trees ~ for juried exhibition

autumn / cherries ~ instagram filter

spring saplings / bog ~(embiggenable)

city evening / full moon ~ (embiggenable)

Picture submissions for juried exhibition. The exhibition title is Honoring Trees and I have submitted 6 pictures - presented here as diptychs but submitted as individual pictures.

iMo, I don't believe that, in making photographs, one "honors" trees by using them as fodder for applied effects. For my eye and sensibilities, doing so denigrates trees - I mean, what? ... trees as they appear in the natural world aren't good enough to be honored? They need to be tarted up in order to be considered worthy of "honor"?

That wriiten, I have hedged my bet with my submissions by submitting 2 straight color pictures, 2 straight B&W pictures and 2 pictures proceeded with my proprietary instagram filter.

I have submitted the "instagram-ed" pictures for 2 reasons; 1) as previously mentioned, I want to test the juried waters, re: pictures with applied effects, which seems to be currently all the rage for jurors, and, 2) the single picture displayed in the call for entries for this exhibition was, you guessed it, a picture of a tree with effects applied.

I have done so by conveniently ignoring the wife's opnion that I am "selling out". That I am "pandering to the juror's (apparent) picture making prejudice". Points taken, but what the hell? .... every once in a while a little rationalization helps gone get through the day.

kitchen sink # 39 ~ the problem with photography

drain stopper (embiggenable)

If the purpose of art is to be, if not appreciated, at least seen, then photographs as art are at an extreme disadvantage.

The problem, iMo, is that making photographs is relatively easy as compared to painting, sculpture and other visual arts. Because it is easy, the world is awash in photographs, even very good photographs, and there simply aren't enough galleries in which they can be seen. That is, seen in the way a photograph must be seen to be appreciated, i.e., as prints on a wall.

A substanial part of the problem, re: not enough galleries, is the fact that, in order to survive, a gallery must make money and the only way it can do so is by the sale of prints. Unfortunately, for the serious but unknown very good picture makers, the only sales worth pursuing (for a gallery) are those prints by known picture makers whose prints are sold to serious collectors for thousands of dollars - more often than not, 5-figure thousands of dollars - in very limited editions (usually 10 or less).

The limited-edition 5-figure sales model, in a very real sense, is antithetical to one of the photography medium's unique and intrinsic characteristics - the ablility to create from a single film frame / digital file an unlimited number of original prints. However, serious art collectors are not interested in acquiring an piece of art which could be labeled as "mass-produced". Hence, limited edition prints, the smaller the edition the better.

So, given that model, the question arises, could a gallery survive by selling "reasonably" priced open-edition prints - a reasonable price being in the $200-300 range (keep in mind that a gallery typically takes 40-50% of the sale price)? The answer is, most likely not. Why? The market for reasonably priced photography prints is very limited. Why? Because photography is perceived as too easy. After all, why pay $220-300 for a print when one can make one for oneself?

I have had some sucess in prints sales. Primarily during a period when I concentrated on making pictures of a particular location in the Adirondacks which fortunately had a gallery, albeit a crafts gallery with a small dedicated photography room. That, together with substantial sales generated from a nearby up-scale resort in the same location, resulted in quite a number of sales even though my prices were at least double those of other pictures on display in the gallery.

In any event, I may have the opportunity to open a gallery - most likely an artist co-op gallery - in a very high tourist traffic location - with a very very low-cost lease. Ridiculously low, in fact. The purpose of the gallery would be to showcase photography prints (mine and those made by others) intended to be offered at reasonable open-edition prices.

In order for this venture to work there would have to be an emphasis on the display of photographs of the NE / High Peaks region of the Adirondacks - not of my kitchen sink - inasmuch as the primary market would be tourists to the area. Could it work? Maybe, maybe not. The only way to find out is for me to make the time commitment needed to give it a try.

civilized ku # 5053 (kitchen life) ~ bad pennies

late night trash ~ Au sable Forks, NY - ItAP (embiggenable)

The digital era of photography is often credited with changing the medium and its apparatus (aka: coventions). Much has been written and opined on the subject. A subject which I find rather vacuous; aka: silly, inane, unintelligent, insipid, foolish, stupid, fatuous, idiotic, brainless, witless, vapid, vacant, empty-headed. iMo, the same could be, in fact, should be said / written about the subject of the rules for picture making, printing, etc.

iMo, both topic are like a bad penny, so, let me set the record straight on both topics ...

re: has the medium and its apparatus changed as the result of the introduction of the digital picture makiing era? .... Granting that the tools of picture making have changed, the simple fact is that good pictures are not about tools. Good pictures are about seeing and its close relative, vision and good pictures are what picture making is all about - same it ever was.

