an senior professor orating

Prof. Harald Mante is sharing his thoughts on picture series during the opening of the exibition.

»A picture series can contain a number of strong images that become stronger within the group of others. The photograph itself must not be exceptionel but the series could be. You have to manage to get good photographs to put together and you have to manage the design task to put them into one frame in an interesting and aesthetic way. As a spectator you can look at the series as a whole and moving foreward you can study the elements.« This I took as a summary of what photographer Prof. Harald Mante (author of the book Die Fotoserie respectively Serial Photography) said in his speech about picture series. He introduced 126 picture series from 43 amateur photographers who study in the Altenakademie (academy for the elderly people), a nonprofit educational institution in Dortmund. Every week they have one task to do and their best picture series are shown from February 10th to March 7th 2013 in the Hansesaal in Luenen in the exibiton named »The Picture Series«. If you want to watch the exibition in the evening there are additional oportunities.

It worth a visit!

Here are some of my favorites:

the art of presentation

view outside the Sanaa-Cube with an art exibition inside, outside and inside merging.

View outside the Sanaa-Cube with the art exibition C.A.R inside.

Context matters while presentating art and other matters of interest. – On the weekend of 02.11.2012 to 04.11.2012 there was the art exibition C.A.R. Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen, Germany. With the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Zollverein Colliery and the SAANA-Cube the exibition has a very impressive backdrop.

There were a lot of interesting works of art – sculptures, paintings, photographs – that aroused my interest. But …

Photos on display board that not can bet seen well

what I want to do is to write about context. The backdrop, the halls, the walls, the light all those elements build the context that a work of art is perceived. In addition there are the spatial sound, the voices, the smell of the building and the visitors. Not to forget the question whether the artist or the gallery owner leave you in silence or try to sell you something. In the photo above there is a situation where I only stopped by to make the photograph of a completely failed presentation because of the lights blinding me.

My favorite space was the showroom of the ART-isotope Gallery Axel Schoeber you can see in the photo below. Axel Schoeber created a context for the work of the artists Sónia Aniceto, Eberhard Bitter, Andrea Kraft, Georg Meissner that was pleasant to be in and was giving space to the work to appear. He and the artists were cautious and were waiting for questions instead of asking themselves. So I could perceive my way and I loved it.

A view in a showroom of the art exibition C.A.R

Showroom of the ART-isotope Gallery Axel Schoeber, Dortmund, Germany

What fails is our apprehension

A couple looking at a photograph created by Joel Sternfeld © jens-stachowitz-photography

»What fails is our apprehension of our incredible amasing and beautiful world.« is the statement of Joel Sternfeld that resonates most within me. First of all I have to say that I am trying to understand which message Joel Sternfeld wants to tell the readers of his photographs, books and the listeners of his lectures. I am not quite shure that I have got »it«. What makes me unsecure is a photograph I did not like at a first sight and that I did not read careful enough. The icing on the cake is as small as a stamp in this large-format photograph: A baby that suckles at the breast of his mother who is sitting on a couch that was taken out of a moving van in front of a new building somewhere at the city limits close to the woods. Someone else pointed to this culmination of this photographic short story I did not apprehend. So I have to say that it may be true that I am a very well trained to read situations and relationships what is essential to do my work as a facilitator, but I have to educate my perception of pictures and photographs.

What I have percieved in the current exhibition of Sternfeld´s work in the Museum Folkwang and whithin a lecture he held on July, 16th 2011 and a short conversation is that Joel Sternfeld is a »concerned photographer« – the Süddeutsche Zeitung called him to be one –. What is he concerned about? Money? Fame? – No, not at all!

It appears to me that Joel Sternfeld is a very self-efficiating contemporary, a humorous and amicable storyteller. He is concerned about doing great work, getting on a higer level of perception, telling something well-founded about our world and our society wanting to improve it, saving our incredible amasing and beautiful world from unpleasant acts mankind could and does do. He tells us »what we do with the surface of the earth tells us who we are« in this video, but he is not at all a itinerant preacher. He is not at the frontline either like a war photographer risking his live in order to shock and push us. Sternfeld is looking for subtle undertones that touch our souls and Sternfeld is creating photographs we want to look at more than one time, those that do not disgust but pull us in.

Joel Sternfeld is concerned about relationships of humans to each other, humans to nature and colors to each other. His eyes light up when speaking about color shades in his photographs. Yes, he is concerned not only about the story in the photograph and the story behind the photograph but also about the composition and the color. Some of Joel Sternfeld´s photographs are shown online by Luhring Augustine.

Museum Folkwang exibits different series of photographs Sternfeld created starting from 1970 till nowadays. Very much I do recomend to visit the exhibition in Essen, Germany till Oct., 23rd 2011, then touring to Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna.

And: look carefully. – Thank you, Joel for your teaching!

Creativity is needed in all spheres of society

Photo © Joey Armstrong

Corwin Hiebert is a consultant and manager to creative entrepreneurs and shares his thoughts about making up our personal creativity in part one and generating, developing and communicating new ideas within the context of community in part two of his e-book Your Creative Mix.

