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diptych # 196 / photo noir # 3-4 • 3a-4a ~ choices

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restricted views ~ Pittsburgh< PA • click to embiggen
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photo noir # 3 ~ • click to embiggen
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photo noir # 4 ~ • click to embiggen
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photo noir # 3a ~ • click to embiggen
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photo noir # 4a ~ • click to embiggen

I have completed preliminary BW conversions on 34 of the 42 pictures which deemed noir worthy. The conversion process was also an editing process inasmuch as I converted only those pictures which more emphatically conveyed the bleak pessimism, and a lurking sense of danger feeling of the noir film genre.

Now that preliminary conversions are at hand, I have been contemplating the notion of color vs BW. The 2 noir pictures in this entry are presented in both color and BW because they represent the challenge of deciding between the color / BW formats inasmuch as, in the case of these particular pictures, I feel that both color and BW work equally well. Not every noir picture works both ways, so I have some deciding to do.

Then of course, the big deciding is editing down the collection to 5-7 pictures for submission to the gallery / juror for consideration.
Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 10:50AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 3022 / photo noir # 2-3 ~ sucker for the light

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HOMETOWN IS HERO ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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alone / Photo Noir # 2 ~ • click to embiggen
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pursuit / Photo Noir # 3 ~ • click to embiggen

If I am a sucker for any kind of light, it's the light to be had in late-day slightly-hazy urban settings. Although, the mixture of natural light and man-made light which is best pictured in the gloaming, or, if you will, during L’heure entre chien et loup runs as a very close second. Then again, it's most likely a tie.

In yesterday's entry I mentioned the upcoming Photo Noir exhibition at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT. On their website call for entries, they describe the idea of film / photo noir as ....

Film noir is distinguished by a unique aesthetic of low-key, contrasty light, strong shadows, unexpected camera angles, bleak pessimism, and a lurking sense of danger ... As Roger Ebert describes the style: “Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all.”

While I have pictured referents which evidence "low-key, contrasty light, strong shadows, unexpected camera angles .... [L]ocations that reek of the night, of shadows ....", I can accurately write that my picturing intentions in making those pictures was/is not to convey a sense of "bleak pessimism, and a lurking sense of danger". Most often my intent is to convey a sense of dark mystery. Although, I must admit that dark mystery conjures up, for many, a feeling of foreboding and unsettling anxiety.

Consequently, the challenge for me in making my submission selections for potential exhibition inclusion is to look anew at my pictures which "reek of night" and decide which ones could be viewed to meet the criteria of "bleak pessimism, and a lurking sense of danger".

As in the case of my Celebration of Trees submissions, my first-blush feeling is that, for this exhibition, BW is the order of the day. Although, the jury is still deliberating that feeling.

That written, of one thing I am certain - most, if not all, of the pictures I might select for submission will need adjustments in order to emphasis the "bleak pessimism, and a lurking sense of danger" effect that defines film / photo noir. Unless, of course, as I did for the Alternative Cameras: Pinhole to Plastic exhibition, I venture forth, cameras at the ready, to make noir pictures which are created specifically for this exhibition.

An aside: Has anyone out there been tempted to visit the PhotoPlace Gallery website and check out their call for entries with the intention of submitting a picture or 5 for consideration for one or more exhibitions?
Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 10:11AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment

ku # 1369 / civilized ku # 3021 ~ Trees submissions and  news

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Alternative Cameras exhibition catalog spread ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 1 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 2 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 3 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 4 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 5 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 6 ~ • click to embiggen
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In Celebration of Trees # 7 ~ • click to embiggen
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Photo Noir # 1 ~ • click to embiggen

For every exhibition the PhotoPlace Gallery publishes a POD exhibition catalog. This morning I received a link to a proof of the Alternative Cameras: Pinhole to Plastic catalog* for review of my info and I was pleasantly surprised to see my accepted entry on the intro spread - and on a regular catalog page as well - of the catalog. Nice.

In any event, yesterday, was the submission deadline for the In Celebration of Trees exhibition. My submissions are displayed in this entry. And, as you can see, they are all B&W pictures. While I had many color pictures of trees which would have been very suitable submissions, I found that some were very well suited to B&W conversion as I mentioned in a previous entry. So, B&W it is.

While submitting my ICoT pictures, I came across a call for entries for the next exhibition, Photo Noir. I immediately thought that I had a few pictures which might be suitable for that exhibition so I went into my picture library and, lo and behold, I had 42 pictures that most certainly qualify as photo noir.

Once again, I have "discovered" a hidden body of work within the 6,800+ finished / finals pictures in my photo library. Makes me wonder what I will "discover" next.

*I believe anyone can access the proof here. FYI, there are currently 79 exhibition catalogs which can be viewed in their entirety. Just click on the View More link at the bottom right of the Author's Bookstore (which is just below the catalog preview.

urban flora # 19 / diptych # 195 ~ chaotic messes

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urban(ish) flora ~ Keeseville, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
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meter mess ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

As evidenced by the picture - made in the small village of Keeseville, NY - of the unfettered growth of urban chaotic scrub in this entry, it should be obvious that kind of scrub growth is not limited to big urban areas. In fact, it would be far more accurate to write that urban scrub growth is quite common to areas marked by depressed economic circumstance or as a result thereof. Keeseville most definitely fits that description.

Perhaps my working title, urban flora, for this body of work needs to be amended to include some notion of blight.

On a different but similar topic of blight, Pittsburgh is also a prime example, but not the only example, of what might be labeled electric blight. That is, the rat's nest of wires, meters and other electronic apparatus which is placed willy-nilly on the facade of homes and businesses without even a passing regard to order or unsightliness. And, once again, this phenomenon is most common in areas of the same depressed economic circumstances as urban blight, flora style.

While it is certainly possible to create objects of beauty - pictures, in and of themselves - by organizing lines, shapes, colors and the like within the frame of a picture, to the naked eye they most often are little more than an eye-sore.

civilized ku # 3014-17 ~ Pittsburgh miscellanea

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Jack's corner window ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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Kelly O's Diner ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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rusting bridge girder ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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colorful bush ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

Quite a few other referents other than urban flora pricked my eye and sensibilities while I was In Pittsburgh.

Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 02:12PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

picture windows # 69 / signs # 12 ~ carrying on

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dormer window ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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signs ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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book covers • click to embiggen

During my recent visit to Pittsburgh, I was able to add a couple pictures to 2 existing bodies of work - picture windows and signs / information overload.

FYI, while I have already made a POD book, Signs / The Signifer & The Signified: information overload, I have yet to post, for your viewing pleasure and entertainment, the gallery on this blog. Will do so within the next week.

The picture windows book/gallery can be accessed through the link in the BODIES OF WORK list at the top of this page.
Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 11:33AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 3013 / diptych # 194 / squares² # 12 ~ "terrible crap"

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urban flora ~Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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urban flora ~Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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urban flora ~Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

I few entries back I wrote about my reading of a-person-not-a-dective-but-functioning-as-one novel and the protagonist's view on the affected art world (aka: the academic lunatic fringe). As I continue reading through the series of books featuring the same protagonist*, I have encountered a number of other of the protagonist's pronouncements on the subject of art, including this exchange with an artist ....

When asked, after making an insightful comment on a woman's painting, if he is a "Member of the club" ....

"Hell, woman, I even know the trick words that mean absolutely nothing. Like dynamic symmetry."

"Tonal integrity?" (she responded)

"Sure. Structural perceptions. Compositionally iconoclastic."

She laughed aloud ... "It's such terrible crap, isn't it? The language of gallery people and critics, and insecure painters ...."

After this exchange the artist asked the protagonist what "his words" on the subject of good art might be. His response ....

"Does a painting always look the same or will it change according to the light and how I happen to feel? And after it has been hung for a month, will it disappear so completely that the only time I might notice it would be if it fell off the wall?"

That exchange comes very close to my feelings and thoughts as applied to art in general and photography in particular.

While the surface of a photographic print doesn't change with the light that falls upon it (although the perception of color may) as can the textured surface of a painting, a good photograph (like any good art) has the ability to re-engage a viewer, over time and with repeated viewing, with different perceptions - the prick of one's eye and sensibilities - of a picture based upon the different feelings and emotions the viewer brings to the viewing thereof over time.

IMO, all art is personal - as made by the maker and as seen by the viewer - and breaking down its individual components via the discussion of "terrible crap", iMo, sucks the life out of a piece of art.

Think of it this way .... I've seen some visually amazing and engaging pieces of Lego constructions. Some on a massive scale and complexity. While I wouldn't label them exactly as Fine Art - although some might - nevertheless, they are the result of some individual's very creative thought and execution.

Be that as it may, their artistic genius is in the sum of their parts - quite literally, thousands of parts. The genius is not to be found in the parts themselves. Looking at the individual parts does little to enhance the viewing experience. In fact, by directing one's attention to the individual parts (dissecting it), one stands a good chance of missing the "Big Picture".

iMo, the "Big Picture" is all about how a picture pricks the eye and sensibilities of a viewer well beyond the initial viewing. The whys (often quite arcane / tedious) and the hows (often quite speculative) of it - things so precious the academic lunatic fringe and their cohorts - are, for the most parts, sidebars which, as afterthoughts, may provide the viewer with some understanding of how the how and why of a picture may affect one's feelings about and perceptions of that picture.

However, I never read or think about the hows and the whys until well after a picture or body of work has pricked my eye and sensibilities. Because, iMo, it's all about the picture, in and of itself.

*Travis McGee, the fictional character featured in 21 crime fiction books written - 1964-1980 - by John D. MacDonald. Travis McGee, the character and the novels, have the prototype for many fictional crime fighting characters. On that subject it is worth noting that, with the rerelease of his novels, all of the books have an introduction by Lee Child (nom de plume of Jim Grant), the creator of the character Jack Reacher, a-person-not-a-dective-but-functioning-as-one, and that series of books (20 and counting).

civilized ku # 3012 / diptych # 193 ~ under bridges

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Pirates mural ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen
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under bridges ~ Pittsburgh, PA • click to embiggen

If I were to be in Pittsburgh and had exhausted all of the urban flora picturing possibilities - don't know how that would be possible other than just saying, "Ok. Enough is enough." - the other ubiquitous referent for picturing making would undoubtedly be bridges or, in my case, under bridges.

Pittsburgh reputedly has more bridges than Venice, Italy. It is known by the moniker "The City Of Bridges". And that is very appropriate inasmuch as, according to a 2006 study, there are 446 bridges in Pittsburgh.

Whatever the number of bridges, there can be no doubt that the opportunity to make pictures under bridges is just around every corner.
Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 09:45AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment