Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Now More Than Ever

Never has it been more important to spend time with your art!

Sensual Hair

In troubled times, art is a refuge.  Art reminds us of what is important and beautiful in life.  Art inspires us to be something more than downtrodden and subjugated by the mass media.  Art summons what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Rose Valley
Art gives you a voice to speak softly, but clearly, of beauty.  This is so important when everyone else is shouting doom.

So spend time with your art.  Do it now!  

Turn off the TV, get off the social media and newsfeed, put down the newspaper.

Canyon, Lee Vining, CA
Instead, revisit the Fall colors and that trip to the mountains.  Let the sun rise again over your favorite lake as it did last summer when you photographed it.  Relive the birthday parties and family reunions.  Your children's disarming smiles and those charming pet pictures. The roses and flowers you photographed in your studio or that insightful portrait. 


And then share those images with family and friends to help remind them of what is important and beautiful.  They need you and your art right now.

Sunrise Over Mono Lake

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Making Internet

In a world full of digital images, smartphone snapshots and Facebook “likes” it is easy to overlook the significant effort that must go into getting real world art into the digital realm. Visual artists, painters and classical photographers in particular, know exactly what I am talking about.

Photographing Artwork
There are many challenges, but perhaps the biggest is getting the color right.  Obviously painters put a lot of thought and effort into getting tone and color just right - even slight variations can alter the emotional impact of the painting.  You might be surprised that classical photographers are also keenly aware of how the subtle color tone of a B&W print changes its impact on the viewer.  Whether the blacks have a warm or cold tone, the whites creamy or brilliant, and the infinite variations in between are all part of each photographer’s personal expression and darkroom technique.  And while this is effectively presented when you see the actual print, it is hugely difficult to do with a digital picture of the print.

But alas! It must be done in order to share my work with you via the internet.  I do the best I can.  My prints have a slightly warm tone to the blacks (a result of my developer formulation), which is rather tricky to show in a digital image.  I take color digital images of my prints, made with color corrected lighting, hand metering, and carefully adjustments in Photoshop (yes, I know Photoshop) are all necessary to get a reasonable representation for you.

Real World to Digital World

Of course, I cannot control the viewer’s screen settings. And experience tells me that most screens are set too bright, blowing out the whites, muddying the blacks, and wrecking the print tone. 

Want to find out about your screen settings?  Try this site:


Follow the instructions on the screen.  Move your cursor to the top of the screen to see various options.

You might find this interesting.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Happy Birthday, Margrethe

Florence Deshon (1921) by Margrethe Mather
from Wikimedia Commons

Today would have been Margrethe Mather's 134nd birthday.  She died in obscurity on Christmas Day, 1952.  Her contributions to photography, however, should not be obscured by the passage of time.  Not only was she a truly creative, free thinking photographer, her influence on Edward Weston (arguably one of the most important photographers of the 20th century) was profound.  Weston called her "the first important person in my life."

If you have never heard of Margrethe Mather, I highly recommend reading Beth Warren's Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration.  

Even if we do not realize it, Margrethe and Edward's influence is in our photography today!

While the other arts have lamented their male dominance, women have always been an important part of photography.  Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Bernard, Gertrude Kasebier, Julia Margaret Cameron .. to name just a few.  

Let's not forget Margrethe.