The Quiet Observer

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

© Greta Dalen

Greta Dalen is the quiet observer. During the photo workshop I taught in Villajoyosa, Spain, this spring she wandered the narrow streets of this small-town; quietly watching life as it was unfolding before her. She approaches her subjects with respect and honesty. Greta is a street photographer in a classical sense – at least when she photographs on the street. She waits and waits and then in a glimpse of a moment she captures that little interaction between people, that little movement that brings magic to a picture. She keeps her distance, let people do whatever they do, and let daily life go by as it does. She is not intrusive. However, she captures those intimate moments, those private interaction that creates captivating images. Greta doesn’t believe in tricks or enhancements, but in capturing the right moment while focusing on entrancing content.

Posted in Photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

Colours of a Fading Season

Høsten har slått inn med fulle farger i Stordalen

Munchow_1278-141_E

Pat på tur i Discovery Park

Pat på tur i Discovery Park

Høsten har kommet til Discovery Park

This is just a little tribute to a season that is quickly coming to a closing. In the northern hemisphere autumn has once again produces its spectacular rainbow palette. Many places the colours are at their most intense right now, but where I am right now the season is already fading. Soon we move on to the next season, a season of white and blue. But before that, let’s linger a little more with the saturated palette of autumn, of the green, yellow and red spectrum of the colour wheel.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged | 84 Comments

Modest Beauty

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

© Andrea Cochran-Pastel

Andrea Cochran-Pastel – in the blog sphere know as andelieye – has an eye for beauty in the common, and maybe more than anything; beauty in nature. Her visual language is quiet and reflective. She approaches her subject with a meditative and contemplative mind and brings out the inner stillness and the subject’s inherent being in her photographs. As she writes on her blog; andelieya is someone on her path. Walking by the rivers and lakes. Following the cycles of day and night, the seasons, birth and death. Dreaming big. Unlearning. Her own description of her pathway also describes her imagery. Andrea captures the tranquillity in details and from this creates a visual story that expands to convey the bigger issues of the universe. In a serene and pensive way. Her colours are beautiful but never complacent and there is a certain modesty about her tacit compositions. All so very beautiful. For more of Andreas work, look up her blog andelieye. By this post I have presented all the participants from the eWorkshop I taught this spring, and I want to thank all and everybody for the enthusiasm they brought into the workshop and the willingness to let me look at their wonderful work.

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Nothing but Photography

Sven viser bilder til to av sønnene til Miguel Nuñez og Katarina Nuñez

Why is it that so many photographers seem interested in nothing by photography? They wouldn’t go to an exhibition except when photography is been showcased. They wouldn’t talk about arts except when it’s about the art of photography. They wouldn’t show curiosity for anything but the craft of photography. Why are photographs so self-absorbed? Other artists are interested in more than their own craft, but photographers seem to be only interested in photography.

I don’t mean to rant or to patronize, if anything this is a question to myself and in so doing confronting my mostly former self. I used to be all absorbed by photography. Yes, I could appreciate a nice painting, but I wouldn’t go to the length of seeking out a gallery to discover the art of painting. I certainly wouldn’t go to an arts performance. When I met fellow photographers we would immediately connect and start talking about technique or maybe even photography in a broader sense if we got that far. I would be curious to find out more about the other photographers I ran into. But when I met other kinds of artist I didn’t show more than polite interest in their doings. Today I think it is quite strange, to say the least, that I would say no to a whole world of other creative endeavours and potentially inspiring encounters. Now I recognize the same in so many other photographers; they close themselves up for this whole stimulating world outside of photography. Saying so, I should of course add that lots of photographers do expand their horizon beyond their own self-centred worldview.

But then; what is about photography that invites its performers to reduce and narrow the creative experience? For one I think it’s partly the geekish component of photography, closely connected to its technical aspect. I see a certain fascination with the advanced technology that modern cameras are an exponent of, and I certainly can be excited myself about a new lens or a new camera I have acquired. But the excitement soon wears off and I become more interested in the picture creating aspect of the gadget, not its mere technology. I think for a great many photographers – or so-called photographers I should maybe say – the fascination never develops beyond the technical aspect. That’s their interest more than the ability to create images that speak from the heart and add insight into our diverse existence.

Nevertheless, it’s not only the technological nerd who stays self-centred around photography. I see photographers genuinely interested in the creative component of photography, but still never roam outside their well-trodden path. This I find harder to explain – although I have been there myself. Is it still the mechanical/technological aspect of photography that sets it so apart also in the picture creating process itself? With all other arts the artists need to create everything from the ground (more or less that is), but with photography the photographer takes what is and captures an image of whatever that is (and I do realize that computer added design has somewhat changed that idea in certain areas of photography). Do we think that because of this mechanical rendering of the image we have nothing to learn from other arts? That the technique also limits the learning experience or the value of other expressions or art?

