Jeremy H. Greenberg: Blog http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Jeremy H. Greenberg jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:47:00 GMT Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:47:00 GMT http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u292078769-o383284609-50.jpg Jeremy H. Greenberg: Blog http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog 120 98 Blog #85 [CAM/O] http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/12/blog-85-cam/o Blog #85 [CAM/O]

For some reason recently I’ve been putting [brackets] on everything such as file names, titles, and folder names.  There are three reasons that I think I am doing this.

  1. Brackets remind me of frame lines that are used within most camera viewfinders to give you the approximate edges of the frame.  Since I’m totally obsessed with photography, this makes perfect sense and is the most likely cause of this quickly forming habit. 
  2. Perhaps I’m reminded of the technique of bracketing or taking multiple images [usually 3 or 5] all at slightly different exposures and then combining those images to make an HDR [High Dynamic Range] image. This is true but not a likely cause of this behavior.
  3. The standard QWERTY keyboard has dedicated keys for the non-curved edition of the bracket,  back to back, from your right pinky and the more commonly curved brackets or (parentheses) require the use of the shift key.  This is inefficient and utterly nonsense. Who invented this asinine convention? I’m replacing the parentheses with the bracket from now on, who’s with me?

Nikon D610

Actually, the purpose of this blog post was to share the three ingredients that are required to make images that work or images that may even be outstanding. It’s a simple formula, really. To help you remember it, I made up an easy to remember acronym [an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word]. 

[CAM/O]

Again with the brackets? Get used to it people, they’re here to stay. 

So there’s your acronym and formula for making successful images. Here’s what it means.  

1. Composition.  There are like over a million words on this subject so I’ll be brief.  Where will the subject be placed within the image in relation to the other objects? Think, How do I arrange this scene look awesome? This requires some deliberate thought and action albeit it may take a fraction of a second to actually execute in the real world.  The term implies some additional effort to draw the attention of the viewer to your subject.  Avoid placing the subject in the centre of every photo that you make. Change your point of view [POV].  This can be accomplished through various techniques that I have written about previously [here]Albert Einstein famously said that “If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t know it well enough”. Henri Cartier Bresson [arguably one of the best artist/photographers who ever lived]  summed up composition in just one word, [Geometry]

2. Action. The subject of the image should have some sort of action going on. Think dynamic over static. A person can be posed or making a gesture that is strong and memorable.  Gesture matters big time. Still life images and head shots or landscapes are more difficult to show action but the best ones arguably have this. Look at the sky in most Ansel Adams landscapes or Weston’s peppers.  Use lighting in portraits to create action or drama. 

3. Move/Out. Remove non-essential objects from the image or story. Watch the corners and check the background.  Wait a few seconds for that dude to walk out of your frame, it’s well worth it. What you take out is as important as what you put in. This is best accomplished in the camera [see #1 above].  However, cropping may be necessary.  Think less is more. Images may be simple or elaborate but only if required by the story. Alex Webb and Josef Kouldelka were masters of packing their frames with layers of chunky goodness and making delicious images that worked and worked extremely well for their complexity.

It’s easy to remember because it’s half of the words of camera.  It’s a mnemonic device and therefore easier to remember [You’re Welcome!].  Camo is also a familiar word that is short for camoflauge and something that you might want to consider when dressing for candid street or event photography.  Think all black. 

Nikon D610

Let’s review: 

You want make awesome images, don’t you? It’s easier said than done but write this on the top of your right hand next time you pick up a camera:

 [CAM/O]

  1. Composition = Think, How do I arrange this scene look awesome?
  2. Action = Think, dynamic over static.
  3. Move/Out = Think, less is more.

Remember, the light is always right. 

jhg

 

*Images in this blog post were shot on the streets of Hong Kong one night in November with a Nikon L35 and Cinestill 800 Color 35mm film.*

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

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The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) [cam/o] 35mm art creative film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/12/blog-85-cam/o Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:32:21 GMT
Blog #84 Art as an Obligation? http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-84-art-as-an-obligation Blog #84 Art as an Obligation?

While listening to a popular photography podcast recently, the host shared his perspective of making images [art] as an obligation.  We are all individuals and therefore have a unique point of view of our own lives.  Therefore, no one can make the art that we make except ourselves, he continued.  If we don’t make the art of our own life, no one will.  Therefore, he concluded, we must make the art of our own lives or else it will never be made and the world will lose out on something.  

