Author: Uncle Dick

Photographers have photographer friends. It's only natural - like interests and all. This can mean that the bond is shared knowledge or work, and sometimes a business connection. There can also be model friends or collaborator friends - though the latter is an awkward phrase. They also have rivals. These can be simple business competitors, club mates, or workers in the same artistic or academic field. The fiercest struggle is in the club. Murder, weak coffee, and cheap biscuits are the constant features of camera club life. The wise photographer seeks to find a special place for themselves that is free from these sorts of interferences - a secure niche in the structure of the art - or of the trade, for that matter. Something that allows them to be seen and, if possible, praised and rewarded independently of the activities of others. There have been many such in the past. HC-B was the pre-eminent street photo journalist - Atget the loner taking record shots of shopfronts. Both could have been in the same Paris street at the same time yet neither would...

" Gol Dang. You jus' get to knowin' something and they go an' change it on you! " Thanks to Walt Kelly and the Pogo gang for that one. In my case the thing I used to know was how far you could push a camera and a film to get a picture. 400 ASA and f:1.8 and hope for the best. Then they introduced digital...

I am afraid I have this picture in my mind of a Japanese monk raking a stone garden. The garden has one small altar and a very carefully placed bamboo plant. The monk's face is peaceful and composed and he is evidently deeply engrossed in the careful movement of the rake. He is wearing a GoPro Hero 9 camera on a helmet mount...

As I sat in my shed this afternoon sawing away at the 3mm MDF board it occurred to me how many famous rooms we are acquainted with that are a half a millimetre thick - roughly the thickness of the emulsion on a strip of old 35mm film. The wonderful interior of MGM's "Grand Hotel" has long since vanished into rubble or storage but we still roam it on the screen - it is a real space. Likewise the apartment of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball - long struck and knocked down for other productions...

I have taken many pictures over the last two decades of people dressed up in costumes - or undressed up in skin - and I have concluded that the very best of the models are either the professionals or the professional amateurs. The reason why I say this is that these two groups are performing for critical audiences - in the former case for paying clients, and in the latter case for their own inner acclaim. I cannot say which is the tougher crowd...

I wish I were a collector of business cards. I should be able to pursue a hobby with little expense and a maximum of examples to gather - for everyone on Earth seems to have one. They may not have the business, but they've got the card. Of course there is an extensive protocol revolving around these - and quite important in Asian contacts. If you are at all involved in business there you would do well to study the expected behaviour carefully. Here in Australia we hand them out, exchange them, leave them at restaurants hoping for a free feed, and lose them at inappropriate moments. They are part of the stock in trade of the budding professional as well as the blooming amateur. When I decided to change the name of my studio to Dick Stein's Little Studio, I tossed out all of my old business cards. They were pretty dated and had an ABN number that no longer applied, as well as a list of specialties on the reverse side that I am now avoiding like the plague. They...

Every time I go to a book store - whether it is a glossy one like Kinokuniya in Sydney or the photo markets at Leederville Town Hall, I am amazed to see the amount of literature that has been published to do with photography. Please note I say published rather than put out on the internet - I am speaking of paper printing. Of course any technical subject garners paper - look at the amount of material there is on medicine over the last 3000 years - and in the case of medicine it all boils down to take two leeches and call me in the morning...

  I've never been a traveller, which accounts for me now living 12,000 miles across the ocean from where I was raised - also explains why I only used to take two interstate trips per year. If I enjoyed any of it I would stay at home. All that said, I do like seeing picture books of foreign places rendered in panorama. They give a real feel for the vista and if you are frightened of being laughed at by strangers, you can quickly snap the book shut. Sometimes the landscape does not lend itself to a regal view, but a little bit of HDR and a tweak of the saturation button usually fixes it. That, and a shot of rum. I tried my hand at panoramas with the mirrorless camera - not entirely successfully, but encouraging enough with the newer Fujifilm equipment to entice me to try it again. I experimented with an automated panorama feature that a lot of Fujis have - called a motion panorama - and found it a mixed bag. It is quick - you just spin around while holding...

  I am going to resist giving the glib answer - " The one you have with you." - as it never really seems to satisfy the customer who wants to spend money. It might well be the correct reply to a real old photographer, but they know it already and never ask the question in the first place. As a professional salesman with a amateur conscience I frequently found myself steering people away from decisions that might have been wrong. It may not have been what the business demanded, but it was what the craft deserved. I did get people to tell me what size they wanted their final image - literally what size in inches or centimetres -and what form it would be. This could be on paper, canvas, computer, or mobile phone screen. The answer set the mark for the camera to shoot at and I could provide a number of alternative ways to achieve it. It surprised some people to hear that they could make their art with modest equipment. In fact, I saw this many times. Someone used an...