Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Making Beautiful Photographs Has Never Been Easier or More Difficult

Today's cameras have auto-focus, face recognition, image stabilization and auto exposure control. Making a good photograph has never been easier. It's all you have to do is point your camera in the direction of something interesting or beautiful and voila, you're a photographer ... and an artist!

I recently had a conversation with a photographer friend about how technology has made such a positive impact on photography and the arts in general. Never before have artists been afforded so many choices in expressing themselves creatively. Today's technology allows us to make images without the inconvenience of processing film and working in a wet darkroom. You press the button and within a few minutes can have a museum quality print. Talk about easy!

Capturing and making a beautiful image is easy, but hold on a minute ... photography is no longer about process unless of course you are working in some alternative process such as platinum/palladium, gum or wet collodion to name a few. Current technology allows just about anyone to make a nice print from a digital file. Consequently, the ease of making a competent image is driving artists and photographers to to go beyond process and concentrate more on content. What is the artist's concept and personal vision? What is he or she trying to say?

The artist, Chuck Close once intimated that making competent photographs was easy ... the hard part was expressing one's personal vision. This speaks volumes for the state of photography in 2017.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Emerging Artist

A few weeks ago, while at Nokomis Beach here in Florida, my wife, Lesley was wading in the water and happened to have her iPhone in hand. It was one of those typical Gulf Coast days when the air was hot and there was a bit of red tide close to the beach.

Since the water was still chilly, I didn't venture from my beach chair. Looking out to the water from my chair I noticed Lesley taking pictures of the water? When she returned to her chair she showed me the photos she had just made. Wow, she really saw something! I couldn't wait to get home and take a closer look at Lesley's photos on my computer. Here is the result ...

FYI ... While in college at Boston University, Lesley wrote an extensive paper on black and white photography. It was really good! Somewhere down deep there was a photographer lurking ...
Lurk no more! I hope she keeps it up ...

Black and White or Color?

 Nearly 100% of my photography has been in black and white. For the past year, due to necessity (no darkroom), I have been photographing with a digital camera ... a Sony A7R II.

For the first time in my life, I am seeing images intended as black and white, but captured in color.


David Burnett - Greenfield Prize Winner

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a "Creative Conversation" at The Works at the Sarasota Museum of Art.

Photojournalist, David Burnett is the recipient of The Greenfield Prize at The Hermitage Artist Retreat. The Prize includes a commission of $30,000 for a new project to be completed within two years, and a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. David presented a number of his images and discussed the circumstances in making them. From Viet Nam to the Olympics ... It was most fascinating hearing the stories behind the images. On a few occasions, David became quite emotional telling about how a single image can affect the lives of people, both positive and negative.   

I had come to know David and his work since we both had lived in the Washington, D.C. area. David, is not only a highly accomplished world class photojournalist, but is also "a photographer's photographer." Always willing to share ideas and talk shop ... a real mensch!

After David's presentation, there was a panel discussion "The State of the Art of Photography," led by Anne-Marie Russell, the new Founding Executive Director of the Sarasota Museum of Art ... a new contemporary art museum dedicated to exhibiting art of the late 20th and 21st century. Anne-Marie served as Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson and adjunct professor at the University of Arizona prior to accepting her new role at The Sarasota Museum of Art.

The panel consisted of Dr. Anthony Bannon, executive director of the Burchfield Penny Art Center at Buffalo State College. Tony was the seventh director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York.

In addition, Christopher Jones. Christopher is Associate Curator of Photography at The Ringling Museum of Art where he oversees the photography, new media and works on paper collection.

Last but not least is Robert Pledge. Robert was the former editor of the French visual arts magazine, Zoom, le magazine de l'image. In 1976, he co-founded along with David Burnett, the international
photojournalism agency, Contact Press Images.

The panel acknowledged the importance of photography in today's ever changing news world and how images shape our perceptions and opinions. Also mentioned was how the documentary/reportage image has crossed over into the fine art world. Many examples of this can be seen in David's images where they can be viewed in a news paper, magazine, on-line or on the walls of a museum.

It's an exciting time to be a photographer, and Sarasota is an exciting place to make and discover art.


Monday, January 30, 2017

New Beginnings

It's been a crazy 2016...all good! We are now residing in beautiful Sarasota, Florida. I can't believe it, but it has been a year since I left my studio at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  I absolutely loved the art center and my fellow artists. Being a part of such a creative venue has been the experience of a lifetime ... it's irreplaceable.

As most people who are familiar with my work, photographing the Washington, D.C. landscape and our national monuments has played a significant role in my success as an artist. I have been fortunate enough to be represented in a number of important museum and private collections. This success has allowed me the opportunity to photograph in Europe ... specifically Italy and Paris.

We arrived in Sarasota last May with the objective to purchase a home with enough work space for me to continue to pursue my art. We are now living in a lovely home on a beautiful lake, only 10 minutes from the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

The good news is that I have been photographing like crazy. Making new images that are 180 degrees from the type of work I had pursued up north. It's so liberating being in a totally new visual environment ... I'm having a ball! 

Sarasota is a very friendly arts environment. There are galleries all over town and a vibrant community of painters, photographers, sculptures, print makers and glass artists to name but a few.
Slowly I am becoming involved. For those that are interested in seeing my new work, check out my web site at

Thanks for everyone's support over the years ... I'm deeply grateful. Stay tuned for the next chapter!