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User / Zeb Andrews
Zeb Andrews / 4,493 items

N 48 B 31.1K C 21 E Jan 10, 2013 F Jan 10, 2013
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The ex-five year old at Latourell Falls a couple of months back. He sure knows how to work it in front of a camera.

We just cut and ate cake, now it's time to sift through the presents, assemble the Angry Birds Hot Wheels Track, flip through the animal encyclopedia and put together the creepy crawlies glow puzzle.

Tags:   Owen birthday boy waterfalls Pacific Northwest Columbia River Gorge Hasselblad Hasselblad 500C film analog child son portrait Oregon square Lomo Color 800 film Blue Moon Camera

N 53 B 16.3K C 14 E Sep 3, 2010 F Sep 3, 2010
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Light trails, warbles and flare one night some time last year on the St. Johns Bridge. Sometimes I think photographers try to hard to control light. It is a photographer's folly to think they can control it. We can't, nor should we. We should respect, realize it will do its thing, attempt to understand it while realizing we never will fully. And then have a healthy respect for it, because without, well we photographers really aren't anything without it. So let it go, let it dance and play, and be happy to be there to witness and enjoy it (and take more than a few photos too).

Tags:   St. Johns Bridge bridge night urban Portland PDX square film Kodak Tri-X Hasselblad 500C/M traffic light city Oregon Pacific Northwest Bridgetown Zeb Andrews photography Blue Moon Camera

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I heard about an incident secondhand this morning, which neither surprised me nor do I consider uncommon, yet it got me to thinking.

A Flickr photographer leaves a critique on another Flickr photographer's image. The critique is honest, potentially accurate, well-written and well meant. The critique is immediately responded to with an e-mail full of !!!!'s and defensive denials about nitpicking and personal attacks and the like.

Photography is an interesting creation. Well art in general is. Flickr, likewise, is an odd experiment in social interaction. But before I wander too far, let me condense what I am about to explain down to this simple statement.

As a photographer, and an artist, you would be wise to grow thick skin around an open mind.

Art is subjective. It is opinion. As with any opinion, some of the time it is going to be right, and some of the time it is going to be wrong. Likewise, your photography is going to make some people happy, and others... not so much. But it will never, ever, ever make everyone happy all at once. Just won't happen. No perfect photographs. No perfect photographers. The day you become a perfect photographer (or the day you think you are one) is the day you become a boring and arrogant photographer.

So working off that conclusion, it is not unreasonable to assume that every photo you take can have some critical suggestion made about it if it is shown to enough people.

This is not a bad thing at all. Feedback from others is one of the ways we learn and grow. But nonetheless it is something that can be difficult to learn how to accept.

Our photography is quite personal. We hold it up as a reflection of our vision and ideas and imagination. It is a record of our experiences. It is an extension of who we are and what we think. It is without a doubt, personal. Therefore it can sometimes feel like critiques of that work are personal attacks. Heck, I know photographers who go all emotionally topsy-turvy if they don't get a certain amount of beaming, positive feedback, even without any neutral or critical feedback.

This is where Flickr comes in. There are a lot of things I like about Flickr, but the critical response I get to my photos (or lack of) is not one of them. Because of the heavy social aspect of Flickr and most likely partially due to the short attention span of the internet, a lot of commenting that goes on here is short, cliche and trite. "Great work" "Beautiful" "Congrats" The like. Now, I don't mean to criticize those people who leave such comments. I appreciate any time taken on my stream, and even brief ones show that the viewer was moved to at least that degree. But at the same time, such comments contain little useful information and are not terribly good for the health of my ego.

In fact, I would say Flickr is to the ego what sugary foods are to our bodies. Seems fun in the short term, really messes you up in the long term.

If you get used to see nothing but fluffy, glad-patting comments, not only are you deprived of critical feedback, but even more importantly, the ability to process and handle critical feedback. In other words, a thick skin. Very, very important for any artist to have. We must remember that Flickr is a relatively sheltered community. What garners a lot of "Outstandings" here may mean very little outside of this world. Get into the realm of galleries, art curators, editors, collectors, and such and you may be in for a rude awakening. It is a world where "No" is heard more than "Yes". And that is usually all you hear. Their time is generally too valuable to tell you any reason why. And if you have not developed that thick skin, then it is easy to be stung, then disappointed, then to engage in self-doubt, which can lead to undermining your pursuit of your art.

But a thick skin is only half the puzzle. You need to keep an open mind behind it to remain receptive to criticism. The point of good criticism is to highlight shortcomings of your work in such a way as to provide you with information that helps overcome or strengthen those shortcomings. If your primary response is to get defensive and fire off accusatory e-mails to anyone critiquing your work, you have narrowed your mind down to such a point that you are seriously restricting the critical thinking you are doing, and critical thinking is essential to art and photography.

