Tuesday, July 31


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Last night I saw a picture of an ancient Roman ruin. Then I looked at Stonehenge. And I wondered about their connections. Each was the product of an entirely distinct civilization which overlapped not at all. We think of them as solid pieces of some ancient history. But how solid were they?

Look at my image of the Watt & Shand building at the epicenter of downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here the facade of a grand building has been stripped from its body to be grafted around a new Convention Center. Like most cities, Lancaster once had a thriving downtown dominated by a large department store. The age of the mighty department stores lasted what? Eighty years? Sixty? Fifty? And then, the automobile pierced their economic air like a pin through a bubble. A romantic attachment to those years has developers piecing that Watt & Shand department store skin onto a body the same way cosmetic surgeons are diddling with breasts, noses, and now even entire faces.

I wonder how long Stonehenge was functional? Twenty years? Sixty? Because it's old, we think of it as epochal. Almost eternal. A legacy of a vast civilization. When in fact, it might have been culturally or economically intriguing for one or two generations. The Celtic equivalent to a long lasting television series.

As much as people seem to like the Watt & Shand ruins, I wonder when the folks in Lancaster will decide to create their own cultural contribution. Something that says that we were here as well. Or we ARE here as well. I worry that we are becoming like the folks who lived around ruins, unable either technically or culturally to take any farther steps.

Hey, preservation's a good thing, but so's progress. It's something the Americans who built this Watt & Shand building believed in. I wonder if we've lost that vision as we paste the skin of old ruins onto today's expressions?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/400 at f/13, Exposure Bias Value: -1, ISO:200, Focal Length: 22 mm, Date: 7/31/07 @ 6:01pm, Flash: Off, Metering: average, Camera RAW

Monday, July 30

Move There!

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The world stays the same even when we move it in our minds. Um, let me try that again... The world moves, even when we will it to stay the same. Er...

Okay, once more. Suppose you're five years old and standing in the deep grass just beyond a field of fresh brown rows. And suppose you love everything about it but that farm, you figure, ought to be about fifteen feet to the right. You know that if you tell your dog, or your parents to move - well they do it. So you decide to try your awesome powers to reconfigure the world to your whim on the barn.

"Move there!" you command. eyes closed. And... remember now, you're sixty months old, give or take a couple of weeks, and... and... you open your eyes and... ??

When you're five years old... Is there anything you don't believe in? When you haven't tried so very much... Everything you do try is magic. I'm going to figure that when you open your eyes you can believe that the barn is somewhere new. And you can smile, and maybe sit in the tall grass: and watch the sun set golden on the world you've just rearranged.

And the world should move that way. It really, really should. When we're five years old - the world moves, because we will it to stay - different.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/125 at f9, Exposure Bias value: 1.67, ISO: 100, Focal Length: 30mm, Time: 7/1/07 - 7:06 pm, Flash: Off, Metering Mode: Average, Camera Raw.

Sunday, July 29


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The father of fine art photography, Alfred Stieglitz, once wrote a letter of rejection to a woman hoping for a show in his famous Little Gallery, "(This gallery) is devoted to ideas. And I feel that your work, good as it is, is primarily picture making. That is not adding to the idea of photography, nor to the idea of expression. And for that reason it would be out of place in the Little Gallery." Stieglitz felt that his greatest work was "teaching the value of seeing. And teaching the meaning of seeing."

Ike Johnson is decent. Once, when the word had meaning, he'd have been called a gentleman. Now, instead of calling him any of those things... I wanted to distill them out in today's posting. But... but... but...

The problem with photography is that it is too easy. Cheap representationalism - is what critics have called it. As photographers first grow serious, they go off in search of the Holy Gear. They want a mystical machine which will spin their straw into gold. Following the gear-head stage, photographers bury themselves in the mechanics of composition, palette, and form. They master a litmus test which focuses on the picture to the almost total exclusion of its content.

It's the Stieglitz Stage which follows for those few who burst through to an understanding that nature has its rules, and so to does photography - and it's the photographic rules which image makers must impose upon nature. How they do it... and what they convey to viewers - how they manipulate meaning to communicate an idea - that's ultimately what differentiates photographic craft from art.

