Posts tagged ‘photography’

How Do You Stand?

Not where, but how?

I’ve noticed (too many times) we often don’t know how to stand when preparing for a photo.

During my years of teaching Dale Carnegie Courses and taking photos as a professional photographer, I’ve seen subjects in somewhat less than flattering stances.

Notice in the first photo, I’m standing in what we refer to as the “fig leaf” position. It does not inspire great confidence.

How to stand-2

The “reverse fig leaf” is no better.

How to stand-3

So how should I stand?  

It’s simple. Let your hands fall at your side. This will get them out of your way and you’ll know where they are if you need them.

How to stand-4

While squarely facing the camera — or your audience — is perfectly acceptable, there’s an even better position. Depending on your build, this pose can give you the appearance of being a few pounds lighter.

Stand on a forty-five degree angle to the camera.

How to stand-1

Now that you have some examples of how to stand, perhaps you can be more convincing when you talk about where you stand on any issue.

Book Review: Gentlemen of the Golden Age By Sven Raphael Schneider

How do you feel when you’re wearing your favorite clothes?

How does it make you feel when you attend an event and receive compliments on your attire?

Now put the two together.Cover

Isn’t it great when you receive compliments and you’re dressed in your favorite outfit?

For some of us, that outfit consists of jeans, an oxford button down boasting your favorite college football team, and dark brown penny loafers.

For others, it’s a custom made,double breasted blue suit, French cuffs, subtle cufflinks, and black Allen Edmonds toe cap lace ups. Don’t forget the tie and pocket square.

Clothes make the man?

How about accessories? A nice assortment of pocket squares, neck, and bowties, increases the number of outfits exponentially.

Carly Simon said, “These are the good old days.”

With an awareness of historical fashion and the genealogy of today’s trends in menswear, you can make the present your own “golden age” of gentlemanly attire.

In his book, Gentlemen of the Golden Age, Sven Raphael Schneider offers readers valuable insight and interesting historical facts to enlighten, entertain, and inspire.

What was the “golden age” for men’s fashion? (It wasn’t the roaring twenties.)

Did you know that today’s business suit wasn’t always the preferred attire for executives? (There was no such thing as casual Fridays.)

What’s the difference in a “lounge suit,” a “leisure suit,” and a “travel suit?”Travel Suit

Which is more formal, a single or double breasted jacket?

Who were the pace setters in the States whose influence earned a moniker of its own?

Can you wear white in the winter?

Which men’s magazine started in 1933 and soon became the most influential publication in the menswear industry?

The author provides the answers to these and many more questions in an easy to read conversational style.

While some historical trends are outdated (think corduroy tennis attire!) Schneider says, “…knowing what is historically correct will often make you look more refined.”

Cruise AttireGentlemen of the Golden Age is divided into four sections, each illustrated with classic images from the era by Laurence Fellows. After the introduction, readers are treated to details on suits, combinations, overcoats, and sports/leisure. In the chapter on combinations, we learn how to break the rules and still look smart. Learn which overcoat to buy if you plan to own only one. (It’s important for those who want to look dapper.) In the chapter on sports and leisure I asked myself, “What do you wear when you’re watching L.S.U. football games?” (Seersucker and white bucks of course!)

Do you own a “TV jacket?”

In the end, Mr. Schneider encourages those concerned about “over dressing,” with this reminder, “The point of dressing well is to enjoy it while expressing yourself and your personality.”

Gentlemen of the Golden Age is currently available only as an e-book and is available online, in some cases at no charge.
Interested in learning more of the rules, so you’ll know which ones you want to break, and when it’s alright to do so? Check out Schneider’s site, Gentleman’s Gazette for hundreds of videos and articles. If you’re ready to beef up your wardrobe with attention-getting accessories, check out the offerings of Fort Belvedere HERE.  Posters of Fellows art can be purchased HERE.

If you have more than one necktie in your closet, this book should be on your Kindle, I recommend it enthusiastically.


(Images used with the written permission of Sven Raphael Schneider.)

