Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Adventure Begins Again

I probably should let this sleeping dog lie but once again I have been seduced into what is probably well beyond my capability. I have invested a couple hundred dollars each in a couple of 16x20 prints. Well, when it is over anyway I will have a couple of very nice frames. LOL The question is... and ...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arno Rafael Minkkinen - The Naked Eye

Arno Rafael Minkkinen presented an excellent lecture on his work at the MFA this evening. I became a fan of Minkkinen in 1978 when he published his first book, Frostbite. Thanks in good part to Minkkinen I can claim to have been photographed naked in every Texas State Park plus several National Parks, Reserves and Forests  from South Padre to Caddo, which is only a very slight exaggeration—quite a few of them along with many places in between. Minkkinen has surpassed me exponentially and he does it in the city as well, which well surpasses my Bare Cheek Park photo. The major difference is that my photographs were taken by Janet and he did his own photography. 

It was interesting learning how he got started in photography and how he accomplished his work. He was born in Finland. Although he came to this country when in his teens, the Scandinavians are not nearly as uptight as we are about nudity. 

Unfortunately he did not show my favorite photograph of his where he is hanging over the gunwale of a rowboat with his head and shoulders under water. He said that on most of his photographs he set his camera on 90 second delay. That is a long time to hold your breath. I knew it must have been a considerable period of time because there was not a single ripple on the water—very surreal. But the ones where he is on and even under snow hurt to view—don’t like snow, especially when I am naked not that I am ever going to admit that I have tried that. LOL Interesting lecture and as usual I purchased the book.

The very first question asked after the lecture wanted to know if he had ever been arrested. He told the story of one run in with the police where he was standing at the top of a cliff a considerable distance off the road. He noticed several patrol cars assembling at the foot of the cliff. He was requested to come down via bullhorn but wasn’t arrested. Standing on the cliff sans skivvies, he apparently had given some poor grandmother a near heart attack. She apparently wasn’t Scandinavian.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Well, since I didn't post much on the Portfolio Review or on Open Studio I thought I would post a piece I wrote several months ago and came across while browsing an old external drive this morning.

Footprint at the Beach
I prefer to shoot to themes rather than to document an object, I am more interested in what that object can convey metaphorically, following Minor White’s suggestion that you should photograph an object not for what is it but for what else it is. I still do more camera club photography than I like but sometimes I break through in small steps.

In this photograph I am interested in what each of the elements says or suggests. The center of interest of course is the footprint. A human element in a photograph will almost always trump every other object for center of interest. The footprint speaks to the presence of a person or at least the past presence. The seaweed and the traces of sand sculpted by the shifting tide gives location—a beach.

When on the beach I have several themes but the most common are (1) footprints in the sands of time,(2) the strong attraction that the sea holds over our imagination and (3) the edge—the line between sea and land. Looking at almost any of my beach pictures and you will find one or two of those three themes. This photograph contains all three even though the ‘edge’ is only implied.  I also do abandoned clothing or dead creatures on the beach but that is more about dust unto dust and death rather than about the sea or the beach specifically.

In this photograph we see a single footprint in the sand in a location identifiable as a shoreline, not seen but suggested by color and by ancillary elements. From that, a line of thought can take a variety of directions. I make no claim to knowing how the universe the earth or man came to be. I simply accept the limitation of my ignorance of how such things can be.

If you are an evolutionist you believe that man evolved somewhat helter-skelter, obviously accidentally from the sea. I am more intelligent design, believing more in an intelligent, creative God who has no need for urgency, rather than the magician that pulls matter from nothingness although I do not discount that being within the possibility of God’s ability. Therefore, I believe in the possibility rather than probability that man could have evolved from the sea and that possibly has a great deal to do with the attraction the sea holds for man. I do believe that everything in this world is and has since the beginning undergoing constant change whether it is called evolution or something less controversial. I do believe that man was created in the image of God but have no idea what that exactly means. It could be as many suppose, physical image but I suspect the means something quite different. I also do not know if that ‘image’ is what exists today or what is to come in the future. And yes, that statement will grouse some of my friends and relatives, who I am certain love me enough to straighten me out.  And for the strict creationist who can say that clay does not exist at the edge.