Problem is, the bulk of viewers want to stay at stage two. They're not sensitive to ideas as much as they are to form. I am seduced by the idea. But like everyone else, I'd like visitors to like me. So... how to combine form with idea? At least enough so that people may still murmur, "Wow!", even as they go, "Hmmm....".

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6), 1/8 at f/5.6, ISO:800, Exposure Bias Value -1, Focal length: 72mm, Time 7:28 pm, flash: off, Metering Mode: Average, Camera Raw.

Saturday, July 28


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Information is always tied to something physical. Look, take one of the most abstract of all concepts... Suppose you wanted to communicate sweetness. Now that's a concept that came through the sense of taste. It is as physical as things get. You bite into a lemon meringue pie and that's sweet.

What I'm saying here is that physical things needn't just come into our brains through sight or sound. We can smell, touch, and taste physical things. And we can value them so much that we'll steal the words we use to describe them to apply them elsewhere. Way beyond the realm of taste we can take the idea of sweet - it's wonderful, innocent, delicate, joyful, burst of happiness - and fix it to other similar wonders.

Like a happy young girl in Musser Park wearing her pearls to play with the other children at sunset on a Thursday night. A delightful child who turns to a man with a camera and cajoles, "Take my picture. Please... please... please!" And when the guy looks through his lens he sees a delicate, joyful, innocent, burst of happiness.

Sweet, right?

Geek Stuff: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6), 1/80 at f/6.3, ISO 400, Focal Length 64mm, Time 6:45pm, Flash; off, Exposure Bias value: -1, Metering Mode: Average, Camera Raw.

Friday, July 27

Nothing Is Ever Black Or White

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We humans have a wacky ability to make others, or creatures, or things... into the instruments for fantasies.

Take this attractive lady last evening in Musser Park. How middle class she looks. And yet as she sits there on the phone… there is something, um, a tad edgy – wouldn’t you say?

Actually that depends upon what you find edgy. Okay, so how about I say "provocative" instead of edgy? Well, no… no… once again… that’s a meaning that careens about inside of your head.

Fine then let’s notice the 600 pound gorilla – the tat. It’s gorgeous work. It’s permanent work. She has imposed herself upon herself. Or at least allowed an artist to impose a statement upon herself. And you think exactly what about that? And why does what you think about that matter? Unless, what you think… your ideas… are what make you, you. And then it matters a lot to anyone who comes to know you.

What I’m thinking is that this “edgy something” which this lady has allowed – is now normal for her. But edgy implies avant-guard, no? Yet if we are all avant… what is left to guard? What do the edgy kids fantasize when otherwise middle class folks sport fantastical enhancements?

It’s a whacky mystery.

Thursday, July 26


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Betsy Hurley is sort of a day-time neighbor. Two doors north of us on N. Lime Street lives the Lancaster Museum of Art. Two doors south sits the Lancaster Literary Society. Yep, this is an artsy block. Anyway, Betsy is the President of the Literary Society and curiousity comes with her job description. She also edits that magazine in her hand called Raportage, the Society's journal.

Civilizing - that's the objective of people like Betsy. The rule books for civillity are kept by our institutions. And in the great nurture/nature stew in which we simmer, it's a Literary Society's job to add the condiments to nurture's mix. Which involves a hunt for resonating talent. So Betsy's a hunter into quiet places, never quite sure what's going to come out of the the second floor library at 113 N. Lime. I wanted to capture that thing about her as she rounded the library corner.

Wednesday, July 25

What.. what was that name?

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Pittsburgh on a cloudy day annoys my memory. I am old enough to remember grade school textbooks which carried few if any colored pictures. And many of the illustrations were bought from a famous clip service. Whether they were art or history books - there were a lot of monochrome images that looked like engravings. And they all came from the same place. And here's where the memory thing cuts in. I can recall the pictures. And I can recall that they all had a credit line. And that even when they were colored the hues looked cheerlessly weird. As if the printer could only mix about seven or eight colors total... and almost all of them were gloomy primary hues. Which of course made their subjects seem somehow –grim.

Does this resonate with anyone? What I'm after was the name on the credit line. The company that supplied the images was a gallery, or a studio... darn. I don’t even know how to set up a Google search.

But anyway... no matter what I did with this picture of Pittsburgh on a dreary day - it made itself look like this. Like an artificially colored engraving in a child's ancient textbook. I think perhaps this says a lot more about me, than about Steel City, eh?


A flurry of email revealed that I was thinking of the Bettman Archives. Begun in the 1930's by John Bettman the huge collection.. sometimes called "The Clip Mine" was bought by Bill Gates some years back. And whatever they pictured in my grade-school-years looked a lot like this example over on Corbis....

Tuesday, July 24

Outside In July

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Listened to a couple of kids today at a chi-chi coffee shop moaning about how their riding mowers were so uncomfortable in the sun when their parents forced them to cut the lawns. Heard a woman holler at child this weekend: her boy wouldn't get into the car fast enough so she could crank up the air conditioning. Saturday a nearby family cancelled a picnic: said it was way too humid and sticky.

Took a picture with a point and shoot camera last thursday on an afternoon when it wasn't just hot... it was diabolical.

Here it is.

Monday, July 23

Posh & David Arrive In LA

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"Hmmm... well he does look like a big one. And colorful, yeah - I'll give him that. But, well, a tad past prime wouldn't you say?"

"Not as bad as her... My, she is white, isn't she? Except where she's painted up and what are those markings on her back?"

"I think... uh... yeah... They seem to be tats my dear. I guess they're cute for a night, but the things get old, don't you gather?"

"What I gather is that she looks kind of kicked around... In fact I'm not sure she's still got a full load up of air. Kinda soft at the top. You know what I'm saying?"

"Well they sure seem a pair. But you tell me that someone actually paid for this used set? To perform in some sort of game that nobody here watches? How odd."

"Actually it's not odd. No... the game's got no place to insert advertisements, so no broadcaster's interested in putting it on."

"Well how's it do so well everywhere else?"

"Oh, they use taxes to run television so everybody pays to produce the games."

"What? Whether they're interested in them or not?"

"Uh-huh. So now that these two have faded from the free ride over there..."

"Somebody here's, like, paying for them?"

"Sigh... Well anyway... David's sure a big guy. Probably looked pretty hot once upon a time."

"I guess, but that's a lot of moolah to pay for hot."

"Yeah. Maybe it is time to tax the rich. What do you think?"

"I thought that back when Paris Hilton ran a red light or something."

"Whatever... Hey, you thinking they're gonna break out here?"

"Dunno: The public can erect an effective fence against manufactured celebrities. Remember Kelly Clarkson?"


Sunday, July 22

Quie-Ted #2

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Awaiting Fall

Saturday, July 21


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Friday, July 20

Son, Father and Crabs

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My friend owns the finest seafood store in Lancaster. I learned crab picking at the kitchen table with my dad. He'd drink beer, I had soda. And at six, seven, or eight years old I'd watch and learned how to break the shells and knife out the meat and listen to dad tell me stories about his week, the Phillies, about his his friends, his life - and through wide wide wide eyes, it'd be so great. A boy and his daddy together on a summer night - eating crabs, talking, laughing, loving.

Now to cut their salty seasoning I drink the beer. And for moments I'm a kid and imagine the PHillies on the radio and it's summer in the city, with my daddy at that tiny breakfast table all aspread with newspapers. And that's why I saw Tim and his son sorting crabs at their seafood shop today through the hazy multi-colored lenses of a summer ritual.

Culture passes from dad to boy.

Thursday, July 19

My Fall Show... HULP!

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Spoke with the exec-director of the Lancaster Historic Preservation Trust today. He confirmed the specifics for my September 7th show (see details in the column on the right). It's flattering to be asked - but now the real work begins. I suspect that I could easily show a couple of a dozen prints. I just checked my records and I have about sixty prints available - many, if not most - on topic. I'm also thinking (not too seriously) about getting one huge blow-up made, perhaps as large as 50" X 36" but that's an area where I could use some advise. Anybody got any? Last year I saw a similar print on canvas sell for a bundle of money at a local gallery. It was a Lancaster City image. And I thought... Hmmmmm.... I can do that. Now the question is, should I? Hmmmmm....

