Monthly Archives: June 2008

Announcing 3 New Fine Art Photobloggers

Fine Art Photoblog

I must admit that I was a little unsure what to expect when I put out the call for portfolios for the addition of a few new photographers on the Fine Art Photoblog. I was pleasantly surprised to have 44 exceptional photographers submit portfolios of top quality and seriousness.

What I thought would be a simple selection process turned out to be a very difficult and mentally taxing turn of events. The seven of us at the photoblog plus one guest judge spent a good deal of time selecting and discussing these portfolios and the photographers behind them. So here’s the result of several weeks of work from 44 photographers and 8 judges.

A NOTE TO THE ARTISTS

I think I speak for all of us at the Fine Art Photoblog when I say that we’re blessed to have so many great photographers and artists take an interest in our venture. I was completely blown away by many of the portfolios and I knew that the process of choosing only a few would be the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in a long time. If we had the capacity to take on more than a few new photographers, we certainly would have. For those photographers who weren’t chosen in this round, in no way does it mean that your works aren’t “worthy” or “good enough”. For many of you, it was quite the contrary.

So if you’re bummed out that you didn’t make it to the final picks, don’t be. I hope that this process of creating and submitting a portfolio was at least an educational one. The ability to choose a limited number of photos for a specific topic is a seriously useful skill to have. I also hope that you all had the chance to look through the other portfolios, learn from each other, and maybe even make a few new friends. With that said, here we go…

PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING…

… the following three artists to the Fine Art Photoblog. I’m very excited to have them join the group and expand our body of work from here out.

Mathias Pastwa

MATHIAS PASTWA

Mathias displays a very strong sense of composition and use of brilliant colors to depict a variety of scenes. He’s best known for his very bold imagery of mechanical subjects, mixing strong shapes and colors to create a visual treat for your eyes. Mathias seems to have a good handle on street, urban, and abstract photography — not to mention his very noticeable and memorable artistic style.

Dawn LeBlanc

DAWN LEBLANC

Dawn has knack for simplifying complex objects and she displays an amazing control of light and shadow. Her photos are pleasing to view and there’s no question as to the focal point of her images. Plant and flower photography is such a popular subject, and thus often becomes cliche as a result. But Dawn brings her subjects to the next level and places her work outside of the realm of cliche imagery.

William Fawcett

WILLIAM FAWCETT

William exhibited outstanding panoramic landscapes in his portfolio, both natural and urban. The wide sweeping landscapes, big skies, and attention to detail in every corner of his photos certainly won the judges over. Although we already have a strong landscape representation on the photoblog, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to include William in the group, and we felt that his consistent quality in panoramic images would be a nice addition.

ABOUT THE JUDGES

First of all, we had a very special guest join us for the decision-making process behind the scenes.

Elizabeth Cecil is a photographer living on Martha’s Vineyard. She is devoted to the tradition of black and white printmaking as well as alternative processes. Elizabeth currently teaches darkroom courses through the Artist in Residence program on the Vineyard as well as summer classes at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport Maine. She has an impressive collection of photos and an equally impressive history of experience in art photography. We are grateful to have her join us in the process of selecting new photographers for the photoblog. Thanks Elizabeth!

And now for “the rest of us”.

Andreas Manessinger

Andreas Manessinger a photographer working in Vienna, Austria who spends his weekends in Carinthia, Austria’s most southern, sunny province. Since autumn 2006 he has a photoblog where he posts one image per day, and that means shot, processed and posted at the same day. His work is mostly street photography when he is in Vienna, and landscapes and rural environments on weekends, but these are no hard rules. [personal website]

Andrew Gibson

Andrew Gibson is Andrew Gibson is a photographer who was born in the UK and graduated from the Blackpool & Fylde College with a BA (Hons) Photography in 1999. One region he’s been drawn back to time and time again is South America, in particular Argentina and the Andean regions of Boliva and Peru. It’s for this reason that he’s moved to Argentina to focus on photographing and writing about these countries. [personal website]

