Vision-Driven Photography

Lesson 4/14 - Copying vs. Creating


Vision-Driven Photography


Lesson Info

Copying vs. Creating

So I have a couple of themes um coming through on twitter jack russell and um and josie fraser are both talking about um an obstacle being seeing great work feeling inspired but then feeling like they're copycatting so creating versus copying yeah, I think that's really important were going to talk about that a little bit more as we as we talk about um as we talked about how you express your vision I mean right now really we're talking about discovering it and some of the obstacles to it but I think you begin its again a process most of us begin by copying something we see something we copy it but creativity remember creativity is not about you see something you copy it creativity is about you see this and you're influenced by it you see this and you're influenced by and then maybe you see a third thing that you're influenced by creativity is the act of taking those three influences and putting them together and coming up with something new. So as a photographer it maybe taking the ele...

ments in front of you at a certain time of day the optics that you happened to have your camera, those constraints plus the fact that you've been looking at elliott erwitt stuff recently and ah, I don't know galen roll stuff and so you've got these incredible black and white moments with a little bit of humor and these beautiful landscapes and you're in this position where you go what if I took the incredible light of the landscape and combined it with the sense of humor of elliott erwitt and the fact that I have this wide angle till chief lands or whatever your mechanical constraints are that's the act of creativity is when you combine these things and it made it may be a total failure and the answer to that what if maybe but you've tried it and you learn usually more from your failures than you do from your success so you try and then then it leads to another okay, but what if I did this right? You look at an aa doesn't work, the tilt shift thing was ok, but what if I took this and this and combine it with okay, so you know, bad ideas are often important because they lead us to better ideas and I think that's where it comes into our process and taking okay, I kind of know what my vision is now I'm going to express it, but again, we'll sort of talk about that in a minute, but it does lead to a question about style and I'm jumping ahead here I'm going to go back to the idea of obstacles ah lot of people ask about style and they're often saying, you know, you know, I'm really working on getting a style that's one of these questions or one of these indicators that maybe we've asked the wrong question I think because if you if you were daily looking to discover your vision and express your vision if you are in fact a unique person which I believe everyone is and if you have a unique vision and you've kind of you're working through it not you have worked through it and have found your vision you are finding your vision will evolve all the time it's always changing and so that's the sucky part is you wake up in the morning having yesterday discovered your vision and today it's like start from scratch a lot of the building blocks they're still there but the fact is we're growing people and you may have heard a song last night that changed your world it changed your perspective and today you're more hopeful or you're more depressed or your vision will change every day as as you experience life and you react to what's in front of you and the question about style is really putting the court cart before the horse you're saying how I express myself in a unique way that's visually kind of easily defined um well unless you know what you're expressing, how do you even get into the issue of style and so my encouragement to myself and to others is that you learn to express yourself and you will naturally find that you wake up one day and look at a body of work and people are already saying, oh, I like your style really? I had no idea I had one of those you know because you've not been chasing style you and the aesthetic is you're trying new things, but world if you pick up a guitar and start learning music at some point you will probably get into a certain groove there will be certain songs that you like to play certain songs that you don't if you're a writer, you will get into a certain genre there is no artistic discipline that is this schizophrenic as we are right writers you will not find many writers especially established writers that are writing horrors and you no op ed pieces and scifi and happy teenage romances and right they're not writing in seven different genres they've picked a genre and they're getting good at and it's usually because it's just simply the way they naturally flow you will naturally flow you may flow into several different styles you may have color stuff that you love in a black and white kind of way of expression there's no saying that you have to have one style but I would say abandon the issue of style, pursue vision, figure out your vision daily, process it and then as you learn to express it in the ways that naturally come to you you know, there are very few people that go you know I'm going to be the hdr guy just that they figure out this is what appeals to me. I like the aesthetic of this