Ah, spring has sprung. The sun is bright, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and my mailboxes both snail mail and email are filled with invitations to participate in the warm season rite of…. The Art Fair.
Now, most of these are, to be honest, Art & Craft fairs……
An excuse for the community to get out of the house, spend some money (or not), eat junk food, and maybe, if they are very lucky, get some exposure to a bit of “art”.
I have only once, many years ago, been an exhibitor at one of these affairs. It took only the one time for me to decide that this was not the way I wanted /needed to go. I was just not comfortable in that venue. Over the years, however, many of my students, as they began their careers, used this venue as a means of making some extra money and, more importantly, getting necessary feedback on their work.
Sometimes use of this venue can provide good input and some practice getting your “elevator story” honed to perfection. Other times you may find yourself in between the woman who desiccates field mice and dresses them in her handmade outfits and the chainsaw wood carver. “what, you want to buy a print??? speak up ….can’t hear you over the chainsaw.”
It is spring and in the spring a photographers heart turns to “Fish Decoys” ??
Now, I am not a fisherman but I used to hunt a duck or two. Does a fish decoy float atop the lake to draw in migrating fish from their flight path? And then, do we shoot them or try to hit them with a well placed fly?
OK, I am just having a bit of fun. But I could not resist the combination of the incongruous sign and the wonderful magnolia tree in full bloom just behind it. Ahhh, spring !
I think that a shadow has as much “weight” as the real thing, especially in black & white which is sort of abstract to begin with. In this case we see the real against the unreal, the light against the dark, and the vertical against the horizontal. Think about it, which is “more real”….the dark, weighty tree shadow or the lighter, softer side of the old building?
One of the great things about the art of photography is that we get to choose how things are expressed and to some degree how they are experienced by the viewer. They may not always agree with us due to their own background, training, and viewpoint but the goal of causing the viewer to respond is a worthy achievement. The type of response is less important than the act of response. To receive a response, any response, is to have touched the viewer in some way and that is one of the goals of art.
Things look and feel different at night. The lights come from a different direction casting shadows that are not seen in daylight. Pathways, that in daylight have children running and playing on them, are now the stuff of dreams and magic. Doorways to the unknown. Paths to strange realms and new dimensions of thought. Perhaps a ghost or a spirit walks here with you as your personal guide on this journey. Welcome them for this is the time of exploration.
I usually work in black and white since I feel that it is more expressive than color. There are times however when at least some part of the image should be in color. A friend showed us his wedding album last night after dinner. The wedding photog had done some black and white portrait work with only the flowers in color. I know that it was done in digital……but, sometimes it just happens in “real life”.
I have always liked old buildings, mostly for the texture and tone in the wood. As it weathers it takes on a personality of its own. Aging with the worry lines and laugh lines of a well spent life.
This one has a spot of color and with the color a bit of pride.
I have been in the darkroom all day exercising the ferret. Thought I would share this with you. I rather like the “beauty in chaos” that I am sure the original owner never saw.
It helps to have a distance on things. Sometimes that is a spacial distance. Sometimes it is a distance in time. I am not nostalgic. I do not believe that things were better in the old days. I enjoy my modern cameras and my indoor plumbing. But sometimes I think that things may have been more picturesque in days gone by or maybe it just seems that way to my modern eyes.
One evening in class my students were having a discussion about where to go to find good photos. Many of the national parks were mentioned, state parks,, city parks, and many areas in other states. The general consensus seemed to be that there was nothing around here to photograph. When I pointed out that we have a good selection of subjects right in this area what I heard was, “we’ve done all that”. So, just for discussion, I went out to see what I could find in a limited time. What I did was what any man would do, I took my wife out to dinner. It is a 17 mile drive from our house to the restaurant. What could I find on this very ordinary 17 mile drive?
Well, it took about 2 hours to travel the 17 miles and I only stopped because my very patient (hungry) wife was starting to chew on the car seats and it was about to rain. Almost 3 rolls of Tri X and I still had not even come close to running out of subject matter. This photo is one that was taken that evening. It shows the storm front moving in……..we made it to the Cracker Barrel just as the rain started. A very well spent 2 hours, this “Going To Dinner” project resulted in 3 local shows over the next year.
The camera used was another interesting item. I had been talking in class about how the camera does not matter, about how it is just a tool and how it is the “grey filter” behind the eye piece that is the most important. My wife, having heard about this lesson, found the little gem I used on this project at the local thrift store. It cost all of $20.00! It is a Yashica GTN. A fixed lens rangefinder with auto exposure made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The lens is very sharp and although you would not think that the meter would be any good in a camera this old it really works very well.
A busy week for me. New carpet for the house and 20 new prints to get ready for the Springfield show which starts May 1st. Sometimes I think that I spend all my time in the darkroom. At least it seems like it when I am pushing the deadline for a show.
I really think that there are two of me, a happy carefree artist using the camera as a visual sketch book and the ferret who lives in the dark making prints. The artist of course tries to make it easy on the ferret by bringing home the best negative possible but the ferret still emerges blurry eyed from long sessions in the darkroom.
My goal for the next 28 days is to get this blog really up and running. I joined a 28 day Artist Breakthrough Program. My goal is to establish a blog and get it running smoothly. This is day 4 and it seems to be going well.
I know; carpet disruption, a 20 print deadline in 2 weeks, and this…..
I seem to work best under pressure. My work method is to stack up several things that “have to be done…NOW” and then do them all at once. Sounds silly but it works for me.