June 24, 2009
At a recent American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Greenfield, Massachusetts, I had brought a full bag of camera gear, ready to thoroughly cover the fundraising event for my different stock agencies. Once on-site, however, I decided instead to participate just as a cancer survivor and as a mentor to my photography students documenting the occasion. To simply be at the event, soak it in, rather than take pictures.
As the evening wore on, I remembered that I did need to shoot students in action for my school's website. Above, a student connects with a three-time survivor. Below, documenting a volunteer lighting a luminara. The luminara honor those touched by cancer.
I knew I had my shots, but now, camera in hand, I starting seeing photos everywhere. I instinctively grabbed this classic scene in front of the Rotary Club burger and dog stand.
Compare with this less immediate, more thought-out composition.
Then I worked the view from underneath bleachers on top of which the glowing luminara spelled out H O P E. This is the O that was shaped like a heart.
Suddenly I realized that I was doing instead of being. My image making shielded me from the deeply emotional event. Deciding to take the nobler path, I put my camera away.
© 2009 John Nordell
June 17, 2009
One of my favorite activities is making art while looking at art. I composed this image in the rest room at the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) in Boston, Massachusetts.
I was inspired by the 14th Annual PRC Juried Exhibition on display and was delighted to note that Russell Hart, executive editor of American Photo, was the guest juror. Mr. Hart recently came to where I teach and critiqued student portfolios.
Next up: Panopticon Gallery of Photography, cleverly nestled in corridors that link the Commonwealth Hotel with restaurants and shops. In response to an email inquiry, gallery owner Tony Decaneas, whose lab printed my black and white work corporate work in the 1990s, explained to me: "While I don't provide the best forum for formal or academic installations, the space is the first genuinely successful retail gallery space I've had." He attributes the success to "unsuspecting visitors to the hotel and restaurants who discover our space by accident."
At the Robert Klein Gallery, I ran into Stephen Jareckie, a photography curator at the Fitchburg Art Museum. I had photographed him several years ago on assignment. Mr. Klein assisted Mr. Jareckie with finding images for an upcoming show. Surrounded by Winogrand and Stieglitz, I was in photo heaven, even holding in my hands work by Atget, Brett Weston and Jerry Uelsmann.
How about a hybrid? On Charles Street, in Boston's gas-lamp-lit brick-sidewalked Beacon Hill neighborhood, is Tesorino, a space that offers glass art, distinctive jewelery and photography. The photography comes from the Iris Gallery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. On display was work by photographer Doug Landreth. His studio manager once helped me greatly with information about corporate fine art print sales.
Last stop: 35 miles south of Boston, I attended the opening of a group show called Black & White, at the Duxbury Art Association. This is a double exposure of my triple exposed image, Wooden Bridge, that was included in the exhibition.
Driving home, reflecting on my enriching and exhausting day, I profoundly noted the connections that linked me with each gallery.
June 10, 2009
1. Lens not mounted on camera.
2. Intentionally out of focus.
3. Multiple exposures: rose flower combined with lettuce and strawberry leaves.
4. Intentionally overexposed.
June 3, 2009
Filling my tank at an Exxon station last week in Brattleboro, Vermont, I pondered how to make a photograph that included the gorgeous post-dusk blue sky. The train of thought led me to notice this blue broom...
...and then the similarly hued advertisements. Shooting wider, I caught the sky and the blue-shirted store clerk.
During a snack transaction, he and I discovered our mutual enjoyment of the band Portishead.
Two nights ago in Greenfield, Massachusetts, paying more for gas than I did a few days before, I took in this broadside opposing Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's proposed gas tax hike. (Recent legislative activity indicates little support for the proposal).
I then layered exposures of the gas pump's stripes and patterns. In the computer, I stripped out color and emphasized texture. Makes it look, perhaps, like a fossil?
If I was buying gas at this Mobil in Cambridge, Massachusetts, PumpTop TV might have blinded me from noticing my actual surroundings, missing matching blue hues or political treatises.