is not me saying this I not that I mind if there's nothing wrong with a share necessarily um okay there's something's right? Never mind not everyone you wake up in the morning you don't decide I'm going to do hdr that'll be my style you start doing his share because it appeals to you because there's something about the aesthetic that you like that there's something about those tools that allow you to express yourself in a certain way you like that more colorful kind of palette and and maybe it's it's more painterly it's a lot more surreal. Maybe it leads you to do stuff that is more interpretive and surreal I think what we need to do ah instead of pursuing style let's do a style b the byproduct pursue your own vision pursue figuring it out pursue figuring out how you like to express that how you enjoy expressing it if you just love black and white just don't worry about the voices that say all black and white doesn't sell units just pursue black and white just do it love it and eventually you'll find that's your style but who wants to I mean that's not the the goal the goal isn't tohave a style the goal is to express is often to do in a way that's unique to yourself that you like so I that's my roundabout sermon about style and I think I think it's not entirely relevant it's good that you have one eventually but that comes as a result it's like it's like weight training and that sort of thing I think you're better off pursuing health rather than pursuing, you know, looking amazing and shedding these last pounds because people that want to shed those last pounds and look great with your shirt off very often they take the quickest solution they go on a diet just so they can look a little less repulsive when they take the shirt off on the beach. But as soon as they go home you know they get back into the lifestyle where someone who's pursuing health, you know it's it's a longer journey it's harder journey but eventually the byproduct is you take your shirt off of the beach and you don't look quite so repulsive, right it's just a question of which goal are you pursuing what's the means and what's the end? I want to go back to the obstacles because I think there's a couple things that stand in the way of of figuring out and expressing our vision the first is ah lack of introspection many of us as I said, we want this to be easy. We want to just go out with our camera we want to geek out with the gear if you want to create images that look a certain way and say something, you have to have something to say and if you want to have something to say, you got to know what that is it's not just going to magically appear to you, you know? I mean, you could go through the dictionary, just pick words and call today I'm just going to shoot artworks, and I don't know why howard marks was like in the middle of the dictionary there, but anyway, it's kind of an odd dictionary um it's a conceptual dictionary, not alphabetical and now I've lost my train of thought lack of introspection. So I think the first thing we need to do as we begin to explore how the way how do I get my hands around this vision concept is you need to be willing to be more introspective. You need to be willing to be a little bit of a navel gazer and I would encourage you to even started kind of a visual journal where you buy ah little moleskin notebook or whatever and you write down the things that appeal to you you write down when you're driving down the street without your camera and you go well, I wish I had my camera right down what it was that you reacted to, what what draws your eye? Because there are things will dry your eye that won't draw another photographer sitting in the same, you know, carl, right in the seat next to you and you'll be going, oh, I wish I had my camera and he'll be going, oh, I wish I had my camera and you're looking at two totally different things because you're both you're drawn to do two different things and becoming aware of that, I think is really helpful and keeping some kind of visual journal where if you going through a a magazine and you see something, I love that tear it out, stick it in your in your file if you're going through, you know, the there's, a program called ever note that's really good for this kind of thing that you can take photographs of with your iphone. And so if you see something, if you find a snippet online, if you see you can begin to collate this into sort of your own. Visual inventory about things that you are drawn to and like and you could have one that's kind of the reverse is a negative one. That's this is the stuff I really don't care for, you know, like you see photographs and people on on flicker are going oh, this is amazing! And you going? Yeah that's one of those that's going to go in this pile, it's a not to be negative and not to be critical about it. It's an indicator to you that I have no interest in this. So why even pursue it? You know if if I mean if you want to do sculpture, don't do sculpture do watercolors if you don't want to butt in photography's we all feel like we have to try everything and everyone's always on about me you know what you're going to hd are not going to do hdr and I'm picking on hdr little. I have no problem with hr when it's done right it's too tool like anything else could be overused to cammy underused could be abused, but I don't have any interest now. Some other