Staying Involved and Staying Visible… Are You?

Staying Involved and Staying Visible… Are You?

Photo District News has a great two part article on where art buyers are finding new talent.

Consider it an absolute must to read… and take some time to hit ALL the links.

There are many places we all know about… Flickr, 500Pixels, Yahoo, G+. And participation there is free and unfettered.

And unfiltered.

And piled so high with crap that it takes a strong effort to dig through to the good stuff. Art Directors don’t have time to start ‘following’ photographers on Flickr or G+. But they do find new artists to work with.

This article deals with the art buyers – NOT the photographers – who let us all know where they find inspiration and new photographers.

Online Galleries.
Online Magazines.
Gallery Shows.
Curated Shows.
New Art Sites.

A ton of resources that are out there for all of us to access.

But they are curated, with gatekeepers and arbiters… and that is where you must persevere.

Go to the sites and see what the art buyers are seeing. See where they turn to when looking for new photographers.

Then figure out how to be THERE the next time they go looking.

Favorite Sources for New Photography: Part 1

Favorite Sources for New Photography: Part 2


I have been asked back to creativeLIVE to do a workshop on Table Top Product Photography. You can see more at their site. Dates are June 21, 22, 23, 24, 2012. Register for free and watch all weekend!

I was recently on creativeLIVE and have received some rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.

Emerging Photographer “Jump Start” Winner(s)

Emerging Photographer “Jump Start” Winner(s)

Update Info:

We will be having dinner Friday evening at 7PM at Macayo’s which is not very far away. If we need multiple cars, we will arrange it. Macayo’s is a landmark restaurant in Phoenix and is where the Chimichanga was invented. Yes, it is Mexican food. I have heard there is other kinds of food, but I write that off as an insidious rumor. Meet at my studio at 6:30 for travel to Macayos. (Yes, they have burgers for gringos… sigh.)

Saturday will start with some lighting demos… some folks have asked that we include some lighting and I think that makes a lot of sense. If you are already proficient, you can choose to sleep in.

1. Lighting Demo: Creating an ambient base with flash, using grid spots for extra tweaks, and how to create a beauty shot with only one light.

Class starts at 9AM.

This is the JumpStart business curriculum. Absolutely fine to bring recording devices, but not necessary for all as we are video capturing the presentations.

We break at noon for lunch, and start again at 1PM with portfolio reviews.

Lunch is delivered.

Curriculum again at 2PM and we continue to 4PM.

Extensive question and answer period.

At 5PM we head out to Papago Park (desert park) for a shoot with Briana and a friend. This is optional, post workshop fun. Dinner will be at 8PM and we will do recap of the day.

Sunday morning is similar with another lighting demo at 7:30.

JumpStart begins at 9AM and goes to Noon.

Lunch is delivered and chat to 1PM.

Portfolio reviews to 2PM.

Curriculum to 4PM

Q and A till we are done.

I expect that to be about 6-6:30, but I do not have any deadline.

Folks will be on their own for dinner on Sunday. There are many great restaurants in the area.

PLEASE BRING PORTFOLIOS – or if your book is online, we will do it live there.

We have internet at the studio, so laptops or wireless devices are welcome.

You will be staying in an interesting part of town… lots of old stuff and new combined. If you are wanting to shoot, there will be opportunities.

Questions? Let me know ASAP.


So far I have the following attendees:
Richard A. Heckler
Steve (CapturedKeepSake)
Shandi Kay
Sally Carless
Bob Knill
JD Valmonte
Virginia Smith
Ken Yau

If you are planning and I have missed you on the list, PLEASE let me know ASAP.

See you all the last weekend of July!


Winner: Catherine Johnson AND Eric Bartel. We had a tough time with the tie, so we have to go with both.
I need to hear from you two very very quickly so we can find a date and a time.

For all other entries… you win something as well.

July 28 – 29, 2012 : The Emerging Photographer “Jump Start” Workshop is for you.

