counter customizable free hit


The Rain selects/book gallery is here.

The 2014 ~ Year in Review 2014 selects/book gallery is here.

The Place To Sit selects/book gallery is here.

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 book / 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

The The Light selects/book gallery is here. A BW mini-gallery is here

Entries in civilized ku, manmade landscape (1308)

diptych # 113 ~ it snowed all day and night

2 trees / afternoon and evening snowfall ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
And it's snowing again today.

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 10:18AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2849 ~ recent acquisitions

Polaroid cheese slicer, Weston light meter, photo booth pictures, and rubber ants • click to embiggen
During my recent 1600 mile (approx.) Thanksgiving week journey, I managed to snag a few momento itinerum along the way. The most useful item is a vintage Weston Master III Universal Exposure Meter (circa mid-1950s) acquired at a vintage clothing store in Carlisle PA - home of the Army War College - during a trans-Pennsylvania lunch stop. Even though said item has given up the ghost, functioning light meter wise, I believe that it will serve my purpose very well.

To wit, over the years, my Olympus µ4/3 E-P1 thru E-P5 cameras have been often and repeatedly identified as film cameras. The identifiers are always strangers, primarily of the women variety, encountered in public places. This has occurred so frequently that I consider it reason enough to own and use these cameras, both for making pictures and for their ability to be chick magnets.

ASIDE Why more women than men (in the ratio of 20-1)? I have no idea other than to postulate that a camera or two hanging on one's body are often used as photographic fashion accessories. For most men, and for reasons which should be obvious, the more impressive and bigger the camera the better and perhaps this macho posturing is too aggressive an act for women to warm up to .... too much mano-a-mano mine-is-bigger-than-yours attitude. On the other hand, perhaps the cute little Olympus cameras evince a gentler and warmer aura which is more attuned to female sensibilities. END OF ASIDE

In most instances, I believe that the cameras, at first glance, are thought to be film cameras because: 1) they look a lot like older rangefinder cameras, 2) the accessory optical viewfinder enhances this perception, 3) my lenses sport very traditional looking lens shades, and, 4) the cameras are obviously made of metal which is not coated with a black finish (black itself is an aggressive color - did you know that cars with all-black dashboards are driven much more aggressively than those with lighter shaded dashboards?).

For certain, the recognition of all of these visual camera characteristics implies, to some degree, a knowledge of older film cameras. One might think - stereotype alert - that men would be more attuned to these distinctive characteristics than women. The same could be written about age - one might think that older identifiers might be more attuned to these visual cues but my experience does not conform to that notion either. Women of all ages - my guess, from late teens to late middle age - have respond to the cameras in equal measure.

In any event, in order to significantly enhance the perception that my cameras are film cameras, which should correspondently also amp up their chick magnetism aura, I have acquired the Weston meter to wear dangling from my neck whenever I leave the house with my cameras (which is every time I leave the house).

I am not sure whether or not this will increase my encounters with female identifiers or in any way alter the ratio of m-f respondents. However, the experiment should be both interesting and, well .... interesting. All of which are undertaken for purely academic and cultural studies. After all, I am a very happily married picture maker.

FYI, the one item encountered but not acquired on the trip - though a monumental act of will power and an admonishment to the Cinemascapist to tackle me if I was sighted headed to the fan gear shop at the Penguin arena - was a Pittsburgh Penguin Pro Toaster. Here's hoping that Santa reads my blog.

In answer to John Linn's comment: as for the Polaroid Instant Cheese Slicer, I am certain we will be delighted by the fact that the cheese emerges from the slicer instantly ready to eat. Unlike with our other cheese slicers which require that our cheese slices be sent out to a cheese lab for further processing which is an endeavor that can take up to three days unless one goes to a one-hour cheese lab.

As for the rubber ants, who in their right mind doesn't want or need rubber ants?

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 10:14AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

diptych # 112 ~ December moon - before and after

before / after blood test ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen
Right place / right time(s). Pure serendipity and happenstance. All hail "f8 and be there" (even though it was f2).

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 10:07AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 111/ civilized ku # 2848 ~ it gives me something to do

Warhol Museum lobby ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
fire extinguisher ~ • click to embiggen
Warhola Recycling ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
When in Pittsburgh, PA, one of our must-visit places is The Andy Warhol Museum (the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist), although, true be told, we don't always make it there. On our recent trip, we did make to the museum since the Cinemascapist wanted Hugo to see it.

I have always been a fan of a lot of Warhol's work, primarily his paintings and silkscreen works. His films give me a big yawn and a snooze (kinda like his Sleep movie) and his Velvet Underground (Warhol was their manager) music stuff, especially his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events, make me want to puncture my eardrums. I'm with Cher - who walked out midway through a Velvet Underground show - when she said, "It will replace nothing, except maybe suicide."

