Photographer Jay Maisel’s book Light, Gesture & Color is full of pithy wisdom about the art of seeing.
Here’s a selection of highlights.
“If you’re not your own severest critic, you are your own worst enemy.” – Jay Maisel
“The whole world is there for you. Gifts will happen, but only if you are patient with life itself, the shooting process, and your own limitations.” – Jay Maisel
“There is no bad light. There is spectacular light and difficult light. It’s up to you to use the light you have.” – Jay Maisel
“The drama of light exists not only in what is in the light, but also in what is left dark. If the light is everywhere, the drama is gone.” – Jay Maisel
“Gesture will survive whatever kind of light you have. Gesture can triumph over anything because of its narrative content.” – Jay Maisel
“We have always wanted to find the ‘it-ness’ of anything we shoot. We want to get as deep into the subject as we can.” – Jay Maisel
“You will, in time, see and show others not just the superficial, but the details, the meanings, and the implications of all that you look at …” – Jay Maisel
“One color alone means nothing. I acts as in a vacuum, with no other colors to relate to. It is only when colors relate to other colors that the fun begins.” – Jay Maisel
“Color is seductive. It changes as it interacts with other colors, it changes because of the light falling upon it, and it changes as it becomes larger in size.” – Jay Maisel
“You cannot accurately remember color …” – Jay Maisel
“’Color’ is quite different from ‘colors.’ In an image with many colors, we find that all the colors compete with each other rather than interacting with each other. The results” colors.” – Jay Maisel
“There really isn’t anything that you could call ‘bad’ color. It all has to do with the amount of color you use and in what context it appears.” – Jay Maisel
“Some have said that if you take a great picture in color and take away the color, you’ll have a great black-and-white picture. But if you’re shooting something about color and you take away the color, you’ll have nothing.” – Jay Maisel
“What you’re shooting at doesn’t matter, the real question is: ‘Does it give you joy?’” – Jay Maisel
“Always shoot it now. It won’t be the same when you go back.” – Jay Maisel
“You must not think of yourself as looking at the stage from the audience. You must think of it as theatre in the round and look at it from all sides.” – Jay Maisel
“We don’t experience light, color, and gesture in a vacuum. We experience it in contexts.” – Jay Maisel
“If you don’t have a camera, the best thing you can do is describe how great it looked.” – Jay Maisel
“It’s a lot easier to take pictures if you always have the camera with you.” – Jay Maisel
“There is no one solution to all problems. It’s the problem itself that can lead to the solution.” – Jay Maisel
“It’s not just when you shoot, or what you shot, or where you shoot, it’s the combination of the three.” – Jay Maisel
“The more light you have in an image, the less drama you get. The details start taking over; the mystery is all gone.” – Jay Maisel
“I love when pictures ask questions or make others ask questions.” – Jay Maisel
“The pictures are everywhere. If you’re open, they will find you.” – Jay Maisel
“Sometimes without shooting a picture germinates in your head. Other times, you keep taking pictures of the same thing and watch the images mature and grow.” – Jay Maisel
“As you see something that yo want to shot and it’s bearing down on you, it’s important to start framing long before the subject gets close to you. The light will reveal itself possibly long before you want to take the image, but you have to wait until the picture comes to you, and if you’ve been anticipating carefully when the subject will be in position, the background will have been figured out in advance.” – Jay Maisel
“Since the background is as important as the subject, you mustn’t let it default by chance. You must control not only vertical and horizontal, you must be aware of the depth of field (or lack of it) that you want in the background.” – Jay Maisel
“Remember that most people (those who are not photographers) don’t even see the things that you missed. Many don’t even look. Ergo, you are way ahead of the game.” – Jay Maisel
“Gesture is not always action.” – Jay Maisel
“It’s my obligation to take out all the ‘wrong’ pictures.” – Jay Maisel
“You have to pick the right tool for the point you’re trying to make and there is no one solution.” – Jay Maisel
“The problem suggests the solution.” – Jay Maisel
“Sometimes as you work, you find that you are learning things about your own perceptions and motivations that are way below you consciousness. If you get lucky, you recognize what you are doing, but all too often we don’t find the connection between our work and our own motivations.” – Jay Maisel
“The awareness of the quality of space in out photos is akin to our awareness of the very air in our photos, the atmosphere that pervades every square inch of our image and yet is often invisible to the photographer.” – Jay Maisel
“When we are given gifts, we must be quick and able to accept them.” – Jay Maisel
“I try not to tell students where to shoot, when to shoot, or what to shoot. I feel finding the picture is the most important part of being a photographer. The actual shooting is of lesser importance.” – Jay Maisel
“You need minimum color for maximum effect.” – Jay Maisel
“Always wait for the trigger. The trigger is the final part of the puzzle, the reason you want to shoot.” – Jay Maisel
“Color really doesn’t have interaction if it’s full of colors. It’s the interaction or relationship among or between colors that makes a color image. This usually happens with a few colors, not a glut of them.” – Jay Maisel
