PICTURE ONLY GALLERY LINKS
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
I wanted to let you know that your Ausable Forks photo series won an award of merit at the International Regional Magazine Awards last week. The judges were struck by how beautifully the series captured everyday life in a small town.
Congratulations and thanks again for collaborating with us!
Adirondack Life Magazine
FYI, the judges said it was a “refreshing look at home” with “everyday scenes that many people overlook.” Needless to write, but I will nevertheless, those words is music to my ears.
You read about all of the awards Adirondack Life Magazine received HERE
And, it's worth mentioning that this is my second International Regional Magazine Awards honor, albeit a shared award, with the magazine.
PS It's time for a good cigar and a sip from my $200 bottle of bourbon.
Autumn color is so much more than, as they are at times referred to in these here parts, "flaming leaves". Although, to be fair, in a marketing application that nomenclature does draw in the leaf peepers and their $$$$$ like flies on stink.
However, as anyone familiar with the landscapist knows, I don't get off on screaming color, or, for that matter, dramatic romanticized landscapes. That's simply because I am much more appreciative of the finer things - finer, as in: delicate, subtle, or sensitive in quality, perception, or discrimination - in life and art, as opposed to the strum und drang ethic - the aim of shocking an audience or imbuing them with extremes of emotion - of over-the-top picture making intentions, very often pursued and accomplished by the use of the Hue & Saturation slider to the max.
That written, it's also worth pointing out that those familiar with the landscapist have read, on quite a number of ocassions, the previous sentiment in various guises / presentations - some might even inclined to opine, ad nauseam.
Nevertheless, it a personal preference shared by many and well worth repeating for those wishing to move beyond pretty picture making and into the picturing world of making pictures of expressive consequence. In that regard I am in complete agreement with Robert Adams:
... I suspect that there will be those who will put the new technology to respectful use ... We know from experience that the pictures we treasure, the ones that sustain us, are independent of fashion. Sometimes it helps to be reminded, for courage.
Landscape pictures can offer us, I think, three verities - geography, autobiography, and metaphor. Geography is, if taken alone, sometimes boring, autobiography is frequently trivial, and metaphor can be dubious. But taken together, as in the best work .... the three kinds of information strengthen each other and reinforces what we all work to keep intact - an affection for life. ~ Robert Adams
Geography = on High Peaks Golf Course / Newcomb, NY - in the Adirondack PARK. Autobiography = me, what I see and how I see it. Metaphor = an affection for all things life, matter how commonplace.
It is a cruel, ironical art, photography. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to be evaporate into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after .... ~ Kate Morton
One of the qualities I particularly liked about Rist Camp was the traditional Adirondack camp atmosphere of the place - dead animals and pelts everywhere, along with an assortment of family memorabilia accumulated over the past 100 years. I am certain that each and every one of those bits and pieces has meaning and memories attached. In all probability, the meaning and memories associated with those bits and pieces are as strong as the memories attached to the nearby mountain and large stone monument named after / dedicated to Ernest D. Rist, aka: Mr. Adirondack, the builder (c. early 1900s) of Rist Camp and the current owner's grandfather.
That written, one item in particular caught my eye and attention - the family snapshot pictured in this entry, a picture which depicts Ernest Rist's grandchildren, c. mid-1950s.
Why did it capture my attention? It did so because it triggered a flood of memories for me. How so? If you embiggen the picture, dead center you will notice what is undoubtedly the reason for the picture's making - a good size black bear looking for all the world as if it is posing for the camera along with the kids.
My first reaction, upon noticing this detail, was to laugh out loud. The first thought which came to mind was the sentence, "Hey kids, go stand by the bear and smile." - a true Kodak moment if ever there was one. But the thing which really hit home with me was the fact, somewhere in my family's old picture albums, there might just be a similar picture of me, my brothers, and a bear.
During nearly every visit to the Adirondack's in my early childhood, there was usually one mandatory after dinner trip to a nearby village dump - each town had one. At that time, village dumps where nothing more than an open pit where everyone dumped their garbage. The aroma generated by the creation of this installation art, so to speak, was pungent to say the least.
However, as we all know, what's garbage to some is gold to others. In this case the others were bears. Consequently, for all intents and purposes, the dumps became easy-pickings, dining al fresco gourmet restaurants for the bears. Most of the bears seemed to make reservations for the 7:30-9PM time slot, as did quite a number of tourists who came to savor the view, not the aromatic edibles.
On a typical evening at a typical town dump, 30-40 bears would show up to dine along with as many (or more) human gawkers. My brothers and I would sit on our car's front fenders and watch many of the bears, who could have not cared less about our presence, coming and going within a few feet of our front row seats. The proximity got a little adrenalin flowing but, hey, that was just part of the deal.
All of that written, at the time of my discovery of the above picture, I had been thinking about - and still am - the notion of pictures and memories and, in part, this picture addresses and validates the idea of the more you bring to the viewing of a picture, the more you can reap from a picture. In this case of this picture, it's about memories - someone else's memories and those of mine which I brought the viewing thereof.
I have been re-reading some of my books - or at least parts of them - about the medium and its apparatus. I have been doing so in order to re-discover and, in a sense, re-affirm some of the conclusions I have come to regarding my picture making / pictures and about pictures made by others which I appreciate and enjoy.
A few months ago, I stated that one particular conclusion I had firmly embraced was was idea that most of my picture making was driven by and toward making more real / permanent a variety of fleeting moments as encountered in everyday life. In a sense, like Tyrell Corporation's replicants who were designed and produced to be - as the company motto states - "More human than human", I realize that I just might be attempting to make those everyday encounters "more real than real".
That written and in any event, what I have been reading about most recently is the idea of beauty. Specifically, I have re-read Robert Adams' essay, Beauty in Photography found in the book of the same name. That essay (and the book itself) is one of the best collections of essays (all by Adams) I have ever read on the subject of picture making and the resulting pictures. An excerpt:
... the proper goal of art is, as I now believe, Beauty, the Beauty ... of Form .... a synonym for the coherence and structure underlying life ... Why is Form beautiful ? Because, I think, it helps us meet our worst fear, the suspicion that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning .... Most of the pictures* suggest embarrassing strain: odd angles, extreme lens, and eccentric darkroom techniques** reveal a struggle to substitute shock and technology for sight. How many photographers of importance, after all, have relied on long telephoto lenses? Instead their work is marked by an economy of means, an apparently everyday relationship with their subject matter .... Why do most great pictures look uncontrived? .... The answer is, I think, that the deception is necessary if the goal of art is to be reached: only pictures which look as if they have been easily made can convincingly suggest that Beauty is commonplace.
Ultimately, setting aside the technical and technique characteristics of my pictures, those words are why I consider both my pictures and the referents they illustrate - as well as many pictures made by others - to be beautiful. Or, as James Dicky asked:
What is Heaven, anyway, but the power of dwelling among objects and actions of consequence?
And as Adams suggested:
"Objects of consequence" cannot be created by man alone, nor can "actions of consequence" happen in a void: they can only be found within a framework that is larger than we are, an encompassing totality invulnerable to our worst behavior and most corrosive anxieties.
*According to Adams, "as found in mass-circulation photography magazines". Although, in today's hyper-connected world, he probably would have also included and online photography forums.
**Once again, in today's world add- extreme Photoshop / digital processing techniques.