“I specialize in photos of public sculptures and architecture, always trying to find the obscure out of the sculpture and historic architecture,” Yablonsky says. His body of work includes works by master sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French and Isamu Noguchi, to contemporary artists involved in community public art projects. His photographs are only taken when a rare combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions are present in the scene to highlight the sculpture and its environment. All photos are hand printed using a traditional darkroom on fiber paper and are selenium toned to increase their archival permanence.
Yablonsky made photography his career in 2003 when he found himself looking for a change after leaving his engineering job. “I went for creativity and photography was something that was already growing out of control in my life so I started teaching.” In addition to MD Hall, where he began teaching in 2017, Yablonsky also teaches at the Smithsonian, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, VisArts in Rockville and Anne Arundel Community College, among others. His classes at Maryland Hall range from the technical in How Do I Use my Digital Camera to the experiential and creative in Travel Photography.
“I want to teach people who want to learn how to use their camera, how to use every button and help them develop their eye. Whether that’s film or digital,” Yablonsky says. For those ready to take their photography skills out into the world, Yablonsky’s Annapolis at Night is an alternative learning experience. Students get out of the classroom and get immediate feedback in the field. Bring gloves for this year’s class – it takes place downtown during Midnight Madness! “You’re only cold for three hours and then you have the photos for the rest of your life. It’s a blast,” Yablonsky says. All classes are for all skill levels and interest and open to digital or film shooters.
In a digitally driven world, Yablonsky strays away from apps and editing. He is not keen on post-production work and he teaches his students how to take photos that don’t require it. “Students in my classes gain a much better understanding of how to use their camera and how to take better photos on a more consistent basis, without relying on post production,” he says. The key is to “think more and shoot less -- do more thinking before you press the shutter release button -- and therefore take less photos. And learn from both your successes and your mistakes.”
Yablonsky designs his classes to create a strong foundation of the concepts of photography that help photographers find their own vision. When asked what his greatest accomplishment as a teacher is, he says, “Seeing when people get it; when they truly understand and move forward and the material becomes second nature.”
As for his favorite place to take photos in Annapolis? The answer is easy: “wherever the light is good,” he says.