Sunday, April 15, 2012

Changing Cameras = Changing Photographs

If you want to change your photographs, you need to change cameras. Changing cameras means that your photographs will change. A really good camera has something I suppose you might describe as its own distinctive aura.
- Nobuyoshi Araki

Monday, April 09, 2012

Google's Doodle for Eadward Muybridge's Birthday

Muybridge would have been 182 years old today. Google celebrated his birthday with a doodle that took his still images and turned them into moving pictures when you clicked on them:

Happy Birthday old man.

Friday, April 06, 2012

First Year Foundation Exhibition at CVA

In case you didn't know, I teach photo classes at The College of Visual Arts, and I'm also the Photo Tech (meaning I manage the 4 photo labs on campus). As well as being part of the Photo Department, I also have the pleasure of teaching in the Foundation Department - I've been teaching 2D Design and Color Theory at CVA since 2005.

CVA's "First Year Foundation Exhibition" is coming up shortly, and I want to invite you all to stop by. The show highlights the best work of EACH of the Foundation students at CVA, and it really highlights the first year program. The show opens next week, and the closing reception is on Saturday April 21st, from 3-5 pm.

Here's more on the show from CVA's gallery page:

This first year student exhibition highlights CVA’s curriculum and gives students an opportunity to participate in their first formal exhibition within the gallery.

Saturday, April 21, 2012
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Concurrent with Spring Open House

Exhibition Dates
April 12 - 21, 2012

Participating Artists
Emily Anderson
Tessa Anderson
Erin Arvidson
Sarah Ash
Danielle Bally
Jessica Banks
Cinthya Bermudez
Lyndsey Bighig
Lindsee Boyer
Daniel Branzoysky
Shondrelle Burkhalter
Jordain Chinander
Marisa Collette
Emma Conner
Fatah Cooper
Tiana Dauwalter
Cami Ebert
Alana Emmerich
Tatiana Fisher
Paigan Fuecker
Theresa Ganzer
Tawnya Graham
Marcia Hauer
Danielle Hiel
Kristina Hoch
Laura Holte
Caitlyn Hook
Andrea Jacobs
Jesse Johnson
Katie Kaelin
Anna Kiryanova
Kayla Krueger
Paul Krumrei
Cheyenne Larson
Kathleen Law
Thomas Lincoln
Shelby Lutz
Jennifer Marlin
Melissa Marroguin
Zachary Mathre
Ryan McCaughtry
Calvin McManamy
Macey Meyer
Garret Nasset
Jeffrey Nelson
Anne Newman
Chris Nolt
Matthew Novak
Ashley Overholser
Elisabet Pace
Matthew Pearson
Blanca Peralta
Sawyer Rademacher
Katherine Rathburn
Andrea Riley
Adam Sagar
Britney Sellner
Michael Shay
Mika Sugano
Shoua Thao
Natasha Thorp
Caleb Tindal
Pa Yia Vang
Pavielle Versalles
Briana Wade
Jennifer Weinreis
Bailey Williams
Amanda Wilson
Sarah Winter
Pa Yong Yang
Seng Yang
Natasha Yeager

Gallery Location
The gallery is located at 173 Western Avenue North in St. Paul on the corner of Western and Selby avenues. Google Map.

Gallery Hours
Thursday 12 – 8 p.m.
Friday 12 - 6 p.m.
Saturday 12 – 4 p.m.
Sunday 12 - 4 p.m.

To join the gallery mailing list, click here to send your name and street address.

Call 651.757.4080 or email ( for more information about gallery events.

I'll be at the closing reception. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Famous Photographers Show Their Worst Shot

In a recent article in The Guardian, well-known photographers share what they consider to be their worst shots. And (most importantly) they share WHY they feel the image never turned out as they had hoped. Here are 5 of my favorite points made by different photographers about these 6 images:

Rejected shot from Twentysix Gasoline Stations, 1962, by Ed Ruscha.
'I found this car on the old Route 66 in a desolate area of Arizona. The picture has all the traits of a well-rounded photograph: there are the jack rabbits on the fence, which make it look as if there is movement; the car that’s really dead, including the tumbleweed and the beat-up old licence plate; the sky is totally non-committal; the horizon is mute. In a photography class, people would discuss how these different elements have come together. It possesses all the signifiers – and that’s the reason it fails. I feel like it’s my worst photograph. It’s too perfect with its phony Americana. I have never used it for anything. But at the same time I’m wondering if that car is still there, rusting away.'

The World, Kingswear, Devon, by Tom Hunter
'Every summer I go with my family to Devon. One day in 2010 we were out on the lawn when suddenly it was as if a tower block was obscuring our view. It was a huge ship called The World, where rich people live. At 5am the next day I heard a huge foghorn, and we scrambled out of bed to see it leave. It was a phenomenal sight but I don’t think I got the exposure right. I was fumbling with my old-fashioned plate camera and only got a single shot. I don’t know what to do with this shot; it lurks in my library and I don’t know where it fits. There are millions of pictures like it all over the internet, and they’re not really saying much apart from: "Wow, this looks funny." I’ve made my niche and this isn’t it.'

Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan, by Terry O'Neill
'There aren’t many people I have really, really wanted to photograph during my career, with two exceptions: Marilyn Monroe and Bob Dylan. In 1986, my pal Eric Clapton introduced me to Bob in London. I wanted to take a strong portrait of him that was both immediate and honest. I think we all want to look into those eyes and discover something about him. But to my disappointment, Bob didn’t want to play ball. He wouldn’t pose without Eric; he wrapped his head in a towel to hide from the camera, which frustrated me. I’m not sure why. Perhaps he was just shy. But it was a real shame: there’s a depth of character that would have come across strikingly on film. I guess there is always the one who got away. In my case, there’s two.'

Port Eliot festival, 2011, by Martin Parr
'I wanted to show two pictures, a good one and a reject, to illustrate the weaknesses of the dud. This is the dud. I took it at Port Eliot in Cornwall, where I was doing a pop-up exhibition, producing a show each day. This was shot at midnight; by 11am the better print [see next image] was up on the wall.'

Port Eliot Festival, 2011, by Martin Parr
'This image turned out to be the final one. Everything came together: she was photogenic and doing the right gesture; I had balanced the ambient light with the flash, which takes a few frames. The frame before isn’t bad, but it’s not as good. It typifies the dilemma of photography: you do lots of not-bad ones, but often the good one doesn’t happen at all.'

Transatlantic Sub-Marine Cables Reaching Land, VSNL International, Avon, New Jersey, by Taryn Simon
'I had planned to scuba dive and discover the point where submarine telecommunications cables, carrying more than 60m simultaneous conversations, reach land after crossing the Atlantic from the UK. I opened the manhole they come up through: it was heavily piped, dark, uninteresting. This is the room where they leave the manhole. When I took the picture I thought it was a failure. I had anticipated a murky, underwater image with cables peeking out from a heroic finish line on the ocean floor. Instead, I ended up in a banal room with a few dinky cables climbing the walls and a shabby guard rail. But the simplicity is what I later appreciated: instead of a fantastical feat, there’s a vulnerability. You sense that 60m conversations could be easily interrupted – snipped – by a hand and scissors.'

A "documentary-style" photograph that seems too phony and perfect, making a clever photo that's like a million others, not being able to get the model to do exactly what you want, making a lot of "good" but not "great" photos, and a scene not living up to what you thought it was going to be.... all of these are problems that Intro to Photography college students face. There's actually something kind of nice about hearing well-known photographers talk about these exact same issues.

I love Martin Parr's final quote: "It typifies the dilemma of photography: you do lots of not-bad ones, but often the good one doesn’t happen at all."

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