Tag Archives | Alfred Stieglitz

Picture This Winners – February 2011

A big thank you goes to our first time judge from England , Andrea Jones, who pushed the limits by offering ‘Genius Loci’ as the topic for February. She did a fantastic job facilitating our entrants to shoot dazzling, insightful and compelling photos.  To order Andrea’s books or any of her several magnificent prints,  click here……Fran Sorin

 Here’s what Andrea wrote:

“I am thrilled that so many of you have taken on my challenge of ‘Genius loci’ – especially at such a bleak time of year for most of us!

Even more delighted that you ‘got it ‘! I was concerned that the task I set in winter, of all time, was really too tough and that you might pass it over – stay indoors and wait for the next one! I’m sure it was tempting; but the results are better than I could have dreamt! Congratulations to all who took part.

Since setting the task, I have given a lot of thought myself as to what makes a good photograph – what gives a photograph the ‘wow’ factor. Sure, there’s an element of luck. The light comes right at just the perfect moment – or the mist rolls in. But in this particular task, what I was really asking for was thought. Think before you shoot. In this age of digital technology it is so easy to just ‘snap’.

Book Photographer of the Year. Andrea Jones. 5 of 10. Lurie Garden. Frances Lincoln. September 2009

When I run photography workshops, the most beautiful music to my ears is when students say to me before they leave ‘do you know I’d never have thought of photographing in that way before.?’ Or ‘I see things quite differently now! ‘

It’s nothing to do with me – it’s just that I have slowed people down and made them look. In some instances I don’t even allow them to take a camera on the first trip! I suggest a black frame and a pen and paper.

Think back to when artists had no choice but to trek into the landscape with an easel and set up their painting in the wild and work for hours. It goes without saying that they would choose their position with a good deal of thought. After all, it’s a lot of trouble to go to and then decide the composition might have been better if they’d moved over to that rock a few paces on the right!

Landscape artists have to think this through carefully before committing paint to canvas. And not just artists but early Photographers like Roger Fenton who captured landscapes and war scenes in the Crimea in the mid 1800s. He had a horse drawn caravan of photographic gear and a dark room to lug around! There was no ‘snapping’ opportunity for him! Take a look also at Alfred Stieglitz, an early photographic perfectionist from New Jersey with a relatively modern Single Lens reflex camera. Look at the amount of trouble these guys went to to ‘get their shot’.

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