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19 Fine Art Photographers Describe Their Daily Routines

Andi

© Andi Schreiber

Andi Schreiber: I crave routine in terms of my art making but it’s impossible to achieve. I’m a full-time parent so I try to get my work done when my kids are out of the house or at school. While it would seem that the hours are endless, the days go by fast, usually emptied by various household responsibilities. My fine art routine has adjusted to fit into these other obligations, like by taking my camera along to my children’s dental checkups or having it on hand when I’m spending an afternoon on the sidelines. I’m also good about uploading to my computer regularly, selecting my images in Photo Mechanic and then processing in Lightroom. The better images get exported as tiffs while the rest are exported as jpegs. Then I do some tweaking in Photoshop and the keepers get placed into folders for various projects. I have a blog that I use to share my new work but I’m not posting as often these days. Now it seems that that my photographs need more time to marinate before I’m ready to share them publicly. Maybe blogs are so 2010 but I still find mine to be a useful place for thinking about my work and my process.

Bruce Gilden: I get up early. I go to sleep early.

Diana Markosian: Doesn’t matter where I am, which home I am in, or what hotel I am staying in, I am fairly structured with my day. I wake up around 5 am, shoot for the first two hours (if I am on assignment), then go home and make breakfast — usually oatmeal and coffee. Then I work through the morning as late as I can before going to the gym. The morning is my most productive time, so I try to prolong it. I spend the afternoons/evenings in the field, working on my story. I come home late. Edit. Afterwards, I usually read for a while and then go to bed around midnight.

Sophie Gamand: The daily routine involves answering a lot of requests and emails of all kinds. I have not been able to create a new series for almost a year, because I am so caught up in the business aspects of art. My career is going wonderfully well; I am not complaining, but sometimes I wished there was more room for creation. Although I just know that when I’ll be ready to create the next series, there will be room for nothing else. In my case, a fine-art career is a succession of waves, ups-and-downs, and I am learning to surf them all to make the best of it.

Ian Willms: As a fine art photographer, I wake up around 9am and drink 2-3 cups of black coffee. Then I spend the rest of the morning on my laptop. I usually find a reason to go out in the afternoon and then get roped into something social in the evening, which inevitably leads to me staying up late. As a documentary photographer, I wake up at 7am, eat a heavy breakfast and then hunt for photos for about 13 hours before coming back to bed feeling lonesome, dirty and exhausted. This goes on until I’m completely worn out. Then I file.

Ayesha Malik: I suppose my routine depends on where I am in the world, what I want to do, and my goal in that moment. Sometimes it is about creating and seeking, and other times it is about learning and growing. My personal work starts from a point of exploration and curiosity so everyday tends to be different from the last. Currently, I am also working for Ben Hassett, a photographer based in New York, and I have had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of things from lighting, photoshoots, and research to working on motion with a Red camera. I find that the constant chance to learn new skills and grow is very important to me.

Laura Pannack: I am a planner. Love a good list … I like to keep busy. I divide my time between research, meetings, shooting, planning , exploring and doing my washing.

Martin Usborne: I can’t be creative before 5 PM. So the morning is about dragging myself out of bed, having coffee, answering emails and mopping things up. Making space for creativity is the biggest challenge.

Carolyn Marks Blackwood: I love magic hour- I go out every day early morning and every evening. I shoot every day. I feel a very big loss when I have to miss a day. I love days when I have no plans and know I will be able to shoot at those times. I love storms too. I am most famous for my study of one spot in the Hudson River, and I am just getting deeper and deeper into that one place. It’s a world that just expands as I get deeper, and when I have to miss a shooting day, it really bugs me.

Also, I know this sounds trite to some people, but I have a daily practice of posting a photo or two on Facebook. I’ve been doing it for years. It is a way of giving something original from myself. Sometimes they are just “Weather Reports,” which basically show what is happening on the river in a more Macro way, and sometimes I share what I show at my gallery which is more Micro- abstracted. I have gathered a group of people that seems to appreciate my photos in this venue (I joined Instagram less than a year ago and have been doing the same there) and I have gotten hundreds of letters from people, telling me how my photographs change their day for the better. I am very touched by this and this is my way to give back. I feel like such a lucky duck.

Christopher Rimmer: Other than waking up every morning, every day is different. I travel a lot and having a routine is virtually impossible but I do try to make images every day or at least think about images I’d like to make in the future.

