Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography


Two talks by professional photographers, which do you identify with?

I don’t watch TV any more. I head to YouTube, not for cat videos, but education and inspiration. I came upon two videos from “Talks at Google” that couldn’t be more opposite. One was by Art Wolfe and other by Vincent Versace, both professional photographers.

One says the great impressionist painters is his inspiration. The other rejects 17th century composition theory.

One says he only knows how to use 5% of his camera. The other starts by talking, even bragging about gear.

One strives to create something different. The other shoots solid but conventional images.

I wonder if their attitudes and perspective affects their art? Absolutely. Which photographer do you identify with? Perhaps there is a bit of both in all of us. For me, I’m only inspired by one of them.

         AmazonB&H PhotoAdorama

Rediscovering and igniting the creativity in all of us

Scenes from the High School Musical - Austin, Texas
Scenes from the High School Musical

My older son is 14, a freshman in High School. He’s in the school orchestra and was practicing hard for the last couple for weeks for the yearly musical. He wanted to quit but the director encouraged him to try — they were playing Broadway caliber music which was a challenge for him. I’m glad he stuck with it and he is too. My son just wrapped up 4 performances with the drama class and help put on a first-rate musical. I’m so impressed by their performance.

My son seems to have discovered the joy of the performing artists. By hanging around the drama people, it unlocked an entirely new world for him. He said, the drama students were so much more interesting than the jocks. This is high school — your popularity and position is of the utmost importance. I’m so pleased that my son has moved beyond the common popularity of the sports jocks to the world of the creative people. He needs this. We all do.

As a parent, I want to impart a sense of passion one needs to feel in life. What moves you? What interests you? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? A couple of weeks a go, I linked to an Apple ad. Some people were cynical. I understand completely. Fluffy, feel good videos are so common these days, used as marketing tools. But I was serious. There are so many ways to make a living, but what is your passion? That is the question. That’s something that a middle aged man like me needs to figure out, let alone a teenager like my son.

For me, as I’m within a few months of my 50th birthday, I think about these things. What am I passionate about? How do I express my creativity? I am privileged to work for a great company and do what I like, most of the time. It’s primarily technical in nature. But I’ve recently rekindled the interest I had in my youth. When I was little, I built and designed things, that’s what I loved. As I grew up, I lost that — the practicalities of making a living overshadowed my early interests.

My photography and this blog has change my perspective. I’m creating things photographically, with words and with graphical layout which taps into my primal interests. And it has made all the difference. My day job is all the more interesting because I balance it with my creative outlet. My renewed interests and my son’s creative awakening has enriched us. We live in such a wonderful time where my words and images and yours can reach people around the world. Thank you for sharing your precious time looking at my creative expression. I am truly lucky.

         AmazonB&H PhotoAdorama

What will your verse be?

I often wonder and I’ve also been asked,
“Why do you spend so much time on photography and blogging?”

This video from Apple explains why, better than I ever could.

What will your verse be?

         AmazonB&H PhotoAdorama

Sick of crappy black and white street photographs?

Ever notice a lot of crappy, black and white photographs passed off as street photography? Henri Cartier-Bresson wannabes? Yeah, I know I’m not immune. I’ve done my share.

I just came upon Steve McCurry’s blog. Yes, that Steve McCurry of Afghan girl fame. His portraits and street photographs are beyond fantastic. They are in glorious, saturated color. Not timid imitations of the classic “black and white style”.

Beyond the spectacular photography, I like how the blog entries are in themed photo sets. Striking is the sheer breadth of world-wide images. They show humanity. They show the mundane. They show that we are more alike than different.

I have so much to learn.

Go check out his blog. You will be inspired.

(Re)touching lives through photos

I came across this wonderful presentation at TED that is photography related. For those of you who are not familiar with TED, it is a fantastic resource where you can learn and get inspired by thousands of presentations given at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences from around the world. I hear it is very expensive and very exclusive to attend these conference in person but through the internet we can all benefit for their content from the comfort of our own homes. I’ve watched TED videos for a while but thought it would be beneficial to post this relevant content.

In this TED talk, Becci Manson, a photo retoucher by profession, decided to organize and partake in a movement that has helped people’s lives. I won’t go into the details, you should watch his short 10 minute video. What I do want to comment on is the power and the importance of still photography. I’ve posted a lot of pretty pictures about architecture and urban landscapes but by far the most important pictures are the ones of my family. I don’t post my personal photographs on this blog but my family photos are what I cherish the most. And unlike most things in life, these precious images go up in value as they get older. With this short intro, please enjoy the following video.