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civilized ku # 2903 / Polamatic # 12-15 ~ old blue eyes / he did it his way

NYC ~ pastry and a cigaretteNYC ~ Wall Street neighborhood /eating dinnerNYC ~ cheeseNYC ~ Flatiron buildingNYC ~ lower Manhatten from Govenors Island

When in NYC, one expects to see some strange and unusual things. However, I can not remember ever seeing anything as strange the picture of Frank Sinatra we saw hanging in a pastry shop / eatery.

IMO, that's one seriously weird / almost surreal picture.

FYI, I am still in NYC and am posting Polamatic pictures because I have arrived at a point where I have decided that, in addition to my normal / "serious" picture making when traveling, I will make pictures with the iPhone Polamatic app because - despite my eye for exquisite seeing and the arranging of elements on the 2D surface of a print - they look like typical tourist travel pictures. While this picture making M.O. is not the next thing, it will, in fact, constitute the beginnings of a new thing / body of work.

And, BTW, after I return home on Wednesday I will set about processing - and subsequently posting - my "serious" pictures made during my NYC visit.
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:04AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

Polamatic # 8-11 ~ we're all here because we're not all there

NYC ~ Sophie's (bar) • East VillageNYC ~ E4th window view / treeNYC ~ cactusNYC ~ kitchen trashSaturday night and Sunday morning in NYC. More Sunday + Monday and Tuesday to follow.

Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 01:06PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

polaroid transfer ~ a digital return to yesteryear?

cottage garbage ~ Chaffeys Lock • Ontario, Canada • click to embiggen

Back in the Analog Days I used to really enjoy making Polaroid image transfer prints. I made mine from pictures made with a 4×5 view camera using Polaroid film.

The process was relatively simple - after making the picture, leave the film packet in the holder (do not process). Prepare paper for transfer by tray soaking in warm water and then, on a smooth flat surface, squeegee off the surface water (Arches heavyweight watercolor paper was my favorite substrate). Pull the film from the holder to begin processing. After 10-15 seconds, peel apart and place negative face down on substrate and immediately apply pressure with a photo print roller. After a minute or two (test to determine time that suits your taste), peel negative from substrate and there you have it.

Taking the process one step further, after the print had dried, I would use a combination of Marshall Photo Oils and Coloring Pencils to work on an area of the print I wished to highlight. Hand coloring in this manner gave the image a more hand made / illustrated appearance.

The finished image area was small as dictated by the size of the Polaroid film but I liked to place that small image area centered on a large sheet of paper (11×14-ish). Paper which would be finished with torn edges made by ripping it using a metal straight edge in order to leave a relatively straight yet rough edge. IMO, and to my eye and sensibilities, the transfer process look with selective hand coloring working together with the look and feel of slightly warm tinted and textured fine art watercolor paper created a beautiful print.

As part of my recent screwing around, picture making wise, I have figured out how to get a Polaroid transfer look to my digital pictures. I can even approximate a hand colored look to a selected area of the picture. But, to be honest, this replicated look is just not the same as the real thing. So ...

.... Fuji now offers a 4×5 instant peel-apart film and holder. If I want to go the whole handmade route of my past transfer image making, that product would be a way to go. And, believe it or not, I still have my print roller, print squeegee and Marshall oils and pencils.

However, I do like the idea of creating the transfer look - minus the transfer process border - using some of my existing pictures, printing them digitally on a nice textured matte surface printing paper. Then I would go to work with the oils and pencils. I believe that the finished look would be very much like, perhaps nearly identical, to the analog print making process.

This process would have 4 distinct advantages - 1) image size could be whatever I want it to be, although I would keep it smallish (6-8 inch longest side dimension), 2) an edition of multiple "original" prints (low number 5-8) is possible and easier to produce than with the analog process, 4) applying marshall oils is a touchy (literally and figuratively) process and there is no undo once the oil is applied - if you mess it up, it's all the way back to making a new negative and print (very time consuming), not so with digital printing, 4) I have quite a few existing pictures which would make good transfer style images, allowing me to jump right into the process.

