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Revelation XXXV

In 1996 I completed a series of new images – Revelation. Impossible symmetries drawn forth from desert landscapes, they were unlike anything I’d seen before. Looking at these images, day after day, was like having a dream that never faded. They reminded me of the artifacts I liked so much from the sacred traditions of many primal cultures – totem poles, figurines, costumes, masks, and paintings – not just from the cultures I was exposed to as a boy growing up in New Mexico. The series was good and stood on its own, but I knew then that I still had much more work I wanted to do.

The series has been ongoing for more than twenty years. The series was on my mind when I first went to Antarctica in 2005; I started shooting deliberately for it on a return voyage in 2007; material slowly accumulated in subsequent voyages in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015; and then in 2016 it all came together. It wasn’t so much that the material I had gathered that year was just right, what really made the difference was the special point I had come to in my life and work.

These more recent images have an added quality, not solely because they were drawn from a different location, but also because of the passage of time and all the things that happened during it.

In part, this comes from sleeping on it; the subconscious offers many rich and fertile territories.

In part, this is the result of a significant amount of conscious thought; studying craft and composition were only the beginnings for preparing this ground; related reading and viewing enriched me further; having more special experiences with land planted more seeds; digging into my deepest thoughts and feelings about the subject and my approach helped me cultivate them.

In part, this work waited so long is that there was other work to do, including a harvest of related bodies of work (Inhalation and Exhalation). Making that work influenced this work.

In part, this is the result of my inner state now; contrary to what some have suggested, I’ve found this isn’t something to overcome no matter what the current conditions but rather something to be nurtured. These images would have been different if I finished them earlier – because I was different.

While one needs to guard against procrastination, one also needs to guard against rushing through experiences and not developing the necessary depth to fully engage them and do your best work. To reach its full potential, a great wine needs time, neither too little nor too much.

So when is the best time to move forward? This is a question that is best approached with awareness and deep contemplation. Though there are repeatable patterns and common tendencies, there is no one definitive answer to this question for all situations. I’ve found some work gets produced very quickly, sometimes a whole series is made in one shoot, while some work gets produced very slowly, over decades. Ultimately, you have to go with your gut. This doesn’t rule out the possibility and potential benefits of a great deal of research and forethought before you do. The two working in concert together often yield the most powerful combination. However, the single most important ingredient is, not mere spontaneity, which can be short lived, but a true effervescence of spirit, and it’s particularly important to pay attention to this quality if it can be sustained over longer periods of time. You need to be alive to your work to make it come alive.

In our increasingly fast-paced societies, there is a tremendous pressure to produce more and produce it more quickly. This can create a pace that is unsustainable for most creatives, at least when it comes to releasing work with real depth. However well-crafted or clever, there often seems to be something missing in the final results. Good fully developed work takes time … because much like creating deeper relationships with people, it takes time to develop a deeper relationship with your work and your self. Make that time. Savor it. It can make all the difference in the world.

Questions

How many ways can you enrich yourself before you move forward?

At what point does preparation become procrastination?

What signs suggest that this is or isn’t the time?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more of The Stories Behind The Images here.

PHOTOGRAPH_16

“Issue 16 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine highlights the diversity of vision and creative expression. Issue 16 is a stylish send off (It’s the final issue!), featuring the work of Cynthia Haynes, Karen Divine, David duChemin, Takashi Kitajima, and Alain Laboile, and articles from regular columnists Martin Bailey, John Paul Caponigro, David duChemin, Chris Orwig, and Adam Blasberg. We hope this magazine inspires you to see differently as you continue to hone your vision.”

I discuss Using Psychology To Strengthen Your Composition.

Get your copy here.

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“Issue 15 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine is dedicated to the art of landscape photography and seeks out the ideal web of trees, explores what makes a good impressionistic landscape, catches the perfect wave, and examines at how including yourself in a vast scene can tell bigger photographic stories.

