LensWork Seeing in Sixes 2017

Just received my copy of the LensWork "Seeing in Sixes 2017" book of six image projects. I am honored to have two projects included, "Autumn Stillness" and "Truth of Trees." Publisher, Brooks Jensen, states in his introduction: "So here are the 50 chosen projects. It is perfectly natural to wonder about our criteria for inclusion in this book. We looked for several things, not necessarily in this order: originality, consistency of style, engaging content that grabbed our attention, projects about life rather than about photography, images that complemented and supplemented one another instead of becoming repetitious, projects that engaged our imagination; projects that included compelling text that expands the viewing experience; projects that reflect a photographer's point of view rather than a camera's view; excellence of craft both photographic and with text; projects that create their own small world within the limitation of six images only...Most importantly these are visual expressions of life."

LensWork commands a special place in my photographic influences. I met Brooks Jensen at the Photolucida Portfolio Reviews in 2015 after being a LensWork reader for many years. Brooks is an avid photographer, publisher, and writer, and brings a valuable point of view to the world of fine art photography. 


Lenscratch Art + Science


I am thrilled to be featured in the Lenscratch Art + Science series, curated by Linda Alterwitz. I met Linda at Mary Virginia Swanson's Advanced Marketing workshop in 2014, and we touched base at PhotoNOLA in 2015. Here's to the power of contacts and relationships. The project was formerly named The Forest re:Framed, in fact, my website still needs a little updating. The study is an inquiry into forests and the collective of trees that make up the forest. I wanted to find a visual expression of the forest "encoding" or visual footprint that I started to observe. My observations have been largely subliminal. Something caught my interest but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Decoding the Infinite Forest

Then I created this image, Barcode Cypress, at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and realized that perhaps a visual code could be derived from views into the trees. What used to be the repetitive landscape of pines now became an opportunity to discover an underlying message. With an increased attention given to the inner workings of forest tree communities (The Hidden Life of Trees), I'm excited to be looking deeper into a new-found subject that has been part of the overlooked Florida landscape. Finding interest in the ordinary is something I've always enjoyed.

Streaming South at Slow Exposures

SlowBannerFinalWe had the pleasure of exhibiting most of the Streaming South project at the Slow Exposures photo festival in Zebulon GA this weekend as part of the "Pop-up" Gallery tour. We were selected by Richard McCabe, photography curator at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Slow Exposures is know for its laid back atmosphere, filled with meaningful photography and lots of time for discussion, cook outs, and networking. I thought we chose the best venue, a small brick building that was the original telephone operator's switch house. Basically, one room with a window unit, sink, and toilet. We brought our own "scaffold" hanging system to preserve the walls and filled the place with photos fresh from the exhibit at the Wilson Art Center. Zebulon is roughly a 6 hour drive from Jacksonville, and we had everything up within a few hours. A nice visit with jurors Richard McCabe, Jerry Atnip, and John Bennette

Our Pop-up Tour exhibit

Our experience was extraordinary. Plenty of visitors dropped by and we made lots of new friends. The photography at the main exhibit was excellent as were all the commentaries and discussions. Zebulon and the adjoining small towns all turn out with some fantastic volunteers and lots of Southern hospitality. If you haven't made it to Slow Exposures put it on your calendar and try it out, you won't be disappointed. featuring Streaming South

For any photographer, it's a great honor being featured on Aline Smithson's blog, I had the pleasure of having Aline as a reviewer at the Photolucida Portfolio Reviews in Portland earlier this year. She is a very generous and thorough reviewer and offered many comments and suggestions on my project, especially on the writing. Aline is truly a great resource and inspiration for contemporary photography, both as a fine art photographer and an industry expert. Take every opportunity to have Aline review your work, it will be worth every minute. Thank you Aline for all that you do and for your support of the photographic community.

