A photographers notebook
I've been a professional photographer for most of my adult life. Now I'm in my senior years and I have this great passion to pass on my skills and talents to help younger shooters up the ladder. I've even built a complete photo facility with a two enlarger darkroom, and a teaching center, just for this purpose.
I got hooked on photography when I was a graphic design major at Cornell, a long time ago. I went in to the Navy and flew photo/recon for some years, left flying and the U.S.Navy to take my BFA from the famous Art Center College of Design in California. Major: Photography/editorial. What else?
One of my projects was to start a regular series, looking back at my career and to share it with interested and serious young shooters...warts and all. The series on another internet forum was called..."Photographers Notebook".
I stopped writing when some internet 'kooks' just wanted to nit-pick my story simply for the joy of raising hell. I have better things to do with my time.
My career has been a lot of hard work, with some luck thrown in. I've won many awards in the field of editorial photography and advertising photography. I got into this type of photography for one simple reason. That is where the real money is....if you're good enough.
I've learned a lot since I got this desire to mentor others. First, my general impression is that most of the shooters simply enjoy the 'process' of shooting, developing film, and making prints. For these, it is the fun of the process, NOT the end result. That was a surprise that I have reluctantly accepted, but not the type of shooter that I could help. I had hoped I would find some shooters who were obsessed with the end result, the photograph that delivers a powerful message to the audience or viewer.
I see similar trends in the new digital tsunami that is sweeping the photographic world. A significant number of these digital shooters are, I think, just computer junkies who imagine they are artistically inclined. To me this is most evident in the lack of some of the photographic basics like lighting, or even knowing that the 'quality of light' is one of the most important arrows in a photographers "quiver'...or in composition.
Digital photography is also a significant risk to professional photography...but as yet the danger is unrecognized and not identified. It is there, believe me.
Just ask the average middle-sized city pro who used to shoot the annual report for a smaller company. He calls to inquire about the progress of the annual report planning...and is told, we are not going to hire you this year.
"The boss bought an expensive new digital camera for his secretary, and she's going to shoot the annual report"! (Remember her, the blond with the low cut bodice and the high-heels) (:-)
Perhaps somewhere out there, a young photographer lurks, and has a passion to be the very best and turn pro. I'd love to give you a helping hand up that ladder. Call me.
Thanks for letting me 'emote'! I needed that.
Hi Richard, first welcome from Hawaii. I'm glad that you decided to join us, we need people that are enthauastic about the film process, and I can almost guarantee that your writing will be much better received here. As someone who has worked the high end of advertising photography, I'm sure you will have some good stories to tell.
I looked forward to your posts on the other forum and was disappointed when you decided not to continue. Welcome here.
Richard, welcome to APUG. I have never read your "photographers notebook" but already like your style. I too look forward to your postings here.
Welcome to APUG, Richard. Glad to see you've taken up this project again. Post away!
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Hello Richard Boulware,
Welcome to APUG. Those kooks ruined some great discussions. However, now that you are here, their loss, and our gain. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.
A G Studio
Richard, Welcome! from a newbie who would also like to start putting the technical side away from the central concerns.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
My APUG Portfolio
Thanks so very much for the warm welcome. I will do my very best to be worthy of your hospitality.
First, thanks Mr. Goldfarb, I recognise your name from the other site, and the same for juan.
First off, I need to give you an idea where I'm coming from. I turned to advertising and editorial illustration because that's where the big bucks were. Having said that, I can say with great authority, that this is not an arena for the faint of heart. Competition is fierce, and great....but so are the rewards.
Being in advertising photography meant that every picture I made was 'not sitting on top of Aunt Mary's piano'...it was going to be reproduced...printed...in everything from TIME magazine to the annual report of some corporation...like SHELL OIL. This mental mind set was the focus on every thing I shot....and the old adage still holds,...i.e. "You're only as good as your last shot (or assignment). With this in mind, we also have to learn the mentality of the people who would hire you. Mostly, they are art directors at major advertising agencies, who know almost as much about good photography as you do, but just don't know how to make it happen.
Understanding these fundamental truths, we also have to recognize how art directors think. Sometimes they were creative directors, but it's still the same thing.
When an art director has enough confidence (not easily won) in you, to hire you to shoot an ad for a major corporation,....they put their own necks on the line. If you screw up, they look BAD. This is not a good thing....to say the LEAST. Besides being confident in your own talents and experience, it involves some "Damned the torpedoes...FULL SPEED AHEAD"....courage and mindset. Why? Just think about it for a moment. I shot a double-truck (two page spread) for an ad for Borg-Warner, and their product Cycolac. It was a snowmobile shot at dawn. As I look back, the two page spread priced out at $5000 per SQUARE INCH...in the national edition. That's a helluva lot of trust and responsibility on your shoulders. Screw up, and you are TOAST!
With the help of the moderator of this wonderful site, I hope to have some assistance on how I might post some reproductions of this Borg-Warner shot, and others that I will reference in my posts. If I can figure out (with some help) how to post some of these images, I will tell you about this sunrise snow-mobile shot, and how I convinced the NYC art director to let me 'art-director it" on the spot. (A hint...it worked out GREAT" and I made a new art director friend that I have not known before the shot).
I would really like to show some of these shots, and take you with me on how they were made, and even some of my screw ups. (No body's perfect). Obviously my successes were in the majority, but my goal is to give you all, some insight into the world of the pressure filled life of a successful shooter. Not tooting my own horn here, just acknowledging that I DID survive. Not all can say that. Be well, Richard.
P.S. "roteague". Thanks for the Hawaii welcome. Spent three years flying P2V's out of Barbers Point Naval Air Station chasing and i.d'.ng Rusky subs. I miss Hawaii. NAS Barbers Point is gone I am told, but still have fond memories making my final approach for landing either over the water, or over sugar cane fields. (:-)
Yes, Barbers Point is gone, as are all of the cane fields; even the pineapple fields are mostly gone (the last one closes in 2007), all either sitting fallow, or replaced by housing.
Originally Posted by Richard Boulware
If you want to post an image in a thread, the easiest way is probably to go scroll down to "Attach Files" in the reply screen, click on "manage attachments," and follow the instructions to upload the files from your computer.
They will appear as thumbnails under your post, and readers can click on them to see the full version.