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Leaving Dafen (From Craft to Art)

In The Craft, The Life Creative by David21 Comments

There is a village in China where thousands of painters make their living together, painting away their days in spartan studios, covered in paint, surrounded by canvases. The village is called Dafen, and it intrigues me because, for all the technical prowess possessed by the painters in that community, it is not known for its art. Not really. That is …

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Better Than Like

In Rants and Sermons, The Craft by David12 Comments

The making of art, and the appreciation of it, is a subjective thing. It is deeply personal, and this is one of its strengths, not a weakness. But there’s a danger in seeing art in such personal, subjective terms, and that hazard is no more clearly seen than in the oft-used word, “like.” As in, “Oh, I really like that …

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Postcards from Socorro

In Postcards From..., Rants and Sermons by David18 Comments

  We have this astonishing notion as photographers that we just have to go to a cool place, put our cameras in front of cool things, and not screw up the exposure or the focus, in order to get compelling photographs. Deep down, though, I think we all know it’s not true, at least for us. Well, it’s rarely true …

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Postcards from Varanasi

In Postcards From... by David18 Comments

Three weeks in Varanasi felt like a long time. Even the people that lived there kept shaking their heads in disbelief when I told them I was staying for 21 days. “Three weeks!” they’d exclaim, “In Varanasi? Why?” But they smiled when they did so and I think they were pleased that I was sticking around, if only to prolong …

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The One About Editing Your Work

In Vision Is Better by David10 Comments

A couple of months ago I got a question from a guy named Sean on my FB page and a bunch of people chimed in with “yeah, what Sean said” so here’s Sean’s question and my best shot at a response. Remember this is just the way I do things and we all do things for different reasons with different …

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The One About Photo Competitions

In Vision Is Better by David21 Comments

Of all the goofy things I’ve said or written, the one that seems to come back to me most often is the idea that you can’t win at art anymore than you can win at yoga. I think art, or yoga, and competition, are fundamentally opposing philosophies. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that I tend to roll my eyes melodramatically …

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What it Feels Like

In News & Stuff, The Craft by David8 Comments

If you got my Contact Sheet on January 23, you’ve already read this, but if you didn’t, read on! Painter Robert Henri (1865–1929) admonished his students to “Paint the spirit of the bird in flight, not its feathers.” His words have echoed with me since I heard them, joining photographer David Alan Harvey’s plea: “Don’t shoot what it looks like, …

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Postcards from the Maasai Mara

In Postcards From... by David14 Comments

I left home just over 25 days ago now and am so thoroughly relaxed I think I’m ruined for life back in “the real world” when I return in a few days. I woke this morning to the sounds of birds and frogs and a troop of baboons loudly expressing their displeasure at a nearby leopard. Not a bad way …

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Postcards from Lalibela

In Postcards From... by David10 Comments

I first went to Lalibela, Ethiopia, in January, 2006, arriving with some hundred-thousand pilgrims to a scene straight out of a biblical movie. Over ten years later, and having just finished my fourth time photographing this Christmas pilgrimage, the magic hasn’t waned a bit. Crowded with people in white robes, these ancient rock-hewn churches are a swirl of motion and …