Monday, August 30, 2010

Our August slide show is LIVE!

Created by Taylor of TaylorDPhotography.

The theme is Household Objects. Here is a selection of beautiful images from our very talented team of photographers on Etsy! Visit Etsy and search POE team for more great photography!

This is a reminder for anyone who didn't get the message about the September slide show. The theme is "Bodies of Water" and the deadline is September 3rd.

If you haven't joined the yahoo group / mailing list yet, here is the link, all of the slide shows are listed on the calendar there and each month 2 reminder messages are posted.

Mosaic Monday: Hurricane Watch


Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Works - Back to School Edition

It is time for kids and teachers to start heading back to school - time for cooler weather and getting up early and homework and learning. Check out some of these school-inspired photography finds from the photographers of Etsy! Find more fine art photography here.

A Brief History of an Empire by missquitecontrary

Polaroid 20 by friction

Que Tiempo by aprilrocha

My Favorite Things - Travel by littlegraypixel

In Color by heatherkingdesigns

School Day by jenniferdennispotter


New works is compiled by Jessica Torres. Jessica lives in tiny little Kuna, Idaho with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She tries to ignore housework while taking pictures of whatever is near - her family, the Idaho landscape, random objects collected by her and her family. She loves visitors at her website and her shop.

From the Collaboratory

It's a black and white kind of day, and these are primo examples of the art. Enjoy!

Nagree by ImageNationPhoto

Beautiful image of a delightful subject. I'll bet she tells a good story!

Split by lightleaks

Worlds of emotion contained in this lovely shot.I still haven't decided whether she looks sad or frightened or desperate or - what?

By Hand by KClarkPhotography

This image is filled with textures that could be overwhelming, but Kim's crisp, strong subject and her skilfull use of aperture keep the separation between foreground and background clear. How wonderful to see that tatting lace is not a lost art!

Bathing in sunlight's stillness by TheWorldIsMyStudio

Gotta love the whimsy. And the artist's use of light.

Memoir by ravencolours

Memoir is a great example of how words and images can enhance each other. On the surface, the artist is remembering her childhood, but the image also resonates with ideas like "hanging on," "hanging around" and whatever else your mind may conjure. Nicely done.

Nakedeye17 (Su) thinks of photography as a wake-up call: "Hey, everybody! Are you seeing this?" She loves to capture humor, too, and anything wondrous strange. Find Nakedeye17's shop here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wanderings: Somewhere Warm and Sunny

Today I was practically desperate to look at some POE photographs that depicted warmth and sunshine (those located in the cold, rainy northeast of the US can probably understand why...). Here is a collection that should bring you back to a summer state of mind (even more can be found here):
Cymbeline by greenislandstudios

Lucie Wicker is a Boston, Massachusetts-based photographer who enjoys taking pictures wherever she goes. She is particularly interested in nature, landscape, and travel photography. Her work can be viewed on her website, blog or in her Etsy shop. She can also be found writing about Boston photography happenings as the Boston Neighborhood Photography Examiner.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Peace

The Calm  by barbraziermerphoto
Happy Sam  by PhotoTeresa
SmellaWay  by magnesina
Soft Memories by shashamane
Blake Shelton's Some Beach  by MagMoment
A Quiet Tiger  by DavidLangley
Hitching a Ride  by shyscapes
Origami Rainbow Peace Cranes  by HeyHarriet
Witaka Eye  by brownrose

Friday, August 20, 2010

From the Collaboratory

On the Diagonal

At the risk of exposing my complete lack of artistic training, I’d like to do a laywoman’s analysis of four photos and try to explain why they “work” for me. My hope is that, since so many viewers – of all of our images – are not professional artists, I can bring something useful to the table. I also hope those of you who know more about composition will share your wisdom.

Feet Winnipeg, Canada by MattJZylSaw

Sawatzky’s magic in this piece is that he conveys emotion through those most maligned of all human appendages, the feet. These feet are shy, protective of each other. The unevenly rolled pant legs suggest a certain vulnerability that is very appealing.

The diagonal shadows behind and beneath cup the feet, drawing our eyes immediately to the toes in particular, then up the legs. The effect is subtle and beautiful.

