Jeremy H. Greenberg: Blog http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Jeremy H. Greenberg jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:35:00 GMT Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:35:00 GMT http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v154/u292078769-o383284609-50.jpg Jeremy H. Greenberg: Blog http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog 120 98 Blog #71 Working Creatively http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-71-working-creatively Blog #71 Working Creatively 

Ever since I took a black and white film photography class in high school, I loved making pictures.  When I came back to photography years later, it was with a renewed passion and love of the medium and the creative process.  Photographers may struggle to keep pace, as many other creatives do, while jogging down the path of creativity. How does one stay motivated? How does one stay original? 

We are all challenged to find our own style, to find our voice, to make images about things rather than images of things.  Sure, projects, assignments, and working on a Project 365 can work to push you forward and practice your craft.  What else can we do to keep those creative juices flowing especially in those lean times? 

I’ve been listening to a podcast called LensWork that offers some sound advice on the subject.  

How to Live a More Creative Life (Artsy) suggests travel, surrounding yourself with creative people, trying new things as well other food for thought on the subject.  

The topic of creativity can be quite controversial as many people consider it a trait that you either have [from birth] or you don’t got it. Creatively, in fact, can be taught and measured.  In a simple but brilliant experiment using preschool children and block building, psychologists Goetz & Baer (1973) used social praise only when the children produced block formations that differed from the previous ones that they made.  The researchers showed in a simple but observable way that you can teach [and measure] creativity.  If we were to extrapolate their results to adult picture making, it seems that involving oneself in workshops and seeking critique might be a logical progression. 

Indeed, I love how fantasy novelist Ursula K. LeGuin puts it:

“The adult artist is the child who has survived.” 

 

Fight! Survive! Be Creative!

 

Remember, the light is always right. 

jhg 

Images in this blog post are original and made with a Nikon SLR, 24mm lens and Rollei 400 Infrared 35mm film and developed at home after a hike with my wife Christine and dog, Pepe. 

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Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography

Blog #52 Marc Levoy’s 18 Lectures on Digital Photography

Blog #42 It’s All in the Details

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm creative creativity film life photographer photography process professional study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-71-working-creatively Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:34:28 GMT
Blog #70 Photography “Quotations” Part 2 http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-70-photography-quotations-part-2 If you’re like me, you read a lot [I read everything!] and you enjoy the random quotation that floats across your field of view from time to time.  Some make me stop and think.  A really good quotation can be applicable to anything and anyone.  They don’t ALL relate to photography, per se.  But then again, maybe they do in a profound way.  At least to me they seem to be speaking about photography.

If you read below, you will see my most recent list of favourite quotations by random people, most of whom you will have heard of.  They all relate to photography in one way or another or at least the creative process.  I will not provide reasons or rationale for this connection since it will take to much space and I would rather that you find your own connections to these quotes and how they relate to you and your creative process.

The images below the quotes are original photos that I made using my Fujifilm X-E2S while travelling in the Philippines. 

*****

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” 

- Ted Grant Canadian photojournalist

“Reinforcing contingencies shape the behavior of the individual, and novel contingencies generate novel forms of behavior. Here, if anywhere, originality is to be found.” 

From B.F. Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior Chapter 16: Thinking (p. 255)

“Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” 

Imogen Cunningham

“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” 

- John Dewey

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” 

-Coco Chanel

“The best color in the world is the one that looks good on you.”

- Coco Chanel

“. . . as a modern authority has pointed out, it is as difficult to explain how we see a picture in the occipital cortex of the brain as to explain how we see the outside world, which it is said to represent.” 

From B.F. Skinner’s  About Behaviorism Chapter 5: Perceiving (p. 90)

"Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans" 

-John Lennon 

"Man plans and God laughs.” 

-Old Jewish Proverb 

“Art is what you can get away with.”

-Andy Warhol

“The very meaninglessness of life forces a man to create his own meaning.”

- Stanley Kubrick

 

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfilment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

- Stanley Kubrick

 

“I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today's existence.”

-Robert Mapplethorpe

 

The light is always right.

jhg

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Past Blog Posts

Blog #31 Photography Quotations

Blog #62 Shooting [from] A Plane

Blog #18 PRINT

Blog #10 Self Improvement, Formal Study in Photography Part 2

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-70-photography-quotations-part-2 Sun, 13 Aug 2017 14:13:25 GMT
Blog # 69 On Restrictions http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-69-on-restrictions Restrictions in creatively can be a good thing that actually facilitates and improves the creative process. But how? 

First off, if you are a beginner or hobbyist in photography, there is great value in casting your net widely.  In other words, experiment with various formats, film, digital, working with lenses, genres, do a Project 365, work on various projects, portraits, travel, etc… After you master the technical settings of your specific camera(s), the next step is to find your artistic voice.  What do you want to say through your images? 

Eventually, you can work your way up to story writing, and other creative challenges and projects with images.  Thinking of a project can be a bit daunting as there are an infinite number of possibilities out there in the big wide world.

After the initial period of experimentation which will vary from person to person you will likely settle into a small set of cameras, lens, genres, projects, and such.   It’s like sanding wood, you move from course to fine, systematically. 

