Well, yes, this is probably an overly aggressive title for a blog, especially when there are certain things I have no intention of covering here–things like equipment or gadget reviews or magic potions to instantly make your photography better. There are plenty of other resources for those sorts of things.
When I first started to photograph, 37 years ago, I came to the medium like most today, a little later in life and without any formal training in the arts. I was fortunate, after a short period investigating amateur instructional literature, to have been encouraged to seek more formal and foundational resources to help me develop my new art.
Most of my spare time, outside of work–and often during when I would “sneak” out to photograph—was spent in activities to further my understanding and skills in photography.
What I have discovered along the way was what separates us from one another is what we bring to our photography as individuals, how do we look at the world and thus, what do we have to say about it. That our photography will get better with our more complete understanding of core principles, the development of our visual sensibilities and our exploration of ideas, often challenging our current understanding and ways of thinking.
While there are several possibilities for entries here that are still being contemplated, I hope to stimulate thought with relevant information and ideas about photography, exposure to artists/photographers, discussions about why (and what makes) photographs work and some good, positive exchange of points of view around these topics and ideas presented.
The great thing about ideas and opinions is that they belong to us, therefore agreeing or disagreeing isn’t really important. What is important is that we are open to think about these things, even when they seem at odds with our own position, and critically examine “why” we agree or disagree. This is how we feed our inner selves, expanding our knowledge and understanding as well as stimulating our unconscious mind, where much is discovered outside of our awareness. As such, I always value the comments and feedback I get as those help me continue to grow as well.
And, yes, I might talk about more technical aspects of photography and possibly even practical applications of various processes available that might help more fully realize our images. But these discussions will be more about discovering options and tools we have at our disposal rather than dictums or quick fixes.
I will also consider suggestions for presentations that might interest you or presenting further information on the topics that have been presented. Please feel free to enter the discussion with your comments and questions—or email me if you prefer a more direct connection. We often learn more by formally verbalizing our thoughts than just “listening” or thinking them.
As I indicated above, my journey with photography started in more or less what is the usual way, although maybe later than most. But what I thought would be a hobby quickly became an obsession. Soon, I was shooting large format black and white photography, had my own darkroom and had my work represented in a top photographic gallery. Along the way, I had the opportunity to study with, among others, Richard Misrach, Linda Connor, Frank Gohlke, John Sexton and Ansel Adams, whose workshop I was to assist at the year he died. I also became involved with several arts and photography organizations, including a decade on the board of a prominent art college, where I also taught for a short time. I have been honored with the inclusion of my work in a museum’s collection and several museum shows, including a one person exhibition. But I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, I wanted to photograph full time.
So, in 1990, I left the corporate world behind and opened my commercial studio in Portland, Oregon. It was a bit of a crazy new world (I actually started shooting color again!), but I adapted quickly and loved my new freedom to just photograph–and market like crazy. Within a short time I did my first “national” jobs shooting early ads for the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas and creating ads for Nike and ESPN. Since then I have had the fortune to work with some of the top creatives and agencies in the business and for their clients like: Amtrak, Amazon, Adidas, Agilent Technologies, Pacific Bell, Eaton Corporation, Weston Hotels, Seagate, Zürich Financial, Intel, Miller Brewing, the Atlantic Monthly, Forbes, MacWorld and Teen People among others. My work has won several awards and been recognized in the One Show, Graphis Design, Communication Arts, Print, PDN and many others.
Whether a project’s budget was a few hundred or a half million dollars, or just a personal one, my philosophy has always been to present the best work I am capable of producing. Those projects have encompassed almost every genre of photography including landscape, aerial, architecture, street, studio sets –and in and out of studio–still life, lifestyle, portraiture, product, and sports action. I have also been known to do the occasional wedding or portrait session for a friend.
I have now returned to working solely on personal projects but also have enjoyed teaching and working with new photographers over the years through formal and informal relationships.
My purpose here is to continue to share the knowledge I have gained over the years with others.
More specific information about my educational and professional details can be found on my CV here: http://johnacurso.com/about.html.
You might also find my other blog, which is more experiential in nature, of interest: https://acurso.wordpress.com/
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