All posts by sjdagostino

ChatGPT On Photo Impressionism

I asked the new AI language model, ChatGPT to write an article for photographers concerning photo impressionism. The answer wasn’t what I would have written. It might have been better.

Photo Impressionism: A Guide for Photographers – by ChatGTP
Impressionism is a movement in art that emerged in the late 19th century and is characterized by a focus on capturing the impression of a moment, rather than creating a realistic representation. In photography, this approach can result in images that are dreamy, ethereal, and full of mood. If you’re a photographer looking to explore photo impressionism, here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Focus on light and color: One of the defining features of impressionist paintings is the way they use light and color to create a mood or atmosphere. When creating photo impressionism, it’s important to pay close attention to the way light falls on your subject and to look for opportunities to play with color in your images. Experiment with using soft light to create a romantic or nostalgic feeling, or use bold, bright colors to create a sense of excitement and energy.
  2. Use motion blur: Another hallmark of impressionism is the use of motion blur to suggest movement and to capture the feeling of a moment in time. In photography, you can create this effect by using a slow shutter speed or panning your camera as you take the shot. This technique can be especially effective for capturing the motion of people, animals, or water.
  3. Look for patterns and texture: Impressionist paintings often feature patterns and textures that add depth and interest to the image. In photography, you can create similar effects by looking for interesting textures and patterns in your subjects, such as rippling water, rusting metal, or peeling paint. Pay close attention to the way these textures and patterns interact with the light and color in your image to create a unique, impressionistic look.
  4. Embrace abstraction: One of the most exciting aspects of photo impressionism is the opportunity to create abstract and dreamy images that challenge traditional notions of what a photograph should look like. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual compositions, unconventional perspectives, and unexpected color combinations to create images that are truly your own.
  5. Experiment with editing: Finally, photo impressionism is often associated with a soft, dreamy look that can be achieved through selective editing. Experiment with using soft filters, desaturating colors, and adding a vignette to create a moody, impressionistic feel in your images.

In conclusion, photo impressionism is a versatile and rewarding style that allows photographers to capture the essence of a moment and to create images that are full of mood and emotion. By focusing on light and color, using motion blur, looking for patterns and texture, embracing abstraction, and experimenting with editing, you can create stunning impressionistic images that truly reflect your artistic vision.

Coloring Outside the Lines in Street and City Photography | Fstoppers

An interesting approach to Photoshop post processing to create a faux ICM

Definitely worth a try.

Coloring outside the lines is a good metaphor for when a photographer decides to take a leap outside the norm in a photographic genre. It is possible you might face rebuttal from some members of the purist photography community when applying new ideas to your work in the genre, but there is too much creative potential left on the table to limit yourself to only playing by the
— Read on

Stunning Use of Multiple Exposure – Beijing Olympics

Multiple exposure photography has featured prominently in recent Olympic Games.

I love how the this technique is used to tell the story.

This is worth a look. Note that the New York Times may require that you set up a free account to see this page.

A short read and some great in the round images: Painting-like photograph by Lynne Blount from Saffron Walden | Saffron Walden Reporter

Saffron Walden photographer Lynne Blount said she was ‘shocked’ after hundreds of residents expressed appreciation for one of her pictures.

— Read on

How I made this: Photo Impressionist Waves

There is a balance in impressionist photography between the moment you remember and the  precise instant of the photograph. My exploration has focussed on finding approaches that expand time to become that moment. Opacity Blend Image Stacking produces a result that comes close to that balance. This is what I do.

1. create the stack using Lightroom


The images are selected for the stack. © Stephen D’Agostino

  •  The images for this photo impressionistic wave were shot at 60 fps using Nikon’s N1 V3. I shoot hand held being careful to maintain a constant point on the subject even though the camera is panning. The images are then imported into Lightroom.
  • The images are then selected for the stack. The more images you use, the more impressionistic the effect.

Open as layers in Photoshop. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • Right click to reveal the menu then select +   .
  • Since I often use Starcircleacademy’s Advanced Stacker app to create additional texture I also export the images to a separate folder at this point.