Obligation? Responsibility? While we can all comfortably can throw these words around when discussing marriage, parenting, or occupations that deal with life or death situations, like the police, a surgeon, or an airline pilot one does not easily consider the role of an artist as having the same call of duty.  

If I told you that you have to make pictures, you owe it to the world, surely you would respond with a sidelong glance.  I actually agree with the podcaster’s sentiment that we all need to be making art for ourselves, each other, and the world.  Our lives are unique and only we can share art that we see and we make. 

I think there is some value in taking on and accepting this point of view.  It’s a selfless and altruistic stance and one that can provide us with a modest place in which to begin our creative process.  You are unique! Your art is unique! Only you can make your art [photographs].  So you might as well get to it. 

Nikon D610

Finally, there are many ways to define a “healthy” life.  Work, relationships, sexual connections, financial, spiritual, and physical areas are all generally accepted areas of attention for good health.  I suggest that to develop your creative side [and yes we all have one] is to lead a well-balanced and healthy life.  All parts of you need to be activated for optimal life heath.  Do it for yourself, and others, and the world at large, whatever “it” might be.

Nikon D610

 

The light is always right. 

 

jhg

 

**Images in this blog post were made on a Nikon camera, probably a 28mm lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm film and developed at home with Bergger Berspeed somewhere on the streets [and ferry] of Hong Kong**

 

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restriction

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) art creative creativity photography http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-84-art-as-an-obligation Fri, 24 Nov 2017 12:54:57 GMT
Blog #83 What you can learn from other photographers http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-83-what-you-can-learn-from-other-photographers Blog #83 What you can learn from other photographers

 

W. H. Davenport was credited for the phrase,

 

Good artists copy; great artists steal. 

 

While I think that there is certainly a lot that we can learn from our peers in terms of working technique, shooting style, artistic presentation, and more, stealing, according to this phrase was never intended to be taken literally.  

The Blue Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong is the leading photography art gallery in Hong Kong and represents Fan Ho and other local talented artist photographers.  The gallery also hosts a series of sessions where a photographer will talk about their work and latest book publication.  I attended two talks recently, one from Nick Poon and one from KC Kwan.

Nikon D610

Both presented terrific work and to hear them discuss their vision and working style was truly inspiring and a real treat.  Nick Poon documented small shop owners in their tiny cramped spaces using an iPhone 4s in a powerful collection titled Confined [] while KC Kwan showed the dark, gritty underbelly of Hong Kong through sex workers, and junkies using his ultra wide lens in his piece titled Homebound.  Kwan’s style is reminiscent of the Are-Bure-Boke style of the late 1960s early 1970s Provoke group from Japan.  I was excited to purchase a signed copy of Homebound since I’m a huge fan of the Japanese Provoke style of images.  The work was dark, and reflected the artist's tough upbringing as an orphan in inner city Hong Kong.  He identified this connection between his style and the way in which he grew up and viewed life.  He shared something amazingly insightful that really struck a nerve with me.  

Nikon D610

I was also struck by the fact that Nick’s included an entire series of images that resulted in a significant volume of work and book publication was shot on an iPhone 4S. This was clearly not apparent when looking through the book itself or when he shared images on his giant iPad, pinching in to zoom and show detail in the images.  We guessed that he had used a 35mm lens of some sort.  I was thinking he was using a Sony full frame sensor camera since the lighting in these stalls was all over the place.  Boy, was I wrong! I know iPhones and other smartphones can take some decent quality images but I was genuinely surprised that this work was done a phone.  This was proof positive that cameras and gear don’t mean shit. 

 

In summary, I learned that: 

 

  1. Gear really doesn’t matter. (I knew this already but sometimes we all need reminding).
  2. Basically we all make images of ourselves. Our work, if successful, reflects us in some way.  
  3. It takes a long time to get a project to the finished state. These guys worked for 2-3 years on these projects. 

 

Great stuff! Peers can be amazing teachers for sure! 

The light is always right.

jhg

 

*Images herein were made on a Nikon F100, 35mm lens, and shot on Kodak Ektar 100 and Kodak Portra 400 35mm Color Film and developed at home,  using DigiBase C-41 Kit from CameraFilmPhoto.com then scanned on an Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner at 2400dpi. 

