20 Questions With Photographer Chris Orwig

Chris Orwig provides quick candid answers to 20 questions.
What’s the best thing about photography?
Life is short and time moves too fast. Yet, photography has provided me with the way to try to stop, slow and savor moments that otherwise would have been lost. Even more, good photographs seem to be a concentration of life, a distillation like evaporated sea water where only the salt remains. And photography has become a means and a passport to get out into the world and to live life with more focus, intensity and passion. In a sense, what’s best about photography is that it has saved me. It’s saved me from myself and helped me to focus on others and on the grand mystery of life. And in doing so, photography has given me a new way to see and live.
What’s the thing that interests you most about photography?
The idea that the camera can help you dig more deeply, see more clearly and live life more fully.
What’s the thing that interests you most about your own photographs?
In my own photographs I am always struck by the autobiographical nature of them. In a sense, I can look at a photograph and remember who I was when I took it and how I changed because of it. And collectively, these photographs help me appreciate, remember and make sense of my own life story.
How do you know when an image doesn’t work?
When an image is too obvious, too straightforward or too cliché I know that it isn’t going to work. Often, it’s these images that first catch my eye, yet the eye can easily be deceived. As one of my mentors once said, “Learning how to look and then look again, is as important as learning how to capture a frame.”
How do you know when an image is good?
I’m interested in capturing photographs that are authentic, alive and real. I like pictures that don’t feel staged but get beneath the surface of things. I like pictures that are simple, strong and can’t quite be placed in a particular time. What makes one of these photographs good is when I still feel it has these qualities a number of weeks after the fact. An image is good when it stands the test of time.
How do you know when an image is great?
An image is great when it can’t quite be explained. Rather than being “clear” these images have a poetic element of mystery that draws you in and deepens who you are and how you see the world. These images are timeless, they captivate and compel.
What’s the most useful photographic mantra?
As Marc Riboud said, “Photography is savoring life at 1/100th of second.”
Read more of this Q&A with Chris here.
Find a collection of Chris’ favorite quotes here.
Browse Chris books Visual Poetry and People Pictures here.
Watch Chris’ TEDx video here.
Find out more about Chris Orwig here.

FADP Highlight – Special Guest – Chris Orwig

Chris Orwig shared many insights in an inspiring lecture during our FADP workshop at Brooks. Chris collects great stories from photographers and shares them in his new book Visual Poetry.
In one story, a man has written a novel and decides it’s no good so he throws it out. As she’s taking out the trash, his wife discovers the manuscript and reads it. She goes to him and says he needs to finish it – it’s good. He does. It becomes a best seller.
Chris thinks we all need ‘trash can buddies’. I agree.
Find out more about Chris Orwig here.
Learn more at Brooks here.
Be the first to hear about the next FADP workshop.
Stay tuned to Insights for the upcoming release of our Fine Art Workflow DVD.
Check out Mac Holbert’s website.
Find out more in my Fine Art Digital Printing Workshops.

Chris Orwig on Visual Poetry

Fresh with the release of his new book Visual Poetry, Chris Orwig provides this insightful guest blog post.
Get a sense of who Chris is before reading this, view/listen to his short video introduction to his new book.

It is a privilege to have the honor to provide a guest post for this blog! John Paul is someone I admire deeply not only for his artistry but for the way he thinks, listens, challenges and empowers. Who he is, what he does and how he lives – inspires.
So who am I? My name is Chris and I am an artist, photographer and teacher.  As an artist I strive to live life fully and with passion, creativity, ingenuity and authenticity. As a photographer I subscribe to Marc Riboud’s perspective that, “Photography is savoring life at 1/100th of a second.” Somehow, with camera in hand I get more out of life and I enjoy sharing that with others. That’s where the teaching comes in.  I think William Yeats said it best: “Education is not about filing a pail, it is about lighting a fire.” And that’s what this post is all about – Ignition.
Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of students pass through the courses, conferences, workshops or photography school where I teach. Almost all of the students start off with more than enough passion that acts as kindling to get the fire going. Many of those students go on to achieve unbelievable success. Yet, sadly many of the students don’t make it, they whither and fade.
As a teacher, it’s part of my innate drive to counter this as much as I can. I want the people I know and interact with to succeed. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing others soar to new heights. With this in mind, I’ve completed one of my most recent projects which is a book titled, Visual Poetry – A Creative Guide for Making Engaging Photographs. The aim of this book is to awaken, enliven, ignite and further one’s passion for life and for making compelling, engaging and enlivening photographs. The book is a mixture of photography and creativity. If that sounds interesting – read on.
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