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Free Online Webinar : Vincent Versace – Art of B&W

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Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT
Log in anywhere you’ve got a web connection.
“This class is about how to make a Black White image that not only rivals Silver Gelatin images but surpasses them. Learn why you should not use every conversion approach and when you should! You will learn how to transform a RGB file to B&W replicating the physics of how it would have been recorded if actually shot on black and white film without ever leaving the RGB color space.”
Register here. It’s free!
Learn more about Vincent Versace here.

Blurb Offers Free Premium Paper Upgrades

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Blurb is offering free upgrades to their new lustre finish Premium Paper (It’s 35% heavier.) for a limited time only. Order copies of existing books or make a new one. All you have to do is place an order with two or more books before the end of May. When you do, tick the Premium Paper box, choose lustre or matte finish, and apply the code below in the shopping cart.
•    USD $ coupon code: MAYPREMIUM
•    GBP £ coupon code: MAYPREMIUM1
•    EUR € coupon code: MAYPREMIUM2
•    CAD $ coupon code: MAYPREMIUM3
•    AUD $ coupon code: MAYPREMIUM4
•    * Offer valid through May 31, 2010 (11:59 p.m. PDT). A 15% discount is applied toward one order of two books or more. Maximum discount is USD $200.00, GBP £100.00, EUR €200,00, CAD $200.00, or AUD $300.00 off product totals. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.
•    Note: Premium Paper is available on books with 160 pages or less, and on books made with our PDF to Book workflow created using our Premium Paper templates. Premium Paper is not available with our B/W Text option.
Find recommended reading on bookmaking here.
Learn more about books with these online resources.
Learn more in my upcoming Blurb seminar.
Learn more in my upcoming bookmaking workshop.

Use Text To Enhance Your Photo Book

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Photography books are often greatly enhanced when text is included. There are many types of text that can complement your images. Here are a few classic examples.
– facts about a subject
– history of a subject
– placing the images in an art historical perspective
– tracing influences
– appreciation expressed by an authority
– process descriptions
– project development
– thematic essay
– interviews of authorities
– interviews with the artist
– personal memoir
– excerpted texts with relevant themes
Include more than one of these types of text and you’ll offer a reader a more diverse perspective.
Whether it’s a little or a lot text complements photographs, making a presentation more powerful.
Next time you make a book of your images, ask yourself, “What kind of text would enhance this book?”
Find recommended reading on bookmaking here.
Learn more about books with these online resources.
Learn more in my upcoming Blurb seminar.
Learn more in my Fine Art Digital Printing Workshops.

Tell A Story Three Ways

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Before you photograph, write. Tell the story of your subject. Actually, tell three stories. First, tell the story in third person as a distant observer – “Just the facts ma’am.” Next, tell the story in first person as an involved participant – “How do I feel?” Finally, tell the story as if you were the subject being observed – “How does it feel to be you?” You’ll find surprising shifts in perspective come when you take a little time to consider things from many perspectives, especially your subjects’. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences that each perspective brings.
After you’ve done a little research, photograph. Can you make photographs from each perspective? Can you make photographs that reflect the differences in perspectives? Which perspective offers the most classic view? Which perspective offers the most unusual view? Which perspective offers the most insight? After you spend a little time with these questions, you’ll find that you’ll make deeper photographs because you considered your subject and your self on many levels.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.

Take Inventory of Your Associations

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Before you photograph, write. After you identify the things happening outside you, take a little time to explore what’s going on inside you. The events around us trigger many associations and emotions, sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic. Often, it’s the inner dimensions of ourselves that we bring to image making that make our work truly moving to other people. We all bring something different to each and every moment. To really be there, you have to know who you are. Find out. What are you bringing to the picture? Did you show up?
Write spontaneously and unselfconsciously. Give yourself freely to the moment. Be thorough. Go deep. Write until you have nothing left to say. And when you feel you don’t have anything left to say, ask yourself if that’s really so. Don’t evaluate your results or yourself until after you finish. Tell yourself how you really feel. Later, you can decide what to share with the rest of the world and how you’d like to do it. This kind of personal research will help you gain a greater understanding of your world, your self, and your photography. As a result, all three will improve.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.

Take Inventory With Verbs

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Before you photograph, write. After you identify the things in your environment, identify the actions taking place. For photographs to transcend being visual inventory they need to tell a story. That means something has to happen in them. You need verbs. Whether they’re quiet or dramatic verbs are always active. Often we don’t recognize all the things that are happening around us simultaneously.
There’s so much going on we miss some things. Slowing down and looking carefully helps you see more. Some things happen so slowly that we don’t think of them as happening, but every thing is really an event moving from the past through the present to the future. If you become more mindful of the events around you and their interconnections, you’ll make more insightful images.
New habits don’t come easily. Set a goal. 50 verbs. Set a timeline. 3-5 minutes. And try this again. The benefits grow as you become more adept at this skill, through practice.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.

Take Inventory With Nouns

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Before you photograph, write. When you first arrive on a new location you can quickly become overstimulated or even overwhelmed by all the new sights, sounds, smells, and events. Make sense of it all and make sure you don’t miss anything by taking inventory. Make a list of all the things you see. Start with nouns, the things themselves. You’ll find that in the process of writing things down you’ll notice more than you ordinarily do.
Push yourself a little. Give yourself a quota. Set a minimum number of words – 50. And set a minimum amount of time – 3-5 minutes. A little time invested at the right time will pay big dividends. When you start making photographs you’ll already have found a lot of ideas and you can pursue and refine the best ones.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.

Take Note of Your Process

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It only takes something to write with to learn a lot about photography and yourself in a little time. It doesn’t matter whether you use pen and paper or PDA. It doesn’t matter whether you finish sentences, spell correctly, or write legibly. Just write. Don’t just talk, using audio recordings, unless you transcribe them later. You need to see relationships – in writing.
One of the assignments I often give my workshop participants on location is to note your process. “First I do this. Then I do this. Next I … etc.” Most don’t follow through. They quickly fall into old habits and return to photographing the way they usually do, without finishing the assignment, without learning. So, to finish the assignment, they have to fill in their lists after they photograph. Then they don’t piece things together in the same way. They miss some things. They forget other things. One of the benefits of noting your process is that things that you ordinarily take for granted or weren’t aware of suddenly become clearer to you.
I do the assignment with my students. (Yes, I do the exercises I assign too.) They’re always amazed at how full my pages of notes are and how many pages I create in a short time. This comes with practice. And it comes with sharing your notes with other people. When you hear each other’s lists, you’ll find other people notice things you don’t. Both the similarities and differences you share with others can be revealing.
I find I write the same things down time and time again. This has lead me to create a master process list, which I copy and modify (add to or subtract from) on location. There are always new things. Are there new things because I noticed more? Why? Are there new things because I’m in a new environment? Why? Are there new things because I decided to try something new? Why? These are important questions that can unlock a new ways of looking, thinking, and working, now and in the future. Keep asking them.
Because I write … I’m clearer about what works and what doesn’t. I’ve streamlined my systems. I have a better understanding of how and why I work. I have dozens of new ideas to try. This is a great thing to do when you first start making photographs after a break or in a new place.
There are many more benefits to noting your process. With practice you won’t need to take as many notes as you do when you first try this, you’ll simply keep a running dialog in your head and note only the most important things or the things that are different. Do make notes. Writing reveals. Writing brings more choices. Writing leads to clear thinking. Writing leads to clear seeing.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.

Using Visual Metaphors

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Here’s an excerpt from my column in the current issue of AfterCapture magazine.
“In photography, metaphors are visual rather than verbal. Different kinds of connections and transferences of shared qualities are made more easily with visual language than with verbal language. Relationships that can be seen but not easily put into words may become clear to the viewer. The echo of compositional elements, such as line, shape, texture, or color, between two (or more) draws a connection between two things that ordinarily might seem unrelated. Quite often, visual metaphors are not the echo of things already existing in the image, but instead offer specific reminders of things that are not in the image.
Interestingly, visual metaphors are rarely as direct as verbal metaphors. When you read a metaphor like, “Your love is a fire that burns me,” it’s crystal clear what metaphor is being used. You read fire and see it in your mind’s eye. Visual metaphors are often less obvious and more suggestive. If a shadow suggests the shape of an animal, it may not be definitively clear which animal it is, rather than a specific animal, it may be animalistic. Consequently, visual metaphors may be subject to multiple interpretations and this may or may not be a good thing. Visual metaphors may not be recognized consciously, but if they’re present, they are always felt.
We use metaphors to invest things with heightened emotion, qualify our responses to them, and produce insight. You can use metaphors to guide you deeper into a subject and your relationship with the subject. This works best if you truly connect mentally and emotionally with the subject and the metaphors you choose. Once you’ve identified the subjects and metaphors you react to most strongly, nurture your connection with and understanding of them. Free association, amplification, contemplation, and gestation help. You’ll find that internal processes are just as important as the external processes. They are what provide the inner life to your creative endeavors.
Metaphors can transform a commonplace perspective into an exceptional one. They can enrich your life. And you, in turn, can enrich ours.”
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.