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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

The the light selects/book color gallery is here. The BW gallery is here

triptych # 18 (civilized ku # 2712-13 + kitchen life # 51) / civilized ku # 2714 ~ variety is the spice of life / on being original

A sign of things to come ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
train to NYC / kitchen sink / sidewalk puddle ~ somewhere along the line / Au Sable Forks, NY (itAP) / NYC • click to embiggen
Amongst the rank and file of serious amateur picture makers - for purposes of this discourse let us agree that the desire to find one's own vision is one mark of a of a serious picture maker - the quest to be original and, most often, the frustrations of that pursuit are a commonly shared experience. On that topic, consider this:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. ~ C. S. Lewis

I totally agree with the notion that "bothering" / festering about / being consumed by the desire to be original in one's picture making, aka: your own uniquely personal vision, is essentially one of the prime impediments to actually accomplishing that goal. To coin a hockey analogy (it is the Stanley Cup season), when a player is mired in a goal scoring slump, it is often said that in trying to break out of it they are holding the stick to tight. The solution, they are told, is to relax their grip, don't think about it, and just let it come naturally.

Of course, just relaxing and letting it flow is easier said than done. If it were as easy as falling off a log, we'd be living in a very different world.

That written, when it comes to picture making originality, there is, IMO, an easy fix ... once a picture maker accepts, truly accepts in the depths/core of his/her picture making being, that there is nothing in the world that is not acceptable as a picture making referent, that every thing is fair picture making fodder, then the game of finding one's vision can finally begin.

It never ceases to amaze and confound me that so many a serious amateur who has solved - at least to a much better than average degree of competence - the gear / technique issues, still point his/her camera at referents which are so utterly cliche. It seems to me that in doing so they are, quite simply, "playing it safe". Essentially rejecting 95% of what s/he sees and sticking with what s/he has already seen pictured. Better safe than sorry, seems to be operational dictum.

While it is true that everything that can be pictured has been pictured, the simple truth is that some of those things have been pictured over and over again while others not so much. And, even though it is often stated / written that no one sees the same thing in a exactly the same manner so therefore it is possible to bring one's own unique vision to a familiar referent, way too many picture makers who are trying to hang their hat on that tree end up making the equivalent of what Robert Adams called "the ten-thousandth camera-club imitation of a picture by Ansel Adams" - feel free to substitute the name of any well-known picture maker for that of Sir Ansel.

C. S. Lewis had it right when he wrote, "... if you simply try to tell the truth you will ... become original without ever having noticed it." Without attempting to discern what Lewis meant by "truth", it is my considered opinion that, in the realm of picture making, trying to tell the truth means trying to be true to what one sees and, in that seeing, seeing with eyes wide open. That is to write, wide open to the picturing possibilities which surround one's existence, minute by minute or, in the case of picture making, second by second.

Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 12:20PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments1 Comment

single woman # 27 / triptych # 17 ~ context and conceits

single woman ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
La Tour CN Tower ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
Just as the Lone Ranger was repeatedly asked in the recent Lone Ranger movie - "What's with the mask?" - I have often been asked - "What's with the black border?" Here are a few thoughts from others on the subject (borders) followed by my thoughts on the same:

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer's craft .... The central act of photography, the art of choosing and eliminating forces a concentration on the picture's edge - the line that separates in from out - and on the shapes that are created by it .... The line of decision is the picture's edge .... The photographer edits the meanings and patterns of the world through an imaginary frame. The frame is the beginning of his picture's geometry. It is to the photographer as the cushion is to the billiard table. ~ John Szarkowski - THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE

I use a black border for a number of reasons:

1. back in the day of film picture making, it was not uncommon for picture makers to print with a negative holder which had been modified to allow a part of the unexposed edge of the film to be printed. One of the most oft cited reasons for this was to demonstrate that the picture maker in question didn't need no stinking easel blades to crop his/her pictures. No siree! "Cropping" was performed in-camera at the moment the picture was made. Post-picturing cropping during printing was only for amateurs and incompetent boobs. I am not a boob. Hence, black borders.

2. while any observer should know / recognize when viewing a picture, the edges of the picture are where the picture ends. They should should also know / recognize that the picture maker has consciously decided where to put an end to his/her picture information. However, some observers are boobs and I use a black border to make my picture ending decisions very unavoidably obvious. And, for the other picture viewing boobs who are much concerned with art about art / photography about photography, I hope the black border gives them some comfort and joy when viewing my pictures.

3. in a tip of the hat to John Szarkowski and his "as the cushion is to the billiard table" analogy, I must admit that I have always used black borders for just that analogical reason - most of my square pictures evidence a center-weighted form of design. However, I have always quite deliberately ignored the notion that a picture should have only one principal idea, topic, or center of interest to which the viewer's eyes are attracted. No siree, not for me! IMO, that idea is a good one only for simple-minded boobs who are not, re: the acts of picture making or picture viewing, very good at visual multi-tasking. So, since I am not a simple-minded boob, I tend to pack my pictures with a fair amount of visual information - aka: visual energy - which most often is floating / hovering around my central and centered primary visual referent. And it is here where my black border comes into play - as the viewer's eye is moving about the visual field, drawn by various shapes, colors, forms, collateral referents, etc. - aka: design strategies - the eye inevitably bangs into one of my billiard cushions and ricochets - visually speaking, a glancing (blovius 1 / jimmi nuffin 0) rebound - back toward the central referent. Black border mission accomplished.

