Life's little surprises.
I have arrived at a point, re: "the new snapshot, where I have a sizeable body of work all made while sitting on my butt on my Adirondack chair on my back porch. I most certainly was not attempting to make a body of work with that POV M.O. as my guiding light. Nevertheless, over time, there it is.
Were I to name this body of work-and I will-the name must be My Tribute to André Kertesz. The reason for that title is rather straight forward ... late in his life Kertesz was a broken man who had lost his direction. He began his successful recovery from that state of mind when he began making pictures soley within the confines of his apartment or from the windows thereof. The making of those pictures was accomplished with his exclusive use of a Polaroid SX-70 camera.
So, a simple camera (my iPhone) and making pictures in a confined area (my back porch) are my connection to Mr. Kertesz and his work. I don't know how late in life Kertesz was when he began his SX-70 work but, at 70, I guess I'm kinda late in life as well. Fortunately, I am not a broken man (mentally, emotionally or physically), have not lost my direction nor am I in need of any kind of recovery.
All of that written, there has been a book sitting unused on one of my bookshelves for many years. That book, André Kertesz The Polaroids, has, as of today, recaptured my attention. It is a beautiful book - the reproduction, the design / paper / binding, and, of course, André Kertesz's pictures. I would highly recommend it as must read / view to help any picture maker understand the picture making potential to be found in the most unsuspecting of places.
While indulging in the debunking of an oft heard quote-"The best camera is the one you have with you."-Mike Johnston highlighted a reader's comment which read (in part)
"Color pictures have to work harder to mean anything." I like that line. B&W cuts to the essence of a subject ...
iMo, Johnston should have debunked the reader's comment while he was in a debunking frame of mind. Of course, Johnston has an oft stated preference for BW pictures, both the making and viewing thereof, so he might be hard pressed not to second that idea.
On the other hand I have no such preference so I have no difficulty at all in writing that I believe the idea of BW's supposed superiority over color in getting "to the essence of a subject" is utter nonsense. Now I certainly think I could write quite a long essay regarding why I believe the aforementioned idea is a load of self-serving crappola, but I won't. Instead let me proffer just one particular point.
BW picture making as the pinnacle of picture making is a concept which has come and gone. Prior to the advent of modern-era color film, making pictures with color film was an iffy proposition inasmuch as the early color films were less than perfect. The colors produced were not very accurate-some greatly exagerated other non existent-relative to real world colors and extended exposure latitude was the stuff of dreams.
As a result, "serious" picture makers worked within the confines of the BW picture making genre. Results could be tailor made - film contrast / tonal / grain control with the use of various developers and an veritable cornucopia of paper choices with a wide range of characteristics were the order of the day. "Serious" picture makers most often had their own special recipe for getting exactly the results they desired and they were/are as obsessed with getting their work flow "right" as any digital color picture makers of today.
All of that written, no matter the genre-color or BW-one chooses to work in/with, it is not the genre which works hard to get to the essence of a subject. Rather, it is the picture maker who needs to work hard in order to "master" the genre with/in which they ply their talents. In either case, a picture maker who has "mastered" their genre has the ability to make pictures which successfully represent the esssence of his/her subject. And have no doubt about it, "mastering" either genre-color/BW-is an skill / art unto itself.
Just keeping on keeping on, picture making wise
FYI, the infared-ish pictures are made using the BW>Infared filter found on the PS Express app together with additional processing using the Snapseed app. After the Snapseed processing the pictures are then run through the Polamatic app with the Polaroid 600 film effect applied. The source pictures are made with the iPhone 7 Plus camera module.
iMo, the resultant pictures are more like high-key BW than infared in appearance. Though, without a doubt, there is a somewhat infared look to the pictures but I would place them at the extreme edge of the infared neighborhood, look wise. Hence, I call them infared-ish.
Whatever one might call them, I like the look and, while making them, I am having more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.
FYI, the infared filter in PS Express works best-for my intentions-with pictures which have a lot of green in them and not too much saturated yellows.
The gargoyle depicted in this entry is a reproduction of a gargoyle which adorns the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The gargoyle's expression reflects how I feel about the Las Vegas shooting massacre.
One of the first things that came to my mind upon reading about the Las vegas massacre was the 1966 University of Texas Tower shooting. In that event, for 90+ minutes the shooter rained rifle fire down upon people, killing 17 and wounding 30 more.
The 2 events are remarkedly similar with one notable exception. The Texas shooter did not use automatic weapons which thankfully resulted in "only" 47 casualties. Contrast that with the Las Vegas shooting in which the shooter was armed with multiple weapons which had been converted to automatic firing capabilities. That difference resulted in 58 deaths and 500+ wounded IN LESS THAN 11 MINUTES.
My anger, re: the Las Vegas massacre, is not directed at the shooter but rather at the (primarily) GOP members of Congress who refuse to address the issue of automatic weapons for just about anyone who wants them. Those weapons are the weapons-of-choice for every mentally unstable perpetrator who seeks to commit mass carnage.
Some simple facts - the US has 50% of guns in private hands in the world. The US has a gun-related homicide rate that dwarfs the rest of the world combined. States with more guns have more homicides than those with fewer guns. States with more guns have higher death rates for law enforcement personel than those with fewer guns.
There are those who claim that guns don't kill people, rather that people kill people. However, the fact is that people with guns kill people. The 2 factors-guns/people-are inseparable. They are inextricably linked and, since we can't eliminate people from that equation, that leaves guns as the only component of that equation which can be addressed.
To do nothing in the face of 1,518 mass shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting-(1,715 deaths/6,000 wounded)-is nothing more than a criminal act.
FYI, to be absolutely clear on the matter, I do not suggest that gun ownership should be eliminated. I suggest that gun ownership needs to be subjected to common sense regulation.
If a medium is representational by nature of the realistic image formed by a lens, I see no reason why we should stand on our heads to distort that function. On the contrary, we should take hold of that very quality, make use of it, and explore it to the fullest. - Berenice Abbott
Now consider this:
Writing as a picture maker who has been, for the most part, a committed practioner of straight picture making, I whole heartedly endorse the preceding quote. However, inasmuch as I have recently strayed from the straight (and narrow) I have had a few thoughts, re: straight picture making. FYI, rest assured that my commitment to straight picture making is as secure as ever. However ...
... the thought has occurred to me that one of the photo medium's problems in being considered as an art form is, in fact, the very idea that a photo is just a realistic image of real-world referents and nothing more. While the statement, That's a beautiful picture, is often heard, that statement is directed, more often than not, at the depicted referent as opposed to the picture as a thing in and of itself.
While a similar statement-change "picture" to "painting"-could be made, a painting, however, is almost always considered by a viewer thereof to be art (good, bad, or indifferent). Whereas a photo is most always considered to be just a picture of something. And, as we all know, anyone can take a photo but it takes a "real artist" to make a painting.
Since the beginning of time, picture making wise, many picture makers (Photo Division) have been devoted to making "art" by veering away from the straight (and narrow) and lathering up photos with a lot of art sauce, re: visual effects - especially effects which are part and parcel of the painting genre. The new world of digital picture making has only added to that proclivity. In most applications, the effects are intented to negate the relationship of the picture to realistic representation.
Other picture makers have come to the conclusion that they can make "art" by picturing only "spectacular" referents. And in doing so, they typically add as much art sauce as possible by making those pictures in the most dramtic manner possible ... warm directional light, wide angle / telephoto lenses, ND filters to make dramatic skies, and other dramatic picture making techniques.
All of that written, now consider this:
The coffee cup / reflected light picture in this entry. If it were a painting, most viewers would consider it to be art. Afterall, it is a painting, made by an artist. As a photo, most viewers would consider it to be a picture of a coffee cup and inquire, Why did you take a picture of that?
FYI, the above commentary should not be understood to be a complaint nor a rant. It is just an observation in the cause of creating some food for thought.