At this point in your creative career (or hobby for that matter), it might be helpful to establish some self-imposed restrictions.  Interestingly, these can be good in short bursts and actually improve and focus your creative process, image making, and therefor photography.

Some examples of restrictions are as follows:

  • Use only one focal length lens for a one month or up to one year.
  • Shoot film only on vacation.
  • Avoid buying any new gear for a while and stick with what you have.
  • Only shoot in color (or black and white) for a while day or week, or longer
  • Make images only of people.
  • Choose one genre such as macro, landscape, or architectural photography and make only images of those subjects. 
  • Avoid posting anything on social media for a week or month. 
  • Do a project 365.

 

Although is seems like the task of making images within narrow parameters like these will somehow limit your creative process or result in a boring, homogenous group of images,  actually, the opposite happens.  It’s really a paradox effect sort of thing. By setting limits, you will somehow start to take a deep dive into the creative process.  The results will be well worth it. 

The small set of images below were the result of setting the limit (for a day on a family holiday) of only shooting black and white.  

What limits will you set for yourself? 

Remember, the light is always right! 

  • Sunday 13 August Street Photography Workshop in Hong Kong * 
  • Click here for more information * 

See these related Blog posts for more tips and techniques on how to improve your photography:

 

Blog # 61 On Assignment

 

Blog # 46 What Makes Art Worthy?

 

Blog # 42 It’s All in the Details

 

Blog # 6 Projects

 

Blog # 16 Special Edition 2016: Project 365 Complete!

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photography projects restrictions study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-69-on-restrictions Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:57:42 GMT
Blog #68 Photography is a Gift http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-68-photography-is-a-gift Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

 

I think photography is one of the greatest gifts. The camera is a technological marvel that is really a miracle.  Arthur C. Clarke said,

 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

Indeed, when you expose photosensitive paper in the darkroom under the enlarger for a few seconds, then dunk it into a tray with developer, about eight seconds later an image appears before you. This is science, of course, but it still seems like magic each and every time. Amazing! 

Now that we ALL have cameras (including small children) and we collectively upload something to the tune of 2 billion (that’s 1000 million X 2) images daily, we have plenty of pictures to keep us busy for many lifetimes and even earth times.  Is it too much? No it is not. I take comfort in this fact since there are an infinite number of image possibilities.  From that point of view, we’re barely scratching the surface. 

The current SnapGramTwitFace culture that we live in is lightyears from Gutenberg’s printing press from 1440.  

Sharing is caring or so it goes. 

Images come in many forms and sizes. Share through social media, print a book, print a zine, print on paper, print and frame then give it away.  Original art or portraiture is always appreciated when received. Sure there are rules such as don’t post more than one image on Instagram per day.  That’s probably a reasonable suggestion. Take into consideration that if someone has one 100 + that they are following and everyone posts one image per day, that’s a tall task to look at 100 images from one single social media site only. You get the picture! 

The point here is to share images that are significant with the people in your life. They will appreciate it and you’ll be glad you did.  Good photos do nothing sitting in your hard drive as a series of zeros and ones. Bring your art into the real world and the world will be better for it. 

 

Be great, and remember, the light is always right. 

 

jhg

 

*Check out Upcoming Street Photography Workshop in Hong Kong Sunday 13 August*

 

Pre-register through email:

 

jeremyhgreenberg@me.com

 

Link to Revised Website, Projects, and Images

 

Blog #7 Self Improvement or How to Make Mind-Blowing Images

 

Blog #11 Is Photography Art?

 

Blog #50 *Special Feature* Process Over Product

 

Blog #61 On Assignment

 

Blog #62 Shooting [from] A Plane

 

Japan Camera Hunter Article: Why you should experiment with different film

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) gift media photographer photographs photography photos social http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-68-photography-is-a-gift Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:38:46 GMT
Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-67-risks-rules-restrictions Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

A formal education in art and design that includes image making will expose one to "rules" that one should master. Mastery of these rules should result in pleasing image making compared to one that is ignorant of such rules. This is the prevailing logic. These rules are derived from an analysis or critique of many great images usually from paintings from hundreds of years ago. 

The term "rule" is a bit of misnomer. Guidelines might be a more appropriate term. Most of these rules or guidelines pertain to establishing the subject of the image and placing that subject in the frame (compositionally) in an interesting manner. Images that "work" could be described as having consistency with (or nearly so) the guidelines for what makes a good image. 

The counter point to this approach was best stated by the great Ansel Adams.

 

"The are no rules for good pictures,

only good pictures”. 

 

So where does that leave us? Learn the rules or throw them all out of the window, screw the rules and the text books that wrote them and find your own path as an artist?  Well, in short, yes and no. 

A formal or informal study of art and what makes good art (critique) is like learning to cook. There are underlying practices and combinations of ingredients that are generally pleasing to most pallets.  These are accepted "norms" and found to be present in most dishes that most people appreciate. These ingredients or combinations and cooking techniques have been distilled and extracted from some of the worlds most popular dishes. 

