Christopher James – Artist's On Art

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.

Making The Visual Verbal – Creativity

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.

Nocturne XII – Statement

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.

You Can Learn To Be More Creative – Creativity

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.

Marc Keogel / Participant – The Fine Digital Print Expert

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.

Kevin Ames / Workshop Special Guest

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.

Moose Peterson – Artists On Art

moose peterson wildlife photographyAcclaimed wildlife photographer Moose Peterson speaks in this in depth conversation.
“Our travels and experiences translates into having one of the largest collection of images of threatened and endangered critters on the planet. While we’re very proud of our own efforts that have made this possible, we’re sadden to think that six species can only be seen in our files. That’s because they are now extinct.”
“Very early on it was obvious we couldn’t go this task alone, of saving our natural world through our photography. We needed to enlist the help of other photographers. While some won’t see it this way, I fight for photographers nearly as much as I fight for the critters. My sharing of what I’ve learned is a desire for other photographers to get out and make a difference sooner, faster and better than I by taking what I’ve learned and moving forward and not having to waste time reinventing the wheel. Finding solutions to problems comes from what my students want to learn as my own desire to improve my photography. In some aspects, they are as much a driving force to my learning as my own needs.”
Read more here …


Welcome to the official blog of John Paul Caponigro. You’ll find a lot of unique content here in the coming days.
How is my Blog different than my enews Insights? Insights is broadcast periodically (usually monthly). Insights subscribers get access to free resources and special discounts. Insights let’s you know what new content is posted on johnpaulcaponigro.com. Members can get over 100 free downloads. New content is added every month.
My blog will be updated much more frequently – sometimes daily. My blog will have very different kinds of content. You’ll find Events, Product News, New Work, What’s on Press at Caponigro Arts, Artist’s Statements, Artist’s On Art excerpts and follow ups, Interview excerpts, Reading Reflections, Viewing Reflections, Artist Review excerpts, Workshop Highlights, Workshop Participant Profiles, Seminar Highlights, Destinations Highlights, Technique, Creativity, Special Guest Appearances, and much, much more. While my blog will also alert you to some of the useful resources on my website, my enews Insights will be comprehensive. Many of the discounts I’m able to offer you are only available to Insights members.
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