I'm also wondering which of my prints to exhibit. I know that it will be best to limit this show - so I thought I'd choose exclusively from my Lancaster City images.... hence the name of the show on the ad above. Incidentally the ad will appear in my own magazines in August. I think a half page should do it. Plus I'll attach it to an email blast, along with PR releases to all the area media. But which of my Lancaster City prints to show??? There are a bunch here on this site, and clicking on the keywords "Lancaster City" below will distill them out. If anyone wants to point me toward a favorite which might make a particularly good impression (just let me know the date - OK?).

First Fridays are a big deal here in Lancaster along our Prince Street gallery row. Thousands of people will show up on a nice evening. And the first Friday in September... following Labor Day... that should be a monster. The Historic Preservation Trust mansion is right in the middle of the action - so I hope that the expected foot traffic will be useful.

Now, a word about selling. The Trust will allow me to sell my prints at the show. Of course I shall give them a percentage as a donation. But I don't sell my work as a rule, although I'm tempted to see if I can subsidize my hobby a tad at this event. But that will mean doing a price list... which will mean numbering everything and cross referencing it.... sigh.

Which brings me to another point. I frequently donate prints to distinguished non-profit organizations where they are auctioned. I originally got them framed as part of my donation, but learned that the buyer, after paying a good amount of money, usually wanted to have her own matting/framing done to match her decorating needs. And that meant throwing away the frames. So since then I've simply bought very inexpensive 16" X 20" frames in bulk which have virtually invisible black plastic borders that clamp a piece of glass against the print. They're very simple to use and bring a uniform look to my prints on 13" X 19" archival paper. I've got about thirty of them in a closet here and thought I'd use them to show the prints.


Last point... a friend recently returned from Italy and used the Apple service to compile a very attractive book of his Italian images. He's urging me to do the same thing for my Lancaster City images - each coded with a number, so that it can be displayed at the show along with a price and order list. Hmmmmm....

As you can imagine though... all of this will devour my time... and crack my piggy bank. Hmmmmm.....


Wednesday, July 18

Greist Building

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Tired tonight. See the time stamp on last night's post? And as usual I was up around 6-am today. Sooner or later the candle starts to flicker. I've got a sleepy buzz on that's taken my IQ down about 15 points. Nice thing is that it's mellow down here. Most of the things that fire contention don't bother me much in the hammock of almost-a-sleep. I'm going to post this thing, let Rocco-The-Dog out, get his good-night goodies - and hit the snore boards.

I guess it was my semi stupor which attracted me to this image from the Lancaster's town square. That's our only, um, sky scraper. They've not allowed anyone to think that big since. Like me tonight, the image's colors are still bright in spots, but the closer you get to earth... the more they all become a gentle murk. Hmmmm.... yeah - gentle murk, nice place to go eventually. Don't you feel twilight differently from the rest of the day? I'm told there are places where the day's light goes off abruptly as if it had been switched. That's got to affect the folks there. Not sure they grow up understanding nuance. On the other hand... judging by the political and advertising world - who does?

Good night.

Tuesday, July 17

Girl On Bench

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So... in a post visualization frenzy (see last night's post for explanation) I decided to use PP as a visual research laboratory in order to explore pure color while I combined pieces of images from different exposures and subjects. Summer's the time for citrus, so maybe I should rename this... Citrus Girl On Bench?

Monday, July 16

2007 Award Winner: Ahead Of It

Note: Accepted as one of theworld's finest Transportation Images of 2007 for Canon POTN Book to be published in the Fall of 2008.

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Read something last night about ... now get ready for this... heavy stuff coming... but only for an instant or two.... Are you ready??

In the current edition of Camera Arts, I read about pre and post visualization art in an interview with the legendary Jerry Uelsmann.

Okay... now hold on. It's really simple but when I understood - I had one of those "EUREKA!!! moments. You know, where you take the palm of your hand and slap it against your forehead? Here's the deal... Suppose you see exactly the art you want to create. You conceive of it full blown in your head. And then grab the right lens, position, filter, light, aperture, speed, ISO - the whole magilla. AND SNAP! See you conceived before you executed. Pre-visual. Gottit?

