I can’t remember where I first read about Carleton Watkins, perhaps it was this article in the Smithsonian magazine. For someone like me, who thought that photography started with Ansel Adams, it was something of a revelation to read about and see Watkin’s photographs of the American west and particularly of Yosemite Valley. While many of his photographs are stereograms the views of Yosemite are quite familiar. It was his series of photographs of Yosemite Valley in the 1860s that helped influence Congress’s decision to make the valley a National Park in 1864.
There’s an exhibition of Watkin’s photographs at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University until August 17. To find out more about the exhibition see here. Unfortunately I’m in the wrong part of the country to be able to get to the exhibition but I did get the related book and have been enjoying looking at the photographs.
Recognizing many of the views made famous through the work of Ansel Adams in the Yosemite Valley made me think about what Ansel Adams brought to the table. Perhaps not his vision but his superior control of the medium and printing abilities?
Check out the video below for more details on the exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center.
I’ve been looking at work by Aaron Siskind over the last few weeks and as part of that reading came across Carl Chiarenza who wrote ‘Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Treasures’. Chiarenza is a splendid photographer in his own right in addition to being a great teacher. Check out the video below to get an introduction to Chiarenza. Check out the additional conversations between Chiarenza and Brooks Jensen that can be found here.
This is the final in a trilogy of posts inspired by Austin Kleon’s SXSW keynote presentation. I can’t help but thing that much of the shabby behavior that Austin references is borne out of a sense of desperation to turn a hobby into a business or to take a business that’s bumping along to the next level.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Thinking about the video from last week, the SXSW keynote speech that Austin Kleon gave, and his thoughts about showing your work led me to Brene Brown, her book Daring Greatly and a couple of videos for you to check out below. The title of her book comes from the speech that Teddy Roosevelt gave above and deals largely with being vulnerable, something that you absolutely must deal with to be creative and then get your work out in the world. Check out the videos below for more from Brene Brown.
I’ve followed Austin Kleon‘s work for a while and have mentioned him on the blog previously around the time his book ‘Steal Like an Artist‘ came out. Since then Austin has continued to do great work, published another book (Show your Work) and has spoken at many conferences discussing his thoughts and approaches to living a creative life.
The video above is the keynote that he gave at this years SXSW conference and is well worth a watch, particularly for those people who are at the early stages of building a body of work and finding an audience. Do you recognize yourself in his descriptions? I hope not!
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.
I find that I frequently return the work of photographers that have previously caught my attention. Edward Burtynsky is one such photographer. I had previously highlighted the retrospective of his work called Manufactured Landscapes and was pleased to see that he has recently completed a new project called Water.
One of the things that I am curious to see when I’m looking at new projects from familiar photographers is to see how their process has evolved, if at all. With Water, Burtynsky is no longer considering gravity as a constraint and uses a variety of tools that allow him to get the shot that he’s imagined, regardless of the vantage point. I’m not sure that I would be up for putting a Hasselblad on a model helicopter, especially after seeing Chase Jarvis’s experience, but sometimes you’ve got to do whatever it takes. Click on the link below to see a behind the scenes video of the making of Water.