B.D. Colen - SmugMug PJ Artist-in-Residence

AndyAndy BicameralNew YorkPosts: 50,154Registered Users Major grins
edited August 13, 2010 in Street and Documentary
[imgl]http://img.skitch.com/20090612-8iswyin79w3msqntj8r3ustda4.jpg[/imgl] We're thrilled to announce that accomplished and notable lecturer B. D. Colen has joined us as our Photojournalism Artist-in-Residence. An experienced teacher as well as having spent decades in the field, he's here to answer your questions, provide critiques, lead discussions, and much, much more.

Stay tuned and post any queries in this thread.
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Comments

  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Huzzah! A wonderful day for PJ photographers, indeed! clap.gif
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 19,059Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited June 12, 2009
    Welcome, BD. Great to have you on board. thumb.gif
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Richard wrote:
    Welcome, BD. Great to have you on board. thumb.gif

    Thanks, Richard, it's really great to be here! If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that we are our own worst editors. The best way for any of us to improve our photography is to be part of a community of photographers.

    And if I may, I'd like to add something here that I posted at the end of a fast disappearing thread. I think this may give people a bit better sense of where I'm "coming from" and what I'm about:

    First, while I have done photojournalism, I do not think of myself as a photojournalist. In fact, early in my life, after several summer jobs as a newspaper shooter, I decided that I did not want to spend my life as a photojournalist, because at that time - mid-to-late-60s, photojournalism was quite limiting and I decided I would ultimately be bored. (I ended up as a writer and editor instead, and had much, much more latitude than I would have had doing traditional photojournalism.) Today, that might be different, as many newspapers and magazines are using the web to allow photographers to spread their wings and do really creative and important work.

    I think of myself first of all as a photographer, and second of all as a photographer of "real life." I am very much steeped in the documentary tradition, and most of my photo heroes are either dead or will be sooner than I'd like to think. I include street photography, and a lot of portraiture in that genre, and believe that the basic principles and concepts of documentary photography can be applied to wide range of photographic genres, including family photography, wedding photography, and corporate and editorial photography.

    I do in Photoshop what I would do in a film dark room; I burn, I dodge, I adjust contrast - as I would with paper grades and filters. I work very carefully to avoid creating an alternative reality. Yes, when I am shooting for a client, I will sometimes clone out an annoying intrusion into an image, but that's because it's what I'm being paid to do - and I do it rarely. Otherwise, the telephone wire stays where it was.

    "People" quite neatly describes what I shoot. Obviously, there are many ways to shoot people, and I will refrain from commenting on examples of those ways that are obviously outside my range of expertise and interest. Meanwhile, I hope to learn from all of you, because everyone here has something to teach, and I have a great deal to learn.

    B. D.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    How great is this!
    If not now, when?
  • rwellsrwells Let the shootin' begin... Posts: 6,084Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Really looking to learn from your years of knowledge.
    Thanks for coming aboard!
    Randy
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,486Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 12, 2009
    Welcome aboard.

    I look forward to your expertise, here on dgrinthumb.gif
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,035Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Welcome! thumb.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 12, 2009
    B. D., wonderful to have you here. thumb.gifclap
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • thoththoth Major grins Posts: 1,085Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Welcome B.D. It is an honor!
    Travis
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,565Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Welcome Welcome !!!clap.gif
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
    fineartprints.shop
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Thanks to all!
    thoth wrote:
    Welcome B.D. It is an honor!

    Again, thanks for the warm welcome. I'm feeling my way here, and have been commenting on some photos. I'll comment on those where I feel my suggestions may make some difference.

    Best,

    B. D.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,565Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Sir have you ever got chance to work in middle east or Asian countries especially in countries like Pakistan India Afghanistan etc ?
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
    fineartprints.shop
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Sir have you ever got chance to work in middle east or Asian countries especially in countries like Pakistan India Afghanistan etc ?

    Sadly, I have not. East Africa - Somalia and Kenya are the closest I have gotten. My daughter - a photographer and black and white master printer - just returned from a week in India raving, and my son - a photographer who travels the globe shooting skateboarders raves about Thailand. I, unfortunately, haven't done much traveling.

    Best,
    B. D.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • 1pocket1pocket Forever a student... Posts: 298Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 14, 2009
    I have read with interest your comments on a few photos already -- you caught my attention that way before i noticed this sticky, lol.

    You do get right to the point, and they are good points. I suspect that such strong swoop in kind of opinions might draw some flak, but I have already felt like I have learned.

    One concern I have is that within the dGrin campus there are many different ways of approaching photography, but you seem to have a strong and distinct (realist, photojournalistic) style, that might not always be what other forum members are going after. That's fine, as long as you don't digress into arguing with us, if we really do want to achieve a different look from what you would want for yourself. So far, you've been swooping in and dropping little educational bombs, which is edifying, but could also invite a little push-back.

