Washhboy Photography: Blog https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kevin Washington washhboyphotography@gmail.com (Washhboy Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:25:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:25:00 GMT https://www.washhboyphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u336594428-o745091008-50.jpg Washhboy Photography: Blog https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog 80 120 2018 52 WEEK MOBILE PHONE CAMERA PHOTO CHALLENGE https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2018/1/week-1-of-my-2018-52-week-mobile-phone-photo-challenge Last week's theme was "rural". This week I didn't shoot for a theme. I just captured what caught my eye. All photos were shot and edited on the iPhone X using the native camera app. 

WEEK 2: Whatever Captured My Eye

 

2018 PHOTO CHALLENGE: I've decided to do a 52 week mobile photography challenge for 2018. I'm going to only shoot using cell phones and edit in mobile apps. I'll post my week's photo(s) on Sunday. After consulting a few YouTubers, I reached out to some retailers about this and two companies are sending me phones to use in this project at no fee. I reached out to 3 and two replied. The phones are actually on their way. I'm actually pretty excited about this addition to the project. All I have to do is blog about it. It's amazing the resources that are out there when you are made aware of them. So I guess I'll be dusting off the blog on my website for use in 2018. :) I look forward to sharing.

 

WEEK 1: Rural Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree Tree This week's theme was "rural". All photos were shot and edited on the iPhone X using the native camera app. 

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washhboyphotography@gmail.com (Washhboy Photography) https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2018/1/week-1-of-my-2018-52-week-mobile-phone-photo-challenge Sun, 21 Jan 2018 16:50:59 GMT
Was photography school worth it? https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2015/5/was-photography-school-worth-it Now that  completed the Art Institute of San Antonio's Digital Photography degree program, earning a BFA in Digital photography, I've been asked more than a few times was "art" school worth it? I think that's an odd question considering I believe that any educational experience is worth it. If you leave knowing more than when you arrived, it was worthwhile. I guess a better question would be did it make me a better photographer? And the answer to that is YES!!!

For those of you not familiar with the Art Institute, it's a fully accredited, for profit college with a well-rounded curriculum containing core photography classes, general education classes, and a wide variety of electives. No school's curriculum is perfect, but I would argue that is also the appeal for a school as well because it's a continuing education process. It will never be perfect because the photography profession and knowledge about the profession is continuously evolving and changing. As students, it is natural to complain about the things we don't like. But that doesn't mean it will be any less of an educational experience or important for us. And I was no different. I can name three classes I didn't particularly like or thought I needed, one I was on the verge of hating. But just like on the job, there will be aspects of the job that one does not like, and yet it has to be done. So like I said, even at its perceived worst, college does prepare you for the future.

But what about the photography? Let's get this question answered right now. Did attending college for photography make me a better photographer? Yes it did. But it did so much more. Prior to attending, I was a hobbyist. I had the love and the passion, but the technical know how and the historical understanding was still unknown to me. One of the most important lessons I learned at the Art Institute was to see myself as an artist. Prior to that, I saw photography as only a craft. It was a powerful craft that I loved, but only a craft nonetheless. I did recognize photography as an art form, I just didn't see myself as an artist. I think a lot of it had to do with being older and the negative connotations that are often associated with artists by someone of my generation. My perception about this first started to change when I took the History of Photography class. My instructor (she knows who she is) guided me and the rest of the class through a previously unknown side of photography. As a lover of history, this moved me in a way I didn't think I could be in my 40s. I immediately started to realize the word "artist" was multidimensional and really didn't have a meaning that could be put into words that would apply to everyone. Art, by it's very nature can be objective, subjective, and/or biased all at the same time, depending on the viewer as well as the artist. I started to get inspired by photographers like Gordan Parks, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Anne Leibovitz, Man Ray, William Eggleston, and so many more. I can say that not until History of Photography did my thirst for photographic knowledge really kick in.

We had classes on just about every aspect of photography and lighting, although they leaned more toward the commercial side of photography because the goal of the institution is for its graduates to get a job. But that was ok with me. But as a healthy counterbalance, we did have instructors with fine art backgrounds that enabled us to also get a healthy dose of that perspective as well. While not always my favorite perspective, I came to realize its importance because as I've come to observe, the fine art and commercial side of photography are often at odds over what is good photography and what is art. They approach the camera in two completely different ways with completely different mind-sets. It was always an experience to listen to and debate photographic concepts with fine art photographers. They forced you to look at photographer in a more conceptual way. I don't think they were ever convinced to see it purely from a business standpoint though. Although I didn't lean that way as much, I learned so much from their point of view that has also enabled me to better my photography and to take it places I would have never considered prior. My passion is documentary/editorial/street photography. I won't go into my least favorite, but we all have our least favorites. I've often said college taught me just as much about what I DON'T want to photograph as much as it enabled me to know what I DO want to photograph.

