Sunday, November 8, 2009
For the second half of this semester in Advanced Photo class, I am working off the idea spawned by my interest in photographer Berenice Abbott. She was only 31 years old when she published her book called "Changing New York". It is an extensive collection of urban photographs of all of the different areas in New York City, Queens and Brooklyn. As part of the WPA project, she was paid to document the city and its quickly growing scenery. Photographed in the 1930's this collection is pretty expensive considering she was shooting with an 8x10 camera. From a historical perspective, it is interesting to see in her photo's people and how they dressed, automobiles of that era, prices of gasoline and food. The images make me think about the progression of the times and the idea of these places still looking similar 80 years after she took on this project.
So with my project, I am using a medium format camera, black and white film. I am shooting downtown because thats where most of the historical buildings are. The technical aspects of Abbotts photos are also something I am looking at. I really appreciate her tonal variation of the photos, and with mine plan to accomplish something similar. I want viewers to look not only at the content, but also at specific printing choices that I have made such as composition, time of day, crop, direction, etc. I want to challenge myself in the darkroom and really make a perfect print with this project.
Another thing I think about quite often and have thought about with this project is the importance of us as photographers to constantly refer back to historical figures that pioneered this medium, for me looking at historical photograhers inspires new interpretations of their ideas.
I went to blue star this past Thursday and saw a great show at Justice Works studio. Ramon Montoya had graduated last Spring and we hadn’t seen or heard from him in a few months and then he came out with this series of images. They are a pun on the word signs put out every Sunday mass by local Catholic Churches. It is difficult to describe the artistic humor that Ramon displays. I think it is safe to say that actions speak louder than words. His printing is beautifully done and the figures look stunning. But once one realizes what the nudes are mimicking his imagery becomes hilarious and engaging. The humor might be considered crude to some standards because of its perverse nature; however, one has to set aside some reservations in order to enjoy the work for what it is. If you haven't had a chance to go see the work up at blue star you should make the trip because the card I received from the show doesn't do it justice.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I wasn't able to get downtown for first Thursday (or Friday for that matter). It's playoff time in the Smyth house, lots of practices.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Alchemist II is an image of a man who is tangled up in wires that are plugged into the wall. The wires are plentiful, they easily overwhelm him. They seem to be causing his death, or at the very least unconsciousness. He hangs from the wires that have overtaken him, wrapping around his stomach, arms, and neck.
It seems obvious that the man in the photograph did not do this to himself (it would have been unnecessary to wrap them so many times, so sporadically), but that the wires, the energy of industry, the electricity have themselves hung him. They have taken on a life of their own, and stolen the life of the human.
The Parkeharrisons are asking us to think about industry and development. They suggest that our world of electronics that is ever-growing is perhaps a danger. Where does it stop? Will we indeed empower them? Will they overtake us? These are important questions for our generation, and they have a beautiful way of bringing the issue to light with images that although disturbing, are visually pleasing. The colors, the painterly feel, the impeccable composition and well-controlled light all make their images feel beautifully dreamy. And yet, they are so much more than just a pretty picture.
I stumbled across Mark Hemmings website the other day and was really impressed by how diverse his work is. He does both fine art and commercial, and ranges in everything from high fashion mannequins to snow monkeys.
I spent a lot of time looking at his mannequin photos. Hemmings says that he had nightmares about mannequins as a child, and those memories prompted him to start this series. The one above is my favorite because of her posture. The way she holds her hands makes her look like a criminal mastermind, planning some sort of evil deed.
This was one of the few faceless mannequins that he photographed, but I think it is better because it is faceless. It makes it a little more ominous.
The lighting helps too. The background is so dark that you can't even tell if the mannequin has legs or not. She appears to be floating in space, like a ghost.
You can see more of his work at his website.
This week I looked up Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. You can find their website www.parkeharrison.com. Their images are divided on their website into three groupings, one of which is The Architects Brother. This is the set that is most intriguing to me. They each sort of remind me of DaVinci's drawings of fantastical machines. Only ParkeHarrison's seem like the experiments gone totally wrong. The photos are very interesting, and seem like you could get tons more info if you could see them large. This series has sort of an old fashioned feel to it. They appear to be in a foggy or misty place, adding to the mystery of each shot. Many of them also incorporate in some way nature, or at least nature in a strange, compromised way. The ParkeHarrisons seem to be playing with the idea of man connected to nature, man trying to manipulate nature. Some of them remind me of Tim Burton movies, like Nightmare Before Christmas. They have a spooky, eerie feel. I found a blog that says they only do 10 prints a year. They do everything by hand, the old fashioned way. They sometimes add paint and bees wax to the final prints. They make all the props and sculptures themselves, and Robert is the character in the prints. I would love to see these up close!
