simulroid # 6 ~ spread 'em

(embiggenable) • iPhone / faux Polaroid

photobook spread ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

photobook spread ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone / faux snapshot

photobook spread ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone / faux Polaroid (Polamatic camera app)

Having recently mentioned my penchant for making POD photo books, it occurred to me that I had yet to make a photo book the intent of which was to showcase my iPhone-made pictures. So....

.... I decided now's the time and opened up my 2,200+ picture-ASIDE I have been seriously (addictively?) engaged in making iPhone pictures for the past 2 years. Almost exclusively so for the past year. END OF ASIDE-iPhone Snapshot folder in Adobe Bridge and immediately came to the realization that a "best of" iPhone photo book was out of the question. The thought of the time involved in selecting 30 or so "winners" from that heap-o'-pictures was not an attractive proposition.

Consequently, I decided to make an "annual" compilation, albeit not a calender year. Since I had made, a few days ago, an iPhone picture which I wanted in the book, I went back a year (to last March) and started the selection process.

I winnowed the collection down to 82 pictures which are presented on 16 2 page spreads + front and back covers. The work is also divided into 3 categories - "straight" pictures, snapshot-converted pictures and simulated Polaroid pictures (made using the Polamatic app which, after making the picture, spits out-with a pitch-perfect Polaroid whirling sound effect-the image on screen where you watch it slowly "develop"). The files + a brief intro page will be off to the POD book maker-1 set to Shutterfly (hard cover) and 1 to Parabo (soft cover)-tomorrow.

While I awaited the finished books, I am devoting some time to writing a Joy of iPhone Picture Making essay together with a brief how-to / techinque addendum. Both of those will be included in the final edition of the photo book. Copies of that book will be offered for sale in a limited edition and will also be submitted to a few photo book publishers for a possible press-run edition.

simuloid # 3-5 ~ the emperor's new clothes?

(embiggenable) • Polamatic app / iPhone

(embiggenable) • Polamatic app / iPhone

(embiggenable) • Polamatic app / iPhone

I have always held forth, re: on the topic of The Medium of Photography and Its Apparatus*, that the single most defining characteristic of the medium that distinguishes it from the other visual arts is its relationship to and as cohort of the real. That written, since its inception, photography has had an on-again / off-again relationship with the real.

The very first of the medium's practioners pointed their cameras at the real. I suspect that many did so simply, as Garry Winogrand said, "... to find out what something will look like photographed." Be that as it may, some of those practioners must have considered what they were doing was making art inasmauch as the Art Establishment, primarily painters, found it necessary to declare that photographs were not art since it was just a mechanistic activity.

In response to that accusation-which arose from the declaration that, to be art, what is created must exhibit "the hand of the creator"-there emerged the Pictorial Movement. Picture makers who, while they may have been started their picture making by pointing their cameras at the real, worked feverishly to modify the resulting realism with painterly effects on the surface of a print-staining / coloring, extreme soft focus, adding brush strokes, making collages, et al-to make obvious the hand of the creator. Depicting the real world was out of favor.

In response to Pictorialism, there emerged Group f/64. A group of photographers who, as implied by the use of the photographic descriptor f/64, made photographs which were sharp-with great DOF-carefully composed pictures that were intended to depict the real world. Their Manifesto stated:

The members of Group f/64 believe that photography, as an art form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself.

The Manifesto also included a statement I find to be very interesting:

Group f/64 is not pretending to cover the entire spectrum of photography or to indicate through its selection of members any deprecating opinion of the photographers who are not included in its shows. There are great number of serious workers in photography whose style and technique does not relate to the metier of the Group.

Since the inception of the F/64 movement, it is reasonable to believe that the group's doctrine for making photographs held sway over the picture making world. That is not to write that Pictorialist-like tenets and practice disappeared but rather they continued as a minor subset of the picture making world. It is worth noting that the early F/64 practioners pointed their cameras, for the most part, on the Natural World. However, over time and especially with the emergence of the New Color Photography practioners, the depicted referents shifted toward the urban world and humankind's impact on the Natural World.

All of that written, I believe that, since the beggining of the digital age of photography, there has been a shift away from the F/64 aesthetic, wherein the real world reigns supreme, to that of re-emergent Pictorialism wherein fantasty and the imaginative reign supreme. That written, the picture making concepts of F64-ism and Pictorialism are of concern to a relatively small percentage-"serious" picture makers-of the pictue making universe.

