I recently sat down with my friend Ibarionex Perello and recorded a great conversation about where he is in his photography, as he lays down some challenges for himself, to take his photography to a new level, and today I’m going to share that conversation with you.
Ibarionex Perello is a Los Angeles-based photographer, writer and host & producer of The Candid Frame photography podcast. He has over 25 years of experience in the photographic industry and his work has appeared in numerous publications including Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Rangefinder, Popular Photography and Photoshop User magazines.
He has authored over 5 books including Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography Using Available Light. For the last 9 years has been hosting and producing The Candid Frame, a popular interview podcast which has featured conversations with photographers including Elliot Erwitt, Dan Winters , Mary Ellen Mark and many, many others.
He has served as an adjunct professor at the Art Center College of Design. He currently is a production fellow for Maximum Fun, which produces NPR’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn.
We were communicating recently, and Ibarionex happened to mentioned that his photography was going through some interesting changes, so we set a time to sit down and talk, with nothing planned other to discuss this in depth. The result is an hour long conversation that covers a lot of ground, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Here are the images that Ibarionex mentioned during our conversation. Click on each of them to view larger, and to stop them advancing automatically, place your mouse over them.
You can find Ibarionex Perello at: http://www.thecandidframe.com/
Ibarionex also mentions Sam Abell: http://www.samabellphotography.com/
Mark Cohen’s book: Frame: A Retrospective
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I usually don’t like interview style episodes but I I really enjoyed your back and forth with Ibarionex in this episode. It was interesting listening to you guys talk about building up an image. Great episode. Have a Happy Christmas.
I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed this Nick. I always enjoy talking with Ibarionex. Happy Christmas to you too!
Thanks for the podcast. Given me food for thought. Have been in amateur photography for about 4 years and beginning to question my progress and my worth. A couple of friends have suggested I move to film ” to understand better the importance and use of light”. However Ibarionex has made me think again. His mantra of experimentation and working the frame shout “digital” loud and clear. Only when I have travelled the road of experimentation and feel more confident in my ability to recognise a scene and get the image I am looking for, will I then make the move to film….unless you suggest otherwise.
You’re very welcome David. I’m pleased this has given you something to think about.
As for moving to film as a way to “better understand the importance of light”, I personally don’t think that just shooting film will give you anything that you can’t learn with digital.
If the idea is to shoot without the instant feedback, then you can do that by turning off the preview, and just not looking, although it’s difficult to say how that would help you at all. If the idea is to use a light meter and make the necessary adjustments to get a nicely exposed image without the advantage of being able to see the image on the camera, there are benefits, but you can do that with digital too, and check instantly if your calculations were correct, and if they were not, adjust and try again, speeding up the learning process.
If the idea is to limit yourself to just 36 frames rather than spraying and praying? Find an old 1GB memory card. Or whatever you need to limit yourself to around 36 frames, and force yourself to only use that, without deleting any images. Again though, this is just about being more deliberate. Spraying and praying is a state of mind, and can be changed easily while staying with digital.
I used to think I had a better understanding of exposure for my years of shooting slide film, because it’s so unforgiving, and that did give me a good foundation, for sure, but my growth has been an order of magnitude greater since it became possible to look at our shots and make any changes necessary as we make the images. Even in conjunction with using a light meter, there is so much we can learn by studying the relationship between what the meter is showing us and the actual photograph on the camera along with the histogram. I’m releasing an episode about this very thing next week, so stay tuned if you are interested.
Of course, if you want to shoot film, and are just looking for an excuse, then go for it. Film is fun, but as a learning medium, I don’t think it will give you anything that you can’t get from thinking about how you are shooting with digital, or placing some limitations on how you shoot to simulate film.
Sorry if I’m being a little outspoken here, and by all means if I’ve missed the point, let me know, and I’ll continue to provide my thoughts.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year David!
Martin, you do not need to apologise. I relish honesty and directness and as it happens I agree entirely with what you say!
Having watched the podcast haven joined Candid Frame on Flickr. If you want to suggest any other web, blog or Facebook sites that you think may be of interest to me please do not hesitate to suggest them. Thanks and Merry Xmas
That’s great David. I see that Ibarionex also got in touch via email, so I hope that helps as well.
You know, I’m probably the worst person to ask about what sites to use. I use a number of sites to stay in touch with people, but I haven’t shared photos online for a number of years now. I think Flickr is a good start and the Candid Frame group is friendly and helpful. That last sharing site I posted to was http://500px.com and https://1x.com/ is gaining traction as a photo sharing site.
Why don’t I share my images on those sites any more? I’ll probably share images again at some point, but it’s partly because I spend so much time creating content here each week, that I don’t want to spend much more time online. If I wasn’t doing the blogcast, I might assign more time to sites like that, but it’s low priority for me.
The other thing with me though, is that I personally don’t find it that useful to share images with total strangers just to get “likes” or “love it” comments, especially when you consider that they generally tend to stop if you don’t “like” or “love it” their photos back. I don’t see the value in that, other than you will tend to get likes for images that people feel are good, and crickets for the others. Does that mean that you have to stop making the cricket photos though? Absolutely not. If your work is coming from the heart, and you feel it’s good, then the opinions of total strangers shouldn’t be your barometer.
My best critique is my wife, who’s not a photographer, but has a great sense of the aesthetic, and is close enough to me that I am not hurt by her comments, and trust her opinion. No, I should rephrase that. It’s because I trust her that I am not hurt by her comments. She can say whatever she wants (and usually does!) and I know it’s coming from the right place. I also know that she isn’t just going to say that she likes everything, which is not useful either.
If you feel compelled to join online groups, then by all means go ahead. They can be useful as you build real relationships with people, and will help to get your images out there if you don’t have an outlet at the moment.
In addition to this, ask yourself if you trust the friends that recommended you start to shot film enough to share images with them in structured review sessions (assuming you can actually be in the same room). Maybe you could set a date each month to meet and show your work to each other to get honest, constructive feedback from each other. If the conversation is likely to turn into, “Yeah, it’s really nice, but man should you shoot film” then look elsewhere. It’s got zero to do with how you make the images, and so much more about the content of the image itself. The medium should not be what you would talk about.
If those friends are not the right ones, consider finding a camera club locally, so that you can actually see the faces of the people giving you feedback. Camera clubs do tend to be filled with egotistical types that feel that their work deserves to be put on a pedestal because they have been going a long time, or they have some sort of credit to their name, but they have long forgot what makes a good photograph, but don’t see that, so be careful with this one.
I’m a firm believer that at the end of the day, if you are happy with your work, then keep doing what you’re doing, but as you are right now, always look for ways to improve. Onwards and upwards!
Just a little more food for thought.
I also have a scene that I really want to shoot. I was walking in my bachelor campus and saw two kids running one of which was pulling his wooden toy horse. Their happy naive faces struck me.