Blurb Features John Paul Caponigro's Next Step Alumni


Blurb highlighted my alumni’s Blurb Group Book John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group on their blog today. Blurb’s Natalie Shahmiri asked me about the project and about my impressions of the state of books.
Here’s an excerpt.
“Books have been essential ways of sharing work for artists. Without them a majority of artists’ works would have remained invisible. Only a few people would have see them, not larger audiences. Even with the advent of the world wide web, books remain important communication and marketing tools. Printed matter offers focussed, localized, persistence while the web offers diffuse, transient, ubiquity. Books can also be the final product, special things in and of themselves.
While I will continue to work with major publishers, print on demand solutions are becoming essential tools for communicating and marketing my own work – specifically Blurb. Stay tuned to johnpaulcaponigro.com for many new Blurb books from me in the near future.”
Read the rest here.

John Paul Caponigro's Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit Book


For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
The members have produced a Group Blurb book to accompany the exhibit. The book includes images and statements from all 24 artists currently featured in the Group Exhibit.
You can preview and purchase the book here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Find individual member’s websites and Blurb books by clicking More.
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Robert Eckhardt – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Robert Eckhardt has been a member for 1 year. Here are his insights.
Alumni Insight
(NSS) It seemed innocent enough at the time. I was attending my first
workshop with John Paul, who repeatedly urged everyone to reconsider
(i.e., break) entrenched habits, thinking, and ways of seeing. At one
point, expanding upon the list “rules” we might choose to violate,
John Paul suggested that we take our cameras off our tripods and
intentionally move them as we pressed the shutter. I found this idea
rather provocative, tried a few shots, and, after reviewing my handful
of failures, quickly abandoned the effort. But when I got home I
couldn’t get the idea out of my head. For some reason, I took this
particular idea as a personal challenge, a puzzle to be solved.
Eventually, after weeks of trial and error, I solved the puzzle, and
the resulting photographs became the series I now call “motion |
pictures”. That series has become the primary focus of my current
photographic work.
About a year later, while discussing some “motion | picture” images, I
confessed that I found photographing trees almost irresistible and
felt that I should make a greater effort to broaden my horizons. John
Paul challenged me to find ways to photograph subjects that I thought
were impossible with this technique. And I have (stay tuned). Then he
said, “But don’t stop photographing trees.” And I haven’t.
See more of Robert’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Paul Tornaquindici – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Paul Tornaquindici has been a member for the past 4 years. Here are a few important things he learned from other members and his work.
Alumni Insights
John Paul Caponigro was the first photographer I showed- on a Russian science vessel in Antarctica- my landscape work to for review. It was at his studio in Maine- during a workshop- that I first summoned the courage to show my work to members of the Next Step group. And it has been together with the Next Step family that I have learned what truly matters to me in my photography. The lessons are important ones-
A. Know who you are and what you like to photograph. Stay on the path! Not trying to be like, or imitate others work or ways- but to have a genuine understanding of what you are passionate about and photograph that.
B. It is okay not to photograph! It is okay to cancel the contract with yourself that you have to take photographs. As I only photograph a few times a year there is an obligation to always be photographing and to strive to get a great photograph- to not take pictures somewhere is almost unthinkable. But part of being a photographer, I learned, was knowing when to put the camera away.
Next Step has given me a place of privilege to learn, grow and share the remarkable experiences of photography.
Artists’s Statement
I love going to an unfamiliar place, seeing it for the first time, looking and listening intently and photographing what and how I feel in that place.
In an workshop John Paul Caponigro said, “This is the most important thing I will say all week- don’t miss it. Notice when the energy is in the photographs being shown it gets quiet in the room. When there is little energy in the photographs we have to create it.“
I want to quiet the room. Take your breath away and leave you still- and listening- where the only sound you hear are the notes from a song of praise. Those are the photographs I am waiting, listening and looking for. I trust what has so moved my heart will resonate in yours.
Paul Tornaquindici – Notes of Praise
Notes of Praise is a much anticipated collection of Paul Tornaquindici’s serene, meditative landscape photographs. From the majestic glaciers of Antarctica to the mountain dunes of Namibia he explores the grand vistas with sensitivity. Seen through Tornaquindici’s eye they are transformed into scenes of wonder and worship. The images selected in Notes of Praise are a testimony to his love of creation and his appreciation for its beauty.
Find the book Notes of Praise here.
See more of Paul’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Justin A. Hartford – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Justin Hartford has been a member for the past 2 years. Here are a few important things he learned from other members and his work.
Alumni Insights
1)    Kathy Beal taught me to respect, ask permission, and thank the land that I am photographing. Keeping this practice helps to bring a sensitivity to my work that otherwise would not be there.
2)    At the first Next Step summit I attended in Utah, many of the attendees suggested I work with self-portraiture. This suggestion has helped guide me down a path that I otherwise might have been scared to go.
3)    Shooting along side many different Next Steppers has shown me different ways to approach photography and to see my subject.
Artist’s Statement
Proserpina is a Greek Goddess whose name means “to emerge”. She is synonymous with springtime when she emerged from her six months of residing in hell. This series is about how we as humans so often stay in our own caves not letting the real us be seen so that we can be accepted by society. It can be comforting to stay hidden away and not be judged. It can also create an inner hell to keep who we really are deeply hidden away for fear of judgment.
See more of Justin’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Barbara M. Ventura – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group

