civilized ku # 5326 ~ hitting the pause button

(embiggenable) • iPhone

As the result of a comment from Martin Fine on yesterday's entry...

You are not full of BS but as TOP so correctly asks: Where and what are the new "classics"? Will there even be such a thing as "classics" given changing nature of photos and photography?

.... I have hit the pause button-be assured there is more to come-on my tizzy state of mind in order to address Martin's reiteration of Mike Johnston's question.

First, a definition: classic: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. synonyms definitive, authoritative; outstanding, of the highest quality....

I have always thought that the word "classic" was bandied about in a somewhat reckless and ill-defined manner. And, like so many other likes and dislikes, one person's classic is another person's piece of trash in history's dust bin. Like, say, the Szarkowski book mentioned on TOP which some considered a classic and others considered it to be outdated and uninspiring. Go figure.

And, for what it's worth, calling out and naming "classics is, iMo, a practice that is, for me, perilously akin to idol worship. A popularity contest, if you will.

Those quibbles aside, back to the question at hand ... Where and what are the new "classics"?

Re: where are the new classics?. Inasmuch as the classics under consideration are photobooks and most photobooks are picture oriented, virtually all of the pictures, which would be fodder for future photobooks, are swirling around in the vast cauldron of the picture making milieu waiting to be noticed by the gatekeepers who hold the keys to printing presses. Same as it ever was albeit that the cauldron is arguably-maybe, maybe not-larger than it ever was.

Another same-as-it-ever-was factor in pricking the eye and sensibilities of the printing press gatekeepers is that a picture maker must first prick the eye and senibilities of the gatekeepers who hold the keys to the walls of galleries / institutions on which the work of "notables" is hung. And getting noticed by those gatekeepers is essentially the same as it ever was. I.E., get a portfolio together and schlep it around like a hot pretzel vendor on the streets of New York.

In other words, get a name brand gallery show and one's chances of getting a book of your work printed rise significantly. At that point, a book has at least a chance of becoming a classic.

Re: what are the new classics? Same as it ever was. They will be the books that win the popularity contest.

If Mike Johnston meant where are the new classics? to be taken literally, as in where does one find and buy them?, to a certain extent it's, once again, the same as it ever was inasmuch as books will be found in all the usual outlets and more. More, in that the internet is one gigantic store, books included. And, if you keep your eyes and ears attuned what's blowing in the wind, what's happening now photobook wise, you'll find photobooks aplenty.

However, that written, here's my advice. Don't go looking for "classics". Go looking for what interests you with an open mind so that, when you come across something that you didn't know would be interesting until it caught your interest, you'll buy it. And, who knows, maybe some of the photobooks that interest you may even become "classics". Or not. But really, who cares?

BTW, you may have noticed that I did not mention socalled photobooks which deal primarily with photo theory (to include photo criticism). Nothing wrong with those type of books but they are photo theory books, not photobooks.

As for photo how-to books, a pox on all of them. If you have to read about, as an example, How to Master Landscape Photography, iMo, you'll never master landscape photography.

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 # 2 ~ discursive promiscuity

sunset at altitude ~ enroute to Firenze (embiggenable) • µ4/3

Pursuant to my last entry, wherein I mentioned the idea of "the best comment I ever received, re: my pictures....

.....nearly 2 decades past, as I was presenting my work-a discursive grouping of "fine art" pictures-to a gallery director, he stopped about halfway through my portfolio and asked, "Are you a graphic artist?" (aka: graphic designer). I answered that that line of work was one of my professional pursuits. Whereupon he commented that, regardless of the depicted referent, he could "see my sense of design throughout my work."

Inasmuch as I have stated/written that my pictures are more about "the relationships/ arrangements of color, shapes, and light to themselves or each other" than they are about the depicted referent, I considered his observation to be a very high compliment indeed.

The gallery director's insight indicated to me that he "got it", re: my pictures. Consequently, I could not have been more pleased. And, it was but a short time later that I came to understand and fully embrace my intuitive and seemingly preternatural sense of design which guided-in fact, determined-how I see the world and, by extension, how I picture the world.

