civilized ku # 3514 ~ exisiting light

(embiggenable) • iPhone - PORTRAIT setting / 2x lens

(embiggenable) • iPhone

George Eastman stated:

Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.

On the other hand, Brooks Jensen wrote:

There is no such thing as "good" or "bad" light. There is just light.

While there are a number of ways to understand / interpret these two statements, it does seem that they represent opposing points of view, re: light. Whereas Eastman's notion is nearly fetishistic, Jensen's is rather dismissive, as in, what's all the fuss about? In either case, we should be able to agree on the fact that we all need light to make pictures.

In my case, I do have a specific type of light that I like-I embraced it, I admired it and I loved it-and, truth be told, light that I have "chased" - the light encountered during the time of day that is called entre chien et loup or, alternately, the gloamimg. That is, a time of day during which the sun has set but it is not yet full-on dark.

However, those "chasing the light" days are far behind me now. While I still make entre chien et loup pictures, I do so when that light "finds" me rather than "chasing" it all about the landscape .... and that M.O., re: light for picture making, is S.O.P. for my picture making....

.... which kinds places me in the there is just light picture making camp. That is, while at times the light itself pricks my eye and sensibilities, in which case I make pictures of the light itself (see today's pictures). But most times, I just work with whatever light I encounter.

In the case of strong directional light which creates tonal shapes and patterns, aka: chiaroscuro, I use those shapes and patterns as elements of my composition. Flat or soft light allows me to concentrate on just the arrangement of the visual elements of my composition, independent of the light as a composition element.

In either case, I don't see the light as "good" or "bad". I just see it asit is, aka: just light.

civilized ku # 3512-13 ~ things are not necessarily what they seem to be

on the kitchen counter ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

in the kitchen sink ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Some might think that my propensity for making pictures of stuff in my kitchen sink and/or on the kitchen counter-near the sink-might be nothing more than being lazy, picture making wise. As in, why leave the house to make pictures when it is so much more convenient to just hang around the kitchen sink?

In my defense, between the ever-changing light coming in the kitchen window above the sink and the never ending happenstance arrangements of things there about, there is often much to prick my eye and sensibilities. And, in fact, the pictures made in that location are essentially "about" the same thing as most of my pictures are ... relationships of light, shadow, lines, shapes, textures, colors and the like as "organized" within my frame(ing). The referents depicted, in and of themselves, are "merely" a means to an end.

Over the years a goodly number of those who have viewed this work "get it". For some, at first viewing. For others, it was something of an acquired taste arrived at over time and repeated viewing of other like pictures. In either case, those who "get it" experienced something, when viewing the pictures, that pricked their eye and/or sensibilities.

It seems to me that those who took time to "get it" had to get by what was depicted in the pictures inasmuch as they rarely had any affinity for dirty dishes, counter clutter and the like. However, what they experienced was that, despite that lack of affinity, in most cases they couldn't take their eyes off the picture. The pictures had an attraction they couldn't quite understand. Very often, those viewers never really consciously "got it" inasmuch as the comment I heard most often was, "I like it, but I don't know why."

That comment is my favorite comment to hear from viewers of my pictures. Even more than the comments from those who "get it" immediately. That's because, when a viewer likes a picture but doesn't know why, I feel that I have reached him/her in a manner-most likey on a subconscious level-he/she didn't anticipate. And, perhaps, the experience just might encourage them to learn more about themself and/or art.

civilized ku # 3667-75 ~ a weekend haul o' pictures

see them all in one file ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

all pictures ~ (embiggenable)

Picture making gear is rarely mentioned on this blog other than to re-enforce my oft written idea that gear doesn't matter (it's all about the pictures, stupid). However, there is one piece of picture making equipment for which I am a fanatical advocate ... a photo printer.

It is my strongly held belief that, to my eye and sensiblities, you can make as many image files with a camera as you like, but, they are not pictures until they are made into a thing. That is, a physical / tangible object, in and of itself. If ya ain't makin' prints, y'all have left the party before the fat lady sings.

That written, iMo (and I am most definitely not alone), the only manner in which to truly appreciate a photograph is by viewing a photographic print. Every other viewing platform, with the exception of well printed photo books, is merely a comprimised facsimile of the real thing.

This is especially true of viewing images online. No matter how expertly the file may have been prepared for online viewing, a viewer's impression of it is determined by the calibration, or lack thereof, and quality of his/her device's screen. Even if a device is cailbrated to within an inch of its life, it can never convey a sense of or characteristics of the surface of a print ... something to which persnickety picture print makers devote a lot of attention.

Amongst aother differences, perceptually / emotionally a computer / device screen creates a cool viewing experience whereas a print is perceived by most as a warm viewing experience. Whether a viewers consciously feels it or not, cool is off putting, warm is inviting. In the total viewing scheme of things, to my eye and sensibilities, this maters a lot.

While I could brattle on about the, to me, significant differences between screen and print viewing, what really matters most to me is how an image file, which I may have spent considerable time viewing on my monitior (during the editing / processing thereof), figuratively comes alive when it emerges from my printer. The sensation is rather like I am viewing a different image.

It is my belief that the sensation / feeling of an image "coming alive" is due to the fact that I am looking at a real thing. I can hold it, touch it and appreciate the qualities of its surface. My eyes can move over the image on the surface of a print in a manner they can not on a screen. Then there is the perception of an inky richness and depth which no screen presentation can effect.

All of the above written, my love affair with prints has created something of a problem ... I make a lot of prints. Many more prints than I have wall space to accomodate. A problem which has suggested a solution to which I am not immune ... might be time to convert 2/3s of the space in our 2-car garage into a full-fledged gallery space. Or, alternately, rent a store front space and open a gallery.

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.

tuscany redux # 1 / civilized ku # 5320 ~ tommyrot, hokum and falderol

butcher + the wife ~ Pienza / Tuscany, 2009 - (embiggenable) • APS-C

bowl of fruit, AM / PM ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone ( L) / µ4/3 (R)

I recently had to write and artist statement to accompany a submission for a solo gallery exhibition. For some reason it didn't come easy and required quite a few go-arounds in order to arrive at something which filled the bill.

Then, a few days ago, I came across an entry on TOP which contained an artist statement written by Ansel Adams. Quite obviously, it was written tongue-in-cheek and meant as a sendup of academic artspeak artist statements.

That got me to thinking about finding an online artspeak artist statement generator. I found one HERE. This is what it spit out:

*1947, Syracuse NY, United States

I am an artist who mainly works with photography. With a conceptual approach, I create work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.

My photos are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, I try to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.

My works directly respond to the surrounding environment and use everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. By choosing mainly formal solutions, I try to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, like to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believe in the idea of function following form in a work.

My works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned.

I currently live and work in Au Sable Forks, NY.

While artspeak artist statement generators are meant to create satirical bloviating artist statements-and the above most certainly is-it is also remarkedly spot on, re: my vision and M.O., in a few of its key pronouncements.

That written, I would never use it as is. However, I will keep it on hand for future "inspiration". I will as also print it so I can give it to a few friends and watch them squirm and fiddle around trying to understand itor, quite possibly, wonder if I have gone off the deep end and lost my mind.

kitchen life # 43 / civilized ku # 5318 ~ encountering the light

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my desktop

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my desktop

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone - processed on my iPhone

Spent the last few days chasing the light around the inside of my house. Although, to be honest and as I have previously written, the light was chasing me. I just happened to be in the right place at an opportune time.

kitchen life # 42 ~ here's hoping

(embiggenable) • iPhone

At times I can be a bit dense inasmuch as something, in this case a picture making thing, can be right in front of me and I don't get it until some time has passed.

Case in point, after recently making a couple comparo pictures-same referent with iPhone and µ4/3-it has dawned on me that the HDR function-now the default setting on the iPhone Xs Max-is somewhat of a computational photography miracle. Well ... Ok, not an actual miracle but a damn handy picture making tool.

I confess that, up until quite recently, I have taken for granted the extended range pictures, from shadow to highlight (with some highlight /shadow detail recoverable if needed), that the iPhone spits out with impressive regularity. And it does so without a hint of HDR visual weirdness.

Prior to my use of the iPhone modual as my prime picture making device, I was a RAW shooter without exception. Now, it's hard for me to believe how incredibly satisfied I am with the results I obtain with JPEG files.

CAVEAT: as I previously written, the iPhone is not a perfect picture making device for all of my needs. On those occasions when it is not, I rely on my µ4/3 cameras and will continue to do so. However, that written, if computational photography moves into "traditional" cameras, I won't hesitate for a second to buy into it and drop iPhone picture making like a hot potato. 'Cause, when all is said and done, I prefer the feel of a "real' camera in my hands rather than a phone no matter how competent it might be.

(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.