Film noir still life with Vintage Fan by lucysnowephotography

Contrast is perhaps the strongest element in Snowe’s piece: the blur of the spinning fan blades versus the stillness of the fan itself, the soft delicacy of the peony contrasted with the industrial hardness of the fan, and of course, the interplay of dark and light.

But again, the diagonals are at work, moving the eye to the center disk and out again to the flower. The image would be a terrific starting place for a novelist to spin a tale of the sultry South in, say, the 1940s.

Sea Ranch Barn by thartzo

In Todd Hartzo’s image, the diagonals are more obvious, but used skilfully to move us back along the fence, then up over the barn roof to the sea.
The warm tones of dry grass alternate with green, creating a subtle ripple effect that echoes the sea waves and adds to the sense of statis (fence, barn) versus movement (grass, sea). The result is soothing but not static.

The Grove by CreateLoveLaugh

Every time I look at CreateLoveLaugh's "The Grove," something new catches my eye. Light and shadow, the light streak - of mud? – winding its way diagonally across the ground, the fence, and the tree branches raised like of Marine swords in salute, all direct the viewer’s attention to the bright, arched opening at the center right of the image, inviting as a door to strange new worlds.

The sense of quiet welcome it conveys is irresistible.

Nakedeye17 (Su) thinks of photography as a wake-up call: "Hey, everybody! Are you seeing this?" She loves to capture humor, too, and anything wondrous strange. Find Nakedeye17's shop here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Focus On: Eyes

The Eyes Have It

Said to be the windows to the soul, the eyes are arguably our most expressive and noticable feature.  No matter what else is in the image, no matter what else may be exposed or covered, our attention always comes back to the eyes.

When we want to communicate anything important we tend to look each other in the eye.  Conversely, when we're ashamed or being deceptive, we tend to avoid eye contact all together.

With photography, we're trying to engage the viewer, to bring them into the photograph.  There's no better way to do that than to focus on the eyes, specifically, the highlights in the eyes.  A multitude of of photographic sins may be commited, but if you've captured the eyes, you've captured the viewer.

I would now like to share with you the work of some of our fellow artists that have embraced this concept.

Celebes Crested Macaque - MatkirschPhoto

COUCOU....I see you... - ImagineStudio

Death and the maiden  -  eilwen

Dirty Pretty Things - lightleaks

eye of the beholder - PhotogenicGallery

Full Moon Lakshmi - ancientartizen

The Grumpy Owl - PhotographyByLilith

Hysteria - TeresAdora

joe buck yourself - swampratphotography

lulu - ellemoss

Paris - eleanors

What R we waiting for - AmelieAPoulain

Rhino Eye - MattJZylSaw

Wonder - brownrose


PhotoGrunt is Steve Raley, a photographic documentarian from Seattle, Washington.  He captures images wherever he goes, and he  frequently even uses a camera.  His work can be seen on his websiteblog and his Etsy shop.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Blue

Le Printemps  by ara133photography
dandelion 2  by Kirsty2715
choices  by clcphotos
Prick Aceo  by flandersfield
Winter Garden Angel  by TeaAndBrie
Turquoise Hearts  by MayaLee
Beach Calm  by maryvican
Love Is Deep  by mysaturnalia
Vintage Blue Bottles  by MelissaBeach
Drain  by studiocvh
Joy of Light and Water  by theeye
Life on a Half Shell  by tnoble8238

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wanderings: Napa Valley

My friend is spending her birthday (today!) in Northern California's wine country. I decided to see if any POE members had photos of the region to share and luckily they did! As one member, Ann Wilkinson, put in one of her photo descriptions, "The Napa Valley in California is a magical place." These photos should make you inclined to agree:

Red Barn in Spring Vineyards by photoamato

Promise by AnnWilkinson

Firewood by DESIGNbyHELEN

Spring storm over Sonoma County, CA by kelleyphotoart

Lucie Wicker is a Boston, Massachusetts-based photographer who enjoys taking pictures wherever she goes. She is particularly interested in nature, landscape, and travel photography. Her work can be viewed on her website, blog or in her Etsy shop. She can also be found writing about Boston photography happenings as the Boston Neighborhood Photography Examiner.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Objects of Interest

CD Mixer  by Lhosphotography
Green Door  by metroline6
Glass Bird  by rebeccakier
Illuminated Lamp  by henatayeb
Sunset at Joshua Tree 1  by jessicarogers
Crow Through the Windows  by Ketzelphotography
Christmas in New York City 1  by FromMyEye
Small Chair Big Cup  by sashamane
Cherry Defined 2   by periwinkleprints

Pat of photogenicgallery lives in the Northeast USA with her husband,  2 great dogs and the newest addition to her family "Rocky".  She will be chasing that tabby for the next months with camera in tow.  She loves visitors to stop by and visit through her open window.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Focus On: stephmel

painting my dreams

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it's that we’re all different.

