Oriental I

“I have always been particularly attracted to Asian calligraphy and painting. Ancient oriental paintings rely on overlap and atmospheric perspective rather than linear perspective to depict the recession of space on a flat plane. I particularly like the way they treat morning or evening mist over mountains. One abstract shape precedes another, successively growing paler, and each is paler at the bottom and darker at the top. You can see the atmosphere …”
Read the rest of this statement here.
Read my other Artist’s Statements here.

New Facebook Terms

New York magazine currently has a great article on important recent developments on Facebook. Do You Own Facebook? Or Does Facebook Own You? by Vanessa Grigoriadis.
Facebook recently changed usage terms (they expanded their ability to use member contributed content – even after members left Facebook). Members protested and a user group was started to protest; it now has nearly 150,000 members. Facebook responded and reverted to the old terms, temporarily. Facebook then rewrote new terms (broader usage terms, that terminate when members leave Facebook); these new terms are now up for vote by all Facebook members. Facebook will make a public statement April 10. Facebook will put the new document to a vote by all users by April 20.
You can get involved.
If you use Facebook, I recommend you do.
See the Facebook Group – People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS)
Join the Facebook Bill of Rights & Responsibilities here.
If you’re an alumni of my seminars and/or workshops you can join my Alumni Facebook Group here.

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

10,000 hours. The amount of time it takes to become an expert at something. That’s 40 hours a week for 250 weeks or 4.8 years. That’s what most people talk about when they talk about Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers : The Story of Success. But Gladwell goes much further than this. There are many other components to success. Culture. Family. Attitude. Receptivity. Flexibility. Versatility. Opportunity. Timing. Luck.
“Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”
He gives many great examples, told in his inimitable style, part social psychology, part mystery/thriller. Perhaps the most interesting is the final chapter, the story of his own personal family history. Including this is an interesting move, not just from a human interest point of view, not just from the history of race relations, but also that he unveils many of the elements of his success portraying it as an inherited legacy. He’s right, in part. And this does no disservice to his individual accomplishments. Implied in this final chapter is that Gladwell is exceptional. He is.
All of Gladwell’s books are brilliant. Outliers is very good. Tipping Point is truly great. Blink is amazing.

Find them here, along with other books I recommend.

Learn about success in creativity in my upcoming Creativity workshop.

Inoculations for Travel

For all the international travel I do, I haven’t had to get shots yet – until today. I had to get shots for my upcoming trip to Africa. Are you planning a trip? You can ask your primary physician for this information. Or, you can check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s online resources. They’re extensive. CDCP online has great resources to inform you about all the health considerations you should be informed about before travelling.
Find out what kinds of health preparations you should consider before traveling here.
Going to Namibia? Here’s what you should look into.

Joshua Tree National Park

At the Palm Spring Photo Festival I took my workshop out for two very long days on location at the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree National Park is magical. The park is named after the unusual trees found in abundance there; they’re actually lilies. Imagine them blooming; they do that soon. The rock formations are organically suggestive. It’s a landscape that looks like it was drawn by Dr Seuss.
There are a number of great locations to photograph in the park. Here’s a ranking of many of the locations to photograph there (moving north to south). (Ranks are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best.)
4    Quail Springs
9    Hidden Valley
6    Keyes Point
6    Cap Rock
4    Ryan Ranch
7    Jumbo Rocks
8    Skull Rock
5    Live Oak
5    Split Rock
4    Belle
8    White Tank
Find out more about Joshua Tree National Park here.
Get the map here.
Find out more about my field workshops here. Read More

Walk & Talk with Chris Orwig

At the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Chris Orwig took a walk with me and we talked about a life in the arts. He’s been asking many other artists the same questions.
What inspires you?
What makes a photograph good?
What character qualities should the photographer nuture and develop?
Advice for the aspiring photographer?
Seriously consider answering the questions yourself.
Answering questions like this can energize and focus your creative life.
You can listen to my responses on his blog here.
Check out Chris’ work here.
Check out my workshop Illuminating Creativity.

