Thoughts on Photography
Thoughts on Photography is the podcast with the most timely stories in the photography industry. Each week, Brian McGuckin interviews the experts in the thick of the most interesting issues in photography, taking apart and understanding the issue from the experts.
In this podcast, I discuss the one year anniversary since I started Thoughts on Photography (October 15th actually), why I started the podcast, and some of my New Year resolutions for the podcast going forward for 2009.
Direct download: TOP-0048.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21pm EST

In this podcast I pull together a list of my favorite photography books published in 2008. The book list includes:

Saul Leiter

Helen Levitt

America by Zoe Strauss

Cuba: Campo Adentro by Susan S. Bank

Planet Shanghai by Justin Guariglia

Fading Hutongs by Julio De Matos

Ideology in Paradise by Hiroshi Watanabe

Interior Exposure by Jessica Todd Harper

Domestic Vacations by Julie Blackmon

A Certain Alchemy by Keith Carter

Direct download: TOP-0047.mp3
Category:photography books -- posted at: 6:50pm EST

Howard Zehr is known worldwide for his work in transforming our understanding of justice, particularly restorative justice, and is a faculty member at Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He is also the General Editor of The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding series of which The Little Book of Contemplative Photography is a part. Zehr is also an accomplished photographer (particularly in creating the documentary-style photographs for his books) and teaches workshops on contemplative photography which promote "mindfulness" in photography.
Direct download: TOP-0046.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 6:19pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the current resurgence in interest in the work of William Eggleston. An retrospective exhibition of Eggleston's work on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art along with a new book/catalog of the exhibition. Coincidentally, a new DVD documentary is also available as well. There has never been a better time to get to know the work Eggleston than now.
Direct download: TOP-0045.mp3
Category:photographers -- posted at: 8:24pm EST

Ibarionex Perello is a California-based photographer, writer, and educator. Ibarionex is a contributing writer for Shutterbug Magazine, PC Photo, and Digital PhotoPro. He is co-founder of Alas Media, a studio dedicated to telling stories through a variety of media, and is the host of the Candid Frame, a podcast focused on interviews of photographers across the wide spectrum of the photographic world, and FotoBoy, a blog on photography.
Direct download: TOP-0044.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:10pm EST

Getting known as a fine art photographer, that is getting your work out into the photographic public and gaining some name and photographic recognition, is not easy and there isn't a magic solution. This podcast discusses some things you can do though to increase your exposure and help you build a career in fine art photography.
Direct download: TOP-0043.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 1:11pm EST

In this episode, I explore the philosophy, reasons and rationale behind sharing your photography both as a way of completing what I call the "cycle" of photography and as a way of living the photographic life.
Direct download: TOP-0042.mp3
Category:exhibiting -- posted at: 8:13pm EST

This episode of the Focus Ring (a round-table discussion featuring podcasters from the Photocast Network) features Boris Nienke (nSonic), Rolf Steinort (Meet the Gimp), Chris Marquardt (Tips from the Top Floor), and Paul Giguere (Thoughts on Photography). In this episode, we discuss lots of new developments and announcements from Photokina 2008, some philisophical questions concerning the new video capabilities being introduced into DSLR cameras, and more. We also mention various products and web sites during the show which are listed below:

Schnellkapplung MiniConnect

Subjectiv Creative Lens System

Carl Zeiss Lens for Canon EOS

Lensbaby's New Line of Lens

Leica DLux-4 and G1 Cameras

Sigma DP2 Camera

Photokina 2008 Report

Direct download: FR16.mp3
Category:focus ring -- posted at: 9:14pm EST

Meg Birnbaum is a photographer based in Massachusetts whose photographs evoke a certain modern sense of nostalgia. From her botanical photos to her scenes from county fairs to her almost fantastical world in the "Fly by Night" portfolio, Meg's work stimulates our imagination and our memories of events both lived and only dreamed of. Some photo reviews mentioned in this episode include:

Review Santa Fe

Direct download: TOP-0041.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:43pm EST

I recently picked up a book by Philippe Gross and S.I. Shapiro called "The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing." Ignoring the overused "Tao of Whatever" as a part of the title, I found this book to be excellent and the advice useful at all stages of your photography.
Direct download: TOP-0040.mp3
Category:photography books -- posted at: 11:06pm EST

