The Photographers Eye

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"The real secret of making great photographs is knowing where to point the camera."--Joe Farace

I love it when photographers tell me they have a "good eye." I haven't had good vision since my first eye exam in 1955 when I started wearing, what I thought at the time, were insanely cool "Buddy Holly" glasses. Along the way I discovered diopters and never shoot with my eyeglasses, preferring instead to look through the camera's lens hoping to see something beyond the mundane in the ordinary. Here are four photographers whose compositional skills could only be called extraordinary. If you want to improve your own photography skills and learn where to point the camera, these guys will show you the way.

Glen Allison's we bsite showcases the art of travel photography and captures the mystery, drama, and romance of faraway places--don't miss it.
© 2003, Glen Allison, All Rights Reserved

Travel Photography With A Big Difference
Glen Allison (www.glenallison.com) is a LA-based travel photographer whose imagery captures the mystery, drama, and (dare I say it?) romance of faraway places. During the 1990s he roamed the world with nothing but a backpack containing a change of clothes, laptop, and camera, maintaining no permanent residence while he photographed in 131 different countries. This takes care of the travel part, but what about his photography? When visiting the Gallery of Global Images you'll see tiny thumbnails and a larger center image that changes when you click another thumbnail. The photographs of Angor Wat at night, dancers doing the tango, and fairy-tale images of unidentified Asian cultures (there are no captions to help identify the photographs) are breathtaking.

There is page after page of awe-inspiring thumbnails; by clicking "next page" you'll hear the sound of a small temple bell. Cool. There is a separate gallery for India, where you'll see stunning images made with wide angle lenses, studies in light and shadow made with long lenses, and portraits that show someone in touch with their environment. Allison respects his subjects by extending the kind of dignity seldom seen in cliché riddled travel snapshots. Fine art black and white prints of some of his images are available for purchase as well as a book describing his journeys. Would-be travel and adventure photographers will benefit from his travel tips and if you'd like to see him "in person," there's a list of events where he will appear. Allison's web site showcases the art of travel photography--don't miss it.

Ben Flock's web site is filled with great images made by a photographer with a distinct point of view and the skill and artistic integrity to pull it off.
© 2003, Ben Flock, All Rights Reserved

Way Up North
Ben Flock (www.benflock.com) is a pro located in Toronto who shoots "mostly corporate stuff, usually people oriented." If that's a self-portrait on the homepage, it's gotta be the best one I've ever seen and shows Flock has style, lots of skill with lighting, and a sense of humor. The site is divided into sections containing Corporate, Editorial, Portraiture, Personal, and Panoramas. I went to the panoramas first and was blown away by the use of color, sense of breadth, and frame-filling wonder Flock has breathed into the images. Too many panoramic images are notable only for their width, but Flock uses every inch of the frame to tell a story as can be seen in a wonderful portrait of two kids and their dogs. It's amazing, as is the photograph of a parade that makes you ask, "Where was he when he made that shot?"

The site has a minimalist, but stylish design that focuses on colorful images and makes them jump off the page. Flock's corporate work shows the power of the square format, especially with wide angle lenses, and he uses these to create Escher-like metaphors combining colorful lighting techniques with exquisite, formal compositions that knocked my socks off. His editorial work combines styles from his corporate work but uses 35mm format that abounds with life and a sly smile. Obviously, Flock loves people and they love him. If anything, it's his portraiture that might be called workmanlike, although I'm sure the clients enjoy it, especially the outdoor family portrait that's lit better than the typical flat lighting or overfilled flash seen hanging on the walls of most studios. His personal work is monochrome, lacking the eye-popping color found elsewhere, but these images are imbued with inner light (the infrared nude) and whimsy (wide angle cows). This is a site filled with great images made by a photographer with a distinct point of view and the skill and artistic integrity to pull it off.

Dave Stonner displays a wonderfully eclectic style that shows he's still searching for his own unique vision of the world, but take the trip with him as he does. You'll be glad you did.
© 2003, Dave Stonner, All Rights Reserved

Graduating Student
Dave Stonner (www.davestonner.com) is a recent graduate of Central Missouri State University who recently put together a web site to show his assortment of styles ranging from fashion to space to (here's a big one) life. The Vanity (fashion) section has a group of images chopped into thumbnails. Dragging a mouse over one of them almost always causes a larger image to appear. Give the page enough time to load and it will work as it should. Advisory: One of the fashion images might be disturbing for younger readers and another has partial female nudity, but the rest of the site offers solidly G-rated images.

The photojournalistic images celebrate life but contain photographs of current political events, while the formal square format architectural images in the Space collection vary from wonderfully abstract black and white to a few color images that celebrate the "space" we occupy on this planet. Yes, all of this can be slow to view and Stonner promises to make it "run more smoothly" in the future. Throughout all of these images, Stonner displays a wonderfully eclectic style that shows he's still searching for his own unique vision of the world, but please make the trip with him. You'll be glad you did.

Guarionex's motto "see it, feel it, shoot it," may echo The Who's "Tommy," but he has found his own unique way of looking at the world.
© 2003, Guarionex, All Rights Reserved

Urban Abstracts
Like Cher, Guarionex (www.myfotosite.com) has only one name but finds beauty in the alleyways and byways of the Concrete Apple that many pass by but don't see--or bother to photograph. The site works without much text but you can find his Bio by clicking on an icon of Guarionex's face and read it in Portuguese, Spanish, or English. The other icons include one for color images and one for black and white. The color images bristle with an energy of shapes and color seemingly confined inside the frame and bursting to be free. These are displayed as tiny thumbnails on the left and clicking any of them expands to a larger image, complete with simple caption.

Some images are quiet, as in "Grandmother Garden" that shows a peaceful moment where you can just imagine your own abuela sitting on the bench. I thought Guarionex's color work was pretty good, but when I looked at the monochrome images I was speechless. "Memories No. 1" combines echoes of Aaron Siskind's work but takes the "peeling paint" genre into new, stronger, and more emotional directions. It is especially powerful in black and white, removing the literalness of reality. "Warm Hearts" is one of the few photographs with people in it and mixes the photographer's strong compositional skills with a gentle, human touch. Guarionex's motto "see it, feel it, shoot it," may echo The Who's Tommy, but he's found his own unique way of seeing the world.

Take Your Camera To Work Day 2003 is finally history, and people from around the world posted images.

All Around The Web
I plan to keep the Take Your Camera To Work Day web site open permanently, so if you made any photographs on May 21, 2003, it's still not too late to post them. In the meantime, visit www.takeyourcameratoworkday.com to see pictures made by people from as far away as New Zealand and as close as (down the road) Greeley, Colorado. Although the 2003 site had no "official" sponsors, I'd like to thank Dave Hall of AllSolutions.NET (www.allsolutions.net) for his hard work. I hope to have an expanded, redesigned site for Take Your Camera To Work Day 2004, which will again be on May 21st.

If you'd like to recommend your own or a friend's web site, please e-mail me at editorial@shutterbug.net.

Browsers Come And Go
Microsoft announced the only future development on Internet Explorer for the Macintosh will be to fix bugs. As I write this, the current update for Internet Explorer 5.2.3 for Mac OS X enhances compatibility with proxy servers and fixes a few bugs. Interestingly, Chairman Bill said Microsoft says they will also stop development on a stand-alone version of Internet Explorer 6 for Windows in order to continue to integrate web browsing into Windows. So rather than worrying about using lame duck software, I downloaded Apple's free Safari web browser for Mac OS X. It's cool.

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