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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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A recommendation

photo-eye BOOKLIST - what others are saying: "With the number of important photography books increasing every year, a selective, intelligent, and lively guide to the best of those titles has never been so essential.", " indispensable source to identify current publications in photography. Even more important, in terms of discrimination and selection, are the insightful comments on new titles.", and, "...the equivalent of having a dear friend with more time than I, and a broader perspective to point out treasures while their bindings are new and the ink still fresh."

What I am saying: If, like me, you like and buy photo books, this quarterly publication is a must. It can be found in many book stores - I get mine at Borders rather than by subscription because I can pick out a clean unblemished copy. A short essay and a current issue over view can be found here. If you're a subscription-type you can subscribe here. Back copies can be had here.

I ordered this book this book although I actually purchased it at at a 40% discount. actually has a very good selection of photo books at great discount prices.

I am a firm believer in the adage "You are what you eat." and, in my not so humble opinion, there's lots o' good eats to be found in photo-eye BOOKLIST.

Holiday hiatus

I'm back after a brief holiday break. That said, I would also note that not too much (if anything) of importance will be happening here until after Jan. 1. because, frankly, and as to be expected, readership is down significantly during the holidays. It would seem that many of you have other things going on. However, inveterate trouper that I am, I will be posting some odds and ends.

One such item is today's Recent Visitor Map (as compiled by my stat counter). While it may not be of importance to anyone but me, it is indeed significant for me - knowing that The Landscapist is being read and followed all around the planet is a big part of what keeps me going blog-wise. It is also encouraging to see (again through my web stats) how many visitors reach this blog via links that so many of you have posted on your blogs/websites. I can't possibly thank all of you individually, but I would like to extend a hardy and heartfelt collective "thank you very much" to all who have provided links and to those of you who keep coming back.

You show me yours, I'll show you mine

When I was a little kid (Hugo, are you listening), I used to play "you-show-me" with my next door neighbor, Ginger Dockweller (same age, different sex), but that's not what I had in mind here.

This is our family"s Xmas card. Did you make one using your photography? (I know Michelle Parent did - thank you Michelle). Will you show me yours? I showed you mine.

publisher's Addendum: Someone who received this card responded with, "SO...Have some liqueur, get merry and go to the hotel and have sex? I like it!" - which only goes to demonstrate the imprecision of the connoted or "meaning" in a photograph.

On the chance that someone out there likes my Xmas triptych, it's available as a signed, numbered (open edition) print - 6x11 inches, ultrachrome ink on Epson Enhanced Matte paper at the Low Low Christmas Season Discount price of only $25.00 US. Shipping not included. Contact me to purchase.

FEATURED COMMENT: see Joe Decker's Xmas card

Brian Chapman & Anil Rao

I recently came back from the southern Washington coast which provided a good opportunity to work with long exposures and water.The first is a long exposure of a winter storm rolling in. The three stripes in the foreground are sets of crashing waves. This night image was taken at the edge of a parking lot with a large tree and a light behind it casting a shadow on the high tide. I normally like to include some static "anchor" in long exposures but as this doesn't have anything that wasn't in motion I consider it more toward the abstract end of the spectrum. As for me (you probably have not heard of me), photography is not my career although I spend much of my spare time working on it in some way or another. Although I shoot completely digital I don't really consider these "converted" images because in my mind they were monochromatic from the beginning. ~ Brian Chapman

I started ballroom dancing last February. Since then, I believe I have been spending more time and energy on this new pursuit than I do making photos. Recently, a good friend asked me if dancing has an effect – positive or negative – on my photography. I don’t remember consciously noticing any connection between the two activities and was therefore pleasantly surprised to find this photograph in my collection....Could my dancing have really played a role in the making of these images? ~ Anil Rao

publisher's comment: I have created a 2-for-the-price-of-one post with Brian and Anil because their submissions appeared nearly simultaneously and both relate to the recent topic of "abstracts", but, IMO, in very different ways.

Most of the recent discussion about "abstracts" has centered around photography that falls into my category of reality-based impressionism and Anil's photograph falls rather neatly into that description. Brian's photograph, on the other hand, has pretty much abandoned the notion of reality-based to create what can certainly be labeled an "abstract" in a more classic painterly sense, although, that shadow of the tree creates an interesting real/not real visual effect/affect - a we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore kind of thing. Please also note that Brian is a digital shooter who "sees" in BW before he photographs, not after).

And Anil - all I can say is, "Keep on 'dancing' "

See more of Brian Chapman's photography here and more of Anil Rao's here

ku # 446 and a personal experience re: "abstracts"

On the topic of "abstracts" - Woven amongst my ku I have a considerable number of "abstracts" such as this one. As noted, I don't really consider them to be "abstracts". I think of them as more of a form of reality-based impressionism. I think this way because I am not just photographing the subject in order for it to function as visual vehicle which creates pleasing visual patterns/design - I am genuinely drawn to the subject in and of itself.

My wife and greatest critic (primarily regarding, but not limited to, photography) has ocassionally taken a less than favorable position regarding many of my reality-based impressionism photographs. I'll be Photoshopping my way along on one of my latest (and certainly greatest ever) reality-based impressionism photographs, and, while in motion as she passes through my office/studio, she will utter, "Not one of your best, dear." Quick on the riposte, I usually utter a low-frequency grunt-like sound.

But, not too long ago, I gained a small measure of satisfaction (because there is no advantage in gaining revenge in a marriage) on this score. I framed and mounted one of my reality-based impressionism photographs on the livingroom wall right in her reading-on-the-couch line of vision. She uttered a low-frequency grunt-like sound.

A few weeks later, as I was passing though the livingroom, she blurted out, "You know, I'm beginning to really like that photograph." Since I was on the move, I didn't pause for any exchange on the reason(s) for the change of visual heart, although, as a harmony-making courtesy, I think I muttered "Good."

I'll have to follow up on that - most probably on our next long car trip when she's belted into the seat next to me with no way out. I find that that is usually the best time to "engage" her in a long-winded discourse on the finer points of photography and art.

Michael Gordon ~ Windblown Grass

Mr. Hobson: my name is Michael Gordon (you may have heard of me). I photograph primarily in b/w, but always in 4x5. I'm no fan either of comments such as "I like the BW effect" and "This would be a good photograph to convert to BW", so I submit to you a genuine made-on-film-and developed-in-pyro photograph of mine for The Landscapist. I believe that good b/w photography is a way of seeing BEFORE the shutter is clicked (or sensor sensed?). I'll submit that *it's too late* if the b/w idea comes as an afterthought to the exposure.

publisher's comment: Who is this guy? Anybody heard of him? Mr. Gordon claims that this photograph along with 3 others of his will be published in the Jan/Feb issue of View Camera magazine. He also stated that the photograph was "scheimflugged for your pleasure" - an obvious attempt to influence the selection committee. It worked.

See more of Mr. Gordon's BW photography

FEATURED COMMENT: Jim Jirka wrote: "Welcome to the Landscapist, Michael..... Wow, you really still use 4x5 film? Your camera must be really big."

urban ku # 15

Tis the season and I want to wish, just like the snowman does, a "Happy Holidays" to one and all. Don't you just love the "room phones" sign above the phone booth, which appears to be a fully functioning (the light even works) example of another disappearing American icon?

FEATURED COMMENT: Michael Gordon wrote: "I'll do you one better, Mark: there's a motel in the Mojave Desert that I frequently pass that advertises "TELEVISIONS" (hoo-wee, boy). I have yet to photograph it, but I will someday."

publisher's response: Sure, sure, but does it have "Air Condition"?

FEATURED COMMENT: Anonymous (the wife) wrote: "The wife also wishes Happy Holidays to the Bloggeristas. Gravitas is really enjoying his visual verbal salon."

FEATURED COMMENT: Mary Dennis wrote: "I'm really comforted by the fact that these places still exist ...Are these relics effectively protected, sort of like living museum pieces, in the Adirondacks?"

publisher's response: I like these places a lot as well, but, no, they are not protected in any way other than by the fact that they are all mom-and-pop owned. Very few mom-and-pop's have the $$$ resources to undertake any sort of large-scale scorched-earth "renovations". It's hard enough for many of them just to do normal upkeep maintaince, especally in the "fringe" areas of the Adirondacks.

The property on which most of these sit is also usually too small for the big players (the chains and highend developers)) to be interested in. So there they sit. Some are doing quite well (depending on location), some are just getting by, and some are sliding into closure and decline. At this point I would speculate that the Villa caters mainly to workers involved in season-long public/private work projects and the "nooner" crowd. Some of their 3-room off-hwy units are probably used as residences for locals.

One way or another, these places will probably be around for a good while longer.

William Biderbost ~ foggy daze

These photos were made at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL where I was the staff photographer for seven years. After leaving in 2005 I find myself going back to photograph on my own since the moods and ethereal nature of tended gardens can yield some satisfying results. I have been particularly interested in the natural diffusion of foggy days since they bring a dreamier more surreal quality to the pictures.

publisher's comment: I find it interesting that William's photographs arrived accompanied by this statement, "I found your blog after being beaten nearly to death by sand dune and slot canyon
" Interesting because William's obvious reference is to a subset of the many ubiquitous photographic cliches that crowd the landscape photography landscape, but, nevertheless, he has chosen to traffic in another photographic cliche - fog.

BUT, nevertheless, I find that his photographs transcend the fog-cliche due primarily (but not solely) to the fact that he has undertaken the task of exploring in depth the idea of "fog" and its ability to transform a particular type of landscape. Once again, like Mary D with her Fragments, William is working towards creating a series (or body) of photographs united by a common thread/concept - photography at its narrative best.
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