Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

On Photography…..

ObscuraIt’s hard to believe that I’ve been seriously making photographs since 1973. I began my photographic journey in 1973 when I was a junior at New York Institute of Technology on Long Island, New York.  I was a Communication Arts major specializing in Television / Radio Broadcasting when I took a photography course my junior year.  The first time I shot a roll of Black and White film and developed it, I was hooked.  I knew, at that moment I would pursue some aspect of photography in my life. Once I got Dektol and D-76  in my blood, I began taking photographs and practicing my craft.

Here I am over thirty years after taking my first photographs for that college elective course and my passion and enthusiasm for photography has not waned and now I am the photography instructor and have been for almost 25 years since leaving the US Army as a photojournalist.


The medium of photography has undergone some incredible changes in my lifetime. It has only been a decade or so that digital technology has transformed the industry and the way we make and process our photographs.

The arts of painting, sculpture, drawing and ceramics have been with us for thousands of years. Photography on the other hand was invented approximately 175 years ago so it is still in its embryonic state compared to the other art mediums. I believe in its short span of existence as an art form it has constantly evolved and continues to reinvent itself. Even before the digital revolution in the mid-ninties photography went through a variety of technical and conceptual stages.

When you think about the History and Roots of Photography”> and its humble beginnings you just have to be amazed at how so many disparate events and people had to come together at a given point in time to take photography from a theoretical concept to a technical and practical reality.

NiepseRobert Leggat states on his History of Photography web site,

“There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the 1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being.

The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated.

The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light.”

From its initial conception in ancient time to present day photography has evolved, adapted, and reinvented itself in a variety of ways.
History of Photography Timeline

mesolorize.jpgI think that is what I love about it. Even though the principles and compositional techniques of making creative, unique and dynamic photographs has not really changed over the years the technical process has continues to evolve as the technology becomes more technically sophisticated throughout the years. Its all about SEEING!.

selfyard1.jpgSeeing, in the finest and broadest sense means using your senses, your intellect and your emotions.

The photographer best expresses a theme or idea by using good composition (visual design) to support the subject matter being photographed.

Good seeing begins with careful observation of what’s around you. Always strive to look at the world in a new way. As you photograph it’s important to continually change camera position, focus and depth of field.

This is when you will stop looking…and begin seeing…lines…shapes…textures…patterns…and colors you hadn’t thought possible.

By avoiding preconceived ideas about how to shoot specific subject matter you’ll truly begin to explore reality in ways that you have never experienced before. So go pick up a camera and start photographing!

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10 comments on “On Photography…..

  1. aquamarina
    June 16, 2007

    I enjoyed reading your interesting and informative blog about photography. I’m pretty much a learner in the digital photography world although I’ve had a digicam for about five years now. In fact, I’m doing an online digital photography course with the Open University in the UK which is fascinating and challenging.
    May I add you to my blogroll please?

  2. keoughp
    June 16, 2007

    You may certainly add me to your blogroll. You have to start somewhere on your photographic journey. Remember…the key to making great photographs is truly learning to SEE. To SEE photographically and that means to be able to “tune-in” to the details and nuances of external reality and to be hyper aware (sensitive) of your surroundings and most importantly what the LIGHT is doing to your subject matter.

    good luck in your photography


  3. Murray Allen
    June 17, 2007

    I like your BLOG! I hope to have one this good real soon … Yours is very well done and informative with GREAT photography!! WHO is that young enlisted man with the tiny litte mustache? He looks a lot like a historical WORLD WAR German Genral leader of his time! Once a leader, always a leader. EVEN NOW!!
    GREAT BLOG Patrick!! Check me out on the web @
    THANK YOU, Murray jma 6/17/07

  4. steven
    June 18, 2007

    Where photography is going really fascinates me. Post Modern digital imaging is really going to break all the rules. If you get a chance, look up the project “click doubleclick”. (click being the shutter, doubleclick being the computer) It depicts production of the digital image and includes several contemporary photographers. It investigates the realism of documentary and how digital imaging almost contradicts all realism in photography.
    good post! see you around the school.

    June 18, 2007

    I am still fasinated by all this “new” high tech! I am further investigating the BLOG deal and also the newly learned info on “RSS” and “ATOM” … THANK YOU!!! “murray”
    M>A>P> “Your map for great memories”
    Copyright 2007..MurrayAllenPHOTOGRAPHY…

  6. Patrick Keough
    June 19, 2007

    Like I mentioned in my last Portfolio II lecture Murry – its critical to get your NAME out “there” as a photographer and the internet “Blogs” are a great way to let people all over the world know who you are and what kind of work you do. It is just a matter of harnessing the power of the web – specifically Web. 20 in such away that you maximize your “reach and sphere” of connectivity.

  7. Joe Poletti
    June 20, 2007

    Uh oh, Patrick, I see you are adding technorati tags to your blog. Katie, bar the door. Keep up the great stuff.

  8. Patrick Keough
    June 20, 2007

    There is no stopping me now Joe…I am still learning about the tags and want to get with you sometime and pick your braain about them – David Warlick gave me some insight into the tags so I am starting to use them.

  9. MURRY
    February 9, 2008

    PATRICK – YOUR “WEB PRESENCE” looks better all the time ! Thanks so much for all you have helped me learn. Hope all is well with you.!. Somehow (!1) I missed “technarati.” Can I add that to smugmug? Please explain” tech” to me… THANKS SO MUCH!! Murry 252-622-5297 PO1021 28557…OR E-MAIL!

  10. andei
    March 28, 2008


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This entry was posted on June 16, 2007 by in Photography.
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