The Candid Frame #166 - Robert Larson

Robert Larson is a freelance photographer and writer living in Los Angeles. He is working on a long-term project entitled, Waiting for Haiti. In this self-assigned photo project, he is documenting the continuing impact of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. 

In his blog, he writes about the stories behind the images in his project as well as speaking frankly about the challenges, he's faced trying to start a career as a photographer. You can discover more about Robert and his work by visiting his portfolio website and the Waiting for Haiti website. You can also discover more by visiting his blog

Robert Larson recommends the work of David Carol

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Photographing with Limitations

Copyright Jared RL
A couple of weeks ago, I held the first Chasing the Light workshop in Downtown Los Angeles at the Hatakeyama Gallery. It was a small, but passionate group of photographers, each of whom in a very short time discovered a different way of seeing and shooting, based on being aware of the light.

The most interesting part of teaching is having the opportunity to encourage and witness a change in a photographer's work as a result of what I shared. It was no less the case on this day, which started with an exercise in which the students go out and look for subjects which possess 1 or more of the elements: color, contrast or pattern. The limitations where:

1. You only have twenty minutes
2. No chimping - You can't review the image even for the purposes of checking your exposure
3. You can only shoot up to 7 images.

Those limits can be jarring and even uncomfortable, but that's the point. We all have our way of shooting, some of which may include some really bad habits. Working with limitations forces you not only to pay more attention to what you choose to photograph, but also makes you confront some of those bad habits such as being to preoccupied with what the camera is doing or not doing, making judgements on the worth of an image while you are shooting and worst of all...rushing.

The exercise forced everyone to slow down and to really pay attention not only to the subjects they were considering photographing, but also to observe their process and how they "felt" while shooting.

copyright Larry Marotta
It was after demonstrating to them how I wanted them to respond and photograph that I was able to introduce them to the concept of looking for subjects based on observing the light. It was then that I could begin to reveal to them  how the light can and does make a huge difference in their photography.

A big part of this was critiquing their 7 images and pointing out how they were already responding to the light. With many of their photographs, I could see that they were often reacting to the light, though they weren't always aware of it. With each image, I was able to tap into each of them was already seeing and helped them to consider how to be more in-tune with that when they were out shooting, especially when it came to staying aware of the quality of the light.

Most importantly, I repeated the concept of "owning the frame", being completely responsible for every single element they chose to include in the composition. This was important, because it not only eliminated distractions, but allowed them to build compositions that really took advantage of how they were seeing and responding to the light.

So, when they went out for their second round of shooting, their images were not only better, but also more thoughtful. Where the earlier images felt unsure and tentative, these second round of images not only reflected a greater awareness of light, but more importantly, greater consitency.

Copyright Jared RL

It was particularly interesting to see photographers who revisited subject matter they had photographed in the morning. These new images revealed the color, contrast and pattern of the subject or scene all informed by their observations of how the light shaped their perception. You could often feel and here the difference as the students reacted to the new set of images that popped on the screen.

I can't help but feel that working with the limitations of the first exercise really set the foundation for images they produced in the afternoon. Though, they were freshly pollinated by the information I shared about light, it was also about how they were more aware of not only how they photographed, but how they were feeling when they were doing so.

There is nothing better than being completely in the moment when photographing. You are observing, reacting and shooting, hopefully in a seamless and interrupted flow. Though they were still a bit self-conscious, the image reflected a shift in their perception and technique that was really gratifying to see.

Copyright Paul Edward

The Candid Frame #147 - Mathieu Young

Mathieu Young is a commercial photographer as well as a socially conscious photojournalist whose work has taken him all over the world. His entertainment work includes production images for such popular programs such as So You Think You Can Dance? and Glee. His journalistic and personal projects have focused on deforestation in Cambodia as well image capturing the personalities that make up the Tea Party Movement. His work has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines. He is a good example of a photographer who uses the funds earned by his commercial work to help fund his personal projects, which not only satisfy his desire to make a difference with a camera, but at times can also earn him greater professional opportunities. You can discover more about him and his work by visiting his website and blog.

