Month: March 2018

March 9, 2018

I started a post a couple weeks ago as I started a two-week binge of photographing high school basketball games. I had been editing photos from February tournaments from the past decades and realizing the many shortcomings in the typical newspaper photographer (a slur) approach to basketball. The idea I took going into the first game is that I would create an algorithm for covering the games, a system that would maximize the odds for creating memorable work.

The initial algorithm didn’t survive the first game, and I will eventually finish that post with more detail. But building on the idea that there would be an algorithm for how to photograph a basketball game (what lenses you use depending on the score, time remaining, etc.) – I’m learning a ton from looking trough my work, photos that are both below and above average –

And thinking back to early in my career when it was easier to stand out visually – and people would say they could tell which photos in a mediocre small daily newspaper were mine.

This, then: Why not create a visual style guide? It’s something that is already wired into my approach, after years of professional experience. But how could you define, in writing and systems and equations, a way to photograph that produced the most interesting work?

For example, couldn’t you say that in photographing a

wait, not that,

couldn’t you work out a style

just like writers use the AP Style Guide to have standardized grammar and naming conventions, a photographer could take common situations and create an approach that was repeated and adhered to (while at the same time improved upon after each use).

Common situation: head shot or close portrait of single speaker, interview subject, etc.: Fill frame with face, lighting where possible, crop from top of head instead of chin.

“But everything would look the same.”

But if it was interesting, and excellent.

More on this coming, as it all processes.

March 6, 2018

From Lens Blog this morning, a fantastic piece on legendary photographer Ralph Gibson (link below):

“I wanted to make photographs you could look at for a long period of time, photographs that were not ephemera, photographs that were made to last and could support a great depth of content,” he said. “That’s the opposite of working for the media.”

As I’m continuing to edit the photos from my career, these words ring very true. Closing in on mid-March I am realizing that a lot of photos are making it through because I’m thinking about the people in the photograph, and the idea that somehow they will find it, it will part of their life’s history, or something like that. But then, these aren’t always great photographs.

The answer might be to create a sub-category of photograph that denotes less important work, and then lower the visibility of that content.

Is the project a portfolio or a retrospective? Should it be expansive or select? I’m leaning toward select in many cases.

It’s becoming clear that if 2018 is the year I get everything posted, 2019 will be the year I refine the edit.


Here is a fun question – if you were coming out of some kind of drama situation, which of these two outcomes would be preferred:

A) you get everything you want, but feel a lack of respect.

B) you don’t get everything you want, but you feel respect.