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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 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 color gallery is here. The BW gallery is here

civilized ku # 2673 ~ more hockey

Hugo ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen

Posted on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 09:34AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2672 ~ monkey do, monkey see, monkey do

vase and shadow ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
The Monkey Typewriter Theory Hypothesis Theorem* says that if a certain number (large, often considered infinite, depending on who's saying it and what number they can think of randomly) number of monkeys were given typewriters and a really long time, they could write the works of some random famous writer such as Shakespeare, Dickens, et al. However, as a group of mathematicians have deduced, the time frame required for a bunch of monkeys randomly banging away on an equal bunch of keyboards to produce the works of a random famous writer is longer than the anticipated existence of the universe. Hence the theorem's stated outcome has a probability of essentially ZERO.

*What was once called the Monkey Typewriter Theory is now considered to be a theorem because; 1) it is not a theory because it is not an explanation for a body of evidence with predictive power, 2) it is not a hypothesis because it is only an almost untestable statement, and 3) it is a theorem because it is a deduction from other simpler logical statements/truths.

FYI, 2 random thoughts, as found on the internet, for your consideration, re: the Monkey Typewriter Theorem:

from a monkey: Gugjvhfu'ohƒkih;ohout98u[9u8yplfhw;khfuhpip2out[olkuefhl uehf2u3[r49uo[rhkuahedkqwhioj23oej[o34roi354ithoi ho3ihhelpimtrappedinathoughtexperiment0o'jihug ygouf7idd65d65y5diy5dyidipojklugy6r86754354qwadxhblk\p ==-8096rtrdghokp0i09yu

from a random comment as modified by me:
Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and twitter+facebook is nothing like Shakespeare.

What in the name of all that's picture making does the MTT have to do with the price of picture making stuff, you might wonder?

Well, as I am prepping pictures for a new book, re: my kitchen sink pictures, I was drawn to the idea of random chance. As in, I don't arrange any of the referential material found in my kitchen sink, I just picture it as I find/see it. That written, of the tens of thousands of times - I've lived with this particular kitchen sink for 4,927 days and counting - I have stood in front of the sink, my eye and sensibilities have been pricked to the point of fetching a camera and making a picture on less than 30 occasions.

Therefore, I have come up with my very own Monkey Picture Making Theory, To wit, it requires only a couple of monkeys randomly putting things in a kitchen sink over a period of ten years or so to create a few arrangements which, in turn, gives rise to a few pictures akin to those made by a famous picture maker (Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Jan Groover, et al).

Of course, in my MPMT - which, quite obviously, has been tested and proven correct - the monkeys are imaginary. Although, the wife and I could conceivably be considered to be the monkeys inasmuch as we're the ones putting the stuff in the sink. And, we both like bananas.

Anyone out there have any other proof, vis a vis your own picture making experience, which supports my Monkey Picture Making Theory?

Posted on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 01:42PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku # 2669-71 / kitchen life # 48 ~ oh woe is me

Blue Moon Cafe ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
art gallery door / entrance ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
vase, dried petals + candy cups ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
frying pan reflection ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
In the past on a number of occasions, I have written in defense of the artist statement. On the other hand, I have also written about my distaste, re: the academic lunatic fringe to include their artspeak fetish which exhibits itself in so many BFA/MFA artist statements.

Since those various writings, nothing to change my mind on the subjects has reared its head. However, recently there has been a surfeit of BFA/MFA fine art picture maker's artist statements - ones which read more like exercises in self-psychoanalytic therapy - that are starting to grate on my nerves. To paraphrase a sentence from a movie review, their (the picture makers in question) picturing endeavors track like therapeutic journeys (follow your dream of self-actualization) instead of transcendent excursions (just dream!).

In defense of artist statements I have, vehemently at times, rejected the dumbass idea that a picture which needs words is a failure. You know, a picture is worth a thousand words, but ... don't ever actually put any of those words down on paper cuz if you do, well, you know, then the picture is a failure.

However, IMO, if a picture is worth some number of words, then I want to hear/read them. And that holds true whether the words are about the picture maker's a priori motivations and/or intentions or the postmortem words of a critic re: the work itself. In both cases, even though I will have formed my own word thoughts by viewing the work, the words of the picture maker and a critic can and often does expand my appreciation and understanding of the work in question.

That written, it is my considered opinion that an artist statement should be both concise (employing an economy of artspeak-free words) and address the picture making process more than it does the psychologic analytical mental state of the picture maker.

To wit, if I am viewing a body of work comprised of hauntingly beautiful environmental pictures of elderly women, I would appreciate knowing that the picture maker is haunted by memories of his/her now deceased grandmother who raised him from his/her infant years after his/her birth parents fled the country after embezzling millions of dollars from a local charity, never to be seen again. However, while it might be true that such a picture maker has quite a number of personal issues to work through and even though making pictures may be one way to do so, I would nevertheless much prefer that she/he keep that stuff between her/him and a real therapist.

