Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

July 29, 2016


Filed under: Education,Media,Observations,Photography — Tags: , , — Jarvo @ 1:05 pm gave me the freedom to write about almost anything. I enjoyed writing, about  Photoshop, giving commentary about the photographic arts and its related technologies. I also enjoyed being a member of the photography industry news press corp.  As an educator, it was a wonderful platform. I soon found out finding a similar platform wouldn’t be easy. Many of these online news outlets focused on photo gear like new cameras, lens, and other photo toys. All that’s well and good, but my interests are in technology that’s not based on instrumentation alone but on process. I’m still researching the options and how to adapt to them.

So until I can find such a platform, I’ll have to do it the old fashion way, build it myself. Over these past two weeks I’ve thought about the options I have. My articles are a useful educational resource. So first I need to create an archive for them. I have Word docs of all of them along with images and video links. I also downloaded all of them as PDFs because many of them have the final editorial edits. Right now I’m thinking of republishing them in a separate WordPress site. I’ll see how that goes. I forgot about my subscriber list so I’ll have to build that again too.

I will keep you informed and will solicit your comments and feedback. Many thanks for your continuing support.

Jarvis Grant - Washington DC Photoshop Examiner - Tech Gear. | E

Well, so long! Can’t wait to see what will happen next.



June 26, 2016

A Little Good News!

Last week a received an email from curator Zoma Wallace of the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities Art Bank that one of my photographs had been selected to be part of the Commission’s new Washingtonia Collection. It’s always great to sell a piece of artwork. This is especially true now. I’ve had my share of challenges over the past couple of years. So, having the work be chosen as part of a major art collection is a great boost to the ego at just the right time.

The piece the city will purchase is actually part of my Citizens We project. The photograph, Cinderella of Lanier Heights, is a photograph captured at dusk in my Adams Morgan neighborhood in Northwest Washington, DC. I was photographing the firehouse when a woman in a long and fluffy dress walk into the frame. I’m always drawn to scenes right before the landscape drops into the darkness of night.

So many thanks again to the DC Commission of the arts and Humanities and its panelist for selecting my image.

This image is used in the Citizens We book sponsored by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC

This image, Cinderella of Lanier Heights, is part of my Citizens We book and exhibition project sponsored by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, and now part of the DC Commission of the Arts Washingtonia Collection.


June 19, 2016

New Website Update – New Start

Filed under: Design,Folio — Tags: , , , , , — Jarvo @ 1:00 am

Well it’s been a year or so since my last post. During that time I’ve been focusing on my articles and taking care of my family. The family thing has been huge and challenging.  The thing has been quite rewarding in terms of educational visibility. Yet, the thing that has really been interesting is the update and renewal of my website. I am ashamed to say it, but I haven’t updated my website in six years! That’s really bad. However, as I embark on new artistic adventures I needed my website to reflect all that I am currently doing. While the site was strong enough to show my talent,, Those images and accompanying text had very little to do with what I had been working on during that six year period.

I’m still in the process on updating the site. Working for the site to reflect my move from Jarvis Grant Photographer to Jarvis Grant Creative Strategist. Seems odd, yet makes perfect sense to me. I’ve always mashed up skill set to solve problems. Everything is a design problem. Yes, yes it is!

Jarvis Grant Imaging.



March 5, 2014

New Year, New Exhibition

Jarvis Grant at Museum Studies Workshop

Printing photographs in the Museum Studies workshop space at the Ellington School of the Arts Photo Credit: Marta Reid Stewart

Well, the new year of 2014 started out with a lot happening. One of the major projects I had was to build on the work in my Dream Chamber series. Last year finished with a bang as I completed the first phase of my portrait project, Citizens We. That project began fairly smoothly, and then it seemed to come to a standstill. Then at the end of the summer, funding came through. Now I’m thinking the process will get going but instead a couple of major obstacles began to pop up. Yet, in the end the project took on a new direction and ended very well, with a new outlook and possibilities. Man, what a ride that was.