Photolucida Portfolio Reviews

On March 16 I received an email from the Outreach Director at Photolucida telling me that a space has opened up for the Portfolio Reviews and I am next on the wait list. All I knew is that I wasn't ready for this but this opportunity doesn't come often. So I immediately said yes, I'll be there and sent my check. Now that I'm done I can truly say that this was a good decision, although there were moments of extreme agony wondering why I every even considered subjecting myself to such an ordeal. For those of you unfamiliar with the reviews, this is the Granddaddy of all reviews, the big one, and it happens only once every two years. It is four days of reviews, I had 20. The experience was priceless, from the standpoint of the feedback you receive, the people you meet, and the inspiration you receive from special speakers and other photographers. The fine art photographic industry is here looking at work. I was humbled to be among many experienced photographers who were showing some incredible work. My conversations were with publishers, gallery owners, museum curators, industry consultants and collectors. I spent 4 days in this room

The system of elevating your career in fine art photography is curious, and the portfolio review circuit is one of the many channels providing opportunities for artists to inject themselves into the system. These sessions are offered at several major photo festivals during the year, lasting usually 1-2 days. You have prearranged meetings with reviewers who spend 20 minutes with you answering questions and offering comments on your work. It's a brilliant system for meeting that key individual who would be virtually impossible to access otherwise. Can you imagine trying to come to New York and booking meetings with a museum curator, publisher, and gallery owner to meet you and see your work? Good luck! I've participated in many reviews prior to this so I knew what to expect, but the enormity of the entire experience really blew me away.

The highlight of the event was called the Portfolio Walk at the Portland Museum of Art where we had our portfolios out for the public to see. I was astounded by the response of the Portland arts community and their level of interest in photography. It was a special night.

Photo Walk - Portland Art Museum

There are so many lessons learned from attending Photolucida. All I can say is that it changed the trajectory of my career, I feel that this initiation was critical, and now I am on my way.

New directions

It's a nebulous title for a post but I'm on to something new. A few months ago I bought a kayak. Enough said. In fact there is so much to say I started a new blog called Streaming South. Why another blog? I wanted a new platform to talk exclusively about my photography on the boat. I thought that this new conversation may distract from what I have going on here. Sounds like a strange reason, but head on over to see some new images and cool places to go.

Deep Creek on a kayak

Help Portrait 2011

help portraitFor the third year in a row I've participated in the Help-Portrait project at the Family Promise Center in Jacksonville. This year my good photo buddy, Gray Quetti stepped up to do all the shooting, and I have to admit he really knows what he is doing. We did the shoot on December 10, which is the national day for all Help-Portrait sites to shoot. Gray set up 2 Alien Bees, one in a medium sized softbox as the main and the other as fill bouncing off an umbrella centered above the camera. I usually shoot with lights on the right and left, and this is the first time I experienced the fill on axis with the lens. Gray set the white balance and tested exposure with his light meter. Call it old school but Gray did NO color or exposure corrections to over 900 shots. Typically I'm using the fill slider and tweaking the white balance on almost every shot. We managed to shoot 10 families. I was posing the groups and entertaining the kids.

Gray Quetti, Mark and Diane Landschoot, Me Family portrait

Each family received a small photo album and CD with their images. We edited down to around 24 for each one, which turned out to be a tough job. Many thanks to Dorian who tackled the editing. Then we uploaded to Costco for prints. I've been very happy with the results from our local Costco (Allen and his team keep those Noritsu printers in top shape). I ordered some small albums from Neil Enterprises. The cost per album ($2 ea) is inexpensive, but they kill you on the shipping and handling ($18).

Gray and I dropped off the albums and were met by Becky Cravey and Bruce Lipsky from the Times Union. They were hoping to run a story over the holidays, which eventually appeared on January 2. Check it out here. Being present when the families received their photos was a big thrill. There were a lot of happy moms and dads.

Bruce Lipsky of the Times Union and friend A happy dad and son Lots of pictures for everyone

If you haven't volunteered or given of yourself, especially over the holidays, I highly recommend it. I told the TU reporter that the photos taken on that Saturday will probably be cherished and appreciated more than all the photos I took during the year. It's a good feeling to know you made a difference in someone's day.