Ed Templeton: Every day at some point my wife Deanna (also a photographer) and I like to get out and take a walk on the pier in Huntington Beach where we live. It’s a good excuse to get some fresh air and take a break from our work, but also it’s a daily photo mission and some days are great and other not so, but the daily routine of doing it over years brings great results. Aside from that I’m either at the computer doing skateboard graphics or in the studio painting.

Tony Mendoza: I try to photograph at least once a week and the rest of the week I process what I’ve photographed and make a few prints of the best pictures. I try also to come up with book projects of work I’ve already done, even though it’s getting harder every day to publish a photo book with an established publisher. Self-publishing can be done today very easily, but it’s still very difficult to distribute a self-published book.

Richard Tuschman: I get up at around 6:30. After I feed our two cats, I make breakfast for my wife and myself (I am a doting husband). I try to start working in my studio by 7:30 or 8:00. Fortunately my studio is the spare bedroom down the hall. It’s large enough to house my computer, table top photo studio, and workshop where I make my miniature sets. If I am shooting people, then I have to move to the living room, which is about thirty feet long. I am a morning person, so I try hard to block out that time of the day for my creative heavy lifting. This could be building and painting sets, or photographing the sets, or doing post production. Or it could be writing statements and grant proposals. If I have models coming over to photograph, I usually schedule that for late morning, so that I have time to set up, and the models don’t have to deal with the rush hour mess while shlepping to Queens, where I live. I try to work straight through, with small breaks, unit 12:30 or 1:00, which is when I start to run out of gas. I grab a quick lunch of a sandwich or a salad, then run any neighborhood errands that have to get done. Schedule permitting, I will recharge by taking a half hour nap, then head to the gym. When I come back, I am good to go for another couple of hours in the studio before dinner. After dinner, I will wrap up in the studio for a half hour or so, then watch a show on TV with my wife before calling it a day. I also try to get to Manhattan at least every week or two to see friends, art, go to Photo openings, etc.

Juul Kraijer: Being the mother of a small child I have a very structured working day, from 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM and then again from 7:30 PM till 9:30 PM most of the time. The first hour I answer emails etc. before turning to the real work. In the evenings my concentration is less and I resume email chores. I spend very little time actually photographing. A few super concentrated days of shooting are followed by long weeks of selection and test printing.

Meryl Meisler: My routine changes, according to what the big focus is for the day, week, month. For example, working on two books with concurrent launch exhibits required different tasks in huge chunks of time- looking though negatives and slides, editing, scanning, editing, book dummies, imaging, writing, collaborating with designers and writers, pre-press deadlines etcetera.

The constant for my routine is oatmeal with fruit and coffee with milk for breakfast.

Robin Schwartz: My daily routine until this sabbatical year was to be a professor at William Paterson University – my teaching seem to define my world and which I worked around as photographer, but I sure do appreciate tenure and health insurance. I have been working for so long, my break was no longer teaching during the summer after Amelia turned 1 year old.

My routine is to look at Instagram when I wake up and before I go to bed. I post usually then. I learn from and am inspired by posts and people on Instagram. Instagram photographs bring me into different worlds and keep me company. If I can stay awake after Instagram, I read before going to sleep, this helps me stop thinking. See I am starting backwards here.

Before breakfast, my dogs and cats keep me company, staring at me while I shower. I never quite got over that Hitchcock movie scene, so since I was 10, I have had animal company while I shower. My husband walks the whippet and I walk my Chinese crested dog. I go into my messy office, which still needs a make over from being a darkroom. I try my best not to be distracted or procrastinate by cleaning the house and I try to accomplish something. Not very inspiring, eh? I am in need of organizational oversight and office help, an intern with digital & scanning skills who can rally me.

Tealia Ellis Ritter: My daily routine (when I am disciplined enough to make it happen) is to get up, have coffee and gather my thoughts in a quiet space regarding what work needs to be done. I would love to spend every morning in the studio or outside creating images but reality is that a lot of work has to happen on the computer responding to e-mails and keeping up to date with things in the art world. When I am out exploring and creating work, I have a penchant for loud music, sweatpants and a beer. There is nothing better than standing in a field of flowers, far away from everything, screaming out your favorite song for no one to hear, while setting up a view camera.

Michal Solarski: I can’t say I have a routine in my photography practice. Every project I’ve done was done differently. Sometimes the process of picture making is very simple – just walking with the camera and searching for something that triggers my attention. Some other times, the story I work on requires a lot of research and preparation and taking the actual picture is the very final element of the whole process. My most recent projects tend to be more thought through though, so I am spending a lot of time on concept development, research, and planning.

Leon Borensztein: My daily routine is to procrastinate until the deadline passes. Then my creative juices start flowing, but it is often too late.

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