For example, spaghetti and tomato sauce can be viewed as a staple dish. It works. It's delicious, and most people would agree. Spaghetti is also one of the first dishes that children learning to prepare their own meals might learn to make and for good reason. It's not that complex and many variations can be derived from its basic components. 

However, the world would be pretty boring if we had to eat spaghetti all of the time. Mastery of basic skills and ingredients of cooking or photography is not only a good place to start, it might even a necessary place to start in order to develop a more elaborate repertoire of either creative pursuit. This is true of many creative fields such as music or acting.

More elaborate images including complex compositional layers and control of depth of field, for example, are likely the result of mastery of the basics and the photographers continued application of those guidelines although in more complex and novel ways.  There is more than one road to success or improvement for that matter but I have found this road works for me. 

In conclusion, learn the basics and practice practice practice them to mastery. Then, intentionally break the rules, blaze a new trail, carve your own niche, and solve the climate change problem while you’re at it. 

Take risks. Experiment. Impose limits on you're self like using one focal length only for the day, month, or year. Shoot film. Shoot in black and white only. Only shoot people. Make a plan and most of all have fun and for the love of photography share your work. Give it away for free. 

Remember, the light is always right.

Jhg 

*View the revised website: Click Here

Blog #36 Creative “Constraint”

Blog #45 Getting Intimate with Your Subject

Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Casualphotophile Tips & Techniques No. 001 - The Subject is the Subject

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) education photographer photography professional restrictions risks rules study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-67-risks-rules-restrictions Sat, 22 Jul 2017 10:30:16 GMT
Blog #66 The Photographer’s Ethical Responsibility to Photography http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-66-the-photographer-s-ethical-responsibility-to-photography Blog #66 The Photographer’s Ethical Responsibility to Photography

Ethics related to photography usually involves the responsibility of the photographer to the individual being photographed.  In most places, people in public can be photographed and images can be used under a fair use clause.  For commercial purposes when money will be exchanged or for marketing or promotional reasons, written permissions are usually required.  Model releases and property releases are necessary for commercial purposes.  For more on this subject, check out Blog #14 & Blog #15.

What about the photographers’ ethical responsibility to photography itself or other photographers for that matter.  Do we need to give back?  I would argue that yes we do.  While there is nothing wrong with shooting for oneself and the hobbyist and/or amateur does just that without constraints.  The professional photographer, however, ought to answer to a higher authority, so to speak.  It’s simply the right thing to do.  

Printing and sharing images for friends, family, and others can be fun and helps to give photography a good name.  John Free, street photographer from LA, takes this notion one step further and would say that if you do not share your photos “You’re a punk!”. 

He goes on to posit that photography is a gift.  I agree.  

Photography is a gift that should be shared.  As professionals, we have an obligation to do so.  There are multiple ways in which we can share and give back to the field.  Critique, prints, classes, workshops and tutorials, or simply being a supportive and positive force through social media are but a few vehicles in which photographers can communicate and return the gifts that have been given to them.  

I have been fortunate to be involved in a photography series of classes through an international school in which I work.  Teaching students to shoot, develop, and print film has been an immensely rewarding experience.  I find enjoyment in sharing images and prints of my friends and family.  Sometimes I will go the extra mile and get the prints framed professionally before giving them away. People really enjoy the gesture and I get a kick out the experience of sharing my images.  

My fiend Mike has a small Instax printer and snaps photos, prints, and hands them out along the way. This is exemplary and helps to establish the act of photographing people (even strangers) as a fun, harmless, and collaborative process. More photographers should do this sort of thing.  Everyone would benefit from this type of selfless sharing. 

“I wish I hadn’t given away so many of my photographs”, said the photographer on their deathbed, never!

Shoot

Print

Share

Repeat

I think I will get T-shirts made with these words. Would you buy one? What size are you? Orders start soon. 

Remember, the light is always right. 

jhg

 

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm photographer photography professional study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-66-the-photographer-s-ethical-responsibility-to-photography Sat, 15 Jul 2017 08:03:54 GMT
Blog #65 Summer is for Travel to Somewhere New (Hanoi) http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-65-summer-is-for-travel-to-somewhere-new-hanoi To extend your skills as a photographer, it’s common to hear:

 Buy books (and travel), not gear.

I agree with this directive and would add that travelling to someone new has some distinct advantages that should lead to improvement.  When you travel to a new place for just a few days, you can’t see everything.  Therefore, you need to make some decisions about what to do (and shoot) and what not to (and not shoot).  Weather should be a factor in your decisions.  You might get lucky, or you might not. That’s the beauty of the situation, you never know what to expect.  You might have a plan or you might not. Either way, having a suitable camera and lens that works for the environment that you’re in will lead to some interesting interactions.  Regarding gear, bring back-up by all means. Smartphones count.  

How will the locals respond to you? What are the rules of engagement and attitudes of people in this new place? Do I want to shoot people, buildings, food, or all of the above? These are but a few of the questions that you might need to discover when shooting aboard far from home, out of your comfort zone. 