In conclusion I would like to reaffirm that I will always cherish my experience at the Art Institute. It was invaluable to my success as a photographer. And as a result, I now have a full time job as a photographer. How cool is that? To actually work in the profession you went to college for. That's not such an easy thing to achieve in this modern day and age with this economy, particularly as an artist, more particularly as a photographer. Because of the diversity of what I learned in school, it helps me approach photography from a much wider and open perspective; which is a talent many photographers don't have. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of self-taught photographers that are doing wonderful work that I still look up to, admire, and respect. But my education is an invaluable investment that has already started paying off. And when all is said and done, at least for me, it was always about the knowledge. I crave knowledge, particularly in things I'm interested in. And there is nothing I love more than the art of photography. (Except my wife in case she is reading this. I love you more babe.)

Kevin Washington

"Keep it F8"

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washhboyphotography@gmail.com (Washhboy Photography) Art Institute college education fine art photography school https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2015/5/was-photography-school-worth-it Wed, 27 May 2015 00:17:52 GMT
My critique of the Critique, Part 2 https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/my-critique-of-the-critique-part-2 PROPRO

As I broach the subject of the photo critique again, it comes after I've completed a chapter in my life. About two months ago, I completed a BFA degree program in Digital Photography. As part of any learning/education process, critiquing is a very important part. If you've read my first blog post on the critique, you know that I think critiquing is only useful in a very narrow set of circumstances. And I have to say the same applied to peer critiques in school. Throughout my three years of school, I explored just about every major genre of photography, including the history and business of photography. I think school is a great tool in filtering out what you DON'T want to do just as much as it helps you decide what you DO want to do. I was required to take four portfolio classes where we shot, critiqued, and narrowed down selections for our final portfolio. Let me start by saying this was a very useful tool. I always took the critique of my instructors seriously, and applied a lot of their input to my future photos. Not all, but a lot. I have a healthy respect for all my instructors. And if you remember from my first blog post about the critique, respect is an important criteria for useful critiques.

Now let's get to student/peer critiques. One of the biggest problems I had with student/peer critiques in an academic environment, particularly in the arts was the fact that we all for the most part had very different areas of concentration. I, being a documentary/editorial guy would find it hard to objectively, without bias critique a portrait photographer or food photographer. I honestly tried but found myself looking at their work through my documentary/editorial eyes. And I'm sure that's the way they viewed my work. While getting input can be useful no matter what type of photographer you are, I believe you would be doing a grave disservice to solely base where you go with your work on the critique of someone that doesn't even shoot what you shoot. Guidance on the technical, yes, but on your style and the way your present an idea, hell no. Nobody knows that better than you. Here's an example: during one of my portfolio classes, one of my peers decided to shoot all fine art nudes for the entire class. I'm not a fine art photographer, but I did recognized that my classmate did some outstanding work in this area. But the problem was there during the critique, there were a few people that seemed to not like nudes of any type. I suspect they lumped fine art nudes and pornography in the same ball. So critiques from them were always negative. There were a few others that didn't like males a subjects, so their critiques were biased. And lastly, as a result of feedback from the class, the photographer decided to shoot subjects that had more "average" bodies, and not chiseled like her first few attempts. When she presented them, the class negatively critiqued them solely based on the appearance of the models, which she was encouraged to shoot in the first place. As a student, this was all still a vital part of the learning experience. But as a photographer trying to "find" themselves photographically, not so much.

As as I start a new chapter in my life as a photographer post academic, my opinions of the critique are unchanged. I personally do not critique other photographers' work unless they personally ask me to. And I will ignore other photographers critiquing my work if I either don't respect them or respect their work. And remember, critiquing is not a synonym for being an ass, dick, or personal attacks. Critiquing is a tool used to point out what can be better in a photographer's work and most importantly, input on how they can improve. Because telling a photographer what they did wrong without any input is a waste of time. If you don't want to part with your "secrets" for better shooting, then you shouldn't part with your critiques either. If that's the case, keep them both to yourself.