During my last photo session for Citizens We I photographed a neighbor of mine , Daisy Hannah. I used her portrait on the back cover of the book. She had questioned about why I made a black & white image. I gave her a response, but I felt she would like a color version of her image. So I revisited her photographs. Just for fun I decided to work on another shot from our session. I really didn’t do anything with the new image. Pretty straight forward stuff, but then she wanted a set of all the images from the photo shot.  So instead of giving her a set of small JPEG image files, I compiled a PDF slideshow. I thought that would be more useful to her.

When I was done, I thought I’d design a nice artsy cover for the slideshow. Nik Software had just updated the Nik Collection with a new filter, Analog Efex Pro. So, I thought I would do a quick “One Click WOW” while playing with that new filter. It was fun, but I wondered “What would that color image of Daisy look like with a little more work?” During the process I came up with some interesting stuff. But in the end, I thought the image needed more “mystery”. That’s my way of telling myself to start over. In doing so I concentrated on the essentials, Light & Color. Things were going well, but I still needed that mysterious element. I thought of the Dream Chamber images. Do I put a Moon or clouds in the room with Daisy? That didn’t seem right. I wanted an incongruous, yet simple, Earth element. And then, it came to me, Water.

That image was just what I needed to push that series pass the sky elements I had been using. I began to see what the other images of the series could look like. I had an exhibit coming up and I showed the curator Eric Walton, those images in my Bēhance portfolio, and he choose four, for the exhibit, Life Through a Lens, at the Walton Gallery in Petersburg, VA. I really find it amazing that Citizens We portrait project has fed the Dream Chamber series. It should be a fascinating year of image making.




January 13, 2014

Citizens We: Humanities Council of DC Showcase

At Showcase1A

Project scholar Terry deBardelaben discuss aspects of the Citizens We project to Anacostia Museum curator Dr. Ariana Curtis ©Jarvis Grant

The Humanities Council DC Community Showcase was a fabulous event! Although I was under the weather, being at the event was simply wonderful. What I enjoyed most was listening to strangers speak about how much they enjoyed the images. I had three 17 x 22 exhibition prints along with a copy of the Citizens We: Portraits of Communities book on display. What was also fabulaous was witnessing the other project presented at the Showcase.  I felt that each of the other grantees cloud be a macro community for Citizens We. Okay, that a little self surviving, but still so many opportunities avail themselves for collaboration.

The main issue for the next iteration is, I  want to have writers become part of Citizens We. Poets, essayists, and curators speak to the significance of community and the individuals who are members of those communities will be the next step. At this moment there are so many ideas racing through my head  and heart, it’s a bit over whelming, yet attainable.

Thanks again to all those who’ve supported this project. This year will produce great moments for Citizens We.




December 2, 2013

Citizens We: A Portrait of Communities

Cover Image for "Citizens We: A Portrait of Communities"

The cover for Citizens We’s first project,
“A Portrait of Communities.
©Jarvis Grant

For the past 18 months I have been working on a community portrait project, Citizens We. At times the progress of the project was looking pretty bleak. Even so, with the help and support of Joanne Henson and Terry deBardelaben the project received funding from the Humanities Council of DC and the DC Commission of the Arts. With the Council funding first phase of the project, a book of forty-two photographs was created, “A Portrait of Communities: Faces & Places”.

Back Cover: Daisy Hannah, Activist  ©Jarvis Grant

Back Cover: Daisy Hannah, Activist
©Jarvis Grant

On December 5, the Humanities Council will host DC’s “Largest Exhibition of Community History and Historic Preservation”.  The Humanities Council of Washington, DC. (HCWDC) proudly presents its’ 7th Annual DC Community Heritage Project (DCCHP) showcase. The showcase will be held Thursday, December 5, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the new home of the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, 101 N Street NW, admission is free. The evenings’ program will feature a screening of a film that highlights 18 local history and preservation projects. Attendees will also be able to meet people that led the projects and view the products produced as a result of the DCCHP grant. Remarks will also be delivered by Lionell Thomas, Director of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and David Maloney, Director of the DC Historic Preservation Office.

I am honored that Citizens We is part of this Showcase and want you to attend! Come join us and learn something new about DC’s rich history by registering a  To register by phone, please call 202.387.8391. RSVPSs are strongly encouraged. For further information, visit



BuyA Portrait of Communities by Jarvis Grant at




August 5, 2013

New Works and Exhibit

Green Leaf Purple Petal

Green Leaf & Purple Petals, ©Jarvis Grant

Well it certainly has been awhile since my last post. Not to make too many excuses, but I have been pretty busy and I’ll update you about those activities in future posts.

What I’d like to inform you all about now is simply some blatant PR on my part. A colleague and friend, Lew Berry, invited me to participate in an exhibition he was curating at the Friendship Heights Village Center Art Gallery. This is a group show of painters, printmakers, and photographers. I’ve been doing a lot of photography with my phone over the past year, and this was a perfect opportunity to assemble some of this work. It also offered me the chance to make prints from these files. While the camera is 5 megapixels, its sensor is rather small. So it was a challenge making files that look as vibrate as the they appear on the computer’s monitor

This exhibit also afforded me the opportunity to work with a couple of two technologies, MailChimp and a new feature with my portfolio service, Foliolink.  I’ve been working with MailChimp for a couple of years now, and it’s a great email service. I use it to help my clients get the word out about their activities and events. Most of the time they’ll use a “dirty email List”. A dirty list is one with  old email addresses or emails not associated with a person’s name. I had exported my LinkedIn contact into MailChimp, which a very slick feature. All of my email addresses were clean, but I needed to segment these names into categories. The paid membership allows you to do this, but I have the basic free membership, so I had to do this manually. A bit of a drag, but it’s done.

With Foliolink they introduced a new feature, Promo Pages. A Promo Page is like a mini web site you use to promote current projects. I thought this would be a perfect time to announce my exhibit with my social networks. In fact, I’ve embedded  it in this post.  To see it in a scale-able browser window, click here.

So check out my new work. I’m still adding images as I write this. Idf you are in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) area, please stop by the exhibit. Here’s how to get there.


February 7, 2013

The 2013 Mobile Photography Awards and Me

Sunflower #7

Sunflower from the atrium courtyard, National Museum of American Art, ©Jarvis Grant, 2012

In the summer of 2012 I found a new venue of expression, phone camera. As stated in my last blog post, I had always been a camera snob. One reason was I saw so much poor camera phones photography. I have owned phones that had cameras, but never used them beyond visual note taking. When I upgraded to my EVO 4G LTE, with its 8 megapixel camera, the need to investigate its possibilities was very strong.

When I first began using the device, I always had my Panasonic LX-3 with me, and I would “shoot behind” anything I did with the EVO with the LX-3. The Panasonic images were always better in my mind. When reviewing the photos, the reason I felt the LX-3 pictures were better was because I put more into them. So, to really see that the phone’s camera could do, I must not take the LX-3 with me anymore, which forced me to only use the EVO. That was scary at first but necessary if I wanted to learn how to use the new device.

This was good, but I found myself fiddling with the device a lot. My daughter told me about Instagram, and I installed the app. In fact Instagram was the first app I actually installed on the phone, which in itself opened up a whole new word in mobile computing. But that’s another story. Okay, so what Instagram provided was fiddle free photography. While shooting with a square frame took some getting used to again, it was a lot faster than shooting with a twin lens reflex. Then there was the idea of processing the image with Instagram’s filters. They were limited for sure, and I found myself still reviewing the pictures and processing them once I got home. Then one day as I was riding the bus, I was thinking about a couple of images I’d just taken. I took out the phone and began experimenting with the images. It was then I realized I could capture an image, process it and publish it, all while I was out and about. Wow, “mobile photography”! Okay I get it.

Yet, mobile photography was also offering something more. Something I had not felt since my days as an art student and new photographer. Freedom! I regained the freedom to shoot whatever I wanted too and felt like shooting.  As a seasoned photographer I do lot of analytics while making photographs. I was finding that with the phone and all its limitations, I was much lighter, with fewer calculations, rules, and perceived obligations running through my head. When I looked up two months after installing Instagram I had hundreds of new images, with a couple of hundred posted on Instagram. For me, that was very different.

With my newly found mobile photography enthusiasm, I began writing about it in my column, which is the reason for the long gap between blog posts. Plus I entered a few images in the Mobile Photography Awards competition I saw on the Digital Photography Review website. Well last week I discovered in a Tweet from Jack Hollingsworth (@photojack) that the winners of the Mobile Photography Awards had been posted on their website. So I went right over to see if I placed. Well the images I thought were strong in their respective categories were not there. Bummer! When I got to Plants/Flowers category,and saw the stunning first prize wining entry  by Patrick Shourds, I thought, “Oh man, these look great, oh well”! But in the Honorable Mentions group was my entry, Purple Tears, and I was shocked and surprised. Plus I felt pretty damn good.

Here are the other images I entered into competition plus the link to the Mobile Photography Award winners page.




August 15, 2012

Mobile Photography: Confessions of a Camera Snob

Le Tombeau de Daguerre

Le Tombeau de Daguerre ©Jarvis Grant

Photographic technology has always spurred controversy in the art world. First here was photography itself. When photography first came on the scene in 1839, it was supposed to bring the death of painting, drawing, and art as we know it.  Now anybody could create an image. What was a true artist to do? Then film came along and replaced big cameras and glass plates. Now anybody could create an image! What was a real photographer to do? Then came portable 35mm roll film cameras you could fit in your pocket. They replaced large format 4×5 sheet film cameras. What was a real photographer to do? Next came color photography, how unnatural was that? Real photographs are made in black & white. Then came Polaroid’s instant photography. Instant photography no darkroom? Hell, now anybody can take a picture without even waiting a week to get their pictures back. Then came digital photography, replacing film. Hey, only real photos can be made with film cameras. Now anybody can take a good picture by “fixing” it in Photoshop. What’s a real photographer to do?

Well now it seems that photo tech has arrived at a new  paradigm, the mobile phone–camera.  With this new development in photo tech, you don’t even need a camera! What’s a real photographer to do?! For the past seven years, phone cameras have evolved from a dinky two megapixel joke to a decent eight megapixel creative tool.  Phone cameras have grown from novelty toys to the voice of people toppling dictatorial requiems around the world.  Now that almost everybody is carrying a video camera and a still camera in their pocket, web services like Faop for selling iPhone images as stock and ScoopShot as spot news cuts into the stock photography and photojournalism business model for many established photographers.

Now, I have been a long time camera snob when it comes to mobile photography and photography in general.  When all the hype about the iPhone came out I was a skeptic. Then when all of the accessory  and equipment hype came out, I thought there were a lot of folks drinking the Apple Kool-Aid! I mean why would any body want to put a $1000 plus Nikon or Canon DSLR lens on an iPhone? What’s the point. Get a camera! It’ll be easier to handle, give you more control, and will possible be smaller than having a five inch DSLR lens dangling from an iPhone. And don’t even mention an iPad tablet!

However, this past winter I went to a NAPP event at the Washington Convention Center and ran into my friend, classmate, and fellow creative pro Lorenzo Wilkins. He casually showed me some pictures from a recent trip he made on his iPhone. Man, I was blown away! Lorenzo’s images looked really good. At that moment I got the whole iPhone portfolio thing. I’ve seen lots of iPhone pics but was never really that impressed. I always felt people were showing off the phone not their images.

About a month ago I was forced to upgrade my old HTC Diamond Touch to a HTC EVO 4G LTE. The Touch Diamond finally died after 5 years of good service, but I never really used the Touch’s camera. It was okay, but not for taking real photos. I only used its 3 megapixel camera for visual note taking.  Then my daughter, Maya,  told me about Instagram and how she was using it to get her digital painting out into the world. So, I downloaded the app and started to play around with it. It was quite intriguing. Once I got used to it and my phone’s camera, I began to come up with a couple of good shots. Then I just naturally stated to see how to better manipulate the camera’s controls, along with finding photo apps that allowed more image processing contols beyond Instagram’s filter set.