I have met people that don’t like the beach because of the sand, but I have never met anyone that does not like to be at or on a large body of water. Seas and oceans--maybe, it is just the water--have a very strong pull on our sense of adventure, sense of discovery. Keats wrote that when his thoughts turn to his death or when life and love go awry then on the shore of the wide world he stands alone till fame and love to nothingness do shrink.

So by examining the elements, is the footprint entering the water, returning to the womb so to speak; someone coming from the sea and turning for that one last glimpse; or is it a footprint of someone standing at the edge staring out to sea like Keats?

There is of course clues but there is no right or wrong answer. It is to the viewer’s imagination to supply the story they are most comfortable with. Or, abandoning a reference to creation, do they want to see it as a story of man’s spirit longing for the ages old adventure of what the sea conceals just over the horizon?

And of course, sadly there are those that will only see it as a picture of a footprint on a beach and never let their imagination soar beyond technique for technique sake, hanging unyieldingly to photography as craft.

Portfolio Review and Open Studio

Yesterday was  big day--a busy day. Attended the Portfolio at Katy .was extremely pleased with the reviews. Then at the Open Studio at Aurora until almost eleven at night. Had a great turn out. Got to meet several more of the artist. I generally have lots to say about both events, but I think they wore me out. LOL It was a fabulous day. That does it.

Oh, I got the two studio strobes, the beauty dish and grid set--now to get some opportunities to use them. More on that later--I hope!

ADDENDUM: Because of the busy day Saturday I skipped Renfest this weekend but going back next weekend--maybe both days. Clayton wants to go. He has to go on Saturday and I already have tickets for Sunday. This time if all goes well I will be going with a new camera--a spanking new Nikon D750. My early Christmas treat to me! Foolish with all the money I am spending on the studio but I have been posting very derogatory comments on Nikon's new cameras. A few months ago I posted that when they came out with a full frame that had both Wi-Fi and an articulated back I would buy one. I'm surprised that they listened to me but I am a man of my word. Besides that it has double the pixels of the D700 and has a built in intervalometer. Can't find where it has double exposure but I have my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Addiional Thought

Did a few photos in the backyard of the studio a few days ago. Okay, so it's not Irving Penn but it was fun to photograph the ash tray on a granite slab. When I first decided to do it was right after a rain when water covered the bottom of the dish. Dried up before I got around to it.

There is a raised bed garden where Hans grows herbs and a few vegetables. Found some odds and ends and around the side a pile of trash with some interesting colors.

Been Away

Been out of the studio for a couple of days so it was good to get back. Didn't work on much other than some writing I am doing for a friend and a little reading.

The last time I was here I was trying some exposure tests using the White Lightening 3200. It will only work at it's very lowest setting and then I am looking at f/16 or f/22. I was hoping for a little more flexibility so last night I sit down and ordered a couple of the lowest output Alien Bees. I need them for the copy stand anyway--can't use the four halogen lamps that Janet used for years--would cook me alive in this small space. Well, maybe this winter if it gets as bad as is predicted.

Decided to do a bw conversion of one of the tests. Now to get a model with some visual interest. LOL Anyway I am happy with the ambience (dark with a darkness to affright to quote Fawsett) of the image so I shouldn't complain. But I am looking forward to more flexible lighting set up.

The October Open Studio is coming up on this Saturday, October 25th at 6:30pm. I will be a little late getting here because I have portfolio review, The Price of Christ, in Katy at 1 to 5pm. I still don't have anything hung but I do have almost thirty prints framed lining the walls in the studio ready to hang when I get the system installed--and more on the way. I ordered two more sets of rails and a few additional hangers a few days ago to accom- modate al the prints

In November I hear there is going to be an Exotica Show. Well, I hardly do exotica but I do have some nudes of a friend, David, that I shot some fifty years ago that I think I can find one or two manipulations of those to hang--one anyway, Anonymous Nude in a Blue Landscape. I printed that up for the camera club a few years ago. And I have nine prints of a series I did back when I first started doing manipulations, Into That Locus of the Last Lost Souls. Neither the photos of David or the Lost Souls series is particularly erotic but then again who am I to determine what people find erotic. I am very pleased with both and glad to finally have a venue to exhibit them.

The only person that I ever showed the Lost Souls to, other than Janet, was Roberta Britt, a cyber friend that taught creative writing at Tarrant County College. The series includes writing along with the images. I like using words with photographs--well, with images.

Although they are not erotic I have several images from a very early series where I first used writing with the images, Friends, Romans and Countrymen, that I would like to show if the images are high enough resolution to print. When I first started I used lower resolution images because it was faster and I never expected to show them to anyone.

My very first manipulations were relatively simple compared to what I am doing now--more dot in space stuff--very non objective abstracts. Friends was the first series that took the form of people and I think some of it was pretty good. Lost Souls was the next series and it combined the use of multiple images along with drawing on the image. I forgot the Dream Of series. Only did three images in that series but The Dream of Fear includes a nude that I could add to the exotica group. The Dream Of and Lost Souls are both about dreams. Should do a series on my dream last night where I found myself in a revolution--my side and Nazis. I have lots of nightmares that I greatly enjoy--last night not so much. Had to get up and watch TV for a while to turn it off. I love my nightmares because they last for hours and I keep trying to find resolutions and rewriting them. Probably accounts for the series Images I Do to Make My Psychiatrist Happy. As Avedon said, every photograph I take is of me. Well that wasn't exactly the way he said it but that is what he meant. It applies to my manipulations as well.

There was a time before I joined the camera club when I did stuff that I consider interesting even if a little strange. I really enjoyed that. Think getting back to the Bedtime Stories where I am combining the freaky toys shot in antique stores with wittings from children's books is going in the right direction. That got interrupted with the move and I will get back to it when I receive the new lights for the copy stand. Who knows I might even try erotica--in my fashion. Then I have a couple of ideas, one using Karo syrup and the other with cooking oil that might prove interesting. Let me explain--neither the Karo syrup nor the cooking oil involves erotica. Felt like I should mention that. That might be too freaky even for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Renfest Second Time

Well, it pays to get up at 5am. I was the first car in the preferred parking lot this morning. The fellow told me to park where I wanted to so naturally I took the space nearest the entrance. Even at. that it was still a long walk

I didn't take a lot of photographs but I came home much happier than last week. I walked almost constantly for five hours so I am paying for it now.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ren Fest

I've been sticking pretty close to the studio and it is getting to almost look like a place to take photographs if you consider taking photographs inside a shipping container taking photographs.

It is beginning to look a little more serious. Even shot a photo or two.

But today I got outside to see if I can still take photos. This was opening day at Ren Fest. I was up at 4am and on the road by 4:45. Was the third car in line for preferred parking. I need to park as close as possible and even that is a long walk after spending the day there.

I took the Olympus because toting the Nikon and a 70-200 become awfully heavy. I wasn't liking what I was seeing on the LCD and it was embarrassingly slow so I only took a total of twenty-four photographs and cussed myself all  day for not taking the Nikon.

Got them on the monitor and immediately wanted to go back. A few weren't as bad as I had thought they were. Right now I am debating heading back there tomorrow morning. I'm pretty bushed but it sure is tempting. I already have tickets for Sunday week but I am not sure I can wait that long.


Okay, one lens on the Nikon, no bag to tote. I think I can do it. I survived five hours today and I think I can drag the Nikon around for five tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NWHPC Portfolio Review

Although I am no longer a member of Northwest Houston Photo Club I still sneak in to their meetings occasionally.  I am still an on-line member and that gives me an invitation. Tonight and tomorrow are the two most important days of the year at NWHPC--the Portfolio Review.

