Neil Frederick Sharpe: Blog en-us (C) Neil Frederick Sharpe [email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT Neil Frederick Sharpe: Blog 120 98 Betrayal, Greed and Other Fun Facts!

Betrayal-you’re likely to go through this at some point.

It has equal application in every type of human activity, whether it be medicine, religion, the arts, business and so on.

We may not understand why some people do what they do, or their apparent lack of values and standards, but that's what they do.

It's also why the maxim that a good personal relationship will not necessarily be a good business relationship, unfortunately has been proven true again and again.

It's just basic human psychology, short-term, “want”-driven, thinking at work with a seemingly unwillingness to consider the long term results, including the potential loss of friends and family.

Sports are an apt analogy; some players will always try to cheat, to hurt an opponent when the referee isn’t looking. For them, it’s just part of the game, another weapon to attain their goals.

You can’t afford the luxury of letting these types of distractions affect you. You’ll lose concentration and confidence at critical times and not pay attention to what you need to do, putting them that much further ahead. Do you really want to let them succeed through these kinds of tactics?

It’s important to remember that you also shall encounter many fine and outstanding people; that’s why it's important to maintain your focus and balance.

Here is a wonderful quote that has steered me through more than a few of these situations:

"…even the good character who has not suffered any actual … betrayal, lives always with the risk of these events…and it is in the nature of personal friendship that the confidence man should be indistinguishable from the trustworthy…there are no guarantees at all…To live on is to make contact in some way at some time with the possibility of betrayal…But the encounter with betrayal brings a risk of defilement: the risk of ceasing to look at the world with a child’s free and generous looks, of ceasing…to be good…There is a beauty in the willingness to love someone in the face of love’s instability…There is no courage without the risk… of serious damage…There are certain risks- including here, the risk of becoming unable to risk- that we cannot close off without a loss in human value, suspended as we are between beast and god, with a kind of beauty available to neither."

Martha C. Nussbaum
The Fragility of Goodness

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) betrayal greed psychology Fri, 08 Mar 2013 20:50:54 GMT
Rejection, Acceptance And the Photographer I started thinking about acceptance and rejection in the worlds of writing, music and photography.

“Judging” of one’s work, even with “constructive feedback”, arguably is inherently subjective; what might be a “great” photo or book to one person may have little interest or even value for another. It’s amazing the number of now-famous books that were once rejected, such as the experience of Scott Turlow’s “Presumed Innocent” that was rejected by every publishing house in New York City not just once but twice, until his agent got on the phone with an editor, called in a favor and asked him to actually read the manuscript over the weekend. The book went to auction and became a best-seller.

When Robert Frank’s photography book “The Americans” was first published, Frank notes: “it wasn’t very well received at all. They wouldn’t publish it. They thought it was terrible—anti-American, un-American, dirty, overexposed, crooked.” Now, it’s regarded as one of the most important works of the 20th Century.

A well experienced, and highly regarded, literary agent advised me that the merit of a book may have little to do with whether it is published or not, it’s far more a matter that an editor, and/or publishing house, is looking for a particular type of book and a manuscript arrives in the right place at the right time. From my experience, the same certainly holds true for music, and given the wide variety of styles of photography, it’s reasonable to argue the process may be no different.

What we can do, whether for writing, photography, and/or music, is to first develop a standard of comparison for ourselves, that is to read, see, and listen extensively, until we get to the point that we can honestly critique and assess our own work. When we send it out into the world, even though it may be rejected or ignored, we know that it’s a good piece of work, it just needs to find the right person at the right time.

The other question to always ask, wherever possible, is what’s the background of the judge/reviewer? What type of writing have they done, what are their personal music tastes, what style(s) of photography to they shoot, etc.? This can give you some insight into how your work may be received. I’ve had academic papers and books immediately, and caustically, rejected, only to have them instantly accepted and highly praised, by the next editor.

Next, keep things in perspective. Perfectionism and expectations are fatal diseases. Writers may have to do countless redrafts until they finally find what they really want to say. Famous photographers can shoot thousands of shots in order to finish with the handful of photographs that ring true. Robert Frank took over 27,000 photographs to end up with the 83 that finally appeared in “The Americans”. Recently, a photographer for the National Geographic took over 7000 shots, reduced these down to 100, then cut these down to the 20 he could work with.

