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To Make Better Photographs, Study More Photographs, Part One

In Photographically Speaking, The Craft, The Life Creative, Thoughts & Theory by David12 Comments

I started this craft innocently enough—purchasing on a whim a Voigtlander rangefinder with a fixed 35mm lens when I was 14—but by the time I was 16 years old, I was hooked and desperate for something with a few more options. I wanted “a real camera.” I have no idea where I thought my mother would get the money for …

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Contrast: Look For The Differences

In The Craft, Thoughts & Theory by David48 Comments

When legendary NY photographer Jay Maisel was asked how to make more interesting photographs, he unflinchingly replied, “Become a more interesting person.” You might have heard that story. It doesn’t surprise me at all; Jay is a blunt man who suffers no fools and saves his subtlety for his photographs. It’s a good answer, but it’s not very immediately applicable, is it? And …

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Vision Isn’t Everything.

In The Craft, The Life Creative, Thoughts & Theory, Vision Is Better by David1133 Comments

Vision Isn’t Everything.It’s Often Not Even the First Thing. Those of you who have been with me a while probably never thought you’d see the day when I’d write those words. I’ve built much of my teaching around the idea that “vision is better’” and, specifically, have placed a priority on vision being better than relying on endless gear upgrades where more …

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Are Your Photographs Poetic? Part One.

In Most Popular, The Compelling Frame, The Craft, The Life Creative, Thoughts & Theory by David52 Comments

Painter Robert Henri said, “Paint the flying spirit of the bird, rather than its feathers.” Similarly, Poet Anton Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” One is a plea to painters, another to writers, but both beg the same thing: make me feel something. Don’t just tell me; don’t …

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The Way The Camera Sees

In Most Popular, The Craft, Thoughts & Theory by David18 Comments

One of the things that fascinates me about photography is the raw materials it uses. Painters have paint and canvas. Sculptors have stone and metal. But photographers? We have space,  time, and light, and I think that’s magic. Hold that thought for a moment. How we think about making photographs can change how we make photographs and, therefore, change the …