Adk Snapshot Project # 1-7 ~ antiestablishmentarianism

all images embiggenable

Following up on yesterday's entry, re: why I am so excited-beyond the mere fact of being accepted-by this exhibition opportunity.

Obviously, being accepted to have a solo exhibition of my work is somewhat exciting as well as an affirmation that someone believes what I am doing is worth hanging on a wall(s) for the public to view ... Happy, happy. Joy, joy. However, I am equally excited about what was accepted. That is, my intent in creating the snapshot prints for this project was to kinda/sorta thumbing my nose at the "Art Establishment" by ....

1. displaying prints that are the modern day equivalent of dime store / drugstore prints.
1a. displaying a huge number of prints in a hodgepodge fashion that appear to have no common theme or organizing principle.
. displaying work that is not of the limited edition variety.
2a. no high priced prints - viewers will be encouraged to "steal" a print or 2 from the loose prints in the jewelry boxes.
3. making art that doesn't look like "Art"....
3a.... i.e. pictures which appear to casually made rather than with "serious" intent
4. viewers will be directed to view the work as if they were looking at someone's vacation pictures rather than looking at them as they would art.

All of that written, I assume that the work was accepted because the juror (or jurors / commitee) at the Center for the Arts perceived that the work is, in fact; a "serious" undertaking, a cohesive body of work, has a cultural / historic relevance to the early 20th century Adirondack "postcard" photographers and is a unique and heretofore unseen manner of presentation of Adirondack pictures. I also assume that, in addition the aforementioned considerations, he/she/they believe the the body of work is, indeed, Art.

So, once again .... Happy, happy, Joy, joy.

Adirondack Snapshot Project ~ up against the wall


On and off over the past 4-5 months I have working on my Adirondack Snapshot Project. The work involves culling pictures-approximately 400 at this point-from my 4,000+ collection of pictures made in the Adirondacks. The pictures are then resized and placed-using Photoshop-on my custom-made snapshots border. Then, in each case, dating the picture in the traditional manner on the print border. My goal is to create 256 snapshots.

After the snapshot "conversion" is complete, sets of 20 free 5x5" prints and 1 8x8" soft cover photo book-32 picture pages-are ordered from Parabo. ASIDE re: free - Parabo offers free 20 4x4" picture sets ($8US for shipping). I pay $12US per set for a size upgrade to 5.5x5.5" prints, making my "free" print cost (shipping + upsize) $1US/print. The photo book cost is $18US. END ASIDE

In any event, a few months ago I received a call for submissions-from the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts-for solo-exhibition consideration. Submissions had to include samples of my work (see pictues above), an Artist Statement (read below) and a CV ....

The Adirondack Snapshot Project
Here, there and everywhere

My summer visits to the Adirondacks, or, as it was called in my family, The Woods, began in 1952 when I was 5 years old. My earliest memories are of sitting in back passenger-side window seat of my parent’s car watching the woods, waters and villages go by. Until the hotel closed, circa 1961-62, our destination was always the Arrowhead Hotel in Inlet on Fourth Lake. Post Arrowhead Hotel, a house rental in Old Forge was our Adirondack getaway. Those early years instilled in me an enduring appreciation and love of the Adirondacks.

Over the past 40 years, more so since my move to the Adirondack village of Au Sable Forks, I have been making pictures-over 4,000 pictures-of life in the the Adirondacks. During that time, I adopted an affinity toward, and a time-distant camaraderie with, the early 20th Century Adirondack village photographers of the so called postcard era. Photographers who made pictures of quotidian life as seen throughout their region of the Adirondacks. Although my picture making encompasses all of the Adirondacks lands and villages within the Blue Line, my pictured referents-commonplace Adirondack people, places and things-have a shared commonality with those of the early 20th Century Adirondack village photographers.

While a number of my pictures and individual bodies of work have been exhibited in regional art galleries, art centers and craft galleries, that work is but a tiny representation of my Adirondack work. My desire to exhibit a much larger representation of my work is problematic inasmuch as solo exhibitions are typically space-limited to 20 prints. A solution to that issue, instigated by my parent’s albums of snapshots made during our Adirondack visits, emerged in the form of The Adirondack Snapshot Project.

The 132 pictures in the Adirondack Snapshot Project have been culled from my 4,000+ Adirondack picture library. After selecting the pictures, I “converted” them into a snapshot format reminiscent of the snapshots found in my parents family albums. Pictures which were made with no artistic intent. They were simple records-snaps-of vacations and time spent in the Adirondacks. Over the years those records have become the instigators of memories-some remembered, others reawakened by viewing the snapshots. Consequently, they now possess a preciousness that transcends the intent of their making.

My intent in presenting this work in a snapshot format is to create a sense of pictures made without artistic pretense. That is, a visual presentation which is somewhat antithetical and a deterrent to the idea of viewing pictures with a “serious” demeanor and an eye toward discernment of meaning and artist intent. The snapshot aesthetic invites a more relaxed and intimate approach to viewing the work. An approach that will help to foment a sense of the work as revealed personal memories. Mementos which I expose to / share with strangers in an attempt to abet their remembrance of similar Adirondack experiences.

While this project was undertaken to create an interactive art experience, it is my desire that the viewers of the work will not approach this project as “serious” art. But rather as an exhibition of shared personal pictures which are a celebration of all things Adirondack.

NOTE: Dependent upon space alotted, the exhibition would consist of 4-5 27 5.5x5.5" (magnetic) photo rope groupings, 9 pictures/rope. Each grouping is accompanied by a 32 picture snapshot album which mirrors each grouping and a jewelry (or similar) box picture "find".

....yesterday, I received this response:

Congratulations, you have been selected to have an exhibition at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts (Arts Center) in 2019. I will be contacting each artist individually to schedule their show ....

