Civilized ku # 3684 / ku # 1428 ~ a nattering nAbob of negativism

at Rist Camp - in the Adirondack Park ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

at Rist Camp - in the Adirondack Park ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

There is a blogger out there whose raison d'etre seems to be that of promoting a very dark and foreboding notion, re: the current state of the photography medium and its apparatus.

In the admittedly short time I have been checking in on said blog, said blogger has announced that, amongst a number of things, straight photography is dead, photos are no longer printed and hung on gallery walls, art no longer imitates life / life imitates art and, most recently, that said blogger is "pretty much sick of it" ("it", aka: photography).

That "sickness" has been brought on by a "plague of images". Images which, ih/ho, are "vulgar, banal and stupid." None of the images have "enriched my life", nor are any of them "rare and beautiful" nor do they have "a value which that transcended their aesthetic worth."

Said blogger's deduction from the aforementioned? The most dumb-ass statement yet:

"Now, nothing can have that value any more"

Seriously? Nothing? Maybe this blogger is going through a depression episode and has not taken his meds. Or, maybe said blogger is that type of person who is just disposed to not stay on the sunny side of life.

Or, perhaps said blogger has such a narrow bandwidth for things which prick his/her eye and sensibilities that the good picture pickings are very slim. To be absolutely certain, that proclivity is very valid for his/her outlook, photography wise. However ....

...stop already with the broad, declarative statements without including the caveat / phrase, "for me"*.

All of that written, let me make a relatively broad statement of my own .... iMco, and to my eye and sensitivities, there are a goodly number of pictures out there which are very capable of enriching one's life, which are beautiful (using a very broad definition of that word) and which have a value beyond their visual aesthetics.

To deny that is to engage in a form lazy-ass "blindness". Yes, it may take a bit more "digging" to find the jewels but for those who do engage in the act of digging, there are plenty of pictures of value to be found.

* said blogger does use the word "I" a lot in the lead up to his/her overly broad statements so I guess I should cut him/her a bit of a break on that score. But not too much, cuz I couldn't have as much ranting fun otherwise.

Civilized ku # 3682 / ku # 1427 ~ this magic moment

sunlight ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

(Embiggenable) • iPhone

Back in 1969 Jay and the Americans released their version of This Magic Moment, a Top Ten / Golden Record recording. It stuck in my head long enough to think of it when I was reading a blog post suggesting the need for artist statements.

I have written my fair share of artist statements. For most of them, the words have flowed from my penny pencil like water from a ruptured damn. However, there have been a few for which the words were harder to find than a black cat in a coal bin. Perhaps, if I had taken a graduate course in artspeak writing and or narsissistic introspection, those hard ones might have been easier to pen.

In any event, I have been thinking about a new artist statement inasmuch as I have recently realized that, within my picture library, I have a goodly number of good pictures-made in the manner of the sunlight picture in this entry-which I should edit and organize into a new body of work. A heretofore unrecognized body of work that might be titled, window light.

Now, truth be written, I could-and maybe should-write a one-size-fits-all artist statement under the title of Discursive Promiscuity. That statement would state quite simply that I make pictures (fine art intention wise) of every and any thing when something pricks my eye and sensibilities. Most often instigated by what I perceive to be a visually interesting relationships of color, light, shapes, lines and the like which, when isolated within my frame and presented on the 2D field of a print, will make a visually interesting image.

It was while thinking about making such an artist statement, that the aforementioned song popped up in my head. I then looked up the lyrics and realized that, by scrambling a few lines about and adding a few words of my own, I could have a very viable one-size-fits-all artist statement ....

and then it happened
it took me by surprise
this magic moment
so different and so new
was unlike any other
I think you'll feel it too

So there you have it. I'll probably set it to the same music as the original song, record it and, instead of having a written artist statement at my next exhibition, I'll have a musical one. Could be the next big thing.

Civilized ku # 3681/ Ku # 1426 ~ something to think about

people with dogs tramping about at Buttermilk Falls ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

early evening sunlight ~ Harris Lake / Newcomb, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable) • µ4/3 @ 400mm f8

iMo, a photograph can accomplish 2 things. It can illustrate a referent and, in the best of cases, it can illuminate, not only the referent but also the totality of what is depicted within the frame imposed upon it by the picture maker. In fact, to illustrate and to illuminate are intimately connected in the same act. That is, to illustrate-in our case to photograqph-is to create an illustration-in our case a photograph-as an example of something (in the broadest sense) which most often is employed to elucidate, aka: illuminate, or prove something about that which is illustrated.

So, it seems very clear to me that people who engage in the act of making photographs are, in fact, illustrators who are creating illustrations of something in order to illuminate the visual characteristics / qualities of that something, most often to make a statement or prove something about that something.

Simple enough, no?

FYI / IN MEMORIUM One of the most influential photographers of the last century-albeit that that influence was based primarily on a single book-is dead. That photographer would Robert Frank and the book would be his book, The Americans. There is a good article in today's NY Times but that article is behind a paywall.

Civilized ku # 3680-81~ living in a paradise

View from the porch ~ Newcomb, NY / in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable) • iPhone

Provisions ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

All settled in for a 5 week stay at Rist Camp. Looking forward to visits from friends and family but also to some time alone for picture making (the wife will only be here about half the time).

It is my intention, picture making wise, to focus on making ku (natural world) pictures. The issue I face when doing so is to avoid making the "standard" ain't-nature-grand-and-glorious cliche pictures. So, there will probably be some mucking about, picture making wise, while I try to find a grove that works for me.