I recently attended a photo workshop at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in Woodstock, NY with Constantine Manos. Photo workshops can be fun, invigorating, and yes, expensive and even unsettling but I think they are one more thing we can do lead a photographic life.
Direct download: TOP-0039.mp3
Category:workshops -- posted at: 11:02pm EST

Lorenzo is a New York City based street photographer who began using digital cameras just a few years ago. His use of the digital cameras as a part of his work flow has liberated him and has allows him to achieve new creative (and prolific heights) with his photography including several self-published books through Lorenzo's intense passion and interest in photography helps him to lead a photographic life in the truest sense.
Direct download: TOP-0038.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

The German book publisher Steidl is in the process of releasing reprints of photography books by Robert Frank (some of which are in newly edited editions supervised by Frank himself). The titles include:

The Americans (50th Anniversary Edition)
Robert Frank - Peru
Robert Frank - Paris
Zero Mostel Reads a Book

Although I'm extremely happy to be re-exposed to Frank's work, of particular interest to me is the Zero Mostel book which I found to be a delight. All of these books are not only worth your attention but should be on your bookshelf. More books by Frank are promised in the coming months and year.
Direct download: TOP-0037.mp3
Category:photography books -- posted at: 9:36pm EST

Although digital cameras have been with us for quite awhile and the quality of images produced with digital cameras can equal or are better than film-based cameras, the issue of film versus digital continues to permeate our photographic discussions. This podcast attempts to re-frame the issue as not one of quality but rather process (or how we like to work). I know this can still be a hot button issue but hopefully my thoughts add, in a constructive way, to the decision-making that some photographers still grapple with when contemplating film or digital in their photographic life.
Direct download: TOP-0036.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm EST

In this podcast, photographer Aline Smithson and I have a conversation regarding her approach to photography, the creative process, and a wide range of topics related to the photographic life. You can see Aline's work and read more about her at her web site. Aline also maintains a blog called Lenscratch where she frequently discusses work by other photographers and news of interest to the fine art photographer.
Direct download: TOP-0035.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:52pm EST

Sometimes our photographic comfort zone (the typical subjects, tools, and places that we are most comfortable with in our photography) can be our biggest barrier to making creative leaps in our work. Finding the courage to occasionally leave your comfort zone behind can lead to the "next step" in your photographic life. This episode references the book "Art and Fear" by David Bayle and Ted Orland and is highly recommended.
Direct download: TOP-0034.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 1:23pm EST

In this podcast, photographer Gordon Stettinius and I have a conversation where we discuss Gordon's approach to photography, his creative process, and a certain philosophy of photography. You can see Gordon's work and read more about him at his web site.

During the course of the discussion, we also make mention of a web site called HolgaMods which is Holga camera modification and enhancement business run by Randy Smith. Since we mentioned it in the podcast, I just thought it would be good to make the link available here.

Direct download: TOP-0033.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

This podcast discusses some of the essays of Susan Sontag, which can be found in the collection "On Photography", and in particular the idea that a camera can be viewed as a weapon. A controversial thought to be sure but one that I hope elicits a conversation about how photographers view their tools and the role they play in the creative process.
Direct download: TOP-0032.mp3
Category:tools -- posted at: 8:01pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the 20X200 photography and fine art print sales site hosted by Jen Bekman of Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City. Their whole approach to limited edition sales of prints involves pricing three different size prints (small, medium, and large) in different quantities (200, 20, and 2 respectively) at varying prices ($20, $200, and $2,000 respectively). This could be a whole new approach to limited editions and pricing in general for most photographers that allows the average person the ability to purchase a photograph based on their budget and their motivation as a collector of photography.
Direct download: TOP-0031.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

In this podcast I discuss juried photo exhibitions, what they are, how they work, and the pros and cons of entering them. I also provide some helpful tips should this be something you wish to pursue for your own fine art photography. An excellent resource for finding out when and where various exhibition opportunities are and other great advice for marketing your fine art photography is Mary Virginia Swanson's book "Marketing Guidebook for Photographers." Ms. Swanson also maintains a blog that frequently list exhibition opportunities as well.
Direct download: TOP-0030.mp3
Category:exhibiting -- posted at: 9:34pm EST

In this podcast I interview photographer Bill Vaccaro to discuss his photography, his creative process, and how he goes about living a photographic life. You can see Bill's work and read more about him at his web site.

