Photography Exhibit

Encore presents “Pittsburgh At Night” 
A photography exhibit by John Craig 
Encores is a Pittsburgh-based membership organization that focuses on networking, self-exploration and renewal of both personal and professional life. 

Join us for a memorable opening
Date: 11/30/12
Time: 7:30
Place: 502 West North Ave 
           PGH, PA 15212



Current Reading: Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology
Current Music: Away From The World by Dave Matthews Band
Sounds: Conversation
Mood: After the storm blues
Smells: Coffee and pancakes
Temperature: 43 degrees and rain
Thoughts: Be Human-Literate


Visual Artis

One of my favorite things about keeping this blog is that I get to dream out loud. Now, at this particular time, I should be in bed dreaming quietly in my head, but, not for nothing it’s 3am and I am on my second peanut butter and jelly sandwich, trying my best not to drip jelly on the keyboard.  So, I thought this would be a good time to share with you.  Also late night writing in my journal is simply too hard; I am getting old and the eyes don’t work so well and without spell check at 3am my handwriting is even indecipherable to me.

You may have noticed that I have posted a few videos here on the blog.  Short clips of me playing guitar with a mix of photos.  This style of video is called “Fusion”. For the record I hate this term, unfortunately I am left without a better phrase. However in my serious guitar playing days I was drawn to a style of music that would later become known as fusion (a blend of rock, jazz, funk). So be it.

This is it, my next creative venture into the world of cinematic imagination. The dream is to become a visual artist...still images and moving pictures; a blending of the skills.

I am discovering that constructing a video is the polar opposite of how I produce a photo.  In photography my approach is re-active….this is the light, that is the subject….let it unfold and what arises is captured into my black box. For video it is all about pre-production.  The composition junkie inside of me loves this.  Think of a story, outline the how’s and what’s, set the scene, press the record button and capture it all in my black box.

I am at the beginning of this grand experiment and I am still building my video editing chops.  This is where I will have to do some serious woodshedding. That is what I love about being a working artist; it’s all about creating something new, daily. Not a bad way to earn a living. It is also what I love about this blog and sharing with you. Truth be told this is not a blog (this should be a different post). It’s a working portfolio.

Coming soon to a blog screen near you: “Create | Connect | Grow”. The video series documenting my endless search for the original whatever.   A jambalaya of random stuff with a dash of the divine, suitable for all ages.

Will it be art?


Encore presents “Pittsburgh At Night” A photography exhibit by John Craig

Join us for a memorable opening
Date: 11/16/12
Time: 7:30
Place: 502 West North Ave 
           PGH, PA 15212

The exhibit will feature 15 to 20 portraits.



Current Reading: How Music Works by David Byrne
Current Music: Led Zeppelin IV
Sounds: Heater humming
Mood: Cold, yes cold is a mood
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: 36 degrees, coldest morning since last winter...
Thoughts: Lifestyle-economics is a 3rd person perspective on your own life.

(For the 1st time in 7yrs I am adding a new topic to my list)

Current Favorite Photo:


Creating Art To Fit the Space

At times I like to think about the history of where my photos may have been seen.

I seldom get the opportunity to see my work displayed. Ninety nine percent of the time my work is sold to the client never to be seen by me again. For the majority of my work I never see it in print.  All too often it is edited then burned to disc (or flash drive) or uploaded to the cloud in the sky. Never do I see the photo hung in someone's home, office or whatever may happen to it.

My computer screen has evolved into my canvas...into my finished print.  Even in my home when I think about getting enlargements made and hung, I stop and pause.  I think the next image will be even better than the last.

This morning I awoke to fog and fall autumn colors; this is photographer's crack.  I placed my daughter on the bus, grabbed my gear, kissed my wife goodbye and headed out into the forest.

As I walk into the woods I am thinking about the photos that I did not take last year and that I am hoping to re-create today (P.S. this can not happen; the light is never the same twice).  October, 2011 I spent a great deal of time in the woods trail running through the fog. It was quite beautiful. More time than not I would be yelling at myself to stop running and break out the gear and create something new. I ran.

Today was my redemption! Fog, autumn colors and no will to run. I grabbed my new Nikon D800 36.3MP….this is a serious camera.

What in the hell do I do with 36.3MP? I can crop a photo down to a nose hair and still print an enlargement! Seldom do I do extreme cropping in post production, the bulk of my cropping is done in camera.  Is 36.3MP too much? (note: this is not a review of the D800, it is a great camera).

A photo in reverse, creating art to fit the space. A while back I gave myself a photography challenge.  The idea was/is to create a photo that would only enhance your environment; to remove the subject.  I called this project ambient art.  In weddings we create photos that are to be printed in an album. But in art when we do not yet know the destination of the work; how do we create to fit the space?

The easy answer is when it comes to megapixels you can always go smaller but you can never go larger.

For me, I envision my work printed large.  Next month I will be having a private show where I will be displaying 20x24 prints. It will be the first time that I will ever see my work in print, with an audience to boot.

