I’ve got until Sunday to cover 400 pages- midterms. [Insert scream here!]
Midterms (and finals) are always so much freaking pressure! I’m still at a B+ in Behavioral Neuroscience and a strong A in Cognitive Psychology, but any ole way you slice it- midterms are crazy. I find myself using straight up avoidance (which is actually worse than denial, because at least with denial, you’re not always aware that you’re in denial, but with avoidance, it’s sort of like knowing you’re in denial and choosing to do so anyway- and yes, I’m aware that I’m starting to sound like a psychologist!) and so it’s Friday night and I’m down to the wire.
What am I doing? Installing Still Life II. I actually get to be the detective and the abducted person who’s trapped in the psycho serial killer’s booby trap-laden house (think : “Saw”).
Avoidance. Utter, blatant avoidance.
But fun! 🙂
And this is for you, Gav. I know you’ve been down lately, and you’re not feeling much inspired, but I want you to know just how much you inspire me. I have so much respect for you because over the past 8 years or so that I’ve known you (originally from Redbubble) but here too these past few years, you go out – day after day- and shoot nothing but black and white/monochrome. Street scenes, people- life. And, you have a prominent talent with shadows and lighting- which I love. I’ve only shared this with one other person, but I’ve decided to devote an entire year- all of 2015- to solely black and white/monochromatic photography. No colour allowed! For an entire year. it’s going to be great. 🙂 So, while you feel “blah” lately, please know that your work and talent continues to inspire others. This is for you:
I awoke yesterday morning to this beautiful sight: shadows on my tent wall. I can’t describe my semi-obsession with shadows, even still- after years of photographing and studying them. When I’m surrounded by them, or even in their presence, I feel as if I’m with friends. They move and change and shift and breathe and swell and grow; so many times I’ve been too full of words to say anything and I’ve sat silently among them- as still as a stone- and they moved for me.
They tell stories. They have seen thousands of years and they speak- but not with words. In pictures.
Lately, I’ve been battling this inner identity war: the artist vs. the academic. My mind tells me that I must finish my degree and then pursue a second one in Criminology and Law. It’s my destiny: I’m going to help people. I’m going to stack up a few more certificates along the way (perhaps) and continue to strive in my work so that I can be of some value to others. But the academic is murdering the artist. The artist is now anorexic and throwing fits and lashing out- and really, do I really want to wait until I’m in my 50’s before I do gallery showings and such? Probably 80% of my closest friends have had numerous juried-in showings, publishings, and commercial successes. I want to work on my “Habitat” series and future showing, probably in New York, but I won’t ever do that as long as I’m in school. I simply cannot do both. I’m the first person to go to college in my family- at least on this side of Texas- and then there is only one who has beside me. I come from a family of women who believe that their roles
do not cannot extend further than the bedroom and the kitchen, and then those roles are still firmly instilled into them by a man, or, patriarch.
My free-thinking, wild, Bohemian daughter (Heidi) opened my eyes to exactly how medieval that all is, and she is my strongest influence and inspiration over the years. She’s had her brow and septum pierced, sports a rather large tattoo on her left shoulder, has died her hair pink, green, yellow and blue (was blue in there too?) and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I know that I’ll probably be in school for another three years at least, and then what? Will I be fulfilled as a parole officer? A probation officer? My “artist self” is throwing a fit. I want to take pictures! I want to edit. I want to write poetry again- something I haven’t done in almost two decades. The artist isn’t dying, only sleeping, but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. I want to record my songs and produce again- so many things I want to do that will simply have to wait.
And so I will.
Josh smiles wryly in the dark, holding the pinhole camera he’s building for me.
I have a slight obsession with the pinhole. He created an aperture hole by poking an attached slice of a coke can (that was firmly fixed to the inside of a wooden box) with a guitar string. We picked up some 200 ISO film last night, and we’re going out today to test it out. A homemade pinhole camera!
School is out.
Autumn is dead.
Winter is here.
This is when I come alive. 🙂
I can’t explain my attraction to ugly things.
In my years of rubbing elbows with many professional photographers, somewhere along the way I grew tired of perfection. “Textbook”.
It bothers me that people starting out in photography are being told that their images need to be “crystal clear”. Digital noise is considered a big-time no no. As a matter of fact, if there is grain and noise in an image, it’s even considered amateurish. But I like to go against the grain. (Pah tah bomp!)
The majority of people I know keep their cameras in “P” mode (and no folks, that does not mean “professional”). So few people shoot in manual any more!
People ask me questions about my images; they’re wanting to develop their own style. I tell them to break every rule they can.
Somewhere along the way, I fell out of love with “picture perfect” and decided to do my own thing.
I’m going to muck up my images with digital noise and a deliberate high ISO field.
Above all, I want to express mood.
For me, this means speaking with the light. (Exposure, ISO, and so on.)
Instead of “finding the light” in the frame, I study the shadows.
I begin with the darkened shadows and work the light into my photo (instead of the other way around).
Very film noir.
Such as my kitchen chair.
How do you make a kitchen chair tell a story?
How do you make it express a particular mood?
