civilized ku # 5027 / main street triptych # 1 / main street quadtych # 1 ~ rural Main Streets

Main Street ~ Fort Covington, NY (embiggenable)

Main Street ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable)

This Sunday past, while I was making the pictures for the triptych Main Street ~ Fort Covington, a thought did come into my head that, to a greater or lesser degree, structures like these were, more common than not, to be found on small town rural America Main Streets.

I live in a rural America small town and, although the Main Street buildings in Au Sable Forks are not in a derelict state, only 6 of 17 storefronts have tenants (2 of the 7 storefronts pictured above). That written, we are lucky to have a bank, mid-sized grocery store and a seasonal (part of Spring, all of Summer and part of Autumn) movie theater (none of which I counted as a storefront).

Were I to pursue a rural America small town Main Street body of work, I can think of at least 8-10 small towns in New York State within 100 miles of my location which would most likely be candidates as subjects for such a project. If I were to traverse the entire state, there would be many more. And then there's Vermont where there is more rural poverty broken Main Streets than they would like to admit - doesn't fit the small town white church steeple surrounded by a sea of autumn foilage calender image they would like to project to the tourist crowd.

Tune in tomorrow for a few detail pictures of rural America small town broken Main Streets.

boarded up ~ Fort Covington, NY (embiggenable)

civilized ku # 5024-26 ~ this, that and other things

observed while urinating ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenible)

observed while at my computer ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenible)

my  car observed while at carwash ~ Malone, NY (embiggenible)

observed while in Vankleek Hill ~ Ontario, CA (embiggenible)

I am reading a rather quirky (in a very good way) book, The Infinites by the Irish author John Banville. It is my first read - and will not be my last - of one of his books inasmuch as his writing, this book as an example, has been described by various critics as:

... bordering on the divine ... intriguing, complex and ultimately elusive ... rife with mischief, as well as godly / authorual omnniscience, irony and wordplay ...

And, it is his wordplay that has me mesmerized because, as another critic stated, "If Banville is capable of writing an unmemorable sentence, he has succesfully concealed the evidence." I have dogeared so many pages with remarkable sentences which, although they relate to / describe the general human condition, are applicable to the medium of photography ...

... He bustles her out through the back door, which catches and gives a rattling shudder, as it always does: how steadfast in your world are the humblest things, and yet how shamefully little notice you take of them.

FYI, the preceeding rebuke is deliverd by the Greek god Hermes who is the book's narrator - as I wrote, quirky.

civilized ku # 5019-23 ~ ccertified organic goodness

keg  / Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. ~ VanKleek Hill, ONT. CA. (click to embiggen)

beer making / Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. ~ VanKleek Hill, ONT. CA. (click to embiggen)

beer stein competition / Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. ~ VanKleek Hill, ONT. CA. (click to embiggen)

had to have it


One of Hugo's hockey games this weekend past was in Vankleek Hill, ONT. CA. and, as luck / fortuitous coincidence would have it, Vankleek Hill is home Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., the brewer of one of my (and the wife) favorite beers - Lug-Tread Lagered Ale. So, after Hugo's Saturday game near Ottawa, the wife and I went to Vankleek Hill to visit the brewery and stay overnight.

The brewery was hopping (get it? "hopping") - tour buses from Montreal and a constant flow of visitors. 10 of their beers were on tap for sampling or buying a pint. My favorite was a variation on their Irish-style Red Ale (aka, Fierce Patrick) which was aged in bourbon barrels (aka, Ravishing Patrick Rude). It has a bit of a kick with 10% ALC/VOL.

While we were there, we were treated to witnessing one of the many daily beer stein holding contests. The objective of the "game" is to hold a stein full of beer at arm's length - arm straight, elbow locked, no spilling or touching the counter allowed - with the intent of being the last participant to survive the holding effort. The winner - hint, the guy who looks like he drinks a lot of beer - of the pictured event (in this entry) survived for a tick or 2 over 11 minutes. The record for that day was over 17 minutes.

And then there was the hockey sweater (called a "jersey" in the US).

civilized ku # 5017-18 ~ divergent POVs

f8 and be there ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (click to embiggen)

stuff in the kitchen ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (click to embiggen)

Lest anyone think I might disappear down the rabbit hole of (I)eye witness picture making, I present here 2 of the straight source pictures used in the making of 2 of the previously presented (I)eye witness pictures.

In my picture making lifetime I will never stop seeing opportunities for making straight pictures, even should I want to do so. However, If I am to pursue the (I)eye witness series to whatever its logical conclusion might be, I must add a new component to my picture making - picturing a referent from different angles.

Other than very minute / subtle variations from the POV I saw which pricked my eye and sensibilities, I very rarely approach a referent from significantly differenet POVs - often called"working a scene". Consequently, when I see an (I)eye witness picturing possibility - I am still working to identify such referents - I must adopt a multi-POV manner of picturing.

That written, adopting a multi-POV manner of picturing will not be a Herculean task. However, in doing so with the relatively few (I)eye witness pictures I have made, I must write that those POVs, which different from the POV I saw which caused my to make the picture, look all wrong to my eye and sensibilities. That sensation causes me to realize just how selective my seeing / picturing vision is.

EYE WITNESS # 5-7 ~ the truth and the memory

I saw sunlight striking a flower and vase

I saw a halloween napkin

I saw a hotel garden

As I mentioned in yesterday's entry part of the concept, re: (I)eye witness, was to address the role of photography in creating visual documents which afix a precise truth as an adjunct to frail human memories. Which begs the question, should the genesis of the "memory" as pictured be part of the visual?

Hence today's pictures which include - all of a piece - a section of one of the original pictures used to make the (I)eye witness picture. iMo (at least as it stands here and now), is that there needs to be a visual reference to the camera's capability of recording the "truth.

eye witness # 1-4 ~ concept is not everything

2 Polaroids created for advertising and editorial clients

While it is certainly accurate to write that I am a fervant advocate and practitioner of straight picture making, it is also true that, over the course of my commercial career, I made my share of manipulated-process pictures (for editorial and commercial clients), mostly frequently manipulated polaroids. And, I thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Dare I write that it was fun.

That written, I am currently having a bit of fun - without feeling a sense of betrayal to my straight picture making sensibilities - making multi-layered constructs using 3 pictures of the same referent made from different POVs. That written, heaven protect me from the academic lunatic fringe, in as much as these pictures are concept driven.

The title of this series is (i)eye witness. The driving concept is, in short and subject to expansion, the imprecision of human memory, the often differing accounts given by eye witnesses and the role of photography in creating visual documents which afix a precise truth as an adjunct to frail human memories. Blah, blah-blah, blah and more blah.

However, where I hope to separate my work from the ALF concept-is-everything crowd is with the pictures themselves. Pictures which are interesting and pleasing to view. Pictures which can stand on their own visual merits without their conceptual framework made excruciatingly obvious or even necessary to figuring out what the hell the pictures are about.

civilized ku # 5016 ~ teeming sword of sunlight

a teeming sword of sunlight fractured by a cat ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (click to embiggen)

Featured Comment : Mike Cannone wrote: "Were you doing personal photography during your commercial career? I wondered what that might look like."

my response: I did precious little personal picture making during my commercial career. Most of it - 8x10 view camera color negative pictures for a look at some of that work - created in the 1980-86 time frame while I was still in Rochester, NY. For one reason and another after I moved to Pittsburgh, PA my personal picture making tapered off - the prime reason was the time spent shuttling my son around the NE in pursuit of his hockey activity. Time which might have otherwise been used (in part) for personal picture making (no regrets).

Upon moving to the Adirondack PARK (forest preserve), my personal picture making activity was resurrected (see the MANIPULATED # 1 / EARLY KU ~ FINDING IT entry - 2 entries below this) with a twist. While I would have loved to have had a 8x10 view camera reboot, the fact of the matter was simple - no source with 200 miles for 8x10 color negative film and processing and, in my 8x10 hayday, I processed my own film and made my own color prints. So, with digital on the rise and film on the wane, I made the leap into the digital picture making domain.

A benefit of that leap was that, instead of lugging around an 8x10 view camera, a heavy duty tripod and cumbersome film holders, I was able to have a camera or 2 on my person at all times. Needless to write, having a camera or 2 (almost always 2) on my person greatly facilitated the act of making pictures. I most certainly was able to get back in the groove with greater speed than if I had stayed with the 8x10 thing.

work for hire ~ diversity

fashion shoot ~ Italian Designer clothing

journalism / death in the ER ~ from hardbound photo book, A Day in the Life of an Urban Hospital

hand-colored still life ~ Pittsburgh Symphony brochure

photo illustration ~ magazine article on modern art

still life / food shoot ~ hard-bound cookbook

still life / product shoot ~ Italian Designer fashion accessories

I'm rooting around in boxes of my ancient-history commercial work selecting pictures as candidates for the bio section in my work-in-progress photography book. The idea is to represent the wide range of divergent genres and styles which defined my commercial advertising / marketing life in photography.

Represented in this group of selections is (top to bottom); fashion, journalism, still life (hand-colored), photo illustration, still life -product and food. On many ocassions, I was advised by art directors and graphic designers to become a specialist in one genre / style. Most often that advice was specifically regarding my food photography.

However, I couldn't imagine that I would enjoy limiting my work to just one specific type of picture making. I really enjoyed the diversity and the diverse challenges which came with it. Needless to write, the challenges presented by fashion work as opposed those presented for picturing the near frentic activity and eventual death in an emergency room are quite different.

The cameras used to make the pictures presented here range from 35mm format camera, 2 1/4 format camera, rotating lens panoramic camera, to various view camera formats (4x5 - 8x10). Each of those formats also present their own unique technique / technical considerations.

As I continue unearth more selections I will present them for you, the viewing audience, to enjoy. Any questions?