And finally on the subject of critiques, if you are unable to be objective in your critiques because of your genre of photography, perhaps it would be best if you said nothing at all. Photography like life is a work in progress and what is accepted as the norm today can change tomorrow. Beware of people who critique your work using absolutes like "never", "always", etc. These words have no place in art, which is ever evolving. If all else fails, find a photographer you trust and respect and ask their input. If they are worth their weight in photographic gold, they will give you the feedback you need to be a better photographer. And to hell with the "know-it-alls".

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washhboyphotography@gmail.com (Washhboy Photography) critique photography https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/my-critique-of-the-critique-part-2 Mon, 19 May 2014 15:30:35 GMT
My critique of The Critique https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-critique-of-the-critique READ KIDSREAD KIDS

As a photographer, artist, or just about anything you can be that your results are evaluated, at sometime you will be subject to a critique of those results. Critiques can be positive, negative with feedback, or just negative. Either way, a critique is an evaluation of your work by someone else. But for the sake of this blog posting, I'm going to focus of the photographic critique. Keep in mind this opinion applies only to random critiques; it does not apply to potential employers, academic instructors, potential and current clients, or industry professionals.

I want to say first off that this is MY opinion and view of the photographic critique. First off, photography can be both art as well as just a service. When you provide a photographic service, your client is the only critique you need to be concerned with. That's not to say you can't seek out advice and ways to improve yourself, but in the end, if the client wants, the client gets. Second, you the photographer and the client decide if the photographs are "successful", meaning they convey the intent the client wants. A random photographer in a Facebook group commenting on your photo doesn't determine that. And third, outside of the technical, what input can you offer as an outsider? You're critique will ALWAYS be biased. For example, I don't particularly like newborn photography, so I would never offer an opinion on such work because it would be extremely biased, which serves no purpose other than hearing myself talk.

What about the "art" of photography? This is where it seems like every photographer in his or her high horse has an opinion and it seems to be negative. I can't stand the "random", unsolicited drive by critique. This is the random photographer that writes a book on your photo, but offers no feedback and has no idea what you were working towards with that photo or body of work. Facebook groups are good for these type of people and their critiques mean absolutely nothing to me, as they would for most. I'm a firm believer in two things: 1. critiques are only desired if asked for and 2. your critique will only serve a purpose if the person being critiqued respects your work. If you shoot newborns and you're critiquing a fashion photographer's work, it will fall on deaf ears. Photographers have different tolerances for critiques. I personally take them with a grain of salt because as art history has proven time and time again, critics are often wrong because they don't have a historical perspective in which to draw upon. What this means is that often critiques are linear, limiting, biased, and lack a global view. I support and welcome technical critiques WITH FEEDBACK. Don't tell me my white balance is off without telling me which color or how to fix it. If you don't provide feedback, then you're just bitchin'. And you don't have to be a photographer to do that. If you're going to critique on my concept or theme, then the first thing out of your mouth should be "What are you trying to accomplish with this photo?" Because how can you make an informed critique if you have no context in which to critique from? It's like trying to sank a free throw blindfolded. All the basketball knowledge and skill in the world won't mean a thing if you don't know which direction the goal is. Once you have some context, then have at it. But be aware there are many ways to convey a message or feeling, not just your way. Saying things like "I would have done this or you should have done that" may offer some new insight to the person you're giving the critique to, or it may not be inline with what they are trying to say. Artists are as diverse as the population they represent. That means how they choose to visually communication concepts and ideas will also be just as diverse. 

In conclusion, here are a few things I believe will help the critique be a more successful form of art discussion. Only critique when your input is solicited. You are not the photography police. It's not your duty to correct all that is wrong with photography. For every time I was told not to tilt a photo, I open a publication and see a tilted photo. For every time I was told not to crop at joints, I open publications or see a billboard where photos are cropped at the joint. For every time I was told that selective coloring was too cliche and a fade, I have 10 clients requesting it and I see a jewelry ad using it. When you do critique, don't be an asshole about it and always give feedback. Reframe from critiquing the type of photography you know you don't care for. It's impossible to be unbiased toward something you don't like as a genre. And the final thing I would like to suggest, and this is for you holier than thou photographers that always have a critique ready: dial it back a bit. 9 times out of 10, by the time you get to saying something useful, the person has already tuned you out because of the shitty way you approached the whole thing. No one really likes to be told negative stuff about their work, even more so if you have an attitude about it. Do your photographic thang, and if your opinion is wanted, it will be asked for.

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washhboyphotography@gmail.com (Washhboy Photography) critique photography https://www.washhboyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-critique-of-the-critique Fri, 17 Jan 2014 06:19:46 GMT