ASIDE: What is a good picture? The most direct answer to that question is that a good picture is one which pricks the eye and sensibilities of the viewer. But of course, that means many different things to many different people. Art critics, opinion makers, and trend setters aside, what is a good picture is all in the eye and mind of the beholder. Or, it could be written that one does know how to describe what is a good picture but one knows one when one sees it.

CAVEAT: That written, it must be rememebered that, as the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus said, "quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum" (what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others).

re: the rules of photography, printing,etc. .... getting right to the point, these words from Sir Ansel express it all; "There are no rules for good photographs there are only good photographs." Or, there is the opinion of Edward Weston; "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk."

Or, as I might state it; "I don't need no stinkin' rules."

That written, it could be accurately stated that Sir Ansel had rules aplenty for making his pictures (the Zone System, et al). However, here's the important thing, they were his rules. He made them up in order to facilitate the making of what he considered to be a good photograph. And that exercise is precisely what any picture maker should do, make up rules which suit your manner of seeing and which express your vision. Every other rule is unadulterated crap.

In conclusion ... 1) the medium of photography and its apparatus (conventions) are the same as it ever was - John Szarkowski, in his book The Photographer's Eye, made clear (to the thinking mind) that photography is and always has been about the same 5 things: the thing itself, the detail, the frame, time and vantage point. iMo, he got it right and I simply can not see what has changed.

2) there are no rules for making good pictures, there are only good pictures. Some have opined that a picture maker should learn the rules and then learn how to break them. Seems like a waste of time to me. iMo, one's time is better spent learning about and understanding how one sees - something that comes from the inside, not from external influence. It's sort like Intuition vs. Rationality ...

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." ~ Albert Einstein

civilized ku # 5052 (the light) / diptych # 217 ~ la la how the life goes on

AM light on empty wine bottle ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - ItAP (embiggenable)

emerging / receding ~ SUNY Canton - Canton, NY (embiggenable)

Plugging along working on refining my instragram-like "filter" which is actually a series of customizable image-bending steps. While I will be posting some examples as I go along, I am posting every instagram-like picture on instagram @ hobsonspictures.

Meanwhile, my eye is wide open and my sensibilities on alert for straight picture making opportunities. Next week I will be visiting NYC and the Boston area so I expect there will opportunities aplenty.

instagram-ish # 1-3 ~ only because I can

For reasons known only by my inner demons, I have been playing around making my own "instragram filters". I wrote "known only by my inner demons" because, as a practioner of straight photography, when it comes to effects for effects sake, I ain't fer it, I'm agin it. So, obviously, this is truly a case of the devil made me do it.

However, there is a more straight forward rationale for this sseemingly bizzare behavior. It seems, from my experience with juried exhibitions and my observations of pictures selected, that no matter theme of an exhibition photo-effects are de rigueur. So, amongst my submissions for an exhibition, Honoring Trees, there will be, in addition to my straight pictures of trees, a few "instragram filter"-like pictures. Just to test the waters, don'tcha know.

I must admit that part of my "experiment" is to see if one of instagramish pictures is accepted into the exhibition so that I can say/write, "Ha. there, I did it".

civilized ku # 5051 ~ it's back

sunlight, chairs, feet ~ wedding in New Jersey (embiggenable)

During my recent visit to New Jersey I had 2 experiences which confirmed 1 thing that I already knew and another thing which I believe to be true.

Thing # 1: the snapshooter camera market is vanishing fast. Small pocketable fixed-lense cameras are disappearing like ... say ... film. Not that I needed any evidence to confirm that but, if evidence is what you want, there was evidence aplenty at the wedding I attended. The event was attended by 200-250 guests. To my knowledge - confirmed by observation - there were only 3 cameras (not counting the professional wedding crew) at the event. 2 were mine, the other belonged to my stepson. The rest of the crowd was merrily picturing away with their cell phones and I have no doubt that thousands of pictures were made at that event ...

