In this episode, I'm sitting down with photographer and photography instructor Karl Taylor. I was introduced to Karl's work in 2010 when a friend gave me one of his training DVDs. Karl's energy and enthusiasm for photography along with his incredible knowledge of how to make great pictures in virtually any situation really set him as my benchmark of what photographic training should be. He also has a brilliant way of bringing a fashion style and sensibility to commercial and product photography. Karl lives in the Channel Islands between England and France, and when he came to California in 2012 for a production, I got a chance to spend some time with him and his team in Long Beach and Joshua Tree and we've been friends ever since. In this conversation, Karl and I discuss the business side of creativity. I began by asking him to talk about how changes in the industry nearly forced him to close the doors of his studio earlier this year.
There are some photographs that just stick with you. Images that once you see them, you simply can't unsee — and it happens across virtually all genres of photography. A single image, a particular project or an entire body of work seeps into our being and becomes a point of reference along an internal visual continuum. When I first saw the work of Nick Brandt, it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. His photographs taken in East Africa transcended any wildlife photography that I had seen before. Nick was somehow able to photograph the soul of these animals, not just their image or likeness. In his newest body of work, called Inherit the Dust, Nick returns to East Africa to show how habitat loss as a result of population explosion and urbanization are dramatically changing the landscape and threatening biodiversity and the continued existence of species that roamed the plains for thousands of years prior to the proliferation of man. It's a fascinating conversation and an incredibly powerful body of work.
When I was a junior in high school I took my first photography class and one of the things we had to do before we got to shoot with the "real" cameras — in our case, they were Pentax K1000s loaded with Tri-X — was to build a pinhole camera from one of the round Quaker Oats boxes. And I remember thinking how incredible it was to see the simplicity of what photography is: light and time. Not even a lens — just a strip of gaffer tape covering a tiny hole in some tinfoil. But there we all were, toting our oatmeal boxes around making pictures. Then we would go into the darkroom and print little positive contact prints from the paper negatives and I've gotta tell you, it was alchemy. For us, the pinhole camera was just a stepping stone to get to use an SLR. In this episode, I'm talking to Jon Wilkening a photographer in Philadelphia who uses pinhole as his preferred platform for communicating his creativity. For Jon, pinhole is his tool of choice for expressing his point of view. Jon calls his work "the blurry middle between photography and painting." His pictures are terrific and it all started sort of by accident.
In the last episode, I had a conversation with Glenn D'Cruze from North Atlantic Explorers, who I was introduced to by a listener of On Taking Pictures. In this episode, my guest was recommended to me by one of my favorite photographers, John Keatley. A month or so ago I reached out to John and asked if he knew anyone who he thought would be interesting for me to talk to. He responded with two names, one of whom is my guest on this episode. Whether you know Tom Deslongchamp as an illustrator, an animator or even a ninja, he's every bit an artist, both in the work that he makes and in how and why he makes it. In this episode, Tom and I talk about the importance of play, wrestling with labels and self-identification and his need to be in love with what he makes.
In this episode, I'm doing something a little different. One of the goals I've had for Process Driven from the beginning has been to expand the scope of the conversations I have beyond visual arts as an exploration into how and where creativity overlaps, regardless of the discipline. In this episode I'm sitting down with Glenn D'Cruze, a Canadian musician who records under the name North Atlantic Explorers. I was introduced to Glenn's music by a listener of my other podcast, On Taking Pictures who emailed and asked if he could send me one of Glenn's CDs. I'm so thankful that he did. My Father was a Sailor is a gorgeous atmospheric homage to Glenn's late father, who was an engineer on merchant ships in the North Atlantic during the 1950s. After his father died, Glenn embarked on a journey of his own that ultimately took him from his home in Vancouver to the seas sailed by his father nearly six decades earlier — and it all began with a pair of drum sticks and a stack of cardboard boxes.