Joseph Szymanski

Joseph Szymanski is a photographer based in San Francisco, California. A native of Detroit, his interest in the photographic process began at a very young age. After secondary school he moved to San Francisco to attend college, studying art and photography formally for five years. Today the majority of his time is spent working on personal photographic projects, as well as several web projects with other photographers and designers. [personal website]

Cody Redmon

Cody Redmon is a native and current resident of Montana who fell in love with landscapes at an early age. Growing up in a rural area gave him the access to explore his interest and grow his techniques, while visiting some of the most beautiful areas of the United States’ northwest and southwest regions. As a photographer, his goal is to capture the beauty of a scene and present it in a manner which conveys emotion. He has a deep respect for the wilds and is pleased to present to you scenes and vistas from the back reaches of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. He maintains a personal blog of current works at Cody Redmon – Photoblog, and has additional signed and numbered, limited edition prints on his personal website, CodyRedmon.com. [personal website]

Neil Creek

Neil Creek is a visual person, with a keen affinity for beauty. He is driven to capture sights and emotions that move him, so that he can move others who see his photography. He has a thirst for knowledge, and is always looking to improve his skills and add new techniques to his repertoire. He is especially passionate about panoramic photography, macro photography and pushing the boundaries with experimental and abstract photography. As he pushes photography in an artistic direction, he also continually hones and refines his professional photographic skills, especially portrait, product and travel photography. His web site has many panoramas, and he is participating in Project 365 – a photo every day for a year – on his blog. [personal website]

David Ziser

David Ziser is a professional photographer from the metro Cincinnati area. He concentrates mostly on weddings and family portraits. To relax, he enjoys landscape and fine art photography as well, and puts quite a bit on energy into both when he has a bit of spare time on his hands. [personal website]

Brian Auer

Brian Auer is a photographer currently residing in the San Diego area. He’s been actively pursuing the art of photography since 2003, and his daily quest is to become a better photographer. The Fine Art Photoblog is Brian’s creation and he has selected some of the finest and most enthusiastic photographers to participate in this website. He also blogs about photography at the Epic Edits Weblog and shares his work at Flickr. [personal website]

OUR DECISION PROCESS

Due to the number of portfolios we had to deal with, the process of elimination was broken down into three parts: A narrowing of the field by way of voting, a discussion of our personal favorites, and a final selection via another voting process.

Andreas suggested a method for voting that would produce a combination of group favorites and personal favorites. We each chose 5 portfolios from the original list. We then assigned 1, 2, or 3 points to each of those portfolios in any way we wished. Tallying up these votes gave us the group favorites. In addition to assigning more points to the portfolios we liked more, we each also chose 1 of our 5 to be “nominated” for the final round of discussions — meaning that this portfolio would be included with the top voted portfolios no matter who else did or didn’t vote for that portfolio. It turned out that most of our nominees were in the top 5 or 10 anyways, but it gave each of us the assurance that our absolute favorite portfolio would be looked at a second time around.

Once we narrowed the field, we ended up with two photographers who stood out above the rest based on points assigned. This was actually a bit unexpected to us, and we hadn’t planned on the process being so easy. So rather than call it a day, we decided that we would take on three photographers rather than two because the remaining group of top-voted portfolios were way too good to pass up that easy. So we spent a few days discussing, arguing, and defending these remaining photographers. Some of us may have even changed our minds about our selections based on these discussions.

Once the discussions were tapering down, we wiped the slate clean and cast another round of votes for those remaining by voting for up to 5 photographers using the same points system as before. This time around we still had a few top runners battling for the first spot. By the end of the voting, one photographer was ahead by several points and it was agreed that this would be our third addition to the group.

QUOTING THE JUDGES

Here are a few random quotes from the judges as the discussions wore on. None of these are specific to any one portfolio entry, just some generalities here and there.

