Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Ok, I know there are gatekeepers to the creative world, the gallery curator, the magazine editor, etc. but I have a real problem with any award being given out for who can generate the most votes for their work. Any kind of work.

Years ago, I was at a film festival and the “audience award” went to whichever film had the most likes on Facebook. That’s not an award, that’s a popularity contest and a film festival farming for likes.

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It might feel like a win, but it’s not. It’s a sign of who spends the most time online, who sends out the most notices, and who has the biggest following of people with time to follow their directions and vote for them.

It’s the biggest “lose” in my book. If you win one of these, I can’t give you kudos for your creativity. Marketing, perhaps, but do you want to be a marketer or a photographer?

Just make great art, and put it in the public forum.

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Reach for the stars! Go high!

Take it to art buyers and learn from portfolio reviews. Be the one in control of your own work, not the one with the ability to generate likes.

“So, Kenneth, how do I do that?”

Good question. Follow Lenscratch. Read about their photographers. Schedule one of their portfolio reviews and when you’re ready, submit your project according to their guidelines. Be a professional, an artist with ambition, but in control of your career, not a “like” master.

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And say no to contests that work with Likes. That’s not art. That’s not anything to be proud of, it’s social marketing and the platforms are the real winners.

I saw an excellent documentary at the Boulder Int’l Film Festival Saturday afternoon on Life Magazine Photographer Henri Dauman, who photographed so many legends, celebrities and statesmen, including Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, JFK and Jackie Kennedy, Elvis, and countless others. It’s titled “Henri Dauman: Looking Up”, and if you can, see it, it’s good.

Of course I brought a Rolleiflex with me to the screening at the Boulder Theater since Henri started with that camera in the 1950s, and since he was scheduled to be there, I figured I’d use it to make a portrait of him. But as it turned out, at the last minute he had a conflict and couldn’t be there.

Well, after the screening, the producer, Nicole, who’s also his granddaughter, was there and she said she had noticed my Rolleiflex. I said I brought it to photograph Henri. She said, “Take my portrait and send it to him. He’ll love that.” I said ok.

So, I photographed her with the Rolleiflex outside the theater, developed the film and hand-printed the portrait of her in my darkroom, and now I’m sending her portrait to Henri, this master photographer.

I am very honored to be able to offer it to him and have it in his home gallery. And I like the connection the camera had to Henri and how it brought her to me to make the portrait.

As much as I love her portrait, it’s for her and him that I made it, so I’m sending it to them in print form and they can choose whether to share it.

Here’s a photo of Henri with Brigitte Bardot from 1962.

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Check out the interview I did with ASMP. Honored to be in such good company of photographers.

Some things you do for money
To make a living, to eat, to keep the lights on.
Some things you do for the art of it.
Not everything has to be monetized.
That’s why I make portraits of folks 70+ on Mondays
In my Longmont photo studio at no cost.
Because I can.
Because it’s important.
Because I believe if I share what I’m doing
And why I’m doing it,
Perhaps you also will see the importance.
Maybe you’ll hit the like button.
Even better, maybe you’ll actually contact me.
You might even get some other photographer
To make the portrait.
That’s fine.
Just so long as it gets made.
Either way, wonderful faces live on,
In beautiful portraits.
Printed photos that matter.
Because they matter.
And great-grandchildren will be glad I made them.
The Wise Photo Project is what I call it.
Because preserving family history,
That is the wise thing to do.
 
The photographs that we look back at from the 1960s, 1970s and other past decades, most people didn’t think much of those photos when they were being made. When present day is right in front of us, it’s difficult to see the reason to document it. It’s almost like we’re BLIND to it. “Nothing to see here,” because we see it all day long. But then it’s gone, and we can’t go back and photograph it or the people that matter, because that time and those people are gone, too.
 
So, what are we doing? Photography used to be a way to preserve family history in photographs and albums. It served a long-term purpose.
 
Now it’s a way to share a glimpse for a split-second. It’s up to us to make those split-seconds last longer than that if we expect to be able to go back to the early 2000s, the 2010s and 2020s and relive our history. To travel back to those memories.
 
Print a photo or two. Because no one is going to fire up the hard drive in fifty years to see our work.
 
Make a photograph for your great-great-granddaughter or great grandson.
 
I repeat this often because people tell me that they’re printing after being reminded. So, this is another reminder.
 
Photograph the people and things that you love and print those photographs. Cost is low, value is tremendous.

Photography used to be time travel. We took photographs, and then forgot them. That magic roll of film held the memory safe, tucked away in the dark to be revealed and relived at another time.

A trip to the Fotomat was highly anticipated–the roll finished and developed, it offered wonderful surprises, time travel, remembering and reliving moments, the essence of photography.

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In this instant digital world, that magic is missing, the distance between creating the photograph and reliving it is non-existent, perhaps why photography feels less fulfilling than it once did. I make a photo, I show it to you, you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, it’s all done. Nothing left to do but the chore to get it to you, which I may never do, because who cares, you already saw it.

I made a portrait of a woman yesterday for The Wise Photo Project and I made it on a Hasselblad film camera on black and white film. Someone asked me why shoot film, and I said, “If I don’t shoot film, I have nothing to print in my darkroom. I need a negative to create a print by hand, a one-of-a-kind hand-printed silver portrait.”

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If her family wants to share it, they’ll have to visit her to see the print–that’s the product of these portrait shoots, a photograph. Framed. For real. Not a swipe left or right. Not an email or a scan. A real photograph to place in her house and have for future generations to keep and always know her face.

She’s looking forward to her portrait. She’ll be very happy when she sees the wonderful image of herself. I’m proud of it and that I had the opportunity to make it.

But she’ll have to wait for it.

Therein lies the magic.

And if you want to see it, well, you won’t find it here. You’ll have to stop over and visit her to see her portrait.

Maybe have a coffee and some conversation, too. Another bonus to creating an actual photograph–time spent together.

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And to all my photographer friends: Here’s to Good Light!

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11Keith Richards wanted to be in the best blues band in London. He ended up being in the best band in the world!

I want to be the best photographer in Denver with gallery and museum exhibitions of my work, to be an influential teacher and

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inspiring speaker on photography, and similarly known around the world!

Dream big, then go to work!

Set your intention. Make goals. Work to deadlines. And you can do anything!

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