December Arbus cover

Cover_Dec2011_ArbusI was thrilled to have my amaryllis photo on the Arbus December cover. These photos were from a dining room table shoot on January 1 of this year. The issue also contained 3 other stories about projects I'm involved in: Message in a Bottle (page 12) , CoRK (page 14), and the Pop-up Galleries at Main Street Park (page 20). Many thanks to Cinda Sherman at Arbus for her dedicated support of the arts in Jacksonville. Arbus Dec Cork 1

Arbus Dec Cork 2

Arbus Dec Pop-up 1Arbus Dec Pop-up 2Arbus Dec Pop-up 3

IPA Awards - 2011

My last submission of Straight and Twisted to the IPA won an Honorable Mention in the Professional Category - Trees. I remember agonizing over what category to use, Professional or Non-professional. I figured I'm a professional now so I went for it. This is a huge competition with hundreds of awards, so I'm careful not to be too excited about this, but it's good for the ego to be selected once in a while. I have my share of rejections for sure! The exercise of submitting and keeping your work in a form where you can efficiently submit is a good practice. I'll do 3-4 submissions a year if I feel my work fits well in the call. IPA is great in that there are categories for everything, and you can spend a fair amount of time looking at some great photography from previous winners.


White Oak Conservation Center - Arts and the Environment

White Oak Conservation Center, Yulee FL White Oak, Annie Leibovitz

45 miles north of Jacksonville, on border of Florida and Georgia along the St. Mary's River, lay 7000 acres of pristine woodlands and fields. Housed on this compound is an amazing assortment of animals, studios, and a wildlife conservation center. This is White Oak, home to white rhinos, giraffes, okapis, cheetahs, and the Baryshnikov Dance Studio. I was asked by Cinda Sherman of Arbus Magazine to accompany her to view the Jacksonville University MFA dance troop completing a week long summer retreat. It was my first time to White Oak, although I've heard about the animals many times. I did not connect Annie Leibovitz's famous "White Oak Dance Project" with this location. Here she photographed Baryshnikov and other famous dancers back in the 90's. I was feeling the power of the place. I also met dance legend David Parsons. The facility is quite amazing but the combination of environmental and arts advocacy is what struck me as unique. And to know that this center is so close to Jacksonville! More on White Oak can be found here. I'm thankful that the Gilman family chose to invest in such a project.

White Oak Dance 1 White Oak Dance 2 White Oak Dance 3

The morning was spent photographing the dancers as they went through a warm-up and choreography exercise. The room was quite large and I brought 2 Speedlights. I really didn't know what to expect and needed to travel light. I set one up on opposites sides of the dance floor and just worked them from there. I wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible. I have gained quite an appreciation for dance and enjoy the energy and flowing controlled movement of the dancers. It is beautiful to watch. I find a great aesthetic to how the individual bodies and arms, torsos, and legs are moved into positions and then as each dancer makes contact and positions themselves in proximity to the other dancers, the composition becomes alive. This is fascinating.

White Oak Okapi 1 White Oak Okapi 2 White Oak Okapi 3

After about an hour of photography we were given a tour of the okapi area, only one of several breeding centers for endangered and threatened animals. We got to be up close and personal with a group of okapis, gentle animals related to the giraffe but partially striped like a zebra.

I was exhausted after the day, but totally inspired not only by the dancers but by the history of the facility for dance, photography, and conservation. What a legacy. I also found and ordered Leibovitz's White Oak book on eBay. Can't wait to get it.

Next Step Exhibition at Renaissance Gallery

Next Step ExhibitionI belong to a group of distinguished photographers called The Next Step who are selected alumni from John Paul Caponigro's workshops. Several of us are participating in a group showing of work at various venues throughout the country. Our first opening was in Rockport, Maine at the Maine Media Workshops and our second was here, in Indianapolis at the Renaissance Gallery. The gallery is actually located in Carmel, Indiana at the center of the Arts and Design District. There are 23 artists participating and our exhibition catalog is published on Blurb. Doug Eng at the Renaissance Gallery

I am showing two pieces from my Straight and Twisted series - Illumination and Renewal. Each are framed 30x30 in heavy dark wood with a gloss finish. This framing was selected by Donald Dusinberre and I was very pleased with the way the presentation turned out. Framing for prints is like clothing to the person...need I say more? Usually I am looking for low-cost solutions to protect my prints. Since I'm not a "clothing" sort of guy I tend to go with jeans and t-shirts. Sometimes this just doesn't cut it, especially when your art needs to convey a sense of inner beauty, stability, and long term value. This is a tough lesson and an expensive one, considering the number of prints I would like to display. A client needs to be able to visualize your artwork in their office or home. A $15 frame doesn't help.

