Saturday, January 31

The Horror Of Wealth

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An archetype is a kind of cliché. It lets the artist let the visitor do most of the work. For example if I wanted to quickly develop a warm romantic mood I could start with a dreamy, golden sunset. That's one archetype. Want determination? How about a sweating blacksmith... And so on. But... but... what happens when you smash a couple of archetypes up against one another? Suppose I took a haughty dowager and a stumpy admiral? And suppose I suggested mystery with some heavy texturing?

Wouldn't the elements all steeped in a dark, even murky light, kick your brain into gear to work out the pattern? Wouldn't they crank up the engine of your imagination to explain how this stern babe related to this little guy?

I knew the answer when I planned the whole thing. See, I wanted to show a relationship which could be explained only one way. I wanted to show a pairing that nature alone would never make. One that only culture would create. And here it is. Let me ask you now, would these two be a couple if humans had never invented ---- wealth? Money? Inheritance?

And just think, in a brief three or four generations they'd produce a great grandchild... named Paris.

Here are the originals from my flash cards.

Did some flea market exploration and among the junk found the babe hanging on a garage wall and the admiral on a rickety table. Realizing their ability to explain the power of 'Old Money' I hunted for the right texture screens and thanks to RavenSoul I suddenly had not one, but four options Seems that she discovered the textures as devices for an artist's challenge at for the Fine Art Composites group. And each of the textures brought depth to different parts of this final image.

I really like it when filters, effects, brushes, textures, and other tools allow us to pull out components of our intentions from different sectors of an image to create a whole that was simply impossible a decade or so back.

"Wheeeee...." And it's terrific when someone else does the work for you in discovering just the right textures, huh? So everything's come together nicely here... my idea filtered in part through the feelings of Raven Soul's textures. All powerful archetypes, huh?

Sunday, January 25

Got A Question For You

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I've been wondering... What is the use of art? Matching the couch? Covering a hole in he wall? I know that a large number of furry little rodents decorate their burrows. Ditto the way a lot of birds weave stuff into their nests. Hmmmm.... are some animals driven to decorate? How do they decide between worthwhile decorations and junk?Are there more, um, fascinating decorations? Do some decorations resonate more than others? Is there a collection instinct? If there is, upon what is it focused? How do collectors of decoration decide? Do they have advisors? Are there experts? Critics? Educators? Analysts?

Apparently all human cultures collect art just like those cute rodents. Even ancient peoples seem, well, driven to decorate their graves with shiny things, drawings and statues. Decoration seems to be almost a necessary condition of human-ness.

So what are the uses of art? Body decoration? Balancing the palette in a bathroom? Is the value the picture, or inside the picture? Is art an object or a package?

Okay... my head is hurting now. Think I'll go find a Rolling Rock.


Oh yeah, the picture here: I took it at dawn in Wellfleet on Cape Cod as the tide gurgled in under my feet. It actually does gurgle and hiss, oozing seemingly out of the muddy ground. Charming though, and it makes the sort of picture that blown up and framed... Well it goes pretty damned well with the couch, huh? :)

Saturday, January 24

Pink Challenge

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Have you heard of It's a photo forum and social community for artists. They have various groups dedicated to specific interests. The Fine Art Composite Group announced a Texture Challenge. Members post their work that meet the rules. In this case the moderator of the group posted four textures. Entrants had to use at least two of the textures when creating an image.

I'm not good at assignments. One of the reasons I chose not to pursue a career in photography was the understandable directive, "He who has the gold makes the rules." And since most of those "he's" were really "she's" who were brides... well it got old reeeeeely fast for me. Ditto the photo editors at newspapers and magazines. And then the art directors. Look I can follow orders and have no real difficulty with authority. But the reason photography seduced me was the creative outlet it offered. But my ideas of creativity were only rarely the same as those of the folks with the gold... so I finished economics school and never returned to photography directly for pay or at least to pay the bills.

Which gets me back to the point, I'm not good at assignments. It's rare that my interpretation of the assignment's the same as the assigner's idea. But every now and then the folks involved get get me interested. And textures are fun to use to crack open ideas.

Problem is, most textured images are dark, evocative, and moooooody. And I know that there are a lot of RedBubble artists who can probe into those concepts deeply and with a bunch of power. Sooooo.. I decided to go in an entirely different direction. Surprised? Of course not, right?

I decided to go high key, bright, and whimsical. So I grabbed three photos I took of a perky young girl, and went after everything that was NOT moody, dark, and deep. Which means, I think, that I will get no votes in this challenge.

If you study textured images, generally you'll note that the texturing is usually applied to the setting of the primary feature/person/object. Okay, so using one texture of plastered wall, and a second of an icy crust atop snow, I used the extrude filter in PhotoShop to alter the backgrounds so that they dramatically set off the child's personality. I simultaneously altered the palette so that the background picked up the blues in the child's objects. Hence everything set off the pinks of the girl's outfit and her skin tones.

Comedies never get Academy Awards, even though comedy is at least as hard to do as tragedy. Hopefully you'll smile at this young girl's play. I did. I want to communicate joy. I think I have. But joy, like comedy, rarely get the big awards, or even serious consideration.

This image does what I wanted it to do. The texture is not the star, but it makes the star burn brighter. I think that's what artistic texturing should do. I also think that I'll be lucky to get even one vote as viewers choose a winner of this challenge. If I could vote for my image though... I think I would.

Thursday, January 22

Getting Ahead

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I've figured out that in life we have to deal with loud noises, abrupt bangs, and metal lumps like this that can trip us up if we're not looking down. Which of course is a problem if we walk around looking up.Hmmm... There's a moral here, right?


The way I look at it, a photographic artist works backward from a painter. See, a painter starts with an empty canvas and edits it full, we start with a full frame, and edit down. Or at least that's the way it used to be. Now we start with a full frame and fill it up more even while we toss stuff away like in this image. It's a lot more complicated what we do today. Painters sure have it easy.

Tuesday, January 20

Brandywine Mist

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Andrew Wyeth died this week. We were there again... at his place... the Brandywine Museum, a month or so back. We go there often. The river is really a creek, a wide one though. And it overflows into the museum a lot. The permanent collection of the Wyeths' is all on the upper floors. Oh, it's quite nice. So is Chester County. And thinking about Mr. Wyeth, I thought of those mists that tailed around your ankles and the benches and ferns. Ghosts from the Brandywine, and great people who lived nearby.

Sunday, January 18

Allegory 2:

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Hmm.... so in the rear view mirror, what do you see back there? And is it getting closer? Are you careening ahead of it? Who's at the wheel? Huh? Huh?

Saturday, January 17


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It’s just a river
Filled with river-things
Tossed in every morning
By daybreak…
Ancient memories
That float.

Florence, Italy

Friday, January 16

Loan Sale


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When can an image be
More than a noun?
When can an image
Become a verb?

Or maybe between
A noun and verb
An image becomes

Or not, if it
Gets stuck as
A preposition or
A proposition.

Like a
Loan Sale.

Sunday, January 11

Friday, January 9


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High fashion model does the catwalk. Fashion Rocks!

Wednesday, January 7


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One surrealist photographer of the 1940s claimed that the category was about exploring reality in ways that were insensibly sensible. Um.... okay. Does this qualify?

I considered the caption, "Look, it's... it's stopped!" And then I considered "Omagod! It's Coming THIS Way." Or possibly, "Sunset/Sunrise". Or... maybe, just nothing?

One thing that's certain is the the surreal lives only in the imagination. Which seems to be a necessary, but probably not sufficient condition to describe what a surreal image is. I shall continue to ponder.... (rubs chin and mutters, "Hmmm....")

Monday, January 5

Time - A Challenge

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Recently I came upon a web forum which was discussing "Time" as a photographic concept. A number of excellent photographers thought it was best portrayed by images of clocks.

It seems to me that time is the only dimension which makes its mark upon every other dimension, and then has the inevitable power to erase them all. It also seems to me that we each have an hour glass inside of ourselves, and we can check the flow of its sand by peering in the nearest mirror.

So here's my interpretation of - Time. Whudaya think?

Sunday, January 4

Lure Of Maniacal Boutique

Prey For A Shopping Day
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At first it merely caught her eye. The window display, filled with dresses and shoes that were so... so... subtly wicked. It couldn't hurt to go in, right? Just to look?

She missed the name above the door.

It read: "PREY".


Okay... okay... So this is a tad, um, murky. But you did see the name above this blogsite, right? It reads, "ImageFICTION"!

Saturday, January 3


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There are evocative small towns that resonate powerfully - usually with the ghostly yearnings of faded dreams- Of opportunities went away. There are reasons that cities prosper and grow... economic reasons. No amount of wishing will substitute for the throb of creativity which answers vast numbers of wants - desires - needs. Simply put: There are reasons that small towns are small - they imagine one dream, and never dream another.

Then there are places so grand that you cannot purchase a lens wide enough to cram anything about them into one frame. You cannot stand back far enough to capture their roar. They need to be described in pieces. And even pieces communicate just one aspect of their aura. You come away from them with impressions in lieu of tack sharp descriptions. You can only know them emotionally as collections of living, growing, clutching - opportunities. There you can feel, hear, and smell heaven-grasping ambitions.

They make your imagination - squint.