“Forget what it was. Look at what it is.” – Jay Maisel
“You have to learn not only from your failures. You must also learn from your successes.” – Jay Maisel
“You have to let the past successes go, or you’ll never be able to see anew.” – Jay Maisel
“Don’t overthink things in front of you. I fit moves you, shoot it. If it’s fun, shoot it. If you’ve never seen it before, shoot it.” – Jay Maisel
“Had I not been told to look, I would have quite, ignorant of what was really there, because I had ‘made plans’ and was wearing visual and emotional blinders that limited my perceptions and my vision.” – Jay Maisel
“All these factors are only valuable if you’re curious. But in any case, the more knowledge you have, the more things are open and available to you.” – Jay Maisel
“You sort of have to be always aware, even when you’re not thinking of shooting. That’s when the best stuff happens.” – Jay Maisel
“When you shoot, that is opportunity number one to make a statement. When you edit, you have opportunity number two to make your statement. It could be an affirmation of your first choice or could go off in another direction.” – Jay Maisel
“Keep your mind open. You may very well learn something new about yourself and your pictures.” – Jay Maisel
“You must be open to what otherwise may seem to be a detriment to your ‘plans’.” – Jay Maisel
“You always end up with too many pictures to edit and too few that you feel ‘got it’.” – Jay Maisel
“It’s important to realize that the images are everywhere, not just where you want or expect them to be.” – Jay Maisel
“You can’t just turn on when something happens, you have to be turned on all the time. Then things happen.” – Jay Maisel
“Money and fame that photography can bring you are wonderful, but nothing can compare to the joy of seeing something new.” – Jay Maisel
Of course, all of these insights are made even better when paired with his images.
Find the book Light, Gesture & Color here.
Find out more about Jay Maisel here.
Read 20 Questions With Jay Maisel here.
Read more quotes by Jay Maisel here.
Browse my Essential Collection of Photographer’s Quotes here.
David DuChemin’s first art book, SEVEN is a retrospective of his work from 2006 to early 2013 when he visited seven continents in seven years.
David describes his new book SEVEN, “I created this as a legacy piece. I wanted to create something beautiful, inside and out. Something that was a delight to touch and hold. I wanted something that would inspire and show you the world the way I see it, in these fleeting glimpses of beauty, hope, and wonder. Unlike so much of what I publish, this is not an educational book. The book opens with a short essay about the gift of photography, and what follows is photograph after photograph, quietly captioned with location and date. I want, at the end of the day, my photographs to speak for themselves. I also believe that looking at, and studying, photographs, is some of the best education we can have in terms of making our own photographs.”
The images in SEVEN are diverse in location, subject (portraits, wildlife, landscape), and style (documentary, minimalism, impressionism) yet all share David’s warm human touch and soulfully reflective nature. I particularly like his use of negative space.
Preview and order the book SEVEN here.
Find out more about David DuChemin here.
This is one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in ages!
“While digital photography and image-editing software have brought about an increased awareness of the degree to which camera images can be manipulated, the practice of doctoring photographs has existed since the medium was invented. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) is the first major exhibition devoted to the history of manipulated photography before the digital age. Featuring some 200 visually captivating photographs created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, the exhibition offers a provocative new perspective on the history of photography as it traces the medium’s complex and changing relationship to visual truth.
The photographs in the exhibition were altered using a variety of techniques, including multiple exposure (taking two or more pictures on a single negative), combination printing (producing a single print from elements of two or more negatives), photomontage, overpainting, and retouching on the negative or print. In every case, the meaning and content of the camera image was significantly transformed in the process of manipulation.
Faking It is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a different set of motivations for manipulating the camera image … “Picture Perfect”, “Artifice in the Name of Art”, “Politics and Persuasion”m “Novelties and Amusements”, “Pictures in Print”, and “Protoshop.”
The exhibit runs from October 11, 2012 through January 27, 2013.
Find out more about the exhibit here.
Whether you can or can’t see the exhibit, get the book.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 296-page catalogue written by Mia Fineman.
“Photographic manipulation is a familiar phenomenon in the digital era. What will come as a revelation to readers of this captivating, wide-ranging book is that nearly every type of manipulation we associate with Adobe’s now-ubiquitous Photoshop software was also part of photography’s predigital repertoire, from slimming waistlines and smoothing away wrinkles to adding people to (or removing them from) pictures, not to mention fabricating events that never took place. Indeed, the desire and determination to modify the camera image are as old as photography itself—only the methods have changed.