Laura Smith
Education and Gallery Coordinator
Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts

More in my next entry concerning why I am so excited-beyond the mere fact of being accepted-by this exhibition opportunity.

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.

life of little things # 1-4 ~ missing the forest for the trees

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

While I am still in a tizzy state of mind, re: previously mentioned instigator, I am still in the semi-pause mode. That is, not in the mood to tackle my next (and last) stick-in-my-craw irritation about the recent goings on on TOP.

However, since I am only semi-paused, I will write that my next tizzy related entry will deal with the TOP Esteemed Host's off-handed comment that making books by means of one of the various online makers of POD books is not in the small league with a multiple-K printing press run book of one's work. On one level he's correct, but on another level, he's not only wrong, he's missing a very significant happening in photography's culture.

civilized ku # 5326 ~ hitting the pause button

(embiggenable) • iPhone

As the result of a comment from Martin Fine on yesterday's entry...

You are not full of BS but as TOP so correctly asks: Where and what are the new "classics"? Will there even be such a thing as "classics" given changing nature of photos and photography?

.... I have hit the pause button-be assured there is more to come-on my tizzy state of mind in order to address Martin's reiteration of Mike Johnston's question.

First, a definition: classic: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. synonyms definitive, authoritative; outstanding, of the highest quality....

I have always thought that the word "classic" was bandied about in a somewhat reckless and ill-defined manner. And, like so many other likes and dislikes, one person's classic is another person's piece of trash in history's dust bin. Like, say, the Szarkowski book mentioned on TOP which some considered a classic and others considered it to be outdated and uninspiring. Go figure.

And, for what it's worth, calling out and naming "classics is, iMo, a practice that is, for me, perilously akin to idol worship. A popularity contest, if you will.

Those quibbles aside, back to the question at hand ... Where and what are the new "classics"?

Re: where are the new classics?. Inasmuch as the classics under consideration are photobooks and most photobooks are picture oriented, virtually all of the pictures, which would be fodder for future photobooks, are swirling around in the vast cauldron of the picture making milieu waiting to be noticed by the gatekeepers who hold the keys to printing presses. Same as it ever was albeit that the cauldron is arguably-maybe, maybe not-larger than it ever was.

Another same-as-it-ever-was factor in pricking the eye and sensibilities of the printing press gatekeepers is that a picture maker must first prick the eye and senibilities of the gatekeepers who hold the keys to the walls of galleries / institutions on which the work of "notables" is hung. And getting noticed by those gatekeepers is essentially the same as it ever was. I.E., get a portfolio together and schlep it around like a hot pretzel vendor on the streets of New York.

In other words, get a name brand gallery show and one's chances of getting a book of your work printed rise significantly. At that point, a book has at least a chance of becoming a classic.

Re: what are the new classics? Same as it ever was. They will be the books that win the popularity contest.

If Mike Johnston meant where are the new classics? to be taken literally, as in where does one find and buy them?, to a certain extent it's, once again, the same as it ever was inasmuch as books will be found in all the usual outlets and more. More, in that the internet is one gigantic store, books included. And, if you keep your eyes and ears attuned what's blowing in the wind, what's happening now photobook wise, you'll find photobooks aplenty.

However, that written, here's my advice. Don't go looking for "classics". Go looking for what interests you with an open mind so that, when you come across something that you didn't know would be interesting until it caught your interest, you'll buy it. And, who knows, maybe some of the photobooks that interest you may even become "classics". Or not. But really, who cares?

BTW, you may have noticed that I did not mention socalled photobooks which deal primarily with photo theory (to include photo criticism). Nothing wrong with those type of books but they are photo theory books, not photobooks.

As for photo how-to books, a pox on all of them. If you have to read about, as an example, How to Master Landscape Photography, iMo, you'll never master landscape photography.

civilized ku # 5326 ~ hogwash and flapdoodle

(embiggenable) • iPhone

I have spent the better part of the last 4 days working myself into a fine tizzy. The cause of my state of mind is the goings on over at TOP.

The esteemed host and many of his commenters are dishing out stale and somewhat, iMo, time-worn bromides, re: the state of photography. One in particular, which has stuck in my craw over the past decade or more, is that which declared that "photography has changed." iMo, that a bunch of hooey.

OK. Some things have changed ... each day more pictures are uploaded to the internet than have been made since the dawn of picture making up until the day preceeding that day. It is probable that there are more picture making devices in the hands of people than ever before. And, it also probable that more people are viewing more pictures than ever before.

Even given those changes, I believe that photography, i.e., the act of making pictures, has not changed at all. Correspondingly, I believe that the how, the why, or the what is being picture is the absolute same as it ever was.


People are making pictures (of all types - snapshots, those with artistic intentions, etc.) because they like to make pictures. Picture makers derive pleasure, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplisment in the pursuit of that activity.
The overwheming number of those picture makers want their pictures to be seen and, hopefully appreciated or "liked".
Some of those picture makers want their work to hang on gallery walls and be sold.
The making of pictures is the same as it ever was - they were made with a device with a light sensitive substrate of one kind or another but the end result is the same, a picture.
The making of fanciful pictures with the use of apps and software is the same as it ever was - see the work of the early Pictoralists or individual picture makers like Jerry Uelsman.
Re; the what is being pictured. Any thing and every thing is fodder for picture making, the same as it ever was inasmuch as Kodak solidified that mindset a long time ago when it placed easy to use devices in the hands of an untold number of picture makers who then went out began making pictures of people, places and things of all kinds. And it wsn't long thereafter that "serious" picture makers adopted the same mindset.

Considering the above-and there are many more to consider-what has changed relative to the act of making pictures? iMo, not a damn thing.

PS feel free to tell me that I am full of BS.