The Darkroom Underground magazine

I have some exciting news!  I’ve been asked to be on the advisory council of a brand new magazine:  The Darkroom Underground.

It’s founded by Tim Layton, a fine art photographer who specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, primarily with large format film, and processing traditionally.

Here’s an overview of the magazine from Tim:

The focus of The Darkroom Underground publication is rooted in art, imagination, and brought to life through the creative souls that share their most personal thoughts and experiences.

Photography has evolved over the last 175 years to a place that the 19th and 20th-century photographers could have never imagined.  In spite of the proliferation of technology and digitalization of just about every area of modern life, people still have a strong desire to create handmade artwork in the darkroom.  Photographers that have only used digital gear are discovering the joys and mysteries of darkroom photography.

The Darkroom Underground publishes a balance of technical and creative articles in every issue along with featured photographers and their portfolios.

We are pleased to offer editorial from internationally recognized photographers and writers and also publish articles and portfolios from our readers.

I’ll be talking primarily about the creative process itself rather than gear.  Any magazine that welcomes a dialog about photography today, I’m excited about.

You can check out the website here:  The Darkroom Underground.  Please subscribe and support the arts!



Moving forward


Living the Dream

Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic – free from the tools that create it – can you find new dimensions for your work. – Robert Hall

Photography, like life, is all about moving forward.  I absolutely love to learn, and am constantly searching out new sources of inspiration, techniques, and locations.

One of the best ways to do that is to take a photographic workshop. They’re amazing opportunities to see new places, learn new techniques, get fresh eyes on your work, meet like-minded people and even hang out with some of the greats in the business. How else could you hang out with guys like Keith Carter, Sam Abell or National Geographic photographers and ask them all the questions you always wanted to ask?

The market is flooded with workshops though – some good and some…not so much.  So how do you know which one to choose before you hand over your hard-earned cash?

That’s where my friend Marco Ryan comes in.  He a fantastic photographer and just wrote an amazing e-book all about workshops called “Living the Dream”.  You’ll learn:

  • Questions to ask when choosing a workshop
  • Different types of workshops
  • Preparation
  • Gear choices
  • What to do when you arrive
  • Setting expectations

Honestly, I learned a ton reading it, and I’ve done many workshops over the years.

Here’s the best part: It’s only $7 and all of the profit goes to charity! Marco is heavily involved in Focus for Humanity – a great organization that provides grants to photographers pursuing projects in the area of humanitarian photography.  So your $7 will not only get you some fantastic information but you’ll be helping out other photographers as well.

It’s 71 pages long and filled with great information as well as Marco’s stunning photography, which in itself will inspire you to take a workshop.

You can purchase the ebook here:

Me?  I’m off to photograph Kyoto, Japan and Thailand. See you soon!


A sense of community

The naturalness of life… the sense of community is, I think, a very important factor in an artist’s life.  – Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth

Power Tower perspective. Holga 120N

It always fascinates me how individual photographers shoot.  Some are very sociable, comfortable with people, others are more comfortable with it being a solo, contemplative endeavor.

I fall into the latter category.  For me to be “in the zone” creatively, I have to reflect what I see with what I’m feeling about the subject.  I do that best when there aren’t other people around.  It relates somewhat to my last post about intimacy – it’s tough for me to get intimate with a subject in a group setting.

Having said that though, I love getting together with photographers and talking photography. I recently hooked up with Ray Ketchum and Sabrina Henry, each wonderful photographers, to shoot the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  The best part of that outing was the sense of community and sharing with two very cool people.  When we went to shoot though, each of us did our own thing and we all came away with some very cool images.

Mark Olwick and Michelle Bates

This weekend I got to met someone I’ve always wanted to meet – photographer and author Michelle Bates.  She literally wrote the book on Toy Cameras (Holga’s, Diana’s, etc).  It’s called Plastic Cameras: Toying With Creativity.  We walked around my (and as it turns out her) neighborhood – the Fremont area of Seattle.  She was super friendly and open to all the questions.  We didn’t even do a ton of photography, it was more of a stroll and a chat.  I still came away with a smile (and at least one interesting photo – the electrical tower above).

It reminded me of being in a foreign country, one with a language not your own, when suddenly you come across someone who speaks your language fluently.  There’s a sense of “Finally, someone understands me” and relief.

It’s nice to have that sense of community and connection amongst photographers…but I still like wandering off by myself to get intimate with my subject.