Neil Gaiman’s Advice For Creative People Is Harsh, True, And Mostly Optimistic

If you are currently struggling with your art, your career path, your passion, this is a very good speech to hear.

If you never heard of Neil Gaiman you must not have consumed any content in the last 10 years. Neil’s been practically anywhere, from Books (American gods), Comics (Sandman), the movies (Stardust) and plenty of others.

Aside from being one of my favorite authors, Neil seems to have ‘wondered’ into success, rather than set a goal and charge forward. In this 20 minutes Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts from 2012 Neil pretty much throws the truth about being in the creative field in everybody’s faces, and he does it in the most charming way possible.

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10 Important Lessons in Creativity

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It’s confession time. I’ve been struggling lately with my creativity. The client work is fine. It’s the personal work– the stuff that’s supposed to satisfy my soul between the paid gigs– that’s taken a dip. I have a few theories, but a funk is a funk and sometimes the harder you try pushing through it the deeper it gets. Chances are I’m just over-thinking it. After all, we’re talking about art, right? You’re supposed to feel it, not think it.

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Why We Started Photography in the First Place

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When I was in high school, I started messing around with my dad’s DSLR. It was a Canon EOS 20D, and we had two different lenses for it. I started carrying it around and taking pictures of stuff I thought looked cool. Then I took whatever Photoshop skills I’d been accumulating since the 7th grade and started editing the hell out of everything I shot. It was an entirely new hobby for me, and I eventually started wanting to make short films and try putting together a portfolio.

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Breathtaking Surreal Photographs Taken With A $50 Camera (And 100 Ton Of Talent)

If you thought that it takes the last word in gear to create incredible work, think Again. Ukrainian artist, Oleg Oprisco uses a $50 Kiev 6C and a strong vision to create photographs like you’ve never seen before.

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Oleg was born in a the small town* city of Lviv. He spent some time as a developer in a photo store and some as a photography assistant, but none triggered his creativity. The thing that eventually got the creativity out of him (though we suspect he was creative all along) was a getting a Kiev C6 camera  – a medium format, 12 shots a roll, camera. Oleg shares that the fact that he only has 12 frames makes him carefully work on each frame.

The photos are amazingly created in camera, using props, styling and brave models, as Oleg notes. [Read more...]

Documenting War: Matthew Brady on the American Battlefield

While the American Civil War was not the first armed conflict to be photographed, it was by far the most bloody and gruesome up to that point. Considered by many to be the father of photojournalism, Matthew Brady was a studio photographer in New York who began cashing in at the outbreak of the war by specifically marketing portraits to families whose sons were leaving with no guarantee of returning home.

"Havoc". Effect of a 32lb. shell from the 2nd. Mass. Heavy Artillery, Fredericksburg,Va.

“Havoc”. Effect of a 32lb. shell from the 2nd. Mass. Heavy Artillery, Fredericksburg,Va.

Eventually, Brady secured permission from President Lincoln himself to travel to the battlefields with the express purpose of documenting the conflict. Armed with a daguerreotype and portable darkroom, he set out to immortalize the realities of a war that not only shaped the course of American history but, de facto, the course of modern history. Brady’s exhibits and galleries, often filled with graphic images of rotting corpses on the battlefield, brought the realities of war to the home front for the mostly-untouched North. [Read more...]

The Misconception of Perception – Documenting the Gap Between What We See and What Is Real

It began with living in the real world, a place that drives me to perpetual curiosity. Humans are a fascinating study, even for the layman like myself. These subservient minions of biology seem hardwired for utter chaos, and, like receiving an ambulance dispatch to a freshman sorority at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, not even God Himself can predict what you will see next.

Little-known fact: In a previous life (before a wife and kids), I was one of those people they would call out to pick up the drunken pieces after a college bash. But, it wasn’t all fun and games…there were also those times of trying everything in my power to revive a loved one who just died in my hands as their family screamed in anguish around me. But that all seems so long ago…

The cynical phrase, “Nothing is as it seems,” rings especially true. As humans, we naturally perceive what we want to perceive, and, no matter how much we sometimes like to convince ourselves we’re being truly objective or non-judgemental, we are constantly making subconscious judgement calls throughout our daily life. [Read more...]

Facing the Demons of Camera Shame

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He is one of the most iconic American photographers, an innovator in his time responsible for aiding in the awareness that led to the preservation of some of our most spectacular natural treasures. He has left millions awestruck by the imagery he captured and inspired millions more to aspire to follow in his steps. His skills were commissioned by government agencies, and the value of his original prints stretches well into the millions. He is Ansel Adams, and his camera was an outdated, antiquated piece of rubbish.

I am certain most, if not all, photographers have experienced it at one time or another: the feeling that you and your skills are made inferior by the equipment you are using, a condition commonly known as camera shame. We shrink back into the shadows around other photographers with “more-pro” gear than us, we avoid conversations with photographers who are knowledgeable about equipment, we miss or turn down opportunities out of embarrassment, and we find ourselves tripping over ourselves in the pursuit of “the next great thing” in hopes of being able to hold our heads high in public. [Read more...]