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civilized ku # 2892-98 ~ ceramics, carnines, and the chicken anomaly

ceramic tile mural ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
mural detail ~ North Creek, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
carnines ~ Minerva / Olmstedville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
which came first - the chicken or the rock? ~ Olmstedville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

On Saturday past, the wife and I went on a drive to the east-central Adirondacks to retrieve one of our canoes which had undergone a small repair. Or so we had been led to believe. As it turned out, the repair had not yet been done so in about a weeks time a return trip is called for.

However, inasmuch was we had timed the trip in order to have dinner at a truly excellent restaurant in nearby (to the canoe place) North Creek (pop. 616), the trip was not a waste of time - as if driving through the Adirondacks on a beautiful day is ever a waste of time. In any event, there was a "bonus" aspect to the trip - the "discovery" of two unique projects. One, community-based, the other, the work of an individual.

The community-based project, The North Creek Mosaic Mural Project, is a large (figuratively and literally) endeavor which is being undertaken by 100s of volunteers who take part in the assembly of the ceramic tiles under the supervision of local artist, Kate Hartley. Assembly started in 2012 and continues with the start of the third panel. There is a fourth panel along the wall, which I assume will be muralized over time.

This project is a "discovery" only in the sense that the wife and I had not paid much attention to it (as it incrementally evolved to its present state) over the years during our frequent-ish visits to North Creek. I think that was due to the facts that; 1.) we had always viewed it from across the street which led us (or at least, me) to, 2.) think of it as a painted mural. If it had "only" been a painted mural, it would have been interesting enough but, as a mosaic mural - made of thousands of pieces of ceramic - of fairly gigantic proportions, it's genuinely awe inspiring.

FYI, the mural depicts many of the recreational opportunities to be found in and around North Creek. The village is located on the Hudson River and is noted for its whitewater rafting. It is also the home of Gore Mountain Ski Resort (one of America's first). In addition, the village is the terminus of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad which is a modern reincarnation of the original Ski Train which ran (1934-1940) from Grand Central Station in NYC to North Creek. The station is also notable for the fact that Teddy Roosevelt, after a legendary night run - on wagons and stagecoach - from the base of Mt. Marcy, learned of the death of President McKinley and of his own succession to the presidency of the United States.

The individual-based "project" is not really a project per se. As least it was not conceived as such. It began with a local artist, Jake Hitchcock, whose medium (to my knowledge) is rocks. Apparently, he likes to indulge in making mounds of stones, aka: cairn (from the Scottish/Gaelic word carn), commonly erected as a memorial or marker. Or, in this case, as what might be labeled installation art.

It seems that over time, Hitchcock's work of making traditional mounds of rocks, albeit "artistic" mounds of rock, evolved into making dogs constructed of rocks. Eventually, locals caught on to his carnine (the wife's word) making proclivity and the requests for his talent grew. Consequently, there are quite a number of highly visible examples of his work dotting the landscape in and around his tiny home hamlet of Minerva, NY (immediately adjacent to North Creek).

The carnines can seen in yards (like the one in the squared square picture which seems to "making water" in the garden), at the road-end of driveways, and even randomly scattered along the roadside (like the one on the rotting tree stump). The carnine on the dam once had a tail. Now that it's gone missing, it resembles, to my eye and sensibilities, a duck or species of waterfowl.

Which leads me directly to the hen/rooster anomaly. Was this non-carnine assemblage created by Jake Hitchcock or is the work of a rouge cairnist?

The other question I have, re: Jake Hitchcock's installation art, is whether, when I contact him, I want a carnine or a flock of chickens for our front yard.

diptych # 132 (oddly exalted) ~ process / iPhone camera

Freshine / iPhone picture • viewfinder look ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Today on LENSCRATCH, there an exhibition of cell phone pictures - 5 pages worth - which Aline Smithson prefaced by writing:

Cell Phone photography has entered the fine art arena kicking and screaming and making so much noise that eventually the photography world is paying attention. With apps that replicate just about every photographic process and accessibility to every man, woman, baby, and dog, cell phone photography is a force to be reckoned with.

It should come as no surprise that cell phone picture making has enter the art world (fine or not so fine) inasmuch as, in the past, all manner of "non-standard / main stream" picture making instruments - as examples: Polaroid, Holga / crappy cameras, pinhole, and outdated cameras of all kinds - have had their picturing results accepted into the art world. Cell phone cameras are just another manifestation in that procession.

I am enjoying my messing around with the iPhone, not so much with the push-the-button camera apps - apps with a limited number of "canned" effects which any man, woman, child, or house pet can use. Instead of using the camera apps, I have been making "straight" iPhone pictures and then applying my own process-replication looks.

My process-replication looks are created in PS. I make "master" files for any process / camera I care to replicate. Those files are multi-layered, each with infinitely variable possibilities which can be used to customize the look of the replication depending upon the characteristics of the picture used in its making.

In the case of the viewfinder picture in today's diptych, I was able to adjust the intensity of the corner vignette and focusing screen "fog" to best suit the visual characteristics of the "raw" iPhone picture of the blue liquid. The other capability I have, exercised here, is to make a split-focus effect in the center of the viewfinder. In development is a focusing screen scratch / dirt layer and a viewfinder frame made from a picture of an actual TLR viewfinder to include the surrounding mechanicals as seen in a typical TLR viewfinder.

Why am I doing all this, you might ask? Simply, in a word, fun.

The only clitch I foresee is the possibility of getting sucked up in a gear race - I'm using an "ancient history" iPhone 4S and, of course, both the 5S and 6S are incrementally superior, camera-wise, not to mention the 7S and the 8S and the 9S and the ...........
Posted on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 11:20AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

diptych # 131 ~ the single picture ... is it enough?

hockey sticks / floor detritus ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

In a recent entry on LENSCRATCH - ANDREW SANDERSON: THE SINGLE IMAGE - Aline Smithson fleshed out a previous statement:

I do think it’s time we reconsider the idea that everything has to be created around a project - twenty images wrapped up in a neat bow with an artist statement on top. Projects are great, but what about all the single images we shoot that have no home and get over looked because they are not in that portfolio gift box?

In the entry, Smithson introduced the work of Andrew Sanderson, "a photographer who creates single images." That is, "work that was not defined by a single subject, instead a range of subjects that have caught his interest." In selecting the work to be viewed in the entry, Smithson - who primarily presents the work of project-based picture makers - admitted that, "What was fascinating to me as an editor was that it was difficult to select the work – I still felt it needed consistency and a thread of connection if only through light and process."

Smithson's entry was of interest to me inasmuch as I consider myself to be a picture maker who creates pictures, not defined by a single referent / idea, but rather of a range of referents which catch my interest. While I do have a couple bodies of work which were begun from scratch as referent / theme based projects, the overwhelming bulk of my work is based upon the adage, f8 and be there.

Just a cursory glance at the top of my blog home page will indicate that I have quite a number of referent / theme based bodies of work. However, the fact is that most of those bodies of work were created / identified long after the the pictures in them were made, not for a premeditated project, but as the result of something - quite literally, any thing - that pricked my eye and sensibilities.

That written, it wasn't until most recently that I put together 2 collections of work, 2014 ~ The Year in Review and The Light, - which were NOT based upon a shared referent.

In the case of The light the thread of connection was the light. However, the referents were all over the map. In the case of 2014 ~ Year in Review, once again the referents were diverse but the thread of connection was the consistent manner (process) in which I see. In both cases and IMO, the collections work as all of a piece despite the fact that the pictures are all essentially single pictures or made as such.

In any event, Smithson summed the issue up pretty well - "So today, we are simply looking at images, quietly considered, beautifully executed ... and for some photographers, that’s enough."

IMO, quite enough indeed.

civilized ku # 2891 ~ was a sunny day ...

hotel flora and birch ~ Leominster, Massachusetts • click to embiggen
some hockey teammates ~ Leominster, Massachusetts • click to embiggen
... not a cloud was in the sky, not a negative word was heard from the peoples passing by in the rink about Hugo's 4 game 12 point (4 goals / 8 assists) performance in his AAA Tier 1 debut.

FYI, Hugo's teammates hailed from Alaska, Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Vancouver CA. Quite a diverse and talented group.
Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 04:52PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

Polamatic # 7 / Wood Camera # 5 ~ 2 views - Spring in New Hampshire

Sunday AM, heading home.

diptych # 130 (kitchen life) ~ on the road (again)

eggplant / red pepper ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Off to a hockey rink somewhere in southern New Hampshire next to the border of Massachusetts for Hugo's tournament. I'm hoping to have more picturing fun on the trip.

Posted on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 08:23AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

panoramic (ku) / kitchen life # 69 / viewmatic #2 ~ recent picturing

Vermont view across Lake Champlain - yesterday at dusk ~ Adirondack Coast, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
milk bottle with soap suds ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Sunoco gas truck ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to write that I am having a run of fun of late, picture making wise.

civilized ku # 2881-90 / doors 24-25 ~ enjoyable un-planned pleasure

Essex Inn porch ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
tree /Lake champlain ~ Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
buds /Lake champlain ~ Peru, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
restaurant on lake ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Vermont view ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
GoldMedal Flour ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Federalist house ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
gazebo ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
window and flower ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
purple door ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
white doors ~ Essex, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
shuttered motel ~ Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
motel sign ~ Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Spent an inordinate and unplanned amount of time this weekend past along the shores of Lake Champlain - often referred to in the tourism marketing world as the Adirondack Coast*.

It started on Saturday with a noon drive to Plattsburgh for Hugo's hockey game. I went and returned via a route which runs for most of its length along the shore of Lake Champlain. On the drive home, I stopped to make a few pictures, to include the motel pictures.

Those pictures were made along a strip of motels adjacent to Au Sable Chasm, a once thriving tourist destination, now re-emerging as a resurgent and popular destination, albeit no where near the draw that it was in its heyday. The motels have not enjoyed the same resurgence. Some are shuttered while others have been converted to Section 8 (low income, government assisted) and transient units. The chasm and the motels are but a proverbial stone throw away from Lake Champlain.

Sunday noonish I drove the same route to and from a driving range (golf), again, stopping to make a few pictures. After arriving home, the wife and I headed out to look for Westport-style Adirondack chairs for the front porch. As you might surmise, Westport is located on Lake Champlain so our route took us in the direction of the lake.

Had no luck in finding the chairs, at least not locally made ones. However, we did end up in the village of Essex on the shore of Lake Champlain. The entire village of Essex (pop. 600-700), founded in 1765, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The village has one of the finest and most intact collections of Federal and Greek revival architecture in New York State and, for that matter, in all of rural America.

After a walk around the village complete with picture making, we dropped into the historic 200-year old Essex Inn for drinks and shared appetizers: Stuffed Artichokes - poached artichoke bottoms, maryland crab, smoked gouda and Pigs in a Blanket - smoked wild boar sausage, flaky pastry, maple pomerey. After leaving the inn, we took a very short walk on Main Street. A few more picturings ensued and then it was in the car and north along the lake for the 30 mile drive to home.

Indeed, a very nice weekend.

*FYI, Lake Champlain is approximately 125 miles long, 14 miles wide at its widest point, and covers 490 sq. miles. It is bordered on the west by New York State, the east by Vermont, and the northern most reaches crosses the US - Canadian border in the province of Quebec.
Posted on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11:54AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | CommentsPost a Comment