Some other web sites and/or photographers mentioned on this show include:

Mark Tucker
Keith Carter
James Fee
Fan Ho
Rocky Schenck

Direct download: TOP-0029.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:03pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss how learning from other photographers and their work (sometimes through imitation) can be essential step towards learning how to see photography and contributes towards gaining inspiration for your own work and eventually your own vision.
Direct download: TOP-0028.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

In this episode, I discuss the use of photosharing web sites (i.e. Flickr) by fine art photographers as possible alternatives to creating and managing a traditional stand-alone web sites.
Direct download: TOP-0027.mp3
Category:promoting photography -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

In this podcast, I try to address the question of what it means to "live a photographic life", a term I frequently use in my podcasts.
Direct download: TOP-0026.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:20pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the importance of model releases and I cover some important issues to remember when shooting in public. Below is a sample model release that you can copy and modify to suite your particular purpose. Also, here is a link to a document called "The Photographer's Right: Your Rights and Remedies when Stopped or Confronted for Photography" by Bert Krages, Attorney at Law.

[NOTE: This podcast and associated information are not meant to be actual legal advice. Please consult the local laws where ever you happen to be shooting photographs and/or seek professional legal advice.]

Model Release

I, _______________________________, grant [PHOTOGARHER NAME] all rights and permission to use the photographs taken of me on ____/____/____ at __________________________, _______ in any manner [PHOTOGARHER NAME] chooses.

Signature                 Date: ____/____/____
I, undersigned, being the parent of guardian of the minor whose name appears above, hereby consents to the forgoing condition and warrants that I have the authority to give such consent.

___________________________________________ Signature                 Date: ____/____/____

Direct download: TOP-0025.mp3
Category:legal issues -- posted at: 8:15pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss how essays about photography can help us gain insight into our own photography. Below are links to several essay collections that are mentioned throughout this episode:

Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values - Robert Adams

Why People Photograph - Robert Adams

Along Some Rivers - Robert Adams

The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography - Roland Barthes

On Photography - Susan Sontag

Light Matters - Vicki Goldberg

Advice for Photographers - Al Weber

Truth and Photography: Notes on Looking and Photographing - Jerry Thompson

Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics - David Levi Strauss

Inside the Photograph - Peter Bunnell

The Education of a Photographer - Traub, Heller, and Bell

The Photography Reader - Liz Wells

25 Lessons I Have Learned (About Photography): The Art of Living - Lorenzo Dominguez
Direct download: TOP-0024.mp3
Category:photography books -- posted at: 6:35pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the photographer's obsession with cameras, gadgets, and technology and I offer up some tips on breaking the chain of the "must upgrade" craze.
Direct download: TOP-0023.mp3
Category:tools -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

This episode of the Focus Ring (a round-table discussion featuring podcasters from the Photocast Network) features John Arnold (, Rolf Steinort (Meet the Gimp), Beno├«t Marchal (D├ęclencheur), and Paul Giguere (Thoughts on Photography). In this episode, we discuss how to find something to shoot (when you live in the least interesting place in the world), continuous versus strobe (or flash) lighting, getting your images to the wall, and composing and shooting in a square format with your digital SLR. We also mention various products and web sites during the show which are listed below:

Direct download: FR13.mp3
Category:focus ring -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

In this podcast I interview photographer Susan Burnstine to discuss her photography, her creative process, and how she goes about living a photographic life. You can see Susan's work and read more about her at her web site:
Direct download: TOP-0022.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 11:20am EST

In this podcast, I discuss the various debates that have occurred in photography since its early beginnings through present day and how these debates, while sometimes useful to move the entire field of photography forward to the next evolutionary level, can also stifle our creativity as photographers.
Direct download: TOP-0021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss the various labels that we apply to ourselves (or are applied to us) as photographers (e.g. fine art photographer) and whether such labels are pretentious or practical.
Direct download: TOP-0020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EST

