“My Menlo.” Venice Beach, CA, 2021.

In my view, photography is a competition of wonderment. To the most enthralled go the best images. And many a photographer goes blind from jadedness.

I’ve read some Thomas Edison biographies. Always a man consumed with work: the long hours in his invention factory at Menlo Park, the distracted family man, the odd sleep schedule, weird eating rituals. Never the passion and, oddly, being the lightbulb guy, never the inspiration. Americans obsess on the wrong stuff. As though we might touch genius by wearing the same shoes as one. But anyone who lives life in the arts understands Edison. The…


As you already know, light is the life blood of photography. And if you’ve ventured into the realm of manual settings, then you’ve stood before the abyss of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO and wondered: how do these help?

I’ve taught this method to many people and I find it helps because instead of teaching you how, I teach you why. When you learn the how of camera settings, you end up in variations of ideals where study does not help you and end results still surprise you. …


This is really part two of a series on bringing narrative into your photography. In the first part, I looked at the human behaviors that drive us toward, away or against others and how those can translate into relatable gestures, relationships and attitudes that infuse narrative into your photography. As I mentioned in the article, there are other techniques. Here we will go through the legendary story arc structures that drive nearly every story ever told. But because we are focused on the single image, not a series of images, it’s important to see how these story arcs can work…


“Move Against.” Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2019.

In my workshop today that I gave on Daisie, I took participants through an hour-long deep dive into how to add narrative into their photographs. It was a great session, but it really takes some unpacking to truly get what is meant by narrative.

We often intertwine the word “storytelling” with “narrative,” but that’s a little misleading. Yes, narrative is part of storytelling, but storytelling is a generic term that applies to many media, most of which have something that photography does not: Time. With time, characters develop, plots twist, tensions rise and arcs arc. With photographs, famously, time stops…


“Resting.” Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2015.

You know the story. You grow up, get a job, make a bit of money, this affords you a nicer camera than the one you’ve been tooling around with and, in turn, opens up some tear in the fabric of your life. From this point forward, life stops moving in a linear direction, and just as you begin to understand the gravitational draw of nostalgia, the withering of the body along with the enlightening of the soul, the beauty of the quotidian, the true sound of birds in the morning, the true feeling of trees, the truth of coffee and…


Narrative in photography begins in the photographer’s imagination, and ends in the viewer’s imagination.


Mars, Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2021. Nikon D850, 70–200mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 1000.

Like a lot of photographers, I’m starting to take on more video assignments, so I found myself in the market for an LED panel. But as a long-time still photographer who has often dreamt of using continuous light in my studio, I was interested to see if there was a panel that might be able to double for me as both a video light and stills, for some kinds of shoots. I researched for a few months and finally landed on the Rotolight Titan. This is essentially the Tesla of LED light panels. It’s well-built: every component of it is…


Travel photo, Joe Ellenbogen, circa 1960's.

Joe Ellenbogen was, in my opinion, the ultimate photographer. He shot photos for thirty or forty years — beautiful ones like this here. Over the course of his life, he amassed thousands of images, each one a testament to his passion for traveling and family. I look at his photos often; they help me understand the world better and also him, as a person — his life, his loves.

Never heard of Joe? That’s no surprise, he was not a professional photographer. Famous only in a very small circle. Joe grew up dirt poor in Los Angeles, went to school…


Finding one’s voice in photography is kind of the holy grail. When you see it in others, it looks almost fantastically simple, but when you try to achieve it yourself, you come to realize just what a difficult journey it actually requires. The forces that combine to allow for a distinctive voice work in tandem with each other, across various aspects of development. And so finding one’s way here requires embracing the complexity — and this is where maps can help.

The “Talent-Focus Divergent Pairing Map.” By Josh S. Rose, ©2021.

As you can see in this chart, there’s four parts to this. However, it’s really two parts that each…

Josh Rose

I’m just a boy, standing behind this camera asking it to love me. Top Writer on Photography, Prof of photojournalism, Leica Akademie Instructor, lover of tacos.

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