So now I’m at the point were I believe that phone-cams can be creative professional tools. I still believe that a real camera will offer up better results faster that a phone-cam. I just don’t dismiss phone-cams as merely toys for people who are too cheap or lazy to use a traditional camera. I now stand on the opposite side of the mobile photography argument. Well, at least I’m beginning to see the other side’s perspective.


May 1, 2012

Composites: Selections, mask and more!

Filed under: Design,Education,Observations,Photoshop — Tags: , , , , — Jarvo @ 4:18 pm
Full Screen Shot

Selections are Alpha Channels that are used in creating Mask. Here is the main figure used in my composite, "Isis". ©Jarvis Grant 2012

Knowing how to make a selection in Photoshop is an artist’s secret weapon. It’s the most important tool/technique that one should master as early as possible. With that said, there is no single “best” ways to create a selection. Everyone has a couple of go to favorites. New students usually start with what Scott Kelby coins as the “Tragic Wand”. Once you understand that there’s more tragic than magic  in that wand, you start to look for options. For many it’s using the Path Tool, which I personally hate! For others it can be the Color Range command. The folks at Adobe know that power and the pain of creating selections and have been developing the Refine Edge command into its on Panel in Photoshop since version CS4. Back in the day, those “marching ants” were at the heart of composting images for designers and illustrators. Yet today there can be more to making a composite than selections.

I’m thinking and writing about this topic because last week I put together  an article on on Saving Selections in JPEG Files. When ever I do an article I first collect the images I’ll use for the article. Then I’ll go through what ever process I’ll be writing about to get the steps clear in my head. First, I wanted to choose an image that I could make a very simple selection with. I had a partial silhouette shot in the studio that would work fine. Went through th steps and made a few screen shots. I was done. The only thing needed now was a new background for the figure to illustrate the new image composite. No big deal, two layers and that will be that. I had a few NASA wallpapers from the Hubble Telescope web site I felt would make a quick and dirty yet fairly interesting image. In fact it turned out to be interesting enough that I seemed to be on a roll! So much so that I began to think about this blog post.

The Layer Panel for Isis

What started just to be two layers turned out to be a few more. ©Jarvis Grant 2012

What started as a simple story with two layers began to grow. Once the main story was invented, I needed to enhance the “mood” of the piece. To achieve this I began to use Blending Modes. The interesting thing was that I was still just using the the main images of the figure and her new background. Using Layer Masks, dupes of the background were now being place on top of the figure, with elements being hidden or accentuated. Portions of the figure were selected and moved to their own layer and painted with Layer Styles. I also had a little help from Flaming Pear and Dover Publications. Well my point here is to not really go into detail of how the new image was made, but to speak to the fact that when “building” a composite it takes more than just ‘marching ants”.

While the final image is a fantasy, as a photographer, I still need elements of reality to bring it altogether. What is the direct and ambient light doing? Along with a healthy dose of trial and error. For example the NASA image though stunning, had a few visual holes into once the two images were placed together. I didn’t want to select stars from the background, because it only had a few, and I waned a little more variety. I found a few “space and star” brushes on the Internet. Through some that “trial & error”, I placed my new “stars” on their on layers and used Gradient Overlay Layer Styles, set to radial mode to give my stars that refraction of color that telescope give to photographs.

This was a simple artistic exercise that also used another secret artistic ingredient, Fun! In having a little fun I learned a few tricks and techniques that will turn up later in future work. Or maybe not! What started out as one thing with one purpose grew into something else. It also shows that even through working with a computer can seem overly technical, in the end, Photoshop is just another tool for artist to use and flow with.

A Dream of Isis

The final composite (so far!), of "A Dream of Isis" ©Jarvis Grant 2012

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