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) books film gallery improvement learning photographers photography http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-83-what-you-can-learn-from-other-photographers Sat, 18 Nov 2017 07:21:21 GMT
Blog #82 The Purpose of Art http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-82-the-purpose-of-art  

Blog #82 The Purpose of Art

What is the purpose of art? Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? What is the function of art across culture and time? These and similar big picture questions have been asked time and time again across the ages. I find it fascinating to contemplate these as they relate to my personal philosophy or style in making images.  

In this week’s blog post, I will share with you a few quotations so that you may think about your own work as an artist [photographer] and perhaps come to some greater understanding or clarification on why you do what you do.  Understanding the reason behind your creativity might propel you forward and give food for thought or, er, creativity, for that matter. 

 

Read on…

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

Robert Mapplethorpe

 

If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.

Robert Mapplethorpe

 

Anybody can be a great photographer if they zoom in enough on what they love. 

David Bailey

 

An artist is a man who seeks new structures in which to order and simplify his sense of the reality of life. 

John Szarkowski 1966 

 

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

Pablo Picasso

 

There is only you and your camera.  The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.

Ernst Haas

 

I don’t have a philosophy.  I have a camera.

Saul Leiter 

 

One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

Steve Jobs

 

The light is always right.

jhg

Images in this blog post were made during a charitable event where a group of Harbour School students passed food out to elderly folks in the Sham Shui Po Housing Blocks during Mid-Autumn Festival Oct 2017.

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-82-the-purpose-of-art Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:56:28 GMT
Blog #81 Talent is Nothing http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-81-talent-is-nothing Blog #81 Talent is Nothing

 

In this week’s blog post, I would like to address the topic of talent.  Every once in a while someone like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart grazes us all with his presence.  True genius especially in the creative arts is rare.  Nevertheless, there are many talented artists.  When we gaze upon the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Alex Webb, to name a few, we can’t help but use the word talented to describe these photographers.  

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What happens next is that we falsely conclude that these folks were born with some sort of instinctual ability to make gorgeous draw-dropping images with a camera.  

“You either got it or you don’t”, we conclude.  

Some thing critical is missing from our simple analysis.  These folks got to where they are through tons of hard work.  Upon seeing a finished work of photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, or novel we are completely removed from any understanding or appreciation of the years and decades of elbow grease that inevitably came before and resulted in the piece in front of us.  

We do not see the thousands of behaviors and long nights that lead the artist to that point in their creative career.  It’s all there, you just can’t see it.  Therefore, we conclude, incorrectly, that talent is what caused this artist to create good art.  

Talent is a null word. It’s the summation of countless hours of literally blood, sweat, and tears.  How do Olympic athletes get that way? They work their asses off for it, that’s how. Hard work breeds success. Talent is nothing. 

The light is always right.

jhg

*The images below are original and from the September 2017 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in Hong Kong, a fund raiser event for Men's Health and Prostate Cancer*

 

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) creative creativity photographer photography professional study talent http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/11/blog-81-talent-is-nothing Fri, 03 Nov 2017 13:27:20 GMT
Blog #80 Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away, Now http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-80-give-it-away-give-it-away-give-it-away-now Blog #80 Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away, Now

 

What I've got you've got to give it to your mamma

What I've got you've got to give it to your pappa

What I've got you've got to give it to your daughter

You do a little dance and then you drink a little water

 

These lyrics were famously penned and performed by none other than the 

Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1991 from their song titled Give it Away Now.

You might have guessed that this week’s blog post is about printing and sharing your images.  In Blog #68 titled Photography is a Gift, I advocated for sharing images of friends and family.  This can be accomplished through social media outlets of course but is ultimately more effective when images are brought into the real world and printed. 

Printing doesn’t have to be a complicated process.  I bought new ink jet printer recently in wide format meaning that it takes A3 sized paper [297 x 420 mm, 11.7 x 16.5 in.].  Of course there are bigger [and way more expensive versions] but for a reasonable price, I picked up this baby and dragged her home.  This thing is huge but for just shy of $200 USD it’s really pretty cheap. Printers have come a long way and most regular jobs can be done on this machine with photo quality paper.  The results have been really good so far.  The model is an HP OfficeJet Pro 7740.  If you’re in the market for a new printer, let me share this pro tip: 

If you ask nicely, the salesman might throw you a pack of A3 photo paper for free as well!  

