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 #5314 / ku # 4023 ~ like a duck to water

(embiggenable) • µ4/3

(embiggenable) • µ4/3 (left), iPhone (right)

I have always had a fascination with visual complexity. In fact, it is quite accurate to write that that fascination lead directly to my career as a professional commercial photographer.

Stepping into the Way Back Machine to 1966, while I was living in Japan (in the military), I acquired my first camera. This acquisition was notable inasmuch as, while I was living Rochester, NY-home of the Big Yellow Box aka: KODAK-I never (with one exception) made a photograph. My artistic activities were devoted to creating drawings and illustrations for which I was well known.

That written, with that first camera I took to picture making like the proverbial duck to water.

Within a few months, I had won 3 1st place military photo competitions-3 different categories-at each of 3 different levels - base, Far East and Pacific tiers. A few months after that, I became a military photographer. Eventually, I became the personal photographer to a Commanding General.

In a very real sense, I had become a professional photographer inasmuch as I was earning my military pay by making pictures. That,dispite the fact that I had zero photo education or training ... as I wrote, like a duck to water.

Upon my discharge, I returned to Rochester-loaded up with 2 Nikons and 5 NIkkor lenses-and enrolled in a 4 year photography program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I dropped out after 2 months due the fact that the school would not give me any credits for my prior photographic experience which resulted in my being placed inclasses with rank begginers and the attendant courses of study. It didn't seem worth the money.

I then got a job as an assitant to a commercial photographer where I worked for 3 years. I left that job and opened my first commercial studio.

And the rest was, as they say, history.

landscape # 7-11 ~ come what may

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

FYI, considering my last 2 entries, re: my thoughts on landscape picture making, I thought it wise to post a few pictures which most might consider to be "traditional" landscape pictures.

To be clear, I do not avoid making "traditional" style landscape pictures when an opportunity to do so presents itself. However, such pictures are surreptitiously created, never planned or sought out. For that matter, very few of my pictures are deliberately sought out inasmuch as, whenever I am out and about (and even when I'm not), I always have a picture making device at hand and I tend to picture whatever pricks my eye and/or sensibilities. A picture making condition that I refer to as discursive promiscuity.

pouporri • civilized ku / ku ~ flogging a dead horse?

Adirondack Guideboat ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Adirondack Lodge ~ The Hedges / Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Sunset from Castle Rock ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Sunrise from Castle Rock ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

From time to time I come across something, most often something written, which gets me ruminating on a subject, in this case the medium of photography and its apparatus.

Most recently, while searching for something different, I came across a online piece addressing how to make better landscape / nature pictures. In that piece, the author addressed what he considered to be the shortcomings of the "traditional" landscape / nature picture. In a nutshell, a "successful" traditional landscape picture depends upon the primacy of its referent(s) in order to be considered a beautiful picture. In other words, pictures in which dramatic referents are pictured in dramatic light / atmospherics with saturated color a plus.

Here in the Adirondack PARK (it's actually a forest preserve), there are a handful of picture makers dedicated to making "traditional" landscape/nature pictures. In addition to them, there is a continuing flood of legions of "serious" picture makers coming into the region with the same picture making intent. iMo, they are all engaged in making pictures which, to my eye and sensibilities, are all somewhat minor variations on the the same "standard" landscape/nature picture.

Re: my history, re: landscape/nature picture making - my "serious" Adirondack picture making began circa 1980. All of that picture making was accomplished using and 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera with TYPE L (3200K/long exposure) color negative film*. Since my intent was to create very high quality (technically) prints, the use of an 8x10 view camera was a no-brainer, as was the choice of color negative film.

Aesthetically, my intent was to create pictures which fell into the traditional landscape/nature genre albeit with a slight twist ... I limited most of my picture making to that time of day known in some quaters as entre chein et loup, aka: between the dog and the wolf. A time when the sun has set but some daylight lingers on. My referents could also be considered to be of traditional iconic Adirondack stuff.

Judging by the substantial prints sales of those pictures, I apparently it the sweet spot of Adirondack picturing. However, in 1985, I moved to a place far enough away from my then easy access to the Adirondacks and my Adirondack picture making waned almost entirely.

That situation changed in 2000 when I moved to the Adirondack PARK where I now reside. And, over the intervening years, actually decades, something else had changed. I was no longer interested, flogging a dead horse as it were, in making traditional landscape/nature pictures. That is to write that I was no longer interested in making pictures in which the primacy of the referent(s) was the thing. Rather, I was interested in making pictures in which the visual qualities / characteristics, independent of what was depicted, as they appear on the surface of the 2D print are what defines those pictures that are "beautiful".

Quite simply, that is to write, making pictures which, when the image resides on the surface of a print, a thing in and of itself, is considered to be a beautiful object.

That written, I am re-issuing a series of my "vintage" Adirondack pictures. The reason for that is quite simple ... I have recently discovered that there is still (and most likely always will be) a considerable market for such work. So, why not?

FYI, the 2 Castle Rock pictures above were made one evening and the following morning. I stayed on Castle Rock over night along with the 10,000lbs of picture making gear (or so it seemed on the hike up to Castle Rock) needed to make an 8x10 color negative picture. I had no advance notice of the atmospherics which presented themselves, almost on cue. Strickly a case of f45 and be there.

