Use Postcards As Props


I often like to use props to make photographs. One of my favorite props to use is images. Photographing other images, in many cases, photographing other photographs, adds layers of complexity and offers many poetic opportunities. Images ask you to look and to look in certain ways. Two images ask you to look and look again and to look in multiple ways. I find this extremely stimulating. Making images with other images in them can be a fantastic creative wellspring.
Here’s a selection of images with postcards in them that I made during my 2011 Iceland workshop.
Find out about my 2012 Iceland digital photography workshop here.
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Make Your Own Postcards


For a time, I swore off making photographs that were like postcards. I was looking for something else then. I was looking for my own unique approach to making images. My thinking was that if I took a vow of abstinence from what I knew I wasn’t looking for, I’d eventually find what I was looking for. Eventually, I did.
After some time, I reconsidered this aversion to making postcard-like images. I started making them, again. Making postcards is excellent practice. You have to be fairly competent to make good postcards. Postcards survey a subject, tell a story, offer human interest, present strong color, and are composed of relatively strong graphic structures. Sometimes, postcards make strong emotional appeals. When you think about it, that’s a pretty tall order.
Postcards try to do it all – and do it all competently. It’s interesting to note that to transcend postcards, all you need to do is emphasize one of these qualities over the others and do that one thing excellently. Making postcards is great practice. To make good postcards you have to understand them clearly. To transcend them, you have to know the difference between them and what you’re really looking for.
Below is a selection of iPhone postcards from my 2011 Iceland workshop.
Find out about my 2012 Iceland digital photography workshop here.
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Use Postcards As Quick Surveys


One of the first things I do when I arrive at a new location is look at postcards made in the area. Postcards give me a quick survey of the highlights of the region and the classic visual approaches that many other photographers have used to make images there. Postcards help me decide where to go and what to look for. Postcards also present me with a great challenge – transcend this.  Postcards help me up my game.
Here’s a selection of postcards I collected during my 2011 Iceland workshop.
3 out of 6 of them are by Ragnar Th Sigurdsson.
Find out about my 2012 Iceland digital photography workshop here.
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Exploring Motion – Andrew Nixon


In my Maine Islands digital photography workshop, Andrew Nixon explored creating a dynamic tension between the still and the moving. He typically uses long exposures of moving subjects. But he tried a few new twists on his standard practices, like moving the camera. While he explored other ideas and tried many new things, he always returned to the same theme which gave his images a distinctive quality that stood out from his peers.
What themes make your images distinctive?
What experiments will help you explore and develop this further?
Find out more about Andrew Nixon here.
Read more in my creativity lessons.
Find out more about my Maine Islands digital photography workshop here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

What It Takes To Be A Great Workshop Leader


What does it take to be a great workshop leader? The same things that it takes to be a great leader in any field.
A great leader communicates passionately. Then they fan the flames of other people’s passions. The one thing you don’t want to do with passion is hide it. Passion creates energy, commitment, and endurance. Passion is contagious.
A great leader walks his talk. Leaders demonstrate. They tell you the rules of the game and they also show you when exceptions prove the rules. It’s important to see how theory is modified by practice. It’s even more important to see when and how practice is customized by individuals.
A great leader offers guidance and direction. Leaders share why they do what they do and show what’s worked for them. Then they ask a set of guiding questions that help others frame what’s most relevant to individuals. Leaders help others frame their own unique set of guiding questions in ways that are most personally relevant.
A great leader listens. Different people want and need different things at different times. Leaders ask questions and look at results to find out what other people want and need most. Leaders don’t give other people their voice, they help others make their own voices stronger. Leaders understand that different people want different results.
A great leader helps others activate all their resources. Leaders help others consolidate and build upon their core strengths. You start with where you are and you move to where you want to be. You develop the vision to know where you want to go and the skills to get there. Leaders know that if you want to raise the level of your game, you need to improve both your inner game and your outer game.
A great leader recognizes and reveals group resources. Every group has a unique set of resources, because every group is a collection of unique individuals. Leaders bring out the often hidden resources within a group. When they do this, everyone becomes both a student and a teacher; everyone learns more, including the leader.
A great leader expands other people’s comfort zone. By inspiring people with more possibilities and demonstrating tangible results, leaders show others what’s possible. They challenge other people to periodically get out of their comfort zones and try new things. Conscious experimentation is a key to continued success.
A great leader empowers other people. Leaders offer optimum ways of thinking and working. They think clearly. They act decisively. They do this because they have experience. And, they share their experience to help others become more personally fulfilled.
A great leader brings all of their resources with them (passion, philosophy, history, education, connections, technique, tools, results), ready to make the most of every moment – and every individual.
So, being a great digital photography workshop leader involves far more than making sure people get to great locations at great times. (Of course, that’s really important too!)
 
