civilized ku # 3677-79 ~ we are all investigators now

Shore Jeresy Shore ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

didn’t notice the birds ‘til I got closer ~ South Jersey Shore (embiggenable) • iPhone

There was a time, shortly after the upstart medium of photography emerged onto the scene, that the art world, especially the world of painting, began to feel threatened by the new medium. The poet, Charles Baudelaire, wrote (c. 1859):

"“If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon supplant or corrupt it altogether, thanks to the stupidity of the multitude which is its natural ally."

That sentiment and many others like it was instrumental in art institutions of that era-London Royal Academy of Art / (French) Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, et al-to declare in their many proclamations, re: what qualifies as art, that the hand of the artist must be apparent in works of art.

Up until that point all art was "handmade" art. While this declaration re-enforced the status quo, it also disavowed photography-a mere mechanical craft, aka: pictures made by a machine-as an art form. As a reaction from the photography world, the practice of Pictorialism emerged. A practice where the hand of the artist was very visible.

That was then, this is now and the medium of photography and its apparatus have come along way, baby. Photography has established its niche in the art world (although not all photography is art) and many photographers are considered to artists who are making art.

That written, over a decade or two ago, there has been the emergence of the PhD photographer, a crowd who are members of what I refer to as The Academic Lunatic Fringe School of Photography. Needless to write, as my nomenclature implies, I am not a fan of the pictures they make, pictures that are always accompanied by the requisite artspeak, pyschoanalytical and pure flapdoodle-ish artist statement.

One of things in those artist statements that annoy me no end is the ever-present use of phrases which describe what they profess to be doing. Phrases such as, examining the fundamental search for, or, the use of intuitive process and various reinterpreted psychodramatic methods to examine, or, a method to investigate.

Apparently, the medium of photography and its apparatus is, for them, not about making pictures but rather a tool for "examining" or "investigating" one arcane art theory or another, or, very frequently, a navel gazing pursuit of highly personal identity or personal life issues.

What I find most annoying about the ALFSoP is the fact that they denigrate the idea that a photographic print is a thing in and of itself, a thing that can stand on its own without the need for a 1000 word essay about what it means. But, of course, the ALFSoP is all about content, aka: meaning, and little, if any thing at all, about form. Which, FYI, is why I don't like very many of their "investigations".

Apparently, we (picture makers) are all investigators and/or examiners now. So, be prepared. When asked what you are making a picture of / why you took a picture, the correct answer should be, "I am not taking a picture. I am examining and investigating the physical and psychological boundaries of simulacra and simulation."

civilized ku # 3647 ~ let's talk

(embiggenable) • µ4/3

Last year I had an exhibit of my pictures, Photographs in Conversion. Each print was a diptych with pictures which were intended to "speak" to each other. Each diptych was comprised of 1 of my pictures with another one made by someone else.

I worked with 10 other picture makers from around the world. I would send them a picture and they would respond with one of their's which related to / spoke to my picture. In some case, they sent one of their pictures to me and I responded in kind.

The exhbit was interactive inasmuch as, in addition to the exhibit prints, I supplied a box full of 5x5 inch prints and 2 photo ropes in order for viewers to make their own photos in conversation sets. All in all, it was a fun endevour, both in the making and the interaction.

Anyone out there interested in a second attempt? If so, send me an email and I'l get back to you.

FYI, clicking on conversations in the categories link at the bottom left of this entry will take you to more photographs in conversation.

civilized ku #3591-97 (1 picture window + 2 diptych) ~ there and back again

Otsego Lake / Cooperstown, NY ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Madonna / Dylan ~ Fenimore Art Museum - (embiggenable) • iPhone

McCartney / Gillespie ~ Fenimore Art Museum - (embiggenable) • iPhone

my most colorful lunch ever ~ Cooperstown, NY - (embiggenable) • iPhone

A 3 day getaway to Cooperstown, NY has keep me away for my computer for a while. Next up this weekend is a trip to Middlebury, VT. for a college graduation event. Followed by a 4 day wedding event trip the next weekend to north Jersey. All of these trips are on-demand trips, aka: your presence is requested kinds things.

Cooperstown-the birthplace of baseball-was a "working" trip for the wife to attend a County Attorney Continuing Ed. conference. There was plenty of time for us to enjoy the sights together.

One unexpected pleasure was had at the Fenimore Art Museum where the first ever currated exhibit of Herb Ritts photographs was on view. While I entered the exhibition, Herb Ritts / THE ROCK PORTRAITS, with a bit of skepticism-I was never a serious Ritts fan-the exhibit was a masterly currated collection of drop-dead gorgeous BW portraits of rock music artists. Impressive on many levels, to say the least.

The exhibition is on view until Sept. 2nd. Since there is a exceptionally nice golf course, Leatherstocking Golf Course, on the shore of Otsego Lake-I played it while in Cooperstown-adjacent to the Fenimore Art Museum, I have 2 reasons for a return visit to Cooperstown.

Leatherstocking Golf Course ~ Cooperstown, NY- (embiggenable) • iPhone

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.

the new snapshot # 252 ~/ diptych # 238 /,oldie but a goodie ~ maybe too much information

the intrepid snow shoveller ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

Yesterday's snow storm brought 18 inches of snow. Today's weather brings temperatures of -5˚F and -20˚F wind chill.

In the past such weather was cause for me to pack up my winter backpacking gear and head out into the High Peaks for 3-4 days of wilderness backpacking. However, at this point in time, such weather is cause for me to wish I could pack up my winter backpacking gear and head out into the High Peaks for 3-4 days of wilderness backpacking.

That written, the plain fact of the matter is that, my being in my 7th decade on the planet, I have a condition which makes winter backcounty camping a problem. While I am phyically able to undertake winter backpacking (albeit over gentle terrain), my bladder is not ...

... nearly every night, I need to make at least 1 visit to the toilet. Some nights more. That being a fact of life (for me), the thought of crawling out of a toasty warm down sleeping bag (in-a-protected-from-the-weather winter tent) to pee in the snow is not high on my list of things to do. And, it should be noted that winter backpacking camping requires the consumption of lots of warm liquids which could only make the situation worse.

That written, hope springs eternal, re: maybe it's time to give it a try.

near the top of the 2nd highest Adirondack peak in a blizzard ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

civilized ku # 5304 / diptych # 237 ~ there's reason I haven't posted in a while

frozen pumpkins ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Xmas present project ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Been kinda busy of late. Hockey and building our cherry-butcher-block-topped kitchen island. A project which is one of my Xmas presents for the wife. The island, while not complete (needs finish work - trim, paint, etc.), is in service and ready for the Holidays. Finish work happens after the Holidays.

And, to be honest, with all of the aforementionded and other general getting ready for the Holidays, I really haven't had much time for picture making. However, things are slowing down and I'll be able to get out and about more frequently. Consequently (+ hopefully), there will be more picture making.

PS, Paul Ralphaelson wrote an interesting comment on my last entry, EITHER / OR ~ MEMORY OR ART OR BOTH. If you haven't read it, you should.

either / or ~ memory or art or both

WIldwood Pier ~ Wildwood, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

picture window ~ Stone Harbor, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

bakery window ~ Middlebury, VT (embiggenable) • iPhone

Earlier today I listened to a LensWork podcast in which Brooks Jensen held forth on the difference between an image and a photograph. His conclusion was that an image is what a picture maker creates on his/her choice of light sensitive material. A photograph is a physically tactile thing. Which is to write, a photograph is a material thing (substrate) onto which an image has been afixed.

I am in agreement with Jensen's conclusion. However, as is often the case when opining about such things, Jensen goes all wonky and commences to introducing ideas such as ... a picture maker, aka: a photojournalist, makes images for publication. When those images are afixed on paper in a publication, are they photographs? My answer would be in the form of another question - what the hell else would you call them?.... hey, did you see those reproduced-by-non-photo-methods images in the recent issue of ....? Whatever.

In any event, in today's entry I am addressing the idea of picture making intent ....

To do so, I have placed 2 pictures of the same image side by side, albeit that the images have been processed and presented in different manners as related to my picture making intentions. In the case of these 3 pictures, my intentions were 2-fold:

intent #1: to create art
intent #2: to create memories

Everyone will have an opnion, re: whether or not my conventionally processed and presented pictures are art. Although, I am certain that most would concede that they represent (at least) an attempt to make art. In my defense however, I would like to note that the bakery window picture was accepted for inclusion in an art gallery juried exhibition.

That written, I believe that the snapshot presentation of the same pictures would be immediately seen and perceived as an attempt to create memories of things seen or experienced. While my intent, memory making wise, was to make pictures that would stir memories for me (and others who may have been with me at the time of their making), I also believe that those pictures are quite capable of stirring similiar memories in others who have no immediate connection to me or the specific depicted referent.

Based on my belief that others who have no immediate connection to me or the specific depicted referent could be incited by the depicted referenets to have feeling relative to their own experiences of similar places or events, and, considering the words of Joshu Reynolds ....

The great end of all arts is to make an impression on the imagination and the feeling.

.... is it possible that my snapshots are art?

An answer to the question could be had in my aforementioned comment that the bakery window pictures was accepted for inclusion in an art gallery juried exhibition .... I forgot to mention that it was the snapshot version of that picture which was excepted.

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.