Sunday, February 6, 2011


Inspiration can come in many forms. A few weeks ago I was inspired by attending a workshop, a one day seminar and two lectures, by none other than Freeman Patterson. Freeman Patterson is one of Canada’s premiere artist photographers and probably Canada’s most renowned photographer. I have known of Freeman since my High School photography teacher gave me a copy of his book “Photography and the Art of Seeing” in 1980. Since then the book has been revised several times and has sold thousands of copies all over the world.

Freeman Patterson 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada
The book, now called “Photography and the Art of Seeing: A Visual Perception Workshop for Film and Digital Photography” is a masterpiece that is must read for any ‘student’ of photography and is curriculum for most photography university students. This book is designed to teach you how to see the world around you, how to open your eyes, and how to photograph that world in more creative ways while expressing yourself as a photographer. Yes, it is a workshop with ‘exercises’.

You can gain a lot of insight by simply reading this book, you will however learn and gain the most by doing the drills or exercises. These drills bring you back to the basic core principles of photography, the image, your subject, how you see it and how to photograph it. One of Freeman’s great talents, apart from his photography, is his lexicon or terminology. He has a knack for expressing and putting forth what he wants to share and explain in ways that are easy to understand.


This book is for any level photographer, from beginner to expert. If you own this book and last read it many years ago I would recommend you re-visit this book. Winter blues getting to you or feeling un-inspired, read this book and do (or re-do) some of the exercises to get that inspiration back.

One thing I picked up from this book is that when I look around me and I just do not see anything to photograph I stop and force myself to ‘look around’ and photograph anyways. Often, with amazing results.

Last week I spent four days with Freeman including a whole day hands on workshop with him and seven other photographers at Vancouver Photo Workshops. Between this workshop and several lectures including a Gardening lecture, I again opened my eyes to the ‘possibilities’.

Light Birch, Cape Breton, NS, Canada
A few months back I was in Cape Breton and the weather and lighting was not behaving. Driving the Cabot Trail was less than awe inspiring as it was raining hard and the fall colors were nowhere to be seen. By late afternoon and with very little in the way of photos taken, I pulled over and forced myself to photograph. I had all but forgotten about these images until Freeman’s workshop and so I went back to the files sitting on my computer. The previous and following images are part of a series of six images I photographed that afternoon. This panning technique is directly from Freeman’s book that I read in the early 80’s and is done all ‘in camera’. Since the workshop I have printed all six images as large prints and I have already sold several. They look their best large but I have included two here. Hope you like them and hope they inspire you.

Fire Birch, Cape Breton, NS, Canada
If you are feeling those winter blues, you may want to check an old post called: Winter Photography Blues

© 2011 François Cléroux

(Version 1.01 - February 2011)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. I am so Jealous Francois!! It is my ultimate dream to meet him ,would sell a kidney to have been in your shoes! Cheers


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- Francois Cleroux