Karen Daspit lives in Hawaii. This is Karen’s 3rd workshop with me. She’s been photographing, sketching, and writing all week. Like most participants she had serious doubts about how relevant free associating with words could be for her photography. But she trusted me and the process and gave it a go. In less than an hour she had new ideas for 6 new bodies of work that were all relevant to her current vision. It’s thrilling to see people make these kinds of breakthroughs and see how enthusiastic they become. Then again, Karen’s always enthusiastic. I think there’s a connection between her positive attitude and the results she’s been getting in her photography. Her work is currently featured in the 2nd Annual Photography Masters Cup Yearbook.
“I have recently spent five days in Maine attending John Paul Caponigro’s workshop “Illuminating Creativity”. It should be noted that workshops, in general, are something I have only discovered over the last 10 years of my life. A workshop of any kind is a great way to take a vacation from the “usual”, and meet other people who share a common interest. There are many dimensions to workshops. The worst case scenario is that you become exposed to a new environment, learn something new, and go home somewhat rested.
How do you teach people from varied backgrounds to be illuminated, or, to discover and use their creativity? JP, has a long tenure as an artist, instructor and writer. He is a VERY creative person. More than this, he has developed through extensive study, a set of organizational and expressive skills that work in his own realm. He is also very capable of sharing this set of skills with his students. This talent, although simple to explain, takes much more skill to share. And this he has done, for me, and to me, over the last 5 days.
When you follow JP’s writings on his web site, it becomes apparent that he advocates certain methodologies. Readers are exposed to a variety of articles. There is espousal of palate selection, creation of an adherent body of work, and tips on how to evaluate your work for inclusion in a particular body of work. This is all above and beyond the technical attainment of Photoshop skills, which we all strive for.
Creating a “body of work” has become a cumbersome task for me. I have struggled long and hard to create my first BOW. I am now approaching the next step, of creating a second BOW. I have been again undaunted by the scope of the task. This workshop has made that task seem approachable for me, and I will attempt to tell you why.
One of JP’s exercises stands out for me. He requested that we all define our work in one word. With a second step of “free association” we all wrote down words that came to mind that reminded us of the said single word. I had a page full of words that made no real since to anyone but me. Then, he had us categorize these words. You would have to attend the workshop to find out how he spurred us on, and articulated the task. Basically, we wound up at the end of the afternoon with the ability to SEE and READ things that were of importance to us personally. We were able to borrow other people’s words and combine them into meaningful phrases. The synergy of the group contributed to our individual insight into what it was we might be interested into exploring further in our own work.
The net result is that I have ideas for new bodies of work. New words like deterioration and origin are now incorporated into my own perception of the work I do. I want to rush out and photograph dead leaves, beautifully decaying vegetables and rusted vehicles. This is truly thrilling for me. I have been illuminated creatively.
The workshop is much more than this single exercise. We have been exposed to a variety of creative tools that we can all use to better discover our roadmaps. Tools to better understand our processes, make them more efficient, and better articulate our inner desires have been presented. Mostly, JP stood strong on the platform of his experiential discoveries and shared them selflessly with all of us. What more can we ask?
One of the descriptors that we came up with was “transformative indulgence”. That about sums up what this week was for me.”
See Karen’s Flickr gallery here.
Find out about the workshop here. Get Priority Status for the next Illuminating Creativity workshop with absolutely no risk here. Just click “I’d Like Priority Status!”.
Find out about upcoming events here.
Alternative process master Christopher James speaks in this in-depth conversation.
“The salted paper process is unpretentious, low in acidity, with hints of pencil lead and musty cork and intense spicy aromas of cinnamon, beach plum, and low tide. It has an “old world” nose and often pampers the optical palate with a touch as light as a feather. A perfect salt print has shades of aubergine and is delicate, subtle, understated, and prized for its shyness.
The kallitype is a muscular and exuberant process possessing, upon first impression, a rich, briary, saddle leather, and full bodied character that would pair well with sardines or fried clams. It is so black it even tastes tarry. But if the intensity of the blackness borders on too severe, it redeems itself with textural finesse. Often mistaken for platinum, the kallitype has a reputation for yellowing in its highlights, a condition that can be rectified by developing it in a soothing blend of sodium acetate and ammonium citrate.