This podcast focuses on a discussion of websites as a way of marketing and promoting your fine art photography. The podcast covers such issues as:

- identifying your audience
- setting goals for your website
- elements of a fine art website
- types of website solutions for the photographer

Links to sites mentioned in this podcast include:


Direct download: TOP-0019.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the artist statement. Why are they important, who the audiences are for them, the different types of statements possible, and how to write them.
Direct download: TOP-0018.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 9:31pm EST

Continuing a discussion started in Thoughts on Photography #16, which looked at developing a photographic style, I discuss an approach to selecting a subject to photograph.
Direct download: TOP-0017.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:24pm EST

In this podcast I define what a photographic style is and what it means to you as a photographer.
Direct download: TOP-0016.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

This podcast explores the concept of "flow." According to the definition on Wikipedia, flow is a mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. In photography, flow can be used to help achieve a sense of heightened creativity with your photography.

As a reference for this podcast, here is a simple chart that explains the four levels of flow:

Level 1
Low Skill - Low Challenge = Typically breeds apathy

Level 2
Low Skill - High Challenge = Typically causes frustration and anxiety.

Level 3
High Skill - Low Challenge = Can bring about contentment and can build confidence but the challenge must increase to encourage true engagement.

Level 4
High Skill - High Challenge = Desired focused state where flow is attained,

Direct download: TOP-0015.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:14pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the pros and cons or printing large sized prints and how that relates to selling your work both to the collector and the average consumer.
Direct download: TOP-0014.mp3
Category:printing -- posted at: 8:51pm EST

In this podcast I discuss limited edition prints, what they are, who they benefit, and whether they are right for you. I also cover some of the details that you need to consider should you wish to sell your prints in limited editions.
Direct download: TOP-0013.mp3
Category:selling -- posted at: 10:06pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss how to arrive at a price for your photographic prints regardless of whether you sell your work in unlimited or limited editions. Below is a simple formula that I discuss in the podcast for determining the price:

Art Fair Pricing (unlimited)
Step 1: Determine the cost of your materials for a single print. For example:

- 13x19 paper
- inkjet print
- bag and board
- add framing costs if applicable

$10 for materials X 33% = $13.30

Step 2: Multiply the result from Step 1 by 3. This is the price you could charge for your print (and probably sell it). For example:

$13.30 X 3 = $39.90 (round up to $40)

Exhibition/Gallery Pricing (limited)
Step 1: Determine what level you are at as a fine art photographer with regards to your reputation and experience exhibiting and/or publishing and then multiply an hourly rate by 33%. For example:

Beginner - $100/hr X 33% = $133
Emerging - $200/hr X 33% =$266
Established - $300/hr X 33% = $399

Step 2: Multiply the result from Step 1 by 3. This is the price you could charge for your print (and probably sell it). For example:
$133 X 3 = $399 or $400 (exhibition)
$266 X 3 = $798 or $800
$399 X 3 = $1197 or $1200
Direct download: TOP-0012.mp3
Category:selling -- posted at: 9:59pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss ideas that help you remain engaged in your fine art photography when time doesn't permit to actually go out and make photographs.
Direct download: TOP-0011.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EST

In this podcast I discuss alternative photographic processes and their rise and prominence in the fine art photography realm.
Direct download: TOP-0010.mp3
Category:alternative process -- posted at: 8:27pm EST

This podcasts discusses how to get started marketing your fine art photography. Below is a list of the major centers of photography in the United States mentioned in the podcast that provide juried exhibition opportunities:

Blue Sky Gallery
1231 NW Hoyt
Portland, Oregon, 97209

PO Box 2483
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Center for Creative Photography
University of Arizona
1030 North Olive Road
Tuscon, AZ 85721

Center for Photography at Woodstock
59 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498

Griffin Museum of Photography
67 Shore Road
Winchester, MA 01890

Houston Center for Photography
1441 W. Alabama
Houston, TX 77006

The Light Factory
Spirit Square Suite 211
345 N College Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

Light Work
316 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244

Minnesota Center for Photography
165 13th Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Photographic Center Northwest
900 Twelfth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Photographic Resource Center
832 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215

Silver Eye Center for Photography
1015 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Direct download: TOP-0009.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 8:42pm EST