Good luck lugging this thing home it’s about the size of a large microwave oven.  Wifi means that anyone on your network can print from any device pretty much, a really useful feature. 

Sharing images is a great joy that every photographer should indulge in from time to time.  For example, some friends had an awesome beach wedding party recently and I made some pictures that I shared [and will be printing and framing] for the married couple.  I view this gift as something special since they cannot buy it or make it themselves.  

If you don’t give away your pictures, “You’re a punk!”, says LA street photographer, John Free.  I love that guy! 

 

The light is always right.

jhg

 

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography Schoo

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography print professional street study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-80-give-it-away-give-it-away-give-it-away-now Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:42:48 GMT
Blog #79 Black & White vs. Color, Revisited. http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-79-black-white-vs-color-revisited Blog #79 Black & White vs. Color, Revisited. 

 

The subject of black and white or colour has been a lively topic since the start of commercially available film started around the late 1960’s early 1970’s.  I’ve blogged about this before in Blog #13 titled B&W or Color? and presented a splash of history of both films and concluded with a verdict of using both rather than an emphasis on either or.  

I find myself shooting colour & black and white although mostly colour for commercial work and usually [but not always] black and white for personal work.  I think that the world in general, prefers color.  Of course the world is in color so it should be presented that was in pictures, yes? Well, sometimes, yes. 

Nikon D610

The subject and environment [image itself] should dictate the presentation.  A photographer might prefer to shoot in black and white to focus the viewer on the shapes, lines, textures, emotion, gesture, and overall subject of the image.  Black and white pictures that work [even paintings or drawings] are very strong when they accomplish this.  They are timeless.

In the news recently, two artist’s work in particular are worthy of note, and both are outstanding examples of both types of pictures. Sadly, we lost one of our light-catching brethren, Pete Turner. Check out his absolutely outstanding colour work and give homage to this true master of color. 

Thankfully still alive and well is a terrific street photographer named Dotan Saguy’s  who presents his black and white work using a Leica M Monochrom.  

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Another interesting topic surrounding this issue is one of presentation.  Can a portfolio, series, or otherwise collection of images be presented in both black and white or color? Does a collection have to be in all black and white or all color? Many purists would say yes but then again, rules are meant to be broken.  One suggestion is to present all of the black and white pictures and then all of the color pictures.  That is, if you insist on presenting both within a collection.  I have no substantial reason for this suggestion other than it tends to work better.

Lastly, film or digital, black and white or color, wide angle or telephoto, there are so many decisions to distract us from making awesome images. At the end of the day, let the decisions come you rather than forcing them and the results should take care of themselves.  

The light is always right.

jhg

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-79-black-white-vs-color-revisited Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:17:13 GMT
Blog #78 How Do You Make Better Pictures? http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-78-how-do-you-make-better-pictures Blog #78 How Do You Make Better Pictures? 

There are many many options out there for those who aim to improve their photography.  How do we sort through the information jungle? Learning to make pictures is similar to learning other skills or crafts, except that each image that we make is essentially different.  Mastery of skills that are involved with in various occupations such as carpentry, electric work, auto repair, teaching, and others come from simple steps.  

The first step is to learn the background of the field, its history.  This is not necessary to make good pictures but it is important for  comprehensive understanding of the field. Next, we learn about the basics, then the advanced techniques.  Knowledge in most fields is cumulative and needs to be delivered in a sequential manner because the basic information is a prerequisite to learning the more advanced.  In photography, we don’t teach students about bracketing until they understand basic exposure for this reason.  These days, skills such as website design, post-processing, and business marketing including social media are required for success as a professional. 

I’ve written in previous blogs about self improvement and living the creative life.  Here, I will add to those lessons by including an emphasise on foundation skills and having fluency over your foundation skills before real improvement can be achieved.  Foundation skills include but are not limited to:

 

  1. Getting proper exposure
  2. Nailing good-enough focus 
  3. Composition and framing (this is probably the most important).
  4. Reaction time [attention] to the scene in front of you or actually making the picture at the right time (especially in street photography)
  5. People skills (if you are making pictures of people, otherwise, you need hiking or SCUBA diving skills)

 

Basically, these skills needs to be practiced, over and over.  Having an idea of a series or project is also helpful, of course.  This list could be expanded to include post-processing (yuk!), editing, marketing, public relations, social media, and other business-related skills but that’s a bit much given the title of this blog post. 