As a picture maker whose pictures are 99% F/64-ish, I wonder if the shift to Pictorialist-like picture making is simply a by-product of real world we now inhabit. A real world wherein the real world-for many-is becoming increasingly more difficult / stressful to bear. In such a world fantasy and the imaginative is an attractive alterative to / escape from carrying around such a real world heavy load. However, I am not yet ready to escape to that world. Although ...

...while captions for the pictures in this entry could go along the lines of, "the view of things in my hallway / doorway to front hall / lamp and other things", those captions should also include the words "sorta like" or "kinda like" before the word "view".

As a fine example of what I would consider to be the New Pictorialism, check this out

*a complex structure within an organization or system, NOT the technical equipment or machinery needed for a particular activity or purpose.

simuloid # 2 ~ meaningful communication

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

My tizzy state of mind has mellowed considerably but that's no reason not finish up my 3rd tizzyness installment so ....

Coincidentally, Mike Johnston's recent TOP entry, Print to Save, kinda pulled his chestnuts out of the fire relative to my final stuck-in-my-craw entry. That is, in Johnston's entry, Changin' Times (which incited my tizzyness), he wrote that "....making a Blurb book, fun and satisfying as it might be, isn't really what I mean by "a book."

In the context of his entry, "a book" is one that is printing-press printed in numbers of 3K+. Such a book is/was "...the primary way photographers communicate" their work to the world-or a 3K segment of the world (if the edition sells out). According to Johnston, a POD book doesn't serve the same function. Or, only in such a limited fashion, re: an audience of family and friends, that "doesn't serve the same purpose" because it doesn't "encompasses the possibility of meaningful, widespread communication".

As a dedicated believer in the value of POD photobooks, I took umbrage, specifically, with the idea that such books lack "the possibility of meaningful, widespread communication." While he may have a point, re: widespread communication, he is unequivocally wrong on the lack of "meaningful" communication.....

.....I have 20 hardbound POD photobooks of my pictures. Most are comprised of my "fine art" work (that is, work make with art intentions) defined by theme. A few are "annuals" - compilations of year's work. And, a few more are albums of vaction travels. In increasing numbers, I am adding to that total with the creation of what could most accurately be called family photo albums.

I began the family album creation-and started deliberately making and printing family album snapshots-after reading this passage from the book, The Art of the American Snapshot:

The Museum of Modern Art mounted an exhibition of 350 photographs in 1944 called The American Snapshot....While most reviewers asserted that the exhibition was severely comprimised [the pictures had been cropped and reprinted], they also insisted that the pictures "constitute the most vital, most dynamic, most interesting and worthwhile photographic exhibition ever assembled by the Museum of Modern Art. Praised as being "without artistic prentention" and coming "nearer to acheiving the stature of true art than any of the inbred preciosities in the museum's permanent collection of in any of its previous shows," the photographs were applauded as "honest, realistic, human and articulate." (bold type my emphasis)

This passage, and the book taken as a whole, was a bit of an epiphany for me inasmuch as, while my hardbound POD "fine art" photobooks were, and continue to be, an attempt to print my work in a manner that is likely to be preserved and handed down, I came to realize that my take on family picture albums will be far more treasured than my "fine art" photobooks.

Now, if creating pictures that are "honest, realistic, human and articulate" and making photobooks-which by extention, are also "honest, realistic, human and articulate"-comprised of those pictures is not a form of "meaningful" communication, then I must be a fool.

Simulated Polaroid # 50 ~ fakeu

Hotto Doggu ~ Montreal, QC. (embiggenable) • iPhone

While walking along a street in Montreal with the wife, I spontaneously broke out in a spasm of loud laughter. She stopped in her tracks, looked around for the cause of my laughter and, finding none (to her sensibilities), looked at me and said, "What?" The "what" for me was the Hotto Doggu sign across the street.

While I had never seen that nomenclature written but I had,in fact, heard it spoken many times during the 2 years (over 50 years ago) when I lived in Japan. At that time in Japan, when the Japanese (non English speaking) did not have a native language word or phrase for an English word or phrase, the letter "o" and/or "u" was most often tacked unto the end of the English word or phrase - the exception being when an English word ended in a vowel.

I and my English speaking friends thought that practice to be rather humorous in a quaint and somewhat enduring way. We often spoke to each other using that "o"/"u" insertion practice. And, just as I am certain that the signage in Montreal was not meant to be demeaning / condescending / hurtful in any way, my/our use of the "o"/"u" insertion practice was not meant to be so either.

That written, I am also certain that the signage was meant to self-deprecating humor. Because of my experience, I was able to get the jokeu.