person may basin I mean trey ratcliffe. Who does this stuck in customs website, he does an incredible amount of hdr stuff and that's how he likes to do things he's not right or wrong, it's not good or not good it's his way, and he loves to do it, and who am I to say don't do hdr? I just don't want to do it, and so why would I feel like I needed to hdr? I'm not going to do a lot of studio it's because I don't like studios, I don't, I'm not going to do the job, mcnally off camera flash thing, I have a lot of admiration for joe. I like joe's work, I like it, you know, the whole strove this movement amazes me just so I've actually started a list of things I don't do people say, well, you know what you're what would you suggest is a minimal lighting kit? And I saw that question on twitter for me, that's a terrible question cause my minimal lighting kit is don't bring one, you know, that's, the minimal don't bring the lighting kit if you're not drawn to it, I don't feel like you have to haul it around and set it up on my lighting kit is a five and white one light disk I bring the biggest one that I can cram into my suitcase and that's it now sometimes I will bring flash when I'm on assignment, I bring all that crap because I know I might have to use it I don't want to and every time I think of ten different ways, I can get through this scenario without pulling out my speed lights, so I don't like using them so all of that to say that I don't know what that was to say, I just connect the dots, watch the video the second thing is trying to be like someone else I really I think there's a lot of good in looking at other people's work, I think there's a lot of good in studying the past masters, seeing what's out there asking yourself I love this image why does it look like that? What were the optics? He was really, really critical about photographs picking them apart, learning the language of streak, I think all of that's very important, however, trying to be like someone else and feeling the pressure to shoot someone else's stuff like when I go to southeast asia in the back of my head, having steve mccurry's photographs there is not helpful to me now I can learn from steve mccurry's photographs, but as an influence when I'm going there going, oh, I gotta get a shot just like that that stands very much in the way of me discovering my own vision then it's just me replicating someone else's vision and god knows the world has enough, you know, people copying each other. What the world does not need is another steve mccurry. It doesn't need another annie liebovitz or elliott erwitt or insert favorite photographer here it needs more of you and and I don't mean more photographs from you, I mean like photographs with more of you in it that's what art is it has something of the artist in the photograph, in the more of you that you can put into it, the more satisfied you will be with your work and the more other people will look at it and it will not only tell them about what you saw, but we'll tell them about you and about how you felt and how you see the world and trying to be like someone else. I think even you will look at other people's work oh that's so great man, I wish I could shoot like them it's a constant effort for me to free myself of those voices because when when I'm thinking in that way, as soon as I think that way I'm thinking, how can I replicate our wolf's vision? Not how can I better express myself so it's a conscious effort, I go on look at art with stuff on the walls and I have to ask myself not how can I do this? I asked myself what can I learn from this like why am I responding this way what we love about this image and so you become more critical and again you begin to learn the language of critique aah look at art stuff and I'll say why do I like it? What lens did he use? What how did you get that light? How was this you know, was this a multiple exposure was and you just you ask yourself questions and you begin to kind of learn and then ask yourself how could this possibly fit into what I do because obviously there's something you like about it? So I'm just dismissing all that's you know, learn from it but don't then go into the field and oh, I got to replicate that one where the mountains were in the two thirds and then the moon was really big over here and then I gotta wait until I was probably about nine o'clock so I gotta wait until nine o'clock and you know, people on the internet asking you know where ansel adams shot his picture and getting gps coordinates oh my gosh like you no come on, I mean let's let the guy and his work you know, just let it figure it out for yourself that's my sermon and I'm sticking to it the third one that I want to suggest as a challenge to us discovering and expressing her own vision is not taking risks. Taking risks is huge as artists we need to be more willing to risk and I don't mean like I'm going to risk my credit line by going and buying a new hostile glad because I can't do this without a thirty thousand dollar camera that's not the kind of risk I mean that's the stupid risks I'm talking about putting mohr of yourself into a being more transparent being willing to fail and ask yourself what if a little bit more like everyone shoots portrait's from eye level what if I shot it from on the ground? What if what if everyone says that the classic portrait lens is one hundred thirty