3a. the glancing rebound effect is also a get your ass, visually wise, back where it belongs. That is to write, within the edges of my vision where the stuff I have selected that want you to see can be found. Sure, there's a whole world beyond the black border, but that's why I make a lot of pictures of other stuff. However, the time for viewing them is later. The time for viewing this picture is now. Pay attention.

4. when I first began making digital medium pictures, I was not very impressed with the idea that digital-based picture making was changing the medium and its apparatus (aka: conventions - not gear). How pictures were/are being made, gear and technique wise, has certainly changed but the bottom line is still the same - a good picture is a good picture no matter how it was/is made. Additionally, a good picture is a good picture inasmuch as the brains behind the operation are what matters most and that aspect of the medium and is apparatus has not changed a whit. Consequently, part of reason for using a black border in my digital-based picture making is to reference the history of the medium and its apparatus (see reason # 1) to make that point. Hence, the other question, black border related, I hear quite often (although never from the medium and its apparatus history deficient boobs)- "Are you still using film?" - which, to my way of thinking, confirms my belief, re: picture making, that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

5. for a long time I have been in the habit of employing black borders and like all habits, good or bad, it has taken on a life of its own to the point where my pictures seem unfinished / naked without it. Consequently, all of the preceding reasons, rationalizations, and conceits aside, I just flat out like the way my pictures look with a black border.

civilized ku # 2705-11 ~ making the best of an iffy situation

FIRE EXIT / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
FIRE HOSE # 1 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
FIRE HOSE # 2 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
FIRE HOSE # 3 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
FIRE HOSE # 4 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
Men's Room # 1 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen
Men's Room # 2 / Ontario Science Center ~ Toronto, CA • click to embiggen

During our recent trip to Toronto, Hugo and I experienced a major disappointment (albeit our only disappointment) which was our visit to the Ontario Science Center.

My disappointment was the result of my years long enthusiasm for a return visit to the OSC. That desire/ yearning was based upon my last very enjoyable visit to the OSC. However, that last visit was approximately 35 years ago and, unfortunately, IMO, much has changed in the interim (duh). Again IMO, the changes are not for the better.

Hugo was not impressed in the slightest. His opinion of the OSC was, in a word, "boring". That assessment was damning indeed inasmuch as Hugo is a museum goer of the highest order. His judgment was most likely based upon the fact that the place - it's very big place - seemed to be aimed at entertaining very young kids. Fortunately for Hugo (and me), the visit was salvaged by an entertaining and informative IMAX movie.

That written, my primary salvation was had in picturing a wide variety of fire hose installations and a few mini light shows that were to be found outside of restrooms. Although, I must admit to feeling more than a bit weirdly conspicuous while I was hanging around pointing my camera at restroom entrance/exits.

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 01:32PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments1 Comment

civilized ku # 2704 ~ a certain physiological precondition

pub / established 2010 ~ Lake Placid, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 10:07AM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis | Comments1 Comment

diptych # 64 (civilized ku # 2702-03) ~ arches • unter/über

Arches ~ Washington, DC / Toronto, CA • click to embiggen

Why does man create? Is it man’s purpose on earth to express himself, to bring form to thought, and to discover meaning in experience? Or is it just something to do when he’s bored? ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Good questions.

Posted on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 04:43PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | Comments2 Comments

red pepper, presidents, and home accessories

red pepper, presidents, and home accessories ~ made in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Posted on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 02:29PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

civilized ku # 2701 ~ masked and anonymous

mask and fan ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack Park • click to embiggen
A camera is a machine which is capable of ripping a moment and its attendant industry from the fabric of time, neatly packaging that time-stamped data into an ultra dense network packet comprised of other promiscuous and discursive evidentiary visual stimulus and presenting them in a convincingly real, ever-expanding, manufactured universe of interpretive meanings. Make of it what you will.

Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 12:41PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | CommentsPost a Comment

pictures + words project ~ picture 10 • words i / what is a photograph? # 10, OR, civilized ku # 2700 ~ what's the point?

picture 10 • click to embiggen
word i • click to embiggen

Round and round, up and down. Again and again. What is ...? What is .....? What is .......? Mirage-like, an answer appearing - like the sun reappearing on the morning horizon giving way and hope to yet another new day - the perceived wisdom dissolves beyond a curtain of fog and mist. Why? Why? Why? The ornate carousel ride goes round and round and up and down and covetous clawing hands grasp at air and thin hope. And the golden ring hovers, tantalizing and teasing, just out of reach. What if...? What if.....? What if .........?

What is a photograph # 10 • click to embiggen
the point / POV Oblio imitator ~ Toronto, CA. • click to embiggen
As the Rockman states "... that's the central issue I'm putting down for you cats: you gotta open your mind as well as your eyes .... "

Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 01:01PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in , | CommentsPost a Comment