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Entries in civilized ku, manmade landscape (1359)

diptych # 131 ~ the single picture ... is it enough?

hockey sticks / floor detritus ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

In a recent entry on LENSCRATCH - ANDREW SANDERSON: THE SINGLE IMAGE - Aline Smithson fleshed out a previous statement:

I do think it’s time we reconsider the idea that everything has to be created around a project - twenty images wrapped up in a neat bow with an artist statement on top. Projects are great, but what about all the single images we shoot that have no home and get over looked because they are not in that portfolio gift box?

In the entry, Smithson introduced the work of Andrew Sanderson, "a photographer who creates single images." That is, "work that was not defined by a single subject, instead a range of subjects that have caught his interest." In selecting the work to be viewed in the entry, Smithson - who primarily presents the work of project-based picture makers - admitted that, "What was fascinating to me as an editor was that it was difficult to select the work – I still felt it needed consistency and a thread of connection if only through light and process."

Smithson's entry was of interest to me inasmuch as I consider myself to be a picture maker who creates pictures, not defined by a single referent / idea, but rather of a range of referents which catch my interest. While I do have a couple bodies of work which were begun from scratch as referent / theme based projects, the overwhelming bulk of my work is based upon the adage, f8 and be there.

Just a cursory glance at the top of my blog home page will indicate that I have quite a number of referent / theme based bodies of work. However, the fact is that most of those bodies of work were created / identified long after the the pictures in them were made, not for a premeditated project, but as the result of something - quite literally, any thing - that pricked my eye and sensibilities.

That written, it wasn't until most recently that I put together 2 collections of work, 2014 ~ The Year in Review and The Light, - which were NOT based upon a shared referent.

In the case of The light the thread of connection was the light. However, the referents were all over the map. In the case of 2014 ~ Year in Review, once again the referents were diverse but the thread of connection was the consistent manner (process) in which I see. In both cases and IMO, the collections work as all of a piece despite the fact that the pictures are all essentially single pictures or made as such.

In any event, Smithson summed the issue up pretty well - "So today, we are simply looking at images, quietly considered, beautifully executed ... and for some photographers, that’s enough."

IMO, quite enough indeed.

civilized ku # 2891 ~ was a sunny day ...

hotel flora and birch ~ Leominster, Massachusetts • click to embiggen
some hockey teammates ~ Leominster, Massachusetts • click to embiggen
... not a cloud was in the sky, not a negative word was heard from the peoples passing by in the rink about Hugo's 4 game 12 point (4 goals / 8 assists) performance in his AAA Tier 1 debut.

FYI, Hugo's teammates hailed from Alaska, Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Vancouver CA. Quite a diverse and talented group.
Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 04:52PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

Polamatic # 7 / Wood Camera # 5 ~ 2 views - Spring in New Hampshire

Sunday AM, heading home.

thru the murky viewfinder # 1 ~ customized from an iPhone app

gargoyle ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Came across a iPhone app which harkened back to a time in the analog era when I started to play around with making pictures of scenes as viewed on the viewfinder screen of a beat up vintage TLR. I messed around with it for a while but never got serious enough to really pursue it.

A fair number of picture makers did take it seriously and enough of a picture making "movement" was established that an enterprising app maker came up with the Viewmatic app. An app designed to produce pictures with "the experience of looking through the viewfinder of a classic film camera". However, like most, dare I write "all", apps which end in "-matic", the user is presented with a canned set of options. Some are good (enough), some not so much.

So, never one to leave almost well enough alone, I scavenged the viewfinder frame and then proceeded to make my own master viewfinder file into which I can drop any picture I desire. The master file has a number of layers - grain, vignette (light and dark), grid, crop guide, etc. - which can be modified and combined to produce a much more custom finished look than I can get from the app. The only effect I have yet to make is a layer which can add the dust and scratches which were part and parcel of an eyed TLR viewfinder screen.

In any event the screwing around beat goes on. Round and round. Where it stops, nobody (including me) knows. Next up, the Polaroid emulsion transfer look.

oddly exalted # 3 / Polamatic # 6 / Wood Camera # 4 ~ tchotchke

tchotchke ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
speaker top tchotchke / Polamatic app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
speaker top tchotchke / Wood Camera app ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

As I continue to play with various camera and developer effects apps for the iPhone, it has occurred to me that, sooner rather than later, there will be a considerable number of iPhone derived pictures culled from which a book will emerge.

That book, in keeping with my picture making life long belief that Polaroid prints are little joys and should be seen as such, will be a small format book. And as I make display prints, those too will be kept small. All because, to my eye and sensibilities, the small thing seems to create a visual impression which I can only describe as "precious".

And speaking of small, it has come to my attention that Polaroid (the real Polaroid) offers a digital instant print printer, the Polaroid ZIP Instant Mobile Printer. The printer fits in the palm of your hand and it spits out, directly from a mobile phone or table, little 2×3" prints with a smudge-proof protective polymer overcoat (and a sticky back for extra fun!!!).

And, just like the original Polaroid film, the paper, ZINK (zero ink), has the heat activated color dye crystals embedded in the paper. No inks to replace is a most definite plus. The paper is available in 10 sheet packs at the modest cost of $.50 a sheet.

Needless to write, my wanter is in overdrive and I just might have one of these printers by this time tomorrow.

oddly exalted (still life) # 2 ~ beyond the basic hard cold facts

vase + flowers ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
vase + flowers / wood camera•iPhone ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Yesterday on LENSCRATCH in the entry, DENNIS WITMER: THE STATES PROJECT: ALASKA, Dennis Witner stated

While some claim that a place doesn’t exist until it has a poet, I think the same can be said of photography—a place doesn’t exist until someone has created the defining photographs of it.

Upon first reading, my reaction was simply that the statement is a fine example of artist / art speak bullcrap and hubris. After a bit of reflection, I believe it to be discussion worthy inasmuch as ....

.... I would certainly agree with the idea that the understanding, appreciation or knowledge regarding a place / person / thing can be enhanced, at times greatly so, by the work of a poet or a picture maker (photography, painting, illustration). Hell, I would even throw in the work of authors, film makers, and song writers as well. In the best of work, the result(s) can be an iconic representation(s) - a thing regarded as a representative symbol of some place / person / thing.

However, whatever the source of inspiration for a given work, it most definitely existed prior to the work derived from its existence. In the case of a place, Alaska for instance, I am certain that the people populating that place, had no trouble whatsoever knowing, without the help of a poet or picture maker, that Alaska existed. And, seriously, even before there were people, the place we now know as Alaska existed, in point of fact.

That written, I am reasonably certain that the word "exist" as used in Witmer's statement is employed with a dash of metaphoric / symbolic meaning. If not that, then employed, not in the literal meaning of "actual being", but in the sense of not "existing" in the mind beyond the basic hard cold facts of a place / person / thing.

Some poets and picture makers are capable of injecting honest and true emotion and feeling, as adjuncts to fact, into the perception of a place / person / thing. In a sense, making it more completely "real" than a merely visual / word depiction of something. Imbuing a place / person / thing with a richer perception of a place / person / thing's identity and place in the scheme of things.

And, IMO, that's what separates the men/women from the boys/girls in the world of art.

As for making the (pronounce it, with emphasis, like "thee") defining pictures of a place / person / thing, get over it. No single picture or group of pictures can completely define anything. The best picture(s) can add significantly to perception of something but experiencing a place / person / thing, aka: personal experience - despite its inherent self-limiting prejudices, is the still best way to fly in the cause of trying to fully understand a place / person / thing. Although ....

.... there is most definitely something to be said for the quite contemplation of a poem or picture

screwing around in a hotel ~ getting up to pee and a great Japanese meal

In Albany for the weekend and haven't made any "serious" pictures but I have been screwing around nevertheless.

Top 2 pictures are Polamatic Polaroids - very early morning light (had to get up to pee - one of the "advantages", picture making wise, of getting older) and Chicken and Shrimp Teriyaki, haute cuisine style.

Bottom 2 are Wood Camera (app) pictures - using the nearly infinitely variable lens tilt adjustment - and should be self-explanatory.

still life - oddly exalted (kitchen life # 69) ~ the value of screwing around picture making wise

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

My screwing around, picture making wise, on Monday past consisted mainly of producing a homage to William Eggleston and his iconic tricycle picture. Since then, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. To wit, my bicycle picture has engendered some un-expected / un-intended consequences.

Consequence # 1 is that I have ended up really liking the picture despite the tongue-in-cheek picturing attitude with which I approached its making. There is just something about the looming presence of the bicycle which draws me into the picture in ways I cannot fully describe. That presence gives it an exaggerated importance in spite of its relatively pedestrian nature which, of course, is exactly how Eggleston's tricycle appears to present itself.

I like the picture well enough that I will be printing and hanging it on one of my walls. It will be interesting to see if that looming presence comes across to John/Jane Q. Public who are not familiar with Eggleston and his pictures.

Consequence # 2 has to do with my ongoing "what's next" search in which I am leaning strongly toward making still-life / constructed pictures. So, a few days ago when I noticed the radishes in a plastic container with condensation, I knew I wanted it to be a still life referent. I just didn't know how or in what visual context I would use it inasmuch as I wasn't yet under the "looming presence" spell.

Now I am. So, I placed it on the kitchen counter and pictured it from a low angle. Lo and behold, the resultant picture did exhibit a looming presence which, like Eggleston's tricycle, tends to "oddly exalt" (phrase taken form the previously linked piece about Eggleston's picture) the rather mundane / pedestrian referent.

Not that looking up at something from a close-in low angle tends to create a looming-presence visual effect is a surprise to me. After all, it is a tried and true picture making technique which I have used to my advantage many times in my commercial picture making career. However, that technique has rarely been employed in my personal picture making wherein I tend (deliberately) to picture life from the perspective of my own eyes when standing upright.

All that written, consequence # 3 is screwing around a bit more with this low angle picture making approach in an effort to determine whether it is a viable technique on which to hang my hat, ongoing body of work wise.

Such are the risks and rewards of just screwing around, picture making wise, from time to time. Just try it. You just might like it.