D-65 – Workflow Solutions

Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer offer phenomenal workflow workshops – D-65. Seth and Jamie’s wisdom is apparent from the start. It’s not a my way or the high way approach. They realize workflow is dynamic and needs to be modified for the needs of the situation and individual. So they teach principles and strategies that are universal before delving into specifics. Offering a workflow they feel is ideal, they encourage you to adapt their recommendations for your specific needs, with a thorough understanding of why you do what you do and what the repercussions are. The big concepts are as or more important than the details. Efficient and consistent workflow practices increase both productivity and quality. I can’t imagine anyone, no matter what their level, not improving their workflow after taking a D65 workshop.
I’ve been saying for years that my fine art workflow is not the workflow that I should use on the weekends when my client is my mother. Mom wants lots of reasonably good JPEGs of my son, yesterday, not one perfect 2 gig file next year. I need my fine art workflow on weekdays. I need Seth’s workflow on weekends. I need different workflows for different situations. We all do.
I really need to know more about keywords and hierarchies – soon. Keywording isn’t just about my finding my images efficiently. It’s also about other people finding my images efficiently. Seth is THE master of metadata. He’s not only a great photographer, he’s a contemporary linguist. He knows all the keywords and keywording strategies that make his images incredibly accessible to anyone. I often present a slideshow of my work in Antarctica and in it I show work by the other photographers I cotaught with, including Seth. A few of his images are on my computer. When I search for Antarctica on my computer his images come up at the top of any search. When I hover over his files in Bridge I see the descriptive paragraphs he’s added to his files. Now I use his images to research my trip. Amazing.
I wish I could stay for more than one day of Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer’s D-65 workflow workshop this week. I love hanging out with Seth and Jamie because they’re so much fun. I need D-65 professionally too. So, my wife and I are going to attend D-65’s upcoming sessions in Miami: 2-Day Advanced Lightroom (5/29/09- 5/30/09); 1-Day Web Workshop (5/31/09); 1-Day Business Workshop (6/1/09).
Check out D-65 here.
Check out their book The Photoshop Lightroom Workbook here.

Blurb Seminar

Blurb put on a great seminar on new bookmaking possibilities at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.
Blurb makes possible small run, limited edition books, a majority of which wouldn’t be published in the mainstream publishing world. In comparison to high end traditional offset printing Blurb’s final product is a limited run, lo-fi approach. The cost per item is greater than traditional offset printing, but you can produce as few books as you like. You assume the financial risk, not the publisher, but you can limit or even eliminate your risk. There are only six sizes (harcover or softcover, with three different binding process. You have a limited choice of paper stocks – standard and premium. The color management is good but not excellent.
Blurb books look similar to traditional books, but they’re different. Really different. How? Create your own online private or public bookstore. Quickly and easily design your own book yourself with Blurb’s online software. (Some have done it in as few as 20 minutes.) Blurb will then produce as many or as few copies as you like and send them where you want them within a week. You can make them available for purchase by others. Blurb can fulfill orders for you. And if you make a profit, they’ll send you a check. You can update your book at any time; within hours or for the second copy ordered. And last, but certainly not least, everything in the text in your Blurb book is searchable; a Google search will find text in the captions for images! That’s amazing!
Blurb is a powerful new addition to the creation of book. They printed over 400,000 titles in 2008. This is a huge paradigm shift for the way we make books and share our work with others.
Check out Blurb here.
Check out my Blurb book Antarctica here (and stay tuned for the updated version coming soon).

Photoshelter Survey on Websites

At the Palm Spring Photo Festival, Grover Sanschagrin (Founder, Vice President) of Photoshelter shared great statistics from a recent survey they conducted  on website usage. They polled over 550+ photo buyers discussing what they liked/disliked in photographer websites. The focus is heavily oriented to stock photography. While everyone will use the information in different ways, it’s useful for everyone with a website.
71% will leave after 15 seconds
87% want an immediate price
67% like images larger than 700 pixels
40% look at 4-6 galleries , while 21% look at more than 7
77% don’t watch slideshows
98% objected to watermarks (wouldn’t buy those images)(though transparent
Three golden rules for websites?
Make it easy to use.
Make it simple.
Make it memorable.
Check out the survey here.