For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Barbara has been a member for 4 years. Here’s one important thing she learned and her work.
Alumni Insights
The most important thing I learned from my participation in John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group, other than the privilege we have to be able to partake of John’s artistic career as well as his insight and directive in our creative expression, is that we can become a part of a living organism rather than a Group organization.
Participation in the apparent difficulties that we ourselves go through as well as the success stories and journeys of others can become a personal experience to each one of us. We can see the fact that we belong to a group as a whole (one) rather than individually. We can get involved seeing the Group as a living organism rather than an organization with the assurance that what takes place when we meet, is far beyond those undeniable reasons to attend a workshop.
Artist’s Statement
My work is an anthology of what could be called “eternal moments”; images captured as an expression of my identification with Life in the form of Nature as an integral part of my Essence and Being.  I could also define it as occasions when I am at One with nature and the conscious distinctions between the self and the observed fade away. I believe one must move beyond the dualistic concept of “an artist and his work” in order to create and experience art in its essential timeless expression.
This expression is the resultant flow from an interminable encounter with Life.  Through this interaction, my life as a seeker has given way to the profound inner confirmation that art and artist are One. Therefore it has become an indescribable joy to experience the world as an observer while being inspired to transcribe spiritual truth into visual imagery.
See more of Barbara’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Find Barbara’s Next Step Blurb book here.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Karen Daspit – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group
For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Karen Daspit has been a member for over 5 years. Here’s one important thing she learned and her work.
Alumni Insights
The most important thing I learned from my participation in John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group is that a group can create a synergy that produces artistic progression and excellence.  Next Step has done that for me, personally.  Somehow, watching other artists work improve and establishing a close connection with them via the internet creates a platform for improvement.  Our group leader, John Paul Caponigro has set the standards high for critique, and quality of work submitted to the group. This has helped fuel the improvement I have experienced. It is almost a magical experience!
Artist’s Statement
The tropical environment I find in Hawaii inspires my images. The fauna here never ceases to amaze and provoke my creative spirit.  I enjoy working with an earthen palate and taking what I see around me and re-composing it to my liking.
I have always been blessed with a creative ability that allows me to “see” a finished image in my mind’s eye.This ability, combined with my experience in the computer industry has served me well in this metamorphic journey.
My work has matured over the last 12 years.  While conquering some of the technicalities of a camera, my work was basic and somewhat geometric and design oriented.  It has progressed through various themes of flowers and leaves, to what is now a much more intricate and creative product.
I enjoy this task so much. I have met amazing people who have encouraged and mentored me. Living in Hawaii is a blessing to my work.
I strive to charm the observer, as I have been charmed.
See more of Karen Daspit’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Stay tuned for individual and group Next Step Blurb books.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Shayne Lynn – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group
For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Shayne Lynn has been a member for over 5 years. Here’s one important thing he learned and his work.
Alumni Insights
I signed up for my first John Paul Caponigro photography workshop looking to become a more technically efficient Photoshop user.  The workshop impressed me by going beyond Photoshop and illuminating how to see differently, to be witness to your own work and also use this new knowledge to be more creative – both before and after taking the picture.
I have been part of the Next Step Group for four years. Having an active dialogue with this community of diverse visual artists facilitated by John Paul has broadened my own interpretation of photography and the express power that lies within it. The group helps one clarify meaning and purpose in their own work, and has given me support to pursue my own projects.
Artist’s Statement
These images visualize internal spaces in nature, mirrored in myself – the depth of which I seek to explore and comprehend. They represent the small, simple, meditations of nature and moments I became comfortably lost in. By becoming still (sometimes disturbingly so), I released the pressure to “be creative”, and was able to witness my breath, to sense an image and compose it. The camera frame holds together the pieces of the world for me, defining the horizon, creating a center from which to focus on. I sought to capture a sense of energy moving in containment – a channel of “becoming in an unplanned way – flow”.
See more of Shayne’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Stay tuned for individual and group Next Step Blurb books.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Jim Graham – Next Step Alumni Group Exhibit