An evening with the Sierra Club

Sierra ClubTonight I spoke at our local Sierra Club about image design and the art of nature photography. It was great to meet some new friends and I always enjoy yakking about my work. I showed about 60 images from our national parks as examples to explaining image design principles taught to me by Freeman Patterson and Brenda Tharp. At some point in your development as an photographic artist you want to go beyond camera skills. Learning how to “see” is the basis for developing your own style of photography. I recommend highly the following 2 books if you are ready to progress: Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography by Brenda Tharp, Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Paterson.  Most nature photographers have some connection to the Sierra Club. It may be significant or indirect. All who enjoy our National Parks and the results of conservation movements can give thanks to organizations like the Sierra Club, who had the early foresight to raise the red flag to so many situations that had the potential to destroy our natural treasures in the name of progress and industry. My introduction came in high school, where I by chance picked up a 1972 Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. It was one of those spiral bound datebooks with a beautiful image for each week. I remember being fascinated with the photography, not only the technical quality but the beauty and interest in each image. Where were these places, what were these rocks, plants, and details, how could I create images like these? I wanted to know and do.

 Back in those dark ages, photography could only be enjoyed by books and magazines. I never had access to viewing a fine art print until much later. Fortunately, the Sierra Club and Ballantine Books had a series of larger format paperback books with inspiring photography. Everytime I went out to photograph, I can remember trying to reproduce those classic images of trees, flowers, and landscapes in these beautiful publications. It’s interesting to view an old book that influenced you. Most of the time I’m so impressed at what was accomplished with film, and how the “style” of nature photography promoted by Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter,  David Meunch, and the likes continues to influence nature photography today. That’s why I love used book stores, because it’s fun to see where your photography came from. And I’m still looking for that engagement calendar.

Cathedral Arts Project Gala

The Cathedral Arts Project provides after school arts education to underprivileged children throughout the local area. The results speak for themselves. I volunteered to photograph their Spring Gala at the Deerwood Country Club, their major fundraiser for the year. With the recent budget cuts in all areas (especially the arts), this event was critical to the operation of the project. Events are not my thing...I stressed out about this all week. But I am always inspired to see a well tuned organization work its magic for a good cause. The gala features a silent auction and live auction for various works of art, trips, dinners, and other luxury items, with plenty of wine and food. All good deals for the lucky winners, and revenue for a excellent cause. I was able to meet and photograph some of the rich and famous in Jacksonville! Everyone had a good time. Cathedral Arts raised over $400,000 for their efforts. It was a major production, and major recognition goes to the organizers and volunteers who pulled the event off. Every service organization needs your help. Find a cause that you believe in and volunteer. It's how we as a community can help each other out.

Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala, auction items Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala, student string ensemble Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala, honorees Monica and Bob Jacoby Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala, auction Cathedral Arts - Spring Gala, behind the scenes

Help Portrait 2010

help portraitOn Saturday we did another session at Family Promise Jacksonville and met with 6 wonderful families for some holiday portraits. Help Portrait is a voluntary initiative started by Nashville photographer Jeremy Cowart. Last year over 40,000 portraits were taken by over 8,300 photographers worldwide, all for the joy of giving, not taking, pictures. It is always a great pleasure to meet with families and young kids at this time of the year and to share some holiday cheer through photographs. I know after all the packages are open and the season wears off, those photos will continue to bring joy and memories to their owners. What a privilege it is to give this kind of gift. My sincere thanks and best wishes go out to Razzle, Devon, Emery, Latoya, Yakema, Malaki, Tykia, Zyasia, Ronnie, William, Tameika, Shon, Jayniha, Elijah, Ruby, Aleta, Yehudit, Justice, Stacy, Makenna, Sasia, Triniti, saul, Frank, and Jesse. And to Mark of Family Promise. You were all wonderful today!

help portrait families

Chase Jarvis on the new Social Art

chase jarvis

Chase Jarvis gave the keynote at PDN PhotoExpo in NY in October. The video of the presentation is available here (I don't know how long this link will work, I recorded the audio and will post if they take the video down). Jarvis is a well known Seattle-based photographer who is taking professional photography is a fresh new direction, and he encourages all of us to unleash are creativity everywhere through everything you do. He shares his inspiring work and creative projects liberally on the web through his blog and videos. "A creative world is a better world."

The furture of fine art photography?

Costco Art Gallery Today I found a link on the Costco Photo Center site to an Art and Image Gallery. Hmmm..."Select from more than 20,000 images of fine art, photography, and illustrations to create  wall decor" A small "images by Corbis" is in the corner. So here is the deal, for the cost of printing only, Costco allows you to select from a collection of 20,000 images from the Corbis stock collection. After browsing this collection I was impressed. A series of Brett Weston's B&W classics (125 images), a very nice set of national park images, flowers, landscapes, you name it, it's there. Knowing Corbis, the quality of the images is high so enlargements to 20x30 should not be a problem. And the cost? Costco already prints below my cost. They are running an Epson 7700 with K3 Ultrachrome inks on Fuji Luster paper. A 20x30 print is $8.99, and 8x10 is $1.49. A canvas 20x30 is $69.00. Costco quality is pretty good. It's not museum quality but for wall decor it is perfectly adequate. So if I'm an art consultant who needs to decorate a building why wouldn't I use this? I can make my selections, email images to the client for approval, submit an order, and pick it up in an hour at Costco. Now the biggest expense is the framing, which believe me is still quite expensive. Where does this leave a fine art photographer who is selling images to be used as wall decor in offices, hospitals, and people's homes? If you are shooting generic stock material, this EATS YOUR LUNCH! If I need photo of a flower, a landscape, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Milky Way, or the Eiffel Tower, why would I ever consider your photograph when I can have the whole piece for less than your printing cost?

This is the new economy my friends and this is reality. Those who cannot find their niche and specialize, those who cannot deliver a unique style or service will be replaced by a less costly, higher quality, more convenient alternatives. This is a business truth. For the most part, the general public buys very little art anyway, and when they do, it is from Wal-mart, Ikea, and now Costco. At least the quality is decent and who knows, maybe this will create an interest in photographic prints as art for the home. Right.

Art Squared at Southlight Gallery

 Doug Eng and Dolf James, Art Squared at Southlight Doug Eng, Art Squared at Southlight

A new body of work is now installed at Southlight Gallery titled Art Squared: Imagination Squared! Photographs. It is a collection of my favorite images from the Imagination Squared project, those which coveyed the uniqueness and simplicity of the exhibit. Many of these were featured in the article Art Squared in the Nov/Dec issue of Arbus Magazine. There are a lot of fond memories in these photographs and that's why they are so important to me. Working on this project was the turning point in my "art" career and I am thankful to have been a part of it. Find a project where you can work with others to help all reach a common goal. That's how amazing things can get accomplished.

artsquared_01  artsquared_07

artsquared_02  artsquared_08

artsquared_09  artsquared_03

artsquared_04  artsquared_10

artsquared_11  artsquared_05

artsquared_06  artsquared_12

Each of these were printed as a square 20x20 on Epson Ultra Premium Luster and sandwiched between a sheet of foamcore and plexi. I used Uni-frames to put everything together, and ended up with 12 pieces. If you need a source for acrylic sheets in Jacksonville call Red at Farco Plastics off Phillips Hiway (near 9A). A 48x96 - 1/8 in sheet costs about $60 (they will also cut to your spec for free). Overall I was pleased with the installation, it looked decent without costing an arm and leg. It's always important that your work be presented in a professional way, or your viewer will not take it seriously.

Art Squared poster, 13x19 archival print $15These photographs are available in many sizes, including 8x8 and 12x12 folios of all the prints. I also have a 13x19 mini-poster for this exhibit, and these are $15. Email me if you are interested in prints, the mini-poster or any of the other Imagination Squared exhibition posters and prints.

