How to Become a Great Photographer...Sort of
I was contacted by Aperture Academy to do an interview for their monthly Pro Spotlight to appear on their website. I wasn't expecting that and it was flattering as they have pretty much already interviewed a who's who of landscape photographers. I was sent forteen questions and answering them was not quite as easy as it might seem. Nevertheless, I was able to complete the questionaire and I am including a link for your amusement.
Matt Payne Podcast
I was contacted by Matt to do an audio interview. I was very excited to do it until about thirty minutes before the interview and then I got nervous...real nervous. I wasn't brilliant. Matt was great though so it was just me. I'm including it here...Episode 18.
The Appalachian Trail: An American Legacy
I am very happy to announce that I have collaborated on the documentary film " The Appalachian Tral an American Legacy". I had met Sam Henegar "the filmmaker" a few years back while he was attending the Sundance film festival. He was working and had ideas for a documentary and had mentioned that when he had final cut he would like me to do the color correction and assist on the visual look of the film. After a tremendous amount of work by him the film was ready for color. I traveled to Tennessee over the winter and we were able to work on it. There were some technical challenges to overcome, but we put our nose to the grindstone and were able to hash them out. I think he did a wonderful job on the film and I am proud to have been able to assist him. By clicking below it will link you to a preview.
One of my biggest honors ever was collaborating with the musical artist Ralph Zurmuhle. I think a short backstory may be in order. When out on a five week desert shoot last October I was at Red Mountain near Flagstaff AZ, and after the evening shoot while sitting in the truck I was able to listen to a radio program I enjoy, "Hearts of Space", on NPR. This particular one hour program was dedicated to solo piano and was quite good as I love the instrument anyway. At any rate, about three quarters of the way into the program a piece came up that completely blew me away. I of course listened very carefully to hear who the artist was, but didn't completely catch it. I continued with my trip, but the song kept haunting me. When I returned home about three weeks later, I researched the Hearts of Space archives and was able to determine that the artist was Ralph Zurmuhle.
I did a Google search and was able to locate his website. I viewed it fairly thoroughly, reading his bio, he's Swiss by birth, but had lived in Tuscon Az, and presumably the desert landscape had been a source of inspiration for his work. While viewing all the pages of his website, I came to the contact page, which had an email address for his management company as well as a personal email address. Well, this is something I never do, but in this case because of the desert correlation, and because of the emotional impact the piece had for me, I decided to write a short email thanking him. As an after thought, I included a link to my website because of the desert images. I would say I had misgivings about sending the link as it was just supposed to be a thank you note, not any kind of self promotion.
A couple of days later I received an email from Ralph Zurmuhle saying he might like to do a collaboration with music and images. That was shocking and pretty much unbelievable to me. It was wonderful, but to tell you the truth I really just felt like crawling under the covers and assuming a fetal position. Now this may seem pretty childish to most, and I'm sure they would be right, nevertheless I tell the story this way because it's true. I am pretty much a hermit, and as I couldn't just leave this on the table out of respect for Zurmuhle, I needed to respond in some way. I know zero photographers, but as I had exchanged an email or two with Guy Tal, the Utah based photographer, I decided to ask him if he had any thoughts on the matter. He was kind enough to respond with some very usable and practical down to earth advice, so a thank you to him for that.
From there I contacted Zurmuhle and said I would be honored to collaborate in any way he saw fit. He came up with some images, which were then necessary to re-size to the 1280 X 720 format which presented no real problems, although an unusual size for still photographers. He came up with a video draft that I wasn't completely comfortable with, and since I had met Sam Henegar while he was attending the Sundance film festival, I pitched the idea to Ralph to let Sam take a crack at it. The video version you will see has been put together by Sam, so thanks so very much to him for his contribution.
To the skinny, it is my belief that contemporary landscape photography lies somewhere between postcard pictorialism and fine art, but much closer to the postcard if you ask me, still we must keep trying. I have been a life long lover of Art, a fan if you will, so being able to collaborate with Ralph Zurmuhle was a tremendous honor as he is most definitely in the fine art category. I most highly recommend his wonderful, profoundly emotional piece by clicking below.
Sometime back I met Paul along with David Thompson and Miles Morgan at the Bisti Badlands. We were all shooting stills of course in the area. Paul was also doing some video which is pretty amazing right there...doing two things at once...the stills and the video. When I returned home sometime after that I was linked to the video that Paul had done and I just thought it was great.
I must say that I in no way actually collaborated on that video project other than to have a cameo spot...I just got in the video cameras field of view at some point not really knowing what he was planning. In the future, I think that I will be on my best behavior whenever he is around with that camera.
This spring one of my shooting buddies from TN, Craig Thompson and I were able to hang out with Paul and his new bride Michele for a weekend in GSENM as well as David Thompson and John Whitworth. We all shot together a bit and it was such a positive experience.
I am including a couple of links to Pauls videos that capture very well I think what landscape photographers actually do.