From The Eyes Outward to The Eyes Inward

Last night I delivered a presentation at Macarthur Photographic Society, where I was a member from 1986 – 2014.

As I have for the past few years focused my attention on Painting and Sketching, I was asked if I could deliver a presentation on the similarities and differences between Photography and Painting.

As a foundation for the discussion take was to take place in the second half of the presentation – (after intermission) on the similarities and differences, I spoke about my journey in Photography, and showed some images across Slides, (Film) Monochrome and D

I then explained, ‘why I changed from Photography to Painting’ a few years back, which involved several reasons. (I will post about this at a later date). Following the reasons, I showed examples of my Paintings, two Oil and one Watercolour Line & Wash.

After intermission, I moved onto the similarities, and then the differences between Photography & Painting which brought interesting discussion. Again, I will post about these in a separate post.

I finished the presentation talking about future projects in both Painting and Photography.

As I was compiling the presentation I learnt a lot! It is a fascinating subject and I’m sure I will modify it as time goes on.

Written by David Johnson

25 May 2023

Missing Monochrome…

One of the types of Photography I really enjoy, and do miss is Monochrome, aka Black & White. For many years, pre-digital, right back to 1983 when I started learning Darkroom skills.

I had an LPL 35mm Enlarger and later, I purchased a Durst 606 Medium Format Enlarger off one of my Uncles. The latter was for developing the negatives from my battery-less Yashica 635 Twin-Lens Reflex with which I used a hand-held meter.

Whilst I wasn’t as adept in the Darkroom as some of the other Camera Club/Photographic Society members over the years, I did enjoy going into the Darkroom, developing, printing and experimenting.

Fast forward to the Digital era and certainly it is easier and quicker to get the image and there are many more options for manipulation these days compared to the Darkroom.

In recent years my focus has been squarely on learning Sketching, Watercolour, Line & Wash and Oil Painting as I remember ‘always wanting to learn them’ when I was younger. Myself, like everyone else, is not getting any younger, having recently turned 60 and I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy these mediums. There is still so much more for me to learn and explore!

It shouldn’t be a surprise to people that I canned my Photoshop and Lightroom subscriptions a few years back. I still have a DSLR, however, I am looking to go in a different direction Photography-wise… A smaller, mid to high range compact and an iPad, which is a far cry from what I used to carry around. Much lighter too.

These days, I can see myself with a small backpack containing a compact camera, sketchbook, pencils, pigment liners, Watercolour field kit and sundry items.

I can see myself returning to Photography via Monochrome as (apart from when I used to take Slides), Monochrome was my favourite way of shooting images.

When I’m out and about this little kit complete with a small camera will allow me to elevate Photography once again in my life.

I’ve included a some images below of some of the things I used to like to shoot in Monochrome.

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

9 April 2023

Photo Inspiration – Southern Highlands Photographic Society!

Back in 2004, I was one of 9 founding members for what became known as the Southern Highlands Photographic Society Inc. SHPS (as it has become affectionately known as) continues to be a thriving Photographic Society at East Bowral in the Southern Highlands region in NSW, Australia. Currently, they have approx. 50 members.

I moved further away in 2013 and in 2016 sadly relinquished my membership due to an inability to get to any meetings due to business and other reasons.

Last weekend, we ventured down to Bowral to see (not only the Tulip Time Festival) but SHPS’ Annual Tulip Time Photographic Exhibition which is held in the Old Bowral Town Hall, Bowral. It was finishing that day.

Put simply, the Exhibition, in terms of quality gets better and better each year. There was a stunning array of subject-matter and treatments in the 3 sections, Monochrome, Colour Print and Projected Digital. There were 120 images on display.

One of the great things about the Exhibition was that 83 of the images were mounted prints in frames. In these days of imagery, where most of what we see is on the Internet, it was so refreshing to see images hanging on a wall.

I can see SHPS being around for many, many years to come. There is such a wealth of photographic and artistic experience there and it is certainly a place where one can be inspired and educated to improve their Art and Craft.

If you are looking for a progressive Photographic Society to visit and/or join, may I wholeheartedly recommend visiting SHPS.

Please visit the website below for more information on SHPS, including their newsletter, ‘On Photography’, Galleries and Programme details.