Corwin Hiebert is likeminded to me. My work as a freelance facilitator is to help people to come together and solve problems that occour in town development. They need to be creative, often need to find a conflict resolution, they need to trust each other, let go the competition and need to get ideas happen and things done. So I am experienced in collaboration and I fully aggree with Corwin´s statement that the ideas presented in the e-book »are universal to all kinds of creative pursuits«. Corwin is addressing photographers but you can benefit from the reading when your profession is another. Creativity and collaboration is needed in all spheres of society.

Corwin like me is »a firm believer in learning from all kinds of sources« and vividly describes ways to nurse and to evolve creativty. Corwin too is a manager and he gives great advice in this e-book how to systematically work on your creativty, ideas and community. With case studies he illustrates his thoughts.

I think that there is a great need for books like this because we are faced with huge challenges and we need to shape our way of living, our behaviour and our society. In 1976 Erich Fromm published a book titled »To have or to be?« I read as a teenager. Fromm influenced Corwin – I do not know whether Corwin is aware of that influence – who tells us to create value and to focus on our legacy and not to fokus on making money. Money is not a good motivator for great work but happly occours and pays the bills.

It is no surprise that there is a chapter telling you that creating value this is hard work. But there will be a gratification when the work is done and you should reward yourself before heading the next project.

I reccomend reading Your Creative Mix.

drag your readers into your photographs

Spreadsheet out of »A Deeper Frame« by David duChemin

There are only a few authors who focus on their and our vison and approach, the composition, the story or message of the photographs we create. First of all I will mention Andreas Feininger whose books I have read in my teenage days. A friend of mine still tells me that there is almost nothing needed to be written down additionally. Maybe he is right, maybe not. I did not stop reading books on photography.

Feininger started his book with the qoute: »Know how is worthless without knowing why« (1). In the chapter on spatial depth he tells us »spatial depth can not be portrayed directly in a two-dimensional photography: you can just give a symbolic hint at« (2) and »to create the right kind of illusion of spatial depth requires work and thought« (3). So I did not espect to read something in David duChemin´s ebook A Deeper Frame I haven´t read before. And I espected a consensus because I feel that both are like-minded.

David also starts with the »why« and then he explaines »how to« create the perception of depth with using our viewpoint and perspective, choice of lenses, focus, color and light. He thinks about the (flat) »frame cubed … because geometry and balance are so incredibly important and composing for a cube is different than composing for a rectangle« (p 9) and he suggests to »consider applying the thirds« we are used to use in the horizontal and the vertical »to the depth of the image« (p 9).

David intentionally does not write on »conceptual depth« but strives the »depth of feeling« – there is the difference to Feininger. Here David comes to the conclusion »What it takes to touch these deeper emotions is impossible to pin down«. Pity! But David has reminded us in blog-posts, books and lectures that exploring and accepting our own feelings and vulnerability is essential. The best piece in this regard I have seen from David is his ebook Venice when he felt his deep solitude during some rainy days and was able to express this feelings through photographs. So seen David is able to pin it (the deeper feelings) down very well but not to write the »how to« down – currently. I do think it is worthwhile to ask the question »How to touch the reader emotionally?«. Not in the answers, but in trying to find answers lies the value.

Back to A Deeper Frame: David illustrates his lectures with photographs and graphics. For me it is a good dose of knowledge and insights he provides. As always I do love his photographs, some of them filling the whole page. So I recommend reading A Deeper Frame dispite owning books from Andreas Feininger. Worth reading! Both! Repeatedly!

There is “The Usual” Special Offer on PDFs
For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code DEEP4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of A Deeper Frame for only $4 OR use the code DEEP20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST July 2nd, 2011.

There is an additionally “The DEEPER” Blow-out Offer
Craft & Vision is offering their deepest discount ever! 12 eBooks for $40. That’s $3.33/book! Fill your shopping cart with 12 ebooks and use discount code DEEPER12 to get $20 off! This code expires at 11:59pm PST July 2, 2011.

(1) Andreas Feininger, Große Fotolehre p 13; (2) ibidem  p 375; (3) ibidem p 374, all translated by me

microstock offers the potential of having a career

photography © Nicole S. Young

Nicole S. Young wrote down her experiences with Microstock Photography. Her e-book (micro)STOCK: FROM PASSION TO PAYCHECK was released at Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 in the series of CRAFT&VISON.

Nicole´s conclusion is: microstock is ”available to virtually everyone and it offers the potential of having a career with limitless creative freedom and a really great lifestyle.“ Nicole also tells her readers that “like many things in life it’s definitely not easy” to exploit the potential of Microstock Photography. So I choosed this photograph above to highlight my opinion: Nicole´s deliberations appear as reliable as far as I have experienced the world till now.