five millimeters? What if I use the widest angle will ends I could find um I envision this is a color photograph what if I use black and white and yes you could fall on your face yes you could fail yes that weird you know lighting scenario that you'd had a dream about last night and scribbled on to a piece of paper on your bedside you wake up and go uh kind of weird try it what's the worst that there's just photographs you know and and for digital photographers they're just number bits and bytes on your computer you hit delete on it's gone but taking those risks may lead you to something better, and you may have your vision is not going to come out until you wrestle it out and wrestling it out is sometimes trying something, you know, putting for me one of my weaknesses as a photographer. Very often my compositions are very simple, not necessarily simplistic, although sometimes they air in that direction, and so I've been trying consciously do complicate my compositions a little bit, and so I have this technique that it's, not mine, but I call it the put crap in the way technique, and so I try to put something intentionally in the way in the foreground that I'm kind of shooting, shooting through a little bit so that it gives a little bit more feeling of being in the scene, it's a little more, a little less contrived feeling, and I'm trying to kind of get that kind of less, you know, for a long time, I shot kind of very soft lighting, and now I'm I'm trying us. Ah, pull up an image I shot on assignment recently for, uh, for world vision and it's, this is the kind of stuff I'm trying now, intentionally to go against the grain of what I have done for so long, it's still expresses my vision, it's just me discovering new new means to do that so where I would generally go for soft light and towards the end of the day go okay you know what the soft kind of light is has gone and let's start wrapping it up now I'm starting to intentionally play with lens flare shooting straight into the sun lying I shot this almost well actually I was lying on my stomach with a two hundred millimeter racked out as far as it would go and just having them walk down the road and so I'm I'm playing with things and intentionally kind of mixing it up these from ear the risks and I know that in this case my client this is not a shot that was on the brief it doesn't even go with kind of visual branding that this particular organization uses they use a different kind of look but I wanted to try it it didn't hurt we were wrapping up and I just said, hey let's try they'd already walked one way down you know towards me with the nice dial like I wanted to try backlight and so I just said keep walking and I just turned around and asked them to come back and I played and I wrist and it's not a risk from a career perspective they'll just look at it go ok that's nice we're not going to use it but our risk in the sense of you just got to try you got to try new things and that's where you're going to discover because this about discovery you're going toe, you know, shoot and then you're gonna go oh, man, I really like that, eh? It was just trying it was just a what if it wasn't? I've tried this many times before and I am an expert in this technique I shall now try it's hey, what if I and you just try it? You know, open lens wide up pointed towards the sun overexposed under expose it take risks because people that write the history of any particular form of art are not the ones that color in the lines they just never on and figure out what those lines are that you're coloring in them and color outside the lines that's one of the obstacles to finding an express because it's a cycle right, how you express your vision leads you into new ways, leads you into finding a little bit more out about your vision, and then you express that alarm or so it's sort of like, you know, an upward hopefully and upwards spiralling vortex, where one kind of leads to the other you trying new techniques, your vision kind of expands, then your vision outpaces that technique, and then once your vision's kind of outpaced that technique a little bit, you try start doing taking risks technically you try a new technique you buy a new lens experiment was something new you see an aesthetic and someone else's image going wonder how they did that I wonder if I could incorporate that and then you build your technique and then your visions are school look at that because your muse will never take you anywhere your craft is not already technically able to bring you but they kind of play off each other you know it's like one pulls it forward and they kind of do this so the more risks you take the more able you are not only to it discover your vision but to express it as you discover it and this will I know this will lead me and has led me excuse me to taking photographs that in the past I wouldn't have because I was just I got so in love with soft light that it was always you know, defused and and that's great but soft diffuse light can only express so many things it's like a writer saying well, I only use these kind of herbs in my novels and okay, well that's good, but what if you branched out a little? What if you use active verbs instead of passive verbs might be a more exciting novel so I mean it's just a metaphor but I think it's apt and that different tools they're different parts of the visual