BODIES OF WORK GALLERY LINKS
The 2014 ~ Year in Review 2014 selects/book gallery is here.
The Place To Sit selects/book gallery is here.
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
Featured Comment: Eric Fredine wrote (in part): "I'm ambivalent. It's an arbitrary timeframe and it often results in a hodge-podge of images with no strong unifying theme. On the other hand, I find the most useful way to differentiate between the truly worthy and the merely good is by looking at images in a collection.....
I agree with Eric's idea of looking at pictures in a collection. Not doing so does indeed produce a hodgepodge of images. However, IMO, even with such a collection, I have found that, in the case of my hodgepodge collection, there is a certain continuity, vision wise, in all of the pictures. That is, a continuity which mitigates the hodgepodge-ness.
That continuity was pointed out to me by several gallery directors upon the occasions of viewing my Bodies of Work ~ a sampler book - a book of pictures presented as collections of different bodies of work. The common comment was essentially that they all saw a very distinctive vision or picturing M.O. which was evident across all the various bodies of work. In effect, they believed that, presented with one picture from each body of work as a group they would be able to discern that the pictures were all made by the same picture maker.
ASIDE: IMO, I would venture to write that given a hodge-pod of images from Eric's work, I would notice the same thing - a continuity of vision, with very few exceptions, across all of his pictures. end of ASIDE
As an example (in my case), consider the pictures in my the LIGHT book. There certainly is a hodgepodge of referents but, to my eye and sensibilities, all of pictures are "unified" by my picturing M.O., AKA: vision.
All of which got me started on my best-pictures-of-the-year idea. My objective is to create a collection of pictures which will be presented in year-in-review book. Hopefully, that collection of very diverse referents will exhibit the same continuity of vision which, again to my eye and sensibilities, will glue the collection together as an all-of-a-piece collection.
Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop ~ Ansel Adams
Without quibbling with Sir Ansel's choice of the number "12" or trying to parse the meaning of his word "significant", if the god's of picture making rang your doorbell and demanded that you pick your, let's say, 20 "best" pictures of 2014 (under penalty of forfeiture of all your picture making gear for failure to comply), how difficult would it be for you to do so and what criteria would you use to define "best"?
For those who make lots of pictures - John Linn, Markus Spring, Juha Haataja, Colin Griffiths, Andreas Manessinger, and the More Original Refrigerator Art guy (not to mention The Landscapist), to name just a few, all come immediately to mind - the task might seem to be Herculean. Then again, there are most likely those who, for a variety of reasons, would consider the whole idea of picking and choosing to be rather pointless and I, for one, would like to know the reason(s) why that would be so.
In any event, I have been picking and choosing from amongst my 2014 picture library and have managed to narrow it down to 26 pictures at this point in the proceedings. That written, I don't think it would be a problem to get the choices down to 20, although ..... on the other hand, it wouldn't difficult to expand the number to 30. And, even if I get it down to 20 picks before the choices are cast in stone, I can't rule out the possibility that a few of those might be removed and replaced by other pictures.
I also believe that making the choices is made more difficult by the fact that one needs to decide whether to consider the idea of what's "best" for me or what's best for a given / particular viewing audience. At this juncture, I am making choices based on what's "best", or most significant, for me. That criteria is distinctly different from making choices based on what might be "best" for a viewing audience - personal versus more universally accessible / significant.
Of course, if I get my choices "right", the 20 best pictures should work for both criteria.
In any case, when I get it figured out, I'll be posting an entry with all of my "winners". In the interim I would really like to read your opinions on the exercise.
While the picture-maker proves himself to be an artist by the selection of a subject particularly adapted to pictorial representation, by the thoroughness with which he grasps its salient characteristics, and by the vividness of his antecedent conception, he does so also by the reliance which he places on the methods of expression peculiar to his art. How few people realize that these are abstract and make their primary appeal to the eye ! Later, in the case of certain subjects, they may reach the intellect, but even then through the passage-way of the senses. In literature, on the contrary, the words travel direct to the intellect and may later arouse a brain impression as of a picture seen. But in the actual picture of painting or photography, it is the things seen which affect us, and the artist’s skill is shown in what he offers to our sight and ours in the receptivity of our vision. - Charles H. Caffin (June 4, 1854 – January 14, 1918)
On the recent entry, Art on a wall, Eric Fredine left a link to an interesting interview / conversation between John Gossage and the late Lewis Baltz. Eric felt (and I would agree) the interview / conversation had relevance to the subject in that entry. The link is well worth a read. FYI, Eric also has a blog.