Ansen Seale is a local San Antonio photographer. He is going to be on campus in two weeks to critique Larry’s class (yikes!!!). His photography is amazing, particularly his Temporal Form series. He uses something called a slit scan technique to create his images. They take the viewer into another world visually. They bring about the idea of time and space; the images seem to go on forever. The figures are floating and transforming. The movement of the figures twists them into grotesque yet beautiful shapes. The black and white skin tones create a landscape of flesh as it stretches across the black background. I enjoy seeing the nude figure portrayed in this unique way. If anyone wants to view his portfolio, google his name and his website will come up. Good stuff --jenelle
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Jay Gould is one of the professors that spoke to us about his work at the SPE Conference. His series of work called The Participatory Universe really inspired me. I especially love the print Fissure Erosion. During the lecture he said that this location to take a picture was pretty cliche, but he made it very different with his measurements and maps. I can’t stop thinking about the idea of putting photographs on graph paper and documenting them in an intellectual scientific way. Jay seems very knowledgeable in science, and we just learned in art history that Leonardo da Vinci said in order to be a better artist you must have an understanding of the human anatomy, mathematics, and science. I think this idea has worked very well for Jay. It’s very obvious that he puts a lot of time and thought into his work. Also he had personal stories that went along with each picture and why he took it. I got the feeling when he was presenting his work and talking about some of his photographs and manipulation to them that this is his way of trying to figure out and better understand the world. In some of his other photographs it seemed like he was trying to create stories that he would love to see or be real. I thought the photo he had on display was printed well. I love how most of the pictures in this series had drawings that continue the photograph, and after seeing his work I am really starting to enjoy color photography.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I was instructed by Professor Rowe to look at Robert Heinecken's work and it is ghastly. I appealed to these photos aesthetically and was drawn in by the fashion aspect of the images. Then I continue to examine the image and find a very intriguing artistic quality. I began to realize the opaque quality of the image overlapped with another image. These images have a very sexual appease mixed with a content of darkness or sensuality in a glamourous way. I did research on the artist and realized that this was what he was projecting. He says that he focuses on the use of sex in mass media not on the "spectrum" from fashion to pornography however as a "continuum". His statement though still fashion inspired was more of a commentary on how high fashion passes off sexual pornography appeal, poses, and ideals. This was even more interesting to me considering my passion for fashion. When breaking it down though high fashion is not pornography it is interesting as a model how I find myself doing very sensual, seductive poses. Never truly crossing the boundaries into pornography but possibly scraping the surfaces of that similar sensuality. It is appealing that Heinecken within his work is able to actually transfer his idea and concept to the viewer.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
In the spirit of Halloween!!
Ralph Eugene Meatyard is renowned for his images of children and adults wearing this cheap dollar store Halloween masks. His work has an eye for the setting and the pose, because of Meatyard’s ability to construct startling black and white contrasts from the paper he uses. This paper makes his images look like apparitions.
Meatyard dispensed with the murky backgrounds. These images relied entirely on the transgressive impact of his masked figures nonchalantly inhabiting the daylight world like regular folk, as if they belonged. This is what you are seeing in Occasion for Diriment.
I was just looking at some of Meatyard's work and remembered how on the first semester of photography I fell in love with his images, regardless of how creepy they were. They are just so beautiful-- they way they were printed and constructed. These images are something you could shoot any day, but he put this peculiar twist to them to give them his signature.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The bedroom is a place of intimacy, and a place that is personal. The extreme cleanliness of this bedroom feels stuffy, and un-lived in. Everything in the room is put away, neat, tidy. It is a "picture-perfect" bedroom. But a perfect bedroom, as we can see, does not make a perfect relationship.
The fact that the bed is made, along with the quality of light in the window means that it is either morning or evening- they are either just waking up, or just going to bed. In either case, the bed is uninviting. The sheets are not turned down. The man does not beckon to the woman. Even though she is in a slip and bra, which would cause most men to take notice, he does not even look her direction. In fact, she does not look at him either. They both seem lost in their own worlds, and their expressions are ones of sadness, loneliness, depression.
The woman holds a brush in her hand... but makes no effort to brush her hair. He looks at the floor. They both seem depressed. Whether they have just woken, or are about to go to bed, they don't look happy to be near each other. The distance between them puts emphasis on the idea of how far apart they are emotionally. The blue-ish light tones that encompass the room are somber and cold, and though the bathroom is a bit warmer, it is sterile feeling. Again, perfectly ordered, and stark in it's cleanliness.
The photograph implies that the couple is the perfect suburban couple. We see the house of the neighbors through the window. The beautiful bedroom. The vanity laden with perfumes and lotions, and her silky nightgown on the ottoman. The bedroom is elegant in it's decoration, with delicate curtains, and even places to sit and perhaps read and be cozy with a cup of coffee. But the mood, the distance, the colors all tell us that it is a lie. A front. The photograph is about two people who seemingly have everything, but are unhappy, and without love.
I opened up the Sunday paper and flipped to the S.A Life section. Right away, I was enamored with the image on the front of it's cover. A young girl, about the age of 6, with a large snake wrapped around her shoulders. She stares right into the camera lense while holding a rosary necklace in her two hands. Behind her stands a statue of a saint but it has been blurred. The image is called "Necklace" and was done by a Beaumont photographer named Keith Carter. He has been taking images since he was around 20 years old, taking after his mother who used to do commercial children's photography in their home. He stated that he never used to be interested in photography until one day he actually "looked" at one of his mother's images. Then he tried it and she complimented him and he never looked back! He is now 61 and has images in different galleries and shows constantly. I really enjoy how he manipulates the photographs so that they are dream-like and the focus is where he wants it. Many of his images are of children but he adds a sense of "darkness" to them. If you didn't get the paper you can google him---he is very interesting!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
In the process of working on a research project for my contemporary art history class I came across an artist in my book, Yayoi Kusama. What seemed to have caught my eye was that the image is a black and white picture and she is in dots. It is actually a performance piece but I still loved the way it photographed. Kusama is from Japan and most of her work has to do with childhood trauma. Growing up as a child she had hallucinations where herself and the environment she was in dissolved in a net or into dots. What I like about her work is that it is personal and that she takes something simple and ordinary like a dot and makes a statement with it.
The photo itself has motion with the dots and it keeps the eye moving and the orders of the dots are also sporadic. The shadows that are created from her body gives it depth, I read it as dark and light. I’m not sure if that could be a statement that she is trying to make. After reading her background the dots could be symbolic of the trauma that she has encountered and the fact that they are sporadic could relate to how they occurred in her life. Most of her work is done in dots and some are even site specific. Seeing dots on trees and in color is pretty cool. I goggled her and was fascinated by her work. I need to find time to go to the museum so maybe next time. Until then!
On Thursday I went to a lecture given by LA artist Richard Duardo here on campus. Duardo has been running a printmaking studio for 30 years and talked about his beginnings and changes and different people that he has worked with. Working with cyanotypes makes me realize how alternative process photography and printmaking can be very closly linked. During his lecture he explained the silk screening process he uses and the making of stencils, and use of film he has made from photoshopping techniques like our class did with the cyanotype contact sheets. He also talked about different artists that he has worked with and one that I have become curious about is named Banksy. He is an English street artist who does street stencils all around the world. His work is so well thought out and done that no one else has been able to do wht he does. The other thing about Banksy is that nobody knows his identity.
The thing about is work is that it is usually politically or culturally driven. He makes a statement of some sort. After Katrina he did works commenting on the loss that people delt with and the politcal breakdown of all levels of government during and after the hurricane. He has recently done political pieces in Israel commenting on the war.
So I started thinking about the process from beginning to end and what a job this must be. He starts out with a photograph of something, probably scans it and manipulates in in photoshop to get very high contrast images, prints several stencils for one piece depending on how many colors he uses, cuts them out, lugs them to his location, paints, all the while not letting anybody see him for fear of arrest or maybe even death. Now some street art is really crappy and without meaning, but his does have meaning and he is doing it for a purpose, and I respect that. Plus it is pretty brilliant imagery.
So if anyone is interested please check out Banksy and Richard Duardo who both in some format use the photographic medium for their process.
Esaki Reiji, Collage of Babies, 1893. Albumen photomontage, 27cm x 21cm
I walked into Larry’s office on Friday and I saw this huge, piercing red book on the history of Japanese photography. The images are beautiful and thoughtful in documenting people, places, and royalty. The two images above struck a chord with me because of their reference to the surrealist artworks of the 1920’s as well as photomontage. It’s interesting to think that that same aesthetic was around in late 19th century Japan. I don’t think the surrealist train of thought was around in Japan at that time, but I wonder what kind of influences Mr. Reiji had in creating this photomontage. All of the baby heads closely put together cause a dizzying spell over the viewer as the eye traces each little face. As I stare, I notice that some baby images are larger than others and as a result they stand out against the rest. Was this an aesthetic choice to control the “flow” of the image? And was there a reason behind making a collage of babies at all? Why infants? The color of albumen prints is a brownish, sepia tone that calls the idea of memory and past events. This tone adds a sense of nostalgia to the work. So that nostalgia along with the innocence of each infant’s expression creates a mood. The photographer must have felt confident enough to cut and manipulate photographs in general even though the process of making photos in that era was difficult to come by. I can only guess at the reasons but the image stands out along side the others in the book that represent 19th century Japanese photography.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Anyhow, this was just a jumping off point for me to get the feel of how a praxinoscope works and the kind of images you can capture through them. I understand that I'm working with sequence and narrative again...but my friends, that's the way the cookie crumbles!!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Kenda North, one of the speakers at the SPE Conference, spoke about some of her past work called Urban Pools. The collection that I particularly loved, were the pictures from the year 2006-2007. In that collection they were all under water pictures in color. One of the pictures was of a lady in a beautiful ruffled dress with bright red shoes and belt. I love the soft color of the silk white dress against the bold red accessories. In all her pictures she decides to compose her photographs without using the subjects head and it makes them so much more interesting to me. I would have never thought that choosing to not include a subjects head would have a strong outcome. I feel that the subjects head might have taken away from the beautiful clothing and it makes the dress the focal point in the picture. Now the viewer isn't distracted with outer beauty, you don't even question what might this woman's face looks like or even concern yourself with the age of the subject. Also the light reflecting off of the skin has the amazing designs the water makes when the sun filters through the water. Using that unique look definitely gives beauty to her subjects and a sense of perfection. The skin of the woman looks flawless which draws me in even further into this photo. The pose of the woman crossing her legs helps this feminine beauty she is presenting. I am so impressed with her ability to compose and shoot these wonderful underwater photographs.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
This week at the conference in Thibodaux Louisiana Jay Gould spoke about his work during a lecture. He talked about his series, The Participatory Universe in which he emphasizes the harmony between art and science. Both fields push boundaries and it was interesting to see the way he connected scientific concepts with a visual representation. He discussed the beauty he saw in graphs and lines which have strongly influenced his work as they incorporated in every piece. In the photo above he continues the lines from the frame above to the grid below. The pieces in this series are bored by grids and either graphs or scientific diagrams that he relates to his art.
"I got crabs in Louisiana." -Albert
This week i have been looking at the artist John Baldessari. He was originally a painter that hand painted phrase but this did not work out for him so he took commercial images and transformed them into his art. This is shown is my favorite of his pieces.To start off the colors chosen are pleasing to the eye, they are solid bright colors that catch your eyes at first glance. If they would have been dull or mute colors the piece would have not worked as well. The skin tones he chose are great because they add to the variety of colors used for the piece. The tones are not like his other pieces that stay grey and have the others colors bright. The composition is triangular meaning that the forms and figures make a triangle as you look at the photograph. My eye starts with the blue face, then pink arm, green face, and back to the blue face. There are also many angles created with the figures arms. I tend to focus on the bright color faces and limbs because of the forms created. I shapes created make it seem simplistic. The last thing that I began to stare at are the negative space because of the forms also created...I enjoy the negative spaces created in photographs. Baldessari was a great person to look at for the compositions he created and how he made the viewers eyes move throughout the piece.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Today we went to go see Alec Soth's work in the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans. His series is called "Sleeping By the Mississippi" and is a number of large-scale color photos taken by 4x5 view camera. I must admit that I love the concept behind his work. Mr. Soth travelled along the Mississippi River and photographed people and places that he felt evoked a sense of longing. Each image depicts either a person, or a place that shows evidence of human inhabitance or interaction. The scale of the photos, combined with the large amount of detail contained within each, provided for a graphically rich viewing experience. One of the photos that spoke to me was an image showing a crucifix on a hill in the middle of winter. The structure that the crucifix is attached to is actually an electrical wire support, with the lines moving down the hill to the right and out of sight. The detail of the image is such that one can even see a barn on a far hill and note that the upper story loft window on it is open, a tiny square of white sky seen through it. The scene gives hints of human presence, enough to make the absence of any humans in the winter scene almost palpable. The Jesus figure is white, like the snow, and the connotation of the electrical lines travelling out from it add additional depth of meaning. The entire body of work has a similar feel, with the human presence (or absence thereof) apparent, with some humor and irony mixed in quite well. It was a show well worth seeing and I would highly recommend checking out his works online as well.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Marfa, Texas. It's a small town in West Texas where artists and ranchers coexist. It has an unusual vibe with a constant underlying beat that attracts creators of all kind. I went this past weekend to the opening that is a presentation of Donald Judd's creation. Basically, the whole town is somehow associated with the Judd name. You will find him in your contemporary art book on the same page as the term "minimalism". It's six hours away from San Antonio, so the drive home is a good time period to think about his work. I think his work is minimal transcendentalism. It's cold but spiritual. It's mechanical but inviting.