    I like it so far, but am a little trepidatious, although not so much that I will avoid looking for an image or two to invite your comments :D

    Welcome aboard, and thank you sharing your insight so far...
    My humble gallery...
    www.steveboothphotography.com

    Pool/Billiards specific...
    www.poolinaction.com
  • eL eSs VeeeL eSs Vee Beside himself. Posts: 1,243Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 14, 2009
    I'm at one with 1 and, with the same eagerness and trepidation, I welcome you, BD, to dgrin. I look forward to learning as much as I can from you. I already have!

    It's an honor to have you with us.
    Lee
    __________________

    My SmugMug Gallery
    My Facebook

    "If you've found a magic that does something for you, honey, stick to it. Never change it." - Mae West, to Edith Head.
    "Every guy has to have one weakness - and it might as well be a good one." - Shell Scott: Dance With the Dead by Richard S. Prather
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 14, 2009
    1pocket wrote:
    I have read with interest your comments on a few photos already -- you caught my attention that way before i noticed this sticky, lol.

    You do get right to the point, and they are good points. I suspect that such strong swoop in kind of opinions might draw some flak, but I have already felt like I have learned.

    One concern I have is that within the dGrin campus there are many different ways of approaching photography, but you seem to have a strong and distinct (realist, photojournalistic) style, that might not always be what other forum members are going after. That's fine, as long as you don't digress into arguing with us, if we really do want to achieve a different look from what you would want for yourself. So far, you've been swooping in and dropping little educational bombs, which is edifying, but could also invite a little push-back.

    I like it so far, but am a little trepidatious, although not so much that I will avoid looking for an image or two to invite your comments :D

    Welcome aboard, and thank you sharing your insight so far...

    Thanks, Steve -
    Yes, I do have, uh, strong opinions, and I'm not shy about offering them. However, as you may have seen in the ongoing City Shots thread, I'll offer my opinions, respond to response, and then bow out. I want my contributions to be helpful, not disruptive, and I certainly realize there are a very wide range of styles, opinions, skill levels, and interests here. Frankly, if work is way outside my range of interest, I just won't comment.

    Best,

    B. D.
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,332Administrators moderator
    edited June 18, 2009
    Welcome thumb.gif
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,486Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 18, 2009
    Honest, straight shooting opinions from experts are to be treasured. Not many folks will make the effort.

    Welcome to dgrin!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 21, 2009
    pathfinder wrote:
    Honest, straight shooting opinions from experts are to be treasured. Not many folks will make the effort.

    Welcome to dgrin!

    Thanks! And thanks for the Finishing School - Now, if I can only control my ADD enough to really learn that technique Rutt posted it will already be worth it's weight in gold.mwink.gif
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 23, 2009
    B. D. I'm still so ecstatic to have such a great documentary photographer in our ranks. :ivar

    I love shooting candid photos but there's obviously a big difference between snaps and going out there with an eye for street shots. This weekend is a huge event in San Fran and I want to get out and shoot the people, faces, lovers, haters, everything.

    I usually use whatever gear I have on me, but since I have a few days to prepare I thought I'd ask: is there a particular arsenal of lenses/focal lengths that you find yourself grabbing more often than most? ear.gif
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Posts: 3,804Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    Gear
    schmoo wrote:
    B. D. I'm still so ecstatic to have such a great documentary photographer in our ranks. :ivar

    I love shooting candid photos but there's obviously a big difference between snaps and going out there with an eye for street shots. This weekend is a huge event in San Fran and I want to get out and shoot the people, faces, lovers, haters, everything.

    I usually use whatever gear I have on me, but since I have a few days to prepare I thought I'd ask: is there a particular arsenal of lenses/focal lengths that you find yourself grabbing more often than most? ear.gif

    Sorry I didn't see this earlier...and respond.mwink.gif

    In 'olden times' - read 'when using film'- I'd try to carry a Lecia M with a 28 or 35 mm lens. Now I find myself with either a DSLR with a 28-120 (35 equivalent) zoom, or lately I've been playing a lot with an Olympus E-330 with a 21mm viewfinder taped into the hotshoe and a 22-44 (35 equivalent) zoom which I keep at 22. With autofocus I'm able to use it like a film range finder, just using the big, bright viewfinder I've taped onto it. The E-330 has an excellent - virtually no shutter delay - articulated live view screen on the back, so you can use it like an old twin-lens reflex, shooting from all sorts of positions.

    But again - equipment is nothing more than...equipment. A camera is to a photographer as a hammer is to a carpenter, a brush is to a painter, a knife is to a chef - it's a tool - and to each his his or her own. mwink.gif
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    ... But again - equipment is nothing more than...equipment. A camera is to a photographer as a hammer is to a carpenter, a brush is to a painter, a knife is to a chef - it's a tool - and to each his his or her own. mwink.gif

    Mmmmm... ya know, B.D, we already had a little "adjustment" to that philosophy over a rainy weddingmwink.gif...

    I put it to you that it's somewhat ingenuous to talk about dslrs and hammers, paintbrushes, knives in the same breath. These latter are technology which is pretty much in stasis. Digital imaging on the other hand has just been born and has a whole lifetime of development in front of it.

    Basic tools like those you mention quite likely are inextricable from our evolution as humans. I expect digital technology will also take us to new ways of being in far more emphatic ways.

