Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It is about to be the season for me to feel it's okay to stay in the darkroom on a Saturday with only a brief foray outside for exercise and/or photography. It's going to be cold and nasty, and the warm womby darkroom will be a happy place to work without regrets for the lack of outdoor exposure.

It's a great tribute to master photographers that their "vintage" prints (those made at or near the time of their taking or their initial printing even if at a later date) are regarded as prime by dealers and gallerists. For those of us who inhabit a lesser sphere, the revelation that later printing that has had the benefit of long term percolation can vastly improve our initial attempts can be dramatic and thrilling. Below are three photographs that have been posted here before, but have been floundering around in my head as not very worthwhile as final prints. Using the magic of Photoshop as a tool with which to play, I've altered the original rather prosaic virtual "prints" into versions I'm far happier with and which I can very competently render in the darkroom with my traditional workflow.

So... what you see here is typical of the kind of work I'll be doing for the near future...i.e revisiting old work, and printing what I've not been able to get to. There may not be much or anything new, and there may be untypical lapses in posting, but I'm working on making better final images than ever, and that takes time.......

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn has come to the wetland, and with it the wind and the rich color that fades all too soon. For one who photographs in monochrome, it's a challenge to separate value from chroma knowing that only the values will be registered on film. The two images below were made to record the wind (the leaves are a mess...almost unidentifiable) in the tree, and the suppliance of the reeds.

What these two photographs represent is a pleasant memory of a quiet, and tranquil walk in a place that has become as intimately known to me as my own face. Neither is remarkable, nor particularly memorable, but if they were pages in a book about this wonderful, simple place, they would certainly belong there as much as any other.

I spent some amiable time that afternoon talking to a couple of delightful people who have known this terrain for some 80 years. They were enjoying a walk on ground they've known a generation longer than I've been alive. Their love for each other was palpable..profoundly comfortable, and deeply, deeply familiar. Both have wonderful faces that speak of a rich, and happy life together. I'm beginning to view my relationship with the wetland in a similar way.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

As this is a blog, and not a website where the posted work should be the best one can make, this entry is just a "for instance". It's an example of the dilemma that confronts the photographer who is still loyal to the imperatives of modernism as defined by Adams, Weston, and their legions of disciples who continue to make photographs in that tradition to this day. But also, a photographer who's imagination is entertained by revisiting the pictorialists and their many modern practitioners who've reinvented that art and revitalized it. "Alt processes" now inhabit the photographic landscape in significant numbers, perhaps because artists demand to have a robust and active hand in making their art rather than to have to slavishly serve the authors of algorithms.

The pictures below are two versions of the same scene at nearly the same time. I had gotten to this place (Lakes Road beside the east end of Walton Lake...that's in "upstate" Orange County, New York, folks) just a bit too late for the excellent light that had been there moments before. I decided to play with selective focus, and sharp focus because I'm more and more intrigued by the former after being addicted to the latter for most of my work. Were the light on the foreground leaves, the top image would have been the clear choice for me. As it had just disappeared, the bottom 'graph made sense because of the graphic values that remained. Neither will be likely to ever be printed, but these have value to me as lessons learned...or at least considered. And, the exercise serves as one more invitation to be more playful and experimental. It's an amusing mystery to imagine what my posts might look like two years from now....Yikes!