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tourist picture / diptych # 148 / ku # 1301 ~ Smuttynose, under, scallions

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Smuttynose / Between The Buns restaurant ~ Potsdam, NY • click to embiggen
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under bridge / under porch roof ~ Buffalo, NY / Thousand Islands, NY • click to embiggen
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scallions / farmer's market ~ Keene Valley, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Jeff Wall has stated / written that ....

Maybe the "trivial" is just a failed version of the "everyday." The everyday, or the commonplace, is the most basic and the richest artistic category. Although it seems familiar, it is always surprising and new. But at the same time, there is an openness that permits people to recognize what is there in the picture, because they have already seen something like it somewhere. So the everyday is a space in which meanings accumulate, but it's the pictorial realization that carries the meanings into the realm of the pleasurable.

Wall's statement encapsulates / reiterates several of the points which I wrote about in the recent entry, arranging aggrangements. Especially so, re: ".... it's the pictorial realization that carries the meanings into the realm of the pleasurable..., and, "....the commonplace...is the most basic and the richest artistic category".

Those ideas coincide rather well with my thoughts, re: ".... a well executed arrangement of 'invisible' pictorial elements is often enough to elevate a picture of seemingly "nothing" into the realm of a very good picture".

I mention these ideas - commonplace / nothing and pictorial realization / pleasing arrangement - because, in my daily photo blog pursuing, there are 2 sites I visit regularly, one of which I visit everyday (More Original Refrigerator Art) the other (which shall remain nameless / link-less inasmuch as I have no desire to offend), much less frequently.

Even though both picture makers traffic in pictures of the commonplace, the reason for the disparity in visitation frequency is solely attributable to the fact that the former-mentioned picture maker is uncommonly adept at first rate pictorial realization / pleasing arrangement, the latter-mentioned picture maker, not so much.

IMO, the primary difference between the work of the 2 picture makers is that, one transports pictures of the commonplace into the realm of the pleasurable, while the other makes pictures of the commonplace which are distinctly, well .... commonplace or, in other words, ordinary. Although, while it should be noted that that result might just be the point of that work, it doesn't work for me.

tourist picture / civilized ku # 2928 / kitchen sink # 30 ~ how to make the next picture good

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picture maker ~ Newport RI. • click to embiggen
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Main Street ~ Buffalo, NY, NY • click to embiggen
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strainer ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

I'm aware that the subjects I choose do have meaning, but over the years I've found that understanding these meanings is less important for me. My burning issue is how to make the next picture good. ~ Jeff Wall

For the most part, ditto for me.

civilized ku # 2925-27 / diptych # 147 ~ arranging arrangements

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tools ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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arrangement / Courtyard by Marriot ~ Kingston, Ontario / Canada - • click to embiggen
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pantry / The Breakers ~ Newport, RI. - • click to embiggen
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Cacti ~ New York, NY. - • click to embiggen

IMO, after you cut through all the blather, re: how to make a good picture, it all comes down one simple fact (but not necessarily so simple to execute) ..... most "successful" pictures all have one thing in common. That one thing is a sophisticated arrangement of all of the elements contained within and up to the edges of the frame.

By elements, I mean not just the obvious visual depicted referent(s) but rather all of the bits and pieces of lines, shapes, form, colors, tonal values and the like. While these elements are visible, in a very real sense, when they all work together, they become invisible, acting like a subliminal language / message which draws a viewer into a picture.

In fact, in many cases, a well executed arrangement of "invisible" pictorial elements is often enough to elevate a picture of seemingly "nothing" into the realm of a very good picture. Match a well executed arrangement with a picture of "something" and you might have an extremely good picture indeed. However, it's also worth mentioning that, a picture without a well executed arrangement can be "saved by the depiction of an extraordinary referent.

IMO (again), there are no rules (other than a few simplistic ones which force all manner of referents into the same repetitive mold) for constructing sophisticated / visually pleasing arrangements. Or, for that matter, displeasing / discordant arrangements depending on the picture makers intent for the picture. The simple fact of the matter is that creating a good arrangement is a make-it-up-as-you-go endeavor, an act of on-the-spot improvisation. Or, as they say in the military, the field expediency method - there's the by-the-book way to do it (rules) and then there's figuring out how to get done under field conditions. That is, in the heat of battle.

And, in a sense, making pictures with sophisticated arrangements is a battle of sorts. A picture maker has to wrestle the visual / "invisible" elements found in the real world into a visual representation of that world with some form of a coherent / visually arresting arrangement. And - here's where I always get into trouble - some people are instinctually much better at this than others (those who struggle trying to make a picture by the book / rules).

I am not so certain that the visual "language" needed to make a very good picture can be taught / learned, other than some simple phrases which can serve in a pinch. IMO and experience, either you have it or you don't.

Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me explain .... those who instinctually "have it" must learn to recognize "it" and foster / understand "it" - although not to the point of losing the "magic" of "it" - and just let it flow in the picture making moment. Those who don't instinctually "have it" can, through the study of "it", develop a certain sense of "it" and attempt use "it" in their picture making. However, their biggest obstacle in the implementation of using "it" is that they let too much thought / thinking get in the way of their picture making ... kind of like the game of golf wherein having too many swing thoughts during the course of swinging a club is the surest way to screw up your swing.

All of that written, I would suggest that "having it" helps immensely in the cause of good picture making. Although, that does not mean that "having it" means every picture made is a good / successful to their intent picture. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor does not "having it" mean that one is doomed to never make a good picture. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

IMO, it's just that those who "have it" have a better batting average than those who don't.
Posted on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 11:15AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

tourist picture (single woman?) / squares² # 9 ~ a poem of sorts

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the wife, going with the flow ~ Bog River Flow / Hitchens Pond - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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on the Flow ~ Bog River Flow / Hitchens Pond - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

going with the flow

sitting, watching
listening
thought full / thoughtless
quiet contemplation

the eagle the osprey
dual / duel
startled
spruce grouse
erupt
into cacophonist flight

bass fighting
hook
line
and sinker

black fly, deer fly, mosquito
harass
disappear on the breeze
bad memories
best forgotten

hoot of the owl
cry of the loon
fish jump
coyotes howl at the moon
cries and whispers
haunt our dreams

on water’s edge

mated dragon flies
flit and careen
a procreative dance
finch
dart, chirp, scold
on a wing and a prayer

barefoot
pine needle carpet
on loamy soil
dodging the hard fact
of roots
weightless drifting with
life jacket floats

cool mist
on morning water
smudgy campfire smoke
coffee aroma
pancakes with blueberries
sausage and syrup

on Bog River Flow

tourist picture / panoramic / ku # 1299-1300 ~ a birthday "kill"

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Hugo + 1 of his largemouth bass ~ Hitchins Pond - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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swimming ~ Hitchins Pond - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen1044757-26394428-thumbnail.jpg
fallen tree ~ Hitchins Pond - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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attack helicopters / Bog River Flow - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Just returned from a multi-day backcountry / wilderness canoeing sojourn. The trip was arranged by the wife as a fun-time birthday (mine) gathering and, not surprisingly, everyone had fun. It was a wonderful birthday gift.

On the trip there 2 surprises. The first, on the evening of our first day, was the collapse onto our wilderness campsite of a very large tree. A tree which had been snapping and groaning since our arrival and I deduced it was only a matter of time before the tree came crashing down. And, after moving tents and canoes out of the project landing zone, the tree did come crashing to the ground. Fortunately, no harm, no foul.

Surprise number 2 happened on our paddle out. As we entered into the start of a wide turn in the flow, 2 military attack helicopters came swooping around the bend / trees below treetop level. We heard them coming before their overhead pass so I was able to get a camera out of my camera dry bag and make a few pictures despite their very fast speed. And I do mean fast.

The noise of the birds (military speak) was very very loud and, as they descended even lower over our canoes, the pilot in the lead machine waved to us out of the open door of this helicopter as he was executing a hard-banked turn onto / over Higgins Pond. I am certain that he had "killed" us, simulation wise, before he wished us well.

Inasmuch as I am not a the-government-is-coming-to-take-us-away conspiracy nut job, I enjoyed the encounter and was left wondering how the wife had arranged the flyover.

flats sunset ~ uncommonly full frame

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The Flats ~ Wilmington, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

If I had had my 11-22mm f2.8 Zuiko lens with me, I could have made this picture square to include the radiating rays of the sun. But I didn't, so I couldn't, so full frame seemed the best. I apologize.

On the other hand, since I rarely picture sunsets, I guess the rarely used full frame format is somewhat apt. Perhaps no apologies are necessary.

diptych # 146 /civilized ku # 2924 / tourist pictures ~ quirky-ness

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upstairs porch light thing / day and night ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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Clare and Carl's Hot Dog Stand ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen
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Brawler's Back Alley Deli ~ Buffalo, NY • click to embiggen
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Tickets ~ Plattsburgh, NY • click to embiggen

Some simple facts about the diptych and Clare and Carl's Hot Dog Stand pictures.

The upstairs porch thing was thrown together using a dress form found in a store in the Catskill Mountains and a flower light (meant to hang) purchased by the wife in Lake Placid. They just seem to be made to go together.

Clare and Carl's has been standing and slowly listing since the 50s. It is a noted and must visit hot dog stand in Plattsburgh, NY. Visitors come from near and far to sample their Michigan hot dogs, a very popular New York State North Country delight.

Strangely enough, I have never stopped at Clare and Carl's even though I have passed by it a zillion and a half times. In large part that is due to the fact that I am not a fan of boiled hot dogs. But, to be fair, the hot dog ingredient in a Michigan is just there as a substance on which to put the Michigan sauce. And it is the sauce, the raison d'etre of the Michigan experience, which separates a merely good from a truly excellent Michigan.

Although the origins of the Michigan are unknown, the first known advertisement for Michigans appeared in the Plattsburgh Daily Republican in the Friday, May 27, 1927 edition. That ad announced the opening of a Michigan Hot Dog Stand which was located between two dance halls. The establishment may or may not have been the same one which was mentioned in a later PDR article which read in part:

Garth C. Otis has leased the quarters in the Plattsburgh Theatre building formerly occupied as the Locomobile salesroom in which place he will conduct an eating place under the name of the Michigan Hot Dog and Sandwich Shop opening Saturday. Mexican chili con carne will be one of the specialties. Mr. Otis promises a first class place for those who desire short order lunches.

On a related note, early this Fall, I'll be visiting Rochester where I will picture (and eat) a Nick Tahou Garbage Plate, Rochester's version of a Michigan, albeit a Michigan on steroids.

civilized ku # 2923 ~ difficult to see

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stapler and level ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see
That's why last night and this mornin'
Always look the same to me
~ John Prine

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 05:46PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | CommentsPost a Comment