As much as I have been there myself, it still puzzles me that it seems like photographers have a tendency to isolate themselves from the rest of the creative world. We should instead embrace all there is, find new ways of performing our arts, combining methods and ways of expressing ourselves and learn from whatever there is to learn from. In my post Diversify and Become More Creative I wrote «we will learn much more, and find more interesting ideas, if we look beyond the lessons already learned by our peers, and look elsewhere.» I really think we should spend much more time with other works of art or even collect inspiration outside of the artistic world.

Why do you think that photography almost inherently invites to a more closed minded approach, a more self-absorbed creative attitude? Or am I maybe completely wrong? I would love to hear your opinion.

Posted in Challenging Yourself, Creativity, Photographic Reflections, Photography | Tagged , | 109 Comments

A Tilted View

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin observes the smaller details in the bigger picture and makes them the visual story entrance. Often it’s just an expression in a face, or even the lack of expression, sometimes it’s a posture or a little facet that seems odd when viewed in a wider context. No matter what it is, her images are always intriguing. There is a bond between the way Inger Ellen sees and captures the world and her own grounding and down to earth attitude. This is also reflected in her photographic approach. There is a calmness and stability in her visual understanding, even when she photographs something very chaotic. She brings her conceptual understanding in line with the world and how she sees that world. The viewer will always find an intriguing element somewhere within the frame, which is either skewed or just a bit off. However, it’s often concealed behind a well balance and delicate composition. The images presented here Inger Ellen captured during the photo workshop in Villajoyosa, Spain, earlier this spring.

Posted in Photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , | 57 Comments

Let Images Reveal Themselves

En ensom mann nyter en varm høstsol ved Elliot Bay Marina

Sometimes I find myself running around frenetically searching for images, searching for the muse that seems to having hidden somewhere around the next corner. Or maybe the next after that again. It most often happens when I arrive in a new place, I have an assignment and limited days available before I know I will have to fly out again – and bring back those images that the client has asked, and not the least paid, for. It’s like my body gets all geared up and almost aimlessly runs wild. And the more I frenetically run around like that the more the muse will hide for me.

Then I know I need to stop. I need to let go. And I need to sink into the situation rather than keep running. Really let go. The photos will be right where I am – and not around the next corner. If only I let myself open up to what is. The great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: «I’m not responsible for my photographs. It’s drowning yourself, dissolving yourself and then sniff, sniff, sniff – being sensitive to the coincidence. You can’t go looking for it; you can’t want it, or you won’t get it. First you must lose yourself. Then it happens.»

I don’t know why we photographers always believe the gold is around the next corner – or at the end of the rainbow. Why we go to the far corners of the world hoping to find that one photograph that will for always give us peace in mind? Is it something with the process of collecting snippets of real life? That craving after what we don’t have, believing the grass is always greener on the other side, which manifests itself in the photographic process? Or do other artists do the same?

The thing is what we might be looking for is where we are. And if we are already there, there is nowhere to go. We don’t have to look around the next corner. You have all that you will ever need – right here and right now.

I do love to travel and go to new places. I will openly admit that, but I have also learned that going to remote places, doesn’t make me see better or capture better photos. While travelling is great fun and can be a source of inspiration, we need to be careful that we are not just caught up in the endless need for novelty. What is required to grow as an artist is not running around to one place or clinging to another. The fullness of experience and the richness of treasures are only discovered when we realize they are within and when that within is being in balance with out. Creativity and vision are available to all who are willing to listen to the wise words of Lao Tzu: «Be still and let the mud settle.» Our work is to drop the burdens that obstruct seeing, and, yes, to be still. Let go. Breathe. And allow yourself to sink into the situation. More times than not, images will reveal themselves.

I think I learned the lesson as a kid. We were always on the move. From one place to another, not staying longer than one year at most in any place. I learned a valuable insight – without being consciously aware of it at the time: It is possible to bloom wherever you are planted. Later in life I put the experience from my childhood together, realizing that we don’t need to be somewhere else than we are. That insight has also completely changed the way I go travelling. It’s not for the thrill of experiencing something new and «better» but to learn more about life and myself.

«Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.» – Joseph Campbell

Posted in Creativity, Photography | Tagged , | 104 Comments

The Expressive Flâneur

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

© Dalia Daud

Dalia Daud has a unique and very personal photographic voice. She sees and captures the world with the eyes of a contemplative and conscious seeker. For her the world holds no mystery, she sees through the human disguises and pretences. And then captures their vulnerability with tenderness and sensibility. When she was for shooting her personal photo project about isolation for my eWorkshop Dalia attended last spring, she would find her subject everywhere. On a train, on the streets, at home, in a shopping mall, from above or from below. Her approach is with a curious and open mind, walking and observing, both with detachment and with passion – as strange as that may sound. She is a flâneur – a connoisseur of the street, capturing the world around her with sharpness and tuned in to the drama unrolling on the streets she is strolling. Always with a great sense of light and composition. Needless to say; her camera is her mobile phone which makes it possible for her to move around as a fly on the wall. If you want to see more of her pictures look up her blog Dalia Daud Photography.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , | 66 Comments