Robert Pohl Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: I have loved sharing the stories and inspirations of some truly interesting individuals during the InFocus Alumni photography blog series. Are you excited about InFocus 2016? We will soon release the call for submissions and we would love to see your work. For now, I’m pleased to introduce Robert Pohl, a modern photographer engaging traditional processes.

Welcome Robert!




"Piano" copyright Robert Pohl

“Piano” copyright Robert Pohl

My name is Rob Pohl.  I was born in Edmonton over half a century ago and have lived here my entire life.  I’ve been photographing the area specifically, but the world in general for about 35 years.  I started out shooting film, and have stayed with it.  I spend my working days in an office staring at a computer monitor.  When I want to escape from that world and immerse myself in my photography, the last thing I want to do is spend yet more hours staring at a stupid monitor. While the masses have embraced digital photography and image manipulation software, I continue to work with film and traditional wet photography.   I enjoy the relaxation and escape of the darkroom, the mixing of the chemistry, the experimentation, and the process of creating something with my hands.  I shoot black and white film and process and print everything myself.  In this age of digital photography that makes me a dinosaur.  But I also think that it sets me apart from the masses that blast away with digital cameras.  My approach is much more methodical and measured and I try to make every shot count.

"Schoolhouse" copyright Robert Pohl

“Schoolhouse” copyright Robert Pohl

Most of my work is shot with a large format 4″ x 5″ view camera.  A dabble a little with medium format roll film, and with the even larger 8″ x 10″ format.  I shoot mostly landscapes, landscape details, and historical images.  It disturbs me somewhat that our province is falling victim to massive population growth and extensive development.  Mankind seems too wrapped up in economic growth and development and seems to place little value on the natural world, and a responsibility to our planet.  We all need to step back and take a deep breath and garner a little appreciation for the world around us, and what our lifestyle is doing to it.  Hopefully my imagery helps to illustrate an appreciation for where we have come from, where we are going, and what the consequences are.

"Rock Pool" copyright Robert Pohl

“Rock Pool” copyright Robert Pohl

In early 2015 I became involved in the InFocus Photography Exhibition that has expanded from Calgary and Banff, to the provincial level.  The YEG show in Edmonton that I was involved in was curated by Alexis Marie Chute.  I felt privileged to be included in that show, and hope to take part in future exhibitions.  I’ve included a selection of images that are typical of my work.  I regularly post work to my Flickr account, and to my blog…


Writing Is Learning

One of my favorite parts about being a writer is learning about the world. I’ve written about Santorini, Greece, about cabin life in Alberta and about people from all walks – their struggles, history and triumphs. Writing allows the wonderful tool of observation to flourish, which is the ability to perceive and seek understanding, even to simply acknowledge that not everything may be understood.

writing demo

Not everyone needs to be a professional writer to enjoy this learning and vision of the world. I believe anyone can teach themselves to see. Pick up a pen and write impressions. Sit still in a place of motion, a train station, a museum, a pedestrian avenue; what do you see, what are the people doing, who are they? What does it all mean?

mac keyboard 01 photograph copyright Alexis Marie Chute Artist Reborn

Reflecting on my own experiences is another way I learn through writing. When I write my columns for Edmonton Woman Magazine or larger sections of my life in my memoirs, I begin to see the rhythms and randomness and beautiful complexities of life, of my life specifically and human existence in general. This is a gift. Writing has the power to transform.

What are you learning these days?

Happy writing!

Want to learn about Word-and-Image Relationships?

Right now I am teaching students at Lesley University about word-and-image. It is my graduating student seminar and the culmination of both diligent research and a personal passion. We live in a visually engaged society and creative people of all kinds would do well to look into the future. Where are we headed? I believe part of that answer includes multi-genre, multi-media, and multi-medium artwork and collaborations.

If you would like to attend one of my workshops or bring them to your city or center, please email me at Here is the information about my word-and-image seminar:

 The Art of Writing: Exploring Word-and-Image Pairings in Contemporary Literature

By Alexis Marie Chute

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? What happens when imagery and text combine?

In an age of visual communication, it is important for writers to reflect on the dynamic relationship between words and images. In this interactive seminar we will discuss the ways writers might capitalize on visual material to strengthen their craft. We will explore the word-image relationships in children’s books, graphic novels, hybrid novels, photograph/art books, magazines, comics, literary journals and advertisements. Through these discussions, students will learn strategies for pairing words and images, observe what works and what doesn’t, and be inspired to expand the scope of their own writing projects – whether they include visual elements or not.

Alexis Marie Chute word and image copyright workshop blog

Writers of any genre will benefit from this workshop.

Please come prepared to write and flex your creative muscles.

No artistic abilities needed.   

The Social Media Seesaw for Writers

Social media is a gift for writers who are now able to directly engage with their readers and promote their work. Yet, it can also become a consuming time-suck and addictive distraction from doing the actual work: writing. It is a hard balance, like the pursuit of all “balance” in life, as to where the line is on how much social networking is really too much.

I myself go back and forth on the social media seesaw, feeling some days like it’s a blessing and others like it’s a curse.


Here is how I manage the double edged sward of social media and get stuff done:

  1. Make lists. I write out everything that is a priority to complete, which often includes a few social responsibilities of my business, such as blogging and twitter. Then I organize myself and my schedule, taking into consideration the most important tasks that need to be done and how much time everything will take. I keep the lists handy to keep myself on track.
  2. I switch off from social networks and focus on the priorities. When I am writing for a magazine or my current book projects or crunching a deadline on whatever I have on the go, I give it my full attention. My phone is my distraction, so I will lock its screen so I can’t log onto social networks, or leave it in another room. It is so important to give whatever you are doing your undivided attention.
  3. Schedule the social. This has been a wonderful timesaver. I write my blogs, schedule when they will be released and on what social networks I wish to share the posts. This keeps me active on all my social platforms every day, even when I am actually being very unsocial and working on my books. Helpful programs like Tweet Deck and Hootsuite are also great at scheduling ahead of time.

Seesaws can be a lot of fun. The same is true with social networks. You may go back and forth on how much you choose to engage those networks, but your presence there is essential. Figure out how to manage the seesaw and you will set yourself up for success.

Wilfred Kozub Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: Are you enjoying the InFocus Alumni photography blog series? Today I would like to introduce you to Wilfred Kozub, photographer and artist of many mediums.

Welcome Wilfred!




Wilfred Kozub, Multi media Artist


These are exciting times as I seem to have a lot of art projects on the go. I have gradually branched out from being a painter and pop/electronic musician to becoming a multi media artist.


"Treads" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Treads” copyright Wilfred Kozub

I feel that colour and motion are the most conspicuous features in my paintings. These are elements that I typically bring to my photographic images, and to my music, too. I am now applying the same sensibility to my recent ventures in making little lyric videos to post on YouTube for my tunes. An extended music-based film titled “The Weather” will come out in the fall of 2015.


"Go North" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Go North” copyright Wilfred Kozub

My paintings are frequently populated by swallows, magpies . . . and electrical activity. The goal has always been to engage the viewer with interesting ideas in an accessible format – keep it simple and make it striking!  My painting, No One Gets Zapped is a good example of the electrical motion and vibrant colour that I’m talking about, and you can hear its audio equivalent in my song, Wilfred In The City.  


"Delirious World" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Delirious World” copyright Wilfred Kozub

Although photography isn’t at all new to me, I have recently brought my camera into action more and more with my photographic images now sharing nearly equal billing with my paintings on art cards and prints that I regularly show at the Royal Bison Art & Craft fair. My paintings have also been displayed in group and solo art shows with The Works, at the Artery, and other Edmonton gallery venues. It was a proud moment for me to ‘come out’ officially as an artistic photographer at the inaugural InFocus show for the Exposure Photography Festival in Edmonton (February, 2015). What a fine show it was, and such an excellent opportunity to have some of my new photographs displayed alongside the works of terrific Edmonton photographic artists.


My artwork and photography frequently can be seen in the graphic design for albums by my band, Wilfred N & the Grown Men. I have come to recognize the decorative quality of many of my paintings which use repetitive images (see I See By The Colour of Your Eyes That You Are One of Us). A new painting titled Delirious World has become the centerpiece for new cards and prints – and for my freshly designed, Delirious World printed silk scarves. That image is going to be expanded and transformed to be re-purposed as the cover art for my upcoming tenth Wilfred N & the Grown Men album titled Passing Through Time. A debut solo Wilfred Kozub album, “What’s Gonna Become of Us” is also in the works, and my photograph Ancient Flowers, Rome will be the cover image for that one. Lots going on! . . .  I had better get to work!

Listen to “Wilfred in the City”

Wilfred Kozub


Contact Info:








The Wilfred Kozub Art & Ponder Tumblr Page:


Wilfred Kozub on Soundcloud


Wilfred N & the Grown Men on Bandcamp



Wilfred N & the Grown Men on AmazingTunes





Nobody Has To Know  

Wilfred In the City  

Thunder on the Tundra



Encouraging Quotes for Writers

Here are ten quotes by great contemporary writers on topics regarding rejection, writers block, and not just the want, but the need to be writer. These words encourage me and I hope they do the same for you. These quotes will enlighten you to the fact that all of the most successful writers have dealt with and still deal with their fair share of rejection and writers block. However their love of writing never faltered and they never gave up.  All successful writers learned the hard way that getting rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.

Nobody chooses to be a writer because it’s easy! As long as you love the process and take every chance you can to improve, you have the ability to be a great writer.


“I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

-J.K. Rowling


“With a book I am the writer and I am also the director and I’m all of the actors and I’m the special effects guy and the lighting technician: I’m all of that. So if it’s good or bad, it’s all up to me.”

-George R. R. Martin


“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

-Stephen King


“Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert


“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

-Nicholas Sparks


“I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts … so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there’s a 90 percent chance I’m just gonna delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating. I also like to remind myself of something my dad said in [response] to writers’ block: ‘Coal miners don’t get coal miners’ block.’”

-John Green


“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

-Margaret Atwood


“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”

-Hunter S Thomson


“When you’re a writer, you hear your internal critic, and that’s really hard to get over. And then sometimes you hear critiques from classmates and stuff. But when a book comes out, it’s just hundreds of opinions and you have to learn to separate out the ones you want to listen to or figure out many you want to listen to.”

-Veronica Roth


“Don’t ever let the other stuff get in the way of your inherent skills as a kick-butt storyteller. Move the reader, make them happy and sad and excited and scared. Make them stare into space after they’ve put the book down, thinking about the tale that’s become a part of them.”

-James Dashner


“It’s not easy. I got lots of rejections when I first started out. If you want to write, you have to believe in yourself and not give up. You have to do your best to practice and get better.”

-Rick Riordan

Art through the Lens Exhibition

This summer, one of my portraits from The Quiet Rebuild will be featured in an exhibition called Art through the Lens held at the Yeiser Art Center in Kentucky. The exhibition was curated by juror Sarah Sudhoff.

Here is some information about Art through the Lens, curtisy of the Yeiser Art Center:


Originating in 1975 as the Paducah Summer Festival Photo Competition, Paducah Photo has grown from a fledgling contest into an international juried exhibition. Over the past 40 years, this exhibition has become one of the Mid-South’s most prestigious annual photographic events.

In 2013, Paducah was bestowed the honor of being designated a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network in the area of Crafts & Folk Art. To embrace both this international honor and reflect the international growth of the exhibition, this year Paducah Photo will take on a new name, Art Through the Lens.



Art Through the Lens is open to all without restrictions on size or content. It provides photographers with an outlet for their art, encouragement for growth in their vision and presentation and cash rewards for works of exceptional merit.  Each year from the hundreds of works submitted, 60 – 100 images are selected for exhibition by a highly qualified juror, with five of them receiving cash awards. An awards presentation will be held during the opening reception.

Yeiser Art Center is a non-profit visual arts organization celebrating more than fifty years of serving the community with exhibitions and education throughout the Tri-State Region. It is situated near Paducah’s riverfront at 200 Broadway in the historic 1905 Market House building.

yeiser art center alexis marie chute


Plan a visit to Art through the Lens:

Yeiser Art Center

200 Broadway

Paducah, KY 42001

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibition dates: June 20 – August 1, 2015

Tips for writing your book proposal – from someone who has done it

Writing a book proposal is a marathon, not a sprint. While many writers dream of penning the next Harry Potter, creating a great book is only one part of the process. The writer must then transfer all their skills to crafting an outstanding proposal that will wow many audiences, from editors to the finance department to marketing.

Book proposal BLOG 2

Here are three lessons I learned about writing an awesome book proposal:

  1. Do your research and really know your audience. This is twofold. Know the audience for your book, who is going to read it, but also know the audience who will be reading your proposal. Tailor each section to simultaneously present the facts AND sell your book. Of course don’t sell in a pushy, cheesy, or desperate sort of way, but make your case why your book needs to be published – and back up that opinion.
  2. Get help from others. This was such a wonderful boost for me when I got sick of my proposal, having worked on it for weeks straight, to gain a new set of eyes. Ask friends or family to help research statistics or surf Amazon to compile a book list of comparable titles. These are people who have watched you write your masterpiece and now they are invested as well in seeing you succeed. All in all, I had four other people outside myself help with my proposal – and I am incredibly grateful. My mom, an avid memoir reader, read my book proposal multiple times, her first go around noticing a giant gap. I likely would have missed that hole entirely without her.
  3. Spend a good chunk of time on your marketing plan. I read countless guides, studied how other books were marketed and daydreamed about the right marketing trajectory for my story. Now, I feel tremendously excited about that stage of the process – which is a good thing if publishers are passing the bulk of marketing responsibilities on to authors. With a very specific and clear plan, writers are able to jump right into marketing activities that will ensure their book is a success.

What stage of the proposal writing process are you at?

What have you learned from writing your book proposal?

Later this summer I will be sharing a book proposal outline, including all the elements you need for success.

Happy writing!


Gerry Dotto Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: Continuing on in the InFocus Alumni photography blog series, I am pleased to introduce Gerry Dotto. Taking the everyday and making it interesting is quite a feat. I hope you enjoy Gerry’s images and the way he expounds on them.

Welcome Gerry!




On a recent trip to Boston, I visited the Museum of Fine Arts to see an exhibition of works by two historically prominent photographers: Herb Ritts and Gordon Parks. It was a great show, and the impact of seeing iconic photos up close and in person really left an impression. This experience truly underscores the importance of getting one’s photographs printed and, if the occasion arises, put on display. It’s one thing to look at a digital image on the screen, but it’s no comparison to a well-printed photograph that allows you to truly appreciate the tone, the light and the detail.


copyright Gerry Dotto

“Stickers or Stamps, Crutches or Stilts” 2014, Digital print on photo paper 22” x 17” (55.9 x 43.2 cm) image size Edition of 30, copyright Gerry Dotto

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the InFocus Edmonton exhibition, where I showed a photo from a series I’ve been developing called “Flow of Traffic Theory.” My work is conceptual in nature and is based on exploring our interaction with everyday forms of visual communication. This series originated from my fascination with the simplicity and universality of the imagery used on road signs. Specifically, signs whose words and symbols have become obscured or distorted in some way.


Peach Inspediment - Composite 1, 2014, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 16” (55.9 x 40.6 cm) image size, Edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

Peach Inspediment – Composite 1, 2014,
Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 16” (55.9 x 40.6 cm) image size, Edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

Over the course of the last several years, I’ve kept a keen eye out for road signs that have been damaged, run over, victims of adverse weather or compromised by construction. The interesting thing is that these signs are generally overlooked by drivers—no need to look at a sign that can’t be read. The signs, in effect, become “invisible.” The value of these signs, relative to the message they once carried, has been lost. They now take on an aesthetic value of their own, either in their appearance, the reinterpretation of their message or based on the context of their physical location. The images in this series set out to reveal the relative beauty of these objects that have lost their inherent value.


"Red Cross" 2012, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 15.5” (55.9 x 39.4 cm) image size, edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

“Red Cross” 2012, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 15.5” (55.9 x 39.4 cm) image size, edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

During the run of the InFocus Edmonton exhibition, I met a few photographers whose work I was familiar with but hadn’t had the occasion to meet yet. Seeing my work in relation to theirs, as well as other photos in the show, fostered some new perspectives on how I approached my own picture making. I realized that many of my photos of road signs were taking on human characteristics, in the sense that I was portraying them like they were portraits of people—people wearing masks. What are they hiding? Is it about insecurity? A secret identity? Is it a game? In the end, these photos offer more questions than answers.


Ultimately, photography is a medium about “showing” what’s in our world and, in theory, it captures “truth.” The photographic print remains the best medium for revealing the photographer’s vision. Personally, I benefitted from this exhibition experience when deeper aspects of my own work were revealed to me. While I set out to show the world my vision, I’m hiding from it, too. You can see more of my work on my website,, or contact me at



The Quiet Rebuild in The Bellingham Review

I am honored to have three of my fine art photographs featured in the recent issue of the Bellingham Review. Their Spring 2015, seventieth-Issue arrived in my mailbox all the way from Western Washington University. I am always impressed with publications that merge multiple art forms into one. Placing photography and art beside written literature is wildly stimulating for readers – who are also viewers.


My images in The Quiet Rebuild are about the resiliency of the human spirit to press on after hardship. The people included in the portraits are volunteer models who responded to a public call. They felt that participating would be a healing step on their journey – and I believe they are right. The Quiet Rebuild is an exciting and provocative project with a big heart. I am always blessed by the people that pose and share their stories.

Alexis Marie Chute Bellingham Review art photography blog

If you would like to be one of them, email me at with the subject: The Quiet Rebuild.