Holy crap… we’re up to 42 entries.Brian Auer

I’m impressed with how in line with each other we are, says a bit about us and the artist pool both. I’m happy to consider a 3rd member, it would cool to spring on some lucky winner.Cody Redmon

It is quite difficult to choose favourites from such a varied selection of work… In the end, I decided to look for a consistent style and vision amongst the portfolios, and also for signs that the person has an archive of photos that they can fall back on when they’re not producing new work. I think this last point’s important because it’s hard to post a photo a week, and harder still to post a good photo.Andrew Gibson

When do we start the next round?Joseph Szymanski

We all have our various tastes, likes ,and dislikes. I think that is what makes it kind of fun – what did they see in his work? This guy is the clear winner, etc, etc. You know, I believe the process nearly always works – I mean that as positive remark.David Ziser

A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE

I’m so grateful to everyone involved with this whole thing… the artists who submitted portfolios, the visitors who showed an interest, and the great judges who did a superb job at selecting the new photographers. This was truly a group effort, and we’re lucky to be a part of such an outstanding community.

You can all expect to see some great new work from Mathias, Dawn, and William appearing on the Fine Art Photoblog very soon.

PhotoDump 06-29-2008

More great stuff this week from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! The selection below is only a fraction of the great work in our pool, so be sure to check out the rest of the photos too!

symmetric by s-t-r-a-n-g-e45 by Magical PlacesHi...Summer by javiyreader by rsplatpcKelly's-Fixie by whalenmdwStand Tall and Ride Hard by Vincent J. BrownFingers and Toes by Tasha || As The Picture Fades*** by ojoyous1Day 127: borrowing the baby on board by vandyll.netBrainwashing the Kid by auer1816I'll have a twist with mine by davebcohenlift by poopooramaCalifornia Sea Otter Portrait (Enhydra lutris) by jimgoldsteinDreamy Kemah by laanbaHigh in the hills... by CharleneCollinsJamaicascan0080 by mathias.pastwaFather and Son by orange tuesdaya grand adventure by ryan loucks photographyCole-008 by MATTaddingtonX by the_wolf_brigadeReflections of Windows by Zozmannot the face by poopooramaPurple on Green by auer1816finish by rsplatpcRaining by javiyIruya by Magical Places30 seconds of my life to honour a friend. by the_wolf_brigadeClimbing The Sea by Daniel HellermanLearning by BrightonJelFamous Since 1950 by auer1816IMG_0040 by Gnoptiy by kajatlSherry Glass by Ryan OpazPlayful with the piano 2 by mustanirWalk with Boombooroom #1 by FLOODkOFFGhost Ship by Boris TaratutinAddie... by Adam Melancon26/365: Les Paul by SlackerPhotosThe Understanding by mathias.pastwa3 men by Ryan OpazWishes by kerry okraRun, Jump, Swim by gordonb

Link Roundup 06-28-2008

  • the Nuts and Bolts of off-camera flash – part 2, manual flash
    F/1.0
    A really great review of the methods for firing an off-camera flash unit: various connectors, wireless, etc.
  • Understanding Camera Exposure Modes
    Beyond Megapixels
    Although your camera may have a light meter built right into it, you still have some options for how that meter reacts to different situations. Here are some of the basic modes for exposure.
  • Jowling – Photography Fun For a Rainy Day
    digital Photography School
    It’s both funny and frightening what we can do with a human face and a camera.
  • Thomas Hawk’s Photography Workflow
    Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection
    Thomas offers up some insight to his photography workflow using Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop. Definitely some good tips and insights — especially coming from a guy who posts around 30 new photos each day.
  • My new geotagging workflow
    All Narfed Up
    Bryan guides us through his new geotagging workflow using the Amod AGL3080 and Lightroom on Windows. If you’re thinking about adding geotagging capabilities to your workflow, definitely check this out.
  • 10 Steps to Maintain Your Camera
    HyperPhocal
    Cleaning our gear is something we should all consider making a part of our recurring activities. Here are 10 tips for keeping your equipment clean and clear of problems.
  • Matt Kloskowski Shares His Wishlist for Photoshop Features
    Photoshop Insider
    Matt does an awesome job at laying out some useful features that Photoshop could possibly have in the future. He even goes so far as to mock up the dialogs and layouts of the tools he’s dreamed up.
  • Do High-End Cameras Make You A Better Photographer?
    JMG-Galleries
    A philosphical discussion about the age-old question “is it the photographer or the camera?” Definitely some good insights shared in this post and comments.
  • 10 Tips on Getting Your Photos Into a Gallery Show
    HyperPhocal
    Getting started with gallery shows can seem impossible for a beginner, but here are some tips and methods for getting your work on the public wall.
  • 10 things I hate about Flickr (and its users)
    Neil Creek
    Neil posted a very interesting article about Flickr, Flickr comments, and Flickr users in general. Though he mentions the things that he “hates”, the article is intended to point out some of the flaws in the system and the way people use that system.
  • And here’s a fun theme slideshow that I found to be extremely creative. Found via Photojojo.


looking down. from hrrrthrrr on Vimeo.

New Fine Art Photobloggers… Coming Soon

For the last several weeks, current members of the Fine Art Photoblog plus one special guest have been voting, discussing, voting again, picking, and choosing from a pool of 44 portfolios in search of a few new artists. The process has admittedly taken longer than anticipated due to the large number of high quality portfolios and in part due to the international nature of our team (we’re all on wildly different time zones).

The selected photographers will be announced no later than Monday, June 30. The Fine Art Photoblog team is currently preparing the announcements and a press release so that our new additions can get the welcome they deserve. Rather than just make a quick announcement about the new photographers, we’d like to make a lot of noise and get these folks off to a running start.

To those anticipating the final results of this whole thing, we appreciate your ongoing patience and support.

Free Invites to Photrade

Photrade

Photrade is a new photo sharing and selling site wanting to bridge several facets of online photography. It aims to provide a central location where you can upload, manage, share, and sell your photos through various methods. It’s kind of like a mix between Flickr, ImageKind, and iStockphoto in that it provides a social scene, print sales, and stock sales.

I got an email from one of the guys behind Photrade wanting to know if I’d like an invite code to check out their services. Unfortunately, at the moment I’m a bit tied up with the blogs and various projects so I don’t have the time to properly invest in such a thing. But rather than leave it at that, we figured that some of you might be interested in checking it out so we’re extending the invite to all of you.

Sign-Up Page – Invite Code: EPIC

So you’re all welcome to try it out and see if it’s something that could provide value to you or other photographers. If you want to leave some feedback, you can drop some comments here, email me, or send ‘em straight to the Photrade team. I’m actually interested in checking it out when I find some time, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the site.

And as with any new website or service out there on the web, I’d very much encourage you to carefully read the terms and conditions prior to signing on. And I’m not affiliated with Photrade in any way, I’m just interested in their concept.

How To Participate in Photography Projects

weekend07_04.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: smallritual

Photography projects are a great way to improve your skills and expand your creativity (plus they’re fun). These projects can take many forms and have many different requirements for participation. It seems like everywhere you look, there are group projects being hosted by bloggers, forums, and other online clubs.

Online projects can be vastly different from one another, but they all have one thing in common: you need to publish something. Sometimes the host will publish for you, and sometimes they require you to find your own avenue for publication. If you have your own blog or website, it’s pretty easy to meet the publication requirements. But if you don’t have your own site, things can be a little more difficult.

This article will show you a few of the methods you can use for self-publication when it comes to these projects — even some free ones. We’ll also take a look at some general points to remember when participating in projects. So if you’ve been holding back from participating in online photography projects, pay attention and take notes.

HOW TO BE A GOOD PLAYER

First and foremost, you need to be sure that you read the project requirements and rules very thoroughly. If you don’t follow the guidelines set by the project host, you’ll run the risk of disqualifying yourself from the project or having to do it over again the right way. Hosts set the rules to ensure that participants produce similar project entries and keep everybody on the same playing field. Hosting a project is a very big task that requires a lot of work and organization. If you submit a project entry that doesn’t conform with the project requirements, you’re making more work for the host and for yourself. So read the rules 2 or 3 times before you even begin the project.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you meet the deadline set by the project host. Late entries cause a lot of hassle, especially if the host will be publishing the results of the entire project. Aside from just hitting the deadline, it’s also a good courtesy to submit your entry prior to the final days before the deadline. A lot of people submit entries on the last day or two of the project and it puts a strain on the host. You may run the risk of getting overlooked or having your project get lost in the shuffle. Besides, most of the post-project publications from the host will be in some sort of chronological order — so if you’re an early bird, you’ll get a top spot on the list and your work will be seen by more people.

And the last topic is more of a suggestion than anything. It’s always nice to have project participants post a link to the project requirements with their entry. It allows your audience to be informed about the project and it will give them a chance to participate too. Like I said, it’s a nice thing to do but it’s generally not required by the project host (unless they specify that it is).

The following points are a few methods for self-publication of project entries. Like I said before, each project will require different things of the project entry — some will be completely published by the host, while others will require you to publish something yourself.

PUBLISHING ON YOUR BLOG

It’s my opinion that a blog provides the best avenue for project publication. You have total control over what you publish, how you publish it, and how it looks. The ease of self-publication is downright scary. The project entry can be published as a regular post and it will have its own unique URL that the project host can reach easily.

Even if you have a blog, this may not be the best route for you to use. If your blog topic is very much different than the photography project or even photography in general, you may have reservations for what you publish. If this is the case, read on for some of the free options that may suit you better.

If you don’t have a blog of your own, also check out some of the other methods for publication. What I wouldn’t suggest doing is starting up a blog just to publish the project entry, especially if you have no intent of keeping up with the blog. This will eventually result in broken links and non-existent project entries if you ever decide to delete the one-post blog. But if you’ve been meaning to start up a blog anyways, then I say go for it!

PUBLISHING ON OTHER BLOGS

Oh no, here come the Bloggers
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brett L.

If you don’t have a photography blog that you can publish your project to, that doesn’t mean that you can’t publish on another blog out there. Most bloggers are fairly open to guest posts, and their audience is usually full of other photographers like yourself. If you want to guest post on another blog, make sure it’s one that fits well with the content you’ll be providing. It’s also a good idea to go after a blog that you read and interact with on a regular basis. The blogger will be much more open to your post if you have an existing relationship with them.

There are a ton of photography blogs out there, so don’t limit your sights to the big mainstream sites. Bloggers with smaller or newer sites will generally be more approachable because they’ll be less tied up with running a large website. It also helps if you get your project finished early and have your publication written and ready to go before you approach them.

PUBLISHING ON YOUR WEBSITE

A typical website would be the next best option to the blog. Publishing something like a project entry isn’t quite as easy, but it’s not totally impossible. If you’re accustomed to creating your own web pages, then posting a project entry should be no problem. The nice thing about a standard website approach is that you can post something and have it remain unseen by the rest of your website. Why would you want to do this? If the topic of your website isn’t photography, it might seem a little out of place.

PUBLISHING ON FLICKR

Friday Night Tribute to Flickr! (a.k.a. Things To Do With A Mobile Phone) :)
Creative Commons License photo credit: dsevilla

Flickr is actually very accommodating to publishing a project that requires photos and/or written portions. Obviously, Flickr is built for posting photos, but you can also post text and links with those photos. Add in the ability to tag your photos and create sets, and you’ve got lots of options for publishing a project entry.

If the project requires only a photo, then just post the photo to Flickr as you normally would. Like I said before, it’s also a good idea to write a little about the project (or why you took the photo) and possibly link back to the project page so other people can participate. You can just post this text in the description for the photo, and now you’ve got your own project entry on a single web page.

If the project requires more than one photo (like a portfolio), then a Flickr set is the way to go. Include all your photos in a set, and you can also describe the project in the set description. If the project requires a larger portion of written work, then include that text on one of your photos in the set and link to it from the set description. You want to make sure that the project host can find your entire project entry easily.

If you don’t want to include the project photos in a set (because the free Flickr accounts limit the number of sets you can have), then a common tag will also work. Then you can submit your project entry as the collection of photos with that common tag. To do this, you just add the following text to the end of your photostream URL: “/tags/[tag name]” — here’s an example.

PUBLISHING ON FORUMS

Forums are another great avenue to publish content for free. You can start a new thread, post some project photos, and complete the written part of it all in one spot. Other photographers will then be able to comment on your entry piece, and they’ll also have an opportunity to participate if they choose.

