Month: December 2009

Indian odds and ends

My time in Calcutta, India, has ended and I am now in Bengaluru, (formerly Bangalore,) with my wife’s family. Considering how bad the weather is in the U.S. right now, I am particularly pleased to be here where it is warm and dry, working in familiar territory. This trip to India has been a bit of a whirlwind, with five-day stops in both Chennai (formerly Madras) and Kolkatta (formerly Calcutta.) Now I am starting a longer stay in Bengaluru. All this moving about has left me with bits and pieces of things to think about, which will make up this blog entry. Read More

At the intersection of the art and craft of photography

While spending a week in Calcutta, India, I saw (and photographed) many things. Having previously spent little time in Calcutta, everything I experienced and pondered there seemed to be doubly intense. This was quite a sensation, since going anywhere in India is always so intense. In the future, I will share some of my experiences and thoughts that came out of my time in the place also known as the “City of Joy.” One thing I did that was especially interesting was to see an exhibition by an Indian photographer, Prashant Panjiar. The work I saw exists almost perfectly at the intersection of the art and craft of photography. Read More

Thoughts on getting feedback

The class that I was teaching in India ended on the same note that many of my classes do. The students had made good progress and wanted to keep their creative growth going, after the class ended. I teased them, saying that about a week after the class they would all be “master” photographers. I say that to almost all my classes, because the things learned in a workshop take about a week to become an innate part of any student’s photography. The follow-up point is that about another week later, the skills they had learned in the class would start to diminish. The end of the joke is that about a month later, they would still be better photographers than when they entered the class, but no longer the “masters” they had briefly been. So what did I tell them to do to try to hold on to the “mastery” they had briefly achieved? Read More

Singaporeans and Creativity

I just finished classes in Singapore and India, two countries that could not appear to be more different. In Singapore I taught evening seminars, while in India, I taught a class over four days on “light, shadow, twilight and night.” Regardless of length, all the classes were journeys of sorts, physical and/or intellectual. On all of these “trips,” I was accompanied by different groups of Singaporean photographers. Working in such divergent countries, just a few days apart, got me thinking. Read More

Debating ideas or being run over by change

I have been having an email exchange with a still photographer I know who is conflicted about doing work in video, as he is getting paid to do just that kind of work. His experience of being knee deep in a debate, while the issues at the core of that same debate swirl all around you, that is something I have experienced a number of times in the last decade. The latest debate, about whether still photographers should embrace video, looks to be another one of these equally intense debates. For me, the only thing different about this debate is that I am now old enough (and maybe wise enough) to be able to take a step back and analyze it a bit better than I have with similar previous debates. Whether I will make the wise decision is something only time will tell. Read More

Watching as artists embrace and transform a new technology

In my last blog post, I discussed ways artists/photographers use technology in both intended and unintended ways in order to tell their stories and/or express their ideas. This kind of hybrid-ization of technology is an ongoing process. For me, the latest stop on that path is in multi-media/video. My wife’s work, animating family photos, is her newest step in that ongoing process. I was recently reading about a new technology that I have already been using in its intended form. I realized how ripe that same technology is for experimentation. Soon artists/photographers will be exploiting that same technology in new and unintended ways. I think the really fun part will be watching this happen, observing the explorations as they happen rather than looking back after the fact and only then connecting the dots. Read More

Technology as artistic opportunity and aesthetic hurdle

My wife, who is a photographer, has been producing some compelling animations / videos based on multi-generational portraits of Indian women. In the process of making the work, she went through a series of hurdles, just like any creative person would. She first struggled through the process of conceptualizing and defining the project. Once she knew what she wanted to do, she then applied for and had good luck getting a grant to fund the initial photographing and the post-production of the work. Over time the project evolved. She has recently completed the creation of the finished pieces. The work uses some of the latest digital technology to raise some interesting questions about time, memory and photographs. In the process of making the work, it seems she got a little too far in front of the existing technology. So much so that one of our current projects is to figure out what existing technology can be used to present her work in the exact way that she wants it be experienced. Read More

A new look at complaining about the “good old days”

I was exchanging e-mails with Bob Krist, a freelance photographer who works regularly on assignment for National Geographic Traveler. Our dialogue started with the idea that when we were younger, the older photographers we admired complained about the good old days. I wondered if, today, when he and I are no longer young and are more prone to complain, are we just being nostalgic or is something really being lost in today’s photography market/climate? Read More

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