But for many of us, the process is where we shine. We discover so much as we pull back the onion skin and peer inside at the glimmering colors, forms, shapes ... and we begin to release the idea. We watch it come to life after the shutter was snapped. Post processing technology today has released us into an astonishingly magical post visualiztion world. We can diddle about in pure idea. Wheeeeeee!

And I understood... and muttered... "Eu----REEEK---AHHHHHHHH!!!!"

But sometimes the post visualiztion world isn't accessible. It doesn't let us find a treasure no matter how we wriggle it about. And that's sort of what happened to this image. I saw the moment coming down the road as I stood to photograph the farm. And I carefully let the carriage pass through my frame kicking off bursts of images. Knowing that I had a terrific sense of Americana. I had Norman Rockwell dreams all the way home.

But... but... I can't get what I previsualized to pop in the post visual process. No matter what I do, it remains a snapshot. PHAUGH! Okay, it's a nice snapshot. Still, I know I have the power to find more in this image. And yet... Just as some kids eyes are bigger than their stomaches. Some times my pre is bigger than my post... Sigh...

Sunday, July 15

Fondle X Three

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Each year at the Fourth of July picnic, the Ranck Brothers fondle a tree. You know why? Um, neither do I. Hey.... who am I to judge, eh?

Saturday, July 14

A Sense Of Where?

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Where in the world did I grab this image? Where in the world is this image expected to be? This looks more like my friend Andreas Manessinger's work than mine.

It is uncanny how much we owe to our European heritage. I caught this today at around 1PM in searing sunlight on the main street of a hamlet with about 500-700 residents. It's a place in Maryland about two hours south of Lancaster called Chesapeake City. Perhaps you've seen a few shots I took of the village last August that are posted on my webiste under "Dixie"? We were there briefly this afternoon on our way to a Bay town named Rock Hall. I took this one picture of a facade that looked to be of otherwhere. It's nagging at me now.

Where is the other-where that this place should be? Huh? Huh? Huh? Suggestions?

Friday, July 13

Half A Friendship

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Stu VanOrmer met me years ago by listening to my radio shows. And he was flattering enough to remember when he heard my name at the Ranck’s picnic last week in Strasburg.

Odd thing about what I once did, you try to be honest, genuine and authentic. And if you really succeed – people grow to know you: one way. Whether it’s through reading your writing, seeing you on video, listening to the radio – whatever – a one way friendship is struck. You become trusted by delightful strangers who you rarely meet.

This web has changed that. Now I can throw my stuff onto the virtual byways, and people will respond. Friendships can become two way.

On the Fourth Of July, Steve and I reminisced over times when though we never met - we shared thoughts. And I learned that he is one of America’s finest designers of fine art furniture. And his wife Roberta is an engaging jewelry designer. Don’t believe me? Click here.

And they let me take their picture – as if I’d known them as well as he knew me - which was flattering beyond his ability to understand.

As I processed their portrait I recalled some great artist arguing that the hands were the hardest things to draw. And I realized that Stu’s is the hand of a man who makes precious and very large things out of rare woods. And that’s maybe why, when a hand can reveal so much, that they are so hard to draw.

Even more importantly, I realized as I looked at this image of Stu and Roberta, how thrilled I am that he allowed my ideas into his inventory – all those years ago.

Thursday, July 12


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Got rocked today by a posting at Passion N' Frames. Click here to see it. PNF has cranked the power-art dial beyond 10.

And it left me wondering how to-do-dat? How to take an image from the Fourth Of July picnic I'm working on this week - and ramp up the pep. And I also wondered if you would find the image - accessible? If it would leave you going "Wow!" and "Hmmmmm...." - thinking AND feeling what I enjoyed as this image revealed itself.

Background: A momentary downpour submerged the party for some minutes. At first the children raced with the adults toward the trees, when abruptly one screeched, "KICKBALL!" And everyone under 15 scampered back to the softball diamond - playing again like... like kids on the Fourth of July. And I got a chance to picture their wonderfulness, and feel my legs, arms, and body happy like... like... a cavorting boy in the rain.

Wednesday, July 11

Sunset Memory

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Spoke with my buddy Mick Ranck today. He was, um, startled by the portrait quartet I posted on Sunday. I'm glad that some of you are giving me cover on this week's postings. I kind of hope that there's an artistic thread that sews my week of Fourth of July postings together. Heck, I know that this stuff is art, I just hope it's seen as my art. That somewhere here in all of this that You can sense an authentic-voice-of-Ted, a style, a life-view which makes it a tad unique? Which communicates what I think and feel in a way that's got some value. After all, that's what art is about, right?

