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My name is Jason, and I am the Cataloger & Technical Services Librarian at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. For those of you who have clicked through to my profile, I thought I should provide you with something more substantive than I previously had. I tried writing a short statement, but instead I thought it would be best to focus on these topics: Time One does not think during creative work, any more than one thinks when driving a car. But one has a background of years - learning, unlearning, success, failure, dreaming, thinking, experience, all this - then the moment of creation, the focusing of all into the moment. So I can make 'without thought,' fifteen carefully considered negatives, one every fifteen minutes, given material with as many possibilities. But there is all the eyes have seen in this life to influence me. - Edward Weston Since the age of thirteen, I have been pursuing my love of photographic images, and of documenting the world around us, and those years are indispensible for making me a better photographer. This amount of time practicing has helped me to develop a more honed sense of what I desire to photograph, as well as what techniques to use to photograph these subjects. As time has gone on, and I have looked at my work it seems apparent to me that with time and effort (read: practice) the ratio of good images to bad ones I make increases. In the past, I might have one decent image over a certain amount of time, whereas now I might get ten or fifteen over the same amount of time. Experience in this art has been a great teacher to me. Training I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it. - Author Unknown However, time and experience has not been my only instructor. Even before college, I received formal training in photography. My initial training in photography came from my grandfather, and my uncle. They taught me the basics of photography – ISO, shutter speed, F/stops, depth of field, etc. Beyond that, my other formal training before college came from two great photographers: Butch Phillips and Craig Varjabedian. Butch is what I consider to be one of the last, great darkroom technicians. His training in the darkroom was excellent and my prints are better for his teaching. Craig Varjabedian is, I think, the spiritual successor to the tradition of Adams, Sexton, and Plowden. He taught me a great deal about themes, research, and composition – my fieldwork is far better because of his teaching. In college, I received my first formal design training. I did not understand why a minor in photography should include drawing and design classes, but after completing those classes for my minor I saw the difference in my images. The knowledge of the rules and elements of painting, drawing, and basic design helped me to become a much better photographer. My experiences, as well as my training help me to be the photographer I am today. Themes My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph. - Richard Avedon My main themes have seen a great deal of change over my career as a photographer, but my themes and interests in photography have grown with me as I have grown as an individual. When I first began photographing, I was enamored with the images and style of Ansel Adams. High quality black and white photos took my breath away, and so those are what I set out to create. Those landscape images were a reflection of who I was at the time – order, discipline, and good technical skills. As I grew as a photographer, I left landscape photography behind and began photographing more architecture and people. The interaction between people, as well as the interaction between people and their environment fascinates me. How does environment influence people? What interactions between individuals best demonstrate how the subjects feel about one another? What do these images say about me? These are some questions I have been pursuing recently in my photography. Favorite places No place is boring, if you've had a good night's sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. - Robert Adams Northern New Mexico – This is where I first learned photography with my grandfather. The light is so wonderful in Northern New Mexico, and there are so many wonderful subjects to photograph – the environment, the buildings, and the fascinating people. San Francisco – I have only been once, but I am absolutely captivated by the “city by the bay.” What makes the city so wonderful, and so adored by its residents? Why is it such a resilient place? Why is it a destination for those seeking suicide? It is a place that fascinates me, and one that I look forward to exploring more. Pleasant Hill – This is the only fully restored Shaker village in the United States. The entire property is a fully restored living museum, filled with amazing colors and architecture. The sense of order and quiet that pervades this place is wonderful. Kimbell Art Museum – This iconic building is one of my more recent projects. Located in Fort Worth it is one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever been in, and the exterior is breathtaking. Influences I like to look at pictures, all kinds. And all those things you absorb come out subconsciously one way or another. You'll be taking photographs and suddenly know that you have resources from having looked at a lot of them before. There is no way you can avoid this. But this kind of subconscious influence is good, and it certainly can work for one. In fact, the more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer. - Robert Mapplethorpe Larry Towell - My favorite photographer, both of people, as well as the world around his subjects. Annie Leibovitz - A powerful portrait photographer, giving depth and feeling to her subjects. Richard Avedon - Another wonderful portrait photographer, especially in his American West series. Craig Varjabedian - A gifted photographer with a great eye for Northern New Mexico. Butch Phillips - One of the last great darkroom technicians. Allison V. Smith - A woman with a wonderful photographic vision - I think among the top contemporary photographers. She also has a flickr photostream: Photo-Geek (Allison V. Smith) Equipment Photography appears to be an easy activity; in fact it is a varied and ambiguous process in which the only common denominator among its practitioners is in the instrument. - Henri Cartier-Bresson Hasselblad 903SWC: I began my photography career with a Hasselblad - a 501c. I recently had a brief stint with a new H3d, but it was not at all cooperative. Back to my first love - film Hasselblads. I love the incredibly sharp wide angle lens on the 903. Nikon D300: A smaller camera capable of producing great images. My Bag: If you're curious to "see in my bag" follow that link. In both outfits, I use only fixed focal length lenses - I find this forces me to make stronger compositions. ArtLibre member