2. digital darkroom in Photoshop

Opacity blend to create the photo impressionistic effect. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • In Photoshop the stack has to be blended to produce the base image. A good blend can be achieved by starting at the bottom of the stack and then reducing the opacity of the layer above it by about 50% until you reach 3-5%. Don’t be mechanistic with this step. Creativity with opacity significantly impacts on the finished result.

At this step you have a good base image. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • I merge the stack after balancing the opacity to produce a manageable file size. Note the blend results in a flat image. I address that later in my workflow.

The Advanced Stacker App creates some nice textures. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • If I am going to use the Advanced Stacker App I run it here and then drag the layer over to my stacked image for blending. Note that the App is really just another opacity blend using the lighten mode. In doing so I find it often emphasises movement.

Create the base image using an opacity blend. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • Again I opacity blend until I am happy with the image.

This white point/black point was achieved using Vincent Versace’s action. © Stephen D’Agostino




  • The more traditional darkroom work begins at this point. I colour balance using the black point/white point/midpoint  technique.

Balance the white point/black point layers. © Stephen D’Agostino



  • Often the black point/white point layers have to be balanced.

Add contrast. © Stephen D’Agostino



  • The process to this point has produced a flat lifeless image as a result the image averaging that has taken place. I add dimensionality to my photo impressionistic images using Nik’s Pro Contrast filter.

Nik’s Tonal Contrast Filter. © Stephen D’Agostino

Midtone Contouring. © Stephen D’Agostino

I lie to crop at the end of my process. © Stephen D’Agostino

  • While many photographers crop at the beginning of their darkroom process to reduce the file size, I like to see what emerges and crop based on the results.

3. the final image

Waves breaking on a St Lucian beach. © Stephen D’Agostino


2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How I did this: “In The Round Images”

I am expanding the scope of the Photo Impressionism Project to include a discussion concerning photo impressionistic techniques. The project is called “The Lab” and am opening it up to all photo impressionists who are interested in sharing “how I did this”. The idea is to create a discussion; what works and what you might say… not so much.

interested?  Drop me a line at

Till then you might enjoy my blog post explaining how I create in the round images.

What I Have Learned: “In The Round Images” – Stephen D’Agostino Photography.

An interview with Taylor Jorjorian – photographic surreal impressionism

Taylor Jorjorian

Taylor’s abstract photographs are unique and visually compelling. I find they  have a sense of movement and depth you don’t expect in the abstract. In fact the first time I saw them I paused, first drawn to the movement, then the colour and finally the suggestion of a deliberate photographic process.

“Yard Bunny, Moving” © Taylor Jorjorian – This is my personal favourite. I love the pallet and I find I am drawn deeper and deeper into the swirls.

“The first reaction I usually get when someone sees one of my prints is oh, that’s a picture of a painting.” – Nashville Arts Magazine

I first came across Taylor Jorjorian browsing the blogs on  Son to  fine art nature photographer (Byron Jorjorian), Taylor Jorjorian’s first aspiration was to be a commercial chef, but as he describes it,  photographing food was more satisfying than cooking it.  Creatively his journey has moved from painting, to commercial photography to fine art photography focussing on the abstract.

Taylor’s photographs are created using a process he calls the Liberum method; a technique he is not prepared to share except to say it is physical, not Photoshop based. Looking at his portfolio I think that is an important aspect to his creative process. Despite the fact the images have a painterly feel they also seem to lever the dimensionality we have come to expect in a photograph. He told Nashville Arts Magazine that:

“MASKING” © Taylor Jorjorian

“Wanting more control over my imagery I have developed a method for making photographs that allows me to escape the viewfinder and create deeply personal images from imagination and memory.  I call this my “Libuerm” method.  Liberum is a latin word meaning free and unrestricted.  This simple definition fully embodies what my work is all about.

They are actual photographs created with a camera, using purely photographic techniques. This is important, as I believe it gives my work a more organic feel while maintaining a sense of honesty and integrity. When you view one of my photographs, you know that you are seeing something that is real and was in front of the camera for a moment in time.” – Nashville Arts Magazine

Flores Theatro
“Bouquet Four Session One #1” © Taylor Jorjorian – While Taylor is focussed on Libuerm Method photographs I really love his soft focus impressionist images.

Reading Taylor’s blog you immediately understand that his approach to photography is thoughtful and deliberate. Despite the appearance of spontaneity his photographs are created; not found.

