“Once Proud”….

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My home town, and surrounding area, was once known as the hub of the booming glass industry in Southern New Jersey. Wheaton, Kimble, Owens Illinois, Armstrong, were all names that everyone knew and respected. Here in Millville, at one time, just about every family had at least one member employed by one of these industry giants.

Time passes and foreign competition, changing packaging techniques, and several other factors led to the slow decline of the industry.

The image above shows the sad state of only a small portion of the original Wheaton complex. The property has changed hands several times and now sits dormant. There is talk of a possible demolition to extract recyclable materials. So, why do I post about this facility? Obviously, for some, the decaying structure offers up countless photographic opportunities. Along with that, is also the opportunity for us as photographers to document a slice of history. Capturing what was, as a counterpoint to those creative images that can only spring from our own inner vision, can be a valuable and rewarding experience.

Granted, this image does lean a bit toward the creative side. I could have shot it during the daylight hours, but felt the stark darkness along with the rusted dilapidated structure told the story well. I am working diligently on trying to get permission to gain access to the interior for one final session to complete the story of “Once Proud”.

Perhaps you have a similar story in your own town. I’ll invite you to get out there and tell its story. It can be interesting, educational and beneficial to many.

Take care till next time.

You can visit my web galleries at

www.dwphotoworks.com

Are Art Fairs For You?

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I’ve been missing in action for a while here on my blog. I don’t want to make excuses, but I have been busy with my fall art fair schedule and some gallery exhibits. Having completed my fairs for the year I can reflect a bit on some of the experiences I’ve had, and some thoughts you might consider if you feel this outlet for your art may be for you.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I hear folks saying , as they leave my booth, “I could do that”. Great! Let’s give you some thoughts.

This will not be a step by step how to by any means. Just some info to hash over.

You’ll need inventory: Will you print, mat, frame your own work or pay to have it done? How much inventory do you need to carry including framed, and bin prints.

You’ll need a tent, and/or display equipment. Tents can go from a couple hundred to a couple thousand $$$. Add tables , bins, covers, credit card processing equipment, some form of container to safely transport your precious art, and a vehicle that will contain all of the above. Don’t forget that you’ll need to store all of this somewhere when not at a show.

Booth fees, jury fees, transportation costs, lodging for distant shows, and many intangibles need to be covered.

Insurance? Yes, liability at a minimum for any damage caused if your booth or equipment causes any damage to others. How about if someone trips and injures their self in your booth?

On the business and legal side, will you register as a business? You’ll definitely need a sales tax number. How about bookkeeping?

Developing the right sales approach with customers can be challenging. You are not selling something they need , but something they might want.

Which shows or fairs should you apply to. I’ve always made it a practice to visit a show, the year before I apply, to get a feel for the crowd and the quality of accepted artists.

This is just scratching the surface. Figuring out which images sell, building up a following, figuring out just how much to charge for your art all take a couple of years to get a handle on. And once you figure that out, it will all change.

You might want to do some reading on a site like ArtFairInsiders.com There’s a lot of info there.

So far this may seem like I’m trying to discourage you. That’s not the case. I’ve done this for many years now and I fuss and fume about the work involved, the decisions to make, the sitting in a field for a weekend with rain and no sales, hauling a ton of equipment, it’s not as bad as I make it sound.

I will say at this point that I could never have done any of this without my wife and best friend Eileen who has been with me every step of the way. Setting up, sitting in the booth to do paperwork and helping with all of the sales and decisions, and also keeping me semi-sane.

While on a brighter note, sales have been very good, and I just love having people stop in my booth to appreciate my efforts and discussing things. The best is when young folks ask questions. I wrote a blog post a while back called “Giving Back” on that subject. You can read it by clicking here.

Age has now brought all of this fun to an end for me as I will not be applying to fairs next year. I will however continue to show at galleries and use other outlets for my work.

So if you are one of those folks who truly believe you can do this, definitely go for it. I wish you all the best. It can truly be a very rewarding experience in many ways. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. As I said this article does not come close to covering all aspects of the Art Fair world, both good and bad.