This summer I went to Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s an absolutely amazing place. The 1000 year old capital city has about 7 million people and 3 million motorbikes. It’s a blend of old French colonialism and modern day Asia. The food is outstanding and the coffee…out of this world! Their home grown coffee was some of the best I’ve ever had and I’m admittedly a bit of a coffee snob (life’s too short to drink crap).  

In this post and third of a series on summer travel, I would like to encourage your travelling to someplace new and make photos there. The mere act of doing so will force you to make all types of decisions that will exercise your brain and get you thinking about photography again in a fresh way.  You will meet new people and maybe make some friends.  One of the keys to a long and happy life is social connections. It’s not money, or personal possessions, it’s people and connections.  Your camera is your passport to friends, happiness, and life. Use it!

Remember, the light is always right.

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) asia hanoi photography travel vietnam http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-65-summer-is-for-travel-to-somewhere-new-hanoi Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:13:02 GMT
Blog #64 Summer is for More Travel (Miami) http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-64-summer-is-for-more-travel-miami Blog #64 Summer is for More Travel (Miami)

In the second of a series of three blog posts on travel.  The previous post was about travel with the intention of giving you some food for thought on how to approach making images while travelling.  Looking from the outside in can only reveal so much. As travellers we have some natural limitations that we need to try to overcome in order to capture the essence of a place. Meeting people and experiencing places that are off the beaten path can reveal more about a place than the typical tourist might see.  

In my case, on a recent visit to Miami, I stayed with family and was able to shoot some images of nature at my brother’s house that most people would never get to see.  These, I have posted in black and white along with some color images from around town that I thought worked for various reasons. Travel is great and travelling with a camera gives a new vantage point for the traveller. 

For the record, I did ask permission of the cigar store owner to make his portrait.  I chatted with him for a bit and learned that his son was also a photographer working in New York.  He was a nice guy and if you’re ever on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, check him out. The smokes are primo! I would also highly recommend the NSU Art Museum and Boca Raton's Art Museum as well. 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) art florida miami museum photographer photography professional study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-64-summer-is-for-more-travel-miami Tue, 11 Jul 2017 06:10:34 GMT
Blog #63 Summer is for Travel (Denver) http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-63-summer-is-for-travel-denver Blog #63 Summer is for Travel (Denver)

As mentioned in the previous blog post, this is first of a triple series, Summer is for Traveling. In the last blog, I posted some photos that were made from my window seat on the plane. They were mostly of clouds and some particularly interesting farm lands around the middle of America that look like a patchwork quilt.  These were shot while flying from Denver to Miami.  The world looks much different from 35,000 feet and the fresh perspective is cool and different much like the new trend of drone photography.  Have you ever wondered how long that trend will last?  

Here, I’ll share some photos of Denver, the Mile High city in the first of a three-part series on travel. 

A few relevant questions to ponder while traveling is what type of images will you shoot? Of course there is nothing wrong with the quintessential travel snapshot that we all shoot as regular human activity.  However, some of us seek to push that boundary and go beyond.  

How does one capture the essence of a place? There are some characteristics of the people from a place that may describe some of this essence or spirit of the people. Fashion, dress,  or occupation can provide hints as to the nature of a sense of place and its climate or at least the climate at that time of year.  Getting close to people, or hanging out with friends from a place can give a unique perspective and “insiders vantage point”.  While this can be a real challenge as a foreigner and that challenge is compounded by language barriers, but it comes with the territory for the professional photographer. 

Architecture and building façades can reveal the nature of a place as well.  The building styles, shapes of the roofs, colors, and building materials can give hints about the uniqueness of a city, region, or country.   Of course landmarks are an easy way to communicate elements of a city, but that’s taking the easy road.  Give the viewer a little more work to do to figure out the context of the image.  Keep them guessing.  Make them work a little, but not to much.  Avoid being too obvious or stereotypical in your images.  There are some universals in many cities that could be anywhere, or at least anywhere USA.  Might see the image and think “Somewhere in the mid-west of the USA”. That’s close enough. If the image screens “DENVER”! You’ve gone to far. Dial it back a bit. 

I made these images in this post on a recent trip to Denver, Colorado, USA.  There are both black and white and color.  In general, I avoid posting both together as there seems to be some photography faux pas for doing so, but sometimes you need to break the rules to tell your story in the way that you want to tell it.  

The final task in making travel images is deciding if you want to share them, with whom, and how many.  Most would agree that 10-20 is plenty of images and appropriate for anything other than a book.  I chose 19 that illustrate my adventures in Denver for about five days.  I did see some friends while there and really enjoyed the place.  Notice this post mentions cameras, lenses, and gear exactly zero times.  This is intentional.  Sometimes, it’s best to divorce ourselves from the discussion of the technical aspects of photography and focus on the story and the place, and the people.  The rest can be rather academic.  For more on this topic, check out Blog #58 on the subject of Micro & Macro Education. 