Start with these conclusions, just try them.

1) None of your work is perfect, therefore it is perfectly open to criticism.

2) Most criticism, regardless of how well constructed it is, generally contains at least a kernel of truth. There had to be something that sparked the criticism in the first place.

3) Art is subjective. Art is opinion. Opinions do not always agree. Therefore not all criticisms, regardless of the validity of their statement are going to apply, because of this simple difference of opinion.

4) One of the goals of every photographer should be to do whatever they can to become better photographers.

5) Honest, well thought-out feedback and criticism is one of the best ways to gauge how your photography looks in other people's eyes. It is invaluable. Never turn your back on it when it is freely given. Some people pay hundreds of dollars to have some guy in a beret tell them their work is crap. Seriously.

It is kind of odd, many believe the most important skills to learn as a photographer involve knowing how to compose and expose. How to focus and post-process. The "older" I get as a photographer, the more I come to believe the most important skills are the ones like learning patience and dedication. Or learning how to give and receive critical feedback, particularly how to receive it without getting defensive. How to critically think about photography, yours and others. How to balance technicals with creativity. Learning to be flexible in your thinking. Etc.

But enough for tonight, I'll simply reiterate what I said above, thick skin and an open mind. Say it with me...

In regards to this photo, the start of a series. Faulkner has been taking staff portraits of all of us, close up face portraits. I got the idea to match the portrait he took up with my actual face. I have since begun photographing some of my staff members holding up their portraits in a like manner. For this shot, Sean pulled the trigger on the Hasselblad while Kendall was art director and helped me line the photo up with the features of my face. Well done to all of us.

Tags:   Once in a Blue Moon portrait me square film Hasselblad 500C Zeb Andrews photography meta camera store Portland Oregon Pacific Northwest photographers essay Kodak Tri-X b&w St. Johns Blue Moon Camera

N 38 B 5.3K C 33 E May 30, 2009 F May 30, 2009
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“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” --Ursula LeGuin

Continued explorations with the Sullivan Omniscope. I think I will have to start a set for these images soon. I don't feel like I have gotten any real winners yet, but I don't expect to yet anyway, it is all I can do to continue to try to wrap my mind around how this freaking camera is seeing, let alone to actually use that perspective in some reasonable fashion. So I figure if I am going to have fun learning this camera, I might as well post a shot here or there so the rest of you can enjoy this ongoing process as well.

In terms of using the camera in some fashion bent to my will, perhaps trying to reign this camera in is not such a good idea anyway, maybe I should just let it go and hold on for the ride. ;-)

So this is sunset over the Willamette River taken from Cathedral Park (Area B for those of you who have taken my bridge class ;-) ). I shot the omniscope vertically this time around, and well, it caused the bridge to fall down. Actually it took me a few minutes to figure out how I wanted to orient this image, rather vertically like this or rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise so the tower was oriented correctly. But then the horizon would have run vertically... Ahh decisions, decisions.



Tags:   pinhole pinscape Portland sunset blue sky bridge omniscope distorted anamorph warped reality Oregon Pacific Northwest film Fuji Reala Zeb Andrews Zeb Andrews photography Blue Moon Camera

N 423 B 29.0K C 60 E Nov 21, 2008 F Nov 23, 2008
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My favorite sound in the entire world (as of this point in my experiences) is the sound of snow crunching underfoot as you walk through it. This is because of two reasons:

1) It is snowing, and I love snow.
2) In order to hear this crunching, it has to be quiet and whenever it snows, things get really quiet. It does not matter if it is out in the Gorge or in the middle of downtown. Snowy mornings are almost always quiet mornings.

This was the case this morning a few years back. Though there were ample signs of life continuing on in the foot prints and tire treads cutting through the snow, I saw nary another soul in this hour or so I wandered downtown. Eventually I found myself on top of a parking garage, which seems to happen with alarming regularity since I got into photography. I liked the pattern in the tire marks as they cut through the intersection and got this shot with my Nikon FM2. Actually I really really like the flow of travel amongst all the trails left by both pedestrians and motorists. It is interesting to see where people turned, where they swerved, etc. Maybe that is just me.

I have few qualms about living in Portland. It rains a lot. The city is green. It is close to the mountains, the gorge and the beach. The people are ... interesting. What is not to love? Well the fact that we get one good snowfall every other year in town. If we had more practice at driving in the snow, maybe we would not all panic the moment we got half an inch of the stuff. ;-)

If you are interested in pricing for my images, or just plain curious, more info can be found at my website: www.zebandrews.com

Tags:   Snow winter Portland PDX 35mm film Nikon FM2 cold intersection the view from above x marks the spot traffic patterns Oregon Ever notice with how many people, the worse the weather gets the faster and crazier they drive? tacomaartmuseum frozen Zeb Andrews Zeb Andrews photography Blue Moon Camera


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