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Jim Shoemaker Photography

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There have been many times when I’ve looked through books by Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde, David Muench, Guy Tal and others, and after viewing one amazing image after another thought to myself, “How does one person get so lucky when it comes to finding such great light or such a magnificent scene?” It seems unfair, like maybe things could be distributed a little more evenly among more photographers. Like me.

I spend months on the road every year, and more often than not I’m skunked by the weather or something else that results in less than optimal conditions. But then there are also...

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Over the past twelve years I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences while photographing around the American West. I’ve met a lot of nice people and have seen many beautiful places. There is one situation though that has always agitated me to some degree, and recently it has been occurring at an increasing rate. I would like to share it because I’m certain there are other photographers out there who have experienced the same thing.

Sometimes when I’m at a location, after spending time scouting the site and putting careful consideration into how I want to frame the scene based on the...

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Minor White once said that photography is a religion. A student of Zen, White’s comment referenced the amount of study, devotion and effort that a photographer dedicates to the craft. But like any religion, it can be taken to extremism, and when extremism mixes with fanaticism things can quickly begin to go awry.

Humans are tribal creatures, and we’ll infinitely subcategorize ourselves into the tiniest boxes possible. You won’t be practicing photography very long before you encounter the question that should make your skin crawl; “Nikon or Canon?” Yes, there are many camera...

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I mentioned in a previous post about the tribalism of human beings. We like to categorize ourselves and each other by race, politics, religion and brand loyalty to automobiles, computers, smartphones, cameras, sports teams and much more.

So it isn’t surprising that there is so much debate and controversy (not to mention animosity) over every aspect of photography. Which company makes the best cameras: Canon or Nikon? Which medium is best: film or digital? Which is a better art form: Black & White or Color? Which format is best: Large, medium or 35mm? What kind of lens is best:...

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Lately I’ve been reading about the origins and evolution of photography. After the official announcement of Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre’s process on January 7, 1839, people were enamored by the incredible, almost magical new invention. But what exactly was it for? Was it a form of art, like painting and drawing? Or was it strictly a recording, documentation and replication process?

Throughout the subsequent years photography morphed from photogravure; pictorial attempts at imitating painting (via Demachy, Emmerson and Evans) to pre-photojournalism (via Matthew Brady and Alexander...

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