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even more people / decisive moments ~ here, there and everywhere

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While many bodies of work, street photography wise, are made in one location - the streets of NYC for an example - my body of work has been made in many locations. The pictures in today's entry were made in NYC, Montreal(3), Tuscany(2), New Jersey(3) and various locations in New York State / the Adirondacks(5) - once again, discursive promiscuity in action. Hence, there is no visually unifying backdrop to the pictures.

In addition, of the 30 posted pictures (in this entry and the entry immediately below), 1/2 are made indoors as opposed to on the street / outdoors. Consequently, the resulting question in my mind is whether or not these pictures really fit into the street photography genre. The only unifying visual referent is people. However, I don't believe these pictures really fit into the people / portrait genre either.

So, what genre are they? Some might not care one way or the other but my concern is that I will need a title for the body of work and the POD book.

At this point, the working title I have in mind is - HUMAN ACTIVITY ~ in situ. Whether that descriptor will hold up, only time will tell.
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 09:08AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

people / decisive moments ~ one amongst many

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Henri Cartier Bresson gave us the decisive moment, a concept / photo strategy which has been often misinterpreted to mean that there is one and only one decisive moment in a scene and that moment is primary predicated on capturing the motion / movement in a scene at the "perfect" moment.

However, if one were to read Bresson's ideas about the medium and its apparatus in greater depth, one would come upon a more complete definition of his decisive moment concept / photo strategy:

If a photograph is to communicate its subject in all its intensity, the relationship of forms must be rigorously established. Photography implies the recognition of a rhythm in the world of real things. What the eye does is to find and focus on the particular subject within the mass of reality; what the camera does is simply to register upon film the decision made by the eye.

and

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

and

... (the photographer) composes a picture in very nearly the same amount of time it takes to click the shutter, at the speed of a reflex action ... if the shutter was released at the decisive moment, you have instinctively fixed a geometric pattern without which the photograph would have been both formless and lifeless ... [T]o me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

I am in complete agreement with Bresson regarding the above excerpts (amongst many other of his thoughts), which, in a nut shell, express the idea that "it" must all come together in order to work as a good picture. However, I have a thought regarding "the significance of an event" which either; a) contradicts the notion of the "perfect moment" motion / movement wise, or b) expands the idea of the "perfect moment".

To wit .... assuming that a picture maker has recognized the "precise organization of forms" in a scene, in any given picturing situation which features people, there are, iMo, any number of "perfect moments" to picture, motion / movement wise. Many picture makers knowing this, to include Bresson, make a series of pictures of a given situation and, after the picturing fact, choose - from a contact sheet or a computer monitor - one moment from amongst many pictured moments and elevate it to the status of a decisive moment.

That is to write, while a picture maker has recognized a situation / event as potentially having the visual and human interaction characteristics of a decisive moment picture, he/she knows that in fluid situation there will be many decisive moment possibilities. And, it will be up to him/her to decide at a later time which moment of those pictured moments will be elevated to / have bestowed upon it the title of the decisive moment.

In other words, in a very real sense, a moment is not decisive until the picture maker says it is. And, given the opportunity by someone other than the picture maker to view the multiple pictures extracted from a situation, that person might have an entirely different opinion on which moment is the decisive moment. Of course, and correctly so, the picture maker is the final arbiter of which moment most realizes his/her vision.

All of that written, I have been very surprised to once again "discover" a "hidden" body of work lurking un-mined in my picture library. The surprise is not that I have been making pictures of people but rather that I have many more people pictures than I do in other of my picturing categories. To date, I have mined over 150 people pictures and there are more to be found.

Hence my interest in the concept / photo strategy of the decisive moment genre.
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10:33AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

FYI ~ see it, you'll like it

Last evening the wife and I, along with The Cinemascapist and family, attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour event in Lake Placid. The event was a screening of 9 films selected from the many film entries at last year's Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Notable amongst the selected films was the film ECLIPSE which chronicled the quest by photographer Reuben Krabbe to make a rather mission-impossible, once-in-a-lifetime possibility picture - that of a skier silhouetted against a solar eclipse. The film and the resulting picture - yes, he nailed it - is visually stunning and the story is rather compelling.

You can view the entire film in full-screen HD - ECLIPSE - highly recommended (the film is about 30 minutes long).

And, the BMFFWT might be coming to a location near you. You can check the schedule / locations here - Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour locations
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2016 at 10:57AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

squares² # 13 ~ 24 hrs of discursive promiscuity

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all around the house ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

...I can't recreate my feelings about how I happened to do this or that, because a lot of my stuff was done without any motivation, more than just what I call having a good time fooling around. ~ Imogen Cunningham

Yep.

FYI, and, uncharacteristically, I was doing my fooling around with 4 different prime lenses - left>right, top>bottom ... 60mm Sigma f2.8 / Zuiko 25mm f1.8 / Zuiko 45mm f1.8 / Lumix 20mm f1.7
Posted on Friday, January 22, 2016 at 11:26AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku # 3038 / single women / life in pictures ~ people, people everywhere

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Le Club Chasse et Pêche (The Hunt and Fish Club) ~ Old Montreal, QC / CA • click to embiggen
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life in pictures ~ Queens / East Village / NYC, NY • click to embiggen

Right from the get go let me write that I am not a devotee of street photography. For the most part that is simply because it all looks sorta the same to me. For another part, it could be argued that I just simply have not made the time and effort to really "understand" it.

