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 # 5294 / diptych # 236 (ku # 1425-26) ~ risk, trust, reward

porch candle light ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

yesterday / today ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3 (L) / iPhone (R)

Re: yesterday's promise to "address what I consider to be the most difficult challenge in picture making" ....

First, let me refine my idea of "dificult challenge" by writing that it is not about the difficulty of climbing Mt. Everest in order to make a picture from the top of the world. Or, as Bill Jay put it:

...photographers who carry 60 pounds of equipment up a hill to photograph a view are not suffering enough, although their whining causes enough suffering among their listeners. No, if they really expect us to respect their search for enlightenment and artistic expression, in [the] future they will drag the equipment up the hill by their genitals and take the view with a tripod leg stuck through their foot.

So, let me rule out any picture making which requires strenuous physical endurance or dexterity. In addition, there are a host of picture making endeavors which require a very high degree of technical / specialized skills or equipment. However, I don't consider the acquisition of those skills or equipment to be all that difficult. Time consuming and/or expensive, yes. Difficult, no.

That written, it is the within idea of "artistic expression" (as the result of a personal "vision") where the true difficulty resides.

However, iMo, not all artistic expression is all that difficult. It is very easy, easier now than ever, to point a picture making device at a conventionally pretty / pleasant referent - person, place or thing - and create an "artistic expression" which would be viewed quite favorably by a large segment of the population. ASIDE: I am not suggesting that this is a bad thing but, rather, that, for most, it is not a particulary difficult form of artistic expression to achieve.END ASIDE

All of the above written, what I consider to be the most difficult challenge in picture making is that of making interesting (aka: visually engaging) / beautiful (the print-not the referent-in and of itself) pictures of the quotidian life around us.

The primary reason I believe that making pictures of the everyday life around us is difficult is that it involves risk. The out-on-a-limb risk of rejecting what you have been told is a good picture and making pictures of what you see all around you. In addition, there is most certainly the risk of the rejection / lack of appreciation of one's pictures by a large segment of the population.

However, I believe the most difficult hurdle to overcome in the pursuit of picturing the mundane is developing trust in one's vision. That is, that one tuly believes that what one sees, the manner in which one pictures it and presents it is, indeed, both interesting and beautiful.

civilized ku # 5293 / seeing red ~ it's about the pictures, stupid

pet gate ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

reds ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

In an entry on Jörg M. Colberg's site, CONSCIENTIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE, is his essay, Christopher Anderson and the Joy of Seeing. iMo, it's a good read inasmuch as the opinion expressed is much in line with my feelings, re: the medium and its apparatus ....

.... at its very core photography should be about the excitement of experiencing in the medium’s particular form the end result of having truly seen something or someone. It’s not just about looking, and it’s also not about recognizing — it’s about seeing, about discovering. And that excitement, that joy can simply come from what the camera does itself, when it’s being used under the right circumstances, by the right person — the right person here the one who directly taps into her or his visual cortex.

In describing the pictures in Christopher Anderson's book, Colberg writes, "The work itself, these sublimely beautiful pictures, demand to be taken for what they are: they are all about the joy of looking, the joy of making beautiful pictures. That’s it."

As a set up to Colberg's above commentary, Colberg takes a shot at narrative-driven photography ...."In the case of photography that doesn’t fall into the category of narrative-driven work, this would appear to be a widely accepted statement: you don’t want to look at lousy pictures. How or why so many photographers interested in narrative-driven work somehow appear to have forgotten this aspect of photography is not clear to me .... [T]here’s nothing more tedious for me than to make my way through some interesting story that is told with mediocre or lousy pictures."

Over the past 15 years, I have spent a lot of virtual ink writing about the same topic. Some might say that I have spent too much ink nattering on about the topic, so I'll stop right here.

That written, in my next entry I will address what I consider to be the most difficult challenge in picture making.

the new snapshot # 247 (civilized ku) / more seeing red ~ it's diffcult to explain

Smart Car (l) / my topolino (r) ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Andy’s red couch ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

Montreal hotel bar ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

exit signs ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Having labeled my picture making as a design-creation exercise, I thought it important to write that I consider design creation to be quite different from the idea of creating good composition in a picture. That written, it is my belief that difference between design and composition is a somewhat murky concept. Nevertheless, I will attempt to explain ...

... iMo, I believe it is necessary to drag 2 "tried and true" picture making adages into the mix - the "rules' of composition and admonition to simplify (aka: the prohibition of too much visual information). I feel that necessity because good design follows no hard-and-fast rules and good design can be quite simple or quite messy .... AN ASIDE: It is quite possible to make good photographs which defy the rules of composition and the admonition to simplify. However, most picture makers tend to play by the rules - making pictures which conform to what they have been told are good pictures.END ASIDE .... Consequently, in my picture making, I subscribe to no rules. Following rules, in the making of any art, is the killer of creativity.

So, in the case of my picture making M.O., my eye and sensibilities are preternaturally drawn to visual relationships - relationships between/amongst existent visual elements, aka: shapes, lines, colors, tonalities and the like, rather than specific referents (people, places, things and the like, although people and things can act as visual elements). Relationships which create visual energy. Energy which incites the eye to dance and roam around within, and even bounce off, the selected framing, as seen on the 2D surface (the visual field) of a print.

When my eye and sensibilities settle upon a referent (any referent will do) surrounded by a field of visual elements, I set to work, using my POV and selected framing, to emphasize their relationships in a manner that, to my eye and sensibilities, "feels right". That is, in a manner which creates a design which creates just the "right" amount of visual energy.

So there you have it. At least I have attempted to explain / define how I approach making a picture as a design exercise. Maybe you get it, maybe you don't but tried.

civilized ku # 5292 ~ beneath the surface of the print

on the street where i live ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

An addendum to yesterday's entry ...

As written in yesterday's entry, I have little or no passion for the things of which I make pictures (with the exception of the people in my life). Consequently, my pictures are rarely about that which is depicted. To my eye and sensibilities, my picture making is an exercise in design, re: the intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action or material object.

That written, I am, at times, amazed by the number of viewers of my pictures who "get it", design-wise. Especially so, those viewers who are not photographers / artists or who, in any manner, would be considered to Art Aficionadi. However, it is those viewers who give my pictures/me the highest compliment, which is most often uttered in 2 parts:

part 1: "Why did you take a picture of that?"
part 2: "I don't know why but I like it."

AN ASIDE: FYI, I rarely attempt to explain why it is that they like it. I don't want them to "over think" but rather let them go with the feeling the picture incites. END ASIDE

That written, I will attempt to explain it to you ... iMo and experience, I believe such viewers "get it", not in a consciously aware sense but rather in a subliminal sense, aka: perceived by or affecting someone's mind without their being aware of it. Or, in other words, they find a picture to be pleasing or interesting but they are unable to reconcile those reactions with what they are seeing.

I consider such a reaction to be the highest compliment inasmuch as it says to me that my picture making M.O. is working.

On the other hand, one of favorite compliments (although, not expressed as such) was on the occasion of showing my portfolio to a gallery director. About half way through my work, he asked, "Are you a graphic designer?" Obviously, he "got it" on a conscious level.

(ku-ish) civilized ku # 5287-91 ~ 5 minutes in the backyard and 1 in the kitchen

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

I recently read a blog entry on another site which addressed the idea of a one-size-fits-all time-worn picture making adage ... for making good pictures, picture that about which you are passionate. An adage which, for my picture making, is a bunch of hooey.

Getting right to the nub of it, for my picture making, that which I am most passionate about is, quite simply, making pictures. Which is why, when asked, "What kind of photographer are you?", my answer is, "I am a practioner of discursive promiscuity."

discursive: digressing from subject to subject
promiscuity: demonstrating an undiscriminating or unselective approach

That is to write, I am most definitely not passionate about - as in this entry's pictures - trash can lids, propane tanks or dead/dying vegetation or just about any other referent (other than the people in my life). Rather, what I see and seek in such referents are combinations of lines, forms, patterns, colors, tones, et al which works in unison - on the 2D plane of a print - to create a sense of visual energy which invigorates my eye and sensibilities. That written, it would be fair to write that my pictures are about nothing, re: what they depict, but, rather, they are about the visual relationships to one another of the depicted referents.

That written, I guess that I would have to admit to having a passion ... seeing and picturing a sense of order / design in the world around me.

still life # 18 / civlized ku # 5285-86 ~ keeping my eyes wide open

beets ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

banister ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Bricklin in a basement ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

While out house shopping with a close friend, we came across a Bricklin in a basement. It was not included in the house sale.

Now that our interior house renovations (primarily the fireplace/tv room and opening it up to the kitchen) are completed, I am about to start a picture printing binge with my 24" Epson wide-format printer. One reason for that is that I have a number of new pictures I want to see in print form and a some of those pictures will end up on the walls (under new track lighting) of the fireplace/tv room and the kitchen.

FYI, most, if not all, of the prints will be made from my iPhone library of pictures inasmuch as most of my new pictures, made over the past 4-5 months, were made with the iPhone.

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.