Month: January 2010

Variations on a theme

In my photography, my teaching and my discussions with other photographers, the idea of variations on a theme comes up often. For me, one of the joys of looking at photographs is seeing the different ways that photographers interpret the same thing. Yet, when some photographers come together to talk or photograph they can get territorial about their imagery and their ideas. Recent events have reminded me why this kind of thinking is limiting. Read More

My favorite part of my favorite class

I recently wound up my time in Asia with a stop in Singapore, where I gave a few short presentations to large audiences as well as some longer workshops for smaller audiences. Everyone I worked with seemed happy with what I did, so I will be going back next year. So keep an eye on the workshops page of my website to see exactly when I will be going back and what I will be doing. The very last thing I did when I was there this year was to teach my favorite class. I ended that class with my favorite teaching exercise. Read More

My long-time “project” on Communism

During my recent trip to Vietnam, I put to rest the lingering anxieties, stereotypes and misconceptions that I had held on to concerning that country. On that same trip, I also “finished” a long-standing (and rather informal) “personal project” that I had been working on for a couple decades. Since I was eighteen I have been subconsciously trying to “understand” Communism. The project was not an overtly photographic one, but photography certainly helped me in my pursuit of better understanding of that ideology. Read More

Vietnam as a war, Vietnam as a country

When I told my seventeen-year old daughter I was going to Vietnam, she was very impressed. I ostensibly went to visit a friend who lives there and to try to see the country through his eyes. I also went to photograph (and scout locations for a potential photo workshop.) I am pretty sure my daughter thinks of Vietnam in connection with the TV show, the Amazing Race and maybe the musical, Miss Saigon. For American men of a certain age (like me,) Vietnam conjures up something very different. Read More

Some more new resources for photographers

I recently spent five short days in Vietnam. I will be blogging about that soon, and posting a pod-cast exploring my reactions to that country. I want a few days to digest my experience in terms of blogging and few weeks to make the multi-media piece. In the mean time, I wanted to share some information and a few web sites that I came across recently. The connection to Vietnam is that although I was well into the developing world there, because of the Internet, I was able to keep up on many things happening in the world of photography. Read More

How do we think about the “age” of a photograph?

I have been thinking/writing a lot recently about how photographs “age.” I do not mean physically, though that is an important question. I mean in terms of how we experience them as old or new. Recently, I blogged about my wife’s current project, photographing three or more generations of Indian women and turning those portraits into animated, multi-generational family portraits. Last week, I wrote about the importance of making actual, physical prints in order to preserve important memories. More recently, I was corresponding with a friend about his images, which were made decades ago. We were trying to figure out when an image changes from something contemporary (even if not recent) into a historical document. Since most photographs capture a moment in time, all this pondering makes some sense. On the other hand, it may just as likely be that I am extra sensitive to the passing of time, having just had a birthday. Read More

One small history of Indian photography – Part two

(In the first chapter of this blog entry, I introduced Prabhu Photo, a state-of-the-art photo lab in Bangalore, India where I had my E-6 slide film processed for merely a decade. The changing business climate for Prabhu photo is a bellwether for the changing imaging landscape in India.) I was such a regular at Prabhu that I kept my own loupe (magnifier) at the lab and I also had my own set of cotton gloves for handling the film without fingerprints. The young men who worked for Prabhu ended up knowing the drill as well, including knowing not to cut my film and what kind of coffee to bring me half ay through my edits to keep me awake. Those sessions at the light box alternated between exciting and heart-breaking, depending on how well or badly I had done in capturing on film what had been in front of my camera. Read More

One small history of Indian photography – Part one

I have been spending a lot of time at Prabhu Photo, a state-of-the-art photo lab in Bangalore, India. Back in the day, in the last century, (hah,) when I was shooting color slides, I used to have them processed at that same lab. Now that I have gone digital, I am going there to have color prints made from digital files. These prints are mostly for the various Indians I, or my wife, have been photographing. In the time I have known and worked with the proprietor, Allama Prabhu, I have seen his business grow and grow and more recently contract and contract. The change in the business of Prabhu Photo is something of a microcosm for the history of photographic processes in India. The amazing thing is that I am only talking about a short, thirteen year “history.” Read More

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