Word and Image

Posts tagged “Photography

Art critic

The Biggs Museum runs/ran a photo exhibition. Submit your photo for criticism and be selected, get displayed and maybe win a prize. Oh, okay. I found out it’s completely subjective. You are at the mercy of the likes/dislikes of the juror. Submitting work is a crap shoot. You may have excellent work. You may think you have excellent work… It was enlightening to understand the process of selection. Basically, anything goes. There was stuff I would have thrown out that got honored. And the grand prize went to a picture I would have tossed. I’m not whining. In fact, the lecture opened up new thinking for me. I don’t need a juror or a show. I don’t need the credit. For as many years as I have been a photographer, it has been for pleasure. It is definitely not my day job. Although I would be happy to do a job for you. Ha! No pressure. Keep on shooting. If anything goes:

 

dsc01133

Shoot the moon. Ignore the power lines. It’s the moon. Power lines add interest. Well, I don’t agree. But….

dsc01107

Charge your phone. Vampire. Just scoot on in to the lecture, help yourself, charge right up. No matter there’s a photo show/op right there.

dsc01228

Cat/silhouette, I would have shooed away the cat. Now it is better to have tension in this picture of the morning star.

dsc01112

Reflections, sure, shoot ‘em if you got ‘em. Juxtapose. See things in a new light. I shot this shortly after leaving the museum.

In a single day, I broke out of the doldrums. What I learned? Anything goes. Happy shooting.


Portrait of the artist

2451 23 Victor

I don’t consider myself an artist. I make images now. But it is more of a technical exercise with problems to solve. You solve the problem. You have the answer. The right answer gives you a 100 on the test. You get an A. Not so fast. There’s more than just pressing the shutter button. Lots of mundane ordinary photos are taken. Famous painters – Rembrandt, Da Vinci – painted themselves in self-portraits. We presume Da Vinci was left handed among other reasons because he did a painting showing his right hand. Clever! I’m a left hander in a right-hand world. I learned to operate right-handed and then adapted. I cut with scissors from the right and from the left. It’s no big deal. But if you are right handed I deem it a lot more difficult for you than me.  Ha ha. I go both ways. I have talent, but I’m still not an artist.


Trio

In the interest of fairness, I’m including the immediate family in 1975. My dad had died about a year earlier. Brothers John and Eric, and my Mom were in Disney World. Yes, me too. I don’t have any black and whites to follow. I started (photography) at the World’s Fair in 1966. Nope, none of those are around. Eric my have them in a drawer somewhere in Mom’s house. Perhaps that is why I so assiduously documented my kids’ childhood. At a certain point the task is too large to have photographed everything. And to store everything? It got way out of hand when the kids started taking their own pictures. For now, this trio is from the first roll of slides I kept, stored, and digitized.

“Preserve your memories” – Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel.

My only curiosity is – who will keep the numerous drawers with all those slides after me. The digital will be on multiple hard drives. Great! But I already have trouble keeping track of those.


Graduation

3070 37 David graduation

This is the last slide I shot. My memory is/was correct. June,2004, I bit the bullet and got my first DSLR digital, the Nikon D70. The price was finally within reach of my budget. Early digital DSLR cameras exceeded $1000 considerably. David graduated and this last shot on the last roll of film is it.

After that the rest is history. Ha ha. I went digital. It was too seductive. No more home processing. I’d stopped that a while before. (I had a neighbor – since moved – who hated the running water in my darkroom at 3AM. Gee! I wonder why?) No more need for storage space. Too funny. I’d just built a cabinet of 28 drawers with excess capacity to store future slides. I had photo paper, chemicals, and film. Slide film would remain stored in the freezer for more than a decade (till I threw it out).

Yes, it was that abrupt. I have gone through a series of camera upgrades. David taught me that the Canon Power Shot series was excellent for detail. Currently my kids primarily use their iPhone as their image maker/saver.

Yes, indeed, David graduated on this day way back then. I just now put it together that we both graduated on that day. I estimate I shot 113,600 slides since 1975. By my count I have shot more than 367,000 digital images since 2004. That would be double the number in half the time. I’ve gotten exponentially better as I honed my craft through trial and error. There are about the same proportion of “keepers” and disappointments. I have immediate feedback but am often in too much of a hurry to check immediately. I shoot frequently in a fast-moving platform (our car). I shoot the same subjects (but better, I hope). I still shoot fewer people (shy). I could never have been proficient nor shot the fish in the Red Sea without digital.

