Camera Position 176 : 10 Rules Rules for Getting Started

The American abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922 –1993) is noted not only for his great work, but also for his thoughts about the creative process. Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting” is a list of 10 things to think about as we begin any creative work – we can think of them as “10 Rules for Getting Started.”

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Richard Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting”

1.  Attempt what is not certain.  Certainty may or may not come later.  It may then be a valuable delusion.

2.  The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.

3.  Do search.  But in order to find other than what is searched for.

4.  Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5.  Don’t “discover” a subject — of any kind.

6.  Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action.  Use its destructive potential.

7.  Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.

8.  Keep thinking about Polyanna.

9.  Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

Richard Diebenkorn - Knife in a Glass, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn – Knife in a Glass, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn -Cityscape, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn -Cityscape, 1963

Camera Position 175 : From One, Many

There’s an old adage in photography: “inside every 8×10” print, there is a really excellent 5×7” image waiting to be found.” That old saw is the foundation for an exercise that I’ve used for myself and in my classes over the years; take an image that you’ve made and search for alternate cropping choices that might strengthen the composition. Regardless of whether you find a “better” photograph, you learn a fair amount about how to see.

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Original Image - Grapes, Castiglione d'Orcia, Tuscany, 2014
Original Image – Grapes, Castiglione d’Orcia, Tuscany, 2014
Crops from the original image
Crops from the original image
Crop #1
Crop #1
Crop #2
Crop #2
Crop #3
Crop #3
Crop #4
Crop #4

 

 

 

 

Camera Position 174 : The Lone Tree & The Logo

A listener asked where the logo for Camera Position came from, which gave me an impetus to talk about that photograph and the concept of the Lone Tree image – a compulsory photograph for nearly every photographer.

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Lone Tree, Pienza, Toscana, 2004 - photograph by Jeff Curto
Lone Tree, Pienza, Toscana, 2004 – photograph by Jeff Curto
Oak Tree in a Snowstorm - Photograph by Ansel Adams
Oak Tree in a Snowstorm – Photograph by Ansel Adams
Twisted Tree, Point Lobos, by Minor White
Twisted Tree, Point Lobos, by Minor White
Yucca Draconis Mojave Desert by Carleton Watkins
Yucca Draconis Mojave Desert by Carleton Watkins
Palm Tree, California - by Richard Misrach
Palm Tree, California – by Richard Misrach

And I could keep going and going…

Camera Position 173 : Position The Camera – Position The Viewer

When we position the camera, we are ultimately positioning the viewer of our photographs. We explore this idea using a 1757 painting by the Venetian Painter Canaletto, who often used a camera obscura to create his paintings.

Thanks to Dirk Rösler and the folks at the Large Format Photography Forum for setting these wheels in motion. Check out some of the conversations we’re having on Facebook and Flickr about photography and ideas.

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Piazza San Marco: Looking South West - 1757 by Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)
Piazza San Marco: Looking South West – 1757 by Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal)

 

Camera Position 172 : Get Your Ideas Out The Door

Everyone has ideas, but many people keep those ideas hidden inside. The creative person finds a way to get those ideas out the door in a way that allows them to breathe.

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Door, New Mexico, 2011
Door, New Mexico, 2011

A Podcast About the Creative Side of Photography