After this recent visit, I came away with overriding impression that if ever there was an artist who was pulling it out of his ass (making it up) as he went along, it was Warhol. Often, when asked why he did what he did, his reply was, "It gives me something to do." / "I just do art because I’m ugly and there’s nothing else for me to do." and "Art is what you can get away with." or "Art? That's a man's name." FYI, none of the preceding should be constructed as a negative comment, re: his art.

The thing I admire / like most about Warhol is that he believed that art is everywhere. In fact, he stated, "When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums." A sentiment with which I totally agree.

Be all of that as it may, Hugo also got see Warhola (Warhol's name before he dropped the "a") Recycling, Andy's Nephew's junk business, located a few short blocks from the Warhol Museum. Andy's older brother was also in the junk business. Apparently, junk runs in family genes. All of which I find to be rather ironic inasmuch as many, both in and out of the art world, think Warhol's art is junk.

Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 01:39PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 110 ~ Art on a wall

pictures on walls ~ Warhol Museum • Pittsburgh, PA / dining room • Harrington Park, NJ • click to embiggen
On his website, Conscientious Photography Magazine, in a review of the book Tranquility, Jörg M. Colberg wrote:

The problem with photography is that regardless of whether you, the photographer, believe that what you point your camera at to make a picture is actually in it, large parts of your audience will do just that. Photography’s descriptiveness is its strength and its curse. People will see a photograph of a person as that person, or as a photograph of that person, even if what you’re interested in is something a lot more universal than that. In much the same fashion, a photograph of some place becomes that place, resulting in some people actually watching over whether certain places, let’s say Appalachia, is depicted in the proper way.

If photography wants to be a true art form it will have to engage in a world that at least acknowledges the fact that the visual description of whatever was in front of a camera lens .... does not in fact describe the actual topic. In other words, you can engage with Tranquility as photography, or as art that happens to use photography ... That said, if we accept that photography is – or maybe more realistically: can be – art, then we have to treat it as art – and not as merely photography. To somewhat loosely paraphrase David Campany, photography describes what is (or rather what was the moment the picture was taken), art (-photography) alludes to what could be or maybe should be.

To paraphrase Sigmund Freud (or so it is claimed), Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar which implies that at other times a cigar is something more than just a cigar. In essence, and with much fewer words, that just about sums up what Colberg was writing about. And, for the most part, I would agree with his idea that "if we accept that photography is ... art, then we have to treat it as art – and not as merely photography.

I also believe that Colberg is writing about an idea I have written about many times on this blog - that the best pictures are those which are both illustrative (depicting a reality-based referent) and illuminative (implying something - Colberg's topic - beyond that which the pictured referent describes). IMO, when a picture evinces both qualities, what you end up with is art that happens to use photography. That is to write, Fine Art as opposed to Decorative Art.

However, that written, when it comes to grasping the implied in a picture, the door to interpretation / understanding is wide open inasmuch as many, if not most, viewers of a picture take it at face value with little thought given to what else it might be about. And therein lies the dilemma.

Consider this from Ansel Adams:

We don't make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.

Adams, of course, was referring to the making of a picture. However, I would apply the same notion to viewing a picture - when viewing a photograph, we bring to the act of viewing all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.

Or, as has it been suggested (on this blog and elsewhere), the making and the viewing of a picture is a two-way street - traveled on by the maker and the viewer. Unfortunately, no matter how broad and rich / involved the boulevard that the maker may have traveled down, if a viewer has only traveled down a narrow, vapid and one-way alley, there is most likely apt to be a considerable disparity between the grasped and the intended / implied meaning (topic) to be found in a picture ...

.... a cigar will forever be just a cigar and a picture will be just a picture.

Posted on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 09:27AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

diptych (selection) # 17-18 ~ reality

under a bridge # 1 ~ Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
under a bridge # 2 ~ Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
Paraphrasing Richard Avedon:

The pictures have a reality for me that the people pictured referents don’t. It is through the photographs that I know them. ~ Richard Avedon

Posted on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 06:28PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 109 / civilized ku # 2847 ~ you can get anything you want ....

fried rice ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
Pittsburgh sports ~ Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
Home to meat, produce, seafood vendors, sidewalk food vendors, bakeries, restaurants, bars, clubs, sports memorabilia vendors (indoors and out) and more, Pittsburgh's Strip District is draws crowds day and night and in all kinds of weather..

Posted on Friday, November 28, 2014 at 11:00AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2846 / diptych # 108 ~ protect the camera

girder ~ Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
under bridges ~ Strip District / Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
The Pittsburgh metropolitan area - Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges - more than 4,000 bridges (reputably more bridges than in Venice, Italy), a great opportunity for a picture making project. I wish I had more time to pursue it.

Unfortunately for the people who travel on them, at least 20 percent of the bridges are structurally deficient, including one of the city's main arteries. That bridge has a large structure built under it to catch any of the falling concrete so it won't hit the traffic underneath it.

So, were I to pursue a Pittsburgh-based bridge picture making project, it would seem that having a hardhat / protective gear would be as important as having a camera.

Posted on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 03:09PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment