How I Turned My Life Around And Found Peace Before It Was Too Late

“Man in a Fog.” Photo by Josh S. Rose. NYC, 2015.

The great comedian Nate Bargatze has a routine about the best time to have children. In it he says, “By the time my daughter moves out, I’ll be 53. I’ll be dead within hours.”

Funny, I’m 53. My elder daughter is on the east coast right now, looking at colleges.

I’m listening to a lot of Alan Watts lately — he’s having a resurgence right now. It brings back memories from when I was a kid and my dad would listen to his talks. We are all busy rushing around and missing life, Watts says, as he slowly drags on…

Los Angeles Dance Project. Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2018.

I was introduced to dance photography about four years ago. At the time, I was 20 years in on agency work as a creative director and had started focusing my personal time on fine art photography to offset the doldrums of commercial art. Those photography explorations were gloriously unstructured; I simply enjoyed being anywhere with a camera and treated every outing as an outlet. …

So What Does?

Photo by Justin Main on Unsplash

We once categorized cameras as either pro or consumer. The distinctions were probably not as big as I imagined them to be as a kid, but the gulf seemed impossibly wide. The major difference between the two were that with a pro camera you could swap out lenses and a consumer grade camera had a fixed zoom lens on it, with compromises. Professional cameras also offered full control over settings whereas consumer grade cameras did the work for you, at the cost of creativity. …


TikTok Personalities

The photographer life is not an easy life. Shooting and collaborating is fun, but just about every other aspect of it is a grind; from promoting yourself to working on your portfolio to the perpetual push to grow your skill set. But of all the things that make it tough to be a shooter, none is more demanding and frustrating than social media. For the photographer, it’s hard to treat social media as a light endeavor because it exists as too many potentially important things: your brand, your portfolio, validation to clients, PR, communication to cast and crew, inspiration and…

On Work, Death, Space and Reentry

Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Pick a concept — a prompt — and write an article about that thing. Four territories: work, death, reentry or space! That’s a deep pool. That’s a long train ride. That’s a stiff drink. I avoid it and get back to my photography assignments. I’m a photographer, not an essayist. Not Socrates.

Yet, I come back. Am I afraid of a challenge?!

Work, they write, is a “term that contains multitudes.” Multitudes is a word that contains Whitman. I’ve worked for as long as I can remember. It has, indeed, meant many things. So many, it eventually came to mean…

Not What, How and Why.

“Dancers, Sepulveda Dam, 6pm.” Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2021.

The education of the photographer entails looking at a lot of images. Finding inspiration in the works of great artists and great works is a journey that is both personal and revelatory. But if one doesn’t ask the right questions about those works, growth is more difficult and can lead to frustration and swimming about in the field.

Many of the questions we commonly ask have no direct or applicable answers to our own personal growth as artists:


What camera, settings, lenses or software a photographer used is always a very tempting way to approach an image. It reflects our…

Facing Your Influences

Photo by Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash

Recently, in an ongoing chat among three old friends, one asked: who would you put on your Mt. Rushmore? I said the current list of presidents was pretty good, actually. No complaints. Might be nice if we made room for Kennedy. But he said, no no, not presidents… your Mt. Rushmore. As in, name four of the most important and influential people that you’d like to immortalize in a mountainside. The one rule: no friends or family.

At first, I was inclined toward the undeniable selections: Einstein, Edison, Whitman… but then I realized that the question was asking something different…

Light or Life? Photograph by Josh S. Rose. Big Bear, 2021.

I believe there’s a case for life as the raw material of photography.

Painting has its paints and so you push together the pigment into something that feels right to you. Representational, if you wish, or it can be the act of the brush. It can be abstract. You can pour, splatter, sprinkle or spray but paint explains the actions. Art needs to understand its essence to understand its endeavor. The earthy clay of sculpture, the movement of the body, the notes of song — those who do them, know them.

But what is the raw material of photography? It…

Photo by Josh S. Rose. San Diego, 2021.

Most of us who learned photography in school, learned basic black and white darkroom processing and never bothered with color. Or we tapped in and tapped out quickly. For one thing, there’s just more chemistry involved in color. But also, color processing has vastly more combinations of possibilities which, in turn, makes decision-making very complex. And it evolves in ways that black and white doesn’t — new film types equal new processing techniques. The complexity of it all made it an overly-technical endeavor that the majority of photographers were all too happy to leave to the labs. The occasional photographer…

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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