Photography Wisdom and a Life Lesson

Inherent to my nature is an inquisitive streak. I sat down with Wolfgang one day and casually began to ask him a couple of questions.

Jeannie: “Photographers are very prolific in our society today as everyone seems to have a camera. In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?”

Wolfgang: “That is a question which does not have a simple answer; it is sort of like opening Pandora’s Box. There are many objective and subjective variables to consider when figuring out what makes a good photograph.

Several objective aspects are important, such as composition, balance, rhythm, contrast, exposure, color harmony and much more. Then one must not forget that there is a subjective portion to consider and how each viewer, depending on their individual artistic sensibilities and preferences in subject matter, is emotionally impacted by the photograph.”

One question led into another and before I realized it, I had indirectly created our next blog post. This was information that we wanted to share with you – our loyal readers, friends, family and fans. For the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power.”

Jeannie: “If a person wanted to make a career out of photography, where should they start?”

Wolfgang: “It can be a slippery slope – good business sense and photographic talent are essential. Good photographers can run into financial difficulties. Mediocre photographers can run a successful business due to their knowledge about non-photography related items, such as marketing, management, finances, networking, and customer service.

You cannot just be a good photographer – a firm, thorough understanding of business is very important. Begin by familiarizing yourself with your profession, whether informally, through books and articles, or through formal means such as school or classes. Then practice – get out and take pictures as much as possible. Always remember to be open to, and seek, feedback.”

Jeannie: “What are some of the ‘rookie’ mistakes that new photographers make in the field today?”

Wolfgang: “They enter the industry without the proper business preparation. As far as art is concerned, you cannot really make a mistake – it is a very subjective field and much of it is based on individual taste and artistic sensibilities. But you can make mistakes in business which are easily definable.”

 Jeannie: “How important is light?”

Wolfgang: “The word ‘photography’ is derived from the Greeks. ‘Photos’ represents light and ‘graphein’ represents drawing. It is painting, or drawing with light. It is one of the most important concepts for photographers to understand. It is everything – without light, there would be no photography.”

Jeannie: “Your photography is somehow different from other artists that I have seen. How have you remained true to who you are as an artist?”

Wolfgang: “In my artwork, I gravitate towards the pathos side of life and the world; the fiber of my being is more expressionistic. I am more concerned with the expression of the human condition. A cute smile is nice, but I like delving past the surface into the soul of a person. In my business, I cannot say that I am remaining true to myself as an artist as I understand that the needs of my clients are important. Therefore, I try to combine my artistic sensibilities with the requests of my clients. In my personal photography and art, I try to remain true to my nature.”

It was at that moment when I realized how intertwined the two disciplines – art and photography – are to his work. I silently thought to myself, “That is amazing that he has remained true to who he is as an artist and a person for over 40 years.”

An astute teacher, Wolfgang thoughtfully explained each of his answers. He never seemed to tire of the barrage of questions that were sent his way. With over 20 years of teaching experience at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), he easily catered to my learning style.

Jeannie: “You should really continue to teach others.”
Wolfgang: <silence and a thoughtful nod, followed by a warm smile>

An idea was born. More details to come!



“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” ― Dorothea Lange

~ by Wolfgang Jasper Photography on September 19, 2013.

One Response to “Photography Wisdom and a Life Lesson”

  1. Hi there, I log on to your blog like every week. Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work!

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