Art Squared in Arbus Magazine

Arbus November coverToday the Nov/Dec issue of Arbus Magazine was released with a six page spread of my photographs from the Imagination Squared exhibit. I'm a little bit blown away. It seems like such a long time ago when we were all consumed with this incredible collaborative art project. When all your creative energies are focused with like-minded people, things just happen. Wow, sorta like running a marathon for the first time, and then you ask, "what's next?" I have some loose ends to tie up on the project and my goal is to write a short book documenting the process and key events. I don't want the genius of what happened to be lost. We are a society hungry for the next big thing, and the past big things can easily vanish. The inspiration of Imagination Squared for other cities and artist groups needs preservation and dissemination. I hope to be a part of that too.

I would like to thank Cinda Sherman the publisher and CEO of Arbus Magazine. She approached me soon after the exhibit with the idea of a photo essay of my best images and just left it at that.  Cinda is a visionary who "gets it" for the city and the arts community. From her tireless efforts comes a remarkable, high quality publication that supports and promotes the arts in our city. Arbus is distributed for free and paid through advertisers, a tough business model to negotiate. Bravo to Cinda and all the advertisers in Arbus.

You can experience the photographs in the Arbus spread at an exhibition in the Southlight Gallery on Forsyth and Laura. I'll be ready with everything on November 3 the night of Art Walk. Drop by to see these and some other memorable moments, and then head on down to MOCA to view the exhibit which comes down on November 14. Hope to see you soon!

The hi-res version of the article can be viewed at the Arbus website here.

Arbus page 36-37

Arbus p38-39

Arbus page 40-41

Imagination Squared Virtual Tour

Imagination Squared

For those of you who haven't been able to see the MOCA Jacksonville Imagination Squared! exhibit yet, here is a virtual tour of all the squares installed. I was at the museum on Monday to do some final shots and took some time to enjoy the "ambiance" of the artwork by myself. It is quite an extraordinary exhibit, and it seemed like each of the squares was speaking out to me with a unique story. One can certainly spend a lot of time exploring each piece.

You should be able to click into the window below to zoom and pan around the exhibit. Or you can use the little navigation contols on the toolbar. The image shows everything flattened out (the left, front, and right walls). This is a composite made from 7 images and processed using the Zoomify export in Adobe Photoshop CS4. Have fun!



I'll be posting my technique of embedding Zoomify into a Wordpress blog. Stay tuned.

Lego Architecture and more

National Building Museum - View from the Metro Station  National Building Museum - interior

Our second trip downtown took us to the National Building Museum for an exhibit on Palladio. We studied Palladio and his villas in our Architectural History classes, at least the classes that we stayed awake in. When we arrived we were excited that the Lego Architecture exhibit was still available to see. So it looked like our day was already filled. The Museum is on F Street right across the street from the Judiciary Square Metro station, and was originally the Pension Building. It is quite a remarkable structure.

Lego Architecture  Lego Architecture 

I couldn't wait to see the Lego exhibit so we headed there first. I'm sorry I did not lug my tripod along. It's tough handholding for shots that you know will need to be extra sharp and a decent depth of field. I shot at ISO 1250, 1/125 at f/10. The results were ok, but the tripod would have made this easy. Next time. The Lego models were all of famous skyscrapers and very well done. Luckily the exhibit hall was fairly empty so I could take my time.

Lego Architecture   Lego Architecture   Lego Architecture

No photos were allowed in the Palladio exhibit. There were rooms full of original drawings and some historical models. It was fascinating to see the drawings which were meticulously executed. Most of these materials were from British museums and collections. During their colonial period many of the antiquities were plundered by the British, but at least we have them to see and enjoy.

Kogod Courtyard CeilingAfter a quick bite at the snack counter we headed next door to the American Art Museum and the American Portrait Gallery to see an exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings owned by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. There was also an exhibit on Remembering Running Fence, the 24 mile  temporary sculpture by Christo. The most impressive view in the museum though was the ceiling in the Kogod Courtyard...remarkable. Washington DC is a very neat place and I wish we had more time to explore.