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civilized ku # 3005 / diptych # 183 ~ same as it ever was

window / 20 Main ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
No. 4 / rusting hulk ~ near Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Recently, while reading a person-not-a-dective-but-functioning-as-one novel which was written / published in 1964, I came across this early anti-acamdeic lunatic fringe commentary encountered by the book's protagonist as he was killing some time reading an art publication. Hence, Today's Artspeak Gobbledygook ....

The art magazine told me that when abstract expressionism reflected utter disenchantment with the dream it still reverted to rhetorical simplifications even in its impiety, and that it is not a unified stylistic entity because of its advocacy of alien ideas on the basis of a homiletic approach to experience.

The protagonist's reaction / response to the written word was a sarcastic, "Funny I'd never realized that."

Apparently, my distain for the workings of the academic lunatic fringe, Photography Division, is a time-honored tradition reaching much farther back than I realized.

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 12:25PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 182 ~ trees, trees and more trees

trees ~ Old Montreal in Quebec, Canada / Arezzo Region in Tuscany, Italy • click to embiggen
the mother lode / trees screen grab ~ • click to embiggen

Had an overnight stay in Lake Placid. Leaving LP shortly to get to Plattsburgh for a doctor appointment (scheduled checkup) so by necessity this entry is short and sweet.

diptych # 181 ~ complexity / simplicity and a big surprise

fence + vine / glass of pinot grigio ~ Keeseville, NY / Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

FYI, the picture of the pinot grigio is not a pinhole picture. It is a straight picture with a very narrow DOF. With that made clear, moving on to the big surprise ...

It is worth noting that I never seek out photo exhibit / contest submission opportunities. Those events come to me either through email notifications or, on occasion, just while cruising the interweb. My recent submissions to the Alternative Cameras: Pinholes to Plastic exhibit selection process is one that came to me in an email notice.

And, the subsequent submissions were very atypical of my participation in such events inasmuch as I have never submitted pictures to an event unless I have already-made pictures which are appropriate for the exhibit theme. Whereas for this exhibition opportunity I undertook the making of new pictures specifically for this event.

FYI, the gallery for that exhibition opportunity is the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT., a gallery in which I have had work on exhibit in a past juried show. It is one of the only juried show galleries to which I submit pictures and even then on only rare occasions. I do so because the gallery owner / director has created an interesting format for exhibit events which does NOT require a significant expense to participate if your picture(s) are accepted for an exhibit.

To wit, printing, matting and framing a picture for an exhibit can be a costly expense but PhotoPlace Gallery provides FREE matting and framing (for duration of the exhibit) for your selected picture(s). And, they can even print your picture(s) for the exhibit to professional-quality standards (2 paper choices) for a modest $25.00USD (you can supply your own prints). Both of those cost saving features are a great deal. Especially so in those cases where the exhibitor is responsible for all of the costs of matting, framing and shipping to the gallery.

That endorsement written, the big surprise, relative to the theme of the next call for entries - In Celbration of Trees - is that while a handful of my tree pictures (already-made) came to mind as potential submissions, I was surprised - or, more accurately, stunned - that, as I went to my archive to cull out some tree pictures, I ended up with 88 pictures (edited down from 115) in which a tree or trees were the central referent. That is, trees which pricked my eye and sensibilities to the point I was compelled to make a picture of them.

aside: Why that came as a surprise to me is somewhat of a surprise in and of itself inasmuch as the fact of the matter is that I live in the largest forest preserve east of the Mississippi, aka: the Adirondack PARK. The rational question is, why wouldn't I have a lot of pictures of trees? Seriously. end of aside

That being as it is, I am now left with a monumental editing task. That is, selecting 5 tree pictures (up to 5 pictures for the $30.00USD submission fee) or so (more pictures - no limit - can be submitted at $7.00USD per) to submit to the juried exhibition process. It ain't gonna be easy.

And one of the first tasks to be decided is whether to include only pictures of trees which are in their natural environment or to also include tree pictures made in an urban or similar environment. The edited collection is divided almost equally in half, natural vs. urban settings, and each environmental setting creates its own unique visual paradigm / signature.

The juror for the exhibition, Tom Zetterstrom, has his own body of tree picture work in which all of the trees are in their natural environment. Don't know if I should use that bias (not meant as a negative) in my editing / decision process. My initial thought is to just pick my best tree pictures and let the environmental component fall where it may.

This "discovery" of a new body of work also leads me to the making of new POD book. In that endeavor, the pictures will be divided into separate environment categories. The chief question I am pondering, re: the POD book making, is whether to make a single book of 60 (or possibly more) pictures, divided into 2 separate environment sections, or whether to make 2 separate books - that is, a book for each tree environment.

Wish me luck. I'll need it. Fortunately, the submission deadline is December 7th which can be a good thing - more time to live with the pictures and make selections - or a bad thing - more to time equivocate and agonize over making selections (in ... out ... out ... in ... in ... out ... out ... in ................................. ad infinitum ...)
Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 10:34AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 179-80 ~ truck graveyard

rusting truck / wheels ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
rusting truck / wheel ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 10:17AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

pinhole submissions ~ the waiting begins

trees ~ Peru / Lake Champlain • Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
4 pinhole pictures for submission • click to embiggen

To pinhole or not to pinhole, that is the question. Now that pictures for exhibit consideration are submitted, I have yet to decide whether the pursuit of the making of more pinhole pictures is in my future. I have most certainly enjoyed making these pictures and I like the results. And, it would seem, that I have arrived at a certain understanding - but as of yet not comprehensive, of what the pinhole genre is about.