Portfolios and interviews include Ray Collins, a coal miner-turned-award-winning-photographer who’s job injury led to his discovery of seeing the sea from a whole new angle; the calm, impressionistic work of former painter Chris Friel, widely known and respected in the intentional camera movement world for his landscapes; Charles Cramer, a classical pianist who studied with Ansel Adams and developed a deep love for creating beautiful prints; and Paul Zizka, who became widely known for his self-portraiture after including himself in his hard-to-reach landscapes.

Regular contributors John Paul Caponigro, Michael Frye, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Adam Blasberg, and David duChemin—each recognized for their respective landscapes—have contributed articles on audience, perspective, flexibility, how everyday conversation can spark creativity, the natural landscape as metaphor, optical filters, and how negative space can make a positive impact on your photography.”

Get it here.

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Here’s what David DuChemin shared about PHOTOGRAPH Issue 13.

“Issue 13 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine highlights a variety of photographic adventures (close to my heart!), including the strength and elegance of being underwater, climbing to heart-stopping heights, hiking through the mystery of the Dowrog, and the sport of finding just the right light in a place you know like the back of your hand.

I’m thrilled to feature the portfolios and interviews with Mallory Morrison, who flows into the feeling of summer with a unique and graceful combination of fashion and dance—underwater; photographer/videographer Jordan Manley, who makes his craft a physical art; rural documentary photographer Chris Tancock, whose numerous collections are all made within a five-mile radius of his home; and the majestic Yosemite landscapes of Michael Frye, who has found the Park to be his perfect muse.

In addition to the featured portfolios, contributors John Paul Caponigro, Bruce Percy, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Adam Blasberg and I jump in with articles on improvisation, size, the philosophy of returning, finding your creative habitat, configuration, optimal focus modes, and how to make portraits in the tiniest of spaces.”

This installment in my column Creative Composition explores the power of Size.

Get 25% Off through Wednesday June 24.

Get PHOTOGRAPH Issue 13 here.

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Get 20% off PHOTOGRAPH 12 through Wednesday, April 21, 2015 here.

“Issue 12 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine celebrates diversity of expression, from imaginative portraiture, to the sensual canals of Venice, the solitude of dales in snow, and the joy of telling stories about oneself.

Portfolios and interviews include John Keatley (interviewed in Episode 5 of the C&V iTunes Podcast), who lets us in on the behind-the-scenes nerves and excitement of photographing celebrities, and what it takes to come up with ideas to keep portraits interesting and entertaining; David duChemin, who opens his heart—and his portfolio—about his ongoing photographic Venetian love affair; Doug Chinnery, who explains why sharpness is overrated and that there are no rules (or police) in photography; and the Instagram stylings of Pilar Franco Borrell, who—despite her claims of “being a bit of a mess”—creates light and fun photographic stories in which she is often the main character.

Regular contributors John Paul Caponigro, Michael Frye, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Piet Van den Eynde, Adam Blasberg and David duChemin express themselves with articles on discipline, position, knowing where to stand, letting go of perfectionism, choosing risk, metering modes, the evolution of a portrait, the power of persistence, and creating a presentation folio.”

In my column Creative Composition I discuss the importance of Position within the frame.

Find PHOTOGRAPH 12 here.

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“Issue 11 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine celebrates the power of movement, from the strength and elegance of African beasts, to heading across town via public transportation, to the muscular physicality of dancers, to traveling across the country and documenting it all in black and white.

Portfolios and interviews feature the work of Ken and Michelle Dyball, who open up about how they find life—and wildlife—on the savannahs of the Maasai Mara; impressionistic photographer Valda Bailey, who found unexpected grace and beauty while riding the No. 8 bus; Thomas David, who took a concept of dust and dance and created a powerful series; and Russell Grace, who—in trying to impress a girl—inadvertently switched to infrared photography, with beautiful results.

Regular contributors John Paul Caponigro, Bruce Percy, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Piet Van den Eynde, Adam Blasberg and I discuss seizing time, the strength of numbers, the starkness of nature, creative flow (and getting unstuck), the art and science of photography, depth of field, telling the story of your subject through lighting, and how to create a photo panel.”

This installment in my column Creative Composition explores the power of Number.

Get 20% Off through Tuesday Feb 3.

Get PHOTOGRAPH Issue 11 here.


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