These skills need to be fluent and automatic for more complex skills to emerge.  This is basically true of learning to do anything.  How do we teach these skills to mastery? Good question? I don’t think anyone really does when it comes to making pictures.  We read books, take classes, work on projects but we don’t actually drill and practice to a predetermined criterion or level of achievement.  What would that even look like? 

 

Goal 1: Make 100 images with perfect exposure using a fully manual camera with a light meter, then without a light meter. 

Goal 2: Take 100 pictures in 5 minutes or less all in perfect focus using a manual focus lens, then using autofocus. 

Goal 3: Make 20 images using one of 10 different compositional techniques, everyday for one month (i.e. leading lines, rule of thirds, size, blurred background, etc…).

Is this sounding like photography boot-camp? Where do you sign up you ask? I’m not sure that all of that is entirely necessary, albeit it would probably be helpful to master.

Instruction from books or people can be helpful.  For more on that, click here. What people need regardless of the source is consequences for the photos that they are making. In short, we all need critique. Critique is basically a process of description. It’s not a question of whether you like the work or not but rather if the work, well, works! 

Critique is a process of reviewing, and describing images and stating 

        “This image works because…”, or 

        “This image does not work because…”.

Of course we’re all subjective people but some of us have a education in photography and therefore a vocabulary that can be helpful in describing images in this manner.  

So, there it is.  Practicing component skills and critique be equal improvement. Now go for it. 

The light is always right.

jhg

The images herein were made on a rainy day in Hong Kong with a Nikon camera, 35mm lens, Kodak TRI-X 400 ISO 35mm Black and White film pushed one stop to 800 and developed at home in Bergger’s Berspeed developer. They were scanned on an Epson V600.

 

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/10/blog-78-how-do-you-make-better-pictures Sun, 15 Oct 2017 10:26:06 GMT
Blog #77 Make it Then Break it http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-77-make-it-then-break-it Blog #77 Make it Then Break it

 

I’ve been blogging about creativity, the creative process, education, and many other topics related to photography for over two years now.  From time to time, good old fashioned rest can be a welcome respite from the demands of the creative life.  

In a strangely counterintuitive way, taking a break from the creative process can allow you to recharge and reinvigorate your creativity.  For amateurs, hobbyists, and even the most professional of professionals, no one is consistently creative all of the time. Embracing times of low or no creativity or image making is a part of the natural process.  

Making art is hard work.  Making good art is really hard work.  By definition, it involves making something new that no-one (including yourself) has ever done before.  Artists tend to have creative bouts that last weeks, months, or even years.  However, we all need and can benefit from a bit of distance from the creative process.  

The creative process is like a conversation between the artist and the rest of humanity.  Sometimes you listen, and sometimes you speak.  Speaking is the making-part of the process while listening is the gathering of information that will, in turn, inform the speaking part.  

Another analogy is to think of the creative process like the training program of an athlete.  They must alternate between times of great intensity and strength building, and rest, lest they overtrain.  Overtraining usually results in injury or a lack of growth, at best.  During the rest periods, the muscles heal and regenerate so that the athlete can come back faster, stronger, and more capable of reaching higher levels in their fitness.  Artists, too, must also alternative periods of high productivity and rest.  Having some distance from images, or image making affords one perspective, insight, and allows the previous work to cure in their conscience.  

When the artist photographer rebounds from this down time, their vision will be re-established, re-affirmed, and defined more clearly.  How much down time is needed? Everyone is different.  Perhaps a week or two, or a month should do the trick.  Sometimes life gets in the way and forces you to take a break from the creative projects.  Welcome this forced rest rather than fight it. 

In short, there is only so much time in a day.  Spend it with family, friends, pursuing other work, art, and play.  All of these experiences will ultimately inform your art and image making. We are always learning and growing even when not engaged directly in the art of making images. Take a break.  Then, come back better and stronger with a more defined vision of the images that you want to create. 

Lastly, remember the light is always right. 