Until next time, remember, the light is always right. 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) USA denver photographer photography professional story storytelling study summer travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-63-summer-is-for-travel-denver Sun, 09 Jul 2017 15:43:38 GMT
Blog #62 Shooting [from] A Plane http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-62-shooting-from-a-plane Blog #62 Shooting (from) A Plane 

July 4th is the unofficial start of summer in the USA. In Hong Kong, 1 July is HKSAR Establishment Day.  This year, the event marked the 20th year of the infamous 1997 Handover [of Hong Kong from the British back to China (sniff!)]Big Boss Man President Xi from Beijing was in town to oversea the transition from Chief Executive CY Leung to Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s first woman Chief Executive.  There were lots of protests and rain (as usual) so venturing outside to brave the crowds and photograph the fireworks was a PASS (no thanks!) for me, this year.

However, as the regular school year and summer are ushered in by the heavy rains, my thoughts are drawn to making images now more than ever.  Summer is the time for travel.  In May I went to Denver (for my other work) and then Miami for a few days to visit my family.  Of course I wear a camera so I was happily snapping away pretty much the whole time.  In two days from now, I will start my summer travel plans with a brand new destination (for me).  That place is Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city.

Over the the next few blog posts I will reflect on travel and making images along the way.  In this blog, I will post some images that I made en route to these places, from the plane.  I usually carry my cameras, lenses, film, and gear onto the plane since the temperature and conditions are generally more hospitable for sensitive equipment compared to the freezing cold belly of the plane.  I generally request a window seat since there are really cool things like cloud formations [not to mention the earth from 35,000 feet] that I don’t get to see on a regular basis. Plus, I’m admittedly addicted to making images, so it goes.  

The images here I think work well to give a fresh perspective and pilot eye’s view of the world. 

There are those that advocate for buying experiences through travel and photography books rather than gear.  Of course you need all three ultimately but every dollar spent on travel and photography books is worth ten (or more) spent on gear.

Where are you going this summer? Will you bring a camera, smartphone? How about your imagination or photographic vision or plan? Don’t leave home with that. 

The light is always right. 

 

jhg

Nikon D61

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) and black iphone photographer photography professional study travel white http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-62-shooting-from-a-plane Tue, 04 Jul 2017 06:02:35 GMT
Blog #61 On Assignment http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-61-on-assignment Blog #61 On Assignment

All creatives in various fields face similar challenges. As photographers, to continue to create or to be motivated to continuously create can be quite a challenge. What project shall I work on next? How do I know if my current project(s) is done? These are typical questions that most of us will face and to varying degrees, struggle with, over time.  

Avoid the trap of buying another camera or lens since this is not likely to lead to improvement in any measurable way. Sure, you can eBay any new camera or lens, unpack the box, smack a roll of whatever film and head out to the wild blue yonder but that’s a false approach to creativity.  It’s bogus and unlikely to result in any real personal growth let alone artistic progress.  

National Geographic has assignments that anyone can submit to for free. There is a plethora of sources for contests and assignments online through many sources.  Ted Forbes (YouTube) holds photo assignments every other Monday that are worthwhile and free.  Friends are great for this sort of thing as well.  During those “in between” times between personal or commercial projects, it is critical to continue to hone one’s skills with the camera as well as with their eyes and creative mojo. 

For example, a friend and avid photographer, Mike Epstein and I went on a self-imposed assignment this month.  There were some pretty strict rules: we would shoot different brands of colour film (and later develop it at home ourselves), and use a 35mm focal length lens on one roll and a 50mm focal length lens on another roll. Mike suggested that we shoot images using the theme of transportation, and I obliged.  So after our obligatory coffee we went out with our bags filled with colour 35mm film and camera loaded, and we got to work.  Mike was kind enough to  give me a roll of Cinestill 50 as well so of course we burned that one as well.  The target rolls were Kodak Ektar 100 (shot mid-day with the 50mm lens) and Kodak Portra 400 (shot afternoon with the 35mm) lens. 

The fairly strict rules forced us to work within these parameters.  Actually, there are still quite a range of subjects that one can shoot on the streets of Hong Kong within this set of rules.  There are tons of bright red taxis, road signs, trams, busses, bikes, and road signs. Having limits is actually helpful because we immediately eliminated more than half of what was going on.  Without buildings, people, nature, rubbish, or things in general, our choices of subject were narrowed considerably.  

The images herein were the result of that one-day color film two-lens self-imposed challenge. It’s a good experience and I would encourage any photographer to use the “On Assignment” mantra in between their other assignments or just for the hell of it. 

The light is always right.

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm Assignment Color Film Project Study film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/7/blog-61-on-assignment Mon, 03 Jul 2017 12:39:27 GMT
Special Workshop Announcement http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/special-workshop-announcement *Special Street Photography HK Workshop Announcement*

Please e-mail me payment receipt and/or questions. 

Lunch Included! Come and Learn how to make better [street] photos. 

 

Photography workshopPhotography workshop

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) photographer photography professional study training workshop http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/special-workshop-announcement Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:04:53 GMT
Blog #60 Atmosphere http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-60-atmosphere Blog #60 Atmosphere

Have you ever looked out a window that has direct sun light pouring through and notice the specks of dust that dance around in a random fashion? Have you ever noticed and appreciated the grain associated with the film photographs and thought about the grain as though they were individual photons [particles of light]? There's an aesthetic there that is unique and special.  I’m talking about the quality of a two-dimensional image that presents as a three-dimensional image. In other words, depth.  When you can see and feel the air in a photography, it’s got atmosphere.