Which brings me to today's post. I know from Google Diagnostics how many hundreds upon hundreds of visitors come by here each week and that an astonishing large portion are from way beyond our American borders. And I know that you know that we celebrate our independence each year on July 4th. So I wanted to let you visit pieces of The Rancks' annual party. But instead of showing crowds, flags, and grills loaded up ... I find instead I'm showing dogs, girls, and now today... at twilight a boy of summer.

Every country's annual patriotic celebration is at heart wonderfully romantic. And it's about boys, girls, and dogs. Because it's about a legacy. It's about an idea that we are passing off in celebration to our youth. Just as self preservation is the primary direction to a species... so too is it primary to a culture. In celebration and ceremony we communicate group memories. And maybe some are as simple as a handsome boy, with a great big ball, basking on a carpet of grass that's a-sparkle in the dazzle of a memorable sunset. Maybe it's as simple as the hope that the kids will have many more of these feelings that our celebrations are all about. Eh?

Tuesday, July 10


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Here's beautiful girl standing in a puddle at the Ranck's Fourth of July picnic. She jumped about in the thing until her mom called. And for a moment it occurred to her that she might stop. See! See the thought flit across her face.


This is an authentic moment. The only one where manners, and propriety overcame her. It was an instant when grown-up rules interrupted the child. Didn't last long.

As we mature, those moments lengthen. We pause longer between our puddle leaps. Until we stop splashing around, and call to the child who we see... her feet in the puddle. And it's our turn to inject a crack of adult-ness between - SPLAAAAASH! SPLAAAAASH! SPLAAAAASH! SPLAAAAASH! ...SPLAAAAASH!

Monday, July 9


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As you can see below, I'd not expected to post tonight. But I hate to break a tradition just because of some silly excuse like... THE INTERNET!!! GRUMBLE....

Um, anywayzzzz... Last night I posted an image, actually multiple images, of Bubba's master. If Mick Ranck was host of his annual family Fourth of July picnic to which hundreds are invited in Strasburg, then Bubba is the host dog. Everyone knows him. Has for years. His long time grizzled presence is a sign that something important about the world has been revealed. So... in this week of portraits in the Ranck Fourth of July Gallery rooms, it seems important to include this guy and his personality. Frankly, he was easier to capture in one image than Mick was last night.

NOTE: Below this line -------------- is a rant. It was all I expected to post tonight. I call it...


"A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from witchcraft!" Those are the words of sci fi writer Ray Bradbury.

In the past two weeks I have spent almost eleven hours on the phone with either Verizon or with Apple attempting to make my Airport Express/Airport Extreme wireless WiFi network work throughout the house. It operated perfectly for about two years. Then abruptly last week my wife found she could not send email. Nine hours later... after an early misdirection from a Verizon cretin... everything appeared fixed. By everything, the various tinkerings by a parade of telephone technicians resulted in not only the wireless system crashing, but also my hard wired interconnect here in my office.

Then tonight at dinner, my wife said, "I can't get my mail." What I uttered was one, smelly, expletive.

Now three hours later, after Apple again disabling everything and rebuilding it... we are partially working. However, until I trash some of Rita's preference files, and reboot her machine... all will not be stable. Unfortunately she has lost her sys admin password for her machine... and if I trash those preference files we will be polled for that PW upon reboot.

There is a workaround. It involves reloading certain elements of the system for her iMac from the original discs. Okay... except, she has this odd notion that all of this should act like a utility. You know, you set it up, pay your money, and use it from that point on. Like telephones, electricity, water, gas... a utility. How quaint. She expects that it is supposed to just work!!!!

So of course she does not carefully file her sys discs like the rest of us who are geeky enough to understand that ... well this is witchcraft. In order to make this thing operate we need to know exactly how far to leap off of the ground while twisting in the air and spitting...

