Friday, August 31, 2007

Photopaintings: A Collection of Handpainted Photographs-Cheryl Machat Dorskind

I have spent the last few weeks preparing for a gallery exhibition,“Photopaintings: A Collection of Handpainted Photographs.” There are 30 images in the show. The reception for my exhibit is Friday and I am looking forward to a lively event.

For those who do not know me, I am a fine-art photographer known for my handpainted photographs and personal approach to children’s portraiture. I have written two books, The Art of Photographing Children, and The Art of Handpainting Photographs. For more biographic information, please visit my web site at

I have been exhibiting my Photopaintings for over eighteen years. I will attach a few pictures of my fine art. Each photograph is printed the traditional darkroom (wet) enlargement method. The prints are custom hand printed onto fiber photographic paper and then enhanced with layers of oil paints.

This week also kicks off the third year of my newspaper column, “Picture This,” for The Southampton Press.

I teach Painting Photographs at PPSOP and will be teaching a two day intensive in Westhampton Beach, New York this fall (September 16-18). I also teach Photographing Children at PPSOP, another passion of mine. I hope some of you will join me.

Best regards,
Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Prague and Chicago

Last month I was in Prague doing a workshop and in early June I was in Chicago doing a workshop. Workshops have always been and will always be "surprise parties" as far as I am concerned at least the workshops I teach, since I honestly have little idea of what to expect and often times an even smaller idea of what we as a class will be shooting over the course of the workshop. This approach may seem a bit "unprofessional" but I know most if not all of my students have benefitted immensely from 'impulse' versus an orchestrated and planned shoot. Case in point was upon showing up in Prague, we learned of both the Kayaking Championships and the Prague Marathon. It was never my intention to shoot either prior to booking Prague as a workshop location, but as the students will tell you, both of these venues provided some welcomed and unexpected surprises photographically speaking. As we all lined the 'blue carpet' at the start of the race, (we arrived an hour before race time) we were all presented with the opportunity to shoot some great marathon photos. Casting some great shadows onto this carpet were other spectators behind us and to the sides and WOW what a GRAPHIC opportunity this presented and as the runners came through this scene, I was ready with my 12-24mm, cropping the feet of one group of runners whilst the 'long' shadows add a graphic element as well as lead the eye to the running feet.

It was several weeks later while in Chicago, that another group of students and myself were on a 'mission' to shoot some of the most interesting 'head shots' of the many people who were attending that day's Gospel Festival being held at Millineum Park.

I told each student to focus their attention soley on frame filling compositions that showed ONLY the back of a person's head.

Shorlty after suggesting this 'assignment', it started to rain HARD and the umbrellas came up quicker than the Crocus on a warm February day! Switching my attention to the crowd I back off with my 70-200mm and frist made an image of 'pattern' at 100mm as you see here but was also quick to adjust my exposure, (f/16 at a 1/4 second with the help of a 4-stop ND filter) and then I went to work on this same colorful and patternly scene choosing to ZOOM the lens during my 1/4 second exposure and voila, another worthy stock shot of "inclement weather". Enjoy!

Bryan Peterson


I had a great, unexpected photography experience a few weeks ago. I came out of the grocery store to find a beautiful swallowtail butterfly walking across the parking lot near my vehicle. I stood and admired it for a bit, noticing that it didn't seem to be able to fly. I put my hand down onto the ground and it climbed aboard so I decided to take it home with me. I put him down on the passenger seat and headed home. When we arrived (at this point I found him inside my purse, lol) I placed him in the shade on one of the irises in my iris garden. For the next day and a half I photographed him in the garden, watching for changes in the light, moving him to different flowers, using different lenses, angles and points of view, really working the situation. I knew this was a rare opportunity. Around mid-morning on the second day he was gone when I went out to the garden. I like to think that he gained the strength he needed during his visit with me to continue on his journey. I made over 350 images while he was here, I'll attach a few samples (all of these were made with the Lensbaby 2.0 and macro kit).

The moral of my story is to grab shooting opportunities when they appear and to really work them!


A wedding photographer in OZ!

I wanted to share with you a few images from my recent trip down under to Australia a couple of weeks ago. I am primarily a wedding photographer for the past 34 years, but am very passionate about photography period. It is my hobby as well as my work. I enjoy seeing images no matter what the subject. My longtime favorite is chasing the light down the road...This is Landscape photography to me. Exploring areas where I may have never been before, but led there by he light.

The first pair of images that I'd like to share with you were taken 3 weeks ago in Australia. I was chasing the light as it made the rolling hills landscape just jump at me with depth and dimension. I was amazed at its simple beauty. All that I needed (in my mind) to complete the composition was a foreground, an element to be able to stop your eye from wondering around the scene. I pulled up into a small driveway off of the main road and walked up to the fence. I was wrapped up in the beauty of the scenery when, as I put the camera up to my eye, my shoulder was nudged. I turned and looked behind me to the left and there was a goat that had climbed up on the fence and was looking at me from eye level. Hi Billi! I now had company. I said hello and excused myself to continue shooting. the result was the next frame posted here. After the images were captured, I stayed and talked with Billi (Goat) for a while before having to head down the road as the light was only getting better.

I hope that you might consider joining me for either my Wedding class here at PPSOP or my course on posing people.


Ken Sklute
Canon Explorer of Light

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself!"

Shut-up and SHOOT-UP!!!

Some of you may remember that time in the Venice-Workshop: despite the season it was cold and rainy. Who said it never rains in Italy?(LOL)

We were all bundled-up and heading out in the rain at 6 o’clock in the morning, but with an optimistic smile printed on our faces thinking, the sun will come out later, (yeah, right!)

As Bryan always points out, even unexpected and less-than-good weather conditions in a workshop can actually be an unexpected blessing in disguise (read: creative, unique photographs).

White, gloomy skies, not a single human being walking around in Venice’s Calle’ Venice (narrow streets), just us, the gondolas and the old buildings.

Think about it! What a great opportunity to concentrate on composition and unleash our creativity without for a moment being concerned by someone walking into the picture the moment we trigger our cameras. Can anyone ask for anything more?
Sure, a cappuccino and croissant, grazie!

In the first shot you can see me trying to stabilize the shot leaning against the arch and shooting-up. (No, it s not a stoned homeless person leaning against the wall in the vain attempt not to fall in the canal, LOL ).

I shot this closeup of the gondolas' ferro (the decorative front piece made of iron on this unique Italian boat), intending to isolate them graphically and at the same time include a soft (not in focus) background to give a little hint of the environment, making sure not to include any white sky, but still aiming up.

Although there is a bit of PhotoShop work in this photo, this is another good example of what getting on your knees can help you to achieve. Imagine how different this image would have looked if I was shooting from my natural viewpoint instead.

Remember, it’s all in your point of view!