civilized ku # 3667-75 ~ a weekend haul o' pictures

see them all in one file ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

all pictures ~ (embiggenable)

Picture making gear is rarely mentioned on this blog other than to re-enforce my oft written idea that gear doesn't matter (it's all about the pictures, stupid). However, there is one piece of picture making equipment for which I am a fanatical advocate ... a photo printer.

It is my strongly held belief that, to my eye and sensiblities, you can make as many image files with a camera as you like, but, they are not pictures until they are made into a thing. That is, a physical / tangible object, in and of itself. If ya ain't makin' prints, y'all have left the party before the fat lady sings.

That written, iMo (and I am most definitely not alone), the only manner in which to truly appreciate a photograph is by viewing a photographic print. Every other viewing platform, with the exception of well printed photo books, is merely a comprimised facsimile of the real thing.

This is especially true of viewing images online. No matter how expertly the file may have been prepared for online viewing, a viewer's impression of it is determined by the calibration, or lack thereof, and quality of his/her device's screen. Even if a device is cailbrated to within an inch of its life, it can never convey a sense of or characteristics of the surface of a print ... something to which persnickety picture print makers devote a lot of attention.

Amongst aother differences, perceptually / emotionally a computer / device screen creates a cool viewing experience whereas a print is perceived by most as a warm viewing experience. Whether a viewers consciously feels it or not, cool is off putting, warm is inviting. In the total viewing scheme of things, to my eye and sensibilities, this maters a lot.

While I could brattle on about the, to me, significant differences between screen and print viewing, what really matters most to me is how an image file, which I may have spent considerable time viewing on my monitior (during the editing / processing thereof), figuratively comes alive when it emerges from my printer. The sensation is rather like I am viewing a different image.

It is my belief that the sensation / feeling of an image "coming alive" is due to the fact that I am looking at a real thing. I can hold it, touch it and appreciate the qualities of its surface. My eyes can move over the image on the surface of a print in a manner they can not on a screen. Then there is the perception of an inky richness and depth which no screen presentation can effect.

All of the above written, my love affair with prints has created something of a problem ... I make a lot of prints. Many more prints than I have wall space to accomodate. A problem which has suggested a solution to which I am not immune ... might be time to convert 2/3s of the space in our 2-car garage into a full-fledged gallery space. Or, alternately, rent a store front space and open a gallery.

civilized ku # 3666 ~ it is what is-just deal with that

And now, a bit of irony* ....

Yesterday, after going off on a stupid idea about the medium of photography and its apparatus (conventions and vernacular, not gear), I reflected upon a quote from Bruce Davidson ...

"I am not interested in showing my work to photographers any more, but to people outside the photo-clique."

I found that comtemplative act to be a very calming antidote for yet another attack of stupid-content trumps all-picture making advice agita. Davidson's quote pretty accurately reflects my position on with whom I most enjoy sharing my pictures.

It would be simple, but not accurate, to write that I don't like sharing my pictures with other picture makers. However, I don't discriminate against other picture makers, per se. Rather, I am sick unto death of those who view my pictures (or pictures made by others) and seem to only see the tools of the trade and their technical application.

That written, it is accurate to write that most of those viewers are, in fact, picture makers. And, conversely, those who view my work, first and foremost, simply as a picture are, for the most part, not dedicated / "serious" picture makers. Consciously or not, they tend to be people looking for an aesthetic experience.

That written, there is an interesting 2-sided division / distinction within the picture making ranks. The dividing line between the 2 camps defined by each camps' picture making intentions.

On one side of the dividing line are those whom I would label as "serious" picture makers. A moniker which I use to describe avid amateur picture makers who are somewhat enraptured with gear and technique. Picture makers who are capable of making nice photographs which are much admired by other "serious" picture makers, but, in fine art world, not so much.

On the other side of the line are picture makers who rarely give a rat's ass about gear and technique. Or, only as much as is needed to create what really matters to them. That is, the print as the final expression of their picture making vision. Picture makers, I would tend to label as artists as opposed to calling them photographers.

At exhibitions of my work those viewers in the first group are easily identified by the fact that, inevitably, they get their noses so close to my prints that, if I had expelled gas while making those prints, they would probably be able smell it. And, after the nose inspection, they approach me and, the first words uttered are, "What camera are you using?"

That behavior stands in direct contrast with that of those in the second group who view the work from a respectful distant-taking in its entirety. If they approach me, their comments tend to be along the lines of, "Nice work / good stuff" and the like ... comments which could be taken as lame platitudes but are often accompanied by extended conversions about an opinion / observation, re: aesthetics. Nary word is heard about gear or technique.

IN CONCLUSION let me borrow a quote from Susan Sontag who, in her essay Against Interpretation was imploring art critics (and by extention, the general art viewing public) to get beyond the obsession with content (meaning) and ...

"...learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more." in order to be " experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself, of things being what they are.

By extention, I would suggest that "serious" picture makers do the same in order to get beyond the obssession with gear / technique when viewing photographs.

