On-line Curiosity and Creativity Workshop

June 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

We often find ourselves in one of two states—stymied or overwhelmed. Two sides of the same coin, especially when it comes to our artistic endeavors. This on-line workshop may be just what you need to journey on—to reignite your curiosity, leading to new creative ideas. This online exploration will initially take place over six months—July through December, 2017. And it could continue beyond that depending on progress made and expressed interest. 

Probably the most important element will be interacting with other curiosity seekers, other creative types, in a supportive atmosphere. A private Facebook page will be established to communicate with me and the other participants and to post photographs.

Secondly, I will suggest specific readings or videos dealing with curiosity, creativity, and artistic endeavors on a monthly basis. Some will explore the work of other artists, both photographers and other two-dimension artists. The FB page will encourage your comments, interactions with others (including me) on these videos and readings.  

I will then give a month or semi-monthly “assignment.” Not your usual type of assignment where I “dictate” subject matter.  Rather a more style-oriented assignment where you can usually pick your own subject and interpret the assignment as you please!  (No grades!!) The purpose is to motivate you to create. When complete (or while in progress), I’ll provide supportive and constructive critiques of your work, the main purpose of which is to push you toward ever increasing greatness!  (OK, at least motivate you to create some more.)  Note: while aimed at photographers, painters should also be able to benefit from this workshop.

Since this is a trial run of this concept, I’m keeping the cost low to encourage your involvement and provide me with input on what works and what doesn’t work.  Proposed cost is $25/month for 6 months (total of $150). Contact me at chuck@chuckkirchner.com to register or if you have questions.         


The Dancers of Cuba

April 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I had the pleasure to travel to Havana, Cuba in the fall of 2015. While the sights and sounds of Old Havana were a draw, of more interest to me, photographically at least, were the dances and dancers of Havana.


The opportunity to work with the students and ballerinas of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, members of the Raices Profundas dance company (Afro-Caribbean), and the flamenco dancers of Flamenco Ecos was truly a joy. The professionalism of the dancers, the gorgeous (and often deconstructed) surroundings, and the group of a dozen other photographers made this an outstanding experience.

My photographs are now on display through July at "Art in the Parlor," St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 1187 Wyatt Way NW, Bainbridge Island, Washington. The parish office is usually open 9am - noon weekdays and 8am - noon Sundays.

Thin Places and Photo Creativity Workshop - Spring 2018

March 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

A Thin Place: A place to go to feel at peace, a place to be in touch with one’s origins, a place to go to feel one's natural self, a place to be in touch with one's soul.  It’s a place where the veil between heaven and earth, between the sacred and profane, between our creator and ourselves, is lifted and we connect in an intimate way with the universe. We have all, I hope, felt this once or several or many times in our lives. It could be alone at the ocean, or in the desert, the mountains, or even a cathedral. And, just perhaps, is could be while with another who is in a similar state of seeking - seeking what we may not know but with an openness and experience and seek and commune with our higher power.

So how does this relate to a photography workshop you might ask? Through a series of readings, meditative exercises, solo and small group wanderings (camera in hand), we'll be open to experiences of all our senses and begin to intuitively develop the awareness of translating feelings and experiences with the medium of photography.  In this workshop to be held at Neahkahnie Beach (Manzanita), Oregon, we will spend time along the ocean shore, and in the forest primeval.  We explore the creative potential of photography to record our feelings and experiences in ways you have not have thought about before.  There will be several critique sessions and time for individual one-on-one meetings. Plus some music and meditation. Included will be field trips to Mount Neahkahnie, several locales along the coast, such as Nehalem Bay State Park, Cannon Beach (and the famous Haystack Rock), and/or Sunset Beach. We’ll also visit the Lightbox Gallery (an amazing photography gallery) in Astoria (40 miles north of Manzanita) and see some of the historic sites of this seafaring town at the mouth of the Columbia River.  

The workshop, Thin Places and Photo Creativity, is next planned for the Spring of 2018.  Click on the "Thin Places" tab above for more information, or contact me at chuck (at) chuckkirchner.com to be put on the mailing list. And please contact me if you have any questions!


Selective Color

February 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

While I'm not much for drastic manipulation of photographs, I do see an occasional use for highlighting a particular aspect of a photograph in Lightroom. I can't do this in-camera, but when composing this street photo in Seattle's Pioneer Square, I knew that the young woman's hair color was the focal point in my vision. With the multitude of chairs (all a bright yellow) and with no easy way to remove all clutter in the background, I was determined to compose the photograph as tightly as made sense (it is an environmental street portrait, after all). And then in Lightroom, I desaturated all of the color channels except red and magenta. And this is the result. Fashion shot? Environmental portrait? Street photo?  All of these? I'm happy regardless. 

And the next time you're "confronted with" an image where your subject, while not dominating the image size-wise, nonetheless needs to pop. Well, here's an option.

Minimalism and Simplicity in Photography

January 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

An amazing documentary: "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things". Not overly preachy, not demanding, but insightful. Highly recommend. (I saw it in Netflix streaming.)


Since watching it, I've given a lot of thought about my go-to photography style - simplicity - and minimalism. Minimalism in photography - is it different than simplicity?  Hmm. I think minimalism, to me at least, is more abstract, stressing a thought or emotion in as simple a way as possible. Simplicity is removing extraneous components from an image (in camera, of course!) but still with a sense of realism. Maybe these are artificial constructs in my own mind. But isn't that what really matters anyway?  Both concepts work for me and are important elements of much of my photography.

Think of Philip Glass, the important minimalist composer. Repetition, notes within a narrow bandwidth, mesmerizing for many, hypnotic, trance inducing. Unconventional, complex in its own way. I wouldn't call his work simple. 

To me the following photographs fit int the minimalist camp - more about an emotion or feeling, tranquility in these instances. The realism of the subject matter is not particularly important (though recognizable). The conveying of feeling is key.         






Compare these with the following photos which I consider to convey simplicity. Realism, but without anything extraneous. Do I need to show anymore of the person handing the child a gift? Just enough face showing to know the arm is attached to someone!  And, again, framing tightly to show enough of the kid in green on the right to ground the photograph, but not add information that's not needed to convey the happiness of the children.  The portrait of the young woman doesn't need a full body shot nor just a front head shot - angle and framing emphasis physique and intensity (in the eyes) of this dancer. And the sunset - well, I know we all shoot sunsets - we can't help ourselves. But adding a "simple" element like the tree branches adds grounding and a personal touch to the image.



You may or may not agree with my interpretation of minimalism and simplicity, which is perfectly fine. But I did want to give you my thoughts on the subject and encourage you to visualize and then "capture" using your film or digital camera a simple or minimalism image, however you define the terms. It's not often easy, but can result in powerful photographs.