The thing about the town and surrounding area is I think about "places" we choose to create our work in, and how are work is influenced by our surroundings. I took photographs with my eyes because I could have spent two weeks there taking shots and exploring. I just couldn't capture everything I wanted to in two days. This photo is by artist in residence there named Adam Davies. This is what the landscape looks like. This is a place I will contiually go back to. Think about where you choose to create, because it will influence the outcome.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Tonight I found Zoriah. This photographer travels to document real life in war and poverty. He has been in over 60 countries and lived in more than 20 of them to document the stories. He has been published in just about every documentary magazine. His images have been used on many documentary tv shows. He is an amazing photographer. This is exactly the type of work I would have loved to have done! This work makes me feel like I need to hurry up and get out there. The images above are that of some children in Kenya. One is of a little girl looking through a doorway. I love the focus in this image. The other is of a child looking for food ina dump site. What is so amazing is that it is almost like looking for Waldo. It takes awhile to find the figure--and then you understand that they are standing under a mountain of trash to find dinner. sad. This is so telling. This is my kind of photography!!!!! YAY!
Irving Penn passed away on Wednesday at age 92, so I thought it was only fitting that I blog about him this week.
Penn's photography extended from commercial style portraiture, to conceptual still life. He was one of the first photographers to use a background. He even went through a period where he used two backgrounds to make a corner set to "close in" his models. He did this to free them from distractions and make them more accessible to his camera.
Besides his fashion portraits, Irving Penn was also famous for his still life photography. He is known for his cigarette butt still lifes and his frozen foods.
These are well known, not only for their subject matter, but for their great detail and clarity. Penn had an eye for lighting and it shows in his work.
He will be greatly missed, but his work lives on.
For my blog, I looked up one of the photographers that was vying for the job that Libby got. Her name is Christine Shank. What she has on her website is called the Interior Series. She creates small dioramas of domestic scenes after a traumatic event. She makes the viewpoint so that the viewer is like a voyeur. She builds these sets, then photographs with a 4x5 camera. She prints in color to a size of 24x30, and displays them in shadow box frames. The titles are sort of ambiguous, to allow the viewer to come to their own conclusions. The photos are amazing. The tiny details of the dioramas are perfectly arranged. Each image and it's strange point of view draw you in. It makes you want to back away to see if maybe on the other side of the wall is more information. It makes you want to know more. She uses strong shadows and a soft focus in the foreground with a sharper focus in the back. These choices also help to draw the viewer in. The way she titles her pieces really forces the viewer to decide what happened in the scene. I imagine these images are even more amazing up close. I wish I had been able to see them when she gave her talk last semester. Here's a link to her website.
I have been reading articles online about contemporary photographers. One of them is Michael C. Howell. His work has been shown at the Joan Grona Gallery at Blue Star. He presented a body of photographs there in 2005 called LATENT DENSITIES: DIALOG VIA CHEMIGRAMS that explores the idea of language or a conversation between forms. In his artist statement he states that he is trying to create a dialogue by presenting one side of the conversation (the images) while the viewer provides the other side. I often think about the source and the philosophy of language or how we put a sound to a feeling or observation in order to communicate. There are many forms of communication therefore there are many forms of language. I’m not just talking about different spoken languages such as Spanish or French, but rather unspoken communication on a subconscious level. I like that Howell is stating that even images can talk to you because that is a form of subconscious communication. It’s almost like body language or expression. He is using a process called a chemigram where one applies painter’s materials to photographic paper and exposes it in well-lit areas (he doesn’t use a darkroom). Each image is a different statement in the conversation.
