Didn’t bring my laptop so I have to post using the Squarespace app which is really crappy. I’m hoping that some pictures are better for you than no pictures. In any event when I return home on Wednesday, I’ll restructure this mess.
Recently the idea of reading books, re: the history of photography, come up on TOP. I was tempted to post a comment but I didn't.
That written, I have given thought to, given my truly vast and comprehensive knowledge of the medium and its apparatus, writing a history of photography. However, I have rejected that idea inasmuch as finding a publisher interested in publishing a 1 page book would be probably be a difficult task. Although I could break it up into chapters but there would still be only 5 sentences....
THE HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography was invented.
People started making pictures.
People continued making pictures.
They are still making pictures.
Look at the pictures.
.... it's brilliant, concise and gets right to the meat of the matter.
That written, I have several books, re: the history of photography, such as, PHOTOGRAPHY ~ from 1839 to today, published by the George Eastman House, aka: Eastman Museum. It's 800 pages and, coincidentally, I have read less than 5 sentences although I have looked at a lot of the pictures.
That book, like all of the others like it, present the history of photography almost exclusively from the standpoint of the great and lesser known "masters" of the medium. You might think that an 800 page book with 1 or more pictures on every page would have a fair number of surprises, picture wise, but that is not the case. There's a lot of same-o, same-o seen that before.
AND, here's my main gripe about such books ... they, at best gloss over, at worst ignore completely, the greatest movement of the medium, the history of snapshot making. Which, iMvio, is ridiculous inasmuch as there have been more-by an unfathomable multiplication factor-snapshots made over the course of the medium's existence than all of the picture making genres (fine art, journalism, advertising, et al) put together. This fact is understandable since most, if not all, photography histories are undertaken by academics.
Fortunately, there is one book (that I know of) that addresses that omission, THE ART OF THE AMERICAN SNAPSHOT-1888-1978. The book has 294 pages, 250 pictures (drawn from the collection of a single individual) and is divided into 4 sections-determined by era-each with an essay written by a different author. It is chock full of surprises and delights, picture wise, and the essays address the interdependence of snaphot making with each era's culture. The essays are a kinda chicken or the egg exercise inasmuch as they posit the question, did the cultural paradgm of each era dictate what people made pictures? of or did the pictures people made help influence and change the cultural paradgm of that era? The book is facsinating no matter how you look (or read) at it.
In my picture making life, there have been only 2 books which greatly influenced my picture making thoughts and activities. The first was the new color photography (by Sally Eauclaire published in 1981), which surveys the work of then-emerging modern photographers and compares and analyzes their use of color. Long out of print but considered a classic. Used copies are generally available and one bonus of owning the book is that you can read my name in the acknowlegements. The second book is the ART OF THE AMERICAN SNAPSHOT.
If I were to be banished to a desert island (with internet and wifi / cell connections), those are the 2 books I'm bringing with me along with, of course, my iPhone, my iPad, a BOSE wireless speaker and a lifetime supply of Cheez•its. Both books are highly recommended.
All pictures embiggenable
This Tuesday past was the start of the better part of a month of travel. It seems that, while I am traveling, I make a lot of pictures and that propensity has held true over the past few days.
Tuesday and Wednesday were local-ish travel days. Tuesday was a 180 mile round trip to Blue Mountain Lake where I meet with Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts gallery director to discuss the details of my upcoming exhibition. Picture wise, the result of that venture was the landscape pictures above. All of those pictures were made in the rain.
Yesterday, it was another 180 mile round trip to Glens Falls (just outside of the southeast corner of the Adirondack PARK) to transport my grandson Hugo to an endodontist appointment. After that we drove by the Hyde Collection Museum to check out what was on exhibit and, as chance would have it, the featured exhibit was of Kodak Colorama pictures. I had seen a similar exhibit at the Geoge Eastman House, aka: Eastman Museum, but at the Hyde there were quite number of Colorama pictures I had not seen prior.
I must admit that, at this aged perspective point in my life, I found the pictures to be somewhat humorist-as in,if you don't laugh, you might cry-and full on depictions of innocence-lost naivete. They brought to mind the lines from the song Kodachrome:
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
In fact, there were quite a few pictures of sunny days but, figuratively writing, all of the pictures implied that every day, indoor or out, was a "sunny" day. Ahhhh, the grand and glorious American '50s when all was right with the world.
Travel wise, next up-this Sunday-Wednesday-is a 4 day visit to Quebec City with Hugo for our annual Grandpa / Grandson Spring Break Trip. The following Sunday, the wife and I depart from NYC on our train-around-part-of-America trip - the Southern Crescent train to New Orleans (30 hours w sleeping compartment and dining car) for 4 days to include the Jazz Festival. Then The City of New Orleans train to Chicago (20 hours w sleeping compartment and dining car) for 4 days to include lots of blues music, "legendary" Chicago steaks and a 2 day car trip to Racine, Wis. to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Johnson Wax complex. After which, it's back on a train, The Lake Shore Limited (20 hours w sleeping compartment and dining car), for the return to NYC.
There will be pictures.
In my last entry I wrote, re: my groupings, that some objects have special meaning and others do not. One grouping which has special meaning is the so-called coma girl grouping.
During her first week at college, our daughter Maggie was found unconscious on her dorm room floor. She was transported to a hospital where she became very agitated and somewhat combative. Consequently, she was placed in a medically-induced coma where she remained for 4 days while a team of medical specialists tested her for the cause of her condition (alchohol and drugs were immediately ruled out).
Long story short, no definitive cause was ever determined. She was eased out of the coma and placed under the immediate and long term care of a neurologist who eventually proscribed a med (she was on the med for 3 years) and she was released from the hospital. So, for her, it was back to college and life returned to normal.
Just before her release from the hospital, I dubbed Maggie as the coma girl. The name stuck for a while. The following Xmas, Maggie gifted me with a the above pictured minature hospital set.
all pictures embiggenable and iPhone made
An article in yesterday's NYTimes caught my attention. The title, Art Is Where the Home Is subtitled, Two gallery shows make a case for the nourishing aspects of objects in artists’ lives. The article began with this:
Artists are picky people. The objects they live with — furniture, artifacts, ceramics, works by other artists — are usually carefully chosen, and they look it. They highlight an artist’s personal or aesthetic connections (or both), and clarify the nourishment objects can give us.
After reading the article I decided it was time to take stock of the objects in my home so I grabbed my iPhone and went to work. My survey, while not completely comprehensive, gives a good/accurate accounting of where my objects interest lie. Which, in a nutshell, could be described as small objects of a somewhat elclectic nature. Some of which have life-meaning for me, some of which are just weirdly cool.
Again, from the article:
The shows ... form a meditation on some of the ways artists sustain themselves and their art.
Re: the above excerpt. I'll be honest, I have never thought that my groupings (as I have now named them) have contributed to the way I sustain myself and my art. However, this article is making me think that I need to think about that idea. Or not.
In the overall scheme of things pyscho-analytical, the objects I have chosen to be part of my daily life undoubtedly have something to say about me. On the other hand, is that someting I need to care about? I mean, I have known for most of my life that I am somewhat of an outlier inasmuch as a part of me is rather mainstream but there is another part of me that is quite the opposite in many ways.
And, suffice it to say, I have always embraced the outlier part of me and it is that part of me which really differentiates me from the crowd. And, the outlier in me most certainly drives what pricks my eye and sensibilities and, consequently, drives the how and the what of my picture making.
All of the above written, I do like my quirky objects. They do, in fact, bring a certain amount of joy to my daily life. Joy, of course, could accurately be described as an emotional and intellectual nourishment. So, much to the wife's chagrin (she thinks I have too much "stuff"), I will keep, cherish and keep on adding to my groupings.
There are times when my picture making gets caught in a loop. Over the past few days that loop has been cycling through the notion of looking out of windows. There is no particular reason for that that I can discern.
I've been thinking about a number of things, picture making wise, influenced by some the rambling on TOP - backup, storage, archives, et al. The one item that keeps coming back to my thinking space is the idea of prints.
On the walls of my house, there 68 (of my pictures) prints. On tables and in bookcases there are 25 POD photobooks + 3 "coffee table" hardbound books featuring my pictures. Not to mention, I am prepping 160 prints for my upcoming solo exhibition, my 6th solo exhition. So, suffice it to write, I am a firm believer in prints (of one kind or another).
