Thursday, August 23, 2007

today

sunflowers  

things learned today while shooting for the Sunflower Project:

1) While very cool and intense, the red sunflower petals are too dark and show up almost black in photos. Either re shoot using the yellow or orange flowers or fiddle in Photoshop to lighten. Or crop 'em out altogether.

2) The glue took a minute or two to hold - much longer than the 30 seconds as promised - and while easy to apply removal was not so much. Even though created to be used on flesh the delicate skin around my eyes is quite pissed off at me at the moment. Perhaps I won't be reshooting those particular shots.

3) Improvising all day trying to get a certain look and feel for a photo while waiting for the mailman (who usually shows up by 1, what's the deal today?) - resorting to scotch tape, various bar glasses and the assistance of a six-year-old - only means that mere moments after I've shut up shop for the night the new distortion lens I ordered a week ago finally arrives.


Also received a package in the very late mail today from a publisher with a book that has a photo of mine as the cover.


  sunflowers

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The End is Near



Ft Reno

Tonight was the last Ft Reno 2007 signaling the beginning of the end of summer, and time to get back to work. Fun's over.

Duncan had a blast, he practically ran the entire two hours until he was completely soaked in sweat. He liked the music but he enjoyed the wide open space a lot more. Sound asleep before I hit the bridge to home.

I thought I'd experiment and do something different with the camera tonight, have some fun with a distortion lens, see what I could come up with.

Duncan

Photoshop Plastic Surgery

Photo retouching Portfolio - http://www.iwanexstudio.com/ - why does the world want everyone to look like they are made out of plastic? Generic Barbie dolls without any individuality or personality. They even remove muscles on women. This disturbs me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Translation required

Just when I think I have it figured out... Contemporary Art turns around and bites me on the ass.

While I do not hold an MFA or a PhD I did have some art schooling and think I know at least a little bit about art. A little. More than the average everyday person to be sure. I'm certainly not an expert on anything but I try to keep up.

And yet I came out of a gallery opening feeling feeling like an idiot.

I.
Just.
Didn't.
Get.
It.


A very respected gallery with a highly intelligent and schooled curator - these people know what they are talking about, I trust them, they have impressed me with their knowledge. But what they see in the art and what I see... well, I don't see it, that's the problem.

Lack of background information is one thing - artwork taken completely out of context, I had nothing except the artist's name (no titles, no statement) to help give me some clues. The artwork had to stand alone. I stared at it. It stared back.

Nothing. Really. Half an hour in a very hot and crowded gallery and I came away from it not having any clue as to why those pieces were picked. What made them special? What made the curator look at 250 entries and go "YES! That's the one!" because they didn't say anything to me at all.

And yet the walls were littered with little red dots. I bet more than half of the pieces were already sold.

I Just Don't Get It. I'm supposed to be part of this Art World (hanging out on the fringe anyway) but they are speaking another language. Here are people that I respect - they know what they are talking about, these aren't some fly-by-night shysters running a scam. Seriously high education and multiple degrees and experts in the field... so I have no doubt that they know what they are talking about. They hold up work and proclaim it The Best and I'm drawing blank. I'm not arguing with them, I just don't understand "Why". What made those pieces the best? What are those pieces saying to the curator? Because they aren't talking to me at all.

It's not only "What am I missing?" but "How am I missing this?" Is the art world so fueled by the buyers that even the artists can't figure out what is Good anymore?

I am more than willing to put in the time and effort to understand a piece but there has to be that initial connection or something about it to draw me in, make me want to know more about it, make me want to try to figure it out.

It doesn't help the old self-esteem. I had been feeling really good about art that day, I finally figured something out and was really excited about a new project but then I spend some time in a gallery and come out of it feeling like an idiot. *whooosh* - right over my head. (i am only an egg, I am only an egg)

Mind you I'm still really excited, I think I have something here, I'm going to start working on it tomorrow, Contemporary Art World be damned. I'm accepting that galleries and collectors are speaking another language in their lofty, high towers, and I'm going to stick it out down here in the trenches and muddle on with my own work.

--
(** personal pet peeve. I hate artwork that is thumbtacked to the wall. I want presentation, damn it. PRESENTATION. Thumbtacks make me think it's a school project and we're having a critique, thumbtacks are what I use to hang my kindergartner's artwork in his school hallway. I know that framing is so behind the times, and hanging your art in different ways is breaking away from the old rigid standards and the establishment, blah blah blah, whatever. Fine. But I want a frame. I think thumbtacks are just tacky, they tell me the artist didn't want or couldn't afford to have it framed, not that they were trying to make any statement about the being avant garde.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

reality

A hundred years ago (or so it seems), back when the internet was a small puddle and you had to code everything by hand I was interviewed by a California radio show.

It was to be part of the promoting we were trying to do for the book "Torn Shapes of Desire" in which I had 10-15 of my photos. The photos which had the original publisher pull the plug on the deal at the very last moment and let the editor scrambling to find someone willing to print a book of erotica with nude photos. The stories weren't the problem, the appearance of nipples were. After much stress and scrambling and way too much money the book was published and all involved set out to sell it best we could.

And so an interview. About the book, and censorship, and my photos. Sounded great, I was up to the challenge.

Except they didn't want to talk about any of that. They wanted to know about my online journal and my sex life. Neither of which I wanted to talk about or was prepared to discuss. The book, let's get back to the book.