Feel free to leave comments. 

jhg

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-77-make-it-then-break-it Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:10:59 GMT
Blog #76 Shoot What You Know http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-76-shoot-what-you-know Blog #76 Shoot What You Know

Photography blogs and blogs talk a lot about projects and series. In fact, I have written about this some time ago in Blog #6 and Blog #16 on the topic of a Project 365.  In most of these tutorials, the message is clear, 

Make a Series, Do a Project, It’s a good for you!”. 

Projects and series are helpful because they provide an artist with focus. Projects and series usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Some tell stories.  We all need closure from time to time. When one project or series is done, we are free [in a manner of speaking] to direct our creative attention elsewhere.  

Some projects or series take years and most artists, I would expect are working on more than one at a time.  A project or series can be a simple collection of related images but its strength will improve dramatically if you tie it to a story or a theme.  

Ask yourself, “What is it that I am trying to say through this project or series?”

As to the content of the project or series, there are infinite possibilities.  As a good and possibly safe place to start, you can shoot what you know. 

Everyone has a unique history. Maybe you are a car nut, or animal lover, or you enjoy gardening.  Did you used to love football when you were younger and have been itching to get back into the sport?  Everyone has a hobby or passion.  If you do not have at least one, you need one and fast. 

Ok, so if you’re reading this you are likely passionate about photography, point taken.  What else interests you? cooking? the beach? Find that thing, and make images of it.  

Your passion for a subject or activity will give you a unique perspective that most of us will not have.  Plus, your natural interest in the subject will motivate you to make pictures until a project or series emerges.  

For example, after a long week of work, I like to go out to a bar or club and hear some live DJ music.  I enjoy a drink or two [not too much] and talk with friends, some of whom I see from week to week.  We catch up on our lives, unwind, and reboot for the coming work week.  I have found this experience has allowed me a unique vantage for some fun and interesting image making.  

The images here were made around town in bars and clubs like I’m describing here. What are your passions and interests beyond photography? 

 

Comments are welcome. 

Remember, the light is always right. 

jhg

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional projects series study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-76-shoot-what-you-know Sun, 17 Sep 2017 09:25:38 GMT
Blog #75 Greatness vs. Talent http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-75-greatness-vs-talent Blog #75 Greatness vs. Talent

In the last blog I typed about education in photography for the purpose of improvement.  This has been a reoccurring theme in my blog that you might have noticed.  I make an effort, on a regular basis, to learn something new about photography and I share that process in the hope that it might inspire someone else to pick up a book, take an online course, or otherwise push themselves to fill their head with additional pearls of wisdom.  Growth is the point as far as photography is concerned.  We need to equip and inform ourselves so that we may become better at image making.  When the gap between our vision and our images becomes closer, we grow. 

Way back in May of this year there was a very well written piece titled “Great photographers need determination not talent” by Chris Killip from Huck Magazine.  In this well-written piece it describes a seven year journey made by a photographer that resulted in determination, resilience, and good old-fashioned grit to finally get the shots that he was looking for.  All this was after he picked up a camera and simply got to work with little to no formal instruction in the medium. 

True genius is very rare.

I’m reminded of the old adage “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” 

“Practice, practice, practice!” 

They say that true mastery of some skill requires around 10,000 hours of work.  Those do not come easy, and photography is like anything else in that you get out of it what you put in.  There are many roads to success and there is no formula since we are all different. However, practicing skills on a regular basis will likely create the conditions for improvement and personal growth. 

Here are a few tips that might work for you: 

 

  1. Work on Projects on a regular basis to completion. 
  2. Work on Series on a regular basis to completion. 
  3. Edit and Sharing you work. 
  4. Learn how to give and receive critique. 
  5. Surround yourself with classic and modern resources in photography.

As cliché as it might sound, Greatness or perfection is a journey not a destination.

Try not to be perfect, just try to be better.  This we all can achieve. 

Remember, the light is always right.

jhg

 

P.S. The images in this blog post were made with a new brand of 35mm black and white 100 ISO film named Lucky (Made in China) given to me from a friend at CameraFilmPhoto. Check them out for outstanding film, products, and service.

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift=

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-75-greatness-vs-talent Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:35:52 GMT
Blog #74 Keep on Keepin’ On http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-74-keep-on-keepin-on Blog #74 Keep on Keepin’ On

    Learning is not the goal of life, it IS life, someone very clever once said.  A post in a photography Facebook group asked recently if a university degree in photography was necessary.  There were  over 50 comments that followed.  Just about every comment was about a resounding “No!”. However, I wonder how many of those “No” responses were from individuals who actually had gone to school for photography.  I work with photographers who have bachelors’ and fine arts degrees in art or photography,  and they never seem to have regrets.  How can anyone argue that there is no value to pursuing a degree in photography? Higher education is a wonderful experience taught by professors with decades of formal, life, and professional photography experience.  

