My website

I am in the process of updating my website and moving it to a new server.  In the mean time, I have forwarded it to my blog. 



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All work and no play make John something, something

Before Saturday, I have not shot anything in a very long time.  I felt like a crack whore going though withdrawal.  Like I have said before, shooting is very important to me. It  brings balance to my life.  I wish that I had  a good excuse for not shooting anything but I do not.  I have had been plenty of good  opportunities to shoot, but I have had a lot more bad excuses for not shooting.

Because of this,  Saturday when I went to Digital Silver Imaging  to see a gallery opening of Ron Rosenstock  black and white infrared landscape images, I made it a point to leave my house early just to fit in some time to take  pictures.    The first stop that I made was in Medford.  (I was driving through I saw some railroad tracks and just had to stop.)

I then continued on to DSI and I arrived about 30 minutes early for the gallery opening.  I walked down the street a little and took some more amazing images of train tracks.  (This was part of my plan from the start)

I finished up just as the gallery doors opened.  I would have to say that the gallery show was fantastic.  Ron Rosenstock  is an amazing photographer.  Out of all the images that he had on display,  I  would have to say that this was  my favorite image of the show.

Ron took this image of Prayer Flags in Bhutan in 2009 at high noon.  (Something that you could never do with a regular camera)  I am thinking about getting my old Nikon D200 converted to infrared.  I am planning a trip to Canada in a couple of weeks and I am thinking that this might be another way to capture the beauty of Canada.

Overall the day was very fulfilling.  It was a good outlet for my pented up frustrations.  The only thing better is seeing my daughter’s smile.

Here are my favorite images that I took

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting!

John-Roy Photography

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I would have to say that the one of the biggest thing that inspires me to be a better photographer is a scene from the movie “Walk the Line.”  It is the scene when Johnny Cash and his band are attempting to get Sam Phillips to give them a record deal.  Sam was not at all impress with what they where playing and said this,

  “If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing *one* song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or… would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ *you* felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.”

To paraphrase what Sam was saying here, if it could take just one photograph to express your feelings about your time here on earth, what image would you take.  (Or retake)  Would it reflect your inner self or would it be the same old photograph that has been done over and over again?  This is something that Heather Frederick  from VoxPhotographs was trying to drill into my head last year when she did my portfolio review. It was not until I saw this movie did what Heather was saying to me it sink in.

Hopefully this helps inspire you to do something different.

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting.

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My personal photography rules (Remember in photography, rules aren’t laws)

1. Throw out the rule book. (Kind of an oxymoron here)

2. Follow your gut. I was doing a job for a client who wanted images taken of one of their trucks taken in front of their building. And when I wanted to take some of more trucks in front of the loading dock, he gave me a very hard time. (But he let me do it anyways) Guess which image he used for the for his computer wallpaper on his computer?

3. You should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, delete an image until you get home. (See Rule #13)

4. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. You might not like what you get but what is the harm? If you shoot digital, it will not cost you a thing. (If you do this remember rule #3)

5. If you are about to click the shutter and you say to yourself, this is just like XYZ’s photo, please dope slap yourself. Living in New England, I have seen too many of the same light house taken at the same time of the day, same exposure etc. If you do, try something different. (see rule #4) Also, Read this article  about 10 Photographers You Should Ignore.

6. Do not shoot everything as if you are in a gun turret. (Eye level)

7. Watch your backgrounds of your image.

8. Watch your foregrounds of your image.

9. Learn to know what image you will get without having to look in the view finder. I use this if the angle I am shooting at a weird and I cannot get behind my camera comfortably.  (It will also work in an urban setting.)

10. Use leading lines and have them go from left to right. (The same way that you would read a sentence.)

11. Go out and shoot everything at 1.4 or whatever the largest aperture that you have. (I would not go above 1.8)

12. Go out and shoot everything at f32 or whatever the smallest aperture that you have. You might have to play with your ISO to get the image that you are looking for.

