Dan Winters In His Own Words
Thursday, May 5, 2011
One of my favorite photo blogs is called A Photo Editor. This recent three-part interview with one of my favorite photographers working today, Dan Winters, illustrates precisely why. It also showcases Winters phenomenal creative talent. Sure he's the cream of the crop of portrait photographers, but he's also a talented illustrator, sculptor and wielder of scanning electron microscopes. Read all about how Dan became as talented as he is—as well as the many tools and techniques he uses to express himself—in this wonderful interview conducted by Rob Haggart.
Learning From The Best
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Continuing with my theme of improving your photography by learning from the best of the best, the masters of the medium, the most iconic photographers of recent years...allow me to direct you to a wonderful web site called the Shooting Gallery. It's a collection of videos highlighting world class photographers who have agreed to discuss how, and why, they make their work. From Ryan McGinley to Alec Soth, Cindy Sherman to Hiroshi Sugimoto, these photographers are world class artists and creators and it's downright fascinating to see them dissect and discuss how they work.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Yesterday I mentioned the presentation I attended by Gregory Heisler. Part of what made it so great was that the photographer also went into great depth to tell us about his experience working for one of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century, Arnold Newman. Mr. Heisler clearly has the utmost respect for Mr. Newman, and as he showed us a few dozen of Mr. Newman’s most renowned photographs it became clear the influence Mr. Newman had on Mr. Heisler’s own work. And that reminded me of the influence Mr. Newman should have on everyone’s photographs. To that end, please let me direct you to a great and inspiring resource about Mr. Newman. It’s the Arnold Newman Archive, a collaboration of his heirs and his gallery, dedicated to carrying on the legacy of this great photographer. It’s perhaps the best online resource for information about the man and his work, and a little time spent studying the gallery is probably equivalent to a full year at a great photo school.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I recently attended a lecture by Gregory Heisler. What a great speaker, what an enjoyable evening, and what a ridiculously talented photographer. He showed a video of himself in action and he explained the creation of dozens of his images—including iconic Time and Life magazine covers you’re doubtlessly familiar with. A friend and I were struck by how much the video of Mr. Heisler working in studio reminded each of us of our own studios, and the general energy and approach we take to every photo shoot. What was different, of course, was the end result—proving to me, anyway, that it isn’t about the gear or the technique so much as it’s about the creativity. And it probably doesn’t hurt if you’re a true photographic genius, as Mr. Heisler seems to be. So I recommend that you rush out to his web site right away to view a variety of his portrait galleries. Then head over to YouTube to watch him diagram the lighting he used on a few famous shots, courtesy of his lighting sponsor, Profoto. Then think about all of Mr. Heisler’s great advice and wonderful photographs, and go out and put that information to use in your own work.
Give Yourself Assignments
Friday, April 29, 2011
I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make something great. I’ve even had arrangements with other photographers in the past where every week we gave ourselves and assignment. This incorporated the pressure of not letting down your partner, as well as afforded the opportunity to learn from another photographer and get feedback from a trained eye. For proof that self-assignments really do work, take a look at these amazing steel mill images from photographer Carl de Souza. He made them after giving himself the self-assignment to photograph at a factory while on another assignment in Pakistan. The images are beautiful, surreal and immensely informative all at the same time. His newspaper, The Guardian, even selected them for inclusion in as special slideshow edition. Once you see them—here featured on Rob Galbraith’s web site along with the story of their creation—you’ll understand why. And hopefully you’ll see why self-assignments can be so rewarding.
Learn Photography From The Mona Lisa
Thursday, April 28, 2011
What can you learn about making great photographs by looking at a painting? A lot, frankly, if that painting is Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa and what you’re looking to learn are some insights into portraiture. In this fun post by Darren Rowse at the Digital Photography School blog you can learn about composition and posing, as well as the importance of a simplified background and a little bit of mystery. As a portrait photographer I’m always on the lookout for any insight and advantage I can find. This especially piqued my interest because really, who better to learn from than Da Vinci himself?
Photoshop For iPad
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
At last month’s Photoshop World convention in Las Vegas, Adobe execs demoed an early concept for Apple’s iPad. It’s a Photoshop App, and it would allow fairly sophisticated manipulation of layered images on the touch screen of a tablet. I don’t know that I’d want to work with layers and my big fat fingers on a touch screen—I have enough trouble with layers and a mouse or pen and tablet—but I know it would be great to turn my iPad into a one-stop imaging and editing resource. Adobe Vice President John Loiacono demonstrated the app, which you can watch in the linked video from Rob Galbraith’s blog.
Improve Your Photography In Just Ten Minutes
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Who wouldn’t want to become a better photographer in just a few minutes’ time? I know I would. So I took note of this exercise suggested by Mark Silber on his SilberStudios blog. It involves heeding some advice from Ansel Adams, then briefly brainstorming and writing a plan for a photograph you’d like to make. Finally, just go out and make it. It sounds simple, no? Maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t totally effective too. I know I rely entirely too much on chance and happenstance in my photography. My best images actually come from the times I start with a plan—a specific plan—in mind. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to change or unable to adapt and be spontaneous. It just means that I’m working in a specific, and deliberate, direction. That’s what Ansel called ìvisualization.î Check out Mark’s blog for the simple instructions and then get out there and improve your photography in the next few minutes.