My Top 12 Photographs

September 18, 2013 | Leave a Comment |

01RefractionX_2005_501_johnpaulcaponigro

Refraction X, 2002

02ExhalationIV_2006_47402_johnpaulcaponigro

Exhalation IV, 2005

03inhalation103_johnpaulcaponigro

Inhalation I, 1998

04nocturne1204_johnpaulcaponigro

Correspondence XII, 1999

05oriens105_johnpaulcaponigro

Oriens

06correspondence306_johnpaulcaponigro

Correspondence III, 1999

07path107_johnpaulcaponigro

Alignment I, 1999

08procession108_johnpaulcaponigro

Alignment II, 1999

10ReflectionXVIII_2008_510_johnpaulcaponigro

Reflection XVIII, 2008

11SuffusionVIII_2007_511_johnpaulcaponigro

Suffusion VIII, 2007

12Constellation_VI12_johnpaulcaponigro

Constellation VI, 2013

093_Illumination_VI_2012_47409_johnpaulcaponigro

Illumination VI, 2012

Updated 2013

This is a selection of my top 12 images of all time. This selection doesn’t reflect sales, publication, or activities on the world wide web. It simply reflects my opinion. Click on the titles to find out more about each image.

Geography

Read The Most Sublime Landscape Experiences Of My Life here.

Process

20% straight. 80% composites.

Poetry, by any means necessary.

Experiment to find out what’s possible.

Concepts

A profound shift in consciousness arises when we relate to the world (all of it) as parts of a living thing into whose fibers we are deeply woven before birth and after death. Just as every individual has a unique spirit, every location has its own unique spirit (Genius loci is the latin translation of what the Greeks called this.), which fits into the larger world spirit (Anima mundi is the latin translation of what the Greeks called this.) We are not apart from nature, we are a part of Nature.

Magnificent Moment

Read about the most Sublime Moments of my life here.

 

View more of my Annual Top 12 Selections here.

View more images in my ebooks here.

View my full Works here.

View my Series videos here.

View new images in my newsletter Collectors Alert.

Triple Goddess, Aneth, Utah, 1996

This image was born out of synergy. It took multiple media to resolve this image and each one contributed something unique to the final result.

During a brainstorming session I used word associations to search for new possibilities. Only a few word pairs and phrases stood out of the hundreds that were generated, only some of which seemed related, including ‘floating stone’. What was it that made that pair stand out from all the others? Perhaps it was the reversal of expectations it contained, stones don’t float they sink. Perhaps it was something else, something less easily explained and more personal.

I slept on it. Shortly after midnight, I woke up in the middle of a dream of a floating stone. Dreams are rich sources of insight, which is why I make sure to always have something close at hand to record them. I quickly sketched the image. Why a sketch? I had already written the words down. In this case, an image would be more specific. And I went back to sleep. In the morning, when I woke up again, I saw the sketch at my bedside. It helped me remember the image in my dreams. I sketched many variations of the image, generating many possible compositions of the same subject and even found a few new ideas along the way.

That day, I went to my photographic archive and searched for the best material to bring this image to light. Along the way, the photographs I sifted through stimulated many new related ideas, which I also sketched. In the end I decided to use a stone that was much smoother, a sky that was more complicated, and hills that were smoother than the ones in my dreams. Even as I was compositing the three images into one, something new ideas emerged when I decided to make the mounds symmetrical. Influenced by everything that I had experienced between discovering the seed of the idea and its final resolution, the image had grown richer and evolved. Discovery can happen at each and every point in the creative process.

When engaging in creative challenges, if you approach things in multiple ways you’re sure to find a shift in perspective. Whether we’re looking for new ideas, solving problems, or seeking feedback about what we have produced, we often enlist many people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences who each have something different to contribute to our understanding. You can do this for yourself, by trying different things that will bring you a variety of experiences and new perspectives. Doing this is part of being well-rounded, well-informed, and thorough. You never know what you’ll discover, until you try it.

Questions

How many ways can you approach researching a challenge?

How many ways can you approach solving a challenge?

What unique contribution does each approach make to your understanding?

What unique contribution does each approach make to the final result?

Which is the best mode to start with?

Which is the best mode to end with?

What mode is best for a given stage of development in a creative challenge?

Is there an optimal order for mode shifts?

How long is it best to stay in one mode before moving to another?

When is it better to stay in one mode?

When is it better to move to another mode?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

Enchambered, 1996, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

The symmetry is marvelous, but it would be even better if it was rotated a few degrees. The color is rich, but it could be a little more saturated – not too saturated. The shadows are a touch too dark; they need more detail. The space in the center is too empty. What should go in it? A stone? It blocks the entrance. A bone? It brings unwanted associations of death. A tooth? Don’t give Freud the pleasure. How about something non-material like light? That’s it. But a little irregular. Now the environment needs to reflect the new light source. How light should the surrounding walls become? A little lighter, no that’s too light. And lighten only the central arch so that the source of light appears to be in not in front of the canyon walls. That’s it. Are you sure? I’m sure. Are you really sure? That’s enough. So it went, my dialog with my inner critic as I made this image – Enchambered. My inner critic would have been either maddening or demoralizing if I hadn’t come to trust it so much over the years.