The Art of the Image–guest blogger, Dan Gregory, RPh

"Fire in the sky" Copyright Dan Gregory used with permission

“Fire in the sky” Copyright Dan Gregory
used with permission

This week, we welcome retired pharmacist, Dan Gregory as our guest blogger. 99755-guest2bblog-2

He was born and raised in Louisiana. His interest in photography and painting blossomed in his teenage years, continued through his era of earning a pharmacy degree from Northeastern University in Monroe, Louisiana. He routinely practiced pharmacy until his affliction from MS became apparent in his fifties. He retired and now devotes his full attention to photography, writing, and oil painting.
What many would consider a handicap he has turned into the realization of a dream: full time attention to his visual arts and the expression of it. He currently resides in Lakewood Ranch/ Sarasota, Florida where he is happy with camera, pen, and brush in hand. He sees the world through new eyes. His renderings are sought by collectors through out the United States
and world, and he is the proud father of two sons, and a daughter.

Dans Head shots

Dan presents his thoughts on how and why he merges photography and oil painting.

The world is quite the wonderful and startling place; discoveries are everywhere with infinite possibilities. All you have to do is open your eyes.
But for some just to see is not enough. Time must be frozen. But how to do that? Again in a myriad of ways, some more complex but satisfying through the magic of accomplishment.
I’m a retired pharmacist, not by choice, but thanks to Multiple Sclerosis, so I have all the time in the world now to discover it.
I’ve always painted since a child, almost always been a photographer from back in the days when everything was manual. I bought a Leica because it’s such an incredible tool to take photos that beg to be translated into paintings, not because I’m a snob. After several months with it, it FORCES me to arrange and compose artistically, unlike my other cameras which have
whittled photography into point and shoots. I’m still learning it, and it never fails to surprise or disappoint me. Much the same as life.
I like to travel the backroads with it, the blue highways so to speak. Here I can find the dichotomies between the past and present. There’s an abandoned motel, truck graveyards hiding in the tall weeds, archaic old general stores. Strange sites as compared to the glass and steel so commonplace today, the hurried pace. They scream in anguish to be remembered, for
once they stood proud and strong, rolled the roads in hubris. And now they just want to be thought of one final time.
And I have that power. Through my viewfinder I carefully compose my trophy within the lines of a grid. I bring the LEDs to a correct exposure, let the auto-focus do its thing by lightly depressing the shutter release. Then I press it all the way. The capture is complete; I have rendered my prey timeless, and, like magic, it is given immortality.
I like to photograph the serene beauty of the female form with it. From the release of that button, a woman who strives not to age will never do so. In decades to come, when the flesh has dried and withered, an ever-young face will stare from that screen or piece of paper. She will always be there, back when she had the power to enchant a man just with a coy smile which has vanished like a ghost. She has gained the prize of forever. And she will never lose it.

Copyright Dan Gregory

Copyright Dan Gregory

The photographs are good, but there is something better. The photographs are recordings which require no interpretation. Physics is physics. They can be personalized a bit with Photoshop or some such program. But more than anything it just depends on how the light strikes the sensor. The quality of a photo depends on the compositional and functional talent of
the photographer.
And what is something better you may ask? I take those images, and I interpret them in paints. I take tubes of pigments made from earth and draw forth from a blank, white canvas the colors of the rainbow. I paint those relics, those graceful women. If the camera gave them a new life, the painting gives them a new interpretation. I am scarcely limited, if only by my imagination. All creatures of mythology, past and present, can be rendered and brought to glorious life. The dead can be brought back to life, the divided reunited .The camera, the Leica, cannot do that. The elegant woman can still be captured by the unfeeling sensor, but it takes the pigments to give her the touch of the artist’s soul. He can see every mark, every crease, on that woman’s body, and he can love them because they are part of her uniqueness. He can appreciate that she is a child of God and render her as such. The camera cannot do that. It is merely a tool. It is like saying the painting exists solely because of the brush, no matter how fine.
The artist can return life to the abandoned building beside the unremembered road. A forgotten store that has seen many decades between the dark and light is suddenly ablaze once more. The song of crickets is replaced by the cries of merriment. The dead have been redeemed. The moon and stars above have seen it all since time began, but like the alloy and glass of a camera they are uncaring. They are not human.
But the camera and the brush are both only tools wielded by a human. A cheap Instamatic wielded by Ansel Adams can hardly be bested by a child with a Zeiss Ikon. A Waterhouse rendered by a cheap dime-store set of pan watercolors can hardly be surpassed by a child with all of the finest Winsor and Newtons in the world. Experience is the best, and harshest, teacher. So it is up to you to embrace it. Go into a world wracked by strife and wars, and cherish all of what you see there. It all exists for a reason, and it is up to you to find the latent beauty that lurks everywhere.

And it is up to you to show it, display it, and better yet, teach it.

Zen and the Art of Assassination

“I’ll be with you in a moment,” the sales clerk said with a nod.

“When?” I replied.

“In just a moment.”

“Which moment?”

“The moment I finish with this customer.”

“‘The’ moment?”


“No, I’m Methodist.”

“I attend the Center for Thought Control.”

“What is that?”

“What is zen?”

A few years ago, I reviewed a book that deals with the connection of photography and zen.  Prior to reading Zen and the Magic of Photography by Wayne Rowe, I had no understanding of zen.

I’d heard of it.

I’m a baby boomer.

Because of the Beatles I’d heard of transcendental meditation.

Most references to “zen” had also included “Buddhism” or “Buddhist.”

The years of my youth did not include the initiative to seek out nor investigate other beliefs or thought systems. Such an attitude often breeds a lack of understanding.  It’s easy to see the tip of an iceberg, make up a story to explain it, and proceed as if that concoction was the truth.

Now, we’re at the personalized, customized reality part.

“Oh, that’s her reality.”

“For him, that’s the way life is — his world view.”

“Honey, did you take your lithium this morning?”

It was a very interesting and satisfying discovery to find out that zen isn’t what I thought it was.

A simple definition of zen is “meditation”. Wikipedia says this of meditation: ” a holistic discipline by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, ‘thinking’ mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness.” Being “in the moment” can apply to anything from motorcycle maintenance to religion to photography — to murder.

A character in my first novel practices zen.

She gets into the moment.

She becomes “one” with her weapon, the bullet, and the target.

It’s kinda like zen and archery, only with a gun and live ammunition.

Meet Claudia Barry, a sixty-two year old woman contemplating retirement.

A baby boomer.

She’s a knockout.

She’s an elite professional assassin who has mastered the art of disguise.

A cousin, a photographer, introduced her to Zen.

Her grandfather was a motorcycle repairman.

Now, she practices Zen — with every squeeze of the trigger.


Book Review: Secrets of the Dead by Caleb Pirtle

“Through the travail of the ages                Image

Midst the pomp and toil of war

Have I fought and strove and perished

Countless times upon this star.


So as through a glass and darkly

The age long strife I see

Where I fought in many guises,

Many names – but always me.”  — George S. Patton


General Patton believed in reincarnation.


Ambrose Lincoln has lived it.


How many lives has he lived? No one knows. Countless times upon this star.


Not even he knows how many times he has lived and died.


As a result of his peculiar circumstance, Mr. Lincoln has no fear of death whatsoever.


Everyone will die with secrets.


When Ambrose Lincoln dies, he will carry many secrets to the grave with him.


But he won’t remember any of them in this life.


Lincoln is the central character in Secrets of the Dead, Caleb Pirtle’s most recent offering. Pirtle is the author of over sixty books and long recognized as one of America’s great story tellers.


November 1938 is the setting for Secrets of the Dead. It was known as “Kristallnacht.” It was a night of horror in Poland. A night of broken glass, broken hearts and broken promises.

Kristallnacht would likely have been the “Gulf of Tonkin” for America’s involvement in World War II had it not been for Pearl Harbor.  Either event alone would have begun the cascade of events that brought the Yanks into the European war. Together, they assured American involvement and doom for the Axis Powers.


Kristallnacht would precede and create the venue for Ambrose Lincoln’s next assignment. He wouldn’t remember it for very long.


Rare color image from WWII found in a book we recently reviewed: “America At War in Color.” Click on the image to read the review in a new window.

Pirtle takes readers back in time to the climax of events that created World War II. From the rubble in Jewish ghetto streets to the hallowed halls of power in Washington. We experience the power of politics, hate, war, redemption and love via an unforgettable cast of characters. In addition to the assassin pawn, Lincoln, we meet his handlers, his masters and several Germans who share the misfortune of his company. We know that not everyone we meet will live to the last page.

Another character of interest is a natural element, snow. The ever-present snow erases evidence of footsteps and meetings. It seals the secrets of the dead.

Secrets of the Dead debuted as a daily serial on Venture Galleries’ web site. Venture Galleries is a leader in bringing serial novels back into the mainstream. Any given day, readers will find up to a dozen serials in progress with an eclectic variety of genres from thrillers and romance,  to historical novels, politics, and murder. All chapters are archived on the site and available anytime. So, settle down in your easy chair with your online reading device and enjoy a quick interesting read.  Secrets of the Dead is a great place to start.

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