I’ve made some changes to my website homepage and added some new images. Why not drop by and browse. Here’s a link

 DWPhotoworks.com

Thanks for reading, take care and always be creative

Preserving Memories

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Living close to the coastal areas of our state provides us with a multitude of opportunities to explore and capture many marshland images. The wildlife, structures and coastline itself are ever changing. This is both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

On the good side we are given new subjects and scenes to interpret. As a fine art photographer it allows seemingly endless inspiration, and true freedom of expression, new thoughts, and visions. On the bad side, we are losing so many of those subjects that have served us so well. Storms have taken away our favorite piers. Time and weather have leveled structures that had so much character. In the worst cases, entire communities have vanished.The passing of time takes its toll.

I’m sad to see these subjects leave us, but so glad that we had the opportunity to record them and add our vision to the memories that we have of those subjects. They will be missed, but as the area changes, others will take their place.

Perhaps you have a relationship that is similar with an area, or subjects, near you. I’ll encourage you to get out there and preserve those memories. Add your interpretation or vision. Maybe you’ll just document them as they are. In any case, keep those memories alive.

Till next time take care and be creative

Dave

View my web galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com

 

 

 

Changing Times…..Changing Weather

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I have seldom, if ever, done a statement piece. For the most part my images are interpretations of a scene I have witnessed, or interpretations of thoughts that I have had. In effect, they are just nice pictures that I love to share. Let me take just a moment of your time to briefly tell you about the image that accompanies this post. It started out innocently enough as an interpretation of a comment that someone made to me. “Don’t you wish you could just turn the page on this weather?” That comment started thoughts running through my head for a new and different image.  The seed had been planted.

I thought about the idea of turning the page on the weather and how I could convey that through a photograph. I chose to use a panorama of Atlantic City and that’s where things started to snowball. As I progressed through the creation of the image, I started to notice a bit of a correlation to the plight of the nearby resort of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those in this area are well familiar with the history, and status of this resort town. The good times, the boom times, the bad times, and the ugly times are well documented. Recent efforts to revive and transform the city may, or may not, pay dividends. Only time will tell.

So this brings me to the image itself. As stated, I started out wanting to show the idea of turning the page on the weather. Turning the page, and peeling back the stormy past and present to show a new dawn with soft calming pastel color, and the hope that a new day brings. This was my goal. I will let the resulting image will speak for itself.

Will Atlantic City also turn the page to see a new dawn? I can’t answer that. I hope so. I hope you also see the correlation between the image and the city. Or, at the very least just enjoy it as another nice picture. I know it was much easier for me to accomplish this digitally than it will be for Atlantic City to accomplish in real life.

Please feel free to leave a comment (there is a link in the post info below to do that). Also please share the post if you feel the urge. You can follow my ramblings by using the “Follow via email” link in the right column. You can follow my photography page on Facebook at this LINK.

   OK, now all the commercials and shameless self promotion are taken care of. I wish you well. Take care and till next time I’ll encourage you to be creative.

Dave

Visit my web galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com

A Floral Texture Overlay

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I haven’t done a straight floral image with texture overlay for quite some time. I was first introduced to, and learned, the process many years back by creative photographer Denise Ippolito. Denise travels the world leading photo workshops and creative processing seminars. She also has numerous DVD’s that are available on creative techniques. Needless to say she has had a strong influence on the direction of my images. Look her up online or on social media. It’ll be worth your time. I have been fortunate to go on to teaching several classes on the texture overlay process myself, and it’s always rewarding to see what the classes will come up with.

As I said though, I haven’t done one of these for quite some time. While preparing some flower files recently , one orchid image got me to thinking of doing an overlay. Now, the general, process usually goes something like this. I have an image and I see, in my mind, a finished textured image. I’ll then begin the processing steps to bring that mental image to life, prepping the original image, choosing a texture overlay, masking, and tweaking as I go. Sometimes though, as I go through those steps, the processing itself will start to tell me where it wants to go. Such was the case with this image.

I had this image of a pastel pink orchid that I saw in my mind with a soft flowing pastel overlay. As I tried several textures that seemed soft and pleasing, I just couldn’t come up with a color combination, or feel that pleased me, let alone fit the end result I wanted. One texture had a vein of grayish monotone flowing through it. As I looked at the image with that overlay, that’s when the processing started talking to me. It was calling for black and white texture.

I searched my texture library and found one that resembled a black and white rubbing. I laid it over the orchid and did a bunch of adjusting. I liked the feel, but the pink orchid, and black and white texture just weren’t quite right together for this presentation. The processing had told me that I needed to go with little to no color for a texture, so I felt I needed to take the next step and go all gray tones. I converted the original orchid file to black and white and applied the new black and white rubbing texture. The image began to come alive.