That written, long time followers of The Landscapist are most likely familiar with Eric Fredine and his pictures. A decade or so ago, I had the privilege and pleasure to meet up with Eric in NYC. If you are not familiar with his work, visit his site. His site is also well worth a good long look. His work is simply outstanding.
In any event, you should also read his Artist Statement which, IMO, is well worth a read inasmuch as, IMO, it has reverence to the Charles H. Caffin quote in this entry.
During my recent 1600 mile (approx.) Thanksgiving week journey, I managed to snag a few momento itinerum along the way. The most useful item is a vintage Weston Master III Universal Exposure Meter (circa mid-1950s) acquired at a vintage clothing store in Carlisle PA - home of the Army War College - during a trans-Pennsylvania lunch stop. Even though said item has given up the ghost, functioning light meter wise, I believe that it will serve my purpose very well.
To wit, over the years, my Olympus µ4/3 E-P1 thru E-P5 cameras have been often and repeatedly identified as film cameras. The identifiers are always strangers, primarily of the women variety, encountered in public places. This has occurred so frequently that I consider it reason enough to own and use these cameras, both for making pictures and for their ability to be chick magnets.
ASIDE Why more women than men (in the ratio of 20-1)? I have no idea other than to postulate that a camera or two hanging on one's body are often used as photographic fashion accessories. For most men, and for reasons which should be obvious, the more impressive and bigger the camera the better and perhaps this macho posturing is too aggressive an act for women to warm up to .... too much mano-a-mano mine-is-bigger-than-yours attitude. On the other hand, perhaps the cute little Olympus cameras evince a gentler and warmer aura which is more attuned to female sensibilities. END OF ASIDE
In most instances, I believe that the cameras, at first glance, are thought to be film cameras because: 1) they look a lot like older rangefinder cameras, 2) the accessory optical viewfinder enhances this perception, 3) my lenses sport very traditional looking lens shades, and, 4) the cameras are obviously made of metal which is not coated with a black finish (black itself is an aggressive color - did you know that cars with all-black dashboards are driven much more aggressively than those with lighter shaded dashboards?).
For certain, the recognition of all of these visual camera characteristics implies, to some degree, a knowledge of older film cameras. One might think - stereotype alert - that men would be more attuned to these distinctive characteristics than women. The same could be written about age - one might think that older identifiers might be more attuned to these visual cues but my experience does not conform to that notion either. Women of all ages - my guess, from late teens to late middle age - have respond to the cameras in equal measure.
In any event, in order to significantly enhance the perception that my cameras are film cameras, which should correspondently also amp up their chick magnetism aura, I have acquired the Weston meter to wear dangling from my neck whenever I leave the house with my cameras (which is every time I leave the house).
I am not sure whether or not this will increase my encounters with female identifiers or in any way alter the ratio of m-f respondents. However, the experiment should be both interesting and, well .... interesting. All of which are undertaken for purely academic and cultural studies. After all, I am a very happily married picture maker.
FYI, the one item encountered but not acquired on the trip - though a monumental act of will power and an admonishment to the Cinemascapist to tackle me if I was sighted headed to the fan gear shop at the Penguin arena - was a Pittsburgh Penguin Pro Toaster. Here's hoping that Santa reads my blog.
In answer to John Linn's comment: as for the Polaroid Instant Cheese Slicer, I am certain we will be delighted by the fact that the cheese emerges from the slicer instantly ready to eat. Unlike with our other cheese slicers which require that our cheese slices be sent out to a cheese lab for further processing which is an endeavor that can take up to three days unless one goes to a one-hour cheese lab.
