The Beauty within the Camera


An Apology

First off, my apologies if you tried to get to my site yesterday. It was hacked and down for most of the day.  With the help of a great PHP coder, Jim Gillispie, I was able to get it back up and running just in time for a momentous week ahead. Thanks Jim!


I am headed to the SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive Conference in Austin, TX tomorrow. I am leading a workshop called, ‘The Compelling Image in the Age of Social Media‘ on Friday.  I wanted one more napkin for my presentation so I drew this one.  

If you are headed to SXSW and would like to attend my ‘workshop‘, get your name on the waiting list as soon as you can and hopefully a spot will open up.  The best and quickest way to contact me there will be via twitter. My handle is @thenapkindad.

The camera

Seeing With a Camera

One of the best quotes about photography is this if/then proposition:  “If you want to take a beautiful photograph, then stand in front of something beautiful and press the button.”  This proposition is true but there is a variable within it.  That variable is what you consider to be beautiful.  For me, a series of questions follow from that variable: Is my mind open to seeing beauty that isn’t readily apparent? Can I see beauty in details, in unexpected and hidden places, within something larger that may not be beautiful?  Can I escape judgment long enough to explore an alternative appreciation for something?

I believe my camera can often be a gateway to that freedom, both for me as the photographer in the moment of discovery and later for the viewer of the image in the moment of revelation.


Drawing by Marty Coleman

Quote by Dorothea Lange, 1895-1965, American photographer


The Camera Is An Instrument

I don’t have a photographic memory, but I think this is day #3 of ‘Photography Week’ at the Napkin Dad Daily

One thing I have always tried to teach my students, whether formally when I was a college instructor, or informally in my photo group, is that your eye is the deciding factor in whether you are going to make great images, NOT your technical ability.  You have to be able to look beyond the obvious and see what else is available.
Maybe it’s shape, texture, content, patterns, color, emotion.  But what you first see is not always what is most important.  Perhaps what is next to that main element is actually more important.  Maybe the combination of those things will give you the image you want. Maybe the empty space in between the elements are what really tell the best story in that scene.
Taking the most obvious picture will usually yield the most obvious response. The most obvious response usually dissipates very quickly, leaving the viewer feeling a bit cheated. The image becomes like propaganda, the simplest message delivered in the simplest way possible.  And unless you are trying to pound someone with a message, it also becomes the most boring way as well.
Here are some of my more interesting landscape photos.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Arrow and Indian

Four Circles

Four Shadows / One Wall


Drawing and photographs by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily

Quote by Dorethea Lange, 1895-1965, American photographer

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