Tag Archives: Photography

Flair Magazine Annual is Back in Print

Flair Magazine 1953 Annual

Left is the original 1953 Annual, and right is a reprinted compilation of the critically acclaimed magazine.

While out and about last weekend I happened to wander into a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

As usual, I found myself in the Graphic Design section, and my attention was immediately drawn to a large red volume on the top shelf.

Pre-ecommerce, I had searched unsuccessfully for another copy, wondering if the magazine had been published for more than just one year. The volume in B&N was confined in a clothbound box and shrink-wrapped, so there was no opportunity to browse its pages.

Knowing Flair was again available, I checked it out on Amazon. Still, no opportunity to flip through the pages but with plenty of copies available, I snatched up a cheap one just so I could cut out the uniquely designed and printed pages.

Flair was quite innovative and was said to be “the first magazine that became an art form,” featuring the work of Salvador Dali, Matisse, George Bernard Shaw and Walker Evans to name just a few.

According to the Amazon description of the new publication, “this facsimile edition offers the same ingenious bookmaking of its predecessor, including multiple gatefolds with die-cuts, booklets, and accordion folder leaflets.”

If you’re a fan of uniquely printed art, you might pick up a copy of the Flair Annual 1953 while it’s still available.

Sunrise, sunset, cliche Kodak moments?

sunrise-IMG_1499No matter how cliche one might consider a sunset photo, you have to admit they’re hard to resist.

No two sunsets, or in this case sunrises, are the same, even from one second to the next, one frame to the next.

I’m mostly awake at sunrise, but apparently today was one of the rare days I peeked outside at exactly the right time.

The sky was on fire, so I grabbed my camera, wrong lens and all, ran outside, and was able to snap off a couple of frames before the sky dramatically changed.

Looking just to the left of this view, I turned and caught the tail end of a flock of crows overhead.

Not a bad way to start the day!


John Munno shares love for the beauty of New England through his greeting cards

John-MunnoJohn’s Munno’s photography is about helping heal the human spirit and kindle an appreciation for Nature and the Natural Elements that help heal and are vital to our existence on this planet.  We are not separate from Nature.

His message can be stated simply.  “What we do to the Earth, We do to ourselves”

With this intention he created his 50-card line up of Greeting Cards of Connecticut and New England. “There is beauty all around us” He states, “We pass it every day with every step with every mile we drive in our cars. My card’s message is to call us to stop, to slow down, to look around and to appreciate.” Most of the images are taken in around his Southbury Connecticut home, featuring the farms, woodlands, lakes, streams and waterfalls of the Connecticut Hills as well as seascapes from Acadia National Park.


Each card is a work of art that you will fall in love with. They are 5” X 7”. The insides are left blank to write your personal message to friends, family and loved ones. These distinctive and exquisite, quality photo cards can be given as a special gift or can be treasured by you as a framed piece of fine art. Let these creative works of art brighten someone’s day or use them to add warmth and beauty to your home and heart.


John’s love for photography started in his teens with his father’s gift of a Zeiss Ikon 35 mm camera that belong to John’s Grandfather. That camera accompanied John on every backpack trip to the Catskills, Adirondack Mountains. and Berkshires of his East Coast  home. John studied photography through the New York Institute of Photography and is versed in many aspects of photography including architecture and interiors and portraits.

John’s love for nature and people comes through in his photos and it as been said “his photos, inspire, delight, uplift and gently open peoples hearts which makes them endearing.” John has been described “as having a heart that sees with beautiful eyes.” He brings a beauty, clarity and purity to his photographic work.

To view John’s Cards visit his website www.johnmunnophotography.com.  You can follow the link under store to greeting cards to view his collection  http://www.johnmunnophotography.com/connecticut_greeting_cards

TapistryIn addition to his greeting card collection, John produces a “Connecticut Landscapes Calendar” taking your month by month through the changing seasons of New England. He produced a beautiful DVD, Nature Speaks filled with images of John’s travels around the world and prose next to each image. Canvas Wraps and Prints are also available through his website to beautify your home or office and bring the healing elements of Nature to your sacred spaces.

Delicate Balance

This image was cropped to a square to ready it for a square greeting card design.

This image was cropped to a square to ready it to print a square greeting card.

A tiny flying insect that I called a “fairy-fly” landing on the flowering Nandina, aka Heavenly Bamboo, inspired me to do a quick photo shoot on my lunch hour last week.

“No matter the time you live, no matter who, or what you are, every one and every thing is in delicate balance.” Should I add typography to this image? What words? Different words? The jury is out. What do you think?


Analog Selfie circa 1984

analog-selfieSelfie may be the Oxford English Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year, but photographers were taking “selfies” long before Smartphones and tablets.

In fact, selfie’s have long been a subject of photographers, painters, writers, and artists of every ilk. Selfies are and always have been a means of self-realization, as well as self-expression.

In this 1980’s Throwback Thursday image, I was snapping a selfie before I realized. At the time I was photo editor of The Reporter, Moorpark College’s student run newspaper, and the image was part of a self-portrait series by John Grzywacz-Gray, photojournalism advisor to the Reporter.

Broaden your vision with panoramas and apps

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah takes on an other-worldly landscape, captured here in 11 different photos. I walked away from the computer for a couple of hours while Photoshop’s Photomerge toiled away. The composite yielded a file nearly a gigabyte in size with a remarkable amount of detail. The sweeping landscape’s curved edges may bother some, but, in my opinion they add to the drama.

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah takes on an other-worldly landscape, captured here in 11 different photos. I walked away from the computer for a couple of hours while Photoshop’s Photomerge toiled away. The composite yielded a file nearly a gigabyte in size with a remarkable amount of detail. The sweeping landscape’s curved edges may bother some, but, in my opinion they add to the drama.

