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Thursday, 29 November 2018


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Cropping and color correcting are transforming.

Sounds pretty much like putting together a Royal Photographic Society Distinction panel (except those have to be your own photos).

This is also an excellent exercise for learning how to create a themed portfolio of one’s own photographs. This has never been easy for me. Takes practice.

I've been doing this for years, sort of. I say sort of because I don't limit my collection to any particular theme or even medium. It includes photographs (of course) but also paintings, sculptures, ceramics, various wood objects (furniture, handcrafted doors, even whole buildings). In a sense, you are talking about a private Pinterest which, BTW, can be private if you designate your categories as private. I also don't limit it to a particular number. My requirement for admission? It has to speak to me and/or exhibit craftsmanship that I admire.

Mike, can I take a moment to say how good you are at this particular type of post. I am a professional educator with three degrees in art, art education and adult education. I have been teaching photography professionally for the past ten years full time, and thirty five years as a professional educator, In my opinion no one else comes close to offering sound educational exercises to thier readers. This is a great idea and well written, I will definitely be sharing it with my students next year and getting them to do it. The thing you do well, is illustrate it with examples and make the exercise very specific. Would love to see more. I am forever quoting the one lens and film for a year one you wrote years ago. Thank you.

Great idea, Mike. I love it when something like this gives my brain a little zap... maybe some new synapses were just created!

Yeah, I did pretty much exactly this in developing my Vision File for my Finding the Photographer's Vision course I took in August taught by Small Camera, Big Picture's Giulio Sciorio.

Its helpful for clarying your vision and understanding what photographers influence yours and why, and in what ways, and then, using those insights to developing your own singular vision.

Completely off-topic: Capture One Pro 12 was released today! We now have 1) luminosity masking and 2) "official" Fujifilm film profiles!

Sporting a crisp and clean new interface, C1 12 looks KILLER.

Mike, you're living too close to the job. I recognize the symptoms: my last studio was one we built alongside the house. Not a good idea; the soul needs to compartmentalize to stay in tune with the mind. It's safer to have to go elsewhere to work.


One of the problems of collecting is space; you need lots of it. Having run out of space, especially wall space, I basically quit printing photos some years ago. I still have the walls covered with art and photos, but they are the ones I like best - they have won out over almost 50 years of viewing and changing.

But a decade ago, I found an interesting way of displaying my own photos - I use the screen saver mode of my MACs. I started with one of my ongoing projects - photo abstracts - pictures of things that look interesting as abstractions. Over time I left only the abstracts and continue to add to the collection, now at about 800 photos.

If you try this yourself, create a file and export to the file photos about the size of the monitor resolution and the lowest jpg quality to reduce the file size - it won't matter as they move around. On the MAC, in Preferences/Desktop&ScreenSaver/ScreenSaver/ choose your file as the "Source" and choose "Shuffle slide order. When your computer goes into screen saver mode it will present a slide show of your favorite photos.

Obviously you can use this with Mike's idea of photos from the web too. And use Personalize Screen Saver on a PC.

Thanks. I can finally afford to start my camera collection.

There is a New Zealand artist now based in Australia, Patrick Pound, whose entire field of exploration revolves around this. He collects photographs from a wide range of sources and puts them together in groups that reference some idea, such as women looking to the left, or men with horses and etc. etc.

Here is a link to a gallery that shows his work. http://www.stillsgallery.com.au/artists/pound/

Here's a slightly off-topic suggestion (in that it involves actually paying for a real print): Check out charity auctions. Photographers and galleries donate prints to auctions, which then often sell for way under the going price. Like half.

I've donated prints to auctions and seen them sell for half of what my gallery charges (the bidding usually starts at half the retail). And last year I bought a signed Aaron Siskind photo from 1940, gelatin-silver printed in 1981, for half its going price. My wife and I were the only bidders.

The framed print is the first thing we see when we walk in the front door.

This is an interesting idea, because it told me something immediately about myself, which I partly already knew.

My immediate reaction to the idea (really, within the first two sentences) was 'OK, I'm not interested in doing this, at all' (I did read the whole article though).

And the thing I partly already knew is that I'm interested in collecting physical objects: I like looking at photographs on screen well enough, but I really like photographs as physical objects -- prints I can hold, and smell, and touch, and look at the tiny details of how they were made (I am mildly obsessed with the edges of prints -- I like to see how things bleed off into the rebate (is that the right term?) of the neg, and all the little oddities you get there depending on how they were printed & what the enlarger was).

So, thanks, I've learned a thing about myself by not even doing this

(I don't actually have a significant collection of prints, other than too many of my own work prints I never find time to weed through, but I do have enough photobooks that it's becoming a bit of a problem. But good photobooks are also very physical things: just looking at the surface texture of images in photobooks is often fascinating.)


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