John Macintosh’s New Book – Tell Us, What Have You Seen?

And What Is Art?        

And what is Art whereto we press
Through paint and prose and rhyme
When Nature in her nakedness
Defeats us every time?
 Rudyard Kipling
The most gratifying thing about being a teacher is seeing your students grow. One of the pinnacles of my years of teaching has been witnessing John Macintosh’s effervescent explorations of photography. His creations have become as colorful and rich as he is. John is about to release his first photography book, Tell Us, What Have You Seen? Below, John shares some of the highlights of his artistic journey, things he has learned that are important to him, and how making a book has deepened his experience.
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“Eight years ago, as a birthday present to me, Petra signed us up for one of their photo workshops on a boat in Greenland. Since then, we have been privileged to witness much of Nature’s majesty in their delightful company. Many of the images in this book were taken during their workshops. They taught me everything I know about digital photography. But a voyage with the two of them is not just about understanding the tools of photography, nor is it just a voyage into the wonders of Nature. For me, those were journeys into the uncharted waters of my own creativity. Why am I so passionate about the unworldly intensity of blue ice, the sensuous flow of sinuous curves, or the warm patination of rust? I found it difficult to converse with my own tight-lipped creativity, but eventually, those conversations acted as a guide to my whimsical wanderings.
When I had my show about five years ago, I was amazed at the attendance, including several people who had flown to Chicago from the East Coast. A lady who I knew from the floor of the CBOT had bullied her partner, who owns a local restaurant, to come along to the show. When I had met him previously, he had displayed little interest in my photography. But when he entered my show, he walked up to one of my metal prints and said, ” I can’t live without this.” Shortly afterward, he redecorated the entire restaurant to accommodate seventeen of my prints, which still hang there today. It gives me great pleasure to know that over a thousand diners get to see my work every month.
What did I learn while making the book? Since I knew bugger all, I learned a lot. I decided that I would need a high class printer for the book, just as Blazing Editions are the printers for my prints. As someone without a name, I realized that the odds of finding a publisher were very remote. A couple of years ago, a well-known publisher in England told me, ” Beautiful images do not sell a book. A story sells a book.”  I thought that I didn’t have enough good images of one theme to tell a story, and so was born the idea of grouping different subject matters together through poetry.
For me, Seth and JP were instrumental in creating a link between photography and poetry, as they constantly urged the use of haiku to stimulate the visual mind. I was very dubious when they suggested writing haikus about images and even more so when they encouraged us to do so before setting out with the camera. I was one of the most reluctant pupils to accept the connection between photography and poetry, between the world of word and image. But, bit by bit, over several trips, they wore down my resistance.

.Cloths Of Heaven

.Had I the Heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams,
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
 William Butler Yeats

I read a huge amount of poetry over the last year and a half, which was extremely rewarding. Finding a poem that conjured up one of my images was always thrilling, but at one stage, I realized that I would not find enough poems (over 100 years old for copyright purposes) for a book with nearly 100 photographs, so I took the plunge of attempting to write my own poetry. That was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I have tried especially hard to avoid the sensory overload that comes when words, lying side by side with the image, simply repeat what has already been communicated by the eye. It was a formidable challenge to balance the verbal and visual stimuli, without simply superimposing one on top of the other, but it was immensely rewarding when the two seemed to complement each other.
Mixing my own poems with those of famous poets felt somewhat presumptuous, but I tried to let the image speak to me in its own voice. And just as my images cover a wide range, from portraits to landscapes to the abstract, the poems vary from short to long, from the lyrical, as in Sea Fever, to the whimsical. Above all, I wanted to avoid repetition and monotony. So as not to pigeonhole an image or a poem, I have left them without titles. I am hoping that the reader will return to the book, drawn either by the image or the poem or by a combination of both, like a hummingbird to a flowering bush.”
John Macintosh

I too have bubbled up,
Floated the measureless float,
And have been washed upon your shore.
I too am but a trail of drift and debris.
 Walt Whitman   

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33 Great Quotes On The Color Yellow

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color blue.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!

“Orange is an underrated color, it’s the second most underrated color after yellow.”
– Michel Gondry

“Yellow usually means it’s not that serious.”
– Bobby Unser

“Whenever I drive under a yellow light, I always kiss my finger and tap it on the roof of the car.”
– Jared Padalecki

“I have these new policies toward my life, like ‘I will not accelerate when I see the yellow light.'”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

“The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos.”
– Jim Hightower

“Fear has nothing to do with cowardice. A fellow is only yellow when he lets his fear make him quit.”
– Jerome Cady

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I’m here.”
– Lance Armstrong

“Yellow is not an in-between color, you’re either all in or you’re not.”
– Mobolaji Dawodu

“Watch out where the Huskies go
And don’t you eat that yellow snow.”
– Frank Zappa

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
-Pablo Picasso

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33 Great Quotes On The Color Blue

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color blue.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
– Neil Armstrong

“Whenever I gaze up at the moon, I feel like I’m on a time machine. I am back to that precious pinpoint of time, standing on the foreboding – yet beautiful – Sea of Tranquility. I could see our shining blue planet Earth poised in the darkness of space.”
– Buzz Aldrin

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience….. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
– Carl Sagan

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold – brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”
– Archibald MacLeish

“No water, no life. No blue, no green.”
– Sylvia Earle

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24 Great Quotes On The Color Brown

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color brown.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”
- Winston Churchill

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance, and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.”
- Kent Nerburn

"Brown is a sober and sedate colour, grave and solemn, but not dismal, and contributes to the expression of strength, stability, and solidity, — vigour, warmth, and rusticity, — and in minor degree to the serious, the sombre, and the sad; not with the painter only, but also with the rhetorician and poet, with whom, nevertheless, many of the broken colours are yet "airy nothings" and "without a name."
- George Field

“Nevertheless, this external sound turns into internally powerful sound. When properly used brown paint produces indescribable inner beauty, self-restraint.”
- Wassily Kandinsky

“A baton of light across the bracken redeemed the reputation of the color brown with fiery reds and yellows.”
- Ian McEwan

“The color brown, I realized, is anything but nondescript. It comes in as many hues as there are colors of earth, which is commonly presumed infinite.”
- Barbara Kingsolver

"Brown is neither one of the basic color perceptions nor a primary color used in color mixtures, but for human beings it is constantly present both in nature and in their everyday surroundings. It is the color of the earth itself — of rocks and sand, of the bark of trees, of the fur of animals. In that sense, at least, it could be called the basic color of everyday life."
- Kunio Fukuda

"Brown is the color of hearth and home — of dried herbs and stone-ground bread and freshly baked cookies. It represents all of the nurturing, life-sustaining, down-to-earth qualities of terra firma, the very shade of earth itself. Just as in the sturdy oak, brown represents roots, a steady, stable source of security, comfort, and normalcy. It is the color of fertile soil and plowed earth, buckskin and rawhide, weathered redwood, bison and mustang, frontier land — rugged and outdoorsy. It is pine cone and bracken, chipmunk and acorn, beaver and doe. Brown is considered a classic shade of solid substance."
- Leatrice Eiseman

“My skin is kind of sort of brownish pinkish yellowish white. My eyes are greyish blueish green, but I’m told they look orange in the night. My hair is reddish blondish brown, but it’s silver when it’s wet, and all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.”
- Shel Silverstein

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29 Great Quotes On The Color Gray

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color gray.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!


"Life isn't black or white, it's all sorts of shades of grey."
- Nicky Morgan

"There's so much grey to every story - nothing is so black and white."
- Lisa Ling

"Life isn't black and white. It's a million gray areas, don't you find?"
- Ridley Scott

"There are infinite shades of grey. Writing often appears so black and white."
- Rebecca Solnit

"For grey matter, there is no black and white. If you think in black and white, then you do not use enough brain functions."
- Peter Kabakci

"The color of truth is gray."
- Andre Gide

"Compromise in colors is grey."
- Edi Rama

“The color grey is a reference to ambiguity, speculation, and nebulous deconstruction without solution.”
— Philip Bachman

"Gray is the color... the most important of all... absent of opinion, nothing, neither/nor."
- Gerhard Richter

“Grey has no agenda. . . . Grey has the ability, that no other color has, to make the invisible visible.”
– Roma Tearne

“One must first allow the presence of gray to take root, then release it to weigh its absence before being certain about anything.”
– Reena Doss

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33 Great Quotes On The Color White

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color white.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!

"God paints in many colors; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when he paints in white."
- G. K. Chesterton

"Black is the absence of all color. White is the presence of all colors. I suppose life must be one or the other."
- Mary Balogh

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gorgeously, as when He paints in white.”

- G K Chesterton

"White is the most wonderful color because within it you can see all the colors of the rainbow. For me, in fact, it is the color which in natural light, reflects and intensifies the perception of all of the shades of the rainbow, the colors which are constantly changing in nature, for the whiteness of white is never just white; it is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing; the sky, the clouds, the sun and the moon."
- Richard Meier

"White is associated with purity because the entire spectrum is functioning in unity. White is a healing color."
Tae Yun Kim

"I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony."
- Coco Chanel

"If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude. Like the color white that includes all colors, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves."
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

"When you glaze on a bright white ground it is like looking through color rather than at it – like looking through stained glass."
- Fred Machetanz

"Never use pure white; it doesn't exist in nature."
- Aldro T. Hibbard

“Nothing is black or white.”
- Nelson Mandela

"Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can."
- Jack Antonoff

"Put variety in white."
- Charles Webster Hawthorne

"Renoir said once that nothing was so difficult, and at the same time so exciting, to paint, as white on white."
- Ambroise Vollard

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28 Great Quotes On The Color Black

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color black.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!


"Black is real sensation, even if it is produced by entire absence of light. The sensation of black is distinctly different from the lack of all sensation."
- Hermann von Helmhoz

"Black is always elegant. It is the most complete color in the whole world, made of all the colors in the palette."
- Ricardo Tisci

"Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony."
- Coco Chanel

"I fell in love with black; it contained all colors. It wasn’t a negation of color…Black is the most aristocratic color of all. You can be quiet, and it contains the whole thing."
- Louise Nevelson

“Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real.”
— Amy Grant

"There’s something about black. You feel hidden away in it."
- Georgia O’Keeffe

"I love black because it affirms, designs and styles. A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke."
- Yves Saint Laurent

“Black makes your life so much simpler. Everything matches black, especially black.” ― Norah Ephron

"Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy—but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don’t bother you—don’t bother me."
- Yohji Yamamoto

“I see the world in black and white, and I don’t like compromising.”
— Greta Thunberg

"If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'"
- John Wayne

"I wore black because I liked it. I still do and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion—against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas."
- Johnny Cash

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me, they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”
— Robert Frank

"Black is such a happy color darling."
- Morticia Addams

"It's too easy to say that orange is happy and black is sad. To me, black is perfect. You can fill it with the emotion you want to express."
- Ann Demeulemeester

"Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world."
- Joel Sternfeld

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How To Use Simultaneous Contrast To Make Colors Even More Lively

Composed of two complementary color families (yellow and blue); one is light and the other dark, while one is warm and the other is cool. Together, they increase each other's intensity.

Simultaneous Contrast

You can make a color appear more lively by changing it or by changing the colors around it. Even though it remains unchanged, we see it differently. Color context can be almost as important as individual color.

These effects are part physics (measurable qualities of light), part biology (what our brains do to enhance information to better perceive the world), and part psychology (our subjective responses). While the phenomena and our responses to them are complex, we can use a few simple dynamics to produce striking effects.

The colors in the center are the same but appear different because of the colors that surround them.

A lighter surround makes a color appear darker - and vice versa.

A warmer surround makes a color appear cooler - and vice versa.

A saturated surround makes a color appear more neutral - and vice versa.

Find more on Simultaneous Contrast and Color Theory here.

3 Types Of Contrast

Luminosity, hue, and saturation, the three elements of color, offer three types of contrast to choose from.

Changes in luminosity make colors feel lighter or heavier.
Use Curves. How To Master Color Adjustment With Curves

Changes in hue bring warm and cool associations with them.
Use Curves. 4 Ways To Enhance Color Temperature In Your Images

Changes in saturation increase or decrease vibrance.
Use Saturation and/or Vibrance. How To Master Saturation In Your Images

All three, either individually or collectively, can make a color appear nearer or farther away.

Atmospheric perspective enhances the illusion of depth; lighter, warmer, more saturated colors appear closer.

Sometimes, you want to select the element you change carefully to create a specific effect.

Other times, you just want separation, and any kind of contrast will do. For maximum effect, change all three elements as much as you can while still maintaining a realistic appearance.

Nearby, Adjacent, Surrounding

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33 Great Quotes On The Color Green

Enjoy this collection of quotes on the color green.

Which is your favorite? Have one to add? Leave a comment!


“Green is the prime color of the world and that from which its loveliness arises.”
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca

“It seems very safe to me to be surrounded by green growing things and water.”
– Barbara Kingsolver

"It's been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development. If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down. Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers. So we need them, in some deep psychological sense, which I don't suppose anybody really understands yet."
- Jane Goodall

"Nature in her green, tranquil woods heals and soothes all afflictions."
– John Muir

“Absolute green is the most restful color, lacking any undertone of joy, grief, or passion. On exhausted men, this restfulness has a beneficial effect, but after a time it becomes tedious. ”
– Wassily Kandinsky

“Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green, it can rest.”
– Mary Webb

"Even in winter, it shall be green in my heart."
– Frederic Chopin

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.”
– Lois Lowry

“No one thinks of winter when the grass is green.”
— Rudyard Kipling

"Green strongly influences the heart and helps alleviate tension. Positive qualities associated with green are generosity, humility, and cooperation."
– Tae Yun Kim

"The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh."
- Rumi

“Remember, green’s your color. You are spring.”
– Gwendolyn Brooks

"For still there are so many things that I have never seen: in every wood in every spring there is a different green."
– J. R. R. Tolkien

"For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver."
– Martin Luther

"Ultimately, the only wealth that can sustain any community, economy or nation is derived from the photosynthetic process - green plants growing on regenerating soil."
- Allan Savory

"By the way, most of the light that comes from the sun is green."
– Bill Nye

"No water, no life. No blue, no green."
– Sylvia Earle

“Green is a process, not a status. We need to think of ‘green’ as a verb, not an adjective.” – Daniel Goleman

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3 Qualities Of Light You Can Use To Make Your Images Glow

Color has three elements – luminosity, hue, and saturation. 

Luminosity describes a color’s lightness.

Hue describes a color’s temperature. (It’s the rainbow ROYGBIV.)

Saturation describes a color’s degree of neutrality.

All colors can be described as a combination of these three values.

Each of these elements offers a unique quality and type of contrast. (Think energy.)

While we see all three elements simultaneously, learning to distinguish these three elements from one another is a useful skill that will help you see more clearly and see more possibilities for enhancing your images.

Consider the transformations each element of color offers.

When highlights are lightened with luminosity, this image feels cooler and more brilliant.

When highlights are warmed with hue, the image feels hotter and more humid.

When highlights are intensified with saturation, the image feels more lush and fertile.

Each of these elements of color implies a different atmosphere, a different time of day, or perhaps even season, and, in this case, a state of plant growth. Color becomes a code for many different qualities, and so can offer you many possibilities for creative enhancement and personal expression.

The following examples will illuminate some of the possibilities and pitfalls for you.


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