You are already enrolled, and there is no cost to you for this workshop. You only have to get here and cover your accommodations. (More coming on that.)
We will be video taping the lectures and demonstrations, so you will be on camera.

This is a Saturday/Sunday seminar. It is a new seminar, and you will be in on it as it is launched.

It will be warm* in Phoenix, but we will have our workshop in my studio.
After hour shooting will be arranged, as will several other fun things.

Please let me know ASAP if you are planning to attend. This workshop/seminar will be the same as the One on One, but in a class situation. We start at 9am, and end at 5pm. That leaves plenty of time for dinner and some personal shooting. There will be a fun after-shoot dinner at La Tolteca (authentic Mexican Food near my studio).

  • Personal portfolio review with me.
  • Two fun lighting demos
  • Workbook
  • Copy of the Video Program
  • A solid approach to building your business
And again… this seminar is ONLY available for the entrants in this contest. If you entered, you are already enrolled… we just have to know if you are planning to come.
Hotel’s are not expensive here in the summer, and there are several hotels/motels near the studio that means you won’t really need a rental car.
Thanks to ALL who entered this contest!
Accommodations Information:
Map to Studio

View Larger Map

Americas Best Value Inn Phoenix Airport Hotel-Motel
424 West Van Buren Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 257-8331

Clean and comfortable, no frills. Several clients and workshop folks have stayed there and all gave good reviews. Literally across the street from the studio.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Phoenix Downtown – Ballpark
620 North 6th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 452-2020

I have not stayed here, but several of my clients have and they said it was quite nice. A bit of a walk from the studio, but certainly not far enough to be a problem.

Hotel San Carlos
202 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(866) 253-4121

One of Phoenix’s treasures. This is a very old hotel that has been kept up wonderfully. Right downtown and within walking distance of the studio.

Westin-Phoenix Downtown
333 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 429-3500

Never stayed there, but Westin’s are always nice.

(* Actually it gonna be way hot… so be prepared for that… heh.)
The Black and White Portrait

The Black and White Portrait

I am an old school film guy. It’s true.

It’s also true that I have embraced and love digital. Seems to me that photography gained a whole new set of tools with the addition of digital.

Of course, many folks treat everything they do as some sort of ‘team’ affiliation with nothing but disdain for the ‘other’ team.

Never sure what to say when someone starts down the “I only shoot film cause digital sucks” path or the “digital rocks and film sucks” road. I try to understand why anyone would want to limit themselves and remove choices, but I can’t.

So I usually think to myself… “well, that’s kinda stupid”.


One of the things that got me interested in photography was the fine black and white print. Sure, color was fun and all… but black and white just seemed to speak to me. The monochrome image would translate shape and design and texture and line and… well, so many more things. They would be translated into my brain as a abstract reality.

People aren’t grey. Skies are not black or grey or white. Where the color was lost, much more was revealed. The B&W portraits by Watson and Elgort, Avedon and Penn, Mapplethorpe and Ritts transfigured the ‘real’ world into something that seemed to transcend the reality.

At least to me.

A color shot of Cindy Crawford nude on the beach (NSFW) would surly have been nice, but when Ritts shoots her with the sand on the skin and the light playing shadows… well… it is MORE than Crawford on the beach.

Much more.

What that means to each of us is different of course.

Some people would prefer their photography to be in color. And I do indeed shoot a lot of color.

But if for some reason I had to choose either black and white or color to shoot for the rest of my life, I would choose black and white.

Hands down.

Thank goodness I do not have to choose, as I love to shoot in color. I love choices. It lets me exercise that other creative muscle; decision.

When shooting in black and white, many decisions must be made.

In film day, we had all kinds of choices that forced us to make decisions. What film, what ISO, grain, non-grain, format and more.

Then we had to process the film.

D76 or Microdol? What dilutions would be best? Do we push or pull based on exposure, placement of highlights and shadow detail?

The decision process based on the knowledge of different mediums and processing choices.