John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni Group
For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)
Jim Graham has been a member for over 6 years. Here’s one important thing he learned and his work.
Alumni Insight

I first came to John Paul 8 years ago.  And from that workshop and my subsequent inclusion in the Next Step Group  I have been able to develop a voice that speaks through my work.  John might say that I always had one and that he only helped untie the strings that has bound it.  But, I’d argue differently.
My inclusion in this group helped in my ability to articulate a visual language.  An Artistic language.  For I do believe that when we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change, to hear and to see; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait.
And it was not only John Paul who taught, but each member of that group as teacher.  Each offering their own individual gift to the other. Each part having their own unique attributes that bound us all together.  Not just a whole community but a visual chorus.
I’ve also been fortunate that others have valued my input about their work and that curiosity has given me the courage to begin to teach on my own.

Artist’s Statement

The work I choose to show in a gallery is typically made while traveling. I usually just photograph whatever interests me. Documenting where I am or what my surrounding environs are.  The resulting imagery inevitably ends up integrating my experience with the natural world. I seem to have an inner agenda, which is always seeking a harmony between the two, as well as a need to reconcile the inner, psychological world with the outer world of my everyday experiences. Each of my images has it’s own story.  I may not have known the story when I released the shutter.  But, the journey home and the time taken to suss out the images I have created, each stories unfolds.  They are perhaps an afterthought – a way to make sense of a fleeting moment or a memory.
In the naming of my images I try to give a bit of meaning to the moment I’ve tired to render.  I try to find a way to finish the image as a final piece and to bind the group as a whole. Each image has it’s own place and it’s own narrative.  While I have my own story for each, I hope that the viewer find his own stories within them.
See more of Jim Graham’s work here.
See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.
Stay tuned for individual and group Next Step Blurb books.
Find out more about my workshops here.
Read More

Workshop Review – Along the Waterline

At the end of my field workshops we do rapid fire reviews of the work done that week. Everyone puts in at least 6 images. We don’t know who’s pictures we’re looking at. We call out star ratings fast getting a quick first impression. Then we state quickly and simply why the image works or doesn’t work and how it could be improved. You get honest feedback and many diverse perspectives in a minimum amount of time. At the end, we sometimes look at all the images of each individual grouped together; suddenly new connections are made; sometimes images work better in context with one another than standing alone. The process is really enjoyable and educational.
Here are a few of the standouts from the week.

Anne Davey, having identified unifying elements in an extend portfolio review before the workshop, knew with confidence she would always be obsessed with color. But she took a risk in exploring pure abstraction this week.

Jim Brewster, after years of professional work for others, reconnected with his authentic voice this week, “I took ME off the shelf.” Initially he was documenting situations without composing them. With a little prompting he put the two together.

Sam Krisch enjoyed exploring a guiding metaphor, in his case a Kafkaesque paranoia. It gave him a subjective sensibility to unite many diverse experiences.

William Barek continued his explorations in photo-impressionism.

Rob Sylvan found many ways of connecting to story and themes with words helpful to find new perspectives and a deeper sense of connection in his images.

Jeff Fox admitted he was obsessed with structure and was torn between abstraction and representation
Alumni can read his comments on my Facebook Alumni group here.
Learn more in my field workshops.
8/9-15 – Iceland … 10% discount ends June 20.
10/16-19 – Fall Foliage … 15% discount ends August 15.