Friday, April 24

Blog Sites?

Maybe I'll break down and lease me a website service? But which one? It'd be cool if this image expanded to fill the top of this page. So much research exists to show that on every printed page, the visitor's eyes go first to pictures, secondly to their captions, next to headlines, and lastly toward body copy like this. 

So I'm leaning to the conclusion that a page dominated by a strong image will grab eyeballs to that graphic and then immediately to the text below as its caption. Thus with no distracting headline the process of image to copy is reeely improved. Here, with that weakly sized image up there falling way short of page dominance, visitors have so much less to pique their imagination and to drive it downward for answers. 

In other words, is not an artist's best blog platform. Which brings me back to the impetus to think about a leased website service, one that's affordable and whose learning curve won't distract me from spontaneously using it.

Expanded significantly, that image up there is full of questions, right? Don't you want some explanation? Which is the challenge of conceptual art, it needs to be filled in with meaning. OK, I understand that it's the viewer, not the artist who carries the responsibility to give art meaning. Still, I want to give my interpretation for whatever it's worth. What I felt, and concluded when I took, then processed this image.

So two questions for you...

(1) Any recommendations from you re. the perfect blog service for photographers (including costs, or at least directions where I can discover them easily) which will allow me to curate a gallery of ideas led by an image? And,
(2) What's your emotional reaction to that image up there at the top of this posting? Does it ignite a question (s) that either you can enjoy answering, or a question re. the meaning of this image tat will stimulate me and everyone else who stops by, toward a thoughtful answer? 


Thursday, April 23

Along The Tracks

A young boy's imagination sometimes lurks in that gritty battleground between absurdity and terror.

Found this lad who'd happily ordered up his face paint at a fair near Lancaster's Amtrak main line. I caught him with my Canon 7D through its EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5) glass at 18mm . The trickiest part of grabbing this shot was making the kid stop giggling. 

Tuesday, April 21


Spring morning. Buddies. Hanging in the park. Doing whatever. Nice guys, no drama at 11... Not quite yet. Here're boys who haven't learned to slide on attitude with their sneaks.

On the other side of adolescence they'll remember this summer's sun, and how they didn't need to do anything, but could still do everything.

What'll it be today? Something forgettably memorable. And this summer's blur will be there somewhere in memory storage. Like a rhinestone, they'll pull it out decades from now to peer at the glow of a long-ago summer's that's all around this park bench with their best buddies ever.
I caught the boys with my Canon 7D's EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens cranked out to about 150mm. The stabilizer on this glass keeps it sharp enough to prick balloons. Sharp enough to slice off a hunk of boy-memory. Sharp enough to capture buddies who touch in a shared personal space... Remember? 

Saturday, April 18

Lost To Archeology

You know when you see those "artist reconstructions" of ancient cities how they know so much about street scenes? Someone gave me a book with pictures of Egyptian and Roman ruins. And there are plastic overlay pages that show "how it looked" before time rubble-zed the things.

The last time I was in Italy I noticed how the hills and mountains were bare, little growth beyond some bushes and grassy weeds. So I asked someone whether trees would not grow in the volcanic soil. "Well actually Ted, that sort of soil's usually quite rich for agriculture. The trees though, have been gone for millennia, harvested by the early Romans for fire and building."

So, if so  much of the various structures was actually wood, how now do the artists know what the majority of buildings looked like? Even the excavations in Pompeii fail to reveal much wood since the heated ashes burnt most away.

The thing is that archeologists don't really have much idea what wooden structures and decorations, much less their painted colors, looked like. Example, take this Moravian church in Lancaster County about six or seven miles into the country beyond my home. It's maybe a century or two old at the most. Already time's sanded away a lot of the detail and without significant restoration, this spire's days are numbered. How will anyone a couple thousand years from now guess at this wooden decoration? The glass oculus? Oh sure, this image will survive so they'll not have to guess, right?

What is the reasonable life expectancy of this picture? Given Moore's Law, does anyone expect that there will be reading devices that could reconstruct these pixels even a quarter century from now? Once, perhaps in Roman or Greek times, artists might have left low tech drawings and paintings behind on media which might have let some ideas hold on. Today, not so much, right?

How much of what you can see when you go out of your door into the wild... How much of that will be imaginable to anyone a couple centuries from now? A couple of millennia? Even when the archeologists dig up its ruins, how much will they puzzle back together... And how much, like this wooden spire, will be wiped from all memory?

OTH, what's it matter?

Monday, April 6

34 Main St. • Killarney, Ireland

How to mute Killarney?

It's a tourist town of about 12,000 permanent Irish residents, yet it seems to have more hotels than people. The city streets evoke Disneyland - or Disneyland evokes them. Their colors make for squinting.

And then there's the smooshing together of decoration, both around, on, and inside the store fronts. Killarney shops are shameless as showgirls in their efforts to grab attention. Blocks are eye-exhausting as Vegas in their palettes. Of course Vegas boasts performance architecture that's imploded, what? Weekly? Daily? Vegas won't tolerate history, or even nostalgia, much less antique.

Killarney, OTH, has a patina-of-shabby that seems as carefully adhered to its surfaces as the layers of paint which are probably  inches thick. And see how at first this image seems as if the camera was canted? but look closely, the lens was straight as a nun in a gay bar, but it's the shops themselves that are bent by age.

Now see this late afternoon sidewalk? While the blinds in the upstairs window boast mid-last-century dust, the sidewalks are surgery-table clean. Killarney's kept like a retro set for WWII soldiers, back when the photographs were black and white, but the memories were full-on chrome.

Killarney works at being a memory. But one that's hard to mute.

Geek Stuff: Shot with my Canon 7D, worked with PS the processed with Alien Skin Exposure's Kodachrome II to tease out the rich antique late-afternoon reds and memories that my grandparents and my mother brought to America.

Friday, April 3

Radical Chromectomy

Because we can. 

You know, fine art photography's a lot like Everest. Why climb it? Because we can. 

Once upon a time an amateur fine-art photographer lacked the budget to do much creative color work. It was not just expensive, it was tedious. And with the fumes, the process was even a tad dangerous. It was always unpredictable and it ended in unreproducible results. Today full jacket chrome is ordinary as a mini-skirt in Spring. No, that's even too rare... It's ordinary as boy with lust in his heart when he spots a mini-skirt in Spring, right? 

So we're challenged with the emotional goo that chrome pours all over every image. The challenge is multiplied by a zillion. Hence the allure of B&W image making. Here, look at this 1949 Ford Anglia Bristol van that a Killarney shop's got in the middle of its floorspace. It glows with colored feeling. 

OK, and now, instead of finding ways to add chrome to our B&W darkroom-world, we can perform radical chromectomy. Like this...

Okay, have I added by subtracting? Or have I subtracted by adding the chromectomy? How much emotion is ripped away in B&W? Or... are these dramatically different messages, each as complex? But how can something be made differently complex by taking a scalpel to it? Hmmmm... 

Gotta' think on this :-) Should the age of mono-chrome be over? Or is mono really a surrender to the complex challenge of the colors of life? A retreat?