Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some Color

Although I present mostly black and white and sepia photographs, I always shoot in color (RGB).  The range of tones in color is far greater than you get when taking photos in black and white in the camera.  Later, in post production, I convert color shots to black and white and sepia primarily in Photoshop, although I sometimes use other applications. For my own architectural art photography, I think that colors distract from the architecture I showcase in my images.  A monochromatic photograph allows the viewer to focus mainly on subject.  Once in a while I feel that the color photograph is so expressive that I leave it alone.  Such was the case with this doorway on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  All the colors seemed perfectly integrated and complimented the architecture marvelously.

Art genre: color architectural /art photograph

Complimentary decor: Traditional, Classical,  Mission, Eclectic 

Photography tip: Shoot in RGB for a greater tonal range.  Then, in Photoshop (or other application, such as Lightroom) convert to B&W. Later still sepia if it appeals to you.

Location:Upper East Side: Manhattan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Influences: Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe had a exceptional eye.  He saw marvelous contrasts and form.  These essential principles of all arts are pervasive in Mapplethorpe's photography.  Mapplethorpe is well known for his male and female nude studies.  He also acquired a great following for his celebrity portraits of artists, socialites and individuals who defined the 1970's "scene" in NYC.  Forever, Mapplethorpe will be associated with an era that poured forth revolutionary and exciting art; however, the photographer produced timeless images of great beauty.  Mapplethorpe's flowers are reflections of the sensitivity and aesthetic Mapplethorpe gave to his stunning works.
I long have admired and learned from Robert Mapplethorpe's photography.  His ability to juxtapose darks and lights with form is a continuing reference for me.  I was extremely proud and delighted when, at one of my exhibitions in which I included my photographs of flowers, an associate of Robert Mapplethorpe's purchased one of my images which he liked to Mapplethorpe's own florals.  To be compared with an artist whom I so deeply admire is indeed a supreme compliment!

Contrasts and Form: Robert Mapplethorpe

Elements Juxtaposed with Values: Robert Mapplethorpe

Andy Warhol Artist Portrait: Robert Mapplethorpe

Flower: Robert Mapplethorpe

Calla Lily: Ellen Fisch

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a wonderful time of family, food and drink,  beautiful weather in NYC: festivities that are harbingers of the upcoming Holiday Season.  I was very fortunate to celebrate with my family in the wake of Sandy and the Nor' Easter.  We ate, told stories, ate, drank, ate, told jokes and above all delighted in the children.  Reasons for THANKS.  I especially give thanks for the enduring human spirit.  The ingenuity, endurance, courage and creativity of humans is evident in all we are and all we do.  For me, a New Yorker all my life, there are many iconic images that express the human spirit all around the city.  This remarkable statue atop Grand Central Station symbolizes the glory of human creativity and the continuation of the ability of the spirit to soar.

Mineva, Mercury and Hercules soaring above Grand Central Station



Monday, November 19, 2012

Photographer Cole Scott Moffett Exhibits

The White Show at the Jackson Art Studio and Gallery in Jackson, NH, is a wonderful mix of photography; printmaking; painting; and fine art crafts.  Photographer Cole Scott Moffett has three extraordinary photographs in the show.  Cole Scott has the marvelous talents to motivate the viewer to enter, with him, the image and explore.  The exquisitely delicate floral; the striking lone tree and the stunning black and white town all invite us to see, feel and experience with the photographer.  Beautiful works!  The gallery is a tremendous asset to the area, presenting marvelous art.  Congratulations as well to all of the superb fine artists participating in The White Show!

Invitation to The White Show

Cole Scott and Debbie Moffett with the Photographer's Floral Photograph

Friday, November 16, 2012

Joss and Main

I was delighted to see one of my black and white architectural photographs featured on the Joss and Main site.  Joss and Main presents very beautiful and functional home furnishings.  The following appeared on Joss and Main:
DCI Studio
Curator's Collection
Featured on HGTV’s Battle on the Block and Designers’ Challenge, DCI Studio founder Phyllis Harbinger’s impeccable taste is informed by her globe-trotting spirit. An award-winning NCIDQ interior designer and practitioner of Feng Shui, the New York-based decor maven infuses her clients’ homes with stylish opulence and a luxe European air. Phyllis’s Art Deco collection, curated exclusively for Joss & Main, showcases her coveted aesthetic, boasting tufted headboards, vintage-inspired bedding, shimmering accent pillows, striking side tables, and more.

Here is my photograph:

Checkered Staircase

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Joy of Sharing

Part of the wonderful life of an artist is the ability to share with others who are passionate about art.  I was fortunate to speak at Brooklyn College's IRPE Life Lecture Series to a group of photography enthusiasts whose love of photography and art matches my own.  This communication among people who are deeply involved, whether as amateurs or professionals,  provides not only a joyful interaction, but the ability for me to improve my own photography by looking at my work through the eyes of deeply caring colleagues.