Taylor recently agreed to share some of his thinking with me.

Interview with Taylor Jorjorian:

“Memoir Number 26″, © Taylor Jorjorian – from the collection “Memoirs from the Plunge” a spectacular collection of black and white abstracts.

Thanks for finding time to discuss photography with me.

SD: I was interested to read in Nashville Magazine that your father was a fine art nature photographer and that you started as a commercial photographer. However I don’t see any artifacts from those roots in your abstract images. Was your journey from straight photography to abstract photography a eureka moment or a journey?  

TJ: I have always been attracted to the abstract, both in my own work and the work of others.  Before I ever picked up a camera I experimented with other mediums and always tended to portray subjects in an obscure manner.  When I did finally take up photography (which was a eureka moment itself, taking place in single night) the desire to create abstract work naturally carried over.

Flores Theatro
“Bouquet Five Session One #5” © Taylor Jorjorian

Professionally I was a commercial photographer and mainly did advertising work for restaurants.  I really didn’t have any connection with this work and found it non stimulating.  In my spare time I experimented with abstract photography using some common methods but found this as equally non stimulating.  As much as I as I loved the unique abilities of the camera I found myself feeling creatively constrained by it, unable to fully express myself.  

Earlier in life when painting I enjoyed the feeling of being able to convey onto canvas anything I wanted without restriction.  I wanted that same freedom photographically.  To achieve this I decided to focus on creating and controlling the subject that was projected to camera.  Thus turning the camera into a sort of high tech blank canvas.  This was a eureka moment but it was definitely a journey to get it right.  Once I felt I had developed a solid working method I dropped commercial photography all together and decided to only focus on fine art work.

“Number 3 Of Spring” © Taylor Jorjorian – Taylor writes: “Photo created using the “Liberum” method, which is based on the philosophy that one can make photographs with the same artistic freedom that a painter or sculptor has by focusing more on creating what is in front of the camera”

SD: Do you think your  work falls into an already established genre like abstract impressionism or abstract expressionism or is this something new? Is there a label you use to describe it?

TJ: Visually my photographs could fall into a number of existing genres.  Early on I studied many of these trying to find a fit for my imagery but none of them truly encompassed my work in its entirety.  After dissecting my work visually and technically I decided to classify it as “Photographic Surreal Impressionism”.  This classification signifies that the images are created with a camera and conveys a personal interpretation of a subject in the same dreamlike way it is mentally imagined.

I also gave a title to the process used to create the work, “The Liberum Method”.  Based on the philosophy of subject creation rather than subject documentation this method is all about manifesting what is portrayed to the camera.  Liberum is Latin word meaning free and unrestricted.  This simple definition truly represents what my work is all about.

“Mildred On The Phone Talking About The Weather” © Taylor Jorjorian

SD: While your vision is very different from many exploring the edges of contemporary photography it looks like you have been struggling with a couple of universal themes. For example your blog post “Portfolio Rejection” underscores the debate “what is a photograph”. I am wondering what you believe photography brings to your abstract images?


“Red Slightly Balanced” © Taylor Jorjorian – Taylor writes:”I have had a really hard time with this photo. I have keep it to myself for almost a year. On the one hand I don’t care for the composure I used on it, on the other I am drawn to it’s “awkwardness.”

TJ:  Without photography my body of work could not exist.  The camera has the unique ability to capture and portray a moment in time precisely the way it was.  No other artistic medium can truly do this with the same sense of honesty that photography can.  Using the camera allows me to convey this sense of moment through my imagery.  When you are viewing one of my photographs you know that you are viewing something that was real and existed for a moment in time.  This helps to convey a sense of honesty and provides a more organic feel to the work.  that would not be possible without the element of integrity that a camera can offer.

SD: The debate around truth in photography has been with us for a long time. Even Ansel Adams suggests a subjective element in straight photography when he said “A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” You added to that debate with  a thoughtful essay on the subject titled The Photography Lie in  which you suggest the pendulum has gone too far; that digital art should be separated from photography. What was the reaction to your ideas in that essay. Do you think the debate matters to the public or is it only relevant to photographers?

“THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPH” © Taylor Jorjorian – The rejection slip read “”Taylor, this is a PHOTOGRAPHY magazine, that means we publish photography and relevant issues. Perhaps you should send your illustrations to a more fitting venue. Do more research before submitting your work and avoid wasting everybody’s time.” Taylor’s reaction is a great read.

TJ:  It was overwhelming. I would be lying if said I didn’t know this would be hot issue but I did not expect the volume of responses I received.  My inbox was filled with responses.  As you might expect I received a good bit of harsh criticism, some of which was very “colorfully” worded.  On the other hand I found many like minded artists in my corner.  The majority seemed to agree that there was a difference in what we have traditionally called photography and digital-art that should be better defined.

I actually believe this debate is more relevant to the public than the artists creating the work.  The photographer produces the image but the viewer is subjected to it.  One example of this is the effect that over processed fashion/glamour images have on the audience.  How many people, especially young persons, have made themselves sick both mentally and physically trying to look like the models in these “photographs”?  When in reality these images have been so heavily edited that they are more like paintings rather than photographs.

SD: Another aspect of the impact of technology on contemporary photography is the rise of the web followed by the rise of social media. I know your interest is in fine art prints. What has your experience been with the internet?

“Tracey did I lock the door? Are you sure?” © Taylor Jorjorian – Taylor’s personal favourite.

TJ:  I am/have always been a bricks and mortar type of guy.  Most of my efforts have been in trying to get my work shown in either physical form or in print.  While I have always understood the importance of a personal website I was a nonbeliever in the power of social media and neglected the use of it in the early stages of my career.  This was a mistake. 

After eventually being persuaded that I should have some kind of social presence I realized how wrong I had been.  In the two years since I started a blog and became active on various social media sites I have been awakened to there power.  Solely through these online tools I have had multiple opportunities including write ups, magazine features, exhibitions, meeting some great people and even the chance to do this interview.  Many times these have lead directly or indirectly to relationships with new collectors.   Had I not has a social presence these opportunities would have never presented themselves.

All that being said I am still a brick and mortar type guy.  I don’t think an image posted on a webpage can ever be as compelling as seeing the physical piece in person.  

SD: Which image is your personal favourite and why?

TJ:  It seems like every time I finish a successful shoot I come away with a new favorite.  If I had to name one that stands out to me it would be, “Tracey Did I Lock The Door, Are You Sure?”.  Completed in 2009 this photograph represents one of the first times that my philosophy towards image making and my experimental techniques truly came together harmoniously.  At the time this image vindicated, for me personally, the direction I was taking creatively.

Photographic Surreal Impressionism
“Showtime, Give Them One To Remember” © Taylor Jorjorian

SD: Last thing I want to ask you about is an interesting theme I see in your writing and that is the role of ethics in photography. Why is that important to you when your genre is not tied to journalism?

TJ: The term photography implies a process that is fundamentally understood by most people.  The loose application of that term is misleading to the viewer and breeds a mistrust towards the photographic medium.  I am not suggesting that a photograph itself need be honest or anything like that.  Only that the photographer/artist be so regarding their creative process.  

SD: Thanks for that. This is an exciting time for impressionist photography and I am looking forward to seeing where you take your vision.

You can learn more about Taylor Jojorian’s photographs on his webstite at, his blog an intersting piece in Nashville Arts Magazine and Lenswork Magazine Vol 102.

words where not quoted © stephen d’agostino

images © taylor jorjorian

Daylighted – Blog – Impressionistic Photography

Using long exposure, multiple exposure, digital stitching and photo stacking, photographers are going beyond the limits of photo-realistic, representative work. Photographers are demonstrating their imagination, inspiration, and interpretation in their efforts to move from realism to emotion and expression. Like the original impressionists painters, these photographers are incorporating movement as the fundamental and essential feature of the experience of the art. This art seems to transcend the literal and become the stuff of dreams, movement and imagination.

via Daylighted – Blog – Discover, enjoy and purchase fine art photography – About us.

Photo Impressionism on the Web

There are dozens of really talented photographers posting photo impressionistic images on photo sharing sites such as flickr and 500px. Here is a selection of images which that have been tagged “photo impressionism” sorted using  flickrs’ interestinglyness algorithm or in the case of 500px, votes.

I think they are inspiring.

Use the links below to view the images.


Flickr Search: “photo impressionism”


500px Search: “photo impressionism”