With digital… not so much… but still with choices and decisions.

Where do we “place” the exposure to keep the skin alive? What about colors and separation and density and how will the sky work? With digital, there may not be any need for color filters to help us darken the sky (red) or lighten the trees (green) or make a darker sky, but not black (yellow). But to make a good black and white photograph, you should at least KNOW how those things work.

So you can work those magic sliders with more finesse and understanding.

And that’s fine.

I still shoot some film, and still get to have those wonderful choices and make those decisions. I recommend learning to shoot film and picking up a nice medium format camera and a lens or two. It can be almost Zen like standing in the dark shaking stainless steel containers with pieces of film cooking inside.


My approach to black and white was always more personal than color. I touched my black and white. I made ALL the choices. And I had to live with choices that were made poorly.

Yeah… it happens.

In portraiture, my first concern was skin tone. I wanted the skin to glow, and the eyes to be bright and accessible. I wanted the values to show the modeling of the light, and the contrast of the tones that shaped the face.

Katherine. 1981

This shot was from a series I did of models wearing white T-Shirts and a leather bomber jacket that I had in the studio. These shots were all done on Tri-X shot at ISO 200 and processed in D76. Lighting was a large 4×5 home built softbox to camera right, a large fill card to camera left and a small head about 6″ from the black background to give the spray light behind her. (Scanned from a print.)

I wanted the images to be kinda stark and a bit dramatic, and all lit the same. I loved the vulnerability of the white t-shirt with the very powerful bomber jacket. The models were directed slightly and each was asked to bring some of their personal persona into the making of the image.


Memorial Day, 2012. Some Thoughts.

Memorial Day, 2012. Some Thoughts.

Memorial Day… always comes on a Monday.

The all important three day weekend. Sales on mattresses and big screen TV’s. Beach, sun, the start of summer.

I am rather quiet on these days. You see, there is another reason for this holiday.

Long forgotten in the lowered prices, special discounts and overstocked beer coolers.

I will never forget. Ever.

Below is the uncle I never met. He fought in Europe and was one of the second groups to hit Normandy a few days after the D-Day Invasion. He never left France, and will remain a part of that place forever. The French have always been so wonderfully… respectful… of the men and women that fought for them. Really. I am sure he would have like it to come home to Joplin and rest near the corn fields and coal mines that dot the landscape around my mother’s old town.

My mom kept this picture in her wallet until the day she died. He was never forgotten.

He didn’t pitch a fit. He didn’t cry or whine or set up a tent on Wall Street. He did what had to be done.

General Patton once said: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” Yes. We do.

And while we face evermore challenges to what these brave men and women fought for, I will celebrate the courage, honor and pure balls-to-the-wall guts they had.

I’ve known many of them. Proud to have known them. A pleasure, really.

So here is one of the best, singing one of the best… for all you men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

And dad… thanks. Thanks so much for your service. I miss you.

Seat-o-the-Pants Shooting… Yeah, It Happens.

Seat-o-the-Pants Shooting… Yeah, It Happens.

I am working on a big project with the Phoenix Children’s Choir, and need to get some new shots of the kids and the choirs and the performances. So when last weekend’s final concert came along, I knew I had to get some shots.

The venue was amazing, and I checked it out for lighting. There was so much wonderful natural light in the church main room, that lights were not needed. I was pretty pleased with that, as trying to light 300+ chorus members in a 5 minute window with strobes was going to be a bit of a challenge.

The test shots looked good and the huge pipe organ pipes made a very cool background.

We were set… camera at the ready, tests made, images double checked and ISO/aperture/shutter speed nailed down.

“Hey, I have an idea…”, I heard from behind me.

“All the choirs have shots taken in these kinds of halls, let’s do ours in the courtyard.”


At 3:30 in the afternoon?

“Sure, let’s see if it can work…”

Outside in the mid-day sun.

No strobes, no scrims, very little shade.

Did I mention it was outside – in the crappy part of the day?