Tag Archives: photography

Redbubble: Giving This Artist Community Another Look

Redbubble is not just another online place to showcase and sell your photography portfolio or your digital art, it is also a social media platform created by artists, for artists. I joined Redbubble in January 2011, uploaded a dozen photos, and then pretty much forgot about it. But in the three years since, I’ve managed to sell a couple of cards, a few prints, and just this week, a framed print. It was this most recent sale that got me motivated to take another look at Redbubble, update my profile, and upload more of my photographs.

redbubble-david-k-sutton

I now have nearly 40 photos uploaded to Redbubble, including 8 (as of writing) select street photography photos, the first time I’ve made any candids available for sale. Most of the fine art photos that I’ve uploaded to Redbubble can also be found for sale on my Smugmug page, although a few unique photos are available exclusively on Redbubble.

From this moment forward I plan to be more active within the Redbubble community, discovering works from other photographers, and getting some insight into their techniques and processes. I also plan to buy some artwork from other artists for my walls. In fact, I have a growing list of “favorites.”

What makes Redbubble special is the community of fellow photographers and artists. With my admittedly limited experience so far, Redbubble just seems more supportive of artists and their creative endeavors than other online galleries. It seems the enthusiasm and spunk so evident in how Redbubble is operated is infectious, attracting likeminded individuals to show their work, and participate and encourage others. But I will also be playing around with other online services. In addition to my longstanding Flickr page, I will be participating in the launch of Crated, and I just started building my profile page today after receiving my invite. Crated is a new online artist community that looks to compete with Redbubble. So stay tuned for more information about that.

Please check out my Redbubble profile, and if you are a photographer, give Redbubble a try.

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Curmudgeon Agency

There are people who are ill-tempered for no particularly well-thought-out reason. They simply react poorly to seemingly innocuous circumstances or events. It seems these people are curmudgeons for no other reason than to make it perfectly clear they have agency as a human being. And it’s certainly a good idea to assert yourself and to make it known you have thoughts and feelings too, but overreacting to a benign situation for the sake of expressing your individualism is counter-productive at best.

As this relates to street photography, I’m talking about the person who reacts negatively either verbally or physically to their picture being taken. And certainly that’s their prerogative (at least the verbal part), but people seem to think they have some special right no one else possesses when out in public.

For better or for worse, we live in a surveillance society, and at the same time, nearly everyone has a camera. There is no presumed privacy on the street, or in a park. What is it exactly that people fear about the photograph? These same people do not live in fear that their likeness could be captured by accident with someone’s smart phone camera. They don’t think twice about walking down a city street where the number of security cameras can measure into the dozens. But raise your camera up, and snap a shot, and suddenly you’ve taken away their agency? Most people who react badly in these situations couldn’t begin to tell you why, they just react.

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Don’t Be ‘That’ Guy

Photography is a great hobby, and for some, a great profession. And yes, photography is an art. Anything that human beings create can be considered art. And as we know, art is subjective. Sure, there are some paintings, or sculptures, or photographs which most people agree are great art. But even with the greatest works there are detractors, and that’s fine. People should not fall in line. People should not follow. People should go with their instincts and what moves them. If you don’t think a piece of art is good, there is no problem with saying so, but what you shouldn’t be is “that” guy. Don’t be the self-righteous prick who goes on message forums, or photo comments on Flickr and acts like a complete ass. Don’t be like this guy:

the_LOLRUS:

Is it just me, or do most of the people posting here not know what street photography is?

Here are some of the more cringe-worthy shots I’ve found, without much searching needed. These types of pics also seem to be the norm in this group’s pool.
 
DSCF1088-Edit by ziengler

그녀의 뒷모습 by Kangheewan
 
Poverty is the mother of crime. by Ripped Defiance

Rusty Fence Post by Shawn Harquail

Bologna - Il “quadrilatero” - Via Drapperie by Massimo Battesini

Bologna -  "Il quadrilatero" - Via Pescherie Vecchie by Massimo Battesini

Like I said, don’t be “that” guy. You think this is not that bad? You think he has a legitimate complaint? Even so, there are more respectful and tactful ways to go about critiquing the work of others. This is not one of them:

Took a look through your stream, your stuff is mostly poorly composed, underexposed, generic snapshits as well. I guess I’ll let the pictures do the talking instead, instead of the poser who took them.

Well at least he got a bit more specific, but still entirely unhelpful. This definitely ranks high on the prick-o-meter. But it gets even better (or worse). Because it’s not enough to punch people in the face for no particularly good reason, but he also has to pat himself on the back at the same time:

My pictures pretty much perfect. I’ve shot for the Red Bulletin, and I have my work up in galleries in SF. What do you do, besides take poorly composed snapshits of the homeless and people’s backs?

I’ll say it again, don’t be “that” guy.

I think most people in the photography community are not like this guy. Most people are helpful, courteous and truly care about their craft and improving the craft of others through constructive criticism. Unfortunately if you spend any time at all on photo sites, blog comments, or message forums, you will soon find out there is a sizable contingent of egotistical, self-important, sanctimonious assholes. I’m sorry, that’s what they are, and it needs to be said. These people need to be ignored. They are trolls, or at least they behave in troll-like fashion. Do not engage. Stay away. Do not give them fodder. In other words, don’t feed the pious photography trolls.

