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About This Website

This blog is intended to showcase my pictures or those of other photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment - photography that aims at being true, not at being beautiful because what is true is most often beautiful..

>>>> Comments, commentary and lively discussions, re: my writings or any topic germane to the medium and its apparatus, are vigorously encouraged.

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In Situ ~ la, la, how the life goes onLife without the APADoorsKitchen SinkRain2014 • Year in ReviewPlace To SitART ~ conveys / transports / reflectsDecay & DisgustSingle WomenPicture WindowsTangles ~ fields of visual energy (10 picture preview) • The Light + BW mini-galleryKitchen Life (gallery) • The Forks ~ there's no place like home (gallery)


diptych # 214 / civilized ku # 3087 ~ a different look

window displays ~ Manhattan, NYC, NY - • click to embiggenmop bucket ~ Les 4 Glace (ice rink) / Brassard, Qc., CA - • click to embiggen

It may be a while before my blog is ready for prime time on WordPress. I need to figure out a bunch of stuff (layout, making entries, etc.) and I am uncertain as to when I might find the time to do so - leaving tomorrow for the University Notre Dame and shortly after my return the wife and I are leaving for a couple weeks in Ireland and Scotland.


I may have a bit of non-hockey downtime at UND to utilize in working on WP stuff but in the meantime Squarespace has given me a workaround to resizing images for display but without a popup enlargement. With that workaround and by switching to a template style which allows for larger display images, I will continue to post here until; 1) I get Wp sorted out, or, 2) until (if or when) SS figures out what the hell the problem is with resizing (to include a popup).

In any event, during my recent NYC visit I visited my favorite used book store and found a different Saul Leiter book - not the Early Color book - titled Colors. I believe the book was the catalog for a 2011 Leiter exhibition at Musée de l'Élysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.

While the book / exhibition featured all of the pictures as in the Early Color book, there are a few of those printed larger than in Early Color and there are also some additional pictures which were not in Early Color. And, as I discovered after purchasing and unwrapping the book (new unused book), the book contained a Saul Leiter interview.

In that interview there was a paragraph in which Leiter talked about his picturing M.O. - one which is remarkably similar to my own (read my recent entry, civilized ku # 3085 / diptych-213 ~ black and white and red all over, not to mention references to my fascination with picturing the commonplace found throughout this blog):

I take photographs in my neighborhood. I think that mysterious things things happen in familiar places. We don't always need to run to the other end of the world. I like ambiguity in a photograph. I like it when one is not certain of what one sees. When we do not know why the photographer has taken a picture, and we do not know what we are looking at it, all of a sudden sudden, we discover sometime that we start seeing.


Other than a feeling of validation, re; my picturing M.O., another quote came to mind when reading Leiter's words:


"'s been quite some time since I read an artist speak so eloquently and clearly about the world beyond his/(her) own asshole. ~ Bill Jay



AN ASIDE: FYI, one of the reasons MAST BOOKS (66 Ave. A, NYC) is my favorite used book store is that the price of this recent purchase of a new unused out-of-print book was well below the current market price (anywhere from $93.00 - $1,041.86 USD). Also, it doesn't hurt that the store is literally right around the corner from my good friend's place where I stay when in NYC.


testing, testing, 1 2 3, testing ~ the end of times

FYI, you can view my first PS Express processed pictures which I processed and posted to WordPress while on the road in NYC HERE or You can view them on Instagram HERE

In either case, let me know what you think.

SquareSpace is turning out to completely FUBAR.

As mentioned previously, on my desktop and laptop machines uploading works most of the time but resizing not so much (as in almost all the time) and resizing not all when using the iPad Air 2. And the iPad is what I want to use during my upcoming Ireland / Scotland trip, not to mention multiple other trips during the month of May.

The SS problems seem to be driven by the fact that I am not on their latest and greatest platform. I have given consideration to moving up to the l&g but there are 2 problems with that -1. moving my content from existing site to the new SS is platform is an iffy proposition at best (SS states quite clearly that they are not optimized for content transfer), and 2. when exploring the platform upgrade possibility, I discovered that I would need to upgrade my entire OS in order to upgrade to the latest and greatest Safari browser.

