I love to eat. Often times my mouth consumes the tasty treats that are in front of me before I can snap a pic. Taking the time to savor the moment and appreciate these delicious gift is often a challenge. More to come…
Last weekend I slowed down to take photographs. I enjoy photography, and digital provides me with instant feedback (I’m not a very patient person). The intensive with Alan Ross, a contemporary of the great Ansel Adams, made me think about exposure, light, shadow and composition. Even though the sky was yellow with pollen spores, both days were a blast and relaxing. I also got to spend this time with a close friend of mine, Jennifer Westfield, who sat for a few photos…
Perhaps one of the most difficult decisions a business makes revolves around branding. Branding doesn’t necessarily involve creating a logo or the proper use of the company’s identity, although important to perception. It refers to a set of ideals or guidelines that direct many things for the company. Things like the business’s culture both internally and externally. Public perception is a major key to the longevity and success for any business, be it a private entity or a non-profit organization. What are your ideals, what are your goals, would you like your company to build value so that you can sell it or retire?
I’ve been a graphic designer for over eighteen years and when clients ask me to brand or rebrand them, I begin asking them questions, making notes and outlining to them what really is involved in the process. I enjoy learning about a business, what makes the owners get up in the morning to make widgets or develop new ideas. So promoting and telling the business’s story graphically and verbally is very fulfilling and exciting for me.
I bookmarked this article earlier this year for reference when embarking on branding projects. The Art of Branding by Guy Kawasaki.
Students have often asked me about lens hoods, specifically, what is their purpose? My answer is generally something along the lines of, “to annoy you and be the bane of your existence”, as I laugh maniacally. However, every good graphic designer knows that printers are the bain of our existence not lense hoods.
Lense hoods are possibly one of the most misunderstood components in the camera bag. They come in a few different shapes and sizes and vary in cost from ten dollars to almost forty. This morning I found a really good video that explains clearly the purpose for lense hoods.
My girlfriend and I often get entangled in discussion regarding trivial things like, what colors should the walls be in the living room, bedroom or kitchen, or why am I still on the computer working at two in the morning. Some times she says things like “who cares about the squishy space between letters” and of course my response is “honey that squishy space is referred to as kerning”.
Today one of my designer friends shared a very enlightening and insightful blog on Facebook and suddenly the gates of Heaven opened and every animal on earth began singing praises and the earth shimmered as a precious jewel and the air was cool and things became right and good! I though, ah I have evidence, that I am normal and not crazy, still OCD but not crazy. So now people who live or date can have the keen understanding of the behaviors you are exposed to on a daily basis. Enjoy… KA POW!
This week I assigned my students one of my favorite projects in the 2D Illustration/Photoshop class — creating an alphabet with found non-manipulated objects. It involves the student going out and seeking letters of the alphabet in forms present in the real world, whether indoors or out. When you look at a chair from the side, for instance, it typically forms an “L” shape. Certain letters are easy to find and all over the place — “O” for instance, but others can be tricky and really require the student to look into forms in the world, but also even skew their own perspective if necessary. The project also teaches several additional principles including composing vs. cropping, and light and dark balance.
Technical know-how aside, observation is often exponentially more crucial to the overall effect of a photograph, no matter the camera used or one’s technical mastery of equipment or Photoshop in post-production. Our culture particularly relies heavily upon observation while taking in face-to-face verbal communication. The best example of this, I believe, can be found in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates. Many who listened to the debates on the radio believed that Nixon’s arguments and rhetoric were better, but those who watched him on television saw a fidgeting, sweating man and tended to favor Kennedy because of his cool and collected body language. There’s a great article about it here:
Individual perception is also important to observation. An abysmal one-half percent of all music is selected and broadcast for public consumption, and many people think that because that music is on the radio or on MTV that it is therefore good, or the best out there. Obviousy, there is a huge amount of music elsewhere that is excellent and produced independently. The ability to observe what’s popular verses what is good is an invaluable characteristic for anyone with a creative mind or career, but finding alternative types of music actually requires the listener to not only know themselves and what they like and why, but to seek out these alternative forms in a massive marketplace with hardly anywhere to start. Hal Shows and the Catbirds, for instance is the greatest band on earth. You think you’ll hear their stuff on the radio? Uh no… hello!
Today I find myself still contemplating how to define “elements” for this photography project. The dictionary definition(s) didn’t get me any closer to finding a suitable bit of inspiration.
So, after I laid out the day’s lessons for my students, I proceeded with my daily routine, which generally includes reading through emails, Facebook posts, NPR, and PetaPixel.
PetaPixel is a great web resource for all things photography. One of today’s posts was “10 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life (It Changed Mine)” by Frank McKenna. The information in the article was nothing new, but for some other reason re-reading those tips and concepts (a lot of them inspirational) triggered something in me. The item in particular that moved me asserted that one ought to, “practice, practice, practice,” and that every day a photographer should pick up his camera and go take pictures of something. It reminded me of something John Lennon once said, to the effect of, to sing you have to first open your mouth.
Still, I’d strongly encourage other creatives, not just photogs, to read the article by Frank McKenna, and like myself, get inspired to create and use their God-given talent. Just get up and go make art…
… and enjoy it!
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