The ultimate goal of most photographers is to capture a great shot and produce a print, book, blog, social media or some other form of output and do so as efficiently and as accurately as possible. Many photographers spend enormous amounts of time and money on their cameras and lenses but often neglect to consider the actual workflow, which can be a huge mistake. For the workflow to flow the color management must match as the image moves from through the chain from camera to output and it all really starts with with an accurate color profiled monitor. Folks fail to realize that the monitor as just as important as the camera and lens. Maintaining accurate color not only insures quality but in the long term in lowers the amount of time and money you will spend because with accurate color management you can produce a print or any other output faster, cheaper and more efficiently.
I use Lightroom and Photoshop with two NEC MultiSync PA302W monitors.
I think the most important thing for photographers to do when searching for new equipment is to understand what their goals are and to fully understand the process to get their. For example if you want to make a print and you spend $50,000 on camera gear and use an old monitor without proper color management you simply won’t succeed at your goal. Read books from trusted authors and take the time to take workshops and then talk with other photographers and finally shop around and buy from a reputable vendor.
I wanted to be a photographer since high school. Back in the Kodachrome days I was just starting my career as a newspaper photojournalist in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse, according to the Farmers Almanac, ranks fourth among the rainiest cities in the U.S. and cloudy 212 days annually. One might think that I would be unhappy in Syracuse but gray is a wonderful background for color and images standout against a dark sky.
My career has changed dramatically over time based on what inspires me. My inspiration in Syracuse was photojournalism and I completed what is still one of my most rewarding stories ever in Syracuse. The story was about a little girl who was burned and it ran on the cover of Empire Magazine. I continued photographing Renee and photographed her college graduation and even her wedding 20 plus years after working on that story. Finishing that story also made me realize that I had accomplished what I wanted to do with journalism and the publishing of that story led to my conclusion that it was time to move on.
When I finished the burn story I had grandeur ideas of changing journalism. My first assignment when I went back on the street after that story was an assignment photographing a woman with a very large cucumber in Baldwinsville, NY. It was great to get that assignment because I realized that it was time to move into my next phase. Sometimes we can get very comfortable in an uncomfortable place and we need a kick in the pants to move forward.
The moving on led to magazine journalism and eventually onto corporate annual reports and then to teaching and self generated assignments and fine art. Each phase of my life has come naturally but I would have never guessed that I would be teaching and traveling the world while I was in Syracuse. If I had to do it all over again I would take the exact same path. Working at a newspaper provided an excellent foundation for my future and I cherish that experience to this day.
For projects involve teaching…teaching is part of the growth process for me and I love it. I have the ability to work one on one with students and watch them grow. We tend to have many repeat clients and there is an immense amount of joy is witnessing the growth that takes place when you have the opportunity to work with someone over and over again. As a teacher I strive to engage, challenge, and inspire growth in my students. It is my hope that every student is capable of the same passion that I feel for photography and with that philosophy in mind, I teach within a structure which I believe fosters critical thinking both creatively as well as technically.
My teaching philosophy revolves around the idea of being as well-balanced of a photographer as possible. Technical skills must be mastered as well as conceptual skills but it must start with a solid image. No matter how accomplished you are technically, if your ideas are weak, then your images simply won’t work, and, conversely, no matter how good your ideas are, if your technical skills are lacking your images can’t work. No matter how innovative the idea is, it is not worth showing if it is done poorly. My teaching philosophy is to enable each photographer to create their own vision—to see things others would not see if they were standing right next to them. In this way, you learn how to see the subject matter that you might otherwise overlook. We all see color, but no two of us experience it exactly the same way; my shade of red is not what you’re seeing. Yet as a photographer, I want you to see what's in my mind's eye, which is where the challenge lies to capture and render a particular vision.
My second goal is to hone in on a students personal aesthetic point of view. We examine the choices that we make when producing a photograph, the choices that differentiate a great photograph with a lasting impression from a mere snapshot. I want to enhance their vision into the world of reflections, patterns, gestures, tone, abstractions, movement, and texture to name a few.
I want to extract their personal creativity and bring it to a new level.
I believe that photography is best learned by immersion. To challenge and be challenged by my students is my third goal. I begin with the belief that every student possesses unique capabilities that can be shared with others if given the appropriate supports. I challenge my students to share opinions with and to mentor one another. I also expect to be challenged by my students. I encourage my students to ask questions, and I am straightforward about not having all of the answers. When I become “stuck” I seek the input of my colleagues. Above all else, I challenge my students to understand that I am open to their thoughts, eager to hear their opinions, and thrilled to learn with and through them.
Finally, I attempt to inspire growth in my students.
For myself, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. Teaching is never stagnant and it is a constant process of learning about new philosophies and new strategies, learning from fellow photographers and colleagues.
I believe in a flexible manner of instruction, responsive to the unique atmosphere of a given class. I am aware of students’ different experiences and temperaments in hopes of developing their strengths while ameliorating their weaknesses. Every student, regardless of background, can improve his or her abilities and be emboldened to push beyond their own experience expanding their skills and their vision.