By finding the ugliness in a subject- I find its truth.
I loved the way the lighting was wrapping itself around the lines in this chair.
It makes me uncomfortable to look at this. It’s edgy. Dark. Somber.
Who would want to sit in that chair?!
But I find it terribly beautiful.
Try as I might, I can’t get away from this style.
It’s become who I am.
And I’m alright with it..
Shot in monochrome/ISO: 50/Manual exposure f/2
Sh. Sp.-1/20th sec.
I decided to convert my collage (Pain in Rainbows) over into a digitally rendered fauvist styled painting on stone. I rather liked the way it came out. While I wasn’t planning on sharing my arachnoid cyst situation with all of Australia, I wanted to include my Aussie friends (all of whom are artists: sculptors, writers, and painters) as we’ve all been close for about six years now.
I feel pretty fortunate to have such a great group of friends. Many have solo exhibitions and are quite successful in the art world. And, a finer bunch of people I’ve never known.
The site I’m referring to is Redbubble. I’ve been there six years. Hmm…maybe seven.
I really don’t like pop art. Never cared for the Marylin coloured collage or the tomato soup cans (though I admit that I was thoroughly infatuated with the life of Warhol and have much respect for his talent). I decided to mingle the style of pop art with my love of B&W to examine and interpret my migraine pain. I suppose it could convey most any pain. After all, we all live with pain- whether emotional or physical- but none escape it. Like art, music, laughter, joy, and death- pain is a language that needs no interpreter.
I have recently found my Canon G3 battery charger. The camera is absolutely obslete on todays market, but I know that camera better than my own skin. I cut my teeth on that camera (manual exposure, shooting in monochrome, manipulating the lighting and shadows, and so on).
I think the problems many artists and photographers face today are due to the fact that the modern digital cameras are so “capable” that the user need only click one main button, “auto”, and the camera “does it all”. While it can mimic the accuracy to a degree, it cannot automatically shape and mold the light on a level that one can attain if he or she manually adjusts the settings. It’s like comparing a bologna sandwhich to foie gras. Or, Vienna Sausages to caviar. If a person doesn’t know how to shoot in manual, he or she may still be able to create an effective image, especially in Lightroom, GIMP (which is what I use), or Photoshop, but then it falls into digital artistry and not so much “photography”.
If you are curious to know what kind of a photographer you are, throw your DSLR (or P&S) in MANUAL, as well as MONOCHROME, and go out during the golden hour as well as high noon- then look at the stills. When you can take a batch of photos that aren’t blown out, hot- and bleeding here or there- you’re ready to move on to a more advanced camera.
There’s really no point in getting a fancy camera if you don’t know how to shoot in all manual! I can’t say this enough. And the truth is, about 80% of all of us photogs that have high end cameras are LAZY. (Notice I said “us”.) Very few actually shoot in manual mode, much less understand how to.
If I had a big rig, I’d be the laziest photog in the world.
Thank God for innovation and ghetto-rigging.
Well my head has been splitting open for going on two days straight.
Even so, I had a little melody playing today in my heart when I woke up.
I layed out the skeleton this morning, and pretty much made up the last bits as I went along. It’s still in its concept form.
(I used an alias at YouTube. I’m enjoying my little bloggy hiding place here. Very, very quiet. Nice. 🙂
I wandered around the streets of my hometown on New Year’s Eve in search of “subjects”. I wanted to shoot people but the place was like a ghost town! I’m so drawn to shadows and still life, I’m wondering how I will ever break out of this pattern if I want to venture into street photography. I don’t want to be a simple point-snd-shooter. Composition means everything to me, as do strong lines. I drove to Times Square once, in New York City, and shot street photography at night. My bags had been packed and waiting by the door to go to Texas (from Indiana). my Aunt had been sick and my daughter and I were on our way to see them. They cancelled at the last minute, and so we found ourselves with packed bags, $1,000 and no where to go. I told my daughter to pick a place, anywhere in the U.S. and that’s where we would go. She said, “What about New York?” And so, the next day, we found ourselves driving straight into the belly of the beast: Times Square. Here are some of my photos from that trip: (All photos are shot in manual + natural lighting/no flash.)
Times Square at night, New York, New york
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
Modern Day Vintage w/ film grain- Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70
A mass of people simming in the city sea. W. 45th St.
Near Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
I had crawled up to this pigeon in the rain.
The guy was eating. I was watching him. The pigeon was watching me.
Then I was watching the pigeon.
Then the guy was watching me. Then he jumped out of the frame.
I smiled politely. Then I snapped away.
Hurley’s. Manhattan, New York and a little bit of GIMP.
Canon Rebel XSI/Sigma 17-70
Muesum of modern Art
New York, New York
A small crowd gathers to study Monet’s Water Lilies.
Canon Rebel XSI- Sigma 17-70
Overlooking Broadway from the Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel. Nice place! Even if the eggs are $9.00.
Coffee for breakfast.
Hanging out on Broadway at Times Square. Everything sizzled with energy. The smell of hotdogs permeated everything and there really was steam coming out of the sewers. Just like in the movies. Horns honked. taxis were a streak of canary yellow and the rain drizzled lightly. It was another world. Swarms of people hustled about- headphones attached, eyes making no contact- disappearing into the night.
The beauty of motion blur/long exposure. One of my many passions in photography.
Broadway in classic “Old Hollywood” black and white.
I was almost laying in the street for this one. I like wide angle shots, and prefer verticals over horizontals. I’ve been shooting verticals for years- and my eye is trained for this type of composition. I feel so vulnerable regarding horizontal composition, in comparison. I’m hoping to practice up in that area over the next year.
As seen from my hotel window at night, overlooking Broadway. I was sitting on the executive office desk Indian style, lens pressed to the glass- full panoramic view. I could see the people in the buildings across from me working out at their office gyms, after hours. I wonder if they could see me.
I was fascinated that behind all of the glitz and glamour of Broadway, this is what it boils down to. The viewers arrived (on Broadway) around the corner in limousines, draped in diamonds, but the stars came in through this humble stage door, accompanied by the grimiest dumpster I had ever seen.
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
When I walked into the room, it was as if this guy had been waiting for me.
I immediately sunk to my knees and hunkered down to the floor as low as I could go, loweing the exposure so I could get a good silhouette.
I thought it called for a vintage texture (it’s actually about 7 textures combined) and lots and lots of GIMP. I titled the print “Therapy” and sold a matted canvas to a mystery buyer at Redbubble.com for $175.00.
That put a smile on my face.
Museum of Modern Art. I was in the hallway and saw this guy walking up the stairs. It called for a diagonal composition. (Makes me think of Escher, one of my favourite artsits, second to Van Gogh only.)
New York just wouldn’t be the same without its generous splash of fire escapes throughout the city.
But I digress.
Here are a few shots from my walk-around on New Years Eve. The shadows told me it was the right time to go out and shoot.
Film noir/B&W-shadows- it’s where I live.
The streets were completely abandoned on New Year’s Eve. I loved it.
My mother and I rung in the New Year alone in her apartment. She was tucked into her comfy chair and I read to her for an hour out of my book: Anthology of American Poets. (Poe, Dickenson, Longfellow, Frost, and about twelve others.) It was so old fashioned and simple. I took this shot of her two cats in the early afternoon on New Year’s Day. Both cats are black and white. So, this is a black and white shot in black and white of two black and white cats:
My mother’s lamp.
There’s almost nothing more beautiful to me than film grain with a dash of gaussian blur.
In black and white, of course. Heavy on the black.
Canon G3/natural lighting/manual exposure
Most of my friends are artists, painters, and photographers who have solo exhibitions. Sometimes my artographer acquaintances will title their images with a super-long, melodramatic sequence of events (that should be written in volumes), such as:
Although the Winds Beckon Me to Run High Upon the Mountaintop Nevertheless I Will Walk Along this Broken Trail
(Yes, I just made that up.)
I say, call a fork a fork.
Natural window lighting/RAW/handheld/film grain/GIMP/Canon G3/study in lighting and shadows
I took this shot of my son earlier this evening. This is the look I want to achieve with my digital phtography: low-light film.
Exposure: 1/3 of a sec./ISO 100/F. 2.07/handheld/manual/RAW/Canon G3 (I snuck up on him while at the computer.)
When I walked by him, I saw the glow of light on his face (my mind saw it in black and white) and I knew I had to get it.
This was shot in black and white. I find that after shooting in black and white for a while, my eye becomes trained on shapes and lines, and where the light falls off and where it is introduced. I’m forced to see the many shades of blacks, whites, grays, and all of the beautiful tones within. The beauty of shooting in RAW is having it automatically converted into colour once it’s loaded in my editor. (I use GIMP.) So, I shoot in black and white, and the results are colour- but with far better lighting than if I had shot it in colour.
This past year has been a hectic one. I sold my Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70 + 50 MM 1.8 + Canon EF 75-300 + Canon EF 18-55 for rent $ and bills when the recession hit. I was left only with my 4 MP Canon G3. I’ve been shooting with that thing for nine months straight now. (Yes, I have cried tears!) This forced me to become a more creative photographer and artist. I chose to shoot in only manual (RAW), adjusting my aperture and shutter speed (and ISO). Naturally, this is more work, but it bonds me to the creative process. We labour together, the camera and I. I want dynamic lighting and shadows and I want film grain. I want motion blur. I want to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. I have no resolutions for 2012. I only have the desire to be a good mother, an inspiration to others where my work is concerned, and the courage to continue shooting in manual when my new camera arrives in a few weeks. (I have chosen the Canon Rebel Xti. I really don’t need more than 10 MP for my particular style.) Oh. And did I mention that I want to get into street photography? (I believe I’m tapped out in the “apartment photography” genre.)
I took these out in the field the other day. I found that black works well with long exposure photographs. 3 sec. exp’s./ISO100/ F.8
Chai (and my love of film grain)
My kitchen chair- 8 second exposure/handheld/Canon G3/abstract
A splash of colour: previous work
And some tree shots