What all of this means is that I am off to find the sys discs (along with incense,crystals, and an Asian guy with long needles)... then to get the instructions which Apple promised to send to my email account... then to print them out... then to go into Rita's office and follow those instructions to reboot in a manner that allows me to change the password. Which I shall etch into her desk with an X-acto blade.

It also means that there will be no image posted tonight since I have been otherwise occupied. Life should not intrude upon my hobbies. But even worse... neither should the internet. At the moment we seem to be gridlocked on the internet highway. And all I can do is honk. Check back tomorrow... okay?

Thanks for visiting...

Grumble &^&%$$$!!


Sunday, July 8


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You know, new ideas occur to me a lot less frequently than practical ones. E-mailers have asked to see more of my portraits, which are among the funnest things to do. So, at his Fourth Of July picnic in Strasburg last Wednesday I portrait-ed my friend Mick Rank. Unfortunatley, I over portrait-ed him... took a bundle... multi-angled him... Had a good time.

And what I got were a number of images which TOGETHER showed more about him than any one capture. So... how to get the idea of Independence day picnic and a sufficient selection of closeups to do justice to his personality? Hmmmmm.... Howzabout a practical compilation... a great big artifact sitting in the center of his own gallery room?

Okay... now how to pull that off? Hmmmm?

Saturday, July 7

Outta Space!

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My images filled up a 500G drive last night. Which abruptly left me with no place to save an image today. So my friend Steve drove us down to the Mac store where I picked up a brand new LaCie 1 Terabyte drive which puts about 1.75 T totally on line now to deposit stuff. I recall when I bought the external 500 G LaCie that filling it seemed unimaginable. But big graphic files, some diddling with video podcats (I wonder if they can be attached to this blog... anyone know?), and my Mac-Tunes library have elbowed away the free space. Worse yet, there just wasn't enough space to backup either of those folders. I looked at the 2T LaCie, but the consumer reviews on both the Apple website and at Amazon were so lousy that I've decided to go with just an additional terabyte until it's time to move on up to a new Mac Pro at around Christmas.

Now, with a long ... long ... backup in progress - it's just not possible to produce the image I'd hoped for today. So, I peered about four years back into my archives to find Grant St. Puddle. I present this image as a failure. Yep... there was a long ago forgotten goal for this image, however I did it at a time when I was unable to exercise any useful discipline. So each time it appeared finished, there came to mind one additional design thingee that could be tried. Probably there are some ten hours of time in this thing... perhaps a lot more. I recall that it kept calling me back... and back. I don't think it ever snuck out of its original folder - until finally it seemed useful today (given that I can't actually do something new) to flash the mess around.

Here's an example of what not to do. And how not to do it. Think of it as a companion piece to yesterday's tacky art. Okay, perhaps it was a learning experience, allowing me as it did to try out dozens of effects.

Anyone who wants to download and diddle with it is welcome. Who knows, perhaps you can find the one silver bullet which will actually turn this into art? Enjoy... Tomorrow with storage back on line, I'll stop with the mistakes, satires, and dreck.

Friday, July 6


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Recently a magazine needed to illustrate a story on "Tacky Motel Art". So of course, the editor turned to me. The article was about that sort of painting you find in the "Starving Artist Sales" which bloom all around the United States. At these things you poke through hundreds and hundreds of "real art" painted by "real artists" done in "genuine paint" on "real canvas". Frankly I don't know where they do get the - mosty unsigned - stuff they sell for $19.98 - about a third of the price of the frames they peddle.

BTW... have you noticed that the real money in the art biz is in framing? But I digress

Anywayzzz.... I took a picture of Rita's flowers in the back yard. I brought the image up in PhotoShop, grabbed the smudge tool and with different brushes swirled the colors around for a couple of minutes and... WHEEEEEEE! Here's what I filed, and what they printed.

So, wuddaya think? Will it sell at a "Starving Artists Sale"?

Thursday, July 5

Palette, Texture, Shape & Form

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Here's a background. There's really no subject, just another window... or set of windows - this time shuttered. I'm not certain what to think about images that are this static. And I do want to think about an image. Still, this grouping is just so perfectly executed by the artists who first imagined it, and the craftspeople who executed it.

So here... I've plagiarized it.