The anthotype is a charming and organic process that celebrates all of the components of a great honeymoon… flowers, alcohol, and long exposures to sunlight. It is a fragrant and aromatic process that is chemical free, magical, and yields a romantic and diffused image that Pre-Raphaelites and grammar school children love.
The gum bichromate process is a mischievous little technique that is renowned for rewarding the playful and patient. Practitioners who indulge in this time consuming exercise are universally pleased with a full throttled and multi-chromatic runway to creative adventure. Gum prints are dense, chewy, and robust and improve with age. When they have reached their perfect end, they are loaded with opulent, even unctuous layers of fruity coloration, and a huge bouquet with a plump, luxurious, texture that is quite decadent.”
Read the full conversation here.
Read this month’s issue of Camera Arts and see a portfolio of Chris’ work.
Find out more about Chris here.
Find his new book here.
Sign up for Insights and get previews of upcoming conversations here.
It’s a privilege to be invited to guest post on Scott Kelby’s blog. Vincent Versace and Joe McNally contributed excellent first and second guest Wednesday installments. Mine’s the third.
I’m hoping guest blogging becomes an industry trend. I’ve already got several invites out to select colleagues who will join me here on my blog and I’ll join them on theirs! So be on the look out for more guest blogging!
The title of my guest post is Making the Visual Verbal. Do you think pictures should be seen and not heard? If so, you’re half right and half wrong. Commentary is no substitute for an image. Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words. But, there are times and places for commenting on images. In fact, often words and pictures can complement each other synergistically to create a total effect greater than the sum of the parts. And, there are many different ways of making useful comments. Find out how and when in this essay.
Read the full post on Scott Kelby’s blog Photoshop Insider.
Download my related PDF on making Artists Statements here.
Read many of my Artist Statements here.
Hear me talk about my work here.
Remember to set up your RSS feed for automatic alerts on new posts for both Scott Kelby’s and John Paul Caponigro’s blog.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Motion pictures give up to 24 frames a second – plus sound. 24,000 words a second? Really? Actually, visualizing what happens to color in the photographic process does what words alone can’t.
Learn more about color management in my free PDFs here.
Learn more about color management in my DVDs.
Master color management in my workshop series The Fine Digital Print.
This was originally written this for my book Adobe Photoshop Master Class. There’s much more to say about this image. That’s as it should be. Words work best when they open doors, not when they shut them.
I had been pursuing seascapes, studies in proportion and color, visual equivalents of music: sonatas, preludes, etudes, and variations. It was time for a nocturne.
Generally my preliminary studies, in pastel, contain only a little variation. They match two tones and two colors. This helps strip the image down to its bare essentials making visible the dominant relationship without a great deal of distracting variation. Everything is played against those two notes. They set the key of the piece. Proportion is critical.
In Nocturne xii, detail is equally important. The tiny points of light that shimmered across the water looked like stars in the sky. While the stars in the sky moved so slowly that they looked still, these came and went in the wink of an eye. There are two different senses of time at work here. Both are brought to the same time, the unchanging time of this image. The stars in the sky are separated by vast distances, while the points of light on the surface of the water are all held on a single plane. One is deep, the other flat. If you see the surface of the atmosphere, you can’t see the stars, while if you can’t see the surface of the water, the starry reflections disappear. Surfaces reveal and conceal.
They say we can’t see color at night. By comparison to day, I suppose that’s true. However, if there’s a significant amount of light, there are wonderful colors to be found at night.
Many people don’t consider black or white to be colors. It’s true that a pure black has no bias toward one hue or another. It’s also true that every hue shares something in common with every other hue; they coalesce around a scale of brightness (dark to light). Some consider black a color for color is what we see. Aside from the one pure black, there are many blacks that have subtle tints of one hue or another. Each has a character all its own.
I’ve been interested in making images of night for some time. My initial efforts with paint were frustrating. I couldn’t see the image and the subject at the same time. This forced me to paint from memory. This is an attempt to make a photograph from memory. A traditional photograph would not have rendered the night as I experience it. If I had made this image from an exposure at night, the waves would likely have turned to mist. The long exposure needed would render the water as pure motion. Like my preliminary studies, there would be a definite horizon line but little detail. It would be soft but not still.
Rather than deferring to the vision of the camera eye, I’m now able to render either what my eye has seen or what my mind’s eye can envision.
Read more Statements here.
See more images here.
Many people think you can’t learn to be more creative. “You’ve either got it or you don’t.” This attitude does a great disservice to everyone. Everyone is creative. So why are some people more creative than others? There are all kinds of reasons. Two reasons stand out above all the others – attitude and skill. In both cases, practice makes perfect. The creative principles and strategies applied in a wide variety of fields can all help you become more creative. You can learn to be more creative. As Micheal Michalko says, “The artist, after all, is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of artist.”
Read to my Creativity Downloads here.
Listen to my Creativity Tips here.
Learn about my workshop Illuminating Creativity here.
Each issue of my free enews Insights offers creativity tips. Get Insights here.
My workshop participants are always interesting. they come from all walks of life and bring a lot of life experience with them. It was a pleasure to have Marc Keogel recently attend The Fine Digital Print Expert.
Marc Koegel was born in Germany and currently lives in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Marc’s both accomplished and versatile; commercial and fine art photographer, educator, writer, and director of the Vancouver Photo Workshops. Marc produces dramatically stark high contrast black and white landscapes, architecture, and nudes, often involving HDR and motion.
Here’s what Mark said about his experience in the workshop.
“I travelled to JP’s studio for several reasons. Considering myself
an advanced technical printer, I was looking for more than just
technique; I was looking for a point of departure, a unique
perspective and creative inspiration. I wanted to experiment making my
own large prints, without worrying about hardware availability and
cost. Last but not least, I also wanted to use the opportunity and
photograph the beautiful and unique maine land and seascape.
I found all of the above, and more, during my week with JP. “Big
enough to do the job, small enough to care”, describes my experience.
Where else will you find all the creative inspiration, technical know-
how, equipment to experiment and complete any task (including the
Epson 11880)? How about fresh home-baked pie, and a wine and cheese
while looking at master prints with Paul Caponigro in attendance?
JP has assembled one of the most competent and enthusiastic teams to
support workshop participants. The moment you walk through the door
and step into his personal gallery and exhibition space, you know you
are in for a fantastic week.
I walked away energized and inspired to photograph new work to add to
my existing series. I discovered how much creativity can be unleashed
just before an image goes to print. And yes, I don’t consider soft-
proofing a chore no more!
Thank you JP for a truly unique workshop experience.”
“This has been the most professional workshop facility I have ever attended!
Find out more about Marc Koegel here.
Tell Marc what you think about his work. Leave a Comment.
Learn more about The Fine Digital Print Expert workshop here.
What’s it take to get ready for The Fine Digital Print Expert?
Find out here in The Fine Digital Print Advanced workshop.
I love having special guests in my workshops! So, I invite special guests to attend them. Past guests include Vincent Versace, George Jardine, and Kurt Markus to name a few. You never know who’s going to show up! It makes my workshops even more exciting for everyone.
Photographer/author/trainer extraodinaire Kevin Ames participated in my recent The Fine Digital Print Expert workshop.
Kevin presented a great Photoshop session on “Lighting Without Lights” and made some elegant prints during the week as he explored developing a personal project.
Here’s what Kevin had to say about the week …
“My week at the Fine Digital Print II workshop at Caponigro Arts was filled with discovery, camaraderie, good food, conversation, critique, skill building and so much more. I’ve always known that print making (darkroom or digital) is a skill set developed over time. What I learned was it is also another way of seeing. Up until now I’d not connected to seeing from the perspective of the print. I have always envisioned how a scene, portrait or product set up would translate onto film back then or will be recorded into a digital file today for reproduction on press. I hadn’t realized how much more a print can be coaxed to share until now. The tranquil, wooded location in rural Maine is near lakes and the ocean. The solace of the place added to the creativity all of us experienced. Most exciting of all, a whole new body of work opened up for me within a week of finishing the workshop. Kudos of the grandest kind to John Paul and everyone at Caponigro Arts!”
Find out more about Kevin Ames here.
Learn more about the workshop here.
Is your print pink and light? Double color management! It’s the single most common printing mistake. It’s easy to make. Find out how to avoid it and other common problems in my PDFs on printing.
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