The motivation for the picture making endeavor is useful information in many ways, but the rest of the deep soul introspection, IMO, does little at best if anything to expand my appreciation for the work and is just a high-falutin' example of reality tv-like pandering to emotional voyeurism at the worst.

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2014 at 06:38PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments2 Comments

straying from the straight and narrow

passel o' cameras / iPhone picture ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
iPhone picture (#2) Polaroid-like conversion ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
I woke up this AM without a thought of straying from the straight and narrow, straight picture making wise. However, seemingly the next thing I know I am making a picture with my iPhone, something I have done only once previously - a Xmas day selfie using my brothers's Xmas gift to me with the intent of sending the picture to him.

I made the iPhone picture as a result of the desire to picture the passel o' cameras sitting in our front hall. The only digital camera I had at hand to make the picture without removing one from the bunch was my iPhone which, of course, isn't a camera cuz it's a phone. The more I thought about using the phone to make a picture, the more it appealed to me and my long standing like of crappy cameras and the pictures they make.

To wit, is the iPhone picture making capability "crappy"?

I have made my share of crappy pictures using crappy cameras, most notably various Polaroid cameras which produced pictures which were; 1) small, 2) not very sharp, and 3) color and tonal quality which were unique to Polaroid film and varied depending upon the particular Polaroid film (and camera) used to make the pictures.

Turns out, at least in the relatively dim light in which I made the picture, the answer to the crappy question is neither here nor there.

The results were not good enough to use as a good quality picture. On the other hand, while it displayed some crappy camera characteristics (grainy, sorta soft, blown highlights with an odd look) they were not so pronounced as to constitute a true crappy picture - a kinda betwixt and between sorta thing.

IMO, to deliver true crappy pictures, the files require a fair amount of processing in order to bend the results closer to crappy-ness. Sorta like I did in making a Polaroid-like result.

That written, I don't think I'll very often think of my phone as a picture making device. That's true in large part because I don't go anywhere without at least 2 cameras from my passel hanging from my shoulder.

Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 12:29PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2666-68 ~ it's all really about the pictures

Hugo splits the defense ~ Saranac Lake, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Front hall stuff ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
Upstairs porch / mirror and icicles ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
I've come to a point on this blog wherein I feel I have very little left to write about the medium and its apparatus. That's because over the past 5-6 years or so I've written volumes on the subject and I'm not in the mood to rework the same old ground.

In the past when I made an entry, I almost always posted a picture with some form of commentary of the medium and its apparatus. At this point, since the well has gone dry, re: writing on the subject wise, and even though I keep on making plenty of pictures, I seem to have a mental block, re: posting pictures without words on the subject. Consequently, I am taking a lot of time between entries. That is until I finally decide the hell with it and post some pictures without much in the way of the medium and its apparatus commentary.

As a result, visits to this blog have fallen off, not drastically but noticeably. Comments from visitors have also fallen off as well.

And, to be perfectly honest, I have never really figured out exactly why, in the past, visitors kept returning to the blog. Was it the pictures? Was it the commentary? Was it a combination of both? I have no answer to those questions. So, the question arises, what the hell do I do with this thing now?

The blog has never been much about gear and I sure as hell don't want to go there even if the photo blog-o-sphere loves nothing better than commenting endlessly - and, IMO, ad nauseam - about gear. If the medium was all about gear, I'd sell all I have and start raising exotic chickens to wile the time away. Although I could make pictures and raise exotic chickens, but I'm not sure how the wife would feel about the chicken part.

Another blog road I have no desire to venture down is to turn the blog into a personal diary with pictures. I have a pretty interesting life but I'd much rather spend my time living it than writing about it. And hopefully, visitors to this blog probably have their own lives to live and really don't need to know all that much about mine. That written, a little bit of the diary thing has crept into the blog, well run dry wise, and I want to nip it in the bud before it goes any farther down that road.

Most certainly, I have arrived at a point where I would much rather make pictures than write about making pictures. After all, for me, the medium and its apparatus are all about the pictures but ...

I do like hanging my pictures out there for others to view and blogging is one of the ways in which I do that. So, for the immediate future, I'll re-start posting a picture a day. Words probably not so much. Although, I do have a treasure trove of quotes from others - notable and not so well known - which I can use to provide at least a modicum of written food for thought.

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 05:49PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments6 Comments

civilized ku # 2662-65 ~ good clean fun

making a selfie ~ Canton, NY
St. Lawrence vs Harvard ~ Canton, NY
some of Hugo's teammates ~ Canton, NY
busted ~ Canton, NY
This past weekend Hugo had a hockey game in Canton - for me, a 250 mile round trip - the home of St. Lawrence University. After his game, there was a team dinner followed by a Division I collegiate hockey game, the SLU Saints vs the Harvard Crimson, at the SLU arena where Hugo got busted sitting with his girlfriend ( a teammate). Some of his teammate buddies ragged on him unmercifully. Nevertheless, a good clean fun time was had by all.

