Monthly Archive for June, 2008

slide shows….

please check under the "Movies" section off of the "Home Page" here to see an upload of both the Emerging Photographers and Photographic Essay student workshop slide shows presented at the Look3 Festival last week….we sized this to play easily , but you will still have a significant download time since they are each about a 100mb file…they should both be up within the next two or three hours..

you will have to use your imagination a bit….this showing at Look3 was in a movie theater with the imagery pumped through a 250k projector…your pictures never looked better…..but, you will at least get some idea right here…next time, show up!!!

anyway, get yourself a cold beer and some popcorn…then  sit back and enjoy!!


some contributors to this forum….a bit unruly when not at their keyboards!!

self portrait…..

there is probably not a photographer alive who has not taken a stab at self portraiture…Cindy Sherman and Arno Minkkinen aside, most of us have at least “played” at taking our own photograph…

with our community here growing stronger by the day, i think it would just be fun to see what everyone “looks like”..some of us were able to put a “face with a name” at Look3…but not all of you could be there…and some of you have assignments right now, but not all of you…so, why not “kill two birds with one stone” and have everyone take a self portrait this week?? this way we “see” each other and this also becomes an egalitarian “assignment” for all…..

ok, to give you some incentive , i will give three “prizes” for the three “best” self portraits…

(1) signed open edition archival print (8×10) from me

(2) signed Cuba book

(3) signed used camera bag (the prize you really want!!)

self portraits must be made this week….you must post HERE and only here by midnight sunday june 22nd, New York time…please post ONE picture only…..i will only look at links with one picture and posted as a comment here..

so step away from your keyboard…take out your cellphone or your 8×10 and shoot a picture in your bathroom mirror or on the edge of the Grand Canyon or whatever…i will enlist one or two of my colleagues to help judge this little “for fun only contest”….

have you ever taken self portraiture seriously or is it something you have just done as “play” ???

f/8 and be there…


Tangier Island,Virginia 1972                                          Fisherman and Wife


maybe photographers are not really the largest group of procrastinators in the world , and maybe i just sometimes think this because i am around so many photographers…but, some photographers do have a way of "explaining" the myriad of "good reasons" why they are not doing what they would really like to do…

many come to my home or my workshops to show their work hoping that i will be able to give them a "magic formula" for success, or just please please  hand over my list of "important people" and their phone numbers and surely this will lead to double page spreads and heavy coffee table books…

so many photographers have the hardest time facing the fact that they simply must just "get out the door"…whether they go next door or around the world makes no difference at all….it does not matter where the "there" is, but you cannot be "there" if you are not THERE…..

i first heard the "f/8 and be there" phrase from W.E. "Bill" Garrett, swashbuckling Editor of Natgeo from the mid 70’s to the late 80’s and by far the most SUPERPOWER editor ever at "ole yeller"…he rode a large stallion and swung a long sword….some lived in fear, some in awe….during the Garrett era Natgeo circulation was "blowing up" and money was no object to sending a photographer anywhere anytime for any amount of time…i do not know if Bill actually coined the phrase, but i think he thinks he did…whatever…..but, this "f/8 and be there"  as the obvious way to make meaningful photographs, was the mantra of photoland at Natgeo…

Bill liked me or my work or both…my first essay for Natgeo, "Tangier Island" (Nov.1973),a cover story, made it into print because Bill liked it….had Bill not liked it, my life would have gone in a completely different direction… American football parlance, Bill sent me into the end zone and threw me a "long pass"…..i caught it….of course, i had worked so so so hard on this project for so so so little money to feed my young family , so i had gambled everything ….i had given up a "real job" and a "real salary" to take this chance with Natgeo…

in the years to follow, Bill and Natgeo became my Medici…my support system….my resource…..and my extended family for sure….this , however, did not eliminate the fact that it was still "f/8 and be there"…no amount of social graces or friendships  could ever eliminate the sometimes harsh reality that i had to actually "DO IT"…

i always implore the photographers i mentor, to please please minimize the "who can i get to know" list and maximize the "here is what i will do" list….one thing i do know for sure, if you have the work, really  HAVE THE WORK, your Medici will materialize….it would have done me no good whatsoever to have made a "good impression" on Garrett, had i not had the work….

all of you are now in a position to show your work in a way i never had nor did anyone in my generation have..the net….right here…right now… this forum…if you go out and do the work, you will be seen my more potential Medici’s than i have seen in my entire career….yes, yes (i can hear the excuses already) there are more of you…true….but in the sea of photographers out there , i still see about the same number of "supertalents" as in years prior…more people taking pictures, but few doing it in a special way….but if you are "special" there are also way way more opportunities…and so so much room for invention….i swear, i have never seen so much room!!!

i do not give advice to anyone….i do sometimes make suggestions.. you do need to find someone who loves you….loves your work…just one person…no, not your significant other or family/friend… yes of course, you want their support for a different reason ..but, you need a significant mentor…..i am talking about one "gallerist", one editor, one book publisher…do not attempt to "win everybody over"…pick two or three book publishers or galleries  or magazines where you think your work "fits"…then find the ONE who loves you the most…a relationship is a relationship…but do not even "go there" if you have not BEEN THERE!!! 

so how do you feel??  like a photographer with an arm full of great work who just needs a "break" to move forward….or do you realize your best lays out there ahead and you just must "get to it" ??



New York City, 2008                                                            Brooklyn Bridge

talk to james nachtwey….




please post your questions for James Nachtwey here…i should be able to "go live" with Jim at about 2:30 this afternoon  New York time….

Jim will probably not answer all questions, so the most provocative and brief and intelligent will rise to the top…

i know Sunday afternoon is a tough time for many, but this is the best i can do…you now have a couple of hours to either think or ask away….