That is not to write that there are not notable exceptions to that feeling, there are. For instance I have Robert Frank's book, THE AMERICANS. However, as the photographer Ed Ruscha said (which sorta supports my feelings on the subject of street photograhy):

Seeing THE AMERICANS in a college bookshop was a stunning, ground-trembling experience for me. But I realized this man's achievement could not be mined or imitated in anyway, because he had already done it, sewn it up and gone home.

Although ... it must be noted that Frank was inspired by an early photographer's work, Walker Evans' American photographs (I have this book as well). While it could be said that Frank mined Evans' seeing / vision, Frank's work - "meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness" as described in Popular Photograph magazine - stands in direct contrast to Evan's formal / precisely framed view camera work.

Over the years, many have tried to mine or imitate Frank's work but, iMo, only a very few have succeeded in creating the same impact and feeling elicited by that masterpiece of seeing.

All of that written, I nevertheless do practice what might be considered as a variant of the street photography genre. Which is to write, and as evidenced by the pictures in this entry, that I enjoy making pictures of people pictured unawares, i.e. - not aware that they are being pictured. A manner of picturing which is one of the hallmarks of the street photography genre.

My one primary deviation from the genre is that I do not confine my picturing to the street / outdoors. Outdoor, indoor, it's all the same to me. Which, I guess, is just another example of my picturing promiscuity.

diptych # 200 / art reflects # 30 ~ one thing leads to another (maybe)

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sunrise / view from bed ~ Auberge Du Vieux-Port / Old Montreal, QC., CA • click to embiggen

Back in the saddle after our 4 day visit to Old Montreal. As is always the case (with one notable exception), the visit was replete with good food, good digs, good friends, good wife and a few other assorted goodies.

Picture making wise, I wasn't really too focused on making pictures. Nevertheless, I did come back with a few keepers to include adding one more picture to my ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects work.

Over the past 10 years the wife and I have traveled to Old Montreal a couple times a year, occasionally more. we always stay at the the same small luxury hotel, Auberge Du Vieux-Port. During most of our visits, we rarely leave the Old Montreal district / neighborhood since there are many restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and variety of other things to do - the waterfront and the Montreal Science Centre to name just two. Our car is whisked away when we check in and returned to us when we check out.

In any event, it has been on walks through the district that my ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects picture making began. In a sense, it's a picturing project that never ends inasmuch as, every time I return to Old Montreal, the art on display in gallery windows constantly changes. This situation creates a nearly endless series of changing referents so I am always on the lookout for interesting opportunities.

Speaking Writing of opportunities, on occasion one opportunity can lead to another. In the case of my ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects work, my opportunistic picturing seems to be leading to another opportunity....

.... the Auberge Du Vieux-Port, like most hotels, has artwork on the walls, in rooms and in common areas. Over the years I have noticed that artwork in Auberge Du Vieux-Port is not Montreal / Old Montreal specific. Rather, the artwork is mostly that of a generic nature and, during this visit, the artwork in our room was of NYC scenes - photographs made to look like paintings, printed on canvas with textured (clear thick acrylic varnish?) brush strokes.

So, I purposely brought along my ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects POD book with the intention of bringing it to the attention of the hotel's management. The Directeur Général was not in over the weekend but I left the book, my card, and a short note which suggested that he might be interested in acquiring prints for use on the premise.

The day after my return I received an email from the Directeur Général in which he wrote that he "is very interested in talking to you". That is interesting enough, but the really interesting thing is that the Auberge Du Vieux-Port is just one of 16 properties - restaurants(8), hotels (6), a spa - all in Old Montreal which are all owned and managed by The Antonopoulus Group. A company - founded by 2 brothers from Greece who arrived in Canada 30 years ago - which has built a portfolio of elegant restaurants and boutique hotels in historic Old Montreal.

At this point, who knows what the possibilities might be but one thing is sure, that's a lot of wall on which to hang stuff.

civilized ku # 3037 ~ Old Montreal sunrise

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Sunday sunrise / view from bed ~ Old Montreal, QC., CA.• click to embiggen
Heading home.

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 at 12:05PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

discursive promiscuity #1-3 ~ starting the build

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I have begun to make finished assemblies for my discursive promiscuity project. The finished composite image files are built to 48'×48' @350dpi which allows them to be printed up to 6'×6' or down to any size but, most likely, 3'×3'.

Without a doubt in my head, I believe these images must be printed large in order to be effective. I believe that to be so because a large print allows a viewer to, from a stepped-back viewing distance, to get the visual impression of a lot of visual information and, at a closer viewing distance, to see the individual picture detail. Sort of like a visual double-whammy for the eye and sensibilities.

In any event, I have found a source for 48'×48' printing and mounting and will be sending off my first file as soon as I am back home. I am currently in Montreal for a 4-day / 3-day stay.

Interestingly and advantageously, relative to the currency exchange rate, everything in Canada is 30% off ... even more if you buy stuff that is on sale. So, the wife is out buying some lawyer-style office clothing and I'll be out to buy some only-available-in-Canada bourbon/ single malt / Irish whiskies.

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 12:40PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | Comments1 Comment