February 25, 2009
A Connecticut River sunrise. How cold was it? Single digits.
I encourage my students to photograph every assignment from multiple perspectives. Diverse results can be channeled to diverse markets creating multiple revenue streams.
For the stock photography market: A lone person walks on this railroad bridge converted to a bike path.
For the fine art print market: Railroad Bridge, 2009
For the textbook and magazine market: A graffiti encrusted United States Geological Survey Stream Gaging Station.
Warming up in my car after an hour of joyous, frosty shooting, and no longer visually entranced with the beauty of the morning, I actually yelped in pain as my body began telling me how cold it was. I felt like a deep sea diver decompressing after being in the depths.
February 18, 2009
While I have shot photo essays ranging from the underground arts scene in the Soviet Union to political and economic change in South Korea, I decided that it would be useful for my students if I documented a subject near our school. So I photographed renowned glass artist Josh Simpson.
I liken shooting a photo essay with crafting a five paragraph written essay.
The establishing shot equals the written introduction.
The subject(s) in action, a detail shot and a portrait equate to the 3 body paragraphs.
Showing the result of the subject's activity compares with the conclusion paragraph.
Going beyond the five paragraph format, I also require students to take a risk, to try an experimental approach, to break the rules, for a sixth image. This is my favorite image from Simpson's studio, playing the edge of enough blur to generate interest with enough reality to tell the story.
While spinning the blowpipe with one hand, Josh Simpson shaped molten glass with his other hand. His assistant blew air through the blowpipe to alter the size of the glass.
February 11, 2009
At the LeWitt exhibition at MassMoCA, I devoured a 10 minute film that chronicled the process of artists creating the three floors of wall drawings. One close-up showed an artist making endless, careful pencil squiggles.
So the next morning, eschewing scraping the frost off my car in an orderly manner, I made squiggles. As the rear window defrosting lines heated, my own ephemeral car LeWitt emerged.
Later, I climbed a pile of snow to show Main Street in North Adams. In the name of urban renewal, the whole left side of the street was leveled in the late 1960s. But industry kept leaving town.
MassMoCA's opening in 1999 has anchored a burgeoning creative economy, putting the town back on the map. Taking the color out of the image takes me back in time.
February 4, 2009
I celebrated my 50th birthday with a weekend away. I stayed at the lovely Porches Inn, in North Adams, Massachusetts. From there, I could walk to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known as MASS MoCA. A major retrospective of wall drawings by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) intrigued me.
LeWitt's art was to write a precise instruction sheet for others to actually make the drawings. Here is a detail of a wall drawing.
A few minutes later, I photographed this detail of a museum window shade. I find the similarity with LeWitt's pattern striking.
I then created this layered view of wire mesh in a glass door. Looking at LeWitt's art got me noticing lines everywhere. When these lines cross, the color deepens; just the way experience deepens when two lives intersect.
No rush to see this thought provoking exhibition: the installation will be on view for 25 years!