Saturday, January 28, 2012

the business of photographs

I have been reading John Szarkowski's The Photographer's Eye and although it was published awhile ago (1966), John S. has such a knowledgeable way of examining things that it's still worth the time to read. For those of you who don't know, he was the Director of Photography at the MOMA. His essays are fascinating and I've read his other books and watched one or two taped interviews, all very good stuff if you are interested in looking into it.

He describes photography as always present in time while referencing past or hinting at the future. It is basic yet we don't often stop and think about it. The decisive moment of Henri Cartier-Bresson then is a visual moment where all lines and shapes are in perfect balance rather than a dramatic point of a visual narrative. Szarkowski defines it as the moment where the flux of changing forms become balanced and clear.

The truth of photography is another thing Szarkowski touches on. Because a photograph evokes reality we are often led to believe that it is more real than idealized. But just as in the cinematic tradition of Hollywood, there is a maker determining everything including what is in the scene and what is left out.  The magic of Hollywood becomes a slight of hand with the photographer.

Another chapter Szarkowski examings vantage point where the photographer can create mysterious images or invert the order of importance by changing his/our view.

I have been looking through other books and artist websites. I think that I am drawn to the possibilities of images rather than a realistic interpertation of the scene before the camera. One of the artists that I really like is Elizabeth Opalenik. She uses Mordancage, a process that bleaches out part of the chemical binding on silver nitrate prints, creating veils. It looks somewhat like the Polaroid Emulsion process that I used to do. Polaroid film is not available unless you go to Ebay and pay top dollar from someone who stockpiled it. I've been told the Fuji replacement film acts nothing like the old Polaroid film and has been very frusterating to artists trying to replicate that process.

Since Mordancage is very toxic, you need to be outside and that's not happening right now. I haven't found where they sell the chemicals yet but would love to look into it. In the meantime I tried to copy the look (without the physical dimensional change where the emulsion lifts off and some can resettle on the photograph) in Photoshop. Can't say as I'm happy with the result. It's the loss of details that I'm after but it's not happening.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wading In and tying a life line

I am not one of those who are able to drop names or references immediately or can do the gallery speak at any time. I do think they are necessary but not all of us are endowed with the ability to constantly recall names of artists and specific art pieces. And I don't have anything against this -it's just that some of us struggle with the spoken language and immediate recall.
I worked hard to overcome a major illness and I no longer want it to define me, but I do have trouble with many things others do easily. So It will take even more work on my part to keep names in my head. And if I ask you for the third time what your name is or what type of work you do, please understand it has nothing to do with not caring on my part but more a trying to get things solidified in my brain.

There definitely was an onslaught of ideas, opinions, and information during the first residency. I was told by other students that it would be easier moving forward in that you become more able to handle the information deluge of day after day crits and seminars. It was very exciting and invigorating number of days but I would have to agree that it threatened to swallow me with mental overload.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Image making

I have been working on a series of images that investigate spacial concerns as well as group dynamics and the idea of framing.

This idea of framing includes positioning the viewer integral to understanding the mediated quality of photos as non-realistic images made of choices of what is shown and what is left out.

This piece was taken from my window at the Buckminster looking down on the street below (Beacon St.). Street scenes intrigue me and night scenes are even more interesting with the added color and movement of lights from cars, windows, and signs.
Here I reference the act of looking - the aspect  of photography that is often forgotten. Isn't what we see and our viewing of images before our eyes how it all starts? Admit it - we all love people watching and constructing stories to go along with their lives.

In the other line of shooting I'm doing I am journaling the practice sessions for off season baseball training. In this work I am looking at the dynamics of groups. Boys who have just met each other and their spatial relationships as well as rendering that 3 dimensional space on a 2-D photographic plane.

Added to the concerns of space and relationships I want to express a quality of movement and speed in relationship to time.

In choosing B&W I eliminate the distraction of color and concentrate the focus to what is essential in the photograph.

Monday, January 16, 2012

After the Residency

There is so much to decide. I don't like every piece of artwork that someone creates or even major styles and I don't expect everyone to like what I do. Now I have to decide what is important and what I want to say and who I want to listen to.

So how to evaluate the many comments.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Journey Home

This is a journey I'm just beginning for the MFA at AIB/Lesley U. For the rest of you welcome aboard!