Just like guest posting on another photographer’s blog, posting project entries on a forum will go over much better if you have an existing presence there. Don’t just use the forum as a way to publish the project and never return.

PUBLISHING ON OTHER FREE SITES

Now I’m going to turn the discussion over to you. I’ve presented a few methods of publishing photography project entries, some free and some not. I think it would be useful if some of you offered up some additional suggestions — the cheaper the option, the better.

The July Challenge is Coming!

as if the sky was about to kiss them
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~ fernando

Trevor is at it again — the July Challenge will be starting up soon. The topic of the month will be LIGHTING FIXTURES. You can shoot street lamps, head lights, tail lights, desk lamps, chandeliers, and whatever else you can find that can be called a lighting fixture.

If you’re new to these Photo Challenges, let me lay it out for you. The idea is to follow a predefined topic set by Trevor. Typically, you push yourself to take a photo every day for the entire month on that topic. When you upload your photos to Flickr or other photo sharing sites, you then tag your photos with the tags that Trevor sets on the project kickoff page. Trevor then highlights some of his favorites each week or at the end of the month.

I’ve participated in a few of these projects, and each time I do I learn a tremendous amount of new things. Focusing on a single topic for an entire month can really get your creative side going and expand your skills. So if you’re looking for a little project or a fun way to challenge yourself, check out the July Challenge.

Visit the July Challenge Official Announcement

What is Fine Art Photography?

The poll this week will be another open-ended question rather than a click-and-vote. The last time I ran one like this, we had some awesome answers and I highlighted them in a follow-up post the next week. So we’ll do the same here.

The question this week spawns from my own involvement with fine art photography. I find photography in general to be a highly subjective topic — what’s good, what sucks, what works, and what doesn’t is typically a matter of taste amongst other things. Fine Art Photography tends to be even more subjective since it’s a narrow slice of photography as an artistic medium.

So, What is Fine Art Photography?

How would you define it? What makes a photo Fine Art rather than something else? Can photographers really call themselves Fine Art Photographers? And what conditions would make it feasible for a photographer to include themselves in this category? Offer up your thoughts, take the discussion where you wish, and I’ll pick out some of the more insightful comments for an upcoming featured article.

And since we’re on the topic of insightful polls, be sure to check out the results and comments from last week asking the question “Do You Take Photos or Make Photos?” It looks like a majority “take photos” rather than “make photos”, and a good portion also says they “do both”. Several commentators also hit on the topic of what these terms really mean, so be sure to check that out.

PhotoNetCast Episode 6 is Available

PhotoNetCast

The sixth episode of the PhotoNetCast is ready to go! This one is a great discussion about the film vs digital topic. The four of us have very different backgrounds and experiences with each medium, and this resulted in a good array of thoughts on the subject. We tried to cover the ups and downs of each medium along with our personal experiences.

In addition to the main topic (just the one this time), we offer up a few links to some interesting things we found over the last few weeks. In total, this one is nearly 70 minutes long, but we didn’t want to cut off the film/digital discussion because it was such a lively discussion.

Listen to PhotoNetCast Episode 6

At My Home Photo Contest Complete

At My Home Photo Contest Winner

A few weeks back, Udi Tirosh of DIYPhotography.net hosted a project called “At My Home Photo Contest”. The project is based on the “America At Home” book, which contains hundreds of photos from photojournalists and amateur photographers on the topic of capturing the emotions and the essence of life in the home.

Udi asked me, Jim Talkington, Kerry Garrison, and Rick Smolan to be judges in the competition part of the project. We had 50 submissions to look through, narrow down, and select winners from. Four winners were chosen to receive a free copy of the “America at Home” book.

In addition to just choosing winners, we all got together on Skype and recorded a group podcast. We went through each of the runner-up photos and the winner photos (11 in total), offering up our thoughts on each image. I’d encourage you all to take a look at the final project page and give a listen to the podcast.

At My Home Photo Contest – Winners Page
At My Home Photo Contest Podcast via Camera Dojo
America at Home Book