Month: October 2009

The top ten things photo workshop attendees need know and do

I just finished a couple workshops in two very different places. I have found that whether I am teaching in places as far away as Greece or as nearby as Cape Cod, certain things are the same in all workshops. I was going to call this “ten commandments for those attending photography workshops,” buy I thought that such a title might be misconstrued as religious in nature. Read More

Just back from the photo trade show

I am just back from the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. On one level, it was like years past with big crowds, lots of new toys and plenty of old friends to see and catch up with. On the other hand, some things were new and interesting and that is what I am going to be sharing in this post. Read More

The Wells Point after one year

The Wells Point celebrated its first birthday yesterday. It has been quite a year. We launched last year just before the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. This year, I am writing from NYC, where I am again attending the Photo Plus show. So, just what has happened within The Wells Point since the website went live on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008? Read More

Learning the language of photography

Besides teaching workshops around the world, I run a few small on-line critique groups. These usually arise out of workshops where the students in the group have bonded and do not want to end the critiquing/dialogue that is at the core of any good workshop. So we meet in a conference call approximately every six weeks, catch-up on photography happenings and review work together on-line. Some interesting dialogues are born in these meetings. One particular thread of discussion from one meeting is well worth sharing. Read More

Autumn’s grab bag of web resources

I am just back from a fast and fun workshop on Cape Cod. The Autumn weather was great for photographing. The many subjects we photographed (beaches at sunrise, cranberry harvesting, etc.) were fascinating. I am about to head off to New York City for the big Photo Plus Expo, the annual trade show “for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries.” I expect to leave that show with lots of info to share. Today’s blog is another grab bag of similar information I have been gathering that I hope you find worthwhile. Read More

Golfers, psychotherapists and photographers

The legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus is supposed to have said: “Golf is 90% mental.” So, you are asking yourself, what does golf (a sport I normally have no interest in) have to do with photography, the pursuit that I love? More than I ever thought, actually. Read More

Photographers and painters!?!?

I am just back from Greece where I was teaching and photographing. During my photography workshop, there were also two painting workshops run by the same organization. The “photographers” ate and drank along with the “painters,” which made for some laugh-filled meals. There also was a subtle but interesting competition/ divergence going on between the various media.

The organization running the classes in Greece is Toscana Americana Workshops, which you can find at: http://toscanaamericana.com/. Patrick and Angela, who run it, strive to create an environment that is conducive to creative growth and also a pleasant experience in terms of food, wine and accommodations.

A lot of workshop organizers strive to do this in general, but the mixing of media is not so common. One of my other favorite workshops, which also mixes media, is the Art Workshops in Guatemala. They can be found at: http://www.artguat.org/

The similarities between painters and photographers initially caught my attention. Practitioners of both of the media in Greece started with what they saw and both clearly enjoyed being outside, feasting visually on what it is they were recording. Both groups are very involved in their tools. (Photographers obviously so, but also painters also in terms of their brushes, palettes, sitting stools, paints, etc.)

One of the first divergences involved time. We photographers tended to start early and work late to get the best light. Though the painters appreciated the idea of good light in the abstract and seem to incorporate it in their work, they were not the kind of early risers that the photographers were.

The painters I encountered in the Greece (and in the Guatemala) workshop(s) often used photography as a way to record what they would later make into a painting. For them, the photograph is merely a starting point for something that will be heavily interpreted and modified as it goes through their mind’s eye. They would easily take one piece of a scene they encountered (and/or photographed) and merge that with other elements they had seen (and/or photographed.)

Though it was not common within my class, that same strategy is increasingly the way that many photographers are viewing their photographs. The explosion in the use of photo-shop is accepted as blurring the line between the painters and the photographers.

But the funny thing is that the majority of painters have not felt much of an interest in moving towards the photographer’s approach to image making, while the photographers have long been drawn towards the painters. To me, this seems ironic because when photography was first widely publicized, a famed 19th century painter, Paul Delaroche, is widely quoted as having said “from today, painting is dead!”

My interest in the idea of an image being about what is seen rather than what is interpreted, may come from that fact that unlike most photographers, I am NOT a former painter. I have no background in painting or really any other art. I was hooked on photography in high school and fell in love with the history of photography in college. So for me, photography has always stood on its own and I never saw it as a tool for another media or as a stepping-stone to another kind of expression. That is not a judgment but rather an observation of my tastes and an explanation of where they come from.

I looked at some of the work that I saw from the painters in the collective group when we shared work the final night. What I saw was interesting and often evocative. Equally importantly, it was clearly something I could not have done if my life depended on it. One painter had a journal/sketchbook that was simply breathtaking. The only redemption came when the photographers showed their work and it was equally apparent that they had done things that most of the painters clearly could not have done if their lives depended on it.

There was indeed both a bit of competition between the media and also quite a bit of divergence. I think both groups were better of for having spent time around the other in Greece. Speaking of Greece, I have posted new galleries of my student’s work from Greece, for viewing and commenting. You can see those starting at: http://thewellspoint.com/gallery/ and then scroll down to Santorini, Greece and click on the names of the various photographers.

Seasonal rhythms in motorcycle riding and photography

The arrival of autumn, my favorite season, brings a number of changes to my life. On a larger level, the school year begins, defining much of my wife and daughter’s schedules until the next summer returns. The looming colder weather also means it is time put my motorcycle away for the winter. Thinking about all of that lead to some thinking about photography. (Are you surprised?) Read More

Welcome to the Wells Point

What exactly is The Wells Point? It is podcasts and free information for aspiring and accomplished photographers. These materials have been designed to stimulate your creativity and improve your craftsmanship.

The phrase the Wells Point also refers to an important tool to better appreciate how light, time of day and the resulting light's direction can be utilized to immediately improve your photography.

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