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"Good artists copy, great artists steal."
Pablo Picasso

"Picasso implied that great artists don't get caught stealing because what they appropriate they transform so thoroughly into their own persona, that everyone ends up thinking the great idea was theirs in the first place."
Wes George

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
Albert Einstein

Portrait of the Photographer As A Kid Smaragd: self-portrait

I could almost say that I grew up in my dad's darkroom. Before I was even ten years old, I knew and loved the smell of D-76, and the thrill of seeing a white page gradually darkening as an image bloomed under the glow of a red light.

Despite this, I spent my adolescence and young-adulthood focusing my creative energies on other forms of art: drawing and illustration.

In the last few years, however, my interest in photography has grown to be stronger and more compelling than it ever was before. Now I love to be out on a walk and suddenly be surprised when my "eye" spots striking beauty in a layer of ice on a puddle or in a decaying, abandoned building. Photography has become a rewarding outlet for my creative urge, and I'm glad flickr is here to give me a community and the tools to share my images easily.

I've had some unexpected successes fall into my lap. I sold limited usage rights for two of my photographs for use on Another photo appears on the back of business cards of a major Tacoma-based engineering firm. I have recently licensed 13 of my photos for use in promoting Washington State tourism. One of my photos was published in the April 2006 issue of the German pop-culture magazine Max.

I have set up a website specifically for my photography:

And if you're interested in "ear candy" please check out my original music at, or via my ReverbNation account.

Suchness (front cover) Preconception (front cover)


People want to believe there's a lazy, easy way to become a good photographer. The want to know, "What can I buy to be a good photographer?"

You can't buy it. There's no camera, no add-on, and no lens that does it. There's no film and no process, not even any Photoshop filter for it. You have to earn it through practice.

People often ask a photographer they admire, "What camera are you using?" But the camera doesn't matter. A good photographer can take excellent photos with a $5 disposable camera. The camera is just a tool. Crediting the camera for the photo is like crediting the screwdriver for renovating your kitchen. Like a screwdriver, the camera is merely a tool.

The subject doesn't matter, either. There is no subject that can't be photographed beautifully. Anybody who's seen beautiful photos of run-down buildings, collapsing barns and dirty urban alleys should understand that. Beauty is everywhere and in everything. Any subject can be photographed well.

The be-all, end-all of what makes a good photograph is two elements:

(1) The photographer's eye. The photographer must be able to spot a good photo before that photo can be taken. The photographer can't show you something that she can't see herself.

(2) The photographer's ability to capture what s/he sees in an image so that other people can see it the same way. That's an admirable skill that takes years to learn, and a lifetime to master.

Those two elements are what it's all about. Don't credit the camera for good photos; a good photographer can take beautiful shots with even the worst junk camera. Don't credit the subject for good photos; even the most beautiful people can be photographed poorly, and even the ugliest subject can be photographed beautifully.

Credit the photographer's eye and skill. That's where the key to good photos lies--in the vision, and the ability to translate that vision to paper or pixels.


When I first joined flickr, I was using a Fuji FinePix 1400Zoom. I got a Nikon CoolPix5900 in 2005. In 2006 I got the Olympus EVOLT E-500 which is my main camera today.


My "raw" flickr user ID: 94336434@N00

See my photos which have made it to flickr's daily interestingness pages

Who has blogged my photos?

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Skype: DaveWardPhotography
AIM: TristanDCW
ICQ: 203081211
Yahoo!: imac_mafia

Dave Ward's Facebook profile

View my DNA at

Want to pay me, thank me, or just support my photography?

Want to repay me for a favor, say "thank you", or simply support my photography in a meaningful way? Then buy something on my Photography Wish List. That list has things I really need in order to make the transition to becoming a true professional photographer.

Here's what I've been listening to:

Photos of Dave Ward Photography (2)

  • The way I am by The great ceaser
  • Take A Close Look by The great ceaser
  • Just A Touch Of Purple by The great ceaser
  • Aurora by AF Photographer
  •  innocence by ducnho2413

Dave Ward Photography's favorite photos from other Flickr members (2,063)

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Testimonials (6)

  • view profile

    Special says:

    "Dave is cool. His photos rock. He plays music. I dig that. He also has the longest profile in all of flickr.

    Seriously though.. I've watched his photography skills go from really good to great and I've just sit back and said "wow".

    Yeah.... wow."

    March 13th, 2006

  • view profile

    Vida Morkunas (seawallrunner) says:

    "Smaragd creates beautiful photographs - not because of the locations that he chooses (although these are certainly beautiful too) but because his pictures reflect a honest, beautiful and integral soul.

    Smaragd's talent keeps impressing me more and more as he reveals the wide range of his artistic leanings (landscapes, portraits, night scenes and urban tableaux).

    What a pleasure to visit your stream!"

    February 6th, 2006

  • view profile

    inkswamp says:

    "Smaragd has the most important component of any good photographer: vision. I see so many people on Flickr who get hung up on equipment or specific subject matter or techniques, but it really comes down to having a unique artistic viewpoint to express. Smaragd has that, and his photostream is full of spectacular results."

    February 6th, 2006

  • view profile

    aback account says:

    "Perusing Smaragd's photos is time well spent. Amazing eye for detail, composition, color and texture. I wish I had one-tenth his talent or skill. He should be doing this professionally!"

    June 7th, 2005

  • view profile

    aback account says:

    "If I was even remotely talented at writing testimonials, you'd better believe I'd have a damn good one for Smaragd!"

    April 29th, 2005

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    Ragazza Guapa says:

    "I can not believe that nobody has made a testimonial of such a talented soul.
    Smaragd has been an inspiration, teaching me to look things from another perspective, creating from what has been create, telling stories with images, with sounds.
    Thank you for sharing and inspire us"

    March 9th, 2005

Dave Ward
October 2004
Bellingham, WA / raised Aberdeen, WA / born Melbourne, FL
Bellingham, WA, U.S.A.
I am:
Male and Taken
Graphic Designer