    Is formal study in photography necessary to make great work or to be successful (however you might define this) as a professional photographer? Most would agree that is is not.  That being said, it couldn't hurt.  

    When I returned to photography about five years ago, I considered this course of action.  I needed a more flexible learning program as I would have limited time to commit to learning photography, although I did want a comprehensive program.  So instead of enrolling in a university program, I opted for an online course in professional photography (www.nyip.com).  During this time and afterwards, I read everything that I could get my hands on, attended museums and shows, bought books from the greats, and generally took a deep dive using the “self-taught” method.  I am still pursuing this.  Last month, I completed the MOMA: Seeing Through Photographs from Coursera . You can choose to take this short six-week course for free or pay $50 US as I did to support the program and the MOMA and receive a certificate upon completion. 

    In the course, there was just the right amount of history presented alongside modern artists to keep things interesting.  Instead of submitting a final project that included a photograph that we made, participants needed to submit an image and describe how it related to the units of study in the course.  There were two 500 word written assignments that were required in the class as well as a few peer reviews.

I went through the class in a couple of weeks and the materials were very good. I would definitely recommend it to someone interested in photography at any level. They do not pay me to say that, by the way.  I got my certificate for completion and it was a nice summer learning project.  

The take-away here is that there is no end to the learning, although some effort is required to make it a deliberate process.  It’s such a wonderful time to be photographer as there are a plethora of online resources, live workshops, face to face courses, and everything in between.  There is really no excuse not participating in some form of improvement program on a regular basis. 

Find what works for you, complete it, and repeat.  Your vision will improve, your pictures will improve, and you will feel better about your art and yourself in the process. 

The light is always right. 

jhg

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Casual Photophile Tip & Techniques No. 001 The Subject is the Subject

Digital Photography School

Japan Camera Hunter

The Inspired Eye Photography Magazine Issue #40 (full interview)

Hong Kong Free Press: HKFP Lens

Blog #47 Composition, Composition, and More Composition

Blog #60 Atmosphere

Blog #65 Summer is for Travel (Hanoi)

Blog #67 Risks, Rules, & Restrictions

Blog #68 Photography is a Gift

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm film photographer photography professional study travel http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/blog-74-keep-on-keepin-on Sat, 02 Sep 2017 03:03:22 GMT
Blog #73 S-L-O-W  P-H-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y [SHOOTING THE LEICA G (IIIA)] http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-73-s-l-o-w-p-h-o-t-o-g-r-a-p-h-y-shooting-the-leica-g-iiia Blog #73 S-L-O-W  P-H-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y [SHOOTING THE LEICA G (IIIA)]

 

Photography [and creativity] runs in families…apparently.  About a month ago, my youngest of two brothers, Alex, who lives in Chicago sends me a photo of a Leica III from about 1935.  He reports that it was our father’s and that he had it CLA’d recently (that’s cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted for you wanna-be camera geeks out there) although Alex had never shot with it. 

“Send it to me”, I said. “I’ll shoot with it”.

Ten days later, I unpack the box and there is it. A stunning and cleverly constructed all metal camera from Oskar Barnack and the Ernst Leitz Group from Wetzler Germany known today simply as Leica. 

It was in great condition for an 82 year old machine.  It’s small and heavy.  Loading film, dialling in proper exposure, focusing using the range finder, and overall making images with this camera is slow, quirky, and down right frustrating at times.  It was very easy to completely destroy two rolls of film in the process of getting the thing to work.  The first roll was installed backwards (Duh!).  The second roll was pretty much shredded as it ran through the camera.  Then, it was back to YouTube to watch the film loading tutorials, again.  After the film leader gets trimmed, you are supposed to take the lens off the camera, lock up the shutter, and visually inspect the film inside to make sure that it’s in the right place so that it runs through the camera properly, a complicated series of steps compared to more modern machines. 