13. Keep backups of all your work. Even the rejects. (unless you take a picture of your foot) I have 2 hard drives in my office as well as a pair that I rotate with one always beinging off site. I would recommend SyncToy 2.1 to help with this.

14. Spend more time shooting and less time behind the computer. “ Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.” – Elliott Erwitt

15. Do not be afraid to underexpose your images.

16. Do not be afraid to overexpose your images.

17. The histogram should never be taken as the only guide to a good image.

18. Shoot in color and convert to black in white in Photoshop. Trust me, Photoshop and it’s filters do a lot better job doing the converting then your camera. Now if you want to do a test to see what the image might look in b&w, do a quick conversion in the back of your camera.

19. Full the frame with what you are shooting.

20. Leave a lot of negative space around what you are shooting.

21. Focus everything in your image

22. Use selective focus in your image.

23. When shooting develop peripheral vision, your best picture might be behind you.

24. Be aware of your surroundings when shooting. The image that you are looking for is not worth losing your life over. (OK most images)

25. Have a sense of humor when you shoot.

26. Being a photographer is a lot like being a comedian. If you have to explain your jokes, you need to find a different audience or a new career path.

27. Do not let the time of the day or the weather dictate when you photograph.

28. It is only trespassing if you get caught.

29. Less is always more. Do not complicate your image with too much information.

30. Don’t get too caught up too much in your equipment.

31. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t that stupid.

32. RTFM (Yes, Read The F***ing Manual.) Your camera has lots of useful functions that help you with your vision and you’ve paid for them, so you might as well learn how to use them. (I hope that you would not go out and purchase a D4 and shoot everything in auto at low res jpeg.)

33. Remember, just like the hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ” He may have not been talking about photography but the same rule applies here.

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Shawshank Redemption

This is one of my favorite movies Shawshank Redemption,  There is a line here in the movie that most people miss.  When Andy says that he is going to get out of the prison Red tells him that it is nothing but a sh*tty pipe dream.  Does anyone remember how Andy escaped?  Remember to get busy living or get busy dying.

Thanks for visisting and happy shooting.

John O. Roy

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Below is a video of Ira Glass,  he is a veteran radio personality and host of This American Life on National Public Radio,  giving great advice to become a great story-teller. I think that Ira has an amazing insight.  I would recommend looking at all four of his videos on YouTube  (   Thanks for for posting the video below.

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A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan

Everyone talks about the war in Afghanistan  but few people take a look at whole thing at the human level. I think that  Seamus Murphy  does this extremely well in this documentary film produced by Media Storm

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I wanted to share some incredible Photography events that are coming up in the Boston Area in the month of June.

The first event is Flash Forward Boston.  This is being held in Fairmont Battery Wharf on JUNE 7-10, 2012.  If you are an emerging photographer I highly suggest that you should consider  attending this festival, it should provide you with new opportunities, new professional contacts and well as new friends.   I am going to be there as a volunteer plus I plan on attending the lecture being chaired by Jim Fitts and Cary Wolinsky titled The Secrets to Getting Your Work Seen and Exhibited

The second event in on June 12th and is being organized by the American Society of Media Photographers of New England   They are having an Annual Celebration on June 12, called Ride the Waves With ASMP NE.  (I should tell you that I am also a member of the board)  Check out their website for more information. (The best part is that you do not have to be a of ASMP member to come!)

The last event is HOW Design Conference which is being held June 22-25, 2012 at the Hynes Convention Center

You’ll get four days packed with creative inspiration, expert information on communicating with your clients, from-the-trenches advice on growing your career, cutting-edge software instruction, plus a wealth of innovative ideas and great design work.  Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and mingle with some of the industry’s “revolutionary” design thinkers like Chip Kidd, Joseph Duffy, Debbie Millman, David Sherwin, Armin Vit, and Christopher Simmons, just to name a few.  Go to the’s website for information as well as a discount code to save $100 off.

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting

John O. Roy

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How I know that I got the shot

My wife asked me the other day, how do I do I know when I got the image that I was looking for.  I had to think about this for a little while.  Then I told her, “When I am one with my camera and my shutter makes a different kind of click when I release the shutter. ”  Does this ever happen to you?

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Follow up on my recent Portfolio Review

Here is a blog post from Heather Frederick from VoxPhotographs Gallery. Heather was one of my reviewers at my portfolio review.

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting

John-Roy Photography

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Portfolio Review

I went to the Boston University Photonics Center for a portfolio review on Saturday. It was sponsored by Griffin Museum of Photography and the Photographic Resource CenterI am looking for some honest feedback on my work.   I had 4 different professionals review my “Working on the Railroad” series.  (Plus a couple of the “Ghosts of the Railroad” series. )

         My first reviewer was someone who reviewed my work a year ago.  (Heather Fredrick from VOX Photographs)  She, just like last year gave me some real honest feedback.  She was impressed with how much I have grown over the last year.  She made some suggestions and helped me group my images.  She wanted me to send her one of my photographs so she could have it on her desktop.  (The image of the Railroad Spike)
          I also had a photographer from ASMP New England Peter Vanderwarker.  He had some suggestions on were I might be able to have my work displayed in New England. He made some suggestions of things that I may want to add to the series.  (Railroad bridges etc)
          I had another reviewer from NESOP.  Now I have heard horror stories from a lot professional photographers about having a 20 something years old art director as a boss.  Now I see what they are talking about.  She did not she my Vision.  She HATED the image that Heather loved so much. It was nice to get different opinion but to be that far off base was another thing.
          I had only signed up for 3 reviews.  But when I found out that Jim Fitts, an art director that I had from CDIA, had some spots open, I took advantage of the opportunity to have him review my work again .  Jim told me 4 years ago that I had an eye for fine art/story telling.  I was quite upset at the time.  I thought that weddings were the way to go.  MAN was I ever wrong.  Even after all this time Jim still remembered a fine art  photo that I had taken and used for my final show for graduation.  (Dry Cycles)  Jim made suggestions as well as far as networking etc.
          Over all this was a positive experience for me


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My Project 366

I am sad to report that I have abandoned my project 366. I took an image every day but with the strains of my life, there was no way I was going to able to get caught up with the key wording, the conversion to B&W, the titling and everything else necessary for it. (My last post was at the end of February)

I am going to take this time instead to work on my portfolio and focus on getting my work out there. (A much better use of my recourses.)

D700, ISO 200, 45mm, f/1.4, 1/60

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting

John-Roy Photography

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I have updated my artist profile

Every now and then I update my artist profile.  It give me a new focus on my work. Here is is.

          Photography is the greatest form of self expression.  It communicates with my soul; a kind of a “catharsis scream”.  This  offers me a mental release  from my professional career.  After using my right brain all day, it is nice to use my left brain to create something meaningful.  This brings a yin and yang to my life.

        When I pick up my camera after work,  I prefer to shoot inanimate objects. Using light, shadows and selective focus, I am attempting  to give the objects a life force; allowing them to tell a story.  Because of this, I sometimes tend to become lost in my perception of light and shadows.  It allows me to constantly visualize different angles and perspectives of spaces and even people around me.

          When I photograph people, I am drawn to capturing them in communal areas.  I usually try and catch people off guard to create a pensive state of being which is a window into their souls.  You would be surprised how much people tend to let their guard down and become relaxed when they think no one is watching.  (Ever notice how differently children behave when they know they are being watched?)

           I’ve come to this place of artistic expression after experimenting with several other approaches to photography.  I finally listened to an art director and a close friend of mine and I redirected my work to reflect my own true artistic expression. 

   I think that this is a true reflection on who I really am. Another thing that I like about it, while I am continuing to pursue my photography, it would not reflect badly on myself if I make any career changes. (Not that I am planning on anything)

Thanks for visiting and happy shooting

John-Roy Photography

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