“Every photograph is altered, to one degree or another.” — John Paul Caponigro

Immersed in creativity

John Paul Caponigro is an environmental landscape fine art photographer who includes drawing writing and photographing in his creative pursuits. He encourages everyone who attends his workshops to do these things regularly. He discovers his photography by how his writing, drawing and photographs inform his vision. His iPhone is another sketchbook he uses to see his world and spur his creativity. He uses his smartphone to take visual notes.

He understands that photographs, once taken reveal themselves as obvious keepers. He knows that it’s important to sit with the results and think about them. Sharing them with others can bring new insights. In his TEDx talk, he explains brainstorming creatively this way: “One, don’t censor. If it’s not absurd, you haven’t gone far enough. Two, don’t judge. It’s no time for the inner critic. It will shut down flow. Tell it, it has a role at the end of the process. Third, set a high quota. In order to get beyond the conventional mind, we have to get a lot of information. A lot of this is generating a lot of ideas, a lot of associations, a lot of images. Only move on when you have reached saturation; when you come up with the same thing again and again and again.”

Watching John Paul’s TEDx talk is twenty minutes well invested in learning more about the creative process.


On Photography: John Paul Caponigro, 1965-present
John Paul Caponigro by Kevin Ames

“We hear and we forget, We see and we remember, We do and we know.” John Paul conducts his workshops with this ancient Chinese proverb in mind. He tells his workshop participants about creativity. He encourages them to see his work and spends time with everyone seeing each other’s work. He leads them on photographic expeditions to practice creating. He wants his students to play. He uses his camera phone to play practically everywhere he goes.

John Paul is very generous with his knowledge. He shares a lot of his ideas, creative tools and techniques for free on his website http://johnpaulcaponigro.com and in his e-newsletter Insights. He has three workshops on digital printing and on black and white mastery held in his studio in Cushing, Maine.


John Paul has been to every continent on the planet and all of its oceans as well. His “bipolar years” is what he names visits to Greenland and Antarctica in the same 12 months. He leads photo workshops to New Mexico, the Maine Islands, Arches National Park and Antarctica.

Fine artist

John Paul comes from a family of artists. His father, Paul Caponigro, is a world-renowned photographer. His mother, Eleanor Caponigro is a graphic designer. Growing up, John Paul was introduced to his parents’ artistic friends including Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams. This background has helped him become a pioneering digital artist who melds his skills in drawing and painting with Adobe Photoshop to create otherworldly surreal views of our environment. Several of my favorites are in the opening photo including one that I own in the upper right corner.

John Paul has 22 series of his work on http://johnpaulcaponigro.art. I encourage you to feast your eyes.


John Paul has had many exhibitions of his work in museums and galleries. His first iPhone is in the collection of the Smithsonian along with art from every medium he has created with and his digital prints. Public and private collections have purchased his work and include Princeton, Estee Lauder and the Smithsonian.

John Paul is an Epson Stylus Pro, is a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame and an X-Rite Coloratti. He has been published in Art News, The Ansel Adams Guide has written the book Adobe Photoshop Master Class and has contributed to the publications Camera Arts, Photoshop User, Digital Photo Pro and the Huffington Post. His clients include Apple, Adobe, Canon, Epson, Kodak, Sony and NEC.

Two more quotes

“Different people can photograph the same things with the same tools and create such different images.”

“Seen from one perspective, photography is much more about elimination than inclusion. The images we make with a lens typically eliminate eighty percent of our field of view and everything that is out of our field of view. The shutter slices time, eliminating all moments before and after it opens and closes. Three dimensions are reduced to two. And in some cases color is removed. Can we accurately call these kinds of artifacts unaltered? The act of creation is an alteration.”

John Paul and his wife Arduina live in Cushing, Maine.

Sources: Wikipedia, johnpaulcaponigro.com