Of all the things I do/did, I’m still learning photography after graduation.


Verrazano Narrows Bridge

This bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. For a while it was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It was finished in the ’60. Before that three bridges connected Staten Island to New Jersey. In fact the island is closer to Jersey than New York City. The island became part of New York in after the winner of a row boat race around the island turned out to be from New York. Until the mid ‘70’s there were still farms on the island. Now it’s all about the biggest house you can build on the smallest plot of land. It’s a shame about the lack of urban planning. Meanwhile this aerial shot was taken after I became fast friends with Charlie, a former NYPD helicopter pilot and American Airlines pilot. He took me up in his Bell 47, MASH helicopter and we toured NYC. It was the first of many adventures. You can see the rain on the bubble in the lower right. Charlie was really doing me a big favor. He hates to fly in the rain. It gets the gears all gunky. But he had promised and we were going no matter what. It’s a view unlike anything else. And I have to say it’s about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.


There are a few times when Lisa and I agree – on a photo. You didn’t really wonder if we agree, did you? This one was an instant hit. Once again it wasn’t a technically perfect shot. It was a slide capture of son David, a grab shot at a hot summer birthday party for his cousins. I didn’t have a chance to correct the horizon. The background is pleasantly out of focus. It all came together in that moment. Automatic settings, no fumbling with focus or exposure, just shoot. It was my favorite for a long time. It still is a favorite. I just have many more now.


Golden Horseshoe Award

We had an old Argus C3 ‘brick’ that I once used – once! No lessons, no clue, and the results were over and under but never exposed properly. Even my amateur eye could see that the developed negatives had no images. I just played with the buttons for one roll of black and white film on a trip to Charleston, West Virginia to receive the Golden Horseshoe Award. The award was a pretty big deal given to three students from each county after a competitive exam each year. As a minority student winner, I was placed front and center next to the education commissioner in the official photo taken on the steps of an official looking building. That’s me to the right of the ‘old bald headed’ guy. Racism was still present in the state. I know, because my parents were turned down for membership in the local country club. The father of one of my co- winners was on the board that turned down my parents. Times change. I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look to see if the award is still given. I’ve moved on. They said that poverty was high and education among the poorest states in the nation. It wasn’t.


Highheeled Shoe

Another technical demonstration is this high-heeled shoe. It was on a pedestal mounted to a turntable connected to a computer rigged to shoot in 10-degree increments. Complicated, it was designed to obtain 36 images. What for? In order to create a spinning catalog view for internet shopping, you need this setup. Clever.


Halloween

Part 2: There were so many photo ops, you didn’t know where to turn your camera. (See also my other blog Imaged Event for more images.) So maybe it wasn’t so many people? The estimate on the website is about 60, 000 marchers. It literally took about two hours to get everyone onto the parade route. The director Jeanne Fleming says that she sees the parade through the eyes of the photographers who are there to record the event. Indeed, one person can’t be everywhere and the number of people moving and the size of the geographic space makes it impossible to even get a fraction of the parade and the costumes. There are many photos that get repeated. Some parade attendees wear the same costume each year. Some folks come early and are a photographic subject for all the photographers who otherwise would not have a subject. These early arrivals get a lot of attention. It’s chaotic. And, I guess it’s a little claustrophobic. But when you’re seeking out the next costume, the weather, the chill, the crowd and the noise are not too much of a deterrent. The parade organizers put the wedding party in front. Bringing up the rear, Occupy Wall St got a big crowd into the parade. It seems that they may have been making a statement again, but I’m not sure. Most photos don’t require explanation. But, there was this male nun dressed in lace women’s underwear…. The theme was ‘I’ of the beholder, hence, all the eyeballs.

More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery and more info: (more…)


St Louis Arch

 

This is a pretty classic shot of the St Louis Gateway Arch. I have seen it lit up at night and that is impressive as well. Everyone who visits stand beneath the Arch where an effective photo is near to impossible. Wide angle lenses cannot take in the whole view or they distort things. I am happy enough to have driven around behind the statehouse. I would have gone by this shot never seeing it in the rear view mirror had it not been for the red tinted fountain in honor of the Cardinals being in the World Series. Go Cards! In the gallery you will find the outtakes. These are good images that show a different perspective yet again and make my argument that you don’t need to see the whole arch to know it’s there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery: (more…)