Month: May 2009

On the question of creativity

I had an e-mail exchange recently with student on the question of creativity. He was not asking about software or lens choices, though those are perfectly valid questions at different points. He was asking the biggest, toughest question of all. I was impressed that he was able to articulate the question. He seemed impressed with my answer. That was when I realized that our exchange was worthy of a blog piece. Read More

Gobsmacked by a new piece of technology

Gobsmacked is a British colloquial expression meaning flabbergasted, astounded or shocked. It is one of my favorite words, partly because it is a great example of onomatopoeia, where the sound of the word suggests what it describes. I was recently gobsmacked, when my daughter showed me a blurb in a magazine showing a great new idea for a simple technology. I cannot remember if the smacking sound was the result of me slapping the side of my own head or my chin flapping in amazement, but gobsmacked I was. Read More

Expanding thoughts on the question is photography art?

While en route to Guangzhou, China, we spent a few fascinating days in Hong Kong. A series of events got me thinking about the old “is photography art?” question. I am not sure that such a question is ever really likely to be fully “settled.” Based on what I saw and did while in Hong Kong, I added a couple of new perspectives to my own thinking about that question. Proof again that one benefit of going half way around the world is that you see things differently after such a trip. Read More

China, India and a bit on how I see them both

I am on my way to China. I am not going on any work assignment. I am going to accompany my wife, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, (http://annumatthew.com/) who has work in the Guangzhou Photo Biennial. The hosts at the museum (and the University of Rhode Island) have been especially generous in making her trip possible. Our abundance of frequent flier miles has made it possible for me to go also. I am going to see China, obviously, but I am also going to see if I can get any perspective on what has changed in China since I went there back in 1986. Read More

The importance of portfolio review events (part two)

In the first part of this two-part posting, I explained the basics of organized portfolio review events. Today, I am writing to share some of the things I learned having been on both sides of the portfolio-reviewing table, as a reviewer and a review-ee. Many (but not all) of the errors I allude to are mistakes I actually made at one point or another. Read More

The importance of portfolio review events (part one)

A portfolio review is when you show your work to another person (duh). A portfolio review event is a more formalized event where reviewers (editors, curators, image buyers, agents, etc.) gather in one place with explicit plans to look at the work of the review-ees (in our case, photographers.) Portfolio review events have a long and important history in the world of photography. They have also recently turned into something of a big business. Having been both a reviewer and a review-ee, I can offer perspectives from both sides of the portfolio-reviewing table. Read More