Seeing Photography with Jay Maisel

It's Not About The F-StopThe book, It’s Not About the F-Stop is a beautiful visual and verbal exploration of photography from world acclaimed photographer, Jay Maisel.

Reading through the book feels like you are sitting next to the photographer (a wonderful storyteller) as he shares story after story about where a photo was taken, on assignment or in-between, and the process he went through to get the shot. In the introduction to the book, Maisel credits his good friend with saying, “Photography is not about photography, it is about everything else.” And that he tried to talk about “everything else.” It’s immediately evident that he masterfully accomplished his goal.

Maisel doesn’t discuss camera settings, histograms, the pros and cons of hand-held shots or tripods, instead he tells readers what he was thinking or feeling as he stood, crouched, and climbed to get a specific shot. And the serendipitous moments when the light changed or a person walked into a scene.

Maisel’s photos span over many decades and his comments about each image give credence to showing up, being patient, looking at the world around us and finding inspiration in both the extraordinary and ordinary.

Maisel also shares images that surprised even him, in one instance a beautiful photo of Marilyn Monroe that he doesn’t remember shooting, originally rejected because of the focus, but in the edit, decided he loved it. Another time, an ice rink where the skaters were moving so fast making it hard to get a good shot that he changed his attitude on what was presented on the surface. The photo shows a stunning dark silhouette amidst an etched blue, gray, green background.

Every page is subtitled with a few carefully crafted words that sum up the teachings; e.g. “Be Aware of Changing Light”, The “Gifts Are Always There” “To Thine Own Self Be True.” (A pocket-size guide of the headings would make for a wonderful book of daily meditations for photographers!)

More than half-way through the book Maisel suggests that “Sometimes It Is the Lens.” We learn that in the past few years the photographer has significantly pared down his equipment and now walks around with one camera and one lens–a Nikon D3 with a 28-300mm zoom lens.

Maisel advises photographers to look to art for inspiration, “its been around longer” than photography. While that may be true, readers won’t be able to help being in awe of the color, light and gestures seen throughout the photos in the book.

This is a book that can be read cover-to-cover, again and again. And will make for a fine coffee table book that readers and photography aficinados can open to any page where they’ll discover visual gems.



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Still Life

Still Life

Still Life

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@dhemley Personal Essay Published on Medium

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Change is Good, Especially When It Comes to Social Media

Regular readers get used to the ways businesses and news media deliver content. They know what to expect. Where to look. And how they’ll find what they’re searching for. That’s all fine and good. But so is change, trying new ways to tell a story, new ways to format information.

Recently the Boston Globe, changed the format of my favorite section–the G section. I’ve seen this section go through several iterations during the time I’ve lived in Boston. The first few days I might feel like, “whoa, what happened here?” But within a short time I always come around to seeing the strengths of the changes and can barely remember what things were like previously.

Social media content has lots of options to consider and while it needn’t be as radical right off the bat as changing the format of an entire section, social content developers can try integrating images, audio, specific apps, etc.  In my new 26 Tips article on Social Media Examiner I offer ways to consider. Twenty-six ways to be precise.

Some times change gets a bad rap. But in these info-rich times, resistance to change may be far, far worse.

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

26 tips


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Lessons Learned from Brands on Social Media

26 Ways Brands Succeed with Social Media Marketing was published today on Social Media Examiner.

As I was working on the concept of the piece, and with a gazillion number of brands on social media, I wondered where to begin.  I needed to narrow my approach and find a way to identify brands who were indeed, successful.

I reached out to Ryan Hatoum (@ryanhatoum), US PR Manager at Socialbakers, who graciously agreed to provide me with data (e.g. # of updates, # responses, # of new followers, etc.) about the 30 top brands on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  And since the information changes week-to-week, month-to-month, I narrowed the list of brands I’d look at over a two-week period, November 1 to November 15, 2014. The weeks proceeding the writing of the article.

I took a look at who was doing what and how an update succeeded in engaging fans. Needless to say, the process was extremely interesting and helped me identify 26 noteworthy efforts.

I think you’ll find that the approaches can be applied to businesses of all sizes and industries and my hope is that they will provide readers with takeaways for their own social media efforts.

Thanks again to Ryan Hatoum and everyone at Socialbakers for their assistance.

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

26 ways brands

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Social Media Work-Out

Today I have a new article, 26 Ways to Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing, published on Social Media Examiner.  Whether you’re new to social media or were an early adopter, the piece focuses on ways you can strengthen your overall presence and add more vitality.

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

dhemley sme article

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The Power of Infographics

BAInfographics2014There are infographics and then there are infographics; so rich with data, and visual interest that they quickly cross over an invisible line and become beautiful works of art. Infographic fans will surely delight in The Best American Infographics 2014 edited by Gareth Cook.

The book is divided into three sections, You, Us and the Material World. And, technically a forth section entitled Interactive, where you can see screenshots of ten infographics and then navigate to the URLs provided in the text e.g. Transit Map, NYC, Block by Block, Brooklyn’s Past and Present.

Why the growing interest in infographics? As Gareth Cook points out in the book’s foreword, “…something like half of the brain is involved in processing images. This fundamentally is why infographics have become such a force in our increasingly visual media.” Good infographics as Cook suggests bring flashes of clarity and leave us feeling ahhhh.

Nate Silver explains that by taking a visual approach to organizing information that we can tell stories that have advantages over purely verbal ones. Namely they offer approachability, transparency and efficiency.

Even the book’s cover is an infographic that reflects the range of one word responses and number of times the same word was used to complete the sentence, “Infographics have the power to ________.”

The words ranged from advise to woo with the two most frequent used words being enlighten and reveal. There were 42 terms that were classified as being negative with the three most frequently used, annoy, argue and lie.

While it might be nearly impossible to decide on your all-time favorite infographics in the book, for me I found that they tended to be the the ones whose topics and visual explanations most reflected areas of personal interest. And in one word, I’d have to agree they had the power to enlighten.

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