“What Makes A Good Photo?” by Huntington Witherill

John Paul Caponigro’s blog posted an interview with photographer Huntington Witherill. I thought his answers to questions about what he thought made a good image were some of the best I have seen. If you don’t want to follow the link to JPC’s blog, here are the three questions and their answers:


How do you know when an image doesn’t work?

It will fail to communicate anything beyond the fact that it is a photographic record.

How do you know when an image is good?
I know an image is good when it exhibits the following three (3) attributes:

#1- An interesting and effective use of light has been captured.

#2-  A visually stimulating and well-balanced composition has been employed.

#3- The technique and craftsmanship used to render the photograph itself demonstrates sufficient proficiency  so as not to disrupt or distract from either #1 or #2.

How do you know when an image is great?
I know an image is great if I am brought to tears.

There is a new show at the Crimson Feather Gallery

I normally post about the new shows on the gallery website and those of you who follow this site or have “liked” the gallery facebook page know a bit about this new show. But this show is SO different and I am SO pleased with how well it came together, I thought I would mention it here too. I was aiming for a “Fall” sort of theme, with my contribution to it being a series on trees. On Tuesday when guest artist Adam Colangelo brought in his work, I started to get excited. It is one thing to look at jpegs on the web, quite another to see the art first-hand. Adam’s work in copper is spellbinding. Each of his pieces is a collage built up of pieces of copper. He evokes a sense of fall colours in his work. The pieces of copper vary in colour from normal shiny copper, through green, blue and black to cherry red. He achieves these colours by heating the metal with a torch. The results are subtle, yet arresting and change as they catch the light. You have to come out and see these before they get sold – they are really something! As Adam was leaving the gallery, my other guest artist Shu-Chen Cheng arrived with her ceramics in a small mountain of rubbermaid storage containers. I find ceramics particularly hard to judge in photos – and these were quite different from what I saw online. But this was good news! Online they looked nice, but in person they are jaw-dropping. Some of the pieces are soft pastels, decorated with horsehair lines (Shu-Chen is one of the few practitioners of this in Canada) but some – my personal favourites – look like they came from the center of the Earth. They are black with molten gold flowing down from the top and with neon flashes of blue, red and green as the light catches in the black areas. You can almost smell the smoke from these. (Well actually you COULD smell the smoke on Tuesday – they were fresh from the kiln.)No photos I could post would do these justice. Come out and see them for yourselves. If you have the time, the Opening Party is this Saturday Sept 24, 1-3pm and the artists should all be there to talk to you. Hope to see you then!


Next week is a busy “Arts Week” in Caledon

It must be fall, the annual onslaught of Arts Events is upon us here in Caledon. By choice, by volunteering, and in some instances by chance – I am involved in a number of them. If you have some time on your hands, here is a brief list of what’s on:

  • Opening Gala of the Headwaters Arts Festival Show and Sale on Thursday Sept 22. I am one of the artists selected by the jury to be a part of the show again this year. I will be dividing my time between attending at the show and sitting at the Crimson Feather  during the two weekends of the show.  The Opening Gala is a fun night of dress-up, art, music, good food and good beverages. All the artists will be there. It is a wonderful time to meet them and learn about what is behind their art. You can buy tickets to the gala on the Headwaters website as well as find out about all the other festival events, the open studios and the Kids’ Fest events taking place over the next few weeks.
  • Outdoor sculpture at the Alton Mill – last week they finished installing all new sculptures around the grounds of the Alton Mill. Make sure to see the one in the waterfall as well as the one in the old millrace (hint – look between your toes while standing on the plexi plates in the Millrace Room).
  • Opening Party for the new show “Warm Colours, Cool Nights” at my gallery (Crimson Feather Gallery) on Saturday Sept 24, 1-3pm. My two guest artists, Shu-Chen Cheng and Adam Colangelo will be there to meet and mingle with you.
  • Adam Colangelo talks about his art on Saturday Oct 1, 1pm. Adam will talk about his vision, his art and his methods.
  • Scott Kelby World-Wide Photowalk. I will be leading the local chapter of this year’s Kelby Walk on Sunday Oct 2, meeting at the Millcroft Inn at 9:45am. This walk is open to everybody, but you have to sign up online on the Kelby Photowalk page. The walk this year is called “Two Mills, One River” and will start with an exploration of the Millcroft Inn grounds, then wander down the side of the millpond towards the Alton Mill. After some time on the grounds of the Alton Mill, we walk on the short stretch of Bruce Trail that connects over the hill back to the Millcroft where we will re-convene in the restaurant and tell lies about the great shots we got. Last year one of our photographs got featured on Kelby’s site as “The Best Frog Shot Ever”.

Crimson Feather Gallery

Time to ‘fess up – I have been keeping a low profile these past few months because I am preparing to open my own gallery. The Crimson Feather Gallery will be in the Alton Mill, just inside the main doors and across from the Shaw’s Creek Cafe.

I plan to have a new show each month, with new guest artists so that there will always be something new to check out when you visit. The opening show will run from Saturday July 16 to Sunday August 14. Besides showing my own work, I will have paintings by Elaine Heath, city-scapes by Carmela Casuccio and blown glass by David Thai.

Heritage Caledon Show Award

I attended the opening of the Heritage Caledon Art Show last night at the Alton Mill Arts Center and was pleasantly surprised with an Honourable Mention Award for Windows On The Water. The award was presented by one of the jurors of the show, Catherine Nasmith B.Arch – the architect responsible for guiding the restoration of the Alton Mill. She complimented the symmetry, the lines and the mood of Windows On The Water. The show runs for the next month.

Windows On The Water

Heritage Caledon Show

Heritage Caledon is sponsoring a show of heritage-themed art at the Alton Mill.

I will be showing three photos in this exhibit. I have recently been experimenting with printing on unorthodox materials. The “Stages Of Life” photo has been printed on a hand-coated sheet of hot-press watercolour paper. The warm colour of the paper and it’s texture changed the photo rather remarkably from what you see here. If you have a chance, drop by the mill to see this and my large-scale prints of “Winds of Change” and “Windows On The Water”.

Stages Of Life
Winds Of Change
Windows On The Water