So, for the time being, I will continue to post on SS when I am at my desktop machine where the chances of a successful upload and resize (by means of multiple retrys and workarounds) is still possible. However, that written, I am reasonably certain that my days with SS are numbered and the countdown has begun. In the meantime, I have found a solution to blogging / posting while on the road ...

... enter WordPress. After setting up a WordPress site this AM, I was able to upload and publish pictures - from my iPhone, iPad Air 2, and Macbook Air - with no problems. In addition, the site is automatically optimized for mobile devices. O joy!

While I need to spend more time customizing the WordPress site, at this time it seems like that just my be my blogging platform of choice.

civilized ku # 3086 ~ testing, testing

dead flowers ~ Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Off to Manhattan for yet another extended weekend away from home - no hockey, just for pleasure. Starting 3 weekend ago and ending the first weekend in June, I will not have been home on a weekend for 10 weeks - this weekend in NYC, next weekend in South Bend, Indiana (U of Notre Dame for hockey), followed by 16 days in Ireland / Scotland (one day in London between the 2 countries), and ending in Pittsburgh, PA on the first weekend in June for the daughter's graduation from law school.

During the NYC visit I will be conducting a test run of picture processing on my new iPad Air 2. The device was purchased (to replace an aging 1st Gen iPad) for our upcoming trip to Ireland and Scotland. We don't want to lug around our laptop on the trip inasmuch as we have plenty enough other devices - phone, cameras, etc. - to haul around. It is my intention to continue posting entries while on the trip, so I'll most likely process a picture or 2 and post an entry just as a test while in NYC.

My primary photo editor on the iPad is Photoshop Express. After giving it a try, it seems to do an adequate job of editing pictures. At least good enough for posting pictures on the fly. As always, I will perform the 'real' processing / editing upon my return home, at which time I'll undoubtedly have a whole lot of pictures to process.

civilized ku # 3085 / diptych # 213 ~ black and white and red all over

red coat ~ Manhattan, NYC, NY • click to embiggen
reds and neutrals ~ Manhattan, NYC, NY / Au Sable Forks, NY - in the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen

Over my years of viewing and making pictures, I have come to the conclusion that the pictures which best prick my eye and sensibilities are those about which it could be asked, why'd you make a picture of that? Pictures which could have been made by Captain Obvious tend to leave me bored to the point of picture viewing death /tears.

And conversely, when my pictures are viewed, the highest compliment / comment that I like to hear is, I don't know why I like this picture, but I do. Most often that statement is made by a viewer who is puzzled by his/her appreciation of a why'd-you-make-a-picture-of-that? picture. And that statement is often followed by another - I would never have taken a picture of that. Hence, the confusion.

I believe I know the appropriate reply to both statements although I always hesitate to provide such information to a bewildered viewer of my pictures for fear of the explanation being perceived as an insult ....

... iMo (and experience), I feel confident in writing that the appreciation / "like" of a I-would-never-have-taken-a-picture-of-that picture is rooted more in the subconscious mind, rather than in the conscious mind, of the viewer. What they are responding to on a subconscious level is the rhyme and rhythm (concordant or discordant / pleasing or unsettling) of the relationships of shapes, tones, color (most prominent amongst other picture qualities) and their framing as presented on the 2-dimension surface of the print. Because this is a non conscious thought on the viewer's radar, the puzzlement is the result of liking a picture of what they would consider to be a non picture-worthy referent.

Therein lies the dilemma for most picture makers who attempt, in many cases unsuccessfully, to make pictures of I-would-never-have-taken-a-picture-of-that referents. What they lack in the attempt is a sense - the more refined the better - of the relationships of shapes, tones, color (most prominent amongst other picture qualities) and their framing as seen by the camera's eye and subsequently presented on the 2-dimension surface of the print.