Friday, October 9, 2009
90". The orchid jumps off the canvas and demands attention. It is delicate yet overwhelmingly demanding. The brightness of the petals and the darkness of the background really make this flower stand out. The flattness of the background seems to hold the flower to the piece, in a sence, it flattens the whole piece. The organic lines created by the edges of the paints meeting helps the petals flow like they are moving with an unknown wind. The variety of the lines helps pull the viewer's eyes to the center of the orchid. I enjoy this painting because the artist has taken something meek and made it into a dominating beauty. This painting is peaceful and fierce at the same time. The organic shapes I see in this piece give me a feeling of spinning and being that this flower is not anchored to the sides gives the view the feeling of floating or hovering.
I have a picture of this piece but it does it no justice so I recommend that you take the time to see this painting and all the others. Thanks for reading.
Here is a link to his sito: http://ryantakaba.com/home.html
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Hi everybody. Yesterday on the front of the San Antonio Express News paper was a photograph of the oldest and only Humble Gas Station left in the country. As alot of people know, I am very interested in photographing buildings, structures, anything related to general architecture, and this gas staion has been a subject of mine a few times. It's old, graffitied out, vacant, scary at night, shelter for homeless, located slightly under 35, basically it's not very noticeable. Ok well after doing some research on this place, it was built in the 1930's, and the reason I find it so interesting are the beautiful little features that is still has after all these years. The tile work is amazing and looks like it was carefully planned. The shape of the building is like no other gas station I've seen. The proud signage still quietly tells people what it's purpose used to be.
The reason I like to photograph places like this is simply for preservation of history. I wonder about all of the people that were once related to this place and their lives and livlihood. I wonder about all the change that is contiually happening in cities, the tearing down of old places and building of new. By photographing places like this we keep a record of our history and we can learn from these images. These places have stories, and I as a photographer have chosen to preserve them through photographs.
Well I was happy to read in the newspaper that the Humble Station is a candidate for being a site registered in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This means it won't be torn down, turned into a Quizno's and forgotton. Yay. I also learned from the newspaper article that San Antonio has an attorney named Audrey Zamora-Johnson that actually works in this field of histoic preservation and that is awsome!
So there are twelve other finalists in the running and right now I think our Humble is in second place, so I am asking people to vote for it. Here is a link, you can vote for it everyday until October 9th. Thank you, if you are interested in shooting or seeing this place let me know I will give you directions and/or go with you.:)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Right now, through February 21, 2010 you can see "Culinary Delights: Photographs by David Halliday," at the San Antonio Museum of Art. The photographs are a celebration of food through both black and white, and color photography. All of Halliday's images are shot with film, although it is just recently that he found his love for color in photographs.
When shooting in black and white, Halliday develops his prints as sepia-toned silver gelatin prints in the darkroom, and when shooting in color, he scans the film into the computer and does some work in photoshop. By scanning into the computer he is able to recreate the exact color, or achieve a result he was unable to achieve in the camera by tweaking the images. Halliday compares photoshop to being in the darkroom, which I think is an excellent comparison. Dodging, burning, adjusting contrast and color saturation, etc., are all darkroom essentials, and photoshop is a simply another tool with which a photographer is able to achieve the desired result.
Halliday had a career as a chef in New Orleans, when his love for photography began to take over. He remembers photographing a still-life, an arrangement of hats that had caught his eye, and being amazed at the beauty of it. From this point on he began setting up different food items in aesthetically pleasing arrangements which seem to give the food sense of life, of anthropomorphism. His sense of light and tonality, and the clarity of his images is astounding. No image loses a single detail, and even the frames serve only to accentuate the beauty and precision of his work.
When looking at Halliday's photographs, either in sepia, or color, one cannot help but notice the reference to classical and traditional still-life paintings... but Halliday brings his own style to the images. He celebrates the form of his subject, and gives it a life and personality of it's own. Also. it seems that he brings from his life as a chef not only his subject matter, but his timing, his precision, his presentation. He himself said that the two are similar in that one must pay attention to the subtleties. And let me tell you, his subtleties are what make his images simply delectable!