We come from different places; we have different life experiences; we have different styles.  Our training is different; our vision, perspective, message, goals, they’re all different.   We’re all, each and every one of us, products of the entire sum of our existence.  And being different, we all draw on different parts of ourselves to create our images.  Some of us dig deep, while others, not so much.  Is it any wonder our final products are so varied?

The person I’ve “Focused On” this time out makes her living in the arts and lives 10 time zones away from me in a place I’ve never been; how’s that for different?

The work of Stephania Dapolla of stephmel first caught my eye several weeks ago, and need I tell you I was impressed?  Looking at that work you can see reflections of just who she is.  I recently had an opportunity to have an extended conversation with Stephania; I’d like to share that with you now.

Steve:  When I encounter artwork that interests me, not only am I curious about the work, but I also want to know more about the artist.  What is it about this person's background that set them on their current path?   What is their perspective and what were the circumstances that imposed that perspective on them?  So, Stephania, with that in mind, would you tell us a bit about yourself?  Who are you, and how did you get to be you?  What's your family like?  What's your life like outside the bounds of photography?


Stephania:  I believe that what makes the difference in an artist's life is a special vision of the world rather than his every day's activities.

Taking the example of Emily Dickinson; she depicted the whole world having spent most of her years in a room. But her seclusion from social life and her lack of experience did not prevent her from writing the most enlightened poems about life and human condition.

I suppose that my Mediterranean roots and a certain artistic background have something to do with my involvement with photography. Apart from them, my everyday's life seems to be quite normal. I only try to keep my soul's eyes open, watching the world around as a constant source of wonder, as something new and undiscovered every day, every moment. This is a natural ability in childhood, usually lost or reduced in time. Where it remains, art is always present. I try to let my inner child guide me and this keeps me in constant conflict with reality. My photos are usually the reward of this exhaustive but always fascinating process.

once upon a time

Steve:  What was it like growing up in Athens? What is your family like?

Stephania:  I was raised in a small suburb outside of Athens, which soon became a big and crowded place.

My father transmitted to me his love for photography, poetry and travelling.  I remember him with a camera in hands while he wasn't at work. He also loved travelling and we have spent some lovely summer holidays driving around Greece and Europe. He was always coming back with lots of film in his suitcases and I was waiting for the photos to appear with great anticipation. I still keep a large collection of them. They have a multiple value for me- artistic, documentary and personal overall.

Through my father's eyes, I learned to observe the world, focusing on particular moods and details and trying to find out the hidden stories in the most neglected and forgotten places and things. I am always attracted by the charm of buildings in decay and try to depict their timeless beauty in many of my images.

Books are my other source of inspiration. As a child I spent long hours reading poems and trying to transform the words into images with my imagination. This is why I often love to borrow phrases from poems and adjust them to my photos. Books are also valuable as objects by themselves for me.

My city Athens has changed a lot through the years. Despite of the disadvantages, I still love urban life and can find the same appeal in a crowded street with neon lights and in a quiet sunrise by the sea. I love to discover beauty and poetry everywhere and I am glad that my camera is such a loyal companion in this search.


I share with my partner our small family business for many years now.  We are based in Athens, Greece and have a studio for painting, a lab for printing and a small gallery-showcase for selling our work. Our main work is related to eastern Christian religious art, including icon-painting and wall-painting in churches all over the country.  I have been into visual arts since I remember myself, but started to work in photography the latest four years- which has become a passion for me.

Steve:  I'm intrigued by the description of your business; the studio/lab/gallery and the religious art. I think I may have more than one question for you about these things, if that's OK. Let's start with the religious art...who is doing the painting? Is it you, your partner or both? Do you do more icon painting or wall painting? When I think of wall paintings in your part of the world, I think of frescoes; is that what you are doing?