Find out what people say about my workshops.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Answer Your Own Call – Barry Boulton


During my Arches digital photography workshop, Barry Boulton expected to make pristine landscapes untouched by man. But during our initial reviews of his work, he was struck by the realization that a majority of his images either had people in them or showed signs of their being there. So he pursued the idea to see how far he could go with it. It worked for him – consistently.
Very often we don’t recognize that we’ve already started to do the work we’re called to do. All we have to do is recognize the call and then answer it. You can learn a lot about your voice if you only look closely and find the patterns that exist between the images you’ve already created.
What themes and patterns can you identify in your work? Which ones are you most excited to pursue further?
Find out more about my Arches digital photography workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Include Others, Include Yourself


Images by Scott Helgeson, Barry Boulton, and Michael Quinn.
During my Arches digital photography workshop participants struggled with displaying the scale of an immense landscape. Often, they chose to include people in their images to indicate human scale for comparison. Sometimes, they included each other. On occasion, they included themselves.
Including people in their images had many consequences. New issues and concerns arose. Sometimes the people in their images were posed and sometimes they were not. Qualities shifted. Including people made their images seem less timeless and more contemporary.
How can including people or man-made artifacts in your photographs enhance them?
What other dimensions would this bring to your images?
Find out more about my Arches digital photography workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Use The Stages In A Journey To Structure A Body of Work – Michael Quinn


Michael Quinn used the stages in a journey to structure a body of work during my Arches digital photography workshop. The structure of a journey gave him a creative challenge that generated new ideas and helped focus his efforts. At the end of the workshop, he found that he had created more keeper images in a short time than he had previously. The structure also helped him identify ideas for new images still to be made – ways to expand his creative journey. What’s more, because the images related to one another, he can put the images to many more uses – a slideshow, an exhibit, a book, etc.
What creative challenge could you set for yourself to generate new ideas and increase your productivity?
See more of Michael Quinn’s work here.
Find out more about my Next Step Alumni here.
Find out about my Next Step Alumni’s exhibition here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Patagonia Digital Photography Workshop – Dec 10-14, 2011


Digital Photo Destinations announces a new workshop exploring the highlights of Torres Del Paine, Patagonia, South America.
4 world-class photographers guide this adventure. Leaders John Paul Caponigro and Seth Resnick will be accompanied by Eric Meola and Arthur Meyerson.
Experience sunset on the Perito Moreno Glacier, the coast of Lake Argentino, Brazo Rico and the Iceberg Channel and all that is just on day 1.
We will also have a full day boat tour in Los Glaciares National Park where we will see the North wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Upsala Glacier, Spegazzini Glacier and Los Tempanos (Icebergs) Channel.
Additional photography sessions include the Grey Glacier, Big Fall, Nordenskjold Lake and Paine River Fall with spectacular views of French Valley, Paine Grande Massif and The Horns and a trip to visit the Blue Lagoon with absolutely magical color.
One of the highlights of this trip will be several trips trekking on glaciers.
Visit Digital Photo Destinations for more information.
It’s over half full now. Only 12  spots are left.
Sign up now!
Contact Paul.Schuster@quarkexpeditions.com
Email jpc@johnpaulcaponigro.com for advance notice on future Digital Photo Destinations events.

Try New Tools – Fani Cortes


In my Death Valley digital photography workshop, Fani Cortes shot with a DSLR modified to make infrared images. She’d go to specific locations and make specific images that would highlight the strengths of this effect. On occasion, she made full-spectrum images that looked identical to her infrared images. The tool gave her a new way of seeing and her images a new look.
How would your photography benefit from exploring non-standard tools?
Which tools would benefit you most?
Read more in my creativity lessons.
Find out more about my Death Valley digital photography workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.