Tonight was the pubic showing. All the portfolios are on display and each photographer gets to give a statement about their work and take questions. Even though I can no longer participate I still think participating in the Portfolio Review is the best thing that an amateur photographer can do to advance their photography. For ten years I have watched the portfolios become stronger every year and for those that did not attend the meeting tonight you missed seeing some outstanding work.

Tomorrow is the nitty gritty when the portfolios are reviewed. That's a private affair and only those who have entered portfolios can attend. I would very much like to be a fly on the wall and hear the comments.

Do to a snafu at Doss Park the club's meeting room was cancelled at the last minute. Fortunately David Bahn offered the facilities of his church, St John's Lutheran. I am sure the unexpected last minute change in venue accounted for the unusually  low turn out to view the portfolios. That is unfortunate.

I just want to publicly offer congratulations to the photographers that participated and maybe chide those that didn't--you missed a great opportunity to move your photographer forward. I should have put aside my petty differences with the club and participated myself, but I didn't. I will participate in the Katy group's review toward the end of the month. It will be interesting because it will be an entirely different group of reviewers.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Freezer Studio

The new studio is coming along. The overhead track light has to be repaired and there are still several pieces of furniture and some paintings left behind by the former tenant but that will eventually go. It is not as bright, clean, neat and tidy as the first studio but this is the place for bizarre photographers and I am looking forward to making use of it.

Had a great conversation with a friend yesterday about doing a group rental of a larger space--that is what I was hoping that the small studio would lead to. I'm locked in here until February but if we can swing a three or four way partnership there is a possibility of moving to Nance Hardy or one of the Street Studios where it will be possible to really do what I want to do.

I've still got the neon sign and the price list is still on the door. All I have to do is change my name to Andy and I might have a new and fabulous career. Okay, I cringed when I had to give Janet insulin shots so probably not.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Images Suitable for the Nursery

Alcy thinks I'm a little strange. Okay, the word she used was bizarre but I think I prefer strange. LOL Everwhat, I'm having a ball.  Think I am going to evolve Now Lay Me Down to Sleep into Bedtime Stories.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Series

I may never have to ever take a photograph again. Still working on antique stores with a new series Adult Dreams. Goal: five a week on each Adult Dreams and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. But I might get interrupted by moving.


Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Daydreams About Night Things

I've been up since three so I have no idea why I'm singing, I'm having daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I'm Already Moving and I Just Got My New Cards

Life moves much too fast sometimes for old people to keep up but it is moving. Alcy and I did a portrait shoot for one of her friends yesterday. This morning I am in the studio working on processing when Hans knocks on the door. A larger studio has become available.

This building, prior to being a group of studios was a neighborhood grocery. Hans has retained the ambiance by not tearing out all of the grocery store equipment. I am moving into the walk-in freezer. Hadn't considered but it may even be of preservation value. At my age that might be an unexpected asset. It is in the back of the building and Hans says that it is soundproof and I will be able to have a radio and listen to music which is not allowed in the remainder of the studios.

Interestingly my current space is bright white and airy but presents a problem with the overhead lighting as I have mentioned before. The new space is very dark and depressing--I will think I am at home. There is no lighting--it is definitely going to be a man cave with the emphasis on cave. The walls are a dark metal. My mind is reeling with possibilities already. It is going to be the perfect place to create the new series Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

The big news is that I can do a full figure photo and control the lighting much better.. It will be strange but I am looking forward to it. Will move the first of next week

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Numero Uno

Geeze, I am an artist!!!! An antique store and paint samples from Lowes. Titled from a line in one of my favorite poems, Edgar Fawcett's, Darkness.

With Voice That Bleaker Pealed Than Freezing Wind on Houseless Field

...Cried, where he stood from the rest apart,
"I am that darkness which fills man's heart
"When it aches and yearns and burns for one
It has loved as the meadow loves the sun!"

And a new series that I am thinking of calling Now Lay Me Down to Sleep...I "

 Yeah, I think I am going to like having a studio. I don't want to go home. Besides that I have no idea what I am going to do with all the boxes of photographs and frames stacked on my bed. It may be  good night for a motel...