If you look at the Editor’s Favorite’s on the National Geographic website, you’ll know what I mean.  There, you will find many excellent examples.  Atmosphere is a special quality of an image that really makes it *POP* Sometimes this is due to the light. Sometimes this is due to the tones, or texture in the image. Atmosphere may be achieved through the gentle focus fall off that isolates the subject within the frame and allows everything else in the image to melt away.  Grain or digital noise usually ads atmosphere to an image without degrading the quality or otherwise distracting from the subject. 

Atmosphere is the proverbial cherry on top of the image that is already good, already works, and achieves greatness.  It’s the holy grail of photography.  This is equally as difficult to achieve conscientiously as it is rare.  Look for fog, lighting, or some tangible aspect in the air quality to capture.  One of the ways that you can put the viewer into your image is through the addition or inclusion of atmosphere. It’s a real challenge to achieve this but the results are well worth the effort.

 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm atmosphere film image photograph photography quality texture three-dimensional http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-60-atmosphere Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:05:44 GMT
Blog #59 Hanging [with] Art http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-59-hanging-with-art Blog #59 Hanging [with] Art

Spring is the season of art in Hong Kong.  In March there is Art Basel  which is followed shortly by the Affordable Art Fair in the month of May. These are wonderful shows that feature many types of  art from artists all over the world.  There are sculptures, paintings, drawings, and of course framed photographs of all sizes.  The pieces are affordably priced hence the name.  It’s wonderful thing to be surrounded by art, especially at home.  A recent article in the South China Morning Post described this and offered some suggestions (SCMP).

Some insightful person once said:

 

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

I think that the same could be said about art in the home.  After all of the talk and arguments about gear, pixel-peeping, paper weights, and printer profiles, just print and frame the damn photo! It’s an amazing thing to view a properly framed photograph on your wall.  To walk by it each morning on your way to having your coffee and on your way home from a long day of work. 

Print and frame your images for friends and family.  Give it away or sell it if you must.  All amateurs, hobbyists, and professionals should aspire to do this. 

A photograph doesn’t exist until it is printed, said, Constantine Manos 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) art film frame photographer photography print printing professional http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-59-hanging-with-art Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:35:05 GMT
Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-58-micro-macro-education-in-photography Blog #58 Micro & Macro Education in Photography

In this week’s blog, I would like to offer some food for thought on the concept of education in photography.  As an artistic medium and endeavour, like most things, formal or informal instruction as well as practice is required for improvement.  I offer that there are two distinct types of learning that lead to improvement of the photographer.  Let’s call them Macro and Micro Education and discuss how they relate to personal improvement.

Very simply, Micro education involves: education of the use of lenses for specific applications, composition, aperture and shutter speed, ISO, post processing techniques akin to the darkroom such as burning, dodging, vignetting, black and white, high contrast, selective coloration, toning (cyanotype, printing images in blue tones or another colour such as sepia), depth of field manipulation and other related technical aspects of making an image or printing an image.  

We all must learn the technical side of making images to enhance our creative process.  Modern cameras, have many controls that afford the photographer multiple tools at his or her disposal to make the connection from the image in their head (vision) and the final product.  The more we learn how to operate these controls, the closer we bring our vision into the real world.  Take back-button focus, for example. Do you need this? How do you know if you need this feature? 

In contrast, Macro education includes learning and professional development on the topics of: defining style, finding your artistic voice, developing your inner artist statement and having something to say. This is harder to teach, and therefore harder to learn.  This comes in time and although many introduction to photography courses might make mention of or try to address this topic, I expect that this aspect of the process might get lost along the way in many cases.  Most of the articles online these days surely fail to address this all-important and arguably essential aspect of photography. 

Both Micro & Macro are required for an intersection with the artist that will work well and communicate something uniquely specific from you and your photographic vision.

I’m reminded by the old saying:

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” 

“Practice, Practice, Practice!” 

 

Watch John Free's advice to street photographers to practice and view some previous Blogs on the subject of self improvement (See Blog #7 & Blog #52).

Now get out there and make some art! 

 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm 365 film photographer photography professional http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/blog-58-micro-macro-education-in-photography Sun, 18 Jun 2017 09:34:18 GMT
Blog #57 Under the Influence http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-57-under-the-influence Blog #57 Under the Influence

I have a lot to be thankful for.  My mother went to RISD was and still is a fine artist. She’s an abstract painter.  My father, when he was alive, went to Parsons School of Design for mechanical drawing, then worked mostly in advertising and publishing, and could draw and illustrate with great craft and skill.  In our home, there was art all around and the daily cartoons on my brown bag lunches through primary school gave me great joy and provides fond memories.  

In high school, I took drawing and a black and white film photography course with my father’s Nikon F that started me on the path that I now continue to travel.  A few years ago, after completing the Professional Course in Photography with the New York Institute of Photography, I continued my education through multiple means.  

