A color photograph of an intersection made through the windshield of a car. In the scene, there are multiple street signs for "Interstate 5", a street lamp, and a stop sign. There is a crow perched on top of the stop sign.

Taking vs. making photographs; know the grammar of art

Is everyone a photographer? The words we use matter. A special warm WELCOME to new subscriber: Barry! And a huge THANK YOU to all subscribers, old and new, for reading and being a part of this community! In this issue: Next issue: Dec 27 Skipping the Sunday issue of Viewfinder next week… a fresh-and-tasty email coming your way on Wednesday, December 27th. Happy holidays! Cameras are amazing; point them at something, push a button, and you’ve taken a picture. With digital photography, you can see what you took in an instant. More pictures are taken now than at any time … >>

Color photograph of a road with using shallow depth-of-field.

Zone of focus, depth of field, and what you set your sights on.

Choices and the focus of your attention. A special warm WELCOME to new subscribers: Jason, Mark, Neil (who writes Photos, Mostly), and Orelad. And a huge THANK YOU to all subscribers, old and new, for reading and being a part of this community. In this issue: “How much Viewfinder do you want?” poll: inconclusive Thank you to everyone who voted–I really appreciate it! Results were split between “Slow it down to once a week” and “Keep sending twice a week”. No one voted for “I hereby challenge you to write as much as humanly possible”; I am grateful this was … >>

A black and white photograph of a white, triangular building. In front of the building, a dark, leafless tree contrasts with the light toned facade.

Know your why: 14 powerful art making motivators

The “why’s” of art making, and what keeps us going. It’s almost assuredly incorrect to say that apocryphally-apple-loving Sir Isaac Newton was talking about art making and other creative endeavors when he created his Laws of Motion. Since he was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer and all that, evidence suggests his interests leaned towards the hard sciences. After all, Newton helped kick off the Scientific Revolution–he was very much a S.T.E.M. guy. Art making? Probably not so much. Regardless, good ole Sir Issac gets us started today. Newton’s Law of (art making) Motion Newton’s first Law of Motion has two parts: … >>

Color photograph of a forest scene using a multi-exposure technique.

Finding Your Artwork: unbelievably simple truths about art making

Wherein I share my youthful ignorance and what I (finally) understood about art making. One of the biggest sources of consternation for art school students (and young artists generally) is the need to “find your work”. Finding your artwork is art school speak for, “what should my art be about?”. Alternate versions of this include: “finding your voice”, “finding your style”, and “finding your niche”. It’s a declarative statement about the content, and the subject, and the form of your work. It’s your succinct response to the prompt that you’ll hear again and again… “Tell me about your work.” Young artists … >>

Black and white photograph of a field at sunset. In the midground, a thicket on the left balances a stand of trees on the right. Fog is just beginning to appear.

Overcoming inertia: how to kickstart your art making practice

Everything starts somewhere. Here’s a few starts to consider. It’s been often said that starting is the hardest thing. Overcoming inertia, getting the ball rolling, making the first mark–this can be hard. Isn’t not-doing something so much easier than doing it? You can always do it tomorrow, after all. Not doing means you don’t have to think, you don’t have to commit, you don’t have to expend energy. I’m not sure it’s always true. To paraphrase a statement attributed to Mark Twain, “Starting is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Of … >>