After much adjusting and masking, along with generous dodging and burning, I arrived at the image you see above. You will need to decide for yourself whether you like it or not. It does seem to me though that this is where the processing wanted me to go. It just felt right.

So my message today would be don’t be afraid to let the processing, or image itself, talk to you and tell you where it wants to go. Don’t be so driven in your thoughts as to not hear what may be a viable alternative. It’s at least worth a look. Don’t ya think?

Please share this post with others to help get more thoughts and possibly some discussion. It’s always obvious that tastes in images vary wildly and that’s a great thing. It’s always fun to also share with you what I’m up to. Till next time, take care and as Denise always told me, be creative.

 

Dave

My web galleries can be seen at www.dwphotoworks.com

Self Assignments……

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“Floral Study”

Self assignments can serve many, many purposes. They can serve as a path out of a funk, or creativity block. They can spur learning, and growth, in a new style or technique. They can open your eyes to a different approach to your photography. Whatever the end goal is, a self assignment can be fun, challenging, enlightening, and most of all, rewarding.

One of the secrets to a successful self assignment is to be honest with yourself. I would encourage you to give careful thought when creating the assignment. Don’t make it so easy as to make the effort just an extension of your current skill set, or the results may be meaningless. Choose a challenge that will provide a positive result, or stretch your abilities. Possibly, it could move you in a whole new direction.   These self assignments can be effective whatever your medium is. Be it photography, watercolor, sketch, sculpture, oils, or any other medium, challenging yourself with a good self assignment can be a natural growth enabler.

I am currently putting together ideas for a couple of gallery shows that I will be involved in this fall. This would be a perfect opportunity for an assignment that might allow me to offer something different for those shows.

The image that accompanies this post is an example of a self assignment. I had read an article a while back that addressed using shadows as an integral part of the composition. We’re not talking just light and dark, but using the recognizable shadow of a specific article, or element, as a major component of the composition. In this case, a flower bloom and its shadow. So we have our assignment.

Could I develop a composition that would prominently feature the shadow of a specific object in the scene (the bloom) and have it fit and be coherent with the feel and flow of the image? In other words, would it make sense. I’m happy with what I achieved. You will have to decide for yourself whether you feel I was successful in the assignment and whether or not I achieved my goal. Either way, the assignment got me shooting in the studio, and after the capture, spurred some real thought on processing. The composition called for the use of some previously untried processing techniques.

All in all the assignment ended up being fun and has me looking at other similar opportunities for created images. Perhaps I could explore a series of shadow images.

Thanks, as always, for reading my ramblings. I certainly hope they will, at the very least, cause some thought or instigate an assignment of your own. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the process. Don’t forget to visit my web galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com and also don’t be afraid to share this blog post with others.

Take care and as always be creative

Dave

Lancaster County PA. (A joy for photographers)

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Lancaster County Pennsylvania, what a place. The Amish folks and their, so different, lifestyle. The small communities with peaceful, pleasant names like Bird in Hand. The horse-drawn buggies mixed in with modern autos, the stone mills, the lush rolling countryside, and farmlands, are all inspirational subjects. A ride on the Strasburg steam train, and the chance to hear the whistle of the ghost train echoing across the valley, is a thrill.

A few days in this environment will inspire any photographer to kill off a multitude of innocent, unsuspecting pixels. The big draw for many is the dozens and dozens of covered bridges dotting the landscape throughout the region. Some are easy to find, while others offer the thrill of the hunt. There are actually maps that you can find at various tourist stops the show the location of many of these statements of a time gone by. Many are still in daily use.

I chose this file, from inside a covered bridge, to be the base for my interpretation of the mood and feel of our trip. I felt a watercolor look with minimal detail would convey my vision nicely and set out on my processing journey. After much trial and error, and refining my feelings on the look and feel, I have arrived at this presentation. You may like it or maybe not so much. That’s fine, you will certainly have your own feel for the mood of the area.

I wish I had completed this early enough to include in a gallery exhibit that I am currently involved in at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville, NJ. It would have fit in nicely.  I may consider it for a show later this year.

I hope that you might be able to share in the experience of Lancaster and the Amish area of Pennsylvania some day. You certainly will remember it for a lifetime.

I’ll also invite you to follow this blog by using that feature in the right column of this page. The more we have here, the better. Thanks for reading and as always, be creative.

Dave

See my galleries at www.dwphotoworks.com