Your inner critic can be a terrible adversary or a powerful ally. Which one it becomes depends on how you relate to and use it. Like any animal, proper care and feeding can work wonders while neglect and abuse can produce monstrous results.

The inner critic’s powers of analysis and forethought are truly exceptional. It’s a protective mechanism. Its job is to help you avoid potential dangers. It’s excellent at identifying weaknesses or shortcomings that if left uncorrected and allowed to continue unchecked may have adverse affects. It can quickly identify potential areas for improvement. It can provide all sorts of extremely valuable feedback.

But, the inner critic has its limitations. The inner critic speaks from a point of fear. It motivates with fear too. It’s a pessimist. It’s often accurate, but never infallible. Because of this, it isn’t good at being supportive, but instead may create doubt and insecurity. Its criticism may not be constructive, if its feedback isn’t placed in a useful context. If it goes too far astray, its affects can produce negative results and even lead to paralysis.

So how can you turn this powerful voice from enemy into ally? It’s all in your attitude. First consider the inner critic a trusted ally – one with limitations. Call on it whenever you need a good dose of tough love. Give it free reign to speak candidly and fully, for a limited time only. Weigh everything it offers appropriately; remember it’s wearing the opposite of rose colored glasses. Whenever you hear the voice of the inner critic unbeckoned, ask if what it has to offer is helpful. If it is, use its feedback to improve your results. If it’s not, calmly acknowledge it. Tell it you value it as an ally both in the past and in the future, and clearly state the reason(s) you’ve decided to make the choice you’re making. Tell it you will continue to consult with it in the future. You might even give it an alternate project to work on. Stay calm; it can feed on negative emotions. Once you’ve made your decision, be firm. Remember, like a child having a tantrum, there may be times it needs to be silenced; give it a time out. It can take a lot of energy to manage your inner critic well, so afterwards (There must be an afterwards; giving the inner critic free reign 24/7 is a recipe for depression.) you may need to take a break or even engage your inner coach to reenergize yourself and return empowered with new perspectives.

The inner critic is most valuable at certain stages in a creative process. The inner critic has little to offer early in the creative process; it’s the kiss of death during brainstorming sessions but it’s very useful afterwards when sifting through the wealth of material that’s produced in them. It becomes increasingly valuable further on in a creative process, particularly at key turning points when evaluating results – identifying and rating strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and performing cost benefit analyses. Often, towards the end of a creative process, it will provide just the thing you need to pull it all together or help you take it up to the next level.

Questions

When are evaluative questions and statements most useful?

When are evaluative questions and statements not useful?

What is the most beneficial attitude to approach them with?

What’s the most productive way to ask and state them?

When are they energizing?

When are they enervating?

How do you reconcile conflicting results that are sometimes generated?

How long should you stay in this mode?

When should you stop?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

Watch this video and you’ll get the sense of what it’s like to be on location with me during my Arches digital photography workshop. Plus you’ll hear two tips; one on light (search the boundaries between light and shadow) and another on composition (use frames within frames).

Find out more about my Arches Digital Photography workshop here.

Learn more about my digital photography workshops here.

During my Arches digital photography workshop, Barry Boulton expected to make pristine landscapes untouched by man. But during our initial reviews of his work, he was struck by the realization that a majority of his images either had people in them or showed signs of their being there. So he pursued the idea to see how far he could go with it. It worked for him – consistently.

Very often we don’t recognize that we’ve already started to do the work we’re called to do. All we have to do is recognize the call and then answer it. You can learn a lot about your voice if you only look closely and find the patterns that exist between the images you’ve already created.

What themes and patterns can you identify in your work? Which ones are you most excited to pursue further?

Find out more about my Arches digital photography workshop.

Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Reflection XLII

Reflection XLVII

Reflection XXXIX

Reflection XXV

Reflection XXV

 

Reflection XLV

Reflection XLV

Reflection XXVI

Reflection XXVI

Correspondence - Nocturne - LI

Correspondence – Nocturne – LI

Correspondence XLV - Nocturne

Correspondence XLV – Nocturne

Correspondence XXXXVI - Nocturne

Correspondence XXXXVI – Nocturne

Correspondence XXXV - Nocturne

Correspondence XXXV – Nocturne

Correspondence - Nocturne LII

Correspondence – Nocturne LII

Condensation CX - Prelude

Condensation CX – Prelude

This is a selection of my top 12 images of all time. This selection doesn’t reflect sales, publication, or activities on the web. It simply reflects my opinion. Click on the titles to find out more about each image.

Geography

Antarctica, California, Iceland, South America, Utah.

Process

I practiced my typical 80% composite and 20% straight. Can you tell which is which? I hope it’s not obvious and that during this guessing game you begin to look more closely at looking.

Concepts

Light reveals and interacts with surfaces, which both reveal and conceal, sometimes doing both simultaneously. What the viewer sees depends as much on the context (physical location and moment in time) as his or her mental state (education, emotion, intent, awareness).

Magnificent Moment

The time I spent exploring the Great Salt Lake in Utah, several years before these images were completed, was a particularly intense time emotionally for me, some of I hope is reflected in these images and some of which I hope remains personal. The magnificent moment was inside.

View more of my Annual Top 12 Selections here.

View more images in my ebooks here.

View my full Works here.

View my Series videos here.

View new images in my newsletter Collectors Alert.


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