Mathieu Young recommends looking into the Eddie Adams Photographic Workshop.

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The Candid Frame #144 - Dana Barsuhn

Dana Barsuhn is a young LA-based photographer who honed his skill on the streets of Los Angeles and used what he has learned to serve his early work as a professional photographer. Within a short period of time, he has developed a very personal visual sensibility with his street photography, which has not only allowed him to create distinct imagery in this popular genre, but has also helped him to create unique photographs. His growth as a photographer has recently inspired him to make the leap into a full-time professional photographer, with the hopes of achieving both financial and creative success. You can find out more about his work by visiting his website and blog.

Dana Barsuhn recommends the work of Stanko Abadzic.

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The Candid Frame #128 - Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is a mystery writer and the author of the popular Ivan Monk novels set in Los Angeles. His books include High Hand, Perdition USA and Bad Night is Falling. He has also written graphic novels and served as an editor on several anthologies including the Cocaine Chronicles. Though much of his work revolves around stories of "bad people doing bad things", his non-fiction work has also explored issue of race and culture, especially in the City of Angels, which he calls home. 

Gary Phillips recommends the work of Elmore Leonard

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The Candid Frame #121 - Julia Dean

Julia Dean is a photographer, educator, and the founder of the Julia Dean Photo Workshops. Julia received a Bachelor of Science degree in photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts degree in journalism at the University of Nebraska. She began her career as an apprentice to pioneering photographer Berenice Abbott. Later, Julia was a photo editor for the Associated Press in New York. She has taught for 29 years at such places as the University of Nebraska, Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Santa Monica College, the Santa Fe Workshops, the Maine Photographic Workshops, Oxford University and the Julia Dean Photo Workshops. You find out more about her and her workshop by visiting her website.

Julia Dean recommends the work of Aline Smithson.

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The Candid Frame #118 - Eric Kim

Eric Kim is a street photographer currently residing in Los Angeles. He specializes in black and white street photography, and has taken photos from all over the globe, including places such as Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Prague, London, and Korea. The images that you see in his work are mostly of candid street photography of people in their natural environments. He has a fantastic blog dedicated to street photography from all over the world as well as a series of YouTube videos in which he speaks of his journey as a street photographer. You can discover more about him by visiting his website, his blog and his YouTube channel.

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Here is one video that captures his approach using a GoPro camera.

Eric Kim recommends the work of DirtyHarrry on Flickr.

Click here to read my experience studying in his street photography workshop.

The Candid Frame #117 - Alia Malley

Alia Malley is a fine-art photographer who's landscapes of Southern California reveal a different aspect of the City of Angels than is popularized in television and film. Her photographs capture the natural scenes that exist in the midst of urban sprawl, and make connections not only to the city's current populace but also to the people of the recent and the distant past who have called SoCal home. Her recent effort to publish a book of her series of images entitled "A Cavalier in Sight of a Village" resulted in a very successful attempt  of crowd-funding using Kickstarter. You can discover more of her work by visiting her website and her Kickstarter page.

Alia Malley recommends the work of Todd Hido.

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Check out the Chasing the Light Photography podcast by clicking here.

The Candid Frame #81 - Richard Newman

Richard Newman for over twenty-five years, has worked as a photographer,writer, educator and printer. His work documenting the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in 1989 and 1990, is part of the White House photography archives and is part of the permanent collection at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

He has published three books on photography and been a contributor to two others. Richard's photographs, and writings, have appeared in Digital Photo Pro, View Camera, Lenswork,Outdoor Photographer, Professional Photographer Magazine, Storyteller Magazine,Rangefinder, and the Village Voice. He is currently the National Education Coordinator for Calumet Photographic. You can discover more of his work by visiting his website or following his blog.

Richard Newman recommends the work of Dennis Keeley who has been interviewed before on this show. Listen to that interview by clicking here.

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