In the Gardens with Alan Shapiro

Alan Shapiro

Alan's Inspiration

Alan Shapiro will be one of our six instructors at the Out of Chicago Botanic Garden Conference in the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Alan genuinely loves teaching and sharing his workflow, and his creativity is inspiring. He is a super high-energy instructor who loves helping attendees discover and capture beautifully simple things in beautifully unexpected ways.

Alan shared with us some of his inspirations and thoughts.

Where do you get your inspiration from when taking photographs?

“My head is like a combination of a Cirque du Soleil show and a kid’s bouncy castle. There is no shortage of things I want to photograph. I try to always do a mix of “found” images (walking around being open to whatever) and “made” images (where I am building/creating something I see in my head.)” – Alan Shapiro

 ©Alan Shapiro
Oh, The Places We Will Go!

Who is your favorite artist that is not a photographer?

“On the art side, it would be Dr. Seuss. On the writing side, either Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash. This goes along with one of my favorite quotes: “You’re only young once but you can stay immature indefinitely.” – Alan Shapiro

Who is your favorite photographer?

“Would have to be a tie between Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Definitely not the person with the iPhone who just elbowed me out of the way and kicked my tripod as I was carefully composing a shot.”– Alan Shapiro

 ©Alan Shapiro
Alan's Playgrounds and Gear

Where is your favorite place to photograph?

“That’s an impossible question. For macro: any new botanic garden. For street portraits: anywhere in Manhattan. For still life: my home studio (after a trip to the Union Square Farmers Market (for food) and the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market (for props)” – Alan Shapiro

If you had to choose one lens to photograph with the rest of your life, which would it be, and what inspired your decision?

“Nope. My answer is always, why do I have to choose?” Alan Shapiro

 ©Alan Shapiro
Words of Wisdom

What is one piece of advice you want to give to photographers?

“Try everything (at least once.) Pay attention to what makes you nervous and work to overcome that. Then find something else that makes you nervous. Repeat till you’re ready to meet your maker. Learn as much as you can about post-processing. Taking a photo is one part of the process. How you finish it just might be the difference between you and everyone else. Don’t be the person (above) with the iPhone.” – Alan Shapiro

 ©Alan Shapiro

We are excited to have Alan Shapiro join us again as one of our leading creative flower instructors at this year’s Out of Chicago Botanical photography conference.  He will be a delight to learn with among the many diverse gardens at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It is always a pleasure to be trippin’ in the Garden on Miracle-Gro with Alan Shapiro.

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Additional Resources

To learn more about Alan and where to follow his creative passion. Visit his website. 

To see more of his creative ideas see his work on Instagram.

Alan Shapiro

Alan likes finding and sharing things he finds. Beautiful things. Powerful things. Poignant things. As much as Alan loves creating images, he genuinely loves to teach; sharing his workflow from capture through post-processing and printing. He is a super high-energy instructor with a knack for getting people out of their comfort zone as well as helping them discover and capture beautifully simple things in beautifully unexpected ways.

Upcoming OUT OF CHICAGO conferences

Out of Grand Teton

June 16-20, 2024

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