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Leaving Dafen (From Craft to Art)

In The Craft, The Life Creative by David9 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 David10 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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What it Feels Like

In News & Stuff, The Craft by David7 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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How To Get Sh*t Done

In Creativity and Inspiration, The Craft, The Life Creative, Vision Is Better by David4 Comments

Have you ever felt like you’re insanely busy but not actually accomplishing anything? Like you’re frantically doing stuff but never getting stuff done? Being creative, no matter what the discipline or genre means making things, it means creating, and to do that – whether it’s one photograph or a significant body of work, never mind all the things we need …

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Is Composition Over-rated?

In The Craft, Thoughts & Theory, Vision Is Better by David20 Comments

Sometimes the strangest things show up like unexpected gifts on the doorstep – like the comment I got just yesterday that told me (I’m paraphrasing) that all my talk about composition and storytelling was nonsense. The less-paraphrased version was that scenes are what they are and they compose themselves. I’m not going to lie: I would have laughed if it …

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5 Ways to Make Deeper Images

In The Craft, Thoughts & Theory by David13 Comments

In the coming weeks I’m going to be talking a lot about making images with soul, and being the source of that spark in our images. More than ever I believe, in our enthusiasm about the astonishing marvels our cameras can be, we’ve forgotten that in photography, to quote Eve Arnold “it’s the photographer, not the camera, that is the …