PICTURE ONLY GALLERY LINKS
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
Yesterday, it was the view from our hotel balcony. Today, it is from in front of Wilensky's. We ate their famous Wilensky's Special - "all-beef salami with all-beef baloney grilled to mouth-watering perfection on a tasty roll with a hint of mustard" accompanied by glasses of their handmade soda.
One of my favorite authors, Edward Abbey, wrote two of my favorite books - The Monkey Wrench Gang and The Fool's Progress. Two Abbey quotes follow - one which could certainly be applied to picture making, and, one (with my substitution of the phrase, Republican Party, for Abbey's original word, California) which could certainly be applied to current political life.
Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today. ~ Edward Abbey
There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is the Republican Party. ~ Edward Abbey
... one must not have a too pronounced notion of what constitutes beauty in the external and, above all, must not worship it. To worship beauty for its own sake is narrow, and one surely cannot derive from it that esthetic pleasure which comes from finding beauty in the commonest things. ~ Imogen Cunningham
With this entry I am introducing a new body of work / series (see the following entry for diptcyh (selection) # 1), tentatively titled selection and a tentative artist statement to accompany the work:
It has been suggested by many that making a picture is primarily, first and foremost, an act of selection by the picture maker. That act is a two-part endeavor, an act regarding the choice of referent and, concomitantly, an act regarding what to include / exclude in the creation of the frame. These two primary and essential picture making components hold true no matter the choice of tools or the choice regarding where to stand when making a picture.
Given the same referent, no two picture makers will create the same answer to the act of selection inasmuch as the multifaceted act of selection is always a uniquely personal act. As such, the act of selection constitutes a vital element in the development and refinement of a personal vision. It is, in fact, how one sees in a picture making sense.
For some, myself included, the act of selection is serendipitous regarding the choice of referent and intuitive regarding the notion of inclusion / exclusion. Which is to write, I picture those everyday things, whatever they might be, which capture my attention. In doing so, I create the frame by feel rather than by rule. For as it was stated by Edward Weston, "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk."
One of the facets of this new body of work which excites and pleases me is the fact that I can continue to picture whatever catches my eye as opposed to sticking to one related thematic referent as is customary in an individual body of work. And given that I always go out and about with 2 camera bodies - one with a moderate wide angle lens, the other with a moderate telephoto lens - I will make the two pictures (of the same referent) in a given diptych, one with the wide angle, one with the telephoto. Both pictures will be made from the same angle of view but at differing distances.
In addition, given that it has been opined that a good picture creates more questions than answers, I will leave it up to the viewer to determine which of the two pictures in a given diptych is the right answer (for them), re: the act of selection.
To my eye and sensibility, the best pictures (made within the medium of photography and its apparatus) - the ones which capture and hold my attention and interest - are those which are: a) a document / representation / depiction of the real in a truthful / factual manner; b) in which the depicted referent steps outside of the boundaries / confines of conventional referent matter; and c) does so in such a manner as to create, independent of the depicted referent and the "rules" of convention photographic composition*, a visually interesting structure of the elements - shapes, form, color, tonality - as viewed on the 2D surface of the photographic print ....
.... all of which is to write, beautiful prints - as objects in and of themselves - of referents which are often seen but to which very few are paying attention.
In any event, Ansel Adams, when asked which to save first from a burning house - the wife or the negatives?, responded ...
My wife - she could help me get the negs out!
I'm with Sir Ansel on that one.
* what Stephen Shore refers to as "art sauce".
It is part of the photographer's job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveller who enters a strange country. - Bill Brandt
I have previously written about my attraction - in general and in picturing - to what the French call entre chien et loupe, between the dog and the wolf. If French isn't your thing, perhaps the word gloaming or twilight or dusk is the name / label for you. In any case, whatever the word choice, each refers to the time of day after the sun has set but deep darkness has yet to take hold.
My word preference is entre chien et loup because it is both rather poetic and the phrase also hints at the dichotomy between safety / danger, the known / unknown, the seen / unseen and the emotional states of tranquility / anxiety. IMO, no matter how pleasing and gentle the quality of entre chien et loup light bestows upon a scene, it is the aforementioned dichotomy which creates an emotional tension which I like my pictures to exhibit.
My entre chien et loup picturing activity is always inspired by the quality of light to be had at that time of day. A quality which I would describe as softly enveloping and one I became aware of, picture making wise, when I first turned my back on the fading light of a sunset. It would be an exaggeration to write that that was a picture making epiphany but, nevertheless, it was certainly an OMG moment and, for number of years after that visual awakening, much of my 8×10 view camera (with color neg film) work was focused upon making entre chien et loup pictures*.
However, that's not why I called you here today. Rather, it's to consider this:
...with most of my photographs, the subject appears as a found object, something discovered, not arranged by me. I usually have an immediate recognition of the potential image, and I have found that too much concern about matters such as conventional composition may take the edge off the first inclusive reaction. ~ Ansel Adams
A number of years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting two amateur picture making hobbyists who had been following my nature pictures on a nature picture forum. They were passing through my area on a return trip from a photo workshop in Maine, got in touch with me, and we hooked up for dinner and a next day picture making excursion.
Following Brett Weston's advice, re: Anything more than 500 yds from the car just isn't photogenic, we drove to a number of nearby iconic Adirondack locations so they could explore some picture making possibilities. As I recall, they had a good assortment of gear but the thing that has stuck with me - appallingly so - to this day was that, at every picturing spot, their first order of business was to look at the scenes in front of them, not for what they were, but for how those scenes could used as fodder for making pictures by the "rules".
To wit, they looked for "leading lines", "s-curves", and the like - literally pointing them out with their fingers - and discussed how various elements within a scene could best be placed according the "rule of thirds". Their picture making was driven by the antithesis of Sir Ansel's advice to not have "too much concern about matters such as conventional composition" and they demonstrated little, if any, "immediate recognition of the potential image" or a "first inclusive reaction" to that which was in front of them.
Considerate gentleman that I am, I refrained from commenting, nay screaming, about getting their eyes out of their asses in order to facilitate seeing that which was staring them in the face. I was able to conduct this admirable constraint by biting my tongue so hard and deep that I nearly required a blood transfusion and a tongue transplant to replace that which had lost.
Of course, another option was to use my mouth to pass on some advice from the other Weston (Edward). To wit ...
One does not think during creative work, any more than one thinks when driving a car .... to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. Such rules and laws are deduced from the accomplished fact; they are the products of reflection ...
In any event, both I and they had a pleasant day even though I was looking at what was in front of me and they were looking for pictures.
FYI, the walk around the block pictures are presented , top > bottom, in the order in which they were made.