First and foremost, I am, without a doubt, drawn to the look of a pinhole picture, especially pinhole pictures made in color. I can imagine many of my recent pinhole pictures printed large and mounted on the walls of my house. Based on just the visual qualities and characteristics of the thing itself (the print), they most assuredly prick my eye.

Moving beyond the mere prick of the eye, I can also write that there is a corresponding prick of my sensibilities. That is to write, intellectual and emotional sensibilities (feeling and thoughts) beyond - but obviously related to - the visual characteristics a pinhole picture.

As best as I can describe it, feelings and thoughts wise, is that the soft / ethereal visual presentation of a pinhole picture, while adequate enough to create a reasonable representation of the realness of the picture's referent, denies the viewer a quick, easy and obvious "read" of the picture's meaning. Viewing a pinhole picture is, at least to my eye and sensibilities, much like trying to interpret / understand a dream.

That is to write that there is an actuality in the picture but it resides somewhere below / behind a murky fog created by the mix of conscious and subconscious thought which leaves me wondering and pondering as I try to grasp the reality of the situation.

Is all of this / my notion of the pinhole genre (for me) an overthinking rationalization - dancing on the head of a pin(hole), so to write - which gives me reason to make more pinhole pictures? A rationalization that allows me to make pictures which stand in defiance of my long standing belief in the power of straight photography?

fyi, you may have noticed that the pinhole pictures for submission are not square (as they were first presented here on The Landscapist). They are µ4/3 full-frame pictures. The reason for that is that I have come to the realization that much of the look and feel of a pinhole picture derives from the weird color and vignetting which resides outside of the center of the picture.

ku # 1365 / pinhole #9 (A) ~ the final stretch

red berries ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
red berries - reworked ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

As I move into the home stretch - the deadline for submissions is this coming Monday - of my pinhole picture making activities (for exhibition submission purposes), I am left wondering whether or not I will continue making pinhole pictures on a regular basis.

On the one hand, it's a somewhat enjoyable process and I like the visual results. On the other hand, it flies in the face of my preferred picture making M.O. of straight photography - it's straight but with a twist. And, I can help wondering if would be a distraction from my regular picture making activities.

So, who knows. The only thing I know is that, in the immediate future, I will continue making pinhole pictures until I have enough good pictures to make a 20 pinhole picture POD book. Maybe that activity will get it out of my system, picture making wise. Or not.
Posted on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 10:01AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

pinhole # 14-15 / diptych # 178 (with pinhole # 16) ~ moving right along

kitchen light on chair w cat ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
straight v pinhole ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
decaying GMC hulk ~near Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

OK, first things first - in my first recent pinhole entry I mis-wrote regarding the name of the juried exhibit to which I am submitting pinhole pictures for consideration. I called it a pinhole exhibit when, in fact, it is .... Alternative Cameras: Pinholes to Plastic with submission criteria as images made with any plastic, toy, pinhole or homemade camera, plastic lens on a traditional modern camera, Lensbaby, camera obscura - just about any non-traditional camera or lens, film or digital.

On a side note, I also referred to the endeavor as a "competition" whereas it is really a selection process to identify and exhibit pictures which best realize the stated criteria. I mention that because I would never submit a photo to a "competition" inasmuch as making pictures is not a competitive undertaking. I have always felt that, if I wanted to enter into a competition, I would consider taking up ballroom dancing or maybe even curling.

With all of that cleared up, I am starting to get into the pinhole picturing making frame of mind. That is to write that I am starting to "feel it". Not sure what exactly that feeling is, but it's there. So. I'm just going with that flow and looking at the results.

In noodling around on the interweb, finding and looking at pinhole pictures, one clear characteristic of the pinhole genre (which I am defying) is that an overwhelming number (the absolute majority) of pinhole picture are monochromatic - BW or some tinted version thereof. Don't know why that is, it just is. Color pinhole pictures, while not scarce, are distinctly in the minority., Consequently, I have been experimenting with the making of monochromatic pinhole pictures with the idea that I will submit some tinted monochrome and some color pictures just to cover the bases.

The other thing I am working on is to perhaps make a few pictures which are even more ethereal or "conceptual" than those which result from just the use of a pinhole "lens". The reason for this possible pursuit is to make pictures which more closely resemble those of the juror, Susan Burnstine. An act which some might consider to be outright pandering, if you will.

However, the fact is that, when I decided to pursue the making of pinhole pictures specifically for submission to this exhibit, I actually had a conceptual notion in mind. But I wanted to get my head into the pinhole picture making mechanics and conventions before pursuing that specific conceptual idea.

Therefore, I don't think that pursuing a "conceptual" idea is actually pandering since I had the thought well before I knew what the judge's pinhole proclivities are ... something which I "discovered" just this AM.
Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 11:01AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

diptych # 178 / pinhole # 13 ~ 3 pictures a few feet apart

looking at Vermont ~ Lake Champlain / Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
driftwood ~ Lake Champlain / Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 09:58AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment