In my Death Valley digital photography workshop, Justin Hartford consistently found a quiet corner to pursue his nude self-portraiture using his quiet gestures in the surrounding landscape as a way describing varying psychological states. His style was immediately recognizable, so much so that when another participant presented a nude of him everyone in the group thought it was his work. His approach was so different it stimulated a lot of dialog. His presence prompted us to ask how we could make our photographs more personal.

How many ways can you think of to make your images more personal?

Read more in my creativity lessons.
Find out more about my Death Valley digital photography workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

hartfordnamibia1

A Quiet Mind
by Justin A. Hartford

In May of this year I traveled with JP to Namibia to photograph the
vast deserts and endlessly untouched areas of such a remote location.
I grew. I grew as a photographer and a person during that time. To go
on a photographic journey with JP is to have a very unique experience.
We had group exercises. We had individual attention. For me, the most
important was the time I was allowed to wander on my own away from the
group. I was always supported, as was everyone, for trying new things
and doing something different. In the mornings we would all load up in
the Land Rovers and head out with coffee in hand. I had music in ear.
The music I was listening to is the basis for my body of work that
came out of that Namibian journey. Blue Octobers song A Quiet Mind.

My series, A Quiet Mind, is a selection of eighteen images. It is a
series about searching for something even though I don’t know what I’m
searching for. It is about being lost and alone. It is about having so
much going on inside my head sometimes that all I want is A Quiet
Mind. I hope you enjoy viewing these images.

Find out more about Justin Harford here.

Find out about my 2010 Namibia workshop here.

See more images … Read more

For over 10 years I’ve been mentoring a select group of individuals. Their progress has been thrilling to watch. It’s been a true privilege to be a part of their growth. July 7 their first Group Exhibit will be unveiled at the Maine Media Workshops. (link)

Justin Hartford has been a member for the past 2 years. Here are a few important things he learned from other members and his work.

Alumni Insights

1)    Kathy Beal taught me to respect, ask permission, and thank the land that I am photographing. Keeping this practice helps to bring a sensitivity to my work that otherwise would not be there.
2)    At the first Next Step summit I attended in Utah, many of the attendees suggested I work with self-portraiture. This suggestion has helped guide me down a path that I otherwise might have been scared to go.
3)    Shooting along side many different Next Steppers has shown me different ways to approach photography and to see my subject.

Artist’s Statement

Proserpina is a Greek Goddess whose name means “to emerge”. She is synonymous with springtime when she emerged from her six months of residing in hell. This series is about how we as humans so often stay in our own caves not letting the real us be seen so that we can be accepted by society. It can be comforting to stay hidden away and not be judged. It can also create an inner hell to keep who we really are deeply hidden away for fear of judgment.
See more of Justin’s work here.

See the Next Step Exhibit at the Maine Media Workshops July 7 – 30.

Find out more about my workshops here.

Read more


Justin Hartford perfected his black and white palette during a special session of my Fine Digital Print workshops this week. He’s printing his high contrast landscapes right to the ragged edge. Deep blacks with very faint traces of detail and very bright highlights with only traces of detail. He’s using those in localized planes not in the same object. This makes extreme dynamic range a visual code for space (recession/progression). This distinctive palette combined with a larger than classic scale gives his work a very contemporary look to a classic subject (the American southwest).

Tell him what you think! Comment here!

Check out my Fine Digital Print workshops here.


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