Aug 18 2017

LensWork – The World’s Finest Photography Publication

Are you familiar with LensWork? I suspect that most of you are, but if you are not…

I consider LensWork to be the world’s finest photography publication. Why? Because of the quality of the artists they publish and because of the quality of the printing, it is spectacular! The quality is better than most of the photo books I’ve seen and I think ofttimes better than the original images.

I’m not a print expert, but I do have a pretty extensive and varied print background: I worked in my own darkroom since 1968, learned digital printing in 2004 and I was an offset print buyer in the 1980’s and worked extensively with Gardner-Fulmer Lithograph (where I would run into Ansel Adams doing press checks).

My point is that I know good printing and LensWork has amazing printing. Ask anyone who has ever seen a copy. 

To learn more about LensWork, you might start here:

You can subscribe or you can pick up a copy in selected bookstores. However I should warn you that because LensWork is physically shorter than the other publications, it often gets lost in the crowd. So if you’re in a Barnes and Noble and you don’t see it, check behind the other Photo Magazines.

And if you do decide to subscribe, might I suggest that you do it before the October 2017 issue comes out? Consider this an omen of things to come…


P.S. Sometime I’d like to tell a couple of Ansel Adams stories, including how I came to have a print of “Aspens” hanging in my home. 



Aug 11 2009

Your Images Remind me of Ansel Adams’ Work!

When I was younger, the ultimate compliment someone could give me would be to say: “Your images remind me of Ansel Adams’ work.”  He was my childhood hero and I would dream of being “the next Ansel Adams.”

But then one day it hit me; there already was an Ansel Adams and nobody would ever do Ansel better than Ansel.  And was that really the extent of my ambitions and the apogee of my dreams, to copy someone else’s work?  I suddenly realized that I needed to create work that was uniquely mine.

But how?  There isn’t a subject that hasn’t been photographed many times before, so how could I create unique work?

While it is true that most everything has been photographed, it has not been photographed through my eyes.  We each have a unique vision buried inside and we must learn how to bring it out and develop it.

I am certainly not there yet, but I recognize what I must do to reach my goal.  It is this desire to see things uniquely that has led me to the controversial practice of not looking at other photographer’s work.  When I see a tree, I do not want visions of another photographer’s work flashing about in my head so that my creation simply becomes an imitation or extension of their work.

If possible, I would like to see that tree as if for the very first time, like a blind person might see it after an operation gives them sight for the very first time.  Of course this is not completely possible, but I do try to keep my mind clear of other images as much as possible.

When I photographed people on the street of Ukraine, that certainly was not a unique idea, but I hope that having people close their eyes was a unique approach.  Photographing ceiling lamps was not an original idea either, but I hope the viewpoint was.

I believe that we each have the capacity to be original, that we each have a unique vision that can be developed.  For some, like myself, it was buried deep and I didn’t even know that it was there.  Others are lucky to have this talent lying near the surface.


Jul 21 2009

Always Stop

2004-11-27 Windmill in Moonlight Final 4-15-2008 750Windmill in Moonlight

This is the first “good” image that I created after a 30 year absence from photography.  It was photographed in 2004 using my new Canon Digital Rebel with its amazing 6mp sensor!  Waaaaaay back then digital was not accepted in fine art circles, but I felt differently about it’s ability and potential.

I had just dropped my friend off in Nebraska and was heading home when I came across this sight.  It was a magnificent scene with the snow covered ground being illuminated by the near-full moon, and with a delicate fog hovering over the valley.

I wanted to stop, but it was late, I was tired and it was cold.  So I drove on.

But after a minute I remembered a promise that I had recently made to myself; I would never again pass by a shot.  If I kept going, those conditions and that opportunity would be lost forever, and so I turned around.

Hiking back through the snow, I was rewarded with an unbelievable scene…and then my battery died.  I took out another and soon it was lifeless too.  It was so cold that my batteries lost their strength and I would have to warm them up with my body just to get a few more shots.

The lighting was also a challenge, the moon was so bright that to properly expose the foreground, the sky washed out.  Properly exposing the sky left the valley in darkness.  My solution was to shoot one exposure for the foreground, another for the sky and later combine the two halves in Photoshop (using cut and paste, and not HDR).

The result was  “Windmill in Moonlight” and a great experience that reinforced my commitment to always stop.

People often say to me “This picture reminds me of ….” (I’m not going to say which artist or which image).  Back then I was flattered by such a comparison, but today I find it embarrassing.

That will be topic of my next blog.


May 15 2009

Edward Weston

From Ansel Adam’s Biography on his first meeting Edward Weston at Albert Bender’s home:

“After dinner, Albert asked Edward to show his prints.  They were the first work of such serious quality I had ever seen, but surprisingly I did not immediately understand or even like them; I thought them hard and mannered.  Edward never gave the impression that he expected anyone to like his work.  His prints were what they were.  He gave no explanations; in creating them his obligation to the viewer was completed.”

I love Weston’s work, but I love his attitude even more; he created for himself.