Southern Highlands Photographic Society – Dedicated To The Art Of Photography

Venue: East Bowral Community Centre, East Bowral
Days: 3rd & 5th Tuesday each month
Time: 7.30pm

Written by David Johnson
6 October 2018

My Photographic Journey – Part 2

Having purchased my Olympus OM-10, I embarked on a journey which still fascinates me to this day, although that journey has morphed in time, as you will find out much later…
The OM-10 came with a Manual Adapter. I was assured by the salesperson that this allowed me full Manual control. I was to find out later, that this was not true. My first lesson learnt as far as ‘gear’ was concerned…
I started to photograph all sorts of things. I remember driving out on a country road and seeing a small pile of rubbish on the side of the road and saw light reflecting off some beer bottles. I stopped, I photographed. Aiming the camera, I continued to photograph flowers, birds, buildings, insects, cars, people, parades, musical instruments and basically whatever came in front of my lens.
Books and magazines were my main sources of learning. Back in 1982 there was no Internet so the newsagent, bookstores and library were ‘our Internet’ if you like.
Early on I took prints and had them processed at the local camera store or chemist and they would take 1-3 days to be ready. Sounds strange now, in the Digital Age.
In 1983 I purchased an LPL 3310D Student Black & White Enlarger and jumped into this strange, but exciting world of Black and White developing and printing. My early attempts (I still have them) at photographing and developing black and white images were, in a word, woeful. I could really achieve a really good muddy grey…
Basically, I needed help but didn’t know where I might find it…and started to concentrate more on colour prints, taking a lot of different subjects, and enjoyed taking the camera on bush walks, to functions and continued finding things to photograph. By this time, I had added an Olympus OM-1n (a truly Manual camera) and some additional lenses to my bag, plus a tripod, filters etc.
This continued on until mid 1986 when I saw an ad for ‘Campbelltown Camera Club’ at the local Camera store.
In May 1986 I attended a couple of meetings and joined in June 1986 and my life changed forever…

John Alexander Dersham – Profiling Photographers

Welcome to Profiling Photographers #4. I ‘met’ John through Facebook and he introduced me to the inspired vision of his photography. John has a richness and depth in his photography that I’m sure you will all enjoy. Thank you to John for being part of this series.


Canon 5D with L-type lenses for digital.

Large format film cameras for film-Toyo 8x10M and Wista and Linhof 4×5 cameras-Schneider, Fuji and Nikkor lens from 90-450mm.

1. Why did you choose Photography as your medium of communication?

I started at age 9 using my dad’s 1930 Brownie. I loved capturing fleeting moments and liked composing images for artistic values. I have stayed with the art form all of my life. I am now 64 years old.


2. Which Photographers have been the greatest influences on you & why?

Andy Tau, former member of Ansel Adams F64 club and former President of the School of Photojournalism at the University of Missouri. I joined the Mid-Missouri Camera Club in 1966 of which he was a member. He taught me the Ansel Adams methods along with Roger Berg and Milt Shanklin who were both in the club. They provided a very great amount of help to me at a very young age in areas of composition and technical skill.

Ansel Adams, Winston Link,Dorothea Lange and Edward Weston all played a role in inspiring me and serving as visual guides helping me learn to see my personal visions.

3. What inspires you to create the type of images that you do?

I like images that are both beautiful but also have a story associated with the images. Sometimes the story is about the impact of the image created by the lighting or weather conditions like rain, snow, fog.

I also love to shoot images of people in settings that have a story behind them, like their place of business, such as; a store, a factory or a craft.

4. What do you think makes your style unique?

I think my view of the world is a bit different and it is reflected in my work compositionally but also in the way I interpret light and compositional elements. I tend to shoot wide in order to tell a story with more content.



5. Do you have any advice for an aspiring photographer?

I suggest having a passion for a subject that is all yours. When people view your work it should not be a repeat of everyone else’s view. Waterfalls and sunsets are wonderful and fun to shoot but they will not make a photographer famous nor will they deliver any suggestion of being unique. You have to create a style both in subject matter and compositional values that viewers can immediately tell it is your work.

6. What is the next big adventure for you, photographically?

I am working on a couple of books and brochures for the travel industry related to promoting the scenic beauty of the Southeast United States.

I am also working toward a B&W book called “Where the Road Ends”. These images are mostly large format B&W images of views of long-term business locations that have been in families for generations or have already closed but the their story still can be told in the images of their slow decay along the roadsides of America.

John Alexander Dersham Classic Fine Art B&W on Facebook









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Profiling Photographers – Michael Rawle

This is the first in a new series of Photography posts that will appear regularly on this Blog. I have known Michael for approx. 25 years and we first met at Campbelltown Camera Club (now, Macarthur Photographic Society) in Sydney, Australia. A big thanks to Michael for sharing his thoughts and images!

Currently favor and use Olympus micro 4/3 mirrorless system (E-M5 & E-M1)
I still however have (and will probably use in future)
2 x Olympus 4/3 DSLRs (E410 & E520), and
3 x Olympus OM system SLRs (OM2n, OM40, OM4)

1. Why did you choose Photography as your medium of communication?
I developed a love of movies from a very early age (my family were all film buffs) and I quickly warmed to the visual language of film in terms of both aesthetics, and in triggering an emotional response and in storytelling. In my late teen’s this translated to a love of a photography and still images and a desire to be able to capture images myself as a form of creative self-expression.


2. Which Photographers have been the greatest influences on you & why?
There are many photographers who impress me with their ability to capture wonderful images, master visual story-telling, and clearly share my sensibilities and world view. Some of these would include:
David Bailey; Max Dupain; Ansel Adams; Robert Capa; David Moore; Lewis Morley; Annie Leibovitz; Henri Cartier-Bresson; Bill Henson; Frank Hurley; Robert Mapplethorpe; William Yang; Harold Cazneaux… etc etc

3. What inspires you to create the type of images that you do?
To create strong images that are aesthetically satisfying, but also make an emotional connection to the viewer and have the ability to tell a story.

4. What do you think makes your style unique?
I don’t know if it is, however as we are all unique as people I like to think I bring my own character, personality, passions and sensibility to my creative endeavors and hopefully this is expressed in my images.


5. Do you have any advice for an aspiring photographer?
Follow your passions, be open to learning and be inspired by others, but above all stay true to yourself

6. What is the next big adventure for you, photographically?
Self-publishing books of my images; and exploring video as an extension to my love of the still image.

To look at more of Michael’s images:

Tacking Point

‘Photography Of The Age’ – Newspaper Photography In Australia

The title of this article comes from a photographic book I purchased some years ago. It’s about Newspaper photography within Australia, highlighting the 22 photographers who shot for ‘The Age’ Newspaper in Victoria. The book was published in 1993.

It is compiled by Kathleen Whelan, Photographer, who has a Masters Degree in Education and whose images are in collections in Australia, the USA and Peru.

Before it moves onto the photographers it discusses the role of the newspaper, legal and ethical constraints, processing, IMG_2808presentation, the press photographer’s role and characteristics of good newspaper photographs to name but a few of the areas covered.

Moving onto the photographers, the author delves into the minds of the photographers, gaining insights as to ther individual views as to ‘what they look for’ and ‘how their minds work’ when searching for and conveying an idea. Example images from each of the photographers are included.

Towards the rear of the book there are several case studies that cover the image, statement, camera use, design and print quality of selected photographs.

Finally, there are 26 ‘projects’ for the aspiring Photography, Art, Studio Art or Media Studies students to do.

All in all a fascinating book that I am grateful that I have on my bookshelf. I find it an inspiring read, packed with images that inspire, intrigue and amuse.

Written by David Johnson
7 September 2015

Inspirations… Photography

Whenever we have an interest, be it in Art, Sport, Work or in another area of Life, there are people that will inspire you.

Over time I will be highlighting the men, women and groups that have (or still do) inspire me.

I begin with one of my favourite photographers, Margaret Bourke-White: (1904 – 1971)

Margaret Bourke-White was a pioneer in many ways and her specialties included Photojournalism, Social Documentation, Architectural, Industrial and War photography, working in predominantly Black & White. She was one of LIFE Magazine’s most prolific photographers.

20150820-IMG_2573-1Margaret Bourke-White had a fascinating life full of challenges and adventures. I remain captivated by her imagery and her boldness in overcoming both work-related and personal challenges throughout her prolific photo-taking period from 1920’s through the 1950’s. She was indeed a pioneer.

In photographing in a Steel plant she used heavy equipment (that today would seem antiquated) and experimented with lenses, films, Magnesium flares and her imagination to obtain dramatic Industrial images.

Margaret Bourke-White also worked with Writer, Erskine Caldwell on the ‘You Have Seen Their Faces’ Sharecropper farmers that affected 10,000,000 Southern Family lives in the United States in 1936. The project was approached in a compassionate manner. The images are powerful and depict the farmers’ harsh way of life…

She was a pioneer of the ‘photo essay’ and photographed many of the leaders of her time, including Gandhi, Pope Pius XII, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill.

I look at her images and can see a great sense of personal involvement from her in them. Immersing herself into her subjects, she was able to bring out graphic emotion and the beauty of light, shape and form. I have two books i.e. her autobiography, “Portrait of Myself” and the book pictured above.

A true inspiration!

Written by David Johnson
20 August 2015

Recommended reading:

The Joy Of Instagram

Before the dawn of Smartphones and apps like Instagram, we photographers always liked to carry a camera with us for a high percentage of the time, be it your SLR camera or a compact of some description.

The reason was simple. You never know what you would come across during your day and you certainly would not want to miss out on that ‘photographic opportunity.’ In practice though we did not always take a camera with us.

For a fair while now we have had the phones and the apps with us and their usefulness increases each year.

One of my favourite apps is now Instagram. Whilst the images cannot be enlarged all that much I am taking more and images this way. I still use my DSLR for my business and serious personal projects however when I don’t have my DSLR with me I enjoy pulling out the camera and taking shots of images that impress me as I go about my daily routines.

I have included a few here however please feel free to check out my Instagram page.

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If you don’t have an Instagram page as yet, consider having one. I feel it helps me continue to ‘train my eye’ on a daily basis and it’s a lot of fun too!

Written & photographed by David Johnson
© Light Inspired & CommunicatingCreatively/David Johnson 2015