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This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

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Entries in civilized ku, manmade landscape (1477)


diptych # 205-6 ~ pot is fun / whoa, that's heavy

the Hyde Collection - Art Museum ~ Glens Falls, NY • click to embiggen
from the Hyde Collection exhibits ~ Glens Falls, NY • click to embiggen

As part of last weekend's hockey trip, Hugo and I visited the Hyde Collection - Art Museum & Historic House in Glens Falls. The featured exhibition was a photography exhibition - 60 from the 60s.

60 from the 60s is a collection of 60 BW prints from 10 photographers' work made in the 1960s. The collection was selected from the George Eastman House archive. The featured artists are Harry Callahan, Benedict J. Fernandez, Hollis Frampton, Betty Hahn, Robert Heinecken, Mary Ellen Mark, Roger Mertin, Arnold Newman, Aaron Siskind, and Garry Winogrand.

It would seem - due to the fact that I found links to the exhibition which indicated several locations - that the exhibition is a traveling exhibition which is moving about the country. However, I can find no evidence of exhibition tour dates. If, by chance, it should show up anywhere in or near your vicinity, I would highly recommend seeing it.

FYI, the 2 prints pictured in the lower diptych in this entry were 2 of Hugo's favorites. The Norman Rockwell illustration - part of a small Rockwell exhibit at Hyde Collection - was labeled by Hugo as "whoa, that's heavy". The Benedict J. Fernandez POT IS FUN picture of Allen Ginsberg incited a sheepish smile from Hugo. In Hugo's opinion, it ranked right up there with a Mary Ellen Mark picture and an Arnold Newman portrait.

diptych # 204 ~ same but different

early morning /mid-afternoon ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

I might have had an evening (artificial light) variation on this still life but the wife put the dishes / utensils / et al in the dishwasher before I knew what she was doing.

I've got to get me a roll of that crime-scene-do-not-cross tape. Or, maybe somebody makes photo-scene tape.

punctum baby (he/she's back) / family memories ~ life is just a snapshot

great aunt, grandma, grandpa • click to embiggen

I've been reading and thinking on my "personal meaning which 'escapes' language", re: the Punctum Baby picture. The readings - very selective chapters / essays from 2 books - provided 'clues' which facilitated my some of my thinkings.

So, first, the clues:

1. In the normal rhetoric of the photographic portrait, facing the camera signifies solemnity, frankness, and disclosure of the subjects essence. - Susan Sontag ~ On Photography

2 ... even the most happy and innocent photographs - perhaps especially the most happy and innocent - function as kind of memento mori for the viewer's own death, reminding him or her that all things pass and fade; that life is just a snapshot. - Steve Edwards ~ PHOTOGRAPHY A Very Short Introduction

3 ... the photograph seems to testify that particular people existed or that things actually happened … photographs act as prompts or provocations for stories and reminiscences ... (which) spin off from these powerful points of association ... [T]he photographs that take on this role often articulate some shared experience or need.

Thoughts regarding clue # 1: facing the camera. There is no doubt in my mind that the direct facing-the-camera stare with eye contact, despite its diminutive size within the frame, is what first pricks my eye and sensibilities, personal meanings wise. I find it very arresting due to its I'm looking at you and you better not look away quality which also suggests (to me) a you're going to have deal with me, buddy feeling - "I can not nor will not be ignored."

All of which is delivered in a non-threatening and somewhat expectant manner that, at the very least, suggests some of the Punctum Baby's "frankness" and "essence" such as it might be at his/her early stage of awareness. The stare / eye contact / facial expression suggests to me that Punctum Baby is an open, inquisitive and inviting person - I would like to make his/her acquaintance.

Thoughts regarding clues # 2 / # 3: all things pass and fade / photographs act as prompts or provocations. I have linked my thoughts on clues #2/3 because those those thoughts flow from one to the other.

First, foremost and quite obviously, the moment pictured has passed (long ago) and, for all we know, it is possible that the Punctum Baby has passed away as well. And, other than the perceived idea about the Punctum Baby's essence' everything else about the picture is unknown / unknowable. Because of that, I am left with a sense of mystery and endless speculation which can never be unraveled regarding the story of Punctum Baby's life and fate.

While I could go on and speculate nearly endlessly, it is here where I came to a stop, re: trying to put into language that which I have come to believe should remain unknown. For, as Susan Sontag opined, "Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect on art." and I would much rather experience the feelings and reactions rather than dissecting them and, most likely, sucking the life out of them.