While I would like to pursue this process, it will be a while until I can do so. At this time, I have little too much going on to have the time to devote to it.
Posted on Friday, May 22, 2015 at 11:51AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 135 ~ connections

connection ~ the place doesn't matter • click to embiggen

I can't write with any authority that in my quest for what's next that it will be diptychs. Nor, if that is what's next, the thematic diptych referent will be antique collectibles. However, I can write that the combination of the 2 - process + referent - is very attractive.

The making of diptychs has always held a particular fascination for me. I can't write exactly why that is so other than to write that the idea of 2 connected pictures working together within the same frame(work) has always been of interest to me - visually and, dare I write, intellectually.

And, as the wife can attest, I have a life-long attraction to old things. Things which some would label "collectibles", ranging from old photographs (tintype, ambro-type, daguerreotype, and vintage panoramic / banquet camera pictures of large groups) to an incredibly unique antique clock*, amongst many other disparate items.

clocks ~ also notice antique mantel clock above fireplace• click to embiggen
the museum / peopled panos ~ as the wife calls it• click to embiggen

I am drawn to acquiring old things, in part because they are a connection to the past- not my past, but a past - and in large part because I am almost preternaturally attracted to patina-ed objects / things. Things like dead flowers and rotting food, to mention just a couple.

In any event and all of that written, the idea of making pictures which connect to the patina-ed past and which are also are connected within the framework of a diptych has, to my eye and sensibilities, some merit worth considering.

*Inscription on clock reads: With those hours that drag, be patient. With those hours that are enjoyable, be alert.
Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:35AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

oddly exalted - diptych # 134 (viewmatic # 4 • civilized ku # 2900) ~ a sharp stick in the eye

TLR pencil sharpener ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 06:06PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | Comments1 Comment

wood camera # 6 / diptych # 133 (viewmatic # 3 • civilized ku # 2899) ~ variations on a Spring theme

potting stuff / wood camera app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
potting stuff / viewmatic app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

To keep from going stale you must forget your professional outlook and rediscover the virginal eye of the amateur. ~ Brassai

civilized ku # 2892-98 ~ ceramics, carnines, and the chicken anomaly

ceramic tile mural ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
mural detail ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
carnines ~ Minerva / Olmstedville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
which came first - the chicken or the rock? ~ Olmstedville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

On Saturday past, the wife and I went on a drive to the east-central Adirondacks to retrieve one of our canoes which had undergone a small repair. Or so we had been led to believe. As it turned out, the repair had not yet been done so in about a weeks time a return trip is called for.

However, inasmuch was we had timed the trip in order to have dinner at a truly excellent restaurant in nearby (to the canoe place) North Creek (pop. 616), the trip was not a waste of time - as if driving through the Adirondacks on a beautiful day is ever a waste of time. In any event, there was a "bonus" aspect to the trip - the "discovery" of two unique projects. One, community-based, the other, the work of an individual.

The community-based project, The North Creek Mosaic Mural Project, is a large (figuratively and literally) endeavor which is being undertaken by 100s of volunteers who take part in the assembly of the ceramic tiles under the supervision of local artist, Kate Hartley. Assembly started in 2012 and continues with the start of the third panel. There is a fourth panel along the wall, which I assume will be muralized over time.

This project is a "discovery" only in the sense that the wife and I had not paid much attention to it (as it incrementally evolved to its present state) over the years during our frequent-ish visits to North Creek. I think that was due to the facts that; 1.) we had always viewed it from across the street which led us (or at least, me) to, 2.) think of it as a painted mural. If it had "only" been a painted mural, it would have been interesting enough but, as a mosaic mural - made of thousands of pieces of ceramic - of fairly gigantic proportions, it's genuinely awe inspiring.

FYI, the mural depicts many of the recreational opportunities to be found in and around North Creek. The village is located on the Hudson River and is noted for its whitewater rafting. It is also the home of Gore Mountain Ski Resort (one of America's first). In addition, the village is the terminus of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad which is a modern reincarnation of the original Ski Train which ran (1934-1940) from Grand Central Station in NYC to North Creek. The station is also notable for the fact that Teddy Roosevelt, after a legendary night run - on wagons and stagecoach - from the base of Mt. Marcy, learned of the death of President McKinley and of his own succession to the presidency of the United States.

The individual-based "project" is not really a project per se. As least it was not conceived as such. It began with a local artist, Jake Hitchcock, whose medium (to my knowledge) is rocks. Apparently, he likes to indulge in making mounds of stones, aka: cairn (from the Scottish/Gaelic word carn), commonly erected as a memorial or marker. Or, in this case, as what might be labeled installation art.

It seems that over time, Hitchcock's work of making traditional mounds of rocks, albeit "artistic" mounds of rock, evolved into making dogs constructed of rocks. Eventually, locals caught on to his carnine (the wife's word) making proclivity and the requests for his talent grew. Consequently, there are quite a number of highly visible examples of his work dotting the landscape in and around his tiny home hamlet of Minerva, NY (immediately adjacent to North Creek).

The carnines can seen in yards (like the one in the squared square picture which seems to "making water" in the garden), at the road-end of driveways, and even randomly scattered along the roadside (like the one on the rotting tree stump). The carnine on the dam once had a tail. Now that it's gone missing, it resembles, to my eye and sensibilities, a duck or species of waterfowl.

Which leads me directly to the hen/rooster anomaly. Was this non-carnine assemblage created by Jake Hitchcock or is the work of a rouge cairnist?

The other question I have, re: Jake Hitchcock's installation art, is whether, when I contact him, I want a carnine or a flock of chickens for our front yard.

diptych # 132 (oddly exalted) ~ process / iPhone camera

Freshine / iPhone picture • viewfinder look ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Today on LENSCRATCH, there an exhibition of cell phone pictures - 5 pages worth - which Aline Smithson prefaced by writing:

Cell Phone photography has entered the fine art arena kicking and screaming and making so much noise that eventually the photography world is paying attention. With apps that replicate just about every photographic process and accessibility to every man, woman, baby, and dog, cell phone photography is a force to be reckoned with.

It should come as no surprise that cell phone picture making has enter the art world (fine or not so fine) inasmuch as, in the past, all manner of "non-standard / main stream" picture making instruments - as examples: Polaroid, Holga / crappy cameras, pinhole, and outdated cameras of all kinds - have had their picturing results accepted into the art world. Cell phone cameras are just another manifestation in that procession.

I am enjoying my messing around with the iPhone, not so much with the push-the-button camera apps - apps with a limited number of "canned" effects which any man, woman, child, or house pet can use. Instead of using the camera apps, I have been making "straight" iPhone pictures and then applying my own process-replication looks.

My process-replication looks are created in PS. I make "master" files for any process / camera I care to replicate. Those files are multi-layered, each with infinitely variable possibilities which can be used to customize the look of the replication depending upon the characteristics of the picture used in its making.

In the case of the viewfinder picture in today's diptych, I was able to adjust the intensity of the corner vignette and focusing screen "fog" to best suit the visual characteristics of the "raw" iPhone picture of the blue liquid. The other capability I have, exercised here, is to make a split-focus effect in the center of the viewfinder. In development is a focusing screen scratch / dirt layer and a viewfinder frame made from a picture of an actual TLR viewfinder to include the surrounding mechanicals as seen in a typical TLR viewfinder.

Why am I doing all this, you might ask? Simply, in a word, fun.

The only clitch I foresee is the possibility of getting sucked up in a gear race - I'm using an "ancient history" iPhone 4S and, of course, both the 5S and 6S are incrementally superior, camera-wise, not to mention the 7S and the 8S and the 9S and the ...........
Posted on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 11:20AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment
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