But then, of course, there are those rare, incredible moments where the first take is the last take, and you immediately understand the work is complete and wonder “why can’t it be like this all the time?” :-)

[Writers of fiction also must be aware that the manuscript they first deliver may go through significant editorial changes before it is finally published. I highly recommend Michael Korda’s “Another Life” for its invaluable practical insight into publishing and the editorial process.]

The bottom line?

In music, there’s the famous saying that if you want to be a musician, don’t be, that if you really need to be a musician, don’t be, but if you are willing to sacrifice everything to be a musician, then you’ve got a shot. Music can be a vastly rewarding, inspiring, career, it also can be a very tough, ruthless business with rejection at every turn. This certainly can hold true for writing and photography as well.

I write and play music because it is who I am, it is every part of me. If I try to step away, a voice inside of me always call me back.

As Robert Frank spoke about his passion for photography:

“Only the people who are obsessed should continue with photography. Arbus—she was obsessed with her life…That’s what got her to get these pictures of these people. It’s that curiosity that one has to have.

Anybody who is going to be an artist has to be curious. He’s [she’s] got to go out and do his [her] own thing. If you talk to a student, and the student is any good, has any guts, he [she] will not do what you tell him [her]. And it usually works out that those students are the ones that you really get interested in, and they will get something from you. That’s the way I can help as a teacher. I can help those few.

I think my asset is only that I sort of know who I am. I know what I can do—what I can do well. As an artist, what have you got? No power, nothing. In the end, power I think is measured in dollars. I think of the power that I have encountered in artists that I know. When they get successful, they make factories out of their art… I often think that the best work you’ve done is the work you’ve done when you had no power, really. When you had no name. As a teacher, I would just try to get people to get up the courage to do it, not to be afraid that they would fail, just that they tried, that’s all. I certainly wouldn’t want them to be like me, or make films like me."


[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) acceptance frank rejection robert self-doubt Fri, 08 Mar 2013 20:23:59 GMT
ART- CREATIVITY, EXPRESSION, DISCIPLINE, LANGUAGE AND MORE A fascinating interview on art, the process of creativity, discipline, expression, developing your own "language", making a living. and much more. Although the interview is with two designers, their comments apply to all artists.

This an excerpt.


Here's a link to the full interview which I hope you'll be able to access

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) ART CREATIVITY DISCIPLINE EXPRESSION LANGUAGE Tue, 23 Oct 2012 14:36:16 GMT
PHOTOBOOKS- "SELF-PUBLISH OR BE DAMNED" "Now more than ever, beautiful photography books are in demand, coveted by many and considered an important part of a collector’s repertoire. Can the books themselves become objects of art?"

Panel discussion held at The AIPAD Photography Show New York on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 12 p.m. .

Moderator: Steven Kasher, Steven Kasher Gallery / Panelists: Eric Himmel, Vice President, Editor-in-Chief, Abrams; Lesley Martin, Publisher, Aperture Foundation; Anthony Petrillose, Managing Editor, Rizzoli; Gerhard Steidl, Publisher, Steid"


"Self-publish or be damned: why photographers are going it alone."

"Creating your own photobook offers creative freedoms major publishers can only dream of, finds Sean O'Hagan – if you're prepared to put in the donkey work."


By way of practical example, see:

Aperture Photobook Review


Photobook Club On Vimeo


Photobook News


The Role OF Design In the Making Of Five Modern Photobooks

In the most basic terms, they are simply books made up of photographs, but of course there’s much more to the photobook than that. Typically they are carefully edited and sequenced, and the selection of the photographs, and their order, are crucial to whatever story is being told. But there’s another crucial element that’s too often ignored – the design.



Photobook Publishers, Stores And A Survey

By way of practical example, Zen Foto publishes photobooks. "Night Crawler" was reviewed in the British Journal Of Photography.


Photobook Store: English website devoted to photobooks, many signed, limited edition.



A Brief Survey Of Mainstream Publishers

"Thanks to the abundance of companies providing a photo book service, it's now easier and cheaper than ever to upload your shots and order a photo book using your computer.

We selected ten photo book companies and tested their services from start to finish. We looked at the design process, the freedom you have in creating your book, including text and image layout, the delivery times, and crucially, the finished product's print and bind quality..."