Ultimately, I think that a significant but not exclusive part of my feelings / reactions to the Punctum Baby picture all come down to the question of life with meaning. Did he / she have one? And, prompted by the picture, am I engaged in a life with meaning? Or, on the other hand, ... whatever.

BTWFYI, the old-timey pictures of my relatives do not come anywhere near to instigating the feelings / reactions I have to the Punctum Baby picture.

civilized ku # 3057-59 ~ recently seen and duly noted

hotel room / reflection on tv screen ~ Potsdam, NY • click to embiggen
cell phone against white ~ Brasher Falls, NY • click to embiggen
American Legion / Post 939 ~ Brushton, NY • click to embiggen

While attending a hockey tournament and moving about the extreme northern tier of New York State - the St. Lawrence River valley along the Canadian border - a few things pricked my eye and sensibilities.

diptych # 203 / civilized ku # 3054-55 ~ late winter inside color

flowers and stuff ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
flowers ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

I am working on my next entry, re: punctum baby ~ personal meaning which "escapes" language part II. Hope to complete it tomorrow afternoon while in a hotel killing time between hockey games.

As an aid to help clarify my approach to finding the words which come close to defining / explaining my reaction, personal meaning wise, to the punctum baby picture, I am re-reading the book ,READING PHOTOGRAPHS ~ UNDERSTANDING THE AESTHETICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY which was published in 1978 and which I read for the first time a long time ago.

FYI, the book is a collection of 9 essays (on average, only 2 pages each) covering 9 topics - such as, Time, Organization of space, Symbol and Light - all illustrated with a number of pictures relative to the topic. The book is an easy and somewhat informative read.

However, as I read it I am starting to think that I what I really need to do is to re-read a few chapters in Susan Sontag's book, On Photography. So, I guess I'll throw that book into my suitcase.

diptych # 202 / civilized ku # 3053 ~ the destroyer of worlds, art-wise

sweepings ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
sweepings / sweeper ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

I continue to struggle - write, re-write, edit, re-edit, think, re-think - with the entry, re: the most beautiful and intriguing picture I have ever seen, so I have decided to break it into 2 parts.

Part I will deal with the craft to be seen in the print, itself. Craft, whether intention or the result of dumb unthinking luck, which is rather striking. Addressing this aspect of the picture has not been particularly difficult. Although, in fact, the craft does play a significant part in how the picture affects me.

Part II will deal with the picture's emotional / mental impact and affect on my feelings and sensibilities. My understanding of that impact - both how and the why - is where I struggle. That is to write, having the ability to connect to (understand) and to put into words what could be described as my complete fascination with the picture and why I consider it to be the most beautiful and intriguing picture I have ever seen. Or least, one of the most beautiful and intriguing pictures I have ever seen.

civilized ku # 3052 ~ having a good time

aftermath - surgical tape and gauze ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Sometimes you eat the b'ar, sometimes the b'ar eats you - an expression describing the bipolar nature of life, the universe and everything.


Sometimes you're the dog, sometimes you're the tree

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug

On the other hand, if you don't believe in dualism, the other side of the coin, win some / lose some or the like, you can always say...

Fuck it, man. Let's go bowling.

or, Hop in the Cordoba, baby, we're going bowling.

fyi, some of the above is harvested from the Lebowski Lexicon and Mike Lange-ism

iPhone pictures (civilized ku # 3049-51) ~ never let a picture making opportunity pass you by

pandas ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen
panda game / urinal and feet ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen

Went on a dinner and a movie date with the wife yesterday evening. Good dinner. Good movie. Good wife. All in all, a good date.

After the movie and while still at the theater, I encountered 2 picture making opportunities but was dismayed that I did not have a camera with me - I never bring a camera into a theater so they were all out in the car.

While standing at the first picturing possibility and lamenting the no-camera situation, I realized that I did have a picture making device on my person - my new iPhone 6s Plus. Since I hadn't really had a "serious" picture making opportunity with the device, I figured this was a good time to give it a go.

The results are quite good. Good enough that, in a pinch and with the right circumstance (decent light being the prime requirement), the device is capable of making very serviceable image files. So, while I primarily limited my picture making self, with my antiquated iPhone 4, to making pictures which would be manipulated with a photo app, this device will suffice in those rare situations when I am without a camera.

That written, I will be using the device for picture making while in Ireland and Scotland. Not as my primary picture maker but for a very specific self-assigned picture making project - that is, a series of selfies (selfie stick and all) made at various locations and situations on the trip. FYI, I am still pondering a number of ideas which will add a twist to the "traditional" selfie picture genre.
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