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Aspiring Street Photographers: Know Your Rights, Then Stand Your Ground

If you are an aspiring street photographer, you need to know your rights, and then you need to stand your ground. No, we aren’t talking about the ridiculous “Stand Your Ground” law in the state of Florida, but rather, stand your ground in this context means you as a photographer need to be courteous yet assertive when confronted on the street. Because the unfortunate reality is that if you are in the city taking photographs with a DSLR or similar “pro-looking” camera, you will eventually be approached by a security guard, or even sometimes the police — so know your rights!

The Photographer’s Right: The General Rule — The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.

Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations.

And this right to photograph when in a public place is not limited to objects and buildings, as it also includes people. It’s your right to photograph anything, including people when you are in a public place, and yes, that even includes children. But that doesn’t mean you should be an ass about it. Obviously if you like candid street photography you aren’t going to ask for someone’s permission (although in the case of children, you might want to consider asking the parent’s permission first), but be mindful of how people react to you and your camera. If someone is not happy about it, move on to the next subject. While you are within your rights to continue to shoot in this scenario, common sense says you should avoid a possible confrontation, but more importantly, you should respect other’s feelings and emotions. Your task as a street photographer is to capture a slice of life, the human condition, and to tell a story, but you shouldn’t seek to upset people.

But when it comes to overzealous security guards or anyone else who questions your right to photograph, I think you should stand your ground. Be polite and explain why you have a right to photograph. I don’t think you should purposely escalate the situation by mocking the person who is challenging you, but you also should not immediately back down because it is up to all of us in the photography community to stick up for our rights. And so that brings me to a short documentary from 2011 where six photographers spread out across London with intention of capturing how private security reacts to their presence. I have to warn you, if you are well aware of your rights as a photographer, you might start yelling at the screen as I did.

Ugh, this is so frustrating! As I said, you can photograph whatever you want while in a public space, and that includes private buildings and people! And that is generally true in most advanced democracies. These private security guards, they are like singular human microcosms of the military industrial complex – continually inventing ways to justify their existence. They have no idea what they are talking about, but they think they are an authority on the matter. Okay, well leave this commentary at home and to yourself. Remember what I said, don’t escalate the situation. If you are approached, try to remember the way the photographers in this video behaved. There’s no reason to intensify the confrontation.

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26 Photography Guidelines To Build From

DO NOT read this list if you are looking for camera setting tips, or gear recommendations, or lighting techniques, or composition tricks. DO read this list if you are looking to formulate your own thought processes and mental framework to improve your art and your relationship with photography. I am not a professional photographer. I created this list for myself, that’s why its written in the first person, but I thought maybe it could be of use to others. Use it as a starting point for your own photographic guidelines, and maybe to create your own list.

Figurine sculpture sitting on a box, dangling legs.

Figurine sculpture sitting on a box, dangling legs.

26 PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES

  1. I will miss every shot I don’t take.
  2. Today everyone is a photographer, so I’ll make it a goal to find my photographic voice, my unique take on the world, my personal visual style.
  3. Better gear does not make me a better photographer.
  4. Repeat guideline #3 at least 20 times before clicking that buy button.
  5. Always shoot raw.
  6. Purchase more storage space if necessary to facilitate #5.
  7. Always backup my photos, and in addition to a local backup, make sure I have at least one off-site (cloud) backup as well.
  8. When I’m searching for an interesting photographic subject, I must remember that some of the best photos in history are of the most commonplace, day-to-day subjects.
  9. If the shot is not working, get closer to the subject.
  10. If the shot is not working, get further away from the subject.
  11. If the shot is not working, walk around the subject and shoot it from a different angle.
  12. If the only camera I have with me is my smart phone, don’t stop looking for interesting things to shoot, and don’t hesitate to use the camera at my disposal.
  13. Spend less time browsing photography forums, blogs, and books, spend more time making art.
  14. But when the artistic muse is AWOL, recharge by searching for new inspiration by browsing photography forums, blogs, and books.
  15. Take less gear with me on photography outings.
  16. Follow #15, keeping in mind that some of the best photos were taken with a 35mm or 50mm fast prime lens.
  17. Be less timid, and more self-confident, particularly when shooting people. I must not be a voyeur. I either need to fade into the background for candids, or when that’s not possible, I must do the opposite and own it, and become an active part of the scene. Great photographers overcame their fear in service of finding the next great shot.
  18. Since everyone is a photographer, I need to find a different perspective. I need to get down low, because every shot I’ve taken in the past from a low angle has revealed a whole new world.
  19. I should only put my very best photos online. I must resist the temptation to increase quantity which ultimately serves to dilute quality.
  20. Before I click the shutter button, I must stop and take in the scene. There’s no prize for taking the most photographs.
  21. Building on #20, figure out the subject, the thing that anchors the entire scene, and then look for light and dark spaces that create flow and visual interest, and then look for lines that flow towards and away from the main subject.
  22. When working in the digital darkroom (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) I need to walk away, come back later with a fresh pair of eyes, and see if I still like the changes I’ve made to a photo.
  23. Good photos can be taken anywhere. While going to a specific location to take photos is perfectly fine, I need to remember that good photos are all about light, lines and composition, and those things can be found (and framed) everywhere.
  24. A good photograph tells a story or it makes people wonder and use their imagination.
  25. I need to take more photos in the rain and/or when the ground is wet, particularly at night. The wet ground and reflections of light from buildings, cars, and street lights creates a magical canvas just waiting to be photographed.
  26. I need to refine and grow this list of personal guidelines.
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