*in case you you didn't get it ... I am displaying my pictures on a photo blog which is followed by picture makers.

civilized ku # 5350-53 / ku # 1414-17 ~ a body in motion tends to stay in motion

All pictures embiggenable

rainy Adirondack Spring day ~ µ4/3

back when all was right with the world ~ iPhone

this morning / reflected light ~ iPhone

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.

civilized ku # 5335-48 ~ group nourishment

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.

my only large grouping

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.

civilized ku # 5325 ~ what I see is what you get

trifecta ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Sometimes it's about color. Other times it's about shapes, lines, form. Then there are times when it's about light. In the case of today's picture, it's about all 3. Occasionally, it's actually about the referent. However, in this case, it's most definitely not about the toilet, door or floor.

In fact, it would not be much of a stretch to write that most of my pictures are only tangentially about the depicted referent .... as I have previously written, I have a seemingly preternatural sensitivity to the relationships/ arrangements of color, shapes, and light to themselves or each other. It's how I see.

That written, that sensitivity operates on a subconscious / intuitive level. However, I have come to understand that that sensitivity is what causes me to make the pictures I make inasmuch as I make my pictures driven by "feel".

That is, there is virtually no thought process-other than getting the exposure right-involved in the making of my pictures .... when my eye and sensibilities are pricked by a something (could be any thing), I bring the LCD screen to my eye and isolate / arrange the visual elements by how they feel, organized-wise, within my chosen frame. When everything feels "right", I make the picture.

Re: "feels right" - when the image on my LCD screen feels right, I make the picture. Because it feels right, I almost never "work" a subject - i.e., change my POV, variations on my framing, etc. In addition, because I picture what feels right, I never crop my picture files. What a viewer of my pictures sees is exactly what I saw on my LCD screen at the instant I made the picture.

In my next entry, I'll address the best comment I ever received, re: my pictures, and how it explains how, in addition to my career as a commercial photographer, I also had a side-career in graphic design and a stint as an ad agency Creative Director.

kitchen life # 43 / civilized ku # 5318 ~ encountering the light

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my desktop

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my desktop

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

Spent the last few days chasing the light around the inside of my house. Although, to be honest and as I have previously written, the light was chasing me. I just happened to be in the right place at an opportune time.

civilized ku # 5175 ~ the advantage of a vantage point

in the kitchen / 12:35AM ~ in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable) • µ4/3

In his book, THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE, John Szarkowski, in discussing the idea of Vantage Point, wrote:

If the photographer could not move his subject, he could move his camera. To see the subject clearly-often to see it at all-he had to abandon a normal vantage point, and shoot his picture from above, or below, or from to close, or to far, or from the backside, inverting the order of things' importance, or with the nominal subject of his picture half hidden.
From his photographs, he learned that the appearance of the world was richer and less simple than his mind would have guessed.
He discovered that his pictures could reveal not only the clarity but the obscurity of things, and that these mysterious and evasive images could also, in their own terms, seem ordered and meaningful.

iMo, these are some of the absolute best words-when one fully understands their import-to make pictures by inasmuch as Szarkowski is not attempting to impart a formulaic methodology for the making of good pictures but rather to express how Vantage Point can influence the creation of visual characteristics and qualities which define a good picture.

It is my intention, over the course of the next few entries, to attempt to emunerate and clarify those visual characteristics and qualities which Szarkowski has chosen to mention in his Vantage Point writing.

around the house # 6-8 ~ pictures everywhere

It should surprise no one who follows this blog or knows me that I, with my belief in print making as the only manner in which to fully appreciate a photograph, have pictures hanging on the walls of my house. However, it did surprise me to realize that there are 56 of my pictures (all framed) on the walls. If pressed before I made the count (just today), I would have speculated that there are 20-25 hanging photographs.

Moving on ... on today's entry on LENSCRATH, there is work that shares my fascination with dirty / patina-ed kitchen utensils and food given over to decay, albeit pictured in a different manner than my similar referent pictures. The work by Joan Fitzsimmons is accompanied by an artspeak-ish (not the worst I have ever read) statement, which is to be expected from a B.F.A + M.F.A. picture maker ...

In my work, I’ve asked questions about human relationships, the nature of home, my relationship to nature, and the significance of the quotidian. The ordinary act of living is endlessly complex and uncertain .... ~ Joan Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons goes on to tell about her manner of working and her "relationship" (my word) to her referents and concludes with informing us that she "now note[s] that my materials and imagery and manner of collecting them, suggest/are traditional female work, so I am, once again, ready to place it within a feminist context."

Fitzsimmons' pictures are OK. Some work in creating a moderate visual interest. Others not so much. In either case, as far as making pictures of cutlery is concerned, Fitzsimmons' work pales in comparison to that of Jan Groover.

Groover's work has been described as "predominantly empirical, visual, and sensual - images rife with mystery, movement, and intrigue. There's a good read, No More Lazy Still-Life Photography, Please about Groover HERE I especially like the part about when Groover stopped making what she had been doing during her early career. She complained that ...

... she didn't know what to do, and her husband literally said, "Go photograph the kitchen sink." He managed to shut her up, but she took him quite literally, and started photographing just the shit that was in the sink.

Unlike Fitzsimmons and other contemporary picture makers for whom Concept is everything (hence all the artspeak which, ironically, is rarely about art and more about personal self-psychoanalytic crapola), According to Groover, the meaning of the objects is of no importance; only the shape, texture, and form that falls into a particular space is important. And was Groover's Formalist attention to shuch thing which instigated John Szarkwski to say...

.... her pictures were good to think about because they were first good to look at.
iMo, that's something that could not be said about Fitzsimmons' pictures.