In this episode of The Candid Frame, Ibarionex shares some insights he's learned from the many interviews that he's conducted for the podcast, books and magazine articles. He shares how he's come to see his own creativity through the practices of some of the world's best photographers.
He discusses the idea how he has come to face fear, anxiety and self-doubt when it comes to taking on new projects.
Discover the work of 30 great photographer's in Ibarionex's latest book,
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We've been meaning to make an update to the look of the show for a while, especially as we expand to provide a variety of new content and services to the photographic community. As a result, we wanted a logo/icon which really captures the range of things that we are doing from podcasting, workshops, video tutorials and more. We think that this logo captures that merging of the audio and the photographic in a beautiful and stylish way.
Designed by my friend, Miguel Duran, the new logo and collateral material provides a distinctive look that not only stands out, but will help to differentiate TCF from its competitors.
We are looking forward seeing what more we can make happen with TCF in the months and the years to come.
Thank you for your continued support.
It's a simple statement, but one that is full of insight.
I was thinking just along these lines when during this past weekend I had some students in my Digital SLR Bootcamp make pictures of a bandshell in the park where I teach the workshop. I encouraged them to not only make photographs from eye level, but to really play around and try different perspectives, focal lengths and compositions. I asked them not to settle for just one or two photographs, but to fully exhaust all the possibilities.
Some of the resulting photographs really surprised me. I saw in their pictures perspectives and points of view that I had never seen myself, even though it's a location that I have visited countless numbers of times. In their photographs, these students were really revealing to me the limits of my own vision.
I know what makes a good photograph or at least I think I know most of the time. So, when I photograph a scene or a subject, it's easy to compose a shot thinking that this is the definitive interpretation of it. But is that really the only possibility?
I saw photographers taking risks, making choices that they were not sure would work or not, but still committing to making the photograph. Yes, there was a risk that the image might not work, but that didn't deter them from trying it out and seeing what could happen. They weren't editing themselves and judging the picture before they made it. Instead, they practiced photography and played and discovered what worked and what didn't and in several cases, revealed exciting and beautiful surprises.
Ask 10 photographers to photograph a car and likely 9 out of 10 of them will deliver just that. They will make a picture of a car. It results in a photograph that is nothing more than a document. Then there is the one photographer who makes a photograph not of the car, but the qualities of the car that resonate with him or her. It could be the color, the shapes, the play off light off its surface. These photographers use the camera to create from not only what they see, but what they feel.
It's so easy to compose a photograph by following all the rules. Yes, it can produce a well-composed, well-exposed photograph, but it may not surprise me or anyone else. It may not make me feel anything. It won't reveal the world to me in a different way that's both exciting and liberating.
The best photographers do that and it begins when they make photographs that other people aren't making.
It's about photographing the world that expresses not only how I uniquely see it, but also which reveals my exploration of that world when I make non-traditional choices with the camera. When I am willing to take the risk and do something different, even though there is a possibility that it may not work, is whenI am really living in the spirit of what it means to be a photographer.
This is a technique which I use not only for winnowing down images from my travels, but also large bodies of work including personal projects.
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During an interview today with photographer, Brian Mattiash, we touched on the importance of photography books in developing one's eye for good photographs. We weren't talking about instructional books, but rather monographs, collections of images that represent bodies of work.
A member of the Magnum Collective, Bruce Davidson is a photographer who combines the social consicous of the great documentary tradition with the instincts of a street photographer. From his work with streets gang in Brooklyn to the subway of Gotham, his work has consistently delivered. His book Subway was a marvel to me when I first picked up a copies over twenty five years ago. He revealed the underground world with an eye of beauty that most people, especially the subway's daily commuters would not have recognized. Recently re-released with additional images, Subway is a shining example of the personal project and the commitment one has to make to creating a body of work. A retrospective of his work Outside - Inside is also available, and though a bit pricey, is well worth it.
There are many other titles that I could recommend, but I'll save that for another post. If you do consider purchasing one of these books, please note that if you purchase them through by Amazon affiliate links, the show will receive a small percentage of your purchase. It provides you a great way to support the show.
But even if you choose to support your local bookstore, I hope that you find these or more of these titles helpful to your photography education.
In each episode I utilized images submitted by members of the Chasing the Light Flickr pool to illustrate those points as well as provide an opportunity to critique the effectiveness of each image. All 10 episodes are available at the Peachpit website.
Click here to see the videos.
If you are in the United States, you can download the episodes via iTunes. Otherwise, look for episodes in the iTunes store in your respective country.
I plan to feature similar videos in the near future based on a series of mini-critiques of 3 images from photographers who contribute to The Candid Frame Flickr pool. So, if you want to be considered for this in the future, please sign up and join the growing community of photographers.
Let me know what you liked about these video and what you would like to see more of in the near future.
You've asked me in evaluating your work to be brutally honest. Admittedly, it's something that other photographers have asked for, but I've always been reticent about honestly fulfilling such a request. I have often perceived it as the equivalent of a wife or girlfriend asking, "Do I look fat in this?" A frank, honest answer to that question is likely not going to end well.
