Tone Painting

Sometimes I like to paint-- expression of light and color and texture that resonates somehow. Abstractions are all around and the camera is a great way to hunt for them. It's like a dousing rod or radio antenna, you know there's water there somewhere. You just have to hone in on it. Trial and error, patience, experimentation. There it is again, open heart, open mind. It works in writing, inventing, entrepreneurism, anything. Smell it and dig. That's when the magic can happen. Maybe you're planning a legal defense for your client- look at everything at once. Open your mind and that's when it percolates to the top.


Here's a theme that has been working in the background. I am interested in these latencies that present themselves through photography. There are many images in my bank that are "canvases", panels of one form or another-- color, texture, screen-- that impose themselves on me. There is a blockage or resistance set up by them and yet they are lures and frames of intrigue to me. I feel compelled to record these instances.


We all find ourselves there, in those attractive places, like the hordes of fellow travelers we think we are not. But a place is what you make of it, right? "Work the scene" in the parlance of the photojournalist. Play. These are from our nation's Capitol, on the mall. This practice of looking is the best part of vacationing to me. Although, I am doing this around my own block too. There's a little bit of self challenge in it-- to not take typical for an answer. It applies to everything... cooking, writing, affection. bioscience, you name it. The top one is outside the Hirschorn Museum, and the bottom is looking up at the oculus of the WWll memorial on the mall.


I am a black and white afficianado from my first days of photography. Color is such a different animal. It attracts me like a bee to the bloom and in the digital realm, under the right circumstances can really succeed in a subtle way. I am particularly drawn to the "non-color" colors- hues that don't I immediately associate with. Metals and fungi or oxidation attract me most. The challenge of rendering it to my mind's eye and having others see it as I did, attracts me too.

Bring It

Godbeams. The universe has it's chest cracked and the beating heart of the cosmos is there for all to see. I know, I'm being ridiculous but wow. This was early one morning skiing around Trillium Lake on Mt. Hood. And, I brought my camera. And, I didn't fall on my camera. I actually went back inside our cabin and retrieved it before we set out. This is lesson number 12 on "have your camera with you!". Below are two other fog/sun faceoffs.


Why is something creepy? What is it about dolls sometimes, that makes them so spine-tingling? In this case, what's not seen is the answer. This was the little girl's room in the superintendant's house, in the middle of a coal mine operation. The whole house was storybook...normal and domestic for the period in all detail..except right outside was an industrial wasteland, full of machinery and blackfaced men emerging from the bowels of the earth. Not where I'd want to play. Below is the discovery of almost the same image I took years later, with no recollection of having taken the previous shot. It was in General Beauregard's mansion in New Orleans. See how the subconscious works?


This is so everyday for us Portlanders that its icon quotient doesn't register. This is a particular skill to hone for a budding photographer-- particularly one interested in opportunities in the stock photography game-- seeing icons. It's something artists cultivate. Synecdoche. One thing representing much more than itself. Images that connect are elusive for painters and poets alike. How does one elude the hackneyed and still resonate? It's a real trick in this uber-connected frenetic world. Go read Mary Oliver and listen to Bob Dylan at the same time. And stop sleepwalking.


Why all the obsession with the things and places going away? Well, because they are going away, for one thing. But I lean this way as a form of humility as well. When I come across the rolling hill-backed shack, I think of my tiny time here. It's about perspective. It's facing mortality head on to look at and record evidence this way. But the angle is not unconsidered, nor is the light, nor the surfaces. Refer to the earlier entry on wabi-sabi. And yes, that's a make-shift basketball hoop.

Postcards To Ourselves

I wish I was here. Lost Lake. This was summer. A picture is almost as good as a smell. I look at this and every boyhood, lake-swimming, yellow-hoody-ed, camping-with-my-family memory is instantly conjured. I almost got lost in Rainier National Park when I was four if it wasn't for that yellow hoody. Memory is at work when the right triggers are used. Maybe that's why we do it. Take pictures I mean.


This entry has nothing to do with landscape, Smith Rock, nor meandering Crooked rivers. It isn't about photography either. Today, I'm talking roots. Have you stopped for a minute lately and really contemplated where you come from? Where I came from was uprooted when I was six and Oregon is a hard place to leave. So, I spend a lot of time looking at where I came from. I was also the youngest and relegated to an observer role. Now I'm a photographer. Know thyself. Then take pictures.


A thing is a record. It's a thing so it has a beginning and a history. I am drawn to the relic. an object or palce of obvious use, fingerprints, string of events. To record it is to honor it. More often than not, I don't know the provenance of my subjects but in this case I do. It is our dear sweet departed friend Stephen Spyrit's trombone. His hands and mouth made so much music and poetry with it, that it vibrates. We all honor his memory. And his trombone.


One of my favorite phenomenon in slinging glass(picture taking), is subconscious attraction. I note something, move toward it, put an eye on it, take it, and ask later. This happens to all of us daily. We are motivated by these underlying predilections, based on memories maybe? Memories we don't remember? Imagine how much passes before us that we don't register-- but is still in there. Why do I move toward a burning chair? Is it a dream? I need Joseph Campbell here.

The Game of Position

Part of the meditation of this sport, and it certainly can be a sport, is having a hyper- awareness of space and action. One almost blurs it all to weigh and measure, anticipate-- as though working an opponent to the hoop on a court-- to be in the right place at the right time. I don't know if the example above is such an example of timeliness, but position begets surprise and can make the difference. It is one of my favorite aspects of photo athletics-- seeing everything at once, zeroing in on potentials, knowing there's a place and a moment to be there, and just maybe, a success. it sounds like a sport, doesn't it? The master? Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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