Friday Inspiration: Alan Shapiro

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I can’t say that I’d ever come across Alan Shapiro before watching his google talk ‘A Plea to Photographers: Use Your Words’ that I’m sharing here. His talk touched something of a raw nerve for me – the importance and power of telling stories with your photography and how that story can be amplified by the combination with words.

Check out Alan’s talk below and more from Photographers@Google by clicking here.

Be a Better Photographer in 2014 – Tips from Scott Kelby on ‘The Grid’

Anything that starts with ‘How to be a better photographer’ will catch my attention and Scott Kelby’s recent episode of the Grid dedicated to this topic was interesting.

Check out the videos below for both the 2014 and 2013 episode on the same topic that is frequently mentioned.

Friday Inspiration: Pentti Sammallahti

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I stumbled across Pentti Sammallahti’s photography again this week. Sammallahti, born in Finland in the 1950′s, has travelled widely as a photographer – Russia, Asia, Europe and Africa, including stops in Siberia, Japan, India, Nepal, Morocco, Turkey, Europe, Great Britain and South Africa. His photographs of the White Sea in Russia are regarded as his best work, with Sammallahti himself selecting the image above as his best photograph. He describes the making of this image here.

Photographs from both his native Scandinavia as well as from his travels can be found in the retrospective of his work ‘Here Far Away‘ and the book is reviewed by Sean O’Hagan in The Guardian here.

While Sammallahti’s sense of humor comes through in many of his photographs, I must admit that I enjoyed looking at his photographs of the ocean the most. One example is shown below.

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A Trip to the Desert

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I’m just back from a short trip to the Palm Springs area. It was a fun trip that allowed me to spend some time photographing in and around Joshua Tree National Park. I flew to Los Angeles and drove the 120 or so miles out into the desert to Palm Springs. What struck me as I entered the Palm Springs area were the vast numbers of wind turbines, rather than the one or two that I see dotted around here in the North East.

As striking as the valley of wind turbines was, I found it quite difficult to find a place to take a photograph that I felt captured the shear number of them. Those that are bolder than I would surely have used one of the access roads that the maintenance people use to service these things to get in amongst them. However, after driving around for a few days I eventually figured out that the railway station parking lot had a pretty good view and so I spent some time one of the evenings photographing from there and got the image above, which for now I quite like.

I’m still working through the rest of my images from the trip, but I’ll be sure to post more here as I find ones that I like. As always comments welcomed and appreciated.

Friday Inspiration: Emmet Gowin

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I hope that you enjoy listening to Emmet Gowin talk about his life in photography as much as I did! Check out the videos below.

Emmet Gowin: A Life in Photography, Part 1 / 4 from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

Emmet Gowin: A Life in Photography, Part 2 / 4 from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

Emmet Gowin: A Life in Photography, Part 3 / 4 from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

Emmet Gowin: A Life in Photography, Part 4 / 4 from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

Friday Inspiration: Mitch Dobrowner

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I was simple stunned when I first saw Mitch Dobrowner’s photographs of storms in Lenswork – the image above only scratches the surface of this unique body of work. It’s been interesting to follow the increase in awareness of Dobrowner’s storm photographs over the last few years which has included everything from stories in Wired magazine, National Geographic Magazine and coverage on CNN and ABC. A book of the storm photographs was published by Aperture in Sept. of 2013.

Listen to Mitch describe his work and see him in action below in the video below and click on the link to hear his artists talk at the photo-eye gallery.

Artist Talk by Mitch Dobrowner at photo-eye Gallery from photo-eye on Vimeo.

A Beginning?

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How do you come up with ideas for new photography projects? A conscious decision? An organic development of an existing project? Or perhaps looking back through your archives and finding common themes.

Over the recent break I recently found the house in the photo above. While I was taking the photo a town worker gave me a brief history of the property. Clearly it’s abandoned and in a state of disrepair.

I see these abandoned properties everywhere, and while I’d wondered about who lived there, why did they leave and why is it now left to rot, I had never photographed them. Given my sensitivity to these abandoned properties it seems as though I should photograph them, at least until they’re out of my system.

What do you notice all the time? Perhaps that would make a good project?