... thousands of really crappy pictures, that is. One needed only to look on facebook during the following week to see a sea of bad pictures - noisy with camera shake in ample evidence - made at that event. That said, I am reasonably certain that those who made the pictures think they are just fine for their purposes.

Their purposes were to look at and share the pictures on lo-res media - social media, the phone screen, etc. - as a form of instant gratification. I am also reasonably certain that very few, if any, of the cell phone created pictures with ever be made into prints. Which brings me to Thing # 2 ...

Printed pictures: there is a camera store in New Jersey which has a large banner on display which reads: It's not a photograph until it's printed. That's a sentiment with which I completely agree with all of my picture making heart and soul.

Very few of the cell phone picture making generation ever make a print of their pictures. I must also write that I am often astonished by the fact that so many picture making enthusiasts rarely make prints as well .... what's the point of making images with enthusiast gear without making prints and hanging them on one's walls?

AN ASIDE: Currently, in my house, there are 34 of my prints hanging on various walls. In addition, there are 21 photo books, one 12 print portfolio box and a stack of 400 4x4 prints sitting about the place on coffee / end tables. Each book has, on average, 20 pictures. So, that brings the total number of printed pictures available for viewing in my house to approximately 870 pictures. End of ASIDE

In any event, I was heartened by the fact that an inlaw was passing around her kitchen table - where a number of family members were gathered for a morning after breakfast / get-together - a couple photo books and prints from a recent vacation. She was extolling the pleasure of having actual hold-them-in-your-hand pictures. So much so that she was downloading an app from a POD photo book site on everyone's phones. A site which offers 1 free photo book and a number of free prints a month to their app users.

It is my belief that a significant number of the cell phone picture making crowd has reached a pictures-stored-on-a-device saturation level. A saturation level which a number of online POD photo book and print sources have identified and are using the lost leader marketing idea to harness that emerging desire for photographic prints.

Hallelujah! Looks like a resurgence of photographic prints is in the works.

I believe the app my sister-in-law was so thrilled about can be seen here. Like Mikey was heard to say, "Try it, you'll like it."

canon of proportions (AMENDED) # 1-2 ~ Thinking inside the circle

hotel window view ~ Cherry Hill, NJ (embiggenable)

red berries ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - ItAP (embiggenable)

A few days ago I was contemplating da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, or, as it is sometimes called, the Canon of Proportions. It occurred to me that, while da Vinci's drawing was his solution to the Vitruvian Man problem (which had eluded mathematicians and geometricians for almost 2000 years) - how does the human body fit into both a circle and a square? - the circle and the square play a big part in my picture making idealogy ....

.... to wit, all lenses project a circular image which, in the particulars of making a picture, is then cropped by the frame imposed upon a light sensitive substrate by a camera's given format. In my case, that format is a square and the square is integral to my way of seeing.

Consequently, in my Canon of Proportions, my square is extracted from the center of a circle - da Vinci had to offset his square to find his solution - for the "perfect" proportions which best suit my eye and sensibilities. So, here I am again making pictures about the medium of photography and its (non-gear) apparatus.

civilized ku # 5048-51 (people) ~ making the most of it

she's got legs ~ (embiggenable)

belly laugh ~ (embiggenable)

contemplation ~ (embiggenable)

happy happy ~ (embiggenable)

clapping ~ (embiggenable)

Been away. Thursday last went to Hooksett, NH for a hockey tournament. Rented car in order to drive to Boston at 5:00AM Sunday to catch an 8:00AM flight to Philadelphia. Spent 12 hours on Sunday at a wedding - ceremony, reception, after -party, after after-party. Diner breakfast with in-laws on Monday AM then the 6.5 hour drive home where we arrived safe, sound and exhausted at around 7PM. Yesterday was devoted to R&R.

While at the wedding, I made some pictures, some of which were made by means of channelling my friend Mel's flash-on-camera shoot-from-the-hip - literally from the hip without the use of a viewfinder - B&W style of wedding photography. Although, I did take a few quick glances at the LED viewing screen.

Really like the results. It almost makes me want to attend more weddings. Almost, but not quite.