fall Foliage Workshop my assistant Charles Adams and I explore making photographs  with our iPhones.
Charles talks about his experience.
“Making images with an iPhone can be a terrific creative exercise. If you regularly shoot with a DSLR, the iPhone can simplify things and offer a new experience. I find this to be the case during every fall foliage workshop. I leave my Canon in the car along with all of the photographic requirements and responsibilities that I usually attach to it. It’s a freeing experience. Suddenly the pressure to make the best photographs of my life is no longer there. I’m free to play.
Being able to process your images seconds after shooting them is also key to the iPhone experience. The many apps available make it possible to shoot, edit, share, and get feedback before even getting back in the car. In my case, apps have a direct effect on which pictures I chose to make. If I know I’m going to apply water color and oil painting filters to my images, I try to shoot accordingly. I set out to find good compositions with strong “bones” or solid structures that can benefit from the addition of dramatic effects.
The resulting images are fun to create. Changing the tools you use to make your images can offer new insights into your own photography. I strongly recommend allowing yourself to play.”
Visit Charles’ website here.
Find out about my Acadia Maine Fall Foliage workshop here.

Alumnus Jim Graham Featured In Shutterbug

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“I took this image on a workshop in Spruce Head, Maine, right after a breakup,” Graham says, “and only later realized that it represented smoothness and calmness on one side, tumult on the other, and a line of demarcation in between.” A pivotal image, it led to Graham’s evaluative question: What do I see?”
Here’s an excerpt of alumnus Jim Graham’s feature in Shutterbug.
“We assumed the first thing Jim Graham does in order to create his elegant landscape images is decide how to isolate his subjects from distracting backgrounds to achieve the always-desired single subject, clearly defined.
We were wrong. The first thing he does is ask himself: What do I see? Then he asks: How do I use the camera to communicate the feeling I have about what I see?
The answers, coupled with his skill at the striking use of color, form, and light within the frame, often result in symbolic representations of personal stories and feelings far beyond the literal subject in the frame.
Simply put, Jim Graham is out to say a lot more than ‘Isn’t this a pretty picture?'” …
Read the rest here.
Find out more about Jim Graham here.
Read more Alumni Success Stories here.

Alumnus Sam Krish's Polar Exhibit Opens June 14

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Sam Krisch opens his second solo exhibit of the year “Above Zero: Photographs From The Polar Region”  Sunday, June 14 at the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania.
In this post, Sam shares what he learned on his journey to creative success. You’ll find it inspiring and helpful.
Here are a few highlights.
“John Paul’s mentorship as well as the inspiration and encouragement of countless others led me to work harder, to dig deeper, to find new places: physical locations, internal emotions, and fresh ways of seeing. Hard work and constant study added to my skills. Through the fellowship of an international group of artists I found community and stimulation: a vast ocean of knowledge and inspiration.”
“Each particular curator sees an artist’s work in a particular way, interprets it, and often brings out a way of seeing the work that the artist hadn’t considered. A great pleasure for me is working with professionals who approach the presentation of my work in a different way. They ask probing questions for the lectures, gallery guides, and docent training. I always learn something from exhibiting my work and I am often surprised by people’s reaction to it. Some are emotionally moved, some want to know technical details, some may not like it. It’s the risk you take when you exhibit.”
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