Re: how I picture the world ... I have been able, after the fact of making thousands of pictures, to identify distinct categories-identified by depicted referents-into which to place some of my pictures. However, when asked, "What kind of photographs do you make?", my response goes something along the lines of, "difficult to say because I am discursively promiscuous, picture making wise." After which, I have to translate that into an understandable sentence .... "I digess from subject to subject" (aka: discursive behavior) "with an undiscriminating or unselective approach." (aka: promiscuous behavior).

Perhaps, I should be less enigmatic / perplexing in my response and simply state that "I make pictures of everything and anything as long as the subjects exhibit an interesting arrangement or pattern of light, shapes or colors." and let it go at that.

civilized ku # 5325 ~ what I see is what you get

trifecta ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Sometimes it's about color. Other times it's about shapes, lines, form. Then there are times when it's about light. In the case of today's picture, it's about all 3. Occasionally, it's actually about the referent. However, in this case, it's most definitely not about the toilet, door or floor.

In fact, it would not be much of a stretch to write that most of my pictures are only tangentially about the depicted referent .... as I have previously written, I have a seemingly preternatural sensitivity to the relationships/ arrangements of color, shapes, and light to themselves or each other. It's how I see.

That written, that sensitivity operates on a subconscious / intuitive level. However, I have come to understand that that sensitivity is what causes me to make the pictures I make inasmuch as I make my pictures driven by "feel".

That is, there is virtually no thought process-other than getting the exposure right-involved in the making of my pictures .... when my eye and sensibilities are pricked by a something (could be any thing), I bring the LCD screen to my eye and isolate / arrange the visual elements by how they feel, organized-wise, within my chosen frame. When everything feels "right", I make the picture.

Re: "feels right" - when the image on my LCD screen feels right, I make the picture. Because it feels right, I almost never "work" a subject - i.e., change my POV, variations on my framing, etc. In addition, because I picture what feels right, I never crop my picture files. What a viewer of my pictures sees is exactly what I saw on my LCD screen at the instant I made the picture.

In my next entry, I'll address the best comment I ever received, re: my pictures, and how it explains how, in addition to my career as a commercial photographer, I also had a side-career in graphic design and a stint as an ad agency Creative Director.

civilized ku # 5321-24 ~ road trip

hand made baskets and bunnies ~ Amish country outside of Canton, NY (embiggenable) • µ4/3

interior ~ Canton, NY (embiggenable) • iPhone

interior / hair ~ Canton, NY (embiggenable) • iPhone

Main ST. trafiic ~ Canton, NY (embiggenable) • iPhone

Went on a 244 mile round-trip car ride with the wife yesterday. She was giving a presentation at St. Lawrence University and I went along-driving-for companionship.

While she was doing her thing, I idled away the time at The Bagelry, the oldest (but stylish) bagel / sanwich / coffeehouse in St. Lawerence County. While, in a comfortable lounge chair inside the front window, sipping my coffee and munching on my bagel, it came to my attention that there were a few picture making opportunities at hand. So, I made some pictures.

I also made a picture along the roadside in a long stretch-25-30 miles-of highway through the Amish countryside. Could have made quite a few more when shortly thereafter, we encountered a small herd of smiling and waving (to us) Amish children walking along the highway near their school. However, I didn't want to infringe upon their privacy .... some don't mind being pictured, others might strenuously object.

I was tempted-but didn't give in-to make a picture or two of the 3 Amish carriages with moms?/older female siblings? on board waiting to pickup their kids from school. Apparently, there are some suburban mom (the "English") activities that are practiced by the Amish.

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.

single women # 38 / civilized ku # 5315-17 (triptych) ~ moving around the landscape

Ain’t airports fun ~ Washington,DC (embiggenable) • iPhone

Plattsburgh / Washington. DC / Pittsburgh ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

A busy week. Took my grandson, Hugo, to Pittsburgh, PA. for a day long visit to a prep school.

The visit included a practice skate with the school's top prep hockey team. Hugo put on enough of a show that the coach offered him a spot in the top team prep hockey program. Consequently, I may be traveling to Pittsburgh more frequently.

On the picture making front, I managed to make an addition to my single women body of work which you can view on my site front page via the WORK link above.