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 # 3603 (picture window, sorta) / the new snapshot # 254 ~ it's a prickly business

Plymouth Cheese screen door ~ Plymouth Notch, Vt. (embiggenable) • iPhone

Queen Connie ~ Leicester, Vt. (embiggenable) iPhone

I use the word "serious" (always in quotes) to indicate my picture making that is intended to be create something more than a non-"serious" documentary-type picture. Most often a non-"serious" pictures would be made on my travels or when I just want to picture something I see that's interesting but not a suitable referent for a "serious" picture. The 2 pictures in this entry are good examples of "serious" / non-"serious" picture types.

My intent with the Queen Connie pictures was simply to record a quirky roadside attraction which, as I later discovered, is # 16 on TOP 50 AMERICAN ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS list. The picture could incite thoughts / comments regarding the strange and sometimes wonderful weirdness than can be found in roadside attention-getting business advertising / promotion items that dot the American landscape.

Often such things are indications of someone's joyful exuberance and, iMo, are worthy of note. That written, there is no heavy lifting, meaning wise, in the making of this picture nor is any required to enjoy it.

On the other hand, there is the Plymouth Cheese screen door picture. This picture was made when my eye and sensibilities, that is my seemingly prenatural sensitivity to color and form, was pricked by what my visual apparatus (eyes + brain functions?) determined to be stimulating. At which point I make a picture.

For my picture making, it really is that simple ... walk around with eyes and mind open and wait for lightning to strike my visual apparatus. The only "work" involved is arranging, by means of arriving at the best POV, those elements into a relationship within my imposed frame which tickles my visual fantasy, by means of "feel' not thought, and there you have it.

In a very real sense, the preceeding paragraph is fodder, if not the actual content, for an artist statement for any of my bodies of work. However, for most of my bodies of work, some other words are needed. In the case of my picture windows work, the words-the fewer the better- would come from answering the question, "Why am I attracted to picturing fragments of the outside world from an inside-out POV?"

In attempting to answer that question, It is quite probable that I have to get uncomfortably close to writing some academic lunatic fringe narcisstic phsyco babble, an endeavor I am loath to undertake. However, simple is as simple does, so...

Were I to venture a guess-without enrolling in psychotherapy for a couple of years-the answer might be that I am viewing the outside world from the safety and comfort of an inside space. While that is true, and rather obvious, in a literal sense, it is probably informative to make the leap to the figurative sense of inside / outside ....

.... I am looking at the "outside" world from the "inside" world of my psyche, a comfortable place to be. Without a doubt, I have always had a rather stolid-bordering on Stoicism ([dictionary definition] "living in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain"- relationship to and with the "outside" world. In practice, I keep a rather snug, but by no means complete, rein on my emotional state(s)....

....which I believe is evidenced in my picture making inasmuch as I make "straight" pictures, unembellished with grand and glorius visual jestures, from a rather dispassionate picturing POV. In other words, I do so from the comfort derived from staying within (inside) the borders of my psyche.

So, perhaps my picture window body of work explains the picture making M.O. I have for all of my work. Or, perhaps not. Maybe, the only artist statement needed for all of my work is that I like making pictures, aka: the joy of photography, and sharing with the world how and therefore what I see. Revelling in what pricks my eye and sensibilities and attempting to prick the eye and sensibilities of others.

FYI, notice that I did not state sharing with the world why I make pictures. That's only important for me to know.

the new snapshot # 249-53 (or there about) ~ simple is as simple does / the mind's eye

water # 1-5 ~ all pictures embiggenable • all pictures µ4/3

Continuing with the last entry's questions.....

c.1930-31, Georgia O'Keeffe agreed to a debate with the editor of NEW MASSES, a leftist periodical, over his denouncement of O'Keeffe's new exhibition as being an example of bourgeois individualism. In an era when the debate in the art world was centered around the idea of whether an artist-in a time of economic crisis, aka: The Great Depression-should be creating social / cultural relevant art, O'Keeffe felt obligated to respond to his criticism in order to defend her work and the Stieglitz group's aesthetic.

During the debate, the editor, Mike Gold, contended that art needed to engage with and reflect the issue of the day which he believed to be the plight of the oppressed. When pressed by O'Keeffe, re: if women were oppressed, he answered that only working-class women qualified as such. O'Keeffe rejected that opinion and went on to state that artists were perfectly capable of expresssing their woes / concerns without creating the "glorified cartoons" that were in vogue with the editor and readers of the leftist periodical.

At that point-and herein is my point re: the last entry's questions-O'Keeffe when on to state:

"The subject matter of a painting should never obscure its form and color, which are its real thematic concerns."

OK. Anyone who has followed this blog most likely knows that O'Keeffe's statement pretty much explains my picture making M.O.. Color and form, independent of the depicted referent, is what / how I see and picture. For the most part, re: my "serious" picture making, the depicted referent is just a visual vehicle that I use to illustrate color and form-shapes, lines, colors and tonal relationships as organized within my imposed frame.

O'Keeffe went onto state, re: meaning ...

"So I have no difficulty in connecting that my paintings of a flower may be just as much a product of this age as a cartoon about the freedom of women-or the working class-or anything else."

That statement again pretty much reflects my feeling about meaning that may or may not be found in my pictures. Viewers of my pictures may intuit / interpret / deduce any meaning therein according to the sensibilities they bring to their viewing experience. Or, none at all.

In most of my "serious" picture making, I have one simple intent. To create for the viewer a visual encounter / stimulation. That written, I am aware that many viewers do have reactions to my pictures that go beyond the visual. Hell, when viewing my printed work, I have reactions that were not present in my mind's eye as part of my picturing activity.

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 # 5304-06 ~ wacky weather

(embiggenable) • iPhone

(embiggenable) • iPhone

my hometown ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable) • iPhone

2 days before Xmas day the land was shrouded in for and rain. Visually interesting but not what most were dreaming of for Xmas, weather wise. The day before Xmas day, it snowed all day creating a white winter landscape which was perfect for the season.

Today is New Year's Eve day and, after a few days of very mild temps, the landscape is back to shades of green and brown and little piles of snow here and there. No snow in the forecast for the next 6 days. Winter just ain't what it used to be.

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.

civlized ku # 5302-03 ~ right place right time

window blinds shadows ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

figures ~ Old Forge Hardware / Old Forge,NY (embiggenable) • µ4/3

When it comes to making a good picture of the everyday real world, being in the right place at the right time is usually part of the picture making equation. A picture maker can be in the right place simply by happenstance / luck or as the result of careful planning and preparation.

FYI, the time honored expression for being in the right place at the right time, picture making wise, is the adage, f/8 and be there. However, iMo, there is a very important additional ingredient to the "being there" part ... that is, seeing. If you ain't looking at the real world with eyes and mind wide open, you'll never know when you're there.

In my experience and way of thinking, there (picture making wise) is a visual state of mind. That is to suggest that one must see, not just look, and grasp the picture making possibilities.

the new snapshot # 248-51 (civilized ku) ~ a walk on the wild(wood) side

no walk thru ~ Wildwood, NJ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Wildwood, NJ ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

As coincidence would have it, I drew one of my brothers-in-law's (who has an interest in making pictures-Olympus M4/3 + a few lenses) name for the annual family Xmas gift exchange event/party. He, like the rest of the wife's family, is a South-Jersey-Shore-O-Phile. Hence my annual week at the Shore visit.

During this summer's visit past, I drove the teens to the very nearby Wildwood amusement piers for a a day of amusing themselves. After dropping them off, I spent some time driving around and making some pictures of the beautifully restored 50's/60's architecture and signage to be found in the area. I did not make a comprehensive survey of such but I did come back with some nice pictures.

So it was with great surprise, on the day I drew my brother-in-law's name, that I came across a book, EBB TIDE, by Tyler Hauchey. Gift giving solved. But then I thought, why not add a print of one of my Wildwood pictures to the gifting? Upon trying to decide which one to print, I decided to print 4 pictures ganged style.

In addition to the aforementioned coincidence, within a day or two of discovering the book and looking at my Wildwood pictures, I came across-coincidence # 2-a call for entries for an juried exhibition, A Color Moment at PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT. According to the call for entries ...

The photographs in this exhibit will be chosen less for technique and more for the pure passion captured in a moment in which color is a key element.

Don't think I'll have much trouble finding 5 pictures-the submission fee of $35.00US covers 5 pictures-to submit. No more than 2 of my 5 submissions will be Wildwood pictures inasmuch as I have plenty of pictures "about color" to choose from.

FYI, during next year's Shore visit, my plan is to return (multiple times) to Wildwood to make pictures during the twilight hour when the architecture and signage is aglow with neon light.