There have been a few articles written in the past few weeks spear headed by Joel Tjintjelaar VISION, VISUAL STYLES AND CRITICS IN FINE-ART PHOTOGRAPHY regarding vision and visual style. Much has been written on this very subject over many decades and even centuries. Vision is something that exists within your yourself, waiting to be created. In photography it is developed at the scene and created in your digital darkroom. Only then, does your creation communicate with the viewer.


Here I wanted to develop the mystery between light and shadow with its affect onto the reflections on the water as well as the buildings at street level ascending to their roof lines contrasted against the sky. iso 100, focal length 24mm, aperture f/8, exposure 480sec. (8min.)

There have been Two Phases with my maturation with fine art photography: Phase l was the mechanics within the digital darkroom. I mentored under Joel Tjintjelaar’s watchful eye for sixteen months as well as studying the great artists and the founding fathers of photography including the present day award winning fine art photographers. Having no formal training with post processing images I was baptized by Joel with the technical aspects to developing creations.

Phase ll finding my vision and style. Joel and I discussed vision and style throughout my mentorship and the more I learned the more difficult the task became to develop my style. Let me try to explain. Before Joel there was a simple Olympus point and shoot camera which gave way to a Nikon D90 I then taught myself Aperture 3 and Nik plug-ins. A friend introduced me to Flickr where I focused on land and seascapes. Ansel Adams was a favorite, however I soon discovered the works of Keith Aggett, Michael Kenna, Julia Anna Gospodarou, Hengki Koentjoro. So, yes I did start copying their creations. I knew absolutely nothing as to why or how they created their visual style from within their soul. I was having fun and started developing relationships with other photographers along the way. Then something was missing I needed the challenge to get to another level. I didn’t like being an imitator.

Creating as sense of proportion, 59th Street Bridge ~ NYC


Currently I’m still trying to find myself i.e., my visual style. The vision part I found to be the easier of the two. My vision is invisible to others and no one can express what I am seeing and feeling better then me, being different and original with a personal signature. The hard part is expressing my style. What am I feeling from the time of the shot to developing the image, knowing when enough is enough, when is it time to complete the final creation and being validated by other fine art photographers. I continue to struggle with this aspect in a time of doubt. Julia Anna Gospodarou tells me,”Rich there is a solution. just forget the others! Try to satisfy yourself and when you do, then you won’t need the acceptance of others.” Another friend Cole Thompson has his ten commandments taken from his blog posted August, 2015 , “Ten Things I’ve Learned in Fifty Years” which are very profound for me going forward. Here are a few of his commandments :

      • Don’t aspire to become the world’s greatest imitator
      • Vision is everything
      • Don’t compare your work to others
      • Use Photoshop however works best for you
      • Define success for your self


I have come to the conclusion that “Finding Myself” will be an ongoing evolution and have discovered that there many artists who have and are suffering from the same frustrations.