language and the more able you are to use them the more you can then go with greater nuance and greater control this would actually express my vision really well if I used it this way right? So the more tools you have, the more you risk the more experiment the more able you are to teo to express your vision all that to say not risking stands in the way very often of us expressing or discovering our vision are there any questions about that? You guys have any questions about you know, this kind of aspect the challenges and discovering and expressing your vision and then I kind of have a question on a more macro level because police about getting back at me from this morning um so you're I mean kind of what you're talking about with this vision is about the image specifically so on a macro level for me like what my whole video was about like I want to change the world you know, change the way teen girls see themselves. So for me what gets in the way of that is two things myself like questioning why even think I can do that like who my toe? I think I can deal with that and I I mean, I talked a lot of you know, people on my block who had that same thing question that they're even able tio the stand in that role, or even say, that is, step into that so that's a huge thing, and then the other, you know, issue is just the practical side of me that comes in, like, I love what chase says about create and share and then worry about or don't worry, but then think about how you're going to sustain it, but the practical side of me as a wife and mom and person who actually has to live and eat and in this world, that sustaining is always kind of in the back of my head saying, yeah, that's great that you want to go out and photograph teen girls and change their lives and the way they feel about themselves, and we're doing that and and all of that, but but if that doesn't sustain, then that's like where that's that struggle, right? And I get that there's a struggle, but that really can get in my way, sometimes of of not taking those risks or not even feeling like I'm going to be able to express that vision. Yeah, I mean, we all struggle with that every everyone struggles at some point with, um, because there's two creative acts going on there there's the creative, creative act of discovering expression your vision, then there's the creative act of dealing with the logistics right, like I mean, I really believe that I said this envision mongers building a photographic business should be an act of creativity and what astonishes me is you get these photographers were highly creative really I mean that's just they would never dream of taking a photograph even remotely like someone else has taken I mean, they're trying to forge their own path and then they decide I'm going to be a photographer and they go so how does everyone else do this and and and it's just like it's the most profoundly un creative approach to the creative life and I really feel like I mean your challenges right now you could approach them as just well, I just gotta figure out a way and I can't see a way so clearly there's no way or you could say this too is an act of creativity how am I going to work within those constraints and it's again? It's allowing yourself to be frustrated and challenged and realize that all the way through this there will be some kind of constraint you will have always have the edges of the canvas to paint on and you cannot go beyond those so either find a bigger canvas or you find someone to write you a check or there's a million ways to kind of be creative about the sustaining part but again, you know you gotta risk just like with your photography, you gotta risk and the risks associated with finances or a little bit greater and but I would encourage you not teo, not to allow those logistical constraints to prevent you from at least dreaming right? Your vision isn't prevented I mean, you could dream as big as you want without ever having to worry because this's an issue of how how logistical issue of how big is my canvas in your mind that canvas cumbias biggest possible and I would never allow that canvas to get smaller than it needs to be I mean, paint the biggest canvas in your mind you can then be creative about okay? How do I get a and maybe you start on a small canvas there's nothing wrong with that he started a small canvas and you go bankrupt and this happens and then this happens and then suddenly you realize, oh, that was the path to get me to a bigger canvas and were very day today people were like, oh my gosh, if I don't have if I don't have things figured out by the end of today it's never going to work it's gonna work it's just like your craft craft is a lifetime you can't judge the body of someone's work when they're thirty years old and just had a camera for two years it's it's going to be a lifetime of discovering your journey and figuring it out so that in hindsight we look back and go oh, ok, that was the body of the work that they created and it's the same way with their business model golden, same with all of this stuff it's were in process and it's always going to be a challenge, and so I would say, just don't let the logistical stuff because we've all got some all of us have that, you know? Oh, if only I had a three hundred millimeter lens off only I had that tilt shift if only I had and some of us I mean it's been a photographer