[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) AIPAD Photography Show American Suburb X PHOTOBOOKS aperture photo-eye photobook store zen foto Mon, 22 Oct 2012 23:38:27 GMT
City Still

London England

Robert Frank 1952-53


Sergio Larrain 1959


New York City

William Klein


Joseph Michael Lopez



Ray Metzker



Daido Moriyama


Takehiko Nakafuji –“Night Crawler 1995 2010”

Courtesy of Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo















[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Thu, 20 Sep 2012 20:30:31 GMT
"Photography Threatens Fantasy"?- The Debate, Discussion And Images Taryn Simon- "An American Index Of The Hidden And Unfamiliar"


Interview With Taryn Simon





Erik Johansson: "Impossible Photography"





Simryn Gill: "My Own Private Angkor"


"The work of Simryn Gill considers questions of place and history, and how they might intersect with personal and collective experience..."


[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Eric Johansson Simryn Gill Taryn Simon photography fantasy reality photoshop Thu, 26 Jul 2012 21:18:02 GMT
Abstraction In Photography The Indecisive Image

"The reasons for the resurgence of abstraction are almost as diverse as the work itself. 'The question of what sort of object the photograph is inevitably leads to the examination of abstraction,' says Lyle Rexer, whose book tracing the history of abstract photography is scheduled to be published by Aperture in the fall. That question has loomed ever larger in recent decades as the notion of photographic veracity has come under assault. The idea of photographic 'truth' is undermined by the conceptual investigations of subject matter in Cindy Sherman’s film stills and Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s staged street scenes as much as by the mass media’s embrace of Photoshop."


Lyle Rexer: "The Edge of Vision" Interview Series

"Curator Lyle Rexer speaks about how the project came about and his curatorial choices. Rexer also explains how this ground breaking photography exhibition encourages the viewer not to look at the photograph as a window but rather 'to understand the relationship between the image and the surface.'


From the beginning, abstraction has been intrinsic to photography, and its persistent popularity reveals much about the medium. The Edge of Vision, curated by Lyle Rexer, showcases the work of nineteen international contemporary photographers who base their practice in some form of abstraction from highly conceptual to more documentary approaches. The works explore diverse aspects of the photographic experience, including the chemistry of traditional photography, the direct capture of light without a camera, temporal extensions, digital sampling of found images, radical cropping, and various deliberate destabilizations of photographic reference. This abstract use of photography often combines other mediums such as painting, sculpture, drawing or video. All artists join a broad contemporary trend to look critically and freshly at a medium commonly considered transparent.


The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, 'The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography' by Lyle Rexer (Aperture, May 2009). Illustrated with more than 150 images, this unprecedented and highly anticipated book documents this phenomenon internationally from the early days of the medium through the present day."


 Part 1


Part 2


Book- The Edge Of Vision





Marco Breuer


Walhead Beshty


Alison Rossiter


James Welling



Abstract Expressionism


"Of paramount concern to all the Abstract Expressionists was a fierce attachment to psychic self-expression. This contrasted sharply with the regionalism and social realism of the 1930s but closely paralleled postwar existential philosophy’s championing of individual action as the key to modern salvation..."


Frederick Sommer


Aaron Siskind


Harry Callahan


Panel Discussion

"From the beginning, abstraction has been intrinsic to photography, and its persistent popularity reveals much about the medium. Artists Susan Rankaitis and James Welling and UCLA Associate Professor of Art History George Baker debate a host of approaches to the abstract photographic experience in this panel discussion moderated by Lyle Rexer, the author of The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography."



[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Wed, 18 Jul 2012 21:24:56 GMT
Portrait Of A Photographer- Ray Metzker: Exploring Photographic "Reality" "Ray Metzker’s images question the nature of the photograph and photographic 'reality.' Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph..."

Additional photographs can be found here:


A Review and Commentary



Sand Creatures

Aperture (December 1979)

Unknown Territory (1984)

Aperture (October 1984)

City Stills (1999)

Prestel (April 1999)

Landscapes (2000)

Aperture; 1st edition (September 15, 2000)

Light Lines (2008)

Auto Magic (2009) (Limited Edition)


Video- Tom Waits"Temptation/Ray Metzker

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Chicago Philadelphia art auto magic avant-garde photography black-and-white photography city stills landscapes light lines r ray metzke sand creatures unknown territory Wed, 18 Jul 2012 02:59:47 GMT
What Is A "Good" Photograph? What Is "Real" Photography? "As long as you are worried about whether or not you will be able to make good pictures, or are concerned about enjoying yourself, you are unlikely either to make the best photographs you can or to experience the joy of photography to the fullest."