I never posted links to the show or even now can recall exactly who interviewed me - it did not go well and I was very... well, perplexed is the best way to describe it. (flustered?) I was caught completely off-guard (it was not at all the questioning I was expecting) and it was very confusing because I didn't understand WHY they were wanting to talk about all of that when the point was supposed to be The Book and Censorship. My stupid little website? Why I call my daughter Spawn? What? Who cares?

I've never paid attention to the logs for my website. Didn't really matter to me. Left it up to The Lawyer to keep an eye on things, track down hotlinkers, send out Cease and Desist letters - the sort of things Lawyers do best. But recently it has becoming incredibly easy for me to keep an eye on the traffic and where it is going.

As much as I'd like to think that people are appreciating all the various photos this just isn't the case. I post a gallery of macro floral shots that I think are excellent and I really am pleased with - there is nary a blip on the tracking screen. But a single random snapshot of myself without makeup or any sort of staging and it tops the list that day and for the rest of the week.

And so I'm perplexed again. It seems obvious that I am more interesting to people than my work. (I say "seems" because I really don't want this to be the case. So I'm in denial.) Flower photos and bug macros are tolerated while they wait for something more personal to be posted.

I can't imagine that there is anything I can do about this other than just deal with the reality of it, just accept it. My personal quandary (why? I'm not that interesting) doesn't change the results of today's website log.

I'd be amiss if I didn't admit to this making me at least a little sad. It's like I'm holding out my portfolio and all the reviewer wants to know is when I'm going to show my tits again. There is more to me than that.

Apparently I'm one of the few that feels this way. I guess it isn't too surprising, this is the internet after all. I just never really thought of it before or realized the extent of the interest in one area and the lack in another.

Show Opening

"Summer Nudes" opening tonight, 6-8 pm - I have work in this show.


Antreasian Gallery
1111 W 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

http://www.antreasiangallery.com/

Show runs through August 30.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Couldn't Resist

waterlilly

Dragged the young'un back to the water gardens today. He cooperation was purchased with a chocolate donut and chocolate milk (he works cheap - and sweet). By noon we were both just dripping in sweat and ended the trip standing in their sprinklers. That was really nice.


As we were leaving another photographer type was just arriving and his arms were overloaded with equipment: camera bags, tripod, and reflectors. Good god man - reflectors? Is it common practice for "nature photographers" to fiddle with the lighting as such? It hadn't occurred to me to set up a mini studio. Wading boots were more what I was thinking about in order to get closer and different shots. (Somehow I'm thinking the park rangers would frown on that.) I'd love to take some of the seed pods home for further, in-depth photo studies but the huge "We Will Make You Pay, Don't Even THINK ABOUT IT" signs warning about disturbing and/or removing any of the animals or plant life keep my hands to myself.


The rest of the week is supposed to be brutal - Hot, Hazy, Humid plus Ozone warnings for air quality. I think it is safe to say that any new shots taken will be done right here at home.


As always, I'm posting these all to Flickr. I am going to eventually build some new galleries on my main website but for now it's quicker for me to post them there.



  Aquatic Gardens

Saturday, August 4, 2007

you know you're old when

I'm here in the AC doing some much needed clean up and organization of my office while in the background I am being serenaded by Duncan, pretending to be a monk from Monty Python, chanting in Latin. Repeatedly.

I should be at the Virgin Music Festival covering the event for Pancake Mountain. Enjoying the brutal heat, the bad air quality and the severe lack of any air conditioning. Obviously I'm not. Lollapalooza happens to be going on in Chicago this very weekend - it is the Battle of the Summer Music Festivals.


Lollapaloza won.


The majority of the crew and gear are in Chicago interviewing bands and doing what Pancake Mountain usually does at these things. The skeleton crew left behind here in DC had the task of covering the Virgin fest if we wanted to. Except... the main folks are up north. Including all the people that actually do the interviews. Which left two of us to cover Virgin, and a photographer and sound guy don't make for very interesting footage. As it got closer to the date Lollapalooza became all encompassing and poor little Virgin got left behind.



I still had the option of going on my own, there is a press pass waiting for me at the gate. But as much as I hate passing up the opportunity
  1. There really aren't any bands playing on either day that I care about. Very lackluster line up. A whole lot of "Eh, do I want to drive to see this band even for free? No."
  2. Did I mention it's a million degrees out with 99% humidity AND Code Orange air quality?
  3. Baltimore.

Looking at being gone both days,
a long drive, and working outside I knew I'd be dead come Monday. I have all these projects that need to get done. I decided that getting some photos for my own portfolio wasn't worth it.



I hope Lollapalooza proves to be a very fruitful event with lots of interviews with cool bands and some great video. I'm not missing the festival, I'm enjoying my quiet day catching up on a lot of work.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Photo Safari

080912_155


Ms Mean Louise posted photos last week of lotus blossoms. Big, gorgeous lotus blossoms. I immediately asked her "WHERE IS THIS?" not wanting to miss an opportunity to descend on them with my camera and hoping these were photos taken around Washington DC.

And yet again, despite living in the DC area for over 15 years I was enlightened to an attraction that I not only had never visited before but never even heard of.Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Timing is important but when lotus blossoms are concerned temperature is everything. They don't like the hot, hazy and humid days of DC August. Checking out the forecast for the week it showed each day hotter than the next. It had to be today!


Unfortunately my "assistant" got bored with the park long before I did (which is always the case whenever I take the kids and my camera somewhere) but I managed to get enough shots that I hope encompass the experience.
Posted to my Flickr account.


lotus seed pod