For a transcript of the talk go to and click on The Art of Photography: How to Take Great Photos

Photographs courtesy of Brooklyn College IRPE Life Lecture Series Coordinator Madeleine Appell

Monday, November 12, 2012

Multiple Layers

Often, when I see something that catches my eye, or rather my camera's eye, I don't absorb other parts of the image.  An example of this might be the following.  Let's assume that you are presented with a beautiful flower.  You may not immediately notice the stem, leaves, wrapping paper.  The senses pick up the beauty of the flower first and then the other parts of the whole may be experienced as they are revealed to the eye.  Today, more than ever, our senses must filter an avalanche of perceptions.  We don't take in everything at once.  When I am photographing something that appeals to me, other parts of the image ofter appear when I really look at the "whole" in post production. 

The striking gold numbers on this glass doorway attracted my attention as I was walking in midtown Manhattan.  I took a few shots and then turned my focus on an elaborately ornamented building across the street.  When I carefully examined the gold number image on my computer screen, I saw so many other elements in the photograph.  These "finds" often make photography an unexpected and multilayered way of seeing.

Art genre: sepia art architectural detail/ signage photograph

Complimentary decor: Traditional, Modern, Art Deco, Eclectic 

Photography tip: Carefully look for captured unexpected images in post production.  You may be surprised at the multiple layers of images you find in a single photograph!
Location: Midtown Manhattan

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brooklyn College Talk

--> When IRPE Coordinator Madeleine Appell approached me about speaking at Brooklyn College, I was delighted.  It is my great pleasure to participate as a speaker in the Brooklyn College IRPE Intellectual Life Series.  I earned my B.A. at Brooklyn College where I learned the fundamentals of photography, architecture and art.  As a proud alumnus, I return to speak at the College on Tuesday, November 13.  My topic is The Art of Photography: Getting the Great Photograph which can be seen on my web site under Insights.  Information on IRPE and my talk also appears on my site under Seminars & Workshops.

Brooklyn College

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Contrasts Provide Interest

One of the key, if not THE KEY, ingredient in any visual is keeping the viewer interested.  A photographer would hope that when you look at his/ her photograph your eye travels around the composition, lingering on details and taking another look at the whole.  One way to keep it interesting is to provide contrasts.  It is critical to offer the viewer enough variety to engross the eye, but not so much that the senses are overloaded.  This image, taken on 5th Avenue, contrasts an ornamented building with the sky.  Each element has its own contrasts: the sky has bands of clouds and the building's brickwork is juxtaposed with windows; stone bands; and floral stone embellishments.  While the photograph seems to be divided into two distinct verticals, the horozontals allow the eye to "read" the image fluidly.

Corner on 5th

Art genre: Black & White art architectural detail photograph

Complimentary decor: Victorian, Traditional, Art Nouveau, 

Photography tip: The eye has been taught, in Western culture, to travel in horizontals, such as reading text.  If you want to "divide" your photograph into parts as this image is divided into verticals, make sure that there are horizontal references that carry the eye across the photograph.
Location: Fifth Avenue, NYC

Monday, November 5, 2012


You see them in most major cities that have history.  They watch as newer construction takes place.  Often today the builders do not include the ornamentations of yesteryear.   Hopefully, these watchers will spark recollection of our past and the glories that lay within the work of artisans and builders who paused to include personality in structures.  Modern construction also has its watchers; its marvels and its greatness.  But look we should look to the watchers of the past as we forge the future.

Art genre: Sepia art architectural detail photograph

Complimentary decor: Any

Photography tip: Squares of window reflections in the lower half of this photograph provide depth to the composition.  Various shapes and highlights further the interest in the reflections.
Location: Fifth Avenue, NYC

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Sometimes I break the rules.  In each photograph, I try to devise an interesting composition.  Photographs are essentially ways in which I can express what I see and my interaction with my focus.  Usually, I am drawn to architecture and architectural details that reflect times when artisans left their mark.  Modern architecture is beautiful in its way, too: however, I am frequently fascinated by the older structures and their embellishments.  Recently I was with a friend in a space that has soaring modernistic forms.  I loved the fluid shapes as they ascended to the top orb of light.
In post production, I try to adhere to the rule of thirds: each area of the grid must have varying values.  Here, there is one allotment devoted to the darkest dark. I think it works.  After all, the surprise element also keeps the eye moving around in the image.  That is the optimal for any creative work.

Art genre: Sepia art photograph

Complimentary decor: Modern, Eclectic, Contemporary

Photography tip: Try for the rule of thirds, but occasionally break it.

Location: Chelsea, NYC