* low light, small aperture (f45, although it might have been f64) and ASA 100, resulted in shutter speed of 20 minutes. Hence TYPE L color negative film which was developed to compensate for the recoprocity effects of long exposure, Although, a 20 minute exposure was severely pushing the boundary of that compensation.

civilized ku # 5295-96 (ku-ish) ~ investigating the psychological implication at the point of intersection of the external illumination and its interaction with the illuminated interior

grey day ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

recent show ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

Without providing links to the pictures which accompany the following statements from the picture makers, which picture maker, based on their respective staements, do you think made the most visually interesting pictures?

a. My practice for over twenty-five years has been to acknowledge and elevate existing culture using the intersection of subtle human gesture and a built social environment.
b. In [name of exhibit], I seek to better understand myself and to increase my awareness of how I react to challenges related to my experiences as a mother.
c. For [the artist], the title refers to, “decisions made by her parents throughout the course of their lives, and how their orientation to their lives have impacted my relationship with myself.”
d. "I drove thousands of miles to experience and document this most ‘American’ of American traditions, visiting fairs all over the country teeming with the people who call the surrounding area home."

civilized ku # 5284 / ku # 1424 ~ from bad to worst

rain ~ Troy, NY (embiggenable) • iPhone

the Cascades ~ near Lake Placid (embiggenable) • iPhone - picture by the Cinemascapist

This past Weekend Hugo's (my grandson) hockey season started in earnest with 2 games in Troy, NY - approximately 130 miles south of home.

While there, we were treated to a non-stop driving rain. During our drive home, at about the 60 mile point, that rain turned to sleet / freezing rain and, shortly thereafter, turned to heavy wet snow. The sleet / freezing rain put down a glaze of ice on the roadway as a kinda based-coat for the snow.

As is often the case with the first heavy snowfall of the season, road crews were rather slow to get out and plow. The result was, especially on the interstate, cars were scattered off the highway like bowling pins. Off the highway, it was no different except that there was enough snow covering the ice to provide some traction. Unfortunately for some, they did not realize that slow and steady was the driving order of the day.

ku # 1423 / civilized ku # 5270-72 ~ a pox on both of their houses

fog, mist , rain ~ Lake Champlain, NY -(embiggenable) • µ4/3

light thru window + lamp ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

light thru window + lamp ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

light thru window + lamp ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

I am in my 52nd year of making pictures. During that time I have read at least a big-city library's worth of words on the subject of the medium and and its apparatus (conventions / practices, not gear) - not to mention the 10s of thousands of words I have written on my blogs over the past 15 years. I have visited / viewed mid-triple digit museum and gallery photo exhibitions. I have judged 100s of photo competitions, large (Kodak International Snapshot Competition) and small (camera clubs and the like). And, 100s of my pictures have been accepted and/or exhibited in competitions / galleries, large (Carnegie Museum International Nature Competition) and small (local / regional photo galleries and institutions).

All of that written, as I sit here writing this blog entry, I have come to one simple (to paraphrase a politician) conclusion ... it's [all about] the picture, stupid.

Amongst other things, to my eye and sensibilities, it's not about how a pictures was made ... not about the equipment used to make it... not about dynamic range, resolution or other technical considerations. And, because I could not care less about what a photographer (or other artist) is trying to "say", it's not about "meaning".

Rather, for me, it's all about how a picture looks and feels. That is, re: "looks" - it's effect on my visual apparatus (I like my eyes to dance across the 2D plane) and, re: "feels" - it's affect on my emotions (what Susan Sontag labels as the erotics of art).

In other words, I like photography (or any art) as a sensuous experience.

All of that written, I have also come to the conclusion that both photographers and academics are the worst audiences for photography. The former most often tend to react to pictures from a technique / techincal POV. The latter seem to only care about "meaning". And, when first encountering a picture, both groups tend to start yapping about technique or meaning rather than letting the experience of viewing the thing itself wash over them.

ku # 1422 / civilized ku # 5267-69 ~ joy of photography

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone Xs Max

marsh / Lake Champlain, NY • Adirondack PARK

Place des Arts (just one part thereof) / Montreal, CA.

hotel bar / Montreal, CA.

During my commercial photography days, one of my bigger clients was the Eastman Kodak Co. I did many projects, large and small, for Kodak over the years. One such recurring project was making pictures for Kodak's Joy of Photography series and other how to pocket guides.

FYI, I reference the title Joy of Photography as a metaphoric descriptor of my current picture making state-of-mind. Or, in other words, I am having more fun than a barrel full of monkeys making and processing pictures with the iPhone and the iPad.

To be clear, it should not be inferred from my current picture making state-of-mind that I have ever not enjoyed my picture making - commercial and personal - activities. Rather, it should be understood that I am experiencing a sense of "liberation" attributable to the fact that I am not tethered to "serious" cameras and a "sophisticated" desktop workflow ...

... which means that the visual results of my picture making are - in a Polaroid-like sense - nearly instantaneous. And, I can write with conviction, based my on my experience of making 1000s of Polaroid pictures, there is real joy - which can be shared with others - in seeing a picture come to life so soon after its making.