PICTURE ONLY GALLERY LINKS
The life without the APA pictures are here
The The Forks ~ there's no place like home gallery is here
The ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects gallery is here
The Decay & Disgust work/book is here
The single women selects/book gallery is here
The picture windows selects/book gallery is here
The kitchen life selects gallery is here
A 10 picture look at Tangles, Thickets, and Twigs ~ fields of visual energy is here
Our (I and Hugo) trip to Toronto was essentially instigated by Hugo's long standing desire to visit the National Hockey League Hall of Fame. So, naturally that objective was first up on our (his) agenda. That written, we both enjoyed the visit.
Like all of trips, I never leave having a single thought about making pictures other than knowing I will be making some pictures. Most often, upon my return, I am very surprise at the number, usually substantial, of pictures I have made. Of course, my camera(s) are always at hand and, even more important, I just can not turn off my eyes and vision. I just never know what it is which might trigger my trigger finger. Like, say, my recent trip to New Haven, Connecticut ...
... who would thought / known that I would encounter a Roman Catholic saint, St. Dominic, about whom the story is told that before his birth his barren mother made a pilgrimage to Silos and dreamed that a dog leapt from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth, and "seemed to set the earth on fire".
Seriously, who could resist a picture making opportunity with that knowledge in mind? Although, I didn't gain that knowledge until after the picture making fact. However, that written, I knew there had to something unusual about the dog with a burning torch in its mouth sitting at the foot of a saint.
And the story gets even better when I discovered that this story is likely to have emerged when his order became known, after his name, as the Dominican order. Dominicanus in Latin and a play on words interpreted as Domini canis, "Dog of the Lord." is truly ... ahh ... unique.
So, IMO, it is better to be prepared to picture what you see rather than to plan in advance to make pictures of what you have been told are good picture making referents.
During my recent NYC visit and my Chelsea photo gallery crawl, we - Giuliano, Robert, and I - stopped into the ClampArt gallery where Marc Yankus' exhibition, The Space Between, was just finished being hung. I had very recently seen the pictures online so it was treat to see the actual prints.
Giuliano expressed an interest in how the images were created, so, Mr. Know-It-All launched into a discourse regarding his idea of how they were made. To wit, original photographs were blended in PhotoShop with a photograph or scan of some kind of textured paper. Some portion of the original photographs - primarily the buildings - were "protected" (via selection tool) from the texture which allowed the building (or part thereof) to be rendered in a more "straight" manner. In addition, the part of the original picture depicting the building's surrounding environment was manipulated to reduce the tonal range to an almost ghostly state. Or so I surmised.
My surmise was quickly validated by the comment, "That's exactly right." The comment was delivered by a person - Brian Paul Clamp? - who was hanging a small auxiliary exhibit in a very small gallery behind the main gallery. There followed some addition chat (which was mercifully artspeak free) about the pictures.
He went back to hanging prints and Giuliano and I continued discussing the work. Once again, Mr. Know-It-All Smarty-Pants expressed his opinion that Yankus was not so much a photographer as he was an artist who uses photography. Over hearing my commentary, the young woman manning the reception counter/desk (see single women # 26) gave me a sly sideways glance (accompanied by a ever-so-slight wry/humorous smile). And once again, we were joined by the person hanging the small exhibit.
He explained to us how Mr. Yankus was a fine artist who slowly evolved to using the medium of photography. Indeed, on his website Yankus is (self?)described as "a photographer and an artist who uses digital mediums to create mixed media." Notice the distinction made - photographer v. artist.
All of that written, it should be obvious that my new series what is a photograph? is very much in the tradition (and it's a very old tradition) of an artist who uses photography. I have operated within the halls of that convention before - life without the APA - so I'm not exactly treading on unfamiliar ground.
However, now I'm confused. Am I an artist or am I a photographer? Is there a difference? If so, what the hell is the difference?
The art world, especially so the fine art photography division (as it currently exists in a hijacked by the academic lunatic fringe state of affairs), has always been much concerned with the idea that, to be considered a work of art, that work must make evident both the hand and mind of its maker. No less an idea was expressed exactly so by academia as early on as 1648 with the establishment of tha Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris, followed by the Royal Academy in London in 1768. And to be certain, a hand with an attached finger activating the shutter of picture making machine did not qualify as making evident the hand of the maker.
I can write from personal experience that my life without the APA work elicits much more of viewer reaction than does much of my other work based primarily on the fact of its making. Yes, viewers like and appreciate the content and meaning/message of the finished pictures, but they go absolutely all gaga regarding the manner in which the final images were constructed. Consequently, I am referred to by many who have viewed the work as a "true artist". I can also write from experience that the 2 individuals - 1 a photographer, 1 not - who have viewed my first blush attempt at making a what is a photograph? picture have both been initially wrapped up in the manner of the making of what they were seeing.
I don't mention these reactions as a criticism of those who experience them. I do so, in a very real sense, in support of the nearly universal sway that the making of an object of an artist's expression/vision exerts upon the perception of its status as art. A perception which explains why so-called "straight" photography has, and still does in many quarters, had to struggle with gaining acceptance as "real"/"true" art. And, consequently, whether or not its maker is considered to be an "artist" or merely a "photographer".
As for me, I don't care about the distinction between an artist and a photographer. That's because, quite simply, I am neither. In fact, I am a picture maker plain and simple - I just make pictures. And, please, feel free to label me and my results with any nomenclature you might choose to employ.
FYI the words on the image in the what is a photograph? # 7 are: We better stop pretending.
Now, approximately 7 days later, I find myself 14 final(ish) constructed images into a series by that very name. And while it's true that, for the past decade or so, I have been thinking, ruminating, contemplating, reading, writing and otherwise obsessing on the very notion of what is a photograph?, the fact of the matter is that I never thought of framing (gotcha, Jimmi Nuffin) the answer or, more accurately, my thoughts on the question in the form of a picture.
Silence. A tree in the forest. Noise and sound into the void. Falling. Deeper into the abyss. A wall, thick and dense, a filter built from years of accumulated deadening debris and detritus, deflecting all which is without. Beyond caring. Beyond comprehension. Beyond knowing. Damning up the liquid flow of life giving and affirming sustenance of daily bread which grows moldy in the isolated dank cupboard of neglect. The tree falls and the forest decays leaving nothing but ashes and the bittersweet taste of things which will never be.
Unlike the many high density urban / metropolitan places we have visited over the past month or so - Washington (DC), NYC, Philadelphia, New Haven - the town the wife and I visited yesterday - Canton, NY in the St. Lawrence River Valley region - is distinctly rural in nature. The region is marked by small towns, lots of farms, some manufacturing, and, unfortunately, quite a bit of rural poverty.
FYI, the St. Lawrence River, flows approximately 800 miles from the eastern end of Lake Ontario to Quebec City and on into the St Lawrence estuary, then into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and, ultimately, into the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, for 120 miles, it is the border between the New York State and Canada.
The river is the final link in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system which connects Duluth, Minnesota with the head of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The water passageway is comprised of a complex system of lakes, rivers, deepened channels, locks, and canals which traverse 2,340 miles. The system enables ocean going vessels to travel its entire length from the farthest reaches of the Great Lakes (the largest group of freshwater lakes - 5 lakes - on earth, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water) to the Atlantic Ocean.
All along the New York side of the river valley, there has been large scale development of wind farms, the reason for which should very evident, quite visibly so, by viewing the free delivery picture in this entry.
Once again I find myself in a strange (but extremely comfortable) bed which is located approximately 130 miles from home. The bed is in an amazing country inn - a farmhouse which has been restored to very high level in the American Craftsman style. The wife and I are where we are because she has an early court appearance today so it made sense to get here last evening and be well rested this AM rather than getting up well before the crack of dawn and being somewhat frazzled after a long drive.
In any event, at breakfast this AM - prepared by the couple who own the place - I was chatting with the owner/husband (a really nice and interesting guy), the retired Athletic Director at nearby St. Lawrence University, and the subject turned to sports related stuff. Before he was the AD, he was the wrestling coach at SLU so I mentioned that I had had a rather successful high school wrestling career. Long story shot, he had coached several wrestlers at SLU who were from my high school and, consequently knew my HS coach quite well.
Small world. But it gets even smaller.
Again, long story short, I mentioned that I had recently seen my coach at my HS Athletic Hall of Fame induction event. I was inducted, not for wrestling, but for football - I was part of football team which went undefeated playing a schedule against some of the best teams throughout NY State. At that point he asked me "what year was that?" I answered, "1964." He replied, "Man, you guys really kicked our butts all over the field. I think the score was 22-0."
So, how small world is that? 50 years ago I was kicking this guy's butt all over the playing field and now I find myself sharing a breakfast table with him at his wonderful country inn. Life is strange.