Looking to make your images unique? Want to see things from a new perspective? Try experimenting with Photoshop’s Photomerge feature or AutoStitch app to combine numerous images into a single wide angle view. It’s all automated. Just select the images you want to merge, sit back, and let Photoshop do the rest.

buckwheat and beePerhaps you’re looking for something a little more retro. Thanks to the new digital cameras and Smartphones, we’re able to capture well-lit, sharp focus images, so what’s the big deal? Anyone can take “nice” pictures these days. So, let’s look at images differently and carefully mess them up like we used to do by accident.

After reviewing my photos of the busy bees, I realized that the plants they were all attracted to were buckwheat plants. So, I decided to grunge up the photo with an app and create the masking tape label with “B is for…”, surprise, not bee. Two apps were used in the creation of the photo—Pic Grunger and Labelbox.

Want to learn more about the phone apps? Check out former OCPW featured artist, Holly Higbee-Jansen’s Photographic Explorations. Here you’ll learn about Holly’s favorite phone apps, as well as online and in-person workshops and photography coaching.

Drawn to Color

beach front property

Just what was it about this old, weather-beaten shack that kept pulling me back to it, as if by some mysterious, invisible force?

It is one of my favorite photographs from a recent trip to the Caribbean. Okay, I know that seems a little weird, at least I thought so, because in the Caribbean there is a beautiful landscape-seascape at every turn, and so much Color.

In addition my work here at Oak Creek Printworks, I teach Publishing and Prepress as well as the Adobe Create Suite at Moorpark College, a local community college. This prompted me to sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud. For a flat monthly fee, I now have a “virtual desktop” on the Adobe Creative Cloud Server. There I have access to, not only all of the latest versions of the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite, but easy access to a myriad of tools and videos that help with all things Adobe.

Adobe Creative Cloud Dock

One of the tools on my Creative Cloud desktop is a section labeled “Colors,” where Kuler (pronounced “cooler”) performs an “extraction” on the uploaded image. The extraction draws colors from the image and displays a color palette like the one in the illustration above. The new swatches can then be downloaded and used in the Creative Suite programs. I loaded the Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) file into Photoshop and used the new color swatches (the last 4 in the palette) to quickly work color into the “Beachfront Property” headline and background. I selected a typeface the felt like it belonged to the old shack…and that’s when it dawned on me.

Not only was this the identical color palette I had recently chosen when redecorating my kitchen, but it is a color palette that has been recurring in many important ways since my earliest memories, beginning with summer beach vacations, and the colors of my favorite room in my early childhood home. I relate to these colors in a profound way. You might say I’m drawn to them.

So I think these particular colors have just a little to do with my emotional attachment to this out-of-focus, tightly cropped image, which I intend to make into, well, something. Beyond that tiny bit of subjectivity, I will not critique this photograph any further. I’ll leave that to anyone who has read this far!

Not Another Green Marble Background?

For a designer, creating a new look for a green marble background is like bringing out the old bell-bottoms and believing they look as cool as they did in 1969.

Filling a “simple” request can be not-so-simple if you make a lot of blind starts, like spending an hour hunting down an old CD filled with stock marble images, just to find they are in an outdated graphic format.

A second blind start—searching stock images—another hour easily wasted as I realized, why not create an original image? Not only can it be easy, but the price is right. We refurbished our kitchen a few years back, and while out searching for the right granite counter top, I took plenty of photographs of the various granite and marbles, but none were green. Take them into Photoshop, and with a couple of well placed clicks I was able to turn my images into perfectly suitable green marble backgrounds.

gold marble

This is the original photograph of the marble.

green marble

By applying levels to increase the image’s contrast, and then applying a hue and saturation effect, the result is this rich, green marble-like background.

There are only two steps to go from the original photograph of the gold marble to the green. First, I created an adjustment layer for “levels” to increase the image contrast. The adjustment layers are forgiving in that they allow you to manipulate the data at any time without destroying any of the original pixel information.

The second step is to create and adjustment layer for “hue and saturation.” There are three areas that can be changed within the H&S palette, but before changing anything, click on the “colorize” button. This extracts all the color from the image, assigning a default hue to all the pixels, while maintaining their original values.  Next, the hue slider cycles through the “rainbow” — ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) — stop at the desired green hue. The saturation slider adds or subtracts color, and finally the bottom slider lightens or darkens the values.

Of course, to achieve the desired result might require additional steps, depending on the nature of the original image. You might want to add additional layers of color, transparency, contrast, and texture to create a unique effect.

If you want to create a library of backgrounds and textures, do it yourself. Textures exist everywhere, and for every photograph you take, you can manipulate it in an infinite number of ways.

With today’s image editing programs, you don’t have to mortgage your home or rent out your kids to afford amazing software. I’m currently experimenting with an app called Pixelmator, a $15 Photoshop wannabe, and after half an hour of playing (and they call it work), I can say it’s certainly worth the investment. In fact, I’d recommend Pixelmator to any of my beginning design students who have a newer Mac, but can’t afford Photoshop. This app works on my iMac, now that I’ve upgraded to Lion, but Pixelmator will work with OS10.6 or later. With a little coaxing, I could be persuaded to show and tell more about this cool app, Pixelmator.

Architecture and Graphic Design Play Off One Another

Montreal Condos

Condos on a small island strip in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.

Each time I travel I make new discoveries, and often, insights and inspiration comes only once I’m back home and have had a chance to unwind and process the whirlwind adventures.

On this trip which began on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, Canada, I became particularly focused on the art and design in architecture (probably because there wasn’t much wildlife or sport activities in our itinerary). I found the range in age and architectural styles to be visually stimulating without appearing to end up in a hodge-podge of visual clutter. Continue reading