By tracing the history of manipulated photography from the earliest days of the medium to the release of Photoshop 1.0 in 1990, Mia Fineman offers a corrective to the dominant narrative of photography’s development, in which champions of photographic “purity,” such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, get all the glory, while devotees of manipulation, including Henry Peach Robinson, Edward Steichen, and John Heartfield, are treated as conspicuous anomalies. Among the techniques discussed on these pages—abundantly illustrated with works from an international array of public and private collections—are multiple exposure, combination printing, photomontage, composite portraiture, over-painting, hand coloring, and retouching. The resulting images are as diverse in style and motivation as they are in technique. Taking her argument beyond fine art into the realms of politics, journalism, fashion, entertainment, and advertising, Fineman demonstrates that the old adage “the camera does not lie” is one of photography’s great fictions.”
Preview the book here.
This book is the product of a life’s work, a very rich life, keenly observed by a sensitive eye with a passion for looking. It’s a sensual pleasure you’re sure to want to savor.
“Since 1974, professional assignments have taken photographer Arthur Meyerson around the world to all 7 continents. Throughout it all, Meyerson’s fascination with light, color and the moment has never ceased and he has continued to produce a body of personal work that has grown into an impressive archive, The Color of Light. With essays by fellow photographers, Sam Abell, Jay Maisel and a conversation with John Paul Caponigro, The Color of Light not only details Meyerson’s photographic philosophy, but also discusses and illustrates many of the themes and ideas expressed in his renowned photographs. A selection of 113 of Meyerson’s iconic images are included and further reveal his mastery of the medium. At home and away, the subject matter is diverse as seen only through the eye of this photographer.”
A special edition slipcased book with print is available in limited quantities.
Preview the book here.
Find out more about Arthur with these resources – Conversation, Video, Q&A, Quotes.
Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opening in New York and Toronto Nov 9, Chasing Ice is a documentary feature, directed by Jeff Orlowski, that reveals the work of photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) project. Balog, once a skeptic about climate change, discovers through EIS undeniable evidence of a warming world. Chasing Ice features hauntingly beautiful, multi-year time-lapse videos of vanishing glaciers, while delivering fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.
Find out more about the film here.
A companion book is also now available. ICE: Portraits of the World’s Vanishing Glaciers (288 pages),celebrating the stupendous forms, colors and textures in arctic and alpine landscapes, will be released in the fall of 2012 in collaboration with Rizzoli, the world-renowned publisher of art books. Terry Tempest Williams, one of America’s most distinguished environmental writers and thinkers, will contribute the foreword.
Preview the book ICE here.
Find out more about photographer James Balog here.
Which books on digital photography do I recommend?
Check out this list of 29 books on digital photography.
Where do I recommend you start?
For Lightroom, start with Scott Kelby then move to Seth Resnick.
For Photoshop, start with Scott Kelby then move to Martin Evening.
Then move to books with a specific focus – Schewe for Sharpening, Eismann for Retouching, Concepcion for HDR, Arena for Flash, James for Alternative Process.
Find more books I recommend here.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.
My new book Process details the many aspects of my creative process.
I hope you’ll find it to be useful as well as interesting.
“An artist’s creations come out of far more than the activities in their primary medium. How artist’s get there is, perhaps, just as important as where they arrive. This is the creative process rather than the creative product. That’s what this book is about.
John Paul Caponigro details many aspects of his creative process – color, composition, drawing, iphoneography, writing and more. He shows how each discipline and different modes of operating with them contribute to the completion of finished works of art. The resulting synergy is stimulating, enriching, and enlivening. Instead of a technical book that shows you how to write, draw, and photograph, this books shows you how seemingly separate disciplines and creations combine dynamically to form a single creative process that results in a life’s work.
Above all, this book reveals that the creative process is a process of exploration, a journey of discovery that offers many insights along the way and never ends. You’ll be inspired to try these activities yourself, practicing them in your own ways for your own purposes, as you progress on your own creative journey.”
Preview Process here.
Preview all of my books here.
This year’s Grand Prize winner is an innovative and moving “book-within-a-book” that chronicles the mafia-controlled streets of Naples through the accidental killing of a young girl. Valerio Spada combines on-the-street photography with photos of the original police documents to show, in the author’s words, “the problems of becoming a woman in a dangerous, crime-ridden area. Adolescence is almost denied.”
Gomorrah Girl was chosen by an international panel of 12 judges from more than 2,300 entries in four different categories. Valerio Spada received a $25,000 cash prize courtesy of HP Indigo Digital Press.
The panel of international judges also chose four books as the best in their respective categories – Fine Art, Documentary, Travel, and Student. Each winner received a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Adobe®. Lead PBN 2011 Juror Darius Himes discusses the category winners.
Find out more about Blurb’s PBN contest here.
Learn more about making Blurb books in these bookmaking videos.
Preview my digital photography books here.