Category Archives: Art Exhibits

Express Yourself with a Photo Border

Photography provides a vehicle to communicate what we see and feel. And so the essential question is, “What are you trying to say?”

How do you find your photographic voice? 

Be curious. Visit museums, and go to the library and look through photography and art books. Browse online galleries and collections. Study. Formulate opinions on style, form, technique, and message. Notice the artists and photographers’ prevalent themes. Decide what moves you. Make a list and then ask yourself, “How can I incorporate these components into my work?”

I spent years searching for inspiration and expression. Personally passionate about music and color, in time, I discovered the Russian artist Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) who transformed hues into lyrical forces of spectral and musical equivalents. One of his most important paintings, Painting with White Borders, is the inspiration for the border tutorial I will share with you shortly. Kandinsky struggled with this painting, reworking it fifteen times until he arrived at the solution — a white border. His response to “Why white?” — “White expresses a harmony of silence, pregnant with possibilities.”  (

I also pay homage to Vincent Van Gogh (in the following video tutorial) who walked excessively through all types of weather, searching for his voice (and peace of mind). “Wheat Field in Rain” — one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings — creates a profound and tactile immediacy.

A Photo Border adds voice

“Sunflower Field in Rain”

About my photo

One rainy summer afternoon, while driving along Montauk Highway, I saw a field of sunflowers and a old truck with an American Flag. I had to stop and so I drove my car alongside the field, opened the car window and photographed. But I felt removed and couldn’t compose good enough from the car. Recalling Van Gogh’s painting “Wheat Field In Rain” and his habit of walking in inclement weather, I went out into the field, protecting my camera from the pouring rain with an umbrella hooked over my shoulder.

Later, I uploaded the images, selected my favorite, and adjusted the RAW file in ACR. After running through some basic adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop, the photograph just didn’t feel complete. It was missing something, or, said another way, the photo wasn’t saying enough. Using Kandinsky’s Painting with White Borders as inspiration, I too created a border. Mine was yellow. Why yellow? “In addition to selecting a coordinating color, yellow embraces both Kandinsky and Van Gogh. In color geometry, (Kandinsky) the triangle is yellow and Van Gogh is synonymous with yellow sunflowers). Curious about the color yellow? Click here to read a blog post I wrote celebrating yellow.

The following is a video tutorial detailing how to create an artistic border. I am using Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, but this lesson works on all Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements versions.


Would love to hear from you.

All my best,


Check out my new eBook: Photographing Children Naturally

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Photography Exhibits, NYC – August 2014

Photography Exhibits Must Sees

A Fine Art Mentoring Client (FAME) will be visiting Manhattan later this month and asked for a list of photography exhibit “must sees.” I decided to share my suggestions. Let me know if you visit any of these fabulous exhibits.

Gary Winogrand New York 1962

Gary Winogrand: New York 1962
Credit: Posthumous Print, (frame not marked by Winogrand on contact sheet), courtesy of The Gary Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona

Gary Winogrand @ the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

(though September 21, 2014)

Bronx, NY born photographer, Gary Winogrand’s most iconic images capture Manhattan in the 60’s. Known as one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century and classified as a street photographer, his prolific work is still being discovered. There are at least 250,000 images Winogrand never processed. Developed posthumously, some of these images are in this exhibit (like the image above on view in Gallery 691 @ the MET). To Winogrand, the act of photographing was far more interesting than making prints or editing for books and exhibits. 

“I photograph to find out what something looks like photographed.”

~Gary Winogrand

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness @ The Museum of Modern ART (MOMA)

(through November 2, 2014)

American born artist (1956), Christopher Williams’ retrospect features nearly 100 photographs, spanning his 30-year photographic career including fashion, portraiture, landscape and an emphasis on still life.  

He is an ardently self-conscious artist who wants to let us in on his entire act. You feel his touch everywhere: in the installation, the catalogue, the simple map and the crazily ornate checklist, both handouts that are an essential part of the show….There’s nothing that he hasn’t tweaked or deleted. This includes the labels and wall texts; the framing of the photographs (those extra wide mats) and the height at which they hang (noticeably low)…It is as if, having tunneled into photography in every way imaginable, Mr. Williams has broken through to the exhibition form, which is becoming his true subject…

               ~Roberta Smith (New York Times, August 1, 2014)

Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944-2013 @ The International Center of Photography (ICP)

(though September 7, 2014)

A major survey of the photographic movements in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. The exhibition draws mostly on street photography and

“explores pubic space as a platform for protest, popular street culture, the public face of poverty, and other characteristic of the city as described in photographs…Urbes Mutantes points to the depth and richness of the extensive photographic history of the region.”


Keld Helmer-Petersen @ The Yossi Milo Gallery

(Through August 29, 2014)

Color photographs by Danish born photographer Keld Helmer-Petersen (1920-2013).  As black-and-white photography was considered the only photographic art form in the 1940s, Helmer-Petersen’s pioneer work with color film 

“…  set a new standard, establishing the practice of color photography as a fine art and paving the way for subsequent generations of artists, including, William Eggleston.”

~(Yossi Milo Gallery)

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