The bulk of the work was shot on a camera that was 12MP. A few of the prints will have been shot with 36.3MP. Looking forward to see if I see the difference…..



Current Reading: Trust Me I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday
Current Music: Life on Planet Grove by Maceo Parker
Sounds: 2% jazz 98% Funk
Mood: Motivated
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: 65 degrees
Thought: Fusion is my new passion in photography. Not surprisingly it is also my favorite stye of music..


Race Day Report

I can see the starting line.  Never have I been this close before to the starting line.  In past races I have found myself a mile back from the starting gate.  Today I stand less than 50 feet from the front.

The guy in front of me is a small Asian man with extremely large calf muscles. Next to him is a guy wearing a T-shirt from his last 100 mile race.  On my right I overhear a conversation between two ladies about running a seven minute mile and hoping to qualify for the Boson marathon next year.  I am surrounded by runners...real live actual runners. Not Sunday morning joggers, not people who are out for fun; these people are going to be running and fast, very fast, and I am stuck in the middle of them.

The national anthem is sung, the shotgun goes off and I run.

Mile 1 -2
It starts off on a hill. No problem; I trained on lots of hills.  I am doing my best to keep up with the Asian man with the giant Popeye calves. He is twisting and turning his way through the crowd and I am keeping pace with him.  We make it to the top the of the first hill and then he blasts off.  That would be the last time I would see the small Asian man with the large calves.

Running through the streets of Squirrel Hill is great.  Fans, friends and supporters line the sidewalks as you run by listening to their cheers.  I see mile marker one in my sights. Eight minutes.  Did it read 8:00?? I just ran mile one in 8 minutes. I just shaved one minute off my normal time.

Next is the first down hill of the day and also the dreaded mile two.  Mile two is always the hardest for me. Mentally and physically hard. I talk myself through mile two.  I say things like 'Run your own race and think about how far you have come.' A year and a half ago I started running for the first time in my life.  Seven years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic disease.  I am not going to be writing much about the disease here in this post today (if you wish to read about it you can HERE). This is what I think about while running mile two.  It's like having Dr. Phil and Oprah coach me on in my own head...slightly maddening but it helps pass the time.  Mile marker number two. It reads 17 minutes.

Mile 3 - 4
It starts to rain. I hate running in the rain.  The temperature drops and I get cold.  It seems that I am the only person that can run, sweat and be cold all at the same time.

We turn the corner onto 5th Ave. in Oakland and to my left is one of the buildings that they filmed Batman Dark Night Rises at and to my right is Saint Paul Cathedral where I have shot many weddings. Next up is the first aid station.  A kind person hands me a cup of water.  I notice the rain drops splashing into and out of my cup.  The rain is coming down hard. I run straight through the college district of Oakland; this is the flat part of the course.  I tell myself to keep the same pace for you know what will be coming up soon.

Mile four: Boulevard of the Allies. This is one long grade up hill for the next mile.  One year ago this hill killed me.  It was my first race ever and I had no idea that this rising monster of a hill would have been so hard to run. You see I have driven this road a thousand times before never paying attention to the grade of the road.  This year I trained for this hill. This hill was my race.  I knew if I kept my steady pace on this hill that it would help my overall time and help to heal the wounds of last year. So here I go.  I lean into the hill and start swinging my arms faster, chin up and keep breathing at a steady a pace.  I start passing lots of people.  I am dodging, twisting and turning my way through the crowd of runners.  It was not that I was running faster at this point of the race, it was that I was not slowing down.  I am feeling good. Slightly surprised that my training was paying off.  Top of the hill all is good.  I am wet and cold but I conquered my Everest. In the words of James Brown...I feel good!

Mile 5 - 6
34 minutes into the race and only two miles to go. I start thinking that I should look around and enjoy the goings-on. This is my first race that I have ever listened to music while running and I realize how much of my surroundings that I have missed.  But a very special thank you to Mr. Jack White for providing the soundtrack. It was much appreciated.

This is what I see: a man, or what I think is a man, dressed in a bright orange body suit. Yep, bright orange body suit. This is not your everyday running suit; it is a body glove that completely covers his face, hands and feet.  I catch up to him and give him a long look. I am sure by this point in the race he was used to strange looks from the passersby.  I ask him what his story was and he just gives me a wave of the hand that I took as a sign of 'this is not a good time to talk buddy...running a race here.' If anybody out there knows the story of the orange-body-glove-running-man be sure to tell me.

Final leg: I run into downtown Pittsburgh.

The rain is still coming down but it has lightened up a good deal. The roads are filled with puddles and I am splashing my way through the street.  People line the streets and they are cheering, waving and holding up signs of encouragement for their loved ones.  I love this part. I love seeing all the supporters out and I am grateful that they are here in the rain.

Finish Line
I rounded the corner into Point Park and cross the finish line.

Let's end with the stats
43 years old. 10K (6.2 miles) in 51minutes. Sixth race completed in one year.

Lessons Learned: Do the work. Run your own race. Enjoy

To those living with NMO thank you for all your e-mails and kind words that you have shared with me over this past year.  I hope to run with each and everyone of you.