As for the rubber ants, who in their right mind doesn't want or need rubber ants?
When in Pittsburgh, PA, one of our must-visit places is The Andy Warhol Museum (the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist), although, true be told, we don't always make it there. On our recent trip, we did make to the museum since the Cinemascapist wanted Hugo to see it.
I have always been a fan of a lot of Warhol's work, primarily his paintings and silkscreen works. His films give me a big yawn and a snooze (kinda like his Sleep movie) and his Velvet Underground (Warhol was their manager) music stuff, especially his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events, make me want to puncture my eardrums. I'm with Cher - who walked out midway through a Velvet Underground show - when she said, "It will replace nothing, except maybe suicide."
After this recent visit, I came away with overriding impression that if ever there was an artist who was pulling it out of his ass (making it up) as he went along, it was Warhol. Often, when asked why he did what he did, his reply was, "It gives me something to do." / "I just do art because I’m ugly and there’s nothing else for me to do." and "Art is what you can get away with." or "Art? That's a man's name." FYI, none of the preceding should be constructed as a negative comment, re: his art.
The thing I admire / like most about Warhol is that he believed that art is everywhere. In fact, he stated, "When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums." A sentiment with which I totally agree.
Be all of that as it may, Hugo also got see Warhola (Warhol's name before he dropped the "a") Recycling, Andy's Nephew's junk business, located a few short blocks from the Warhol Museum. Andy's older brother was also in the junk business. Apparently, junk runs in family genes. All of which I find to be rather ironic inasmuch as many, both in and out of the art world, think Warhol's art is junk.
The problem with photography is that regardless of whether you, the photographer, believe that what you point your camera at to make a picture is actually in it, large parts of your audience will do just that. Photography’s descriptiveness is its strength and its curse. People will see a photograph of a person as that person, or as a photograph of that person, even if what you’re interested in is something a lot more universal than that. In much the same fashion, a photograph of some place becomes that place, resulting in some people actually watching over whether certain places, let’s say Appalachia, is depicted in the proper way.
If photography wants to be a true art form it will have to engage in a world that at least acknowledges the fact that the visual description of whatever was in front of a camera lens .... does not in fact describe the actual topic. In other words, you can engage with Tranquility as photography, or as art that happens to use photography ... That said, if we accept that photography is – or maybe more realistically: can be – art, then we have to treat it as art – and not as merely photography. To somewhat loosely paraphrase David Campany, photography describes what is (or rather what was the moment the picture was taken), art (-photography) alludes to what could be or maybe should be.
To paraphrase Sigmund Freud (or so it is claimed), Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar which implies that at other times a cigar is something more than just a cigar. In essence, and with much fewer words, that just about sums up what Colberg was writing about. And, for the most part, I would agree with his idea that "if we accept that photography is ... art, then we have to treat it as art – and not as merely photography.
I also believe that Colberg is writing about an idea I have written about many times on this blog - that the best pictures are those which are both illustrative (depicting a reality-based referent) and illuminative (implying something - Colberg's topic - beyond that which the pictured referent describes). IMO, when a picture evinces both qualities, what you end up with is art that happens to use photography. That is to write, Fine Art as opposed to Decorative Art.
However, that written, when it comes to grasping the implied in a picture, the door to interpretation / understanding is wide open inasmuch as many, if not most, viewers of a picture take it at face value with little thought given to what else it might be about. And therein lies the dilemma.
Consider this from Ansel Adams:
We don't make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.
Adams, of course, was referring to the making of a picture. However, I would apply the same notion to viewing a picture - when viewing a photograph, we bring to the act of viewing all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.
Or, as has it been suggested (on this blog and elsewhere), the making and the viewing of a picture is a two-way street - traveled on by the maker and the viewer. Unfortunately, no matter how broad and rich / involved the boulevard that the maker may have traveled down, if a viewer has only traveled down a narrow, vapid and one-way alley, there is most likely apt to be a considerable disparity between the grasped and the intended / implied meaning (topic) to be found in a picture ...
.... a cigar will forever be just a cigar and a picture will be just a picture.