Freeman Patterson

Photography And The Art Of Seeing


Fear of mistakes is the single greatest enemy of the creative spirit. It haunts me in my business dealings, it looks through my lens, it stands at my shoulder every time I’m on the platform. Constantly it intones, “Don’t take the risk. Don’t try something new. Do it the way it’s always been done.” Again, it’s my photography that shows me the foolishness of this kind of thinking.

Dewitt Jones
Seeing the Ordinary as Extraordinary

What Is "Real" Photography?

If a photograph has been substantially manipulated, does it cease to be a "real" photograph?

Compare this classic composition from Robert Frank

to this later image. Does the latter still represent "real" photography?

Manipulation of a photograph is nothing new. Canadian photographer Barbara Astman won acclaim for her manipulation of a Polaroid SX70 film image.

 More recently, she moved to digital. Do you consider these to be "real" photographs? (her bio)


What do you think "makes a real photographer?"


iPhone Photos

What about the camera itself? Are iPhone photographs, and manipulation through the use of their many apps, "real" photography?

Film vs Digital

"Going back to real photography"

"Are Your Photographs 'Real'?"


"What is real photography? Retouching images, versus the ‘Good Old Days’ of the truth of Film …"

What is "real" photography?

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Dewitt Jones Freeman Patterson film vs digital good photograph iPhone Photography photo manipulation real photography Mon, 16 Jul 2012 17:58:41 GMT
"Reality" In Photography- Conceptual, Contemporary and Fine Art Photography

“Reality In Photography”- Andy Mumford, Neutral Density Magazine

“It seems to me though that perhaps striving for absolute reality is futile. I’ve never really believed that photography is about replicating the world as our eyes see it, but more about taking our personal artistic interpretation of the world and using the way a camera sees the world to record it. A camera doesn’t see the world in the same way our eyes do. Our eyes don’t see the world wide angle with sharpness front to back in the same way that a 17mm lens at f16 will record it….”


Conceptual Photography Of Jan Dibbets

The camera records something quite different from what we see. There are no rectangular formats in nature, only in art (paintings, sheets of music or poems, windows, ravioli), and only if we choose to look at it that way…”


Conceptual Photography Of Vladimir Perfanov- DodHo Magazine

“I am attracted to abstract expression of ideas, which makes the work multilayered and unconventional, usually having more than one interpretation. In art I like authors that express open ideas that allow to everyone to give their own interpretation, and come up with their own ending…”



Ahorn Magazine- Contemporary Photography


Bite Magazine- Documentary and Conceptual Photography


Burn Magazine- Emerging Photographers


File Magazine- A Collection Of Unexpected Photography


Flak Photo- Online Portfolios and Digital Exhibitions


Fraction Magazine- Showcase Established And Emerging Photographers


F-Stop- Fine Art Photography


I Love That Photo Magazine- Photography And Interviews


In-Public Magazine- Street Photography


Lay Flat- Publishes Limited Books And Magazines


1000 Words Magazine- Contemporary Photography Online


Pixels And Prose Magazine- The Art And Science Of Photography


SuperMassiveBlackholeMagazine- “Contemporary photography and the photographic imagery resulting from the time-based processes found in many interdisciplinary art practices today”


Unless You Will- Contemporary Photography

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Andy Mumford Conceptual Photography Contemporary Photography Fine Art Photography Jan Dibbets Vladimir Perfanov Mon, 16 Jul 2012 04:09:28 GMT
Portrait Of A Photographer-II + SOURCES- Blogs, Galleries, Magazines Portrait Of A Photographer- II

Khristmas Klousch




Sylvia Plachy


Oral Interview:


SOURCES- Blogs, Galleries, Magazines


aCurator Magazine


Aperture Blog- "Exposures"


Bonni Benrubi Gallery


Corkin Gallery

F Stop Magazine


File Magazine


Foam Magazine- International Photography


Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters


Hasted Kraeutler Gallery


Hiding In Plain Sight Blog


International Center Of Photography


Intersecting Images


Kopeikin Gallery


Museum Of Photographic Arts


Photography Grants And Awards


Robert Mann Gallery


The Photographers Gallery


Yancey Richardson Gallery


Yossi Milo Gallery


[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Khristmas Klousch Sylvia Plachy art communication fine art photography photography photography gallery visual Mon, 16 Jul 2012 01:10:00 GMT
Portrait Of A Photographer-I-Peter Karuna, Fred Herzog-Video

Portrait Of A Photographer- I


Peter Karuna




Fred Herzog



Photographers At Work- Video

Artistic greats Gregory Crewdson, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Albert Maysles, Andrew Moore and Sylvia Plachy reveal how the sometimes arduous process of picture taking can translate our ideals into a form of fervid visual communication both immediate and sublime.”

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Albert Maysles Andrew Moore Fred Herzog Gregory Crewdson Peter Karuna Timothy Greenfield-Sanders photography Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:25:04 GMT
Photography As Instinct- Henri Cartier-Bresson "Photography is a simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of a significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of form which gives that event its proper expression. I believe that, for reactive living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.

Photography is in a way a mental process. We have to know what to, be clear, on what we want to say. Our conceptions, our, what we think of a certain situation, a certain problem. Photography is a way of writing it, of drawing, making sketches of it. And in the form, things are offered to us in daily life. We have to be alert and know when to pick the moment which is significant. Then, it’s just intuition. It’s instinct. We don’t know why, we press at a certain moment. It comes, it is there, it’s given. Take it. Everything is there, it is a question of chance, but you have to pick and force chance to come to you. There’s a certain will."- Henri Cartier-Bresson


Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Photography Of Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson- The Modern Century


[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) 20th Century Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson Henri Cartier-Bresson art creativity instinct photography Sat, 14 Jul 2012 15:00:59 GMT
Creativity: A Discussion

"Creative Brain, a discussion about creativity with artists Richard Serra and Chuck Close, neurologist Oliver Sacks, Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art and Eric Kandel of Columbia University"


A Discussion About Creativity With Author Ashley Merryman, Musicologist Aaron Berkowitz and Bruce Albers.



[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Aaron Berkowitz Ashley Merryman Bruce Albers art charlie rose creativity music photography Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:36:31 GMT
INTERVIEWS: Henri Cartier-Bresson – Robert Frank- Edward Hopper INTERVIEW: Henri Cartier-Bresson – "Famous Photographers Tell How”

"Photography is in a way a mental process. We have to know what to, be clear, on what we want to say. Our conceptions, our, what we think of a certain situation, a certain problem. Photography is a way of writing it, of drawing, making sketches of it."

INTERVIEW: Robert Frank – “If An Artist Doesn’t Take Risks, Then It’s Not Worth It.”

You don’t have to ask very specific questions. If you want to talk about your life you have gone through, you can do it with writing or with photographs. Maybe you can do it. Some people cannot do it, whether with the one or the other. For me, I could do it with certain photographs and with some writing. If I had been a writer, I would have probably written a story or a book. Photography allows you in a relatively short time to say what you have to say and then go on with your life.

ORAL HISTORY:  Interview With Edward Hopper

It goes thus: My aim in painting has always been the most exact transcription possible of my most intimate impressions of nature. If this end is unattainable, so, it can be said, is perfection in any other ideal of painting or in any other of man's activities. The trend in some of the contemporary movements in art, but by no means all, seems to deny this ideal and to me appears to lead to a purely decorative conception of painting. One must perhaps qualify this statement and say that seemingly opposite tendencies each contain some modicum of the other. I have tried to present my sensations in what is the most congenial and impressive form possible to me. The technical obstacles of painting perhaps dictate this form. It derives also from the limitations of personality, and such may be the simplifications that I have attempted. I find in working always the disturbing intrusion of elements not a part of my most interested vision, and the inevitable obliteration and replacement of this vision by the work itself as it proceeds.

[email protected] (Neil Frederick Sharpe) Edward Hopper Henri Cartier-Bresson Robert Frank art creativity photography risks Thu, 12 Jul 2012 10:21:57 GMT