+ Like everything in life, the more you do photography, the better you get at it.
+ I am a Warwick, N.Y.-based photojournalist with 48 years of experience, most recently as the Director of Photography at the Times Herald-Record newspaper.
+ My work has won hundreds of awards, been published around the world and can be seen every week in the TH-R and every month in Orange Magazine. I am the photographer of the "845LIFE" series in the TH-R and the "Roadside Orange" feature in Orange Magazine.
+ My photographs have been turned into two large-format books "The People of Vietnam" and "N Y C" and two soon-to-be published books entitled "Twischsawkin" and "Kaaterskill."
+ The most important piece of equipment a photographer carries is a brain. Thinking up ideas and making those mind images appear in the camera is the role of a photographer. But, at every step, algorithms are replacing people, technology undercutting creativity.
+ Using a camera today has become frustrating because of the loss of control: Yes, you can just point a cellphone at something and get acceptable results - and add bunny ears, too - but for real creativity you have to overcome the technology that gets in the way.
+ So, the challenge for hobbyists is controlling the camera and not letting it control them. For professionals, the challenge is making the image in their brain happen in the camera.
+ The challenge for everyone else becomes respecting the artist's vision and, with all the social media bullshit out there, that's not as easy as it sounds.
+ Great photography is an art, not a science. Algorithms can't compose pictures and letting software select shutter speeds and f-stops is both brainless and lazy.
+ A camera is like a paintbrush: It's a tool that takes years to learn how to use correctly and just when you reach the top of the knowledge hill, you find there is more climbing ahead. Using your brain, experience and camera at the same time is the magic in photography.
+ However, people today, while mostly honest, are very lazy. Fighting against technology to create something unique seems to be too much.
+ In “Harry Potter,” Professor Dumbledore kept telling his students to pick between what was right and what was easy. But, these days, easy seems to win every time.
The Moral of the Story.
+ Experience counts and it is more important than anything. Personally, I wouldn't hire a photographer - or a plumber or a lawyer - who doesn't have at least 10 years experience. But we live in a fake-it-until-you-make-it era and pretend photographers are notorious liars.
+ What most people don't realize is that cameras don't take photos, photographers do. The best photos are created in the brain first and in a camera second, which requires both experience and skill. The worst are of people looking straight ahead and smiling. Brainless.
+ A musician once said to me: "You make great photos, you must have a great camera." I replied, "You make great music, you must have a great violin." But I'm not sure my wise-ass response got through.
Off the rails.
+ Here is how bad it's gotten: The Internet, once full of promise, has backfired. Online commenting has become a shouting match and social media is full of ignorant, selfish, and in some cases, criminal people. The real experts, if they're smart, refuse to say anything.
+ Corporations continue to leak personal data to the bad guys, the impending threat of deep-fake technology threatens to provoke a genuine crisis and bluetooth beacons are tracking your every move inside stores and selling the information back to retailers.
+ The question has always been: Are you entitled to your opinion if your opinion is wrong? The ancient Greeks and, later the Romans, came up with a surprising answer: Yes, you are entitled to your opinion but you're not allowed to spread it to others. Interesting, methinks.
+ The Internet circumvents: The ignorant and the fraudulent now have a direct pipeline to the masses and the general public is coming to the battle unarmed.
Quote of the Day.
"My cousin from Kansas once had a boyfriend from Boise who took a photography class in high school - damn near passed it, too - and he'll take your pix for free."