Can that sense be learned? I have my doubts simply due to the fact that I have encountered a number of picture makers who 'have it' and an even greater number of those who don't. Nevertheless, those who don't can have some success in developing that sense if they start out picturing by the 'rules' - the rules of composition and the like. Once understood and successfully applied, they can then set out about trying to figure out how to break the rules and move on to making pictures of what they see as opposed to making picture of what they have been told - the what and the how - is a good picture.

single women # 34 ~ dreadlocks

single woman ~ Les 4 Glaces rink - Brassard, Qc, CA • click to embiggen


civilized ku # 3084 ~ local hero

The Northern Vermont Wildcats '04 Premier Elite hockey team won the Montreal AAA Spring Showdown Tournament this weekend past. In the Championship game Hugo had 2 points including the game winning goal. He was/is a happy dude.


civilized ku # 3083 ~ aboutness

2nd Ave traffic ~ Manhattan, NYC, NY • click to embiggen

A recent essay on Conscientious Photography Magazine addresses the topic,Why does it always have to be about something? iMo, it's a good question and a topic on which I have ruminated and festered for years. More accurately, I would think if fair to write that I have ruminated and festered on the topic of meaning to be had in a picture. Upon reflection, it seems to me that meaning has a connection to aboutness in a picture but that, in fact, they are not same thing.

As Colberg writes in his essay, a picture at its most basic level is simply about what is visually depicted. On the other hand, what a picture is about has been stretched to the breaking point by the new breed of photo curators / artists who write / speak about aboutness using gratuitous amounts of pretentious art speak which, most often, is employed in the cause of trying to create meaning for rather mediocre pictures. Or, as Colberg puts it' "if a group of stellar pictures are “about” something, that’s very different than a group of mediocre pictures that are only being held together by aboutness. And the latter is something you see a lot."

What Colberg is pining for is:

... not so much the idea of pictures being about something or not. I’m really more interested in photographs being given the starring role, and not any of the mumbo jumbo surrounding it, their aboutness being maybe the most prominent aspects. I want to get the task to unpack what might be going on, instead of having it handed ... As long as a group of pictures add up to something, without necessarily being about this or that right away – that’s great.

Bravo. I could not agree more.

When I view a picture, the first thing I notice is what the picture looks like with a emphatic emphasis on its graphic qualities - the arrangement of shapes, colors, tones (highlight and shadow) on its 2-dimentional surface as well as its photographic qualities, re: color and tonal range. The perusal / recognition of these qualities (or lack thereof) is rather instantaneous - no longer than a second or two - and then I move on to a picture's content - that which it depicts, aka: the referent.

It is at that point that I start to deal with the idea of what the picture is about. Is it about just what the depicted referent looks like? Is about something more than just what is pictured? Is it about both?

iMo, the best pictures are about both. Both what is illustrated and what illumination it brings to the fore about what is illustrated. Say like, if it's a picture of ant, does it depict (illustrate) merely what an ant looks like (end of story) or does it also tell me something (illuminate) about the idea of ant-ness? And, does it do both in a visually interesting manner?

FYI, above picture made by sticking hand (w camera) out of car sunroof while driving.

civilized ku # 3082 / comparison ~ channeling Stephen Shore

kids V2 ~ Whitehall, NY - just outside the Adirondack PARK • click to embiggen
Stephen Shore ~ from the book UNCOMMON PLACES • click to embiggen
comparison • click to embiggen

Relative to yesterday's entry and the recent entry, digital / pre-digital color, I thought I would share a comparison between how a RAW converter / processor sees a RAW file and what the same file looks like after I tweak the a and b channels in the RAW converter / processor. iMo, an amazing difference / good clean color. Take particular note of the "restaurant" word mural and the weathered wood window frames - both are rendered with very clean / accurate color.

Also thought I would share my picturing experience, re: kids - Whitehall, NY ... after stopping in Whitehall to see the Skene Manor I wanted to make a picture of the Manor from the village in order to present its dominating presence up on the hill. First I made a few pictures from a vantage point across the street by the mailbox (as seen beyond the kids). Then standing in the street. And finally, between 2 corner buildings which framed the scene.

Turning around after walking to that last vantage point, a vision of a Stephen Shore picture immediately came to mind. I also knew, at that moment, that I would be presenting an 8×10-proportion picture as a short of homage to Mr. Shore. He was, after all, one of my early picture making inspirations. Or, more accurately, early on après my get-beyond-the-pretty-picture epiphany.
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