Or no... since the caption tells you the place - I suppose this is more a quote than a steal. And maybe it tells you something about how a current culture has dealt with the challenge of windows. Yet... you will note that they are not windows. Those shutters don't open, nor do they admit light or air. So even though they are dug through the walls - they're essentially decorative exterior objects which have been walled over on the inside. In a world where form follows function - these guys are odd. See, they have only an aesthetic function, yet they mimic a form. Viewers expect windows to decorate a building, so here form follows expectation.

Interesting idea... which seems to also fuel women's fashions. Or... does it?

Wednesday, July 4

Independence Day Beyond Paradise

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It's Independence Day in America.

On the Fourth of July some of us become patriots. Others of us visit towns like Paradise in Lancaster County's southern end where prosperous farms dapple the rolling hills of the richest non-irrigated soil on earth. Yet on Independence Day memories intrude even upon this tranquility. We're struck with the moment in history where we live, and the rights to this peace we enjoy here just beyond Paradise.

For an instant in the golden twilight... We think of how fragile are those rights we claim: how easily they've cracked in other places and other times. We can almost see horrific glows scratch at the darkening sky of this gentle day. And for the instant... perhaps even the most jaded among us become patriots as well?

Tuesday, July 3

Picturing Intangibles

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It’s been said that words and images mix like Paris and Elizabeth (That’s Hilton and Tudor of course). Oddly much of our best writing is obsessed with the visible – in fact our language is at heart metaphorical, words that were imagined from visible objects and things. Meantime the best image making has become immersed in the sensual, philosophical or even the spiritual.

Take this attempt to illustrate an idea about a feeling which I don’t think words could convey. Isn’t it odd that words will describe specifically but whether fiction or real – the image exists on a plane that is representational. Hmmmm…. Yet conventional wisdom concludes that pictures show objects, and words describe emotions. Go figger.

These horses grazing the lush fields of a prosperous Amish farm are the result of envy. Have you visited… pnf’s photographic blog? If not click here. Her special talent for capturing animals makes the process appear so simple. And that drove me down to the southern end of Lancaster County on Sunday evening to grab some snaps of horses in the sweet twilight. I did, only to discover how challenging these beasties are. First off, they are BIG SUCKERS! And they are very horizontal. To someone used to his animals standing on two legs for vertical framing, well It’s really hard to… no… it was impossible for me to come away with thin, tall images of any use.

So here is one of my first horse ideas. Now, go visit pnf… and then lemme know… is this even worth trying again? Or do we just abdicate this field to the master… um… mistress of the horse?

Monday, July 2

Society's End

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It seemed to me that a society ended at the edge of that strictly controlled brick circle and something else happened in the darkness at the trail's end. And I wondered if anyone dared to escape a perfectly planned life on that rich crescent to a future down the uncertain path?

Yeah... what if the future called from somewhere behind that foliage... and she went to seek it. Who did she leave in anguish on that disciplined swirl of perfectly laid bricks? Dear friends? Children? Parents? Family? Lovers? Who stood there peering down the pathway to... to...

All of this occurred to me Saturday along the Brandywine - yards away from yesterday's image.

My imagination is quite rich...

Wish I were....

Sunday, July 1

June Was Bustin' Out...

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Here in Pennsylvania, seasons nourish our projects. Regardless of the granular idea or feeling that rustles about in our creative cranial places, it’s the seasons which manipulate the possibilities we face in expressing ourselves. Now I know many visitors to ImageFiction come from places without climate swings. And others live in spots where the oscillations are either small or quite rapid.

Here in South Eastern Pennsylvania I enjoy a full measure of seasonal performances. And regardless of my artistic intention to impose an inspiration upon nature – more often I’m its servant, my hormonal dance gliding to its rhythms and possibilities: How frequently seasons are the dog and my whims its tail.

Yesterday I was beside the Brandywine Creek, which meanders through Chester County just East of me here in Lancaster. It was the sort of afternoon, which would dissolve if you thought about it too much. The sort of Saturday in which June had produced a final magnificent blossom – as if to say with a smirk, “Okay July, top this one, I dare you.” That’s the sort of taunt that sets an artist’s agenda. Facing the full bloom of a boasting month, my charge is to remember it at you. The question’s so simple: can you feel summer on The Brandywine Creek?