However, you have been insistent about receiving such concise, unrestrained and to-the-point-feedback. So, I feel inspired to share with you why your pictures suck.
1. You're Lazy
Admittedly, you talk a good game. You talk much and well about your passion for photography, deftly demonstrating both your technical knowledge and proudly showing off your latest bit of kit. You know a good amount of photographic history and you are very insightful with your comments about the craft.
But Charlie, when was the last time you actually went out and made a significant body of work for yourself? I'm not talking about that job you did for pay, or the workshop you attended or that photo walk where you spotted that cute brunette with the Leica M9. No, when did you last go out and commit to producing images that truly challenged you; images that the mere thought of creating them got you excited about getting up in the morning?
I can tell it's been a long time, because you seem to have put more effort into uploading images to Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus, obsessively returning to those posts to check to see how many people provided you a virtual pat on the head. "Great capture". Really?
2. You're Preoccupied with Gear
I get it. There's obviously something primal in both us when it comes to new kit. I have shared that same rush of endorphins on taking a deep whiff of styrofoam peanuts when opening a freshly delivered FedEx package.
But honestly, how often have you used it since you got it? Yes, the unpacking video you posted on YouTube was wonderful. (My wife, by the way, likes the new haircut). But besides that first weekend burst of temporary inspiration, what you have done with it? What have you created that you truly are proud of? And no, fondling it and firing dry frames doesn't count. It seems like you've spent more hours reading blog posts, forums and watching videos about the gear than actually shooting with it. And what's this thing with you reading reviews after you already made the purchase? Aren't your images enough to discern whether you made the right choice or not?
3. You're Sloppy
It seems like you think that "good technique" is a filter in Photoshop. And if you defined a good photographer by how fast they can fill a 32GB CF card, you might be in the running to be one of the greats, but it's hard to see anything in your final result that warrants even the battery being charged.
You seem to be completely absent when you press that shutter release, taking no ownership of what you include in the frame. Yes, the bokeh is scrumptious and creamy, but this is supposed to be a photograph not bloody creme brulee.
Whatever happened to good composition? Good light? Good taste?
And no, I don't care that there is virtually no noise at ISO 128,000, the images are still devoid of anything that would even qualify it as a snapshot.
4. Photoshopping is not Photographing
Yes, Photoshop is an important and invaluable tool. We couldn't do much of what we do without it, or its equivalent. But how long do you actually have to sit at the computer, weaving that Wacom stylus like an orchestra leader, before you admit that most of that energy is being expended on putting lipstick on a pig?
Yes, those plug-ins and actions are awesome and that compositing technique you learned from Matt Koslowski is pure genius, but I'm sorry to tell you that there is no there, there. I could wash, wax and detail that AMC Hornet I drove in college as dutifully and passionately as humanly possible, but in the end, it would still be an AMC Hornet. Those are the facts.
What ever happened to your passion for making a single good, exemplary photograph in the camera? When did everything become fodder for over-saturation, over-sharpening, over-everything?
5. You Refuse to Edit Your Own Work
Though you are asking for my feedback, you must not think much of me. If you did, why else would you inundate me a batch of good, bad and near-misses? When did it become my job to figure out what you are trying to do as a photographer?
What am I supposed t make of this mish-mash of portraits, landscapes, close-ups, abstracts and those picture of your cat (which, okay I'll admit is just adorable)? I have a hard enough time trying to edit and assess my own work, much less yours. I just needed to see 10-12 images I wasn't expecting the entire photographic catalog of the International Center of Photography. If I wanted this kind of punishment, I could just put on a pair of headphones and listen to Debbie Boone singing 'You Light Up My Life" on a continuous loop for 24 hours.
If you can't sit down and decide which of your photographs captures who you are and aspire to be as a photographer, how do you expect me to? I am challenged in just finding a pair of matching socks in the morning.
I could say more, but I think I should show a little restraint.
I know you love photography as much as I do. You couldn't spend as much time and effort, subject yourself to the occasional ego-bruising, if you weren't as in love as you obviously are with making photographs. But the reality is that becoming a good photographer, hell becoming a good anything, involves commitment, diligence and the willingness to regularly fall on one's face. You obviously have some of that in you, because you are still around making images, when everyone else has taken up golf or knitting.
I hope that what I shared is helpful to you, but if it wasn't, I completely understand.
There's always Flickr.
his website and his blog.
Rinzi Ruiz recommends the work of Dana Barsuhn.
Born in London, England he immigrated to Japan and in 2010 became a Japanese citizen.
His journey to becoming a full-time working professional photographer was chronicled through his podcast as was his recent health challenges. His professional and personal journey as well as his beautiful and stunning photographs are a source of great inspiration to photographers from all over the world. You can find out more about Martin and his work by visiting his website.
Martin Bailey recommends the work of Michio Hoshino.
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