    My point is, that our tools create us, they are part of what make our future. I cannot be the same person with a Box Browny as I am with my 40D, state-of-the-art lenses, my computer and PS and the internet which includes this very discussion!

    I think it doesn't help, in fact is counterproductive, to relegate photo technology to the inconsequential. It wasn't so in the "olden days" and it is more definitely not so today.

    Most of us here have invested significant amounts in out gear - hardware and software - and that gear stretches us to rise to its potential at least as much as the "classical" photography challenges of capturing, composing and developing an image. The money that we have spent, the yield of experience grown in the field, feed back into R&D, into new technology and products, new steps forward in creativity, achievement and satisfaction. All of that is of the essence of what absorbs us in our hobby and profession of photography in 2009.

    The "classic" view of photography which has everything beginning with the object out there in front of the camera, and it could be any kind of camera, is not the only valid one now. Personally, I think everything begins with the imagination, and with our sets of values and priorities. I think the new technology, and the new role of photography in the digital world, has brought imagination, values and priorities forward closer to their proper place in a new photography. There is a feedback mechanism between technology development, imagination, values and priorities. This makes us somewhat different to people long ago.

    Sure, we must still learn and be aware of core basics, but I think it is wayward to make of them walls which keep everything outside them invisible, no matter how "enlightened" things are within those walls.

    So, I beg to put forward an alternative to your theme that gear is irrelevant, and that is that the development of gear makes us as humans more relevant to photography. What I see from digital imaging now is a view of people and life which makes my childhood Box Brownie, and the snaps in the shoebox, valuable as they are (and there are some "good" images among them), seem so cripplingly limited.

    And, yes, I too am happy you are here!clap.gif

    Best.

    Neil
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • toragstorags Major grins Posts: 4,390Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    schmoo wrote:
    B. D. I'm still so ecstatic to have such a great documentary photographer in our ranks. :ivar

    I love shooting candid photos but there's obviously a big difference between snaps and going out there with an eye for street shots. This weekend is a huge event in San Fran and I want to get out and shoot the people, faces, lovers, haters, everything.

    I usually use whatever gear I have on me, but since I have a few days to prepare I thought I'd ask: is there a particular arsenal of lenses/focal lengths that you find yourself grabbing more often than most? ear.gif

    Schmoo is going to have a treasure trove of unique shots. Take a lot of cards.

    the trick will be to get folks who are not posing....

    Rags
    Rags
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,332Administrators moderator
    edited June 24, 2009
    NeilL wrote:
    So, I beg to put forward an alternative to your theme that gear is irrelevant, and that is that the development of gear makes us as humans more relevant to photography.

    A good photograph is still a good photograph regardless of how it was made. Right?

    If you agree with that, then the gear becomes irrelevant. What is relevant is your working knowledge of the gear you are using and your ability to process the result.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • schmooschmoo word nerd Posts: 8,468Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    Thanks B.D. and Rags. :D I also got some great advice from Richard this morning. I know that your hot tip on shooting is to get close, really close, but I wasn't sure if you tend to use wide for that. I see the answer will be yes, but some amount of zoom wouldn't hurt, either.

    Much appreciated, and I hope to be able to post some shots next week. Thank you!
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    ian408 wrote:
    A good photograph is still a good photograph regardless of how it was made. Right?

    If you agree with that, then the gear becomes irrelevant. What is relevant is your working knowledge of the gear you are using and your ability to process the result.


    Let me answer by asking: Have we seen all the "good" photographs yet, and if we haven't, where are they going to come from?
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,332Administrators moderator
    edited June 24, 2009
    NeilL wrote:
    Let me answer by asking: Have we seen all the "good" photographs yet, and if we haven't, where are they going to come from?

    What does that have to do with it? People will continue to make good photographs with the gear they have in hand. Whether it's the latest and greatest or not.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • NeilLNeilL B+R=M,B+G=C,R+G=Y Posts: 4,201Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    ian408 wrote:
    What does that have to do with it? People will continue to make good photographs with the gear they have in hand. Whether it's the latest and greatest or not.

    Is this a promise that you will never, ever, upgrade?
    "Snow. Ice. Slow!" "Half-winter. Half-moon. Half-asleep!"

    http://www.behance.net/brosepix
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,332Administrators moderator
    edited June 24, 2009
    NeilL wrote:
    Is this a promise that you will never, ever, upgrade?

    Upgrading has nothing to do with anything.

    As I said that what is relevant is your working knowledge of your gear. Whether you are using a 1DsMkIII or a Kodak Brownie; go out and make some pictures--that matters more than measurebaiting over whether you have the latest and greatest.

    In other words, a camera is just a tool. Learn how to use it.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 24, 2009
    Cartier-Bresson said, "Sharpness is a bourgeois concept." He also said, "Your first 10,000 pictures are your worst."

    He did get new models of the same basic Leica rangefinder with 50mm lens, but not often. I think more of a replacement than an upgrade.

    He knew a thing or two.
    If not now, when?
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