Thursday, April 28, 2016
Sunday, April 24, 2016
I joined the Visual Arts Alliance yesterday. So now I am officially an 'artist'. They seem to have a lot of interesting workshops and events so I am looking forward to spreading my wings. But I have got to get a lot more artsy fartsy. Also went gallery hopping yesterday and talked to a few artists about gallery space. Nance Hardy, which is where I have always wanted to be would be great but I don't think that is going to happen until I get a smart phone so I am shifting gears and looking at JoMar and Summer Street Studios. I was surprised at the price of the galleries in Silver Street Studio, not nearly as much as I had thought. Don't know that I will move but interested in checking out the possibilities.
|Lonely Words Fly Away Unsaid|
Friday, April 15, 2016
And now for the oft repeated story… In the 1960’s Ralph Hattersley Jr published a series of ‘lessons’ in a long running Popular Photography series called Hattersley's Class. I still have many of those articles. Several have been instrumental in forming my opinions on photography. But there was one that I could never get out of my head. It was titled Is Photography Your Religion. I had always thought that I understood ‘my religion’ but I also knew that I was totally hung up on taking photographs. The article gave me pause; made me reevaluate much of what I thought about both religion and photography.
Hattersley was an avowed atheist who not long before this article was written had converted to Christianity. Among my many interests is conversion, the hows and whys and what happened. I am interested in why people are as well as why they are not. Although I will never ask I am very interested in the path.
Hattersley was a somewhat controversial figure. For those that remember that time in history possibly remember that the Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg published a quartely magazine, Eros. The name says it all. In the fourth and last issue was a spread of photographs of a nude black man and a nude white woman. The U S Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, filed obscenity charges; the court agreed and Ginsberg went to prison. Today these photographs would not raise a single eyebrow; probably wouldn't have then except for the racial component. Ralph Hattersley was the photographer. Ralph had a way with that, shaking up the norm, making you see things differently.
Esquire Magazine hired Hattersley to do a series of articles for their Christmas holiday issue. They obviously wanted a controversial article that would ridicule the Christian beliefs. That is not what they got from Hattersley. Esquire never used the photographs. As far as I know they were published only in Hattersley’s Popular Photography article.
In the last forty some odd years I have reread Is Photography Your Religion numerous times. I have marveled at the photographs, but mostly I marveled at Hattersley’s concept for the photographs. Rather than the usual Christmas crèche, holiday lights, family gatherings—the familiar associations, Hattersley photographed a crucifix—totally the wrong symbolism, but so powerfully done.
The crux of the article as it was published in Hattersley’s Class was finding Christ in everyday life—using photography as a tool in that pursuit. In truth, the article was only partly about the photography. It presented a viewpoint on religion what was very new to me and my Southern Baptist bred thinking.
It wasn’t until 2007 that I started using religious symbolism in my photography. The delay was partly because I was totally intimidated by Hattersley’s photographs. I thought I would never be able to work with metaphor in any comparable way. Everyone has seem at least some of my attempts and none are anywhere close. The Crucifix Project, The Price of Christ, Small Manifestations and various miscellaneous efforts have ensued. I am nowhere near, but I will continue to work on it.
Another difficulty is that my approach to photography is considerably different from Hattersley's. Whereas he carried a beautifully crafted crucifix with him and photographed it in various every day locations, I prefer working with found objects--a very different approach created by my nature. I think that Hattersley's approach was wonderfully creative but that mine is much more difficult. Where he relied on himself seeing or being able to create the metaphor; I rely very heavily on another placing objects in a meaningful juxtaposition and sometimes very heavily on accident.
In these photographs taken in a Hispanic open market I love the religious symbols mixed in among the fruits, vegetables, the dried beans and a unbelievably large variety of hot peppers. They become a part of everyday life.
I love the way the people of the market are so much more open in displaying the symbols of their faith. There's no middle class white uptightness, uncertainty, doubt, guilt here. It is beautiful, it is open, it is thrilling to witness. It makes we wonder if I actually ever had such a casual relationship so easily accepted and lived.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Each year Walgreens sponsors a promotion called Red Nose Days. They sell various silly items such as rubber red noses. The money goes to fighting world hunger for children. Alcy and I agreed to do a few shots that they could post on their website.
Sunday Alcy was signed up for a photoshoot at Brazos Bend State Park. It's not one of my favorite places but a couple of members of the meet up have done some pretty exceptional wildlife photos in that area lately so I decided to tag long. Drove over 140 miles and I shot one coot.
Because we had to stop by the studio for my lenses we arrived a half hour late and did not find the photography group. We were supposed to go to a café called Jays for lunch after the shoot. We didn't write down the address because we were thinking we could follow someone that knew where it was.
We put it in the GPS and the only Jay's that came up was located just off NASA 1 across from the entrance to Johnson's Space Center, some thirty plus miles away. We felt certain that was not the correct Jay's but since we didn't know where any other was we decided to give it a try. Actually, it was near Tookies where we do like to eat so we thought we would just drive by Jay's, take a photo, pretend we ate there and post the photo to the meet up group. Well, Jay's must have gone out of business because it was no where to be found. Went to Tookies then headed back to Houston.
Monday, April 4, 2016
But in the meantime Alcy and I did photos for Red Nose Day coming up next Friday. Once each year Walgreens sells red noses and other paraphernalia to raise money to fight world hunger for children. Alcy’s boss suggested that the employees do photographs that could be posted to a Walgreens web site. We went out today and shot a few. Friday we are supposed to photograph the employees in the store on FM2920 where Alcy works.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Breakfast in Winnie put us at the rookery as the sun came up. The storms had abated and things were looking good. However the rookery is in total shadow until the sun rises enough to clear the top the hill. It was getting exciting. We were getting hints of backlighting and thought we were just minutes away from success when the sun went behind a cloud never to return. Well we gave it the proverbial college try anyway. Needless to say we shot photographs but not the photographs we were hoping for. Bird photography is like flowers--photography, pressing the button. The passion ain't there. I really thought that I was going to purchase a 600mm before we went this year and maybe--yeah I know the fallacy of this statement--a new piece of equipment that would make it more interesting. But eyesight won out and I guess seeing better for another year or so trumps a new lens.
|A Matter of Disagreement is Observed|
|His de Niro Moment, "You Lookin' at ME?"|
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Well, sometimes. Sometimes it just rains when I really planned on cutting grass but I would just call that extremely fortunate. Thank you, thank you, thank you...
I have a project coming up that I am hoping I can convince those involved to let me do some photographs that I can process to emulate bromoils. It is a project that I would generally run the other direction from as hard as I could but this is for a friend so it is important to at least give it a try.
Anyway, I have been playing with Topaz to see if I can come up with something that has the stippling appearance of a bromoil print. Don't know that I am there yet but I will keep working on it. Now if I can only get the LensBaby to emulate a Pinkham and Smith Series IV I will be in hog heaven and can return to my proper place in this world.
In the meantime, I'm still working on Small Manifestations...
Sunday, March 27, 2016
|This beautiful life-size pieta is a family memorial in the Asian section of Earthman Cemetery|