Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Windows and Artifacts

Brooks Jensen in Letting Go of the Camera (essay 14 Windows and Artifacts) explains a primary issue I have with amateur photography. He explains that most people see the photograph as a window rather than an artifact. It is the only art form where this happens. He says we look ‘through’ photographs and ‘at’ other art forms such as a painting, sculpture or even dance or theatrical performance. In other words we see the other forms as the ‘art’, the artifact, whereas we use the photograph to transport us ‘through’ a window to the subject matter of the photograph. Minor White laid it out similarly but a little, for me, less understandable in Mirrors, Messages, and Manifestations. The question is: How do you get people to see the photograph as artifact? It is obvious that I do not know.

Combining the Michel’s lecture with the chaos of the past few weeks has left me photographically bummed out. I experimented with a pseudo SX70 format in the process of looking for a new direction. Not sure about it but I think it may have possibilities. But right now it is difficult to see anything. I did get excited about some photographs using a lighted hula hoop until I found out the hoops started at seventy bucks and a really good one is over two hundred so that is out. Trying right now to rev myself up for Halloween in New Orleans. Hoping that is going to infuse the interest once again.

Pseudo SX70

 I need to crawl into my Hattersley skin for this one. After more than three weeks of not producing a photograph I wanted to look at twice I decided to set my camera to monochrome. Leaving a Half Price Book store this shadow of a stop sign laid over the painted lines of the crosswalk caught my eye. This was not the first shot but as I walked away I turned around and did a second. I tossed the first. Now I can spend the rest of the afternoon wondering why it caught my eye; why I stopped and turned for a second shot and why I like it so much.
Alcy needed to go shopping at the Outlet Mall. Thought it might be a good place to work on reflections over the interiors of the display windows and came away with one shot that I liked.
Interestingly it reminds me of the old lectures I used to give on PhotoNet about subconsciously including barriers in photographs and what they might mean.
I may stick with monochrome for awhile except for New Orleans. Ozzie can do New Orleans in monochrome--I won't have that much time.


  1. Hey Gary. I remember that you enjoyed photographing at Renaissance Festival last year. Just as fyi, it is going on now through sometime in November. Then again, you will probably get your fill of weirdness in NO. lol

  2. I am about out of travel. Been to Dallas and Wichita Falls three times in the past month and the day I arrived home from the last trip Alcy wanted a road trip so we drove up to Bryan/College Station. Shot one photo of the Baptist Church, ate at Chick, turned around and came home. I think it was to citified and not quite quaint enough to be what Alcy expected. LOL I am going back to WF for high school reunion and then to New Orleans to photograph Halloween. Old people should stay home more. Would love to shoot the Renaissance again and might be able to squeeze in one weekend but have my doubts.

  3. No, CS is not a sleepy little town. She might have found something to shoot in old downtown Bryan. There is an old marketplace downtown that has a really good tea room, along with some antique shops. Same for Navasota. Next time you're headed this way, let me know and I will try to meet you guys for lunch.