Stephania:  In Greece religious art is very old but still popular.

Although icon painters of today try to reproduce the work of the old masters, there is still a large field of experimentation and research. When I work on an icon, it is like I open an old book and try to reconstruct the phrases hidden behind the faded letters.  An icon is an expression of a living experience rather than of a doctrine. We work always with respect to the tradition, using the old materials, such as natural colours, eggs and golden leaf. This work needs great patience and discipline.


I have worked for many years painting with my partner, both in icon and wall painting. Most of the wall paintings of today are processed on canvas and mounted on the church's walls. It is such a wonderful experience to spend some days in a remote place in the mountain decorating or restoring the walls of an old monastery.

In Greece the fresco is a technique which is used less and less because of the increased cost. In our job, my partner is the manager, as he has more advanced technical knowledge in many fields. I mostly enjoy painting but I have to divide my working time between painting, photography and printing.

Steve:  I can totally respect the patience and discipline you must have for your work! When you speak of "restoring the walls of an old monastery" I envision something quite old, perhaps even ancient; that's really quite fascinating!

What takes most of your time, the painting or photography? It sounds like it's the painting that pays the bills, is that the case?


Stephania:  In Greece, there are thousands of old churches and many of them need restoring. Some of them are ancient relics of the early Christian years. Because of our history and many centuries spent in occupation, the condition of many of these monuments is not so good. Some of the masterful old paintings have faded and some others have been covered with layers of smoke or humidity. There are also old precious icons in the same condition.  The restoring job needs a lot of patience, special knowledge and respect to the work of the old artists, but it's really rewarding to see a figure appearing slowly from a black surface and reviving again.

Apart from art, painting has become our way for living for many years now. Photography is relatively new to me. I love the freedom of expression and its endless possibilities, especially with the use of the modern digital techniques for treatment and manipulation. However, I think that it's too early for me to rely on it as my regular source of income. There is still much work to be done on this direction.

Steve:  I take it, then that your studio and gallery is primarily focused on painting; are any of your photographic works displayed?

Stephania:  In our gallery, there are lots of icons displayed, original paintings and prints.
However, I always keep a space free for my photography and I love to show some of my prints mounted and framed. I hope to be able to organize an exhibition during next year with some of them. I have recently converted part of my workspace into a photographic studio.


Steve:  I know you said your father was an early inspiration for your photography, but since you started shooting 4 years ago, I'd like to explore what it was that motivated you to get started in photography. So, what was it that made you pick up a camera? Why 4 years ago? Why did you pick one up at all?

Stephania:  My interest in photography has developed slowly through the years. I had always to use a camera at work for making archives or just reproduce the original paintings and sell the prints. I started thinking of a new perspective just four years ago, when I discovered the endless possibilities of digital methods of processing. I was fascinated by the possibility to take a photograph and drive it to a painting-like result without the use of paints and brushes. I had suddenly discovered a new path to visualize my dreams and emotions. So my journey into this magical world began.

Steve:  Looking at your work, I can see that many of your images have a resemblance to time encrusted paintings. I see brush stokes and other textures, from what I assume are digital layering. What can you share with us about your process?

Stephania:  I often use layers to add mood to my photos. I usually prefer to combine more than one texture with my image in different percentages. The technique is quite easy and the results can be really impressive.

I use brush and eraser tools to enhance some selected spots, and then play with colours and tones. There is no guarantee of a successful result; it depends on the subject and the artist's imagination.  I prefer a strongly textured effect when I want to add a dramatic mood in an image. This is the case of my photos which show urban decay or human emotions. I use lighter textures when I want to create a more peaceful atmosphere and a lighter contrast of tones. I keep a collection of textured layers, most of which are made by me. I love to experiment and let my subject and mood guide me.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

Steve:  I was going to ask you if you created your own textures, what with your painting background, but now we know!

Do you have any favorite subjects or themes you find yourself drawn to more than others?

Stephania:  As I mentioned before, I am hugely attracted by urban decay - everything forgotten and abandoned, but still keeping the traces of human presence. I try to hear the whispers from the past and to read the old stories hidden behind the locked doors. I am very happy to hear someone saying that in one of my photos they recognized even vaguely a moment or feeling from their own personal history. As my photography is mostly personal and emotional, portraits are my other favourite subjects. I like to create sceneries and place a human figure in them in order to create a story. The mood is what matters most for me, much more than the technical perfection.

