[Originally posted to deviantArt Jan 20, 2007]

Today was a very good day…  I’ve enjoyed FotoFusion so far, even ended up with some free filter software from yesterday’s class (because I pay attention!  Zone 9 – 247), but today was a really good day.  Two photo shoots – one in the morning a spontaneous shoot with some kids in Veterans Park, and one in the evening, a nude shoot with 5 models on the beautiful grounds of a ritzy West Palm home along the Intracoastal – and my first portfolio review, very positive.

The morning shoot was with Colin Finlay, and it was about shooting in natural light.  As we were wandering around, this little boy sleeping on a tire swing caught my eye…  I approached the mother and her friend to ask if I could take some shots (a big victory for my reserved self, I might add).  it ended up with almost the whole group shuffling around him and some other kids.  The boy on the swing, Russel, barely stirred the whole time, another little boy with him, Tommy, was the opposite.  He was quietly expressive, and very spontaneously draping himself over the playground equipment.  I learned that they were both not feeling well, which is why they weren’t in school.  Some really great shots.  I also made a possible business connection with a passing jogger in the park who was looking for someone to shoot food for her healthy eating business.

The afternoon shoot was with Vince Versace (no relation AFAIK) and Kevin Ames.  It was challenging in that the light fairly low, and there is a more than a few shots that I truly regret losing to the blur because my shutter speeds were too slow (I shot aperture mode most of the day).  Nevertheless I do have more than enough good shots to not embarrass myself and not feel like I wasted my time and money; regrettably I will not be posting any of them because we signed an agreement that we would not sell or publish the pictures, even to the web – it was a learning experience, and apparently the sponsors have had some legal troubles arising from past shoots.

Looking back on the shoot, it was great experience.  I was not at all uncomfortable or awkward as I feared, and I hit a groove that more than once Vince talked about – seeing the form, not the naked.  I’d be dead if I didn’t realize that there were naked women right in front of me, but it was only occasional moments where I was aware of nakedness for it’s own sake, and much of the time I was thinking angles and framing and composition.  Throughout the shoot there was a former model helping with lighting and making suggestions on poses and angles and working with the models.  I need to try to find out her name again, because she was just great and I have an embarrassing memory for names.  In fact, I have committed the unforgivable sin of Forgetting the Models Names!  Not entirely true, but more true than not.  I will find out, tho, when I send along some of the shots for the models to see.

The portfolio review was with Ed Kashi, and I was very pleased to hear that he didn’t really have an negative comments about my portfolio – in fact he made a point of saying he wasn’t going to really go into the photos because he felt I definitely have an eye for color and composition.  I’ve been told this before, but it is very gratifying to hear it from someone in the business rather than friends and family who aren’t up on technique, or who are and may be biased.  😉  But I love ya!


[Originally re-posted from MySpace to deviantArt Aug 6, 2005]

I have a quote in my profile at deviantArt: “If you stop shooting beauty because it’s cliché, you will have nothing left to shoot but ugliness.”  That is my response to the idea that pictures of sunsets and flowers are overdone.  I had bought in to that idea for a while, and it made me question my efforts at those subjects.  I almost felt guilty for posting pictures of “cliché” subjects.

The point of that statement is not to disagree with the idea that those things are overdone.  There are people who believe that just because the subject is a sunset or a flower, that it is automatically a good picture.  Not true.  Anybody can point and click.  Not everyone can compose a striking image.  If that were true, the images I have on my wall here next to me – a butterfly and a frog, both by a very talented nature photographer – wouldn’t really be worth what I paid for them.

But this is much like the discussion over whether the presence of cheap digital cameras diminishes the value of the works of the dedicated photographers.  Just because there are a lot of pictures of sunsets and flowers, doesn’t mean that there are a lot of good pictures of those things.

I do agree that one measure of a good photographer is the ability to take good photos of everyday things, but I don’t necessary hold that as a requirement when making the judgment.  After all, there are plenty of people doing great shots of volcanoes and deep sea creatures that deserve credit.  


I think the real answer is that there are two requirements for a “great” photographer.  The first is technical proficiency.  The second is the artistic element, the photographer’s eye.  The second element is the tricky piece when trying to make statements about which subjects do or do not mark the work of a great photographer.  One photographer may be technically proficient at shooting still-life, but outstanding at capturing candid street scenes.  Another may do acceptable studio portraits, but excel at capturing the height of action at sporting events.  In the end, you can only judge a photographer on their body of work, without prejudice for the subjects within.