That written, I have never been able to understand why someone would make pictures and not make prints. What would be the point?
Conventional wisdom has it that fewer picture makers are making prints. While that may be true of the legions of happy cell phone snappers, I don't believe that is true of the more "serious" picture makers. With the advent of good quality desktop printers, I believe that "serious" pictures are, most likely, making more prints than ever before. After all, good quality prints are much cheaper (after the cost of a printer) and, dare I write, easier to make than ever before.
FYI, the reason I write that it "may be true", re: making fewer prints, of the legion of cell phone snappers is that, with the advent of online POD print suppliers, it may be true that even they too are making more prints than ever before.
However, the wife (part of whose mission in life is to correct me when I'm wrong) has pointed out that, in the camera toting analog picture making past, "casual" picture makers all made prints, or more accurately, had prints made at the drugstore or similar place. And, I must admit, she has a point. However ....
.... today, more people than ever before have a "camera" in their possesion and on their person, albeit a cell phone. It is my belief that many of those people are also having prints made.
Case in point, every drugstore, chain mega-stores and other locations in or nearby my neck of the woods (I live in a forest preserve) has a walk up self-sevice kiosk for print making. And, few and far beteen are the nuber of times I have been in such a place (I never go to chain meg-stores) that there is not someone at the kiosk. And, of course, there is the (some might say) glut of online print making sources.
Does that prove that more prints made by casual picture makers are being made than ever before? I not making a bet with the wife (I'd hate to be proven wrong) on that proposition but ....
....suffice it to write, I do believe that the death of print making has been greatly exaggerated.
Been rather too busy to post-prepping for my upcoming Adirondack Snapshot Project solo exhibition. However, I have followed a recent post on TOP, re: cell phone picture making.
As I followed the comments, I become both amused and annoyed. Amused by the ignorance, re: cell phone picture making capabilities, and by the predjudice toward "real" cameras as the only device for "serious" picture making. Annoyed, as my amusement, re: the presceeding, gradually turned into annoyance. That written, I am pretty good at reading between the lines and what I read there is, iMo, very telling, re: the 2 main types of picture makers.
CAVEAT re: the 2 main types of picture makers. What follows could be considered as a gross simplification. Nevertheless ..... iMo, there are 2 types of picture makers (excluding pro photogs), "serious" amateur photographers and artists. The difference between the 2 types-independent of the kind of pictures they make-is found in their respective additudes toward their picture making equipment.END OF CAVEAT To wit ....
A. "Serious" amateur picture makers have a serious relationship with their gear. They search out and acquire / use-a never ending quest-the "best" of everything, picture making wise-sensors, cameras, lenses, processing software, color printing profiles, printer, et al. For the most part, they believe the "best" pictures can only be made with the "best" equipment inasmuch as the "best" pictures must exhibit both technical and technique virtuosity.
CAVEAT # 2 Lest anyone think I am casting aspersions on "serious" amateur picture makers, in my defense let me write that I am a firm believer in Julian's grandmother's adage that, "For every pot there's a lid." And, picture making has many pots.END OF CAVEAT
B. Artists-Medium of Photography and Its Apparatus* Division-tend to pick a camera (selected from any and all formats / types), a lens (yes, most artists use but a single lens) and a single preferred manner of printing their work. Then they forget all about it and go out and make pictures.
FYI, the 1 thing that the 2 types has in common is that they both choose the equipment that best suits their picture making intensions.
So, reading between the lines, my point is this .... "serious" amateur picture makers consider cell phone picture making to be an inferior system for the making of "serious" pictures, suitable only for making snapshots and visual record keeping. On the other hand, artists are open to any and all picture making systems in the pursuit of their picture making because, for them, it's all about the end result. That is, it's not about the gear, it's all about expressing their unique vision.
CAVEAT # 3 Have no doubt about it, I am not a fan of those pictures made by "serious" amateurs picture makers. That works tends to follow along the line of what Brooks Jensen labeled as making pictures like what one has been told are good pictures. He also opined that "real" photography begins when one stops making pictures like what one has been told are good pictures and begins making pictures of what ones sees.
* in this context, "apparatus" means, a complex structure within an organization or system.