FYI, you can read about - a featured comment on TOP - one of my picture making misadventures.

Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:31AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2661 ~ box o' prints / the time has come

Window / Bar Vino ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
OK then. We've got a core group of participants for the Box O' Prints project. If you were invited or requested a spot on the roster, you're in - you know who you are so I won't name names. Except for John Linn who was "thinking about it" - stop thinking and just do it.

That written, there 2 individuals whom I have been unable to contact with an invitation - Colin Griffiths / Rich Gift of Linns and the More Original Refrigerator Art guy (who's name and email address have vanished from my email archive). Neither has any contact info on their blogs, at least not far as I can tell. Anyone know how to contact either of them?

In any event, it's on with the show: the time has come for participants to contact me directly using the Email submission link on the sidebar (under About This Website) - be certain to include your mailing address. Upon receipt of your email, I will contact you with some project particulars and my mailing address so you can send me your first print submission. Once I have a full set of prints, the portfolio will be on the move.

I have ordered an 11"×14" portfolio box and a shipping box in which to mail it. I chose that size because: a) that print size is big enough for the project purposes, and b) it will keep shipping/mailing costs reasonable. If most participants think the size should be bigger, let me know and I'll consider it.

There you have it. It's up to you. Let's get this thing moving.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:50AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

triptychs / the light ~ I'm not a b+w guy .... really, I'm not ... but ...

bathroom light • click to embiggen
stairs light • click to embiggen
yellow chair light • click to embiggen
kitchen light • click to embiggen
... every now and again one or more of my pictures seem to demand a conversion to b+w. Such a demand arose a day ago as I was working on an image from my the light series / book.

I was making a small localized contrast adjustment using the LAB Lightness channel - where I do all of my contrast / tonal and sharpening processing adjustments - when I became acutely aware of how interesting the pictured looked in b+w. Consequently, I started to explore the possibility of converting the images to b+w. As I did so, I was actually quite impressed by how the pictures translated, technically and aesthetically, into b+w.

I was even more more impressed when I printed a converted file on heavyweight matte paper. The print was very rich in tonal quality and, to a very significant degree, it rivaled results I use to obtain back in my wet darkroom days. In a word, nice. So the die was cast, and I set to converting all of the files from the series.

B+W CONVERSION TECHNIQUE ASIDE: Over the years I have read (online) about the trials, tribulations and angst experienced by dedicated b+w analog pictures makers regarding the problems of digital picturing and printing in their beloved genre. Some were even pining for a b+w/greyscale only sensor (their wishes were granted by Leica in the form of the $8K [body only] M Monochrom digital camera). Most were fiddling around using various PS adjustment tools - Black & White, Channel Mixer and the like - or test driving various stand alone conversion software.

Since b+w was very low on my picturing list - can't say I ever made a digital picture which was intended to be a b+w image - I didn't go down any of those paths. Instead, I concentrated on what I belief to be one of the best and easiest methods of color>b+w conversions methods available. A method, which in a sense, is not a conversion method at all inasmuch as it relies on a b+w/grayscale image / information embedded in each and every RGB RAW file - the Lightness channel in the LAB color space.

Most digital picture makers are unaware of this wonderful greyscale information simply because visits to the LAB color space are seldom, if ever, undertaken simply because LAB color space is little understood by most - there are only 2 color channels (+ the Lightness channel) and curves in the color channels work in a very different manner than they do in RGB color space. While figuring it out ain't rocket science, most tend not to bother.

I first started using the Lightness channel (years ago) for sharpening. One can perform significantly stronger sharpening - without corresponding sharpening artifacts - in LAB than in RGB color space. The same is also true with contrast/tonal adjustments. In both cases, you work on only the greyscale component of the file and the color channels are un-effected.

In creating these b+w files, I went into LAB with each picture and threw away the color channels which left just the Lightness channel. I then applied a tonal adjustment curve - the same for all the pictures in the series - to the Lightness channel and then converted the result to greyscale. The next and last step was to convert the greyscale file to a RGB file. IMO, in the name of high quality color>b+w "conversion", it doesn't get any easier than that.

An interesting aside to creating the b+w pictures was that I discovered several related pictures triptych possibilities along the way.

Will I forego the color pictures in this series for the b+w ones? No, I will not. IMO, they are different but equal. Will I print a b+w book in addition to the color book? Yes, I will. However, I will be very interested to see how my RGB b+w files print on a printing press.

Comments on the b+w vs color pictures, re: the light, are both encouraged and welcome.

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:21AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment