November 30, 2012

Mystery is one of the major forces for our attention and abstraction is certainly one way to get there. I usually include a clue but in this case decided not to. These are straight with nothing added although they are upside down. Any ideas?

An expression of an idea or feeling can become quite personal when it is diffused, representation stripped away. Sometimes it can be the most powerful of all-- or the least understood. But drawing in the viewer and exercising the responses of others is useful.

Ok, I'll tell you what they are: we were at the Blenko glass factory in West

Virginia and these shadows were being cast on the ground from vases on display. I see them as microscopic cellular organs....

 

November 28, 2012

We all have our places and this is one of mine. An energy spot, for me at least. It's a falls in Central Oregon over which one can peer right above the cascade. And it's not a trickle. But this place is run through with the most gorgeous oxygenated water I have ever seen. Any semblance of the experience of being there in a photograph is a victory. Putting the viewer right back there, where you were, at that moment, is always the challenge. Scale and dynamics and temperature.... and noise, can come across in the image. Working to capture those qualities requires great effort and insistence. It's a commitment to achieve empathy. Of course, it's a sliver of the experience, a scintilla of a record. I'll still try...

....just look at that water...

...and I may or may not have succeeded, but it's in the trying....

 

November 25, 2012

I have been convalescing over the holidays after necessary but routine surgery-- with the attendant pain. It was a study in itself looking at pain and naming it, assigning a number to it, staying ahead of it. But the debilitation led to contemplation which ultimately was a kind of meditation. It also led to another examination of my work and one of the themes-- small things. How could a roll of paper towels on a shelf be worthy of anything? Or a towel, toy, brush, or shirt on a hanger get attention? The answer is simple.

In fact, simplicity is what I'm always looking for. I am constantly trying to distill a place or a time or an event to the simplest possible form. There is an aesthetic beauty to a record. Of course, it helps when there's light and color and detail. But when I see photographs like these I know what stillness lies in the heart of the taker.

It all goes back to the fundamentals.

 

November 22, 2012

I repeat myself which to my friends and family is unfortunate but here, on the phlog is ok, I think. I will continually emphasize the idea of remaining open. It's useful in photography-- or art more generally-- but every situation in life benefits from not narrowing one's options by assuming too much. It's the same for problem solving or negotiations, or any decision that needs to be made-- one has to consider well.

Look at all sides. Anticipate every consequence imaginable. This mindset can yield much better outcomes and save a lot of time and heartache.

 

November 21, 2012

Killing time with the only camera at hand, looming before me is this tableau. When is censorship sexy? When it's risqué. And risqué is always more interesting. Verging on impropriety gets my attention and I know I'm not alone. But risqué doesn't have to be

tawdry. It's a matter of taste whence there is no accounting. Use your judgement.

 

November 20, 2012

The importance of humor in ones work can not be overstated. It's really not funny. Humor is such an important part of play and that's pretty much what's going on in picture taking, isn't it? Even during the most somber missions with a camera, imagination and play are at work to find point of view, irony, story, symbolism, metaphor, originality, momentousness, everything. It may not specifically be humor driving the engine, but humor feeds the fire of imagination, at least for me.

 

I said to my wife, "Go hug that tree." So she did-- only from the back. The instant I saw her hands reach 'round-- click. it was funny but it was simple, it said love, it made the tree come alive, all of those things and more. So if you're getting too serious, buy a silly wig and go take pictures. I guarantee something interesting will come of it.

 

November 19, 2012

Sometimes a place just speaks to me. These often are personal and not universal. But what is common, I think, is that a place can have an indescribable quality about it that's easily missed. I had passed this old mill many times and finally gave in and stopped. Again, the imposition of the scale of this object/building is a theme in my subconscious-- finding in much of what I have taken, a response to scale. And once again, historical evidence of a place or thing much used is another theme. I think what's at work is my own scale in relation to the world, and in its history. We are infinitesimal obviously, in this universe, but perhaps even more minute temporally. It never ceases to stun me when I consider a human lifetime next to geologic time. Snap!

 

November 18, 2012

I walk the screens of my computer "seeing" probably more than I actually walk with a camera of late. I stumbled into a cache of once uploaded images from a trip, but unreviewed. I love watercraft, having built one, and I had been in the Port Angeles boat yards while visiting live-aboard friends there. It was the early golden hour. My kind of stomping grounds. After an hour of surveying the photos, I noticed this shot which shouted, "Rotate me!" I think it works. It is a common practice in the among artists to consider their work in another orientation-- maybe just for inspiration.

It's a good practice. Why not? See every which way you can.

 

November 17, 2012

So I'm walking and waiting on a friend and I pass a window where something catches my eye. It's baubled; it's pixelly; it's a thousand cd's. My reflection is in there somewhere. It's not a huge mystery that it's the bust of a dress but it is an illusion and eye catching. A little further on, another dress presents itself confused with the fall colors behind me. I felt like I was looking at an exotic sea creature. Next I came upon a telephone pole. I was transfixed by what this billboard represented. Thousands of events were advertised here over many, many years. I know a guy who thinks people shouldn't post fliers so he tears them off. Pretty mean.

So walk and look. Notice. You might lose yourself. 

 

November 16, 2012

Black and white is elemental. It speaks the truth. Yet it's far from it. Have you ever wanted to go back in time when things were black and white? Well, they weren't. But it bespeaks the past and yet it's entirely contemporary. It's classic. It's neutral. It's a cold look at a subject- no varnish. When all is reduced to shades of gray, a photograph becomes a poem in a way. The sentiment of a scene is distilled. Here, we have stories, imposition of mass, mystery, reflection, humor. All without color (OK, I grant the Richard Serra sculpture from the Seattle sculpture park is toned sepia). Seeing this way is an approach of stillness for me. Remove the color and all becomes quiet.

 

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