Steve:  Do you have any favorite places to shoot?

Stephania:  Some places that I have loved and photographed are roads captured in motion - from a train or car window; the old market of my city after closing time; the vast Lido beach outside Venice in wintertime; cities of eastern Europe (still under reconstruction); old train stations in the south of Greece; the sea; and, my room.

There are still so many to be discovered...


Steve:  Do you ever get an itch to photograph something, an itch that must be scratched?  What do you do when that happens?  Are your photo excursions planned or spontaneous? 

Stephania:  It always depends on the moment and conditions. Carrying always a camera with me, allows me to capture scenes that I accidentally encounter. Most of these spontaneous shots are never used, but I love to exercise my eyes and create my own sketchbook with a range of various subjects. Sometimes I browse them to pick an element and add it to another image.

I rarely schedule my photographic sessions. I let my intuition work and feel happy when my subjects surprise me. I think this interchange is the most exciting part of the process. Keeping my eyes open and my mind in constant wonder, this is only what I feel that I need to do. The rest will be added at the next stage- the processing part.

I remember a documentary showing the life of Sophie Calle, a great French photographer of today. She started her carrier being drawn by her sudden impulse to follow anonymously, a man unknown to her, on his trip from Paris to Italy. She made a gorgeous set of photos spying him in the streets of Venice among the crowd. She didn't have any special knowledge or equipment, but her art was recognized later as prominent among the technically perfect photographs of many professionals.


Steve:  That's usually how I go about my shoots, or "photographic walkabouts" as I call them; I'll go to an area, immersing myself in it, shooting whatever my eye finds interesting.  And you're right, much of what I shoot turns out to be detritus, but the gems I it contains make it all worth it!

I'm always curious about what other photographers are using, so, Stephania, what do you carry in your camera bag? What are your favorite tools?

Stephania:  I'm glad to know we are similar in this :)

I started to shoot digital with a Nikon D80 four years ago. I have used it with a Tamron AF 28-300 zoom lens and a Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4. Two years ago, I bought a Sony a900 with a Tamron 18-300 zoom lens, which I prefer to carry with me when I travel. When I need something lighter, I carry just a small Pentax in my handbag. I have also two tripods and some smaller accessories.

Steve:  If money were taken out of the equation, what would you like to add to your camera bag?

Stephania:  A Zeiss 10-20 lens would be my first selection.  I would also love to have a set of old cameras with film.

birds of passage

Steve:  Do you have any favorite photographers, perhaps some you've been inspired by? And if not photographers, what about artists? Who are they, and how have they influenced you?

Stephania:  I could mention a long list of photographers that I admire, from Man Ray until the young generation of modern experimental photography. I love to study all the styles, but I am particularly inspired by the conceptual photography of modern female artists such as Francesca Woodman, Diane Arbus, Sophie Calle etc. Among painters, Van Gogh and Klimt are my favourites. Cinema is also a source of inspiration. However, it would be hard for me to speak about a particular influence in my work, as I just feel as a beginner and an amateur. So, I prefer to keep in mind what Henri Cartier Bresson had said: "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst".

Steve:  Where is photography taking you, or where are you taking it? From a photography standpoint, what does the future have in store for you?

those winter sundays

Stephania:  Although I have worked in visual arts for many years, with photography I have felt as in the start of a long and exciting journey. It is important for me to enjoy every moment of this journey and the sights and experiences coming along the way. I certainly have some wishes and plans related to the promotion-recognition part, but I try not to focus too much on them. My interest in photography is kept alive as long as I feel that I can say things that can't be said and show images that can't be seen in other ways.  If there is a practical result, this will follow naturally as a consequence of hard work and constant progress.  From this point of view, the magic of the journey is more important than the destination itself.

Steve:  Thank you so much, Stephania! I've enjoyed our conversation very much!

Stephania:  You are so welcome Steve! I enjoyed our conversation too!


PhotoGrunt is Steve Raley, a photographic documentarian from Seattle, Washington.  He captures images wherever he goes, and he  frequently even uses a camera.  His work can be seen on his websiteblog and his Etsy shop.