twenty five years. Finally, I've bought a tilt chef lin's after twenty five years, and I didn't buy because I needed I bought it because it's a a new aesthetic and I want to play with and I want to explore it, and but again, if you allow yourself to get in that spot where you think, oh, I can't create this unless I have this I mean, yes, there were technical constraints, and I know there's going to be all kinds of comments from the geeks that say, you know all about you absolutely need to have I know I get that, but don't let it stop you from dreaming and envisioning and then figure out a way borough the lens find someone who's got one that you know you can go in and buy one together you know I mean there's always a way creative solution if it's that important if your art is that important that it has to be done, you can't not do it, you will find a way even if it means you go on working starbucks a za part time job or whatever you know what we want is I want to create my art, but I want to do it conveniently you know I want to change the world but at no cost to myself and so ignore the one for now and focus on the other because again, discovering your vision is not the same is expressing it deal with expressing it when you get there deal with the constraints when you get there for now put them aside because if you let all of this stuff you don't have cloud your thinking you'll never get off the ground you'll always black while I can't do that because so then what can I what dream can I dream that it's so small that I could possibly pull it off today? Who wants to dream small dreams dream the biggest dream you can and then worry about how you're going to pull it off once you've got a handle on you know what the dream is but let the dream dictate it you know and I know I know that sounds totally idealistic sounds totally pie in the sky but got one life to live you get one kick at this, you're going to fail no matter what you do, you might as well try I truly I mean, even if you try to do the most mediocre thing, you're going to fail at least once. So why not try to do something amazing? At least if you fail, you know, you go down trying going to fall off a bike, fall off a six, foot unit cycle I mean, at least you tried, right that's and I know I'm idealistic and I know, but this is coming from someone who's on the other side of personal failures on the other side of artistic failure, whose gun bankrupt and I look back and go, it wasn't that bad and I'm still here and and my, you know, I I could have not written my first book and just, you know, I mean, I had other dreams, I had a plan, and initially I wanted to do this, and then this little opportunity presented myself to do this. And the question is, is your plan more important than your overall vision? And I dreamed big and I went let's see what happens, what if and now I'm you know, I'm so far away from my initial plan that I'm glad you know it's taken me to a place actually truly wanted to be but I the path that I was going on was thie here they're constraints what can I do? What the possibilities and I was actually on my way to just doing something that was just ok because I thought it was possible but then there was that what if and I went okay fall and had you said to me hey you could you know you could write thes box or you could do this or I just honestly I would never would have even taken that step because I want that's not possible so I don't know if that makes any sense or even helps but says that advice is worth a billion dollars yes right the jackson score send me a fraction of that absolutely santa's ra the billion dollars she will give me my cup here so david we did have a number of people asking even earlier talking about that what stands in their way is is that fear of failure but um jeff in australia says I live on the other side of the coin I'm fearful of success so since you know, maybe I could talk to that um that's a good fear um I without I mean without sort of dissecting exactly what he means by that um no matter what your fear is, I suggest you confront it, you know, what is it about your failure that you're scared about? What is it about your success that you're scared about? And um, to be honest, I actually have more struggle from my success than I do from my past failure? Um, because both of them are difficult and I'm not complaining I mean, I love I love what I'm doing, but I'm as much as I'm a fairly transparent person, I'm also ah, ah pretty private person and I really struggle with the expectations that come from having a whole bunch of people, you know, reading my block and reading my books and and now I I've got enough success that when the book comes out, I'm more more scared of the failure because it's like, you know, the higher you are, and I'm not saying I'm on a big pedestal, but you know, you're right you're right too good books and then the third one is like everyone expects, well, this is going to be a really good one, and you're thinking, well, I know I open is, you know, I did my best, but maybe it's not so the expectation, but again, it's, you know, I think most of our fears are totally unfounded and if you can it rather than kind of look at this scary face of them kind of unpack them ago what's the worst that can happen so I failed so someone writes a bad amazon review you know you read it yet you get sad for a couple