I have been to countless art and photography shows.  In fact, the first thing I look for in any city that I visit is usually an art or photography show at the local museum.  For some reason, I have developed an unquenchable thirst for viewing art and photographs.  

Although I do enjoy a modest collection of film cameras, for the most part, I have switched from buying gear to buying photography books at every chance that I get.  Here’s a partial list of the photographers whose books I own: Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Robert Frank, Saul Leiter, Daido Moriyama, Josef Koudelka, William Eggleston, Gary Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Alex Webb, Irving Penn, Bill Brandt, Takayuki Ogawa, Ralph Ellison, Alexey Titarenko, Nan Goldin, and Sam Abell.  I read, and re-read these from time to time and cherish them like a hunter who mounts great busts upon the wall.

It’s a great time to be alive and to be a photographer.  Online sources abound.  From Ted Forbes’ The Art of Photography channel on YouTube to  Digital Photography School , there are so many excellent sources of information that provide inspiration, technical knowledge, and amazing stories all about this medium that I love so much.  Kai W keeps me equally as informed as much as entertained, while Eric Kim shares his invaluable philosophy, image making techniques, and fresh views on using social media rather than allowing social media use you. 

Bellamy Hunt temps with his gorgeous vintage selection of the very best cameras and lenses on his Japan Camera Hunter site while Vishal Sonji provides a never ending cornucopia of film along side magical fountains of developer on Camera Film Photo.  Accessible sites like Casual Photophile  provide a steady stream of gear reviews, along with tips and techniques for beginners, hobbyist, and pros alike.  

When I’m ready to print and frame, Jack and Jun at Photato are the guys to see. I just love their company name and they do some the best quality framing in town.  

Anything and everything that I have accomplished or will accomplish as a photographer I owe to all of my influences past, present, and future.  Indeed, I am reminded of the humble modesty of Sir Isaac Newton who stood on the shoulders of giants.

The trick is to never stop learning, never give up, and keep working to improve the craft.  

One of my favourite quotes is:

“Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work” - Chuck Close

The light is always right. 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) film improvement influences learn photographer photography professional self study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-57-under-the-influence Mon, 22 May 2017 15:33:30 GMT
Blog #56 Zeitgeist: The Sign of the Times http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-56-zeitgeist-the-sign-of-the-times Blog #56 Zeitgeist: The Sign of the Times

One of my most favorite words is zeitgeist. It means spirit of the times from the German “zeit” meaning time and “geist” meaning spirit.  It’s used to describe a feeling or mood in a given time period such as the rebellious and revolutionary times of the 1960’s in the US, Europe, and Japan.  

This decade of 2010-2020 has its own zeitgeist and it is not premature to mention that here and how that relates to photography.  Here, I will describe three books that can be tied to the zeitgeist of this decade and I will attempt to describe what I think that is.

Around a week ago at the time of this writing (24 April 2017), Robert M. Pirsig passed away.  He was the author of the famous Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, An inquiry into values.  Published originally in 1974, this was a significant book about a road trip that he took with his eleven year old son across the mid-west of the United States that also discussed philosophy, the definition of quality, values, and the pure joy and satisfaction that can be felt when working with your hands (particularly on one’s motorcycle). Mr. Pirsig’s passing was a great loss.  

A second book that came out more recently in 2010 by Matthew B. Crawford titled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work was an interesting read about a corporate think-tank executive who walked away from it all in favour of starting a motorcycle repair shop all by himself.  Crawford argues for the value of fixing things, and rebels against the disposable lifestyle that has perpetuated the popular culture since around the 1980’s.  Everybody on this planet, our only planet, needs to get back to appreciating physical things like machines, and working with our hands.  One might expect that Crawford was influenced, as many have been, by Pirsig’s seminal book.  Indeed, there are many others like Crawford who are jumping off of their corporate band wagons in favour of pursuing their dreams in creative fields or adventurous endeavours. More power to them! I am reminded by one of my favourite fantasy novelist’s words…

“The creative adult is the child who has survived”

Ursula K. Le Guin

Last year in 2016, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter continued on this trajectory of finding value in the things of old.  All this flies in the face of the digital revolution where snapgramtwitface is the common denominator throughout the cultures of the world.  These days, digital natives clash with digital immigrants in the work place as it gets reshaped by the new guard.  The millennials are taking over, and it’s our purpose to make sure that they don’t wreck the place.  

In this book, David Sax summarises the trends where paper, film, board games, and analog ideas as well have seen a massive resurgence in the last decade. He tells the stories from the mouths of those involved at the factory and retail levels.  FILM Ferrania, for example, has dusted off and cranked up their coating machines and will produce this glorious film in Italy once again (I ordered some P30 already).  Sax walks us through the revival of these things and also the revival of analog ideas. It’s a terrific read and I think that it illustrates the zeitgeist of this decade.  

Sustainability is a hot topic these days across the globe as well as STEM (Science Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) in schools.  So too are MakerSpaces popping up at the primary school level and shop classes that seemed to all but disappear lately, have come charging back.  Once again, adults are showing boys and girls that math, wood working, electrical engineering, and hands-on activities are valuable, worthwhile, and necessary to learn before leaving school.  This is a wonderful thing to watch and an even more rewarding experience to be a part of. 