FYI, for those interested in such things, the 5 prominent bottle labels in the Provisions picture represent-collectively-63 years of distilled spirits aging.

ku # 1425 / civilized ku # 3639 (ku-ish) ~ entre chien et loup and a sunrise

Blue Mountain and fog at sunrise ~ (embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera w color negative film

sailboats on Lake Champlain ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Theblue mountain sunrise fog picture is a companion picture to the from Castle Rock picture in my last entry. It was created, after climbing up to Castle Rock and camping the previous evening, next the morning. The fog that blanketed the entire landscape can be seen rolling in the from Castle Rock picture. Both pictures can accurately be described as f8 and be there. or, more precisely, f64 and be there pictures inasmuch as the fog was an unanticipated atmospheric event.

It is also fine example of luck rewarding the prepared. In this case, prepared meant not only an 8x10 view camera, 8x10 film holders, tripod and light meter but also a backpacking stove for a lite supper and breakfast, lantern, sleeping pads and sleeping bags (2 of each as I had my assistant along with me). The luck also included the fact that the fog fell below our perch on Castle Rock.

AN ASIDE: A gallery-crafts + a small room for photography-in Blue Mountain Lake was interested in selling the pictures. I had framed 8x10 contact prints of the pictures which I priced at $250/print. When the gallery owner heard the price, she had second thoughts about hanging them inasmuch at that time, c.1981, the price was quite a bit high for the market.

I convinced her to hang 1 of each. Much to her surprise (and delight), they sold as a set on the first day they were displayed. Needless to write, she wanted more and over time 20>30 sets were sold. The guideboat picture also sold quite well. She was happy and so was I.

FYISome very slight color banding in the sky might be visible. This due to downsampling for the web. The original is silky smooth.

civilized ku # 3637-38 / ku # 1424 ~ let there be light

from Castle Rock ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY (embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss w 8x10 color negative film

guideboat ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY (embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss w 8x10 color negative film

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

George Eastman opined:

"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."

iMo, this quote, coming from a guy who employed hundreds of research scientists who knew light and how to make outstanding light sensitive emulsions, can be understood in a number of ways .... Eastman's research department certainly understood, from a technical point of view, that "light makes photography". Those who make pictures came to understand it from an aesthetic point of view and worked to "embrace light" as a pictorial meme employed to enhance a picture's visual impact in ways both subtle and dramatic.

Numbered amongst the light from an aesthethic POV picture makers, there is a subgroup of landscape picture makers who, to my eye and sensibilities, "admire" and "love" the light to the point of being a fetish. These picture makers often describe their picture making activitiy as "chasing the light" and by their definition, the light is that which is both dramatic and colorful or which emphasizes the sturm und drang of the natural world. I have never been a member of this club.

That written, there was a time when I did pursue a particular type of light .... the soft and color subtle light found during the time of day called the gloaming or as-using my favorite descriptor-entre chien et loup (between the dog and the wolf). That picture making time was during the late 70s>mid-80s when I toted one of my 8x10 view cameras about my hometown and the Adirondacks. I did so because, at that time, that was what "serious" fine art color picture makers did.

In order to capture the subtle quality of the light and color, my film of choice was 8x10 Type L (long exposure) color negative film. Even though Type L film was manufactured to compensate for the color reciprocity failure due to long exposures (60-120 seconds), I was pushing the envelope out to 10>20 minute exposure times* due to my use of an f64 aperture setting.

Although I still have my 8x10/4x5 view cameras and lenses, for a variety of reasons those days are gone. Over the last 2 decades, I have increasingly let "the light" chase me and, when it catches me, I make pictures of it. To be honest, I subscribe to a picture making idea best described by Brooks Jensen:

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

*FYI, something I did from time to time, during a 20 minute exposure, was to walk through the scene I was picturing. I never detected any impact on the negative of such activity. I just did it to be a wise ass.

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.

civilized ku #5314 / ku # 4023 ~ like a duck to water

(embiggenable) • µ4/3

(embiggenable) • µ4/3 (left), iPhone (right)

I have always had a fascination with visual complexity. In fact, it is quite accurate to write that that fascination lead directly to my career as a professional commercial photographer.

Stepping into the Way Back Machine to 1966, while I was living in Japan (in the military), I acquired my first camera. This acquisition was notable inasmuch as, while I was living Rochester, NY-home of the Big Yellow Box aka: KODAK-I never (with one exception) made a photograph. My artistic activities were devoted to creating drawings and illustrations for which I was well known.

That written, with that first camera I took to picture making like the proverbial duck to water.

Within a few months, I had won 3 1st place military photo competitions-3 different categories-at each of 3 different levels - base, Far East and Pacific tiers. A few months after that, I became a military photographer. Eventually, I became the personal photographer to a Commanding General.

In a very real sense, I had become a professional photographer inasmuch as I was earning my military pay by making pictures. That,dispite the fact that I had zero photo education or training ... as I wrote, like a duck to water.

Upon my discharge, I returned to Rochester-loaded up with 2 Nikons and 5 NIkkor lenses-and enrolled in a 4 year photography program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I dropped out after 2 months due the fact that the school would not give me any credits for my prior photographic experience which resulted in my being placed inclasses with rank begginers and the attendant courses of study. It didn't seem worth the money.

I then got a job as an assitant to a commercial photographer where I worked for 3 years. I left that job and opened my first commercial studio.

And the rest was, as they say, history.