Saturday, May 19, 2012


Having a studio and gallery in a public venue (The Torpedo Factory Art Center) has really been a blessing. I know of no other venue where I could gain first hand knowledge of how people respond to my work. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction; be it with collectors, other photographers or just John Q public. It's quite gratifying. Much better than getting feedback from my uncle Morris, who thinks I am a genius and more talented than Picasso!  

Aside from the typical questions about what kind of camera I use and is it digital or film, (BTW: I'm still a film guy), many times people ask about my inspiration ... what led me to photograph certain subject matter? I often hear, "I've photographed the same thing, but mine looks nothing like that." Or, I've seen that before, but never quite like that." The conversation usually progresses to how I identify new subject matter. Images of Washington, D.C. landmarks and European architecture and landscapes abound in my work. Why, because I'm passionate about them. I love my city, DC, and I love the whole European thing too. I guess you could say I am passionate about my subject matter. My goal has always been to communicate this passion through my images. If I were not as passionate about my subject matter as I am, I am sure my imagery would show that lack of passion. I strongly believe that if we photograph something we have strong feelings about, those feelings and passion will shine through.

Most of us have begun our photographic journeys making images of landscapes, portraits, flowers and architecture. My friend, Jim Steele has always used the expression, "first we imitate, then we innovate." How true! We have all been there and done that. Once we get proficient at the technical and aesthetic aspect of photography, it's time to get serious. Keep in mind, there is a lot more to photography than cameras and Photoshop. Just like there is a lot more to painting than canvas and brushes. Start thinking in terms of concept and how to communicate your vision.  

Suggestion ... follow your gut. Ask yourself "what do I feel passionate about ... I mean, what is it that you are most drawn to?" Is it a person, a location, a game, a thing, or a concept? I think most of us can easily identify our passions. Next, go out and photograph it. I bet the images will be really good ... and you will be on the way to expressing yourself through photography.    


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Exhibits Under the Radar

@ The Federal Reserve Board

Every so often exhibits pop up that are totally under the radar. For whatever reason, these do not make the local news papers or get reviewed by art critics.

Earlier in the week I attended a luncheon and exhibit (Acquisitions: 2009-2011 & Arnold Newman: Famous Faces) at The United States Federal Reserve Board ... better known as "The Fed" or "The Federal Reserve Bank," a beautiful 1930s building at 20th & Constitution Avenue, NW. One of my images was acquired by "The Board" last year: U.S. Capitol from the Washington Sailing Marina.

Stephen Bennett Phillips is the curator and Fine Arts Program Director at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington. Prior to joining the Board, Stephen worked in the curatorial department at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. for almost 20 years. Stephen has written and lectured throughout the United States and has tremendous depth in his knowledge and love of fine art photography.

The Fine Arts Program at the Federal Reserve Board was established in 1975 by former Chairman Arthur F. Burns in response to a White House directive encouraging federal partnership with the arts.
Today, the Federal Reserve Board holds over 400 works of art donated by citizens and foundations. In his five short years at the Board, Stephen has substantially increased the the photographic collection. I am very proud to have my work included in their permanent collection.

The Board presents three exhibitions annually, which are displayed in the Eccles Building. Exhibitions are open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except federal holidays. Reservations are required at least five business days in advance. For reservations and further information, please call 202.452.3778. Definitely worth checking out.

@ The Torpedo Factory Art Center
Studio 9

Another exhibit I have been asked to participate in that is due to open May 10th (with a reception from 6:00-8:00) at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, VA is: Diverging Mediums: Photography vs. iPhoneography. 

 The aim of the exhibition (sponsored by The Torpedo Factory's Art in Public Spaces Program) is to raise questions on the nature of defining art in the context of today's technology and phenomenon of artistic democracy. The curator, Hiji Nam, is an undergraduate Art History major at the University of Maryland in College Park. Her belief is that the distinction between the craft and the art of photography lies in the context of the photographer's wider oeuvre, vision and intent. The artist should be able to justify, through their photos, why that particular moment, event, or mood was chosen to be captured and why, more than any other, was and is relevant.

According to Ms. Nam, "The exhibition will be a commentary on the modern tendency of viewing oneself so easily as a creator, which I see as extremely detrimental for the standards of individuals and of art itself. When everyone believes they, too, can be an “artist,” that not only takes away from the truly talented, but also from the goals and standards set by individuals who are content with being just as good as everyone else, which is mediocrity. This complacency has created an age of instant gratification, in a generation of young people obsessed with being heard, instead of listening. Yes, creation is important—but creation is relevant only when thought and consideration precedes it.

The show is an interesting comparison of what I call, "straight photography compared to iPhone photography." I have to say, I feel like a bit of an 'old fart" when my work is viewed in the context of all these hyper-creative images. Many of the iPhone pieces were done by individuals that primarily work in iPhone. It might be interesting to have an exhibition of iPhoneography produced by non iPhoneographers ... traditionalists like me! Bottom line, check out this exhibition ... you won't be disappointed.