I guess you would call these pieces mixed media collages rather than photo collages, although they do include photography in them.
They are part of the artist's "Making Nice" series, and are presented on large paper sacks. Like the ones you would get at the grocery store if you asked for paper instead of plastic.
The photographic images look like they might be appropriated. They remind me of the images you'd see on those old dress pattern packages that you can buy in fabric stores. Especially since all of the images are of females. The artist has attached some hand drawn animal heads to all of the figures, giving them a cartoon look. She has also painted on some circular patterns in black and white in the background.
I thought these images were really amusing. I always enjoy seeing photography mixed with other medias, and I found this a nice example of that.
You can see this series and more of her work on her website.
This First Friday I went down to the Blue Star Complex and before we left we went into one of the smaller galleries, and the artist Keri Coar had about 8 floral photographic prints that caught my eye. I’m not sure of the name of the gallery, I thought I would be able to find some information online, but I can’t even find anything about the artist. First of all, I’ve never seen pictures that have this tone of metallic green, pinks and off whites. It almost looked like the flowers were overexposed and then maybe some alternative process was used. It also looks like maybe they could have been hand colored or even painted but there was no evidence of paint strokes. I have no idea how these prints were created, but I hope that they weren’t photoshopped. That would take all the uniqueness and interest out of it for me. I’m not against using Photoshop, but I do believe that it takes a lot less skill to produce work with a few clicks. Assuming they were done in a darkroom, Keri has mastered making the photographs consistent. Together on the wall, they made a nice collection and made the subject more interesting. The dull colors and the softness of the lines made the photos very calming and the use of negative and positive space was executed well. Although, I do wonder why there wasn’t anything in the background behind the flowers. So I’m torn. My conclusion is that it’s either a loss of detail, which is understandable or Photoshop.
Larry often shows slide images of various artists during class. Lately he’s been showing the class those artists who use the view camera; one of them was Richard Misrach. The images of the desert were taken in the 1970’s with a view camera and he used various split toning techniques to enhance his detailed B&W images. He used long exposure times at night in the desert along with strobe lighting techniques to get the results you see above. I read that even Misrach himself cannot reproduce these images. This is because in 1978 Agfa reduced the amount of silver in the film that Misrach was using and consequently he could not get the same results. The stark contrast in his images and the juxtaposition of each desert figure all printed with his split tone technique creates surreal landscapes. The use of the view camera gave clear detail that can only be given by large format cameras when shooting with film. Misrach continues to make photographs and recently exhibited in the Fraenkel Gallery early this year (January and February). Despite the beautiful detail given by his large format, he no longer uses film. Instead, his new work is digitally shot with a high tech digital camera that produces high quality detail. An added flip to his technique is the use of color instead of his stark B&W images of the 1970’s. He compiles positive and negative images that, along with the colorful tones, create the surreal landscapes that he is known for. If you google his name and fraenkel gallery you can see his new work. His older desert scenes are a little more difficult to find. Someone blogged about his work and had the image that I attached above. Or you can google image search his desert images because they’re awesome.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Throughout my growth as a photographer, I have always come back to the same concept of catching life as it is happening and documenting it. Catching in history the lives of real people; some people you know, others you just find interesting. The problem with this is its been done. How do you make it your own? How do you capture the moment with surprise in order to get the action and not the pose. I stumbled across this photographer named Jerome Liebling. I feel like he is successful in catching people in the moment. Although the people are looking into the camera, you feel the sense of surprise, like they were caught off guard. This is what i think that most of my work is missing. I think that I know too many people who are comfortable in front of a camera. Sometimes this can be a good thing...like modeling for instance, but for what I am going for....well, it sucks! Another thing that Liebling tends to capture in his photo is the motion, as if the world around this lady is still moving at a fast pace...almost like she is frozen in time. It gives the photo a sense of "I caught you, now what". This really peeks my interst. Perhaps I shall try this. Maybe with my family...bc we all know that everyone has CRAZY in there family. Why not capture it?
I had the chance to go to First Thursday last night. I was happy to see that Michael Berman's work was still hanging in the Blue Star. His prints are taken from a large format camera, digitally printed on fine art paper. There are about twenty prints in the large gallery that are grouped with about 5 pieces by Julian Cardona. Berman and Cardona were trying to study the desert Southwest and the areas of border crossing. Cardona's work is more softly focused and seems to be more about the people. Berman's are mostly landscape shots. Berman's work are printed quite large, with simple black frames. They are all printed in black and white. Some contain seemingly strange items (trash, box spring, etc) that were what was left behind by those trying to get across the border. The one that affected me most was "Pool and Palms". It shows an obviously abandoned in ground pool that has graffiti all over the walls. There are uncared for palms behind the pool. The viewer can see that this was once a beautiful yard, now deserted. Aside from the subject matter, the print is beautiful. The viewer can see every tiny detail, the grains of sand, even the texture of the pool's concrete. Many of his prints were landscape shots. With no other content, the lines of the sand dunes, horizon, etc. were more obvious. These were visually stunning.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I didn’t get any images of the other work up in the same show, but they were unrelated to the one above. I really didn’t know what the concept of the show was as a whole. Other images made a comment towards 9/11. For example, there were two images, 8x10, with a section of a building filling up the frame with vertical lines and windows. Within this were tiny specs which, when seen up close, were actual people who jumped out of the towers. I realize now that explaining this in words sounds a little more powerful than the images in front of me. They seemed so deadpan; no emotion was conjured up even though the subject was intense. The people falling were so small that one couldn’t see any expression, just a faint shape of human figures falling. There was no smoke or fire anywhere in the frame. I don’t know what the artist was trying to say because I didn’t see any artist statement (maybe I walked past it?). It is possible that the artist purposely didn’t want any horrendous scene of fire and terror. Maybe they just wanted a simple and small glimpse at a huge, historic occurrence. But I’m just making that up to try to make sense of it all. If anybody else goes to see the show, you should let me know what you think.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sorry, this is a day late. No excuses, I just flat out forgot...
I took Libby's advice from her comment on my entry on Judith Golden, and looked at Josefa Mulaire's work.
Josefa also works with collage, among other things.
Her collages are portraits of her family members. But, not all of the images in the collages are body parts of the person they represent. In the picture I've posted, she has done a portrait of her son. I lot of the images make up his face and body, but a lot of them are crayon scribbles. I assume these are drawings done by her son, and I think it's a fun idea to include them in his portrait. I also really like that she included his shadow to the right.
She has two more collages up on her site of other family members. These ones are of adults, and so some of the images show things that are a little more explicit. One portrait of a woman has an image of a black eye, as well as rashes and injuries.
Even if these are a little uncomfortable to look at, they are really interesting. They are not your typical portraits and they allow you a little more insight into the subject's life.
I encourage you to look at her work, you can find it at her site here.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
just recently i have been looking at many artist and the ones that interest me the most are the ones that have a process to their work. i enjoying knowing what they did to get their result even though its like pulling back the curtain and revealing the wizard. one artist that i have seen in the past but always come back to is ann hamilton. i have discovered some images of hers that are pin hole photos but the camera is made to fit into her mouth. the idea of having a camera like this is crazy to think about...i would have never been able to even fathom anything like this. the images she has with this camera are portraits but they are great to look at. the images are not all clear but the process intrigues me to look at them longer.
This week at the Blue Star Arts complex I was drawn into the main galley by the appealing black and white photographs of Julian Cardona. Under initial inspection and personal critique I noticed that the photographs were reminiscent of pictures that are commonly scene in today’s media. After walking through the gallery and taking in the entire portfolio I started to understand the subjects and what Julian was trying to achieve. Julian photographs a lot of subjects. My initial thoughts were that they were somewhat random, but it all fell into place when the entire collection was taken into consideration. Julian seems to try and capture life in action and subjects near the boarder performing everyday functions. Julian’s angle of capture is somewhat skewed from the “standard” which makes the work interesting. The interesting angles provide a different look into the subject and what they are performing, whether it is people hurting emotionally or a devastating landfill. The shots of human subjects are moving considering the emotions that are keyed by the pose of the subject and the environment they are in. There are some photos of mass devastation in a house, that are similar to what was produced by the media during Hurricane Katrina and the Los Angles Fires of this summer, these bring out a sympathetic appeal for the audience that has seen a devastating disaster first hand. In conclusion I believe that his work was very successful and would definitely recommend viewing his work. If his work doesn’t appeal the first time thorough, give it a second chance and try and understand the deeper meaning the artist is trying to convey through the photographs.