Starting from trying out and hoping for some dollars Nicole did the whole way to a fulltime career. From her “start to finish it was a solid 2.5–3 years of growing” her microstock business before she was on her “own, single, and paying” her “way through life with photography“. She had a lot learning experiences with photography and microstock before she made the decision to become a professional photographer with the microstock being her “bread and butter”. So her story and the three stories (case studies) from other photographers inserted in the e-book tell us that they started diminutive, made the transition slowly and found their specific road to pecuniary success photographing what they love.

There is a »but« too: You must serve the needs of your unknown customers – Nicole will tell you her insights. A good microstock agency will treat you with inspections and image requirements – Nicole will tell you those in brief. You will have to do a lot work on your own and have to learn from your faults: learning by doing! Nicole´s e-book (micro)STOCK: FROM PASSION TO PAYCHECK will help you to avoid some faults and will help to start with a clear sight of what you are heading.

The PDF version of (micro)STOCK usually is offered for 5$. You can use the promotional code MICRO4 when you checkout to save one dollar OR use the code MICRO20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST June 11, 2011.

to be reflective leads to a never ending process

Cover of The Vision Driven Photographer - eBook by David DuChemin

This post is inspired by the eBook The Vision-Driven Photographer by David duChemin. This post is also inspired by a documentation about the monk Martin Luther and his influence on the Germans that was broadcasted in the german televison two years ago. What is the correlation of both? – I will give it a try to formulate what holds David and Martin together in my mind.

Martin Luther could not be quiet to circumstances the clerus was responsible for. He was fought and he put his life on the line to tell the world that in the relationship between God and one single person no institution ever should or could play a role. Luther wanted the mind to be free. He wanted people to be good informed and to judge autonomic. This dates back for nearly 500 years now and we still are struggling to build, sustain und evolve democracy.

Now, what to do when you – thanks to Luther and a lot of others – are free from constraint? What to do when you are and feel responsible and you do not like to be a part of an unaccountable mass? What to do when you are an individuum willing to be a emancipated person and a part of a human collective? You should perceive, sence, think about, digg deeper, …, judge, plan, act and be reflective.

David duChemin is a photographer and a teacher for photographers and he reminds us in his books to intentionally create photographs that are expressing in the clearest way what we want to say. This expression – and this is my thought – is a necessity when we want to be an emancipated person and want to shape our life and our society. David duChemin reminds us that writers, painters, musicians … express their feelings and thoughts with other languages and other tools but the process is the same. Like photographers – and let me add – all other emancipated persons – they have to figure out how they percieve the world they live in, they have to figure out what they want to tell the other individuums they want to reach and have to figure out how to successfully communicate.

David duChemins topic is personal and photographic vision: “We all have vision, the question is: are we aware of it? Personal Vision is how we see life whether or not our eyes are open. It grows, it changes, it flip flops depending on where life takes us and that makes it the challenge it is. You think you understand it, catch more than a fleeting glimpse, and maybe you do for a while, but one day you wake up and it’s changed for some reason and you have to rediscover it all over again” (p3). “It’s an endless journey” (p23, David duChemin: The Vision-Driven Photographer).

If you do want to create rich in content photographs, poems, songs … I think it´s worth to have a look into the eBook The Vision-Driven Photographer.

If you use the promotional code DRIVEN4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of The Vision Driven Photographer for only $4 OR use the code DRIVEN20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST November 28th, 2010.

Eli Reinholdtsen is chasing reflections

spray-painting © by Eli Reinholdtsen

Today and want to introduce Eli Reinholdtsen a photographer-friend of mine living in Oslo, Norway. I met Eli in Genua when she was arriving for the second week of the Italy Within The Frame Workshop in April 2010 and I was leaving after the first week. Eli I first met virtually on facebook as a result of Jeffrey Capman´s building up a workshop community. Eli posted this photograph (above) to introduce herself into the community and I was very impressed. I like this photograph very much! Eli has been an avid snapper ever since she was given her first camera at the age of eleven but discovered the infinite potential of creative camera modes about two years ago. Like to be seen she did the discovery very fast.

Eli and I – and other participants too – had a glass of wine and I had a very good conversation with Eli that avoce my wish to stay in touch with her. Later on within her workshop week she put a self-published book called “Folk” into David duChemin´s hands at the breakfast table and as a result of this introduction this ebook (beneath) was released by Craft And Vision on July 28th.


Very well done Eli! I am very impressed by the photographs in this ebook. The photographs have multiple layers inside combining at least two images in one, leaving question marks and stimulate curiosity. Its a joy to see the full size photographs on the first half of the book and the smaller sized versions with comments on the back half give very good explanation and education. Eli loves what she is photographing! She loves street photography, she loves reflections and is drawn to when people are wrapped up in their own thoughts. Her photographs make me smile but the photographs are the result of hard working: Comming back to see whether the light is better, waiting for an hour ore more to catch the moment, trying to create a better photograph in the same setting but another moment, not giving up when she could not capture the image she wanted to create. Chasing Reflections – a wonderful art piece and photography education at the same time! Highly recommended!

Buy at the webshop of Craft And Vision

For the first four days only you can enter the promotional code REFLECT4 to save 1 $ (will expire at 11.59pm PST August 1, 2010).