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Here's a thought . . . (February 2020 Calendar View)

Short videos with snippets, fragments, morsels, and tidbits from Brooks' fertile (and sometimes swiss-cheesy) brain.

Usually just a minute or so.

Pretty much daily.

Always about photography and the art life.

January 2020

February 2020

March 2020















HT0333 - Making it Personal

Purely objective photography can be stale and even boring. The best projects always seem to have a touch of the personal in them, where the photographer shares some from their experience.


HT0334 - Writer's Tools for Making it Personal

It might be worth it to consider a few tools that writer use to introduce the personal in your project: diaristic, epistolary, or stream of consciousness.


HT0335 - Working in Series

By creating a series and numbering each new completion, you'll find a built-in motivation for producing more work.


HT0336 - Photographing the Shadows

The word "photography" comes from the Greek "photos" + "graphe" — light writing. But it might be useful to turn that around and consider what we do as "shadow painting."


HT0337 - Angels and Pins

Any enterprise – including photography – can become overly fastidious and rule-bound. When should we cross the line in favor of more effective communication and abandon the rules?


HT0338 - What's in Your Memory

An exercise in seeing. Or perhaps a demonstration of how we can fool ourselves into thinking we are seeing.


HT0339 - Different Than Before

Here is a challenge: Take an image that you have previously completed and process it in an entirely new way. Can you let go of your previous creative vision?


HT0340 - The Relationship Between Print Size and Decor

The bigger the print, the more dominant it becomes in the room, and the more dominant it becomes in the room, the more it needs to fulfill its role as décor - i.e., not clash with the couch.


HT0341 - Bill Jay's Exhibition

Bill Jay did a project titled, "Men Like Me" where he photographed the older homeless guys near where he lived in San Diego. This story from Bill about an exhibition of his portraits touches me and I can relate to it with my own work.


HT0342 - Two Levels of Creativity

At any location where I photograph, I invariably find there are a dozen or so pictures that come easily. The important ones, however, are the ones you have to work for, the compositions that aren't so obvious. Don't give up too early.


HT0343 - Art Left to Be Found

In our dominant commercial culture, it's nice sometimes to just make a photograph to be left behind somewhere and discovered serendipitously by an unsuspecting member of the public. Why? Maybe it's as simple as good karma.


HT0344 - Conversation First

When making a portrait of strangers, I always find it best to start with a conversation before I pull out the camera. Talking with them and asking a few questions removes suspicion from the encounter.


HT0345 - The Missing Golden Rectangle

For all the fuss the art world places on the Golden Ratio, why are there no photographic aspect ratios that fit that supposedly sublime 1:0.618 formula? I never see prints that are  8 x11.3, no 11x15.5, no 17x24. Curious.


HT0346 - The Precious Print

What are we to do when consuming the artwork destroys it? An example of a challenging exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute.


HT0347 - Books vs Videos

Who controls the element of time? In slide shows and videos of still photography, the producer controls how long each image appears. I'm not in favor of losing control of how much time I spend with a photograph. Give me books, please.


HT0348 - The Element of Time

I was fascinated with an email I received from a friend describing his process for looking at my Kokoro PDFs. I realized his method would be completely lost (and diminished) if he were to cede control of time to a video or slide show.


HT0349 - Editioning

We photographers can borrow an idea from publishing — the edition number — for each implementation of a revised creative vision for a project or an individual image.


HT0350 - Daydreaming

How I spend the majority of my time in Lightroom will probably surprise you. I find it a great tool for daydreaming an allowing the threads and ideas hidden in my work to make themselves visible.


HT0351 - No Excuses

Caravaggio, Rachmaninoff, Josef Sudek, three artists we don't remember for their excuses, but rather for their accomplishments in spite of their incredibly valid reasons for not producing their art.


HT0352 - Known for One

Dickens would still be great if you only knew him via Oliver Twist. But it would be a shame to only know Oliver Twist because he wrote so much more that was just as inspired. The same could be said of Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, and all the great photographers in history. They're known for an image or two, but if you dig more deeply there is so much depth to be discovered.


HT0353 - No More Photography

What would you do if you could no longer make photographs? Would you make other kinds of art? Would you give up artmaking? If you had to become a poet, what would your subject be?


HT0354 - Leaning Toward Minimalism

The world is naturally a chaotic place and  a large part of art-making is to simplify to the essentials. We are always leaning toward minimalism, and only on the most rare occasions do we create photographs that are more chaotic than the world.


HT0355 - Finding the Magnification of Meaning

Photography is as optical tool and therefore every time we photograph something we use an optical magnification whether we are aware of it or not. This leads to an interesting strategy for finding the magnification of meaning.


HT0356 - Sharpness and Our Expectations

Today's sharpness is not the same as yesterday's sharpness. Today's lenses are better, software more sophisticated, and the standards have been raised. But it isn't at all fair to judge yesterday's images by today's standards.


HT0357 - Naming Things

What mountain is that? What flower is that? Where was that? Naming  something is not a way of knowing it, but rather a way of dismissing it. As the Buddhists say, "The five colors blind the eye, the five notes deafen the ear."


HT0358 - Distracting Bokeh Balls

Shallow depth of field seems to be all the rage these days, but one of the problems that such depth of field can introduce is distractingly white and extra-large bokeh balls.


HT0359 - Inside Jokes

Art that requires an education in art in order to understand it, is like an inside joke. It may be funny to those in the know, but ultimately excludes everyone else from the appreciation of the artwork.


HT0360 - One Word Response

Here is an interesting exercise for your photo group or during a critique/feedback session.


HT0361 - Color or Black-and-White

Depends on the subject and whether or not the color is  important. Just like in composing, eliminate the non-essential.