minutes and then you realize you know what? Not everyone's going to like my stuff I mean I'm not the only voice in photography and I say a lot of things that are pure conjecture and opinion and they're going to be a lot of people who disagree with me they're going to be a lot of people to look at my working ok I don't like it okay? You're free to not like me I'm free not like your work we can still get along you know? I mean there's photographers out there that I really like it's not like they're work does anything for me I just happen to really like them, you know? Sure, if I met authors I wouldn't write meet authors who I really liked that idea like all their books so I don't know I don't know what the answer to that is but fear whether it's about failure or success you just gotta face and take the risk risk through that because remember courage isn't the absence of fear courage is an act of the will in the presence of fear, so if you're scared whether it's a failure or of success whatever your fear is, just pushed through it and risk it because the issue isn't what's holding you back, the issue is something's holding you back, so push through it, move on, we're not trying and not doing anything is you've got to try and and it's hard, I mean it's not like I have no fear when I fear as much as anyone else, I just I think the question is, what do you fear more? I fear getting to the end of my life and realizing I didn't risk enough that I didn't do the things that I wanted to do. I fear that more than the somewhat temporary result of falling on my face now I've experienced the failure I mean, I failed. As you know, as a comedian I've been in front of thousands of people and had bad shows and a comic death is a very painful death failing in front of two thousand people, you're a vocally you can't fix it, that's, that's, you know, I nearly little an ice rink on fire, juggling torches at the very beginning of my career is a comedian. I experience some real failure I was in a straitjacket once it was the end of my act I did a straitjacket escape and I was supposed to get out in three minutes I had just broken my hand so it was in a cast and I had just gone on stage thinking well the straitjacket fits it'll be fine and three minutes came and went I mean as far as failure to not get over the strait jacket at the end of three minutes you know which the finale to the show after which I'm supposed to finish to thunderous applause three minutes comes and goes and I haven't moved and I'm sweating there's the jokes are gone this is not funny anymore it took me like eight minutes to get out of that straitjacket that was an unequivocal failure except that the audience thought it was unbelievable they leaped to their feet they gave me the best standing ovation on my life it was by all accounts a failure but failures you know, failures lead to some interesting places for a while there I almost thought of we're giving that part of the act you know, maybe I need to make this a seven minute finale so you've got to try it and you got a push through it and embrace the failure you know, because sometimes the failures you look at a photographing all that stinks and the lady go actually that's pretty cool, like, what if you shot this and and you were accidentally, but then you decide who I really like, that lens flare, and that says something and adds to your visual, you know, your visual tool box that you can use later. It's. Not a failure if it leads to something you can use later, some, which is why I should be careful about getting rid of images. Yeah, and and honestly, you learn more from your failures than you do from your success. So, um, you know, if you have an opportunity to take a risk, and it means you might just fall on your face, take it, because you'll learn something, and I won't be painful and humiliating and probably expensive, but you'll learn, you know, I mean, wasn't that what college was all about. It was painful and humiliating, an expensive, you know, we've got a piece of paper at the hunt, right?

Class Description

Join David duChemin, author of the best-selling Within The Frame, as he teaches you how to use your camera and the digitial darkroom to find and express your vision as a photographer.


Maros Matousek

I have just finished this great class and ended up with a notebook full of notes. I highly recommend this class to all who would like to take not only technically perfect photographs but more importantly who want to express their vision and create something that moves others. I read many books by David and still enjoyed and got a better understanding throughout this course.

Melvin Williams

This course may seem to drone on at times but I firmly believe that repetition or other restatement helps learning. I highly recommend David's course, his ebooks and his site. He gets to the important stuff about photography. He focuses on the conceptually tough stuff like vision, finding your own, and less on the "geek" technical stuff that, while necessary, is only a tool to accomplishing your vision, what you want to say in your photograph.

Phillip Ziegler

David is always worth listening to. The course might have been shorter given there was a lot of repetition and conversation that wasn't terribly interesting or valuable. But when it was good it was amazing. I learned a lot and it was worth the time and money spent.