My contribution to the war effort, so to speak, is through the THS Photo Club.  So I guess that the zeitgeist of this decade is one of back to basics, rediscovery, appreciation for real things, analog things, and working with one’s hands.  Of course digital is here to stay, and coding is right up there with the three Rs in grade school by now.  All in all it is reassuring to this Generation Xer that analog (film especially) will keep it’s place alongside, but not behind the digital revolution, at least for the next 100 years so long as FILM Ferrania has something to say about it. 

 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-56-zeitgeist-the-sign-of-the-times Mon, 15 May 2017 11:53:51 GMT
Blog #55 Back to Basics: Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 3 http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-55-back-to-basics-extreme-extremity-photography-part-3 Blog #55 Back to Basics: Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 3

The last two blog entries are titled, Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 1 & Part 2.  The intention there was to illustrate how to make portraits of people or otherwise interesting images that included only their hands or feet [shoes].  As a photographer you are involved in an active process or decision to include or omit part of your subject.  Your decision to omit most of the subject will result in an incomplete story that leaves the viewer with the task of filling in the gaps.  

Making images involves many decisions.  There are decisions about cameras, film, lenses, exposure, aperture, where to put your feet, when to press the shutter release button, and what to include as well as exclude in the frame.

Without realising it when I set out to write Part 1 and Part 2 blog entries, I has already gathered quite a few images of people showing only their backs.  These are also challenging images and they don’t always work.  In this last of a three-part series, I offer some examples of portraits and some candid street images that include only the back of a person with little else.

Do you think that they work? Feel free to leave comments above. 

Thanks for reading and remember, the light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-55-back-to-basics-extreme-extremity-photography-part-3 Sat, 13 May 2017 11:07:46 GMT
Blog #54 Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 2 http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-54-extreme-extremity-photography-part-2 Blog #54 Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 2

In last's week's blog, I wrote about a simple idea.  Namely, the process of making images using only a part of someone and why on earth that might be a desirable thing to do. 

Hands were the subject of that blog post.  You might want to try and make hands the subject of your image.  This week, as promised, I offer the second part of this mini two-part series.  

This time, I suggest that you consider using another extremity, namely, feet (or shoes), as the subject of your images. 

You can tell a lot about a person by there feet and shoes.  Shoes connect with the ground and provide clues to the individual's personal aesthetic. Shoes, along with other items of fashion, define occasions. While they do not define a person, per se, they certainly can make lasting [or fleeting] impressions of someone.

By viewing and inspecting the feet, shoes, and "lower portion" of a person such as their legs, you can give clues about them without providing the viewer of the image with all of the information, visually, about your subject.  Subsequently, the viewer is tasked with filling in the blanks so to speak with the rest of the story.  Sometimes you can get away with making your viewer work a little harder than usual to figure out what you are presenting, or better yet, trying to say through your images.

Indeed, I tend to agree with Andy Warhol's statement,  

"Art is what you can get away with". 

If you're tuning in for the first time, check out the Part 1 here

Otherwise, look on and remember...

 

The light is always right.

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) feet people photographer photography portrait professional shoes study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-54-extreme-extremity-photography-part-2 Mon, 08 May 2017 12:46:16 GMT
Blog #35 Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 1 http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-35-extreme-extremity-photography-part-1 Blog #53 Extreme [Extremity] Photography Part 1

According to Cig Harvey, pictures can work well when they are about things rather than of things.  Everyone can easily relate to photos of people that include all of most of the subject. However, images can be composed such that the subject is a body part such as hands or feet [shoes].  When the photographer intentionally omits information from an image, the result can be interesting or conceptual, in other words something if left to the imagination.  

Photos of hands or feet allow the viewer to place themselves in the image, so to speak, and to generalise the scene to their own experience. In this blog post, Part 1 will be all about hands. The next blog post, Part 2 will be all about shoes and I will share my attempt to tell a story only through shoes. 

Photographer Jason Eskenazi said it well.

“As a photographer if your photos are too obvious then you’re missing the point. Photos are about mystery, about not knowing, about dreams, and the more you know about that—then you can recognize them on the street.” 

My aim here is to inspire you to get off your beaten path, so to speak.  If you are not used to making images of this type, go make 36 to experience a fresh perspective or specific type of image.  Why 36? Because that’s how many frames you get in a 35mm roll of film! Try to make the viewer pause and have to work for the meaning in the image. 

Try this approach to add a fresh perspective to your work. One caveat. Be patient. Sometimes you need to let these types of images come to you and reveal themselves. Just hands hands are notoriously one of the most difficult things to draw or paint, these are difficult images to fish for as well, but are well worth the effort in the long run.  The point here is to be open to all perspectives, angles, and possibilities. Incorporate hands into your project, or the story that are are working on. 

Happy hunting. 

Remember, the light is always right. 

 

jhg

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/blog-35-extreme-extremity-photography-part-1 Tue, 02 May 2017 04:39:36 GMT