Using an external light meter, you gauge the light conditions, and then dial the aperture ring on the lens, lift and turn the way-to-small and sometimes-stubborn-to-move shutter speed dial, find the focus patch in a tiny and dimly lit view finder with no frame lines, say a short prayer, and press the shutter release button.  This process takes a full 10 seconds on average! That’s like an eternity for our modern Snapgramtwitface culture.  

After a while you sort of get the hang of it.  After all, it’s a Leica, and it’s beautiful and the 50mm f/2 lens is quite capable and makes excellent images.  I burned through of couple of rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400 in black and white and then some Portra 400.  Sample images are in this blog post so that you can get a sense of what the Leica III with a Summitar 50mm f/2 can do with film.

There are tones of reviewers out there, and I do not intend to add to the existing noise in that department.  Nevertheless, if you are looking to get into a Leica system on the cheap, this is the way to do it.  You will need a small hand-held light meter as well or just guess and pray.  It’s a challenging, fun, and rewarding camera to use.  The best part is the channelling of your inner Cartier-Bresson and other great of yesteryear. 

So I get some decent images out of this thing after wearing it for a week.  Of course I scan them and share them with my family and a few friends.  My Uncle Daniel tells me that it was my grandfather Jack’s and that he had a darkroom in their apartment, years ago.  

This 1935 Leica was my grandfather’s, then my dad’s, now I have it and it works like a charm.  It’s my most special camera now and I will eventually teach Milo, my 10 year old how to use it.  He has a Nikon FM2 that he shoots in full manual, but there is a light meter built in to the Nikon, a handy feature indeed.  

So there it is, photography runs in families.  It’s in my genes.  What creative activities have your grandparents been involved with? I’m sure that there are some.  At the very minimum, they built families, careers, and they made your parents who, in turn, made you. Creativity is in us all.  You just need to know and appreciate that.  This is your starting point. The rest is up to you.  

The light is always right. 

jhg

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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

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #40 Shooting for the Sport of It

 

 

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) 35mm and black creative creativity family film leica photographer photography professional study travel white http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-73-s-l-o-w-p-h-o-t-o-g-r-a-p-h-y-shooting-the-leica-g-iiia Thu, 31 Aug 2017 14:13:12 GMT
Blog #72 Living the Creative Life http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-72-living-the-creative-life Blog #72 Living the Creative Life

The creative life is definitely the road less travelled by as might be described by poet Robert Frost.  The last line his poem titled The Road Not Taken is “And that has made all the difference.”

Walking the creative path, as it were, it not easy.  Some of us are there by choice, by compulsion, or other means.  Regardless the reason, like a pious existence, is quite challenging.  Staying motivated is the name of the game and we all have our ups and downs as we ride our creative rollercoasters through life. 

In last week’s Blog on the topic of working creatively, I feel that there is more to explore and share on this complex and personal topic.  Isabella Scott in Artsy shares that our most creative years are often after 60.  Really? Why must we wait so damn long? Does anyone else simply hate to wait?

In another piece from Artsy, a project titled Art Oracles: Creative & Life Inspiration from Great Artists was described.  In this project, there are 50 cards each of which shows a famous artist and contains some words of wisdom that summarise their artist approach, philosophy of life.  These cards are entertaining but were also created to assist with creative block.  Like writer’s block  photographers and other creatives can get stuck, uninspired, or simple lose their drive to make art. 

Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work”,

said brilliant and successful artist and photographer Chuck Close. Most of his work has been done through his being in a wheel-chair, mind you. 

I guess that there is no formula for success since we all have different backgrounds and paths ahead that we must travel.  If we must work and create, then we must.  If we cannot, then we cannot, or we must wait.  Each of us must find our own ways to keep the creativity train on the tracks. Patience, persistence, and the need to create art must all be present for novel work to result.  

I hear the echoes of the toy fixer guy from the original Toy Story Movie “You can’t rush ART!” 

Fine. 

Remember, the light is always right. 

 

jhg

 

*Images in this blog post are original and made with Film Ferrania P30 Alpha Black and White 

35mm Film ISO 80*

 

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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

Blog #69 On Restrictions

Blog #40 Shooting for the Sport of It

 

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jeremyhgreenberg@me.com (Jeremy H. Greenberg) art creative creativity film life photographer photography study http://jeremyhgreenberg.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/8/blog-72-living-the-creative-life Sat, 26 Aug 2017 07:44:09 GMT
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