“… radiation makes mutations…”
“… if they push that button… yo ass gotta go….”
“… radiation makes mutations…”
“… if they push that button… yo ass gotta go….”
we live in an over-saturated world of images. Images are everywhere we go. In fact they are so prevalent they are becoming mundane. Boring. They’re primarily “pretty” photos of realistic/recognizable subjects (objects, landscapes, people, animals, plants). Abstraction is seldom seen and seems to be less and less appreciated. Is there still a place for abstraction? And what is it?
First, abstraction in photography is very different from abstraction in the paint/sculpture arts. Abstraction in photography is merely the “capture” and/or presentation of any deviation from the perceived norm (no matter how slight) and therefore more passive. Abstraction in painting/sculpture is very different. Painting/sculpture is an active medium unlike photography. In painting/sculpture the abstraction is created compared to documented. And it’s this creative action that I think gives a viewer pause to consider what “it” is. Can photographic abstract also be the result of a creative action? I think it can – but is extremely rare. Because of the nature of photography; abstraction has become such a generalized category that it has become redundant.
Now about our world. In addition to being overly saturated with heavily saturated images is also, thanks to technology, is moving at a faster and faster pace. There is no rest. There is no contemplation. Even the internet with its myriad blogs, photo sharing sites, art sites, etc is not conducive to slowing down to consider what we are doing. The internet has created a culture of clicking “LIKE” and moving on. In one minute I can look at and “like”/”fave” a hundred photos.
For this reason I think there is more and more a need for true abstraction in the painting/sculpture sense. Because these type of abstracts are more likely to cause us to slow down (maybe even stop) from time to time and consider what we are looking at and how we feel about it or what it means to us. So bring on the abstraction. Deviate from the norm. Give people a reason to pause and “rest” on your work.
The images I’m including today are photos of something people would NEVER photograph. I went to the park the other day – one of my favorite hangouts to decompress. I went to photograph some winter scenes etc – you know the kind of stuff everyone photographs that I described at the beginning of this article. The kind of stuff we DON’T need more of. But most of the shots I kept were These here today. Shapes and textures of salt melting ice on asphalt pavement in the parking lot of the park. For me they have their own intriguing wonder.
Your music moment today is a track titled Awakening by Greek artists (and friends) MK-O from their album ETHER. For me this song has the kind of energy I feel in these images. The kinetic energy of salt melting ice. Check out their website http://www.mk-o.com for more.
I’ve long been fascinated with macro photography. It’s so hard to do it right. And I’m usually too lazy to carry a tripod around so I’ve never really bothered. But lately, as my previous post shows. I’ve started getting into the so-called groove of close-up and macro imaging. I still don’t use a tripod – all handheld – so the number of useable images are limited.
This morning was a beautiful frosty December morning and I decided to go to a local park close to downtown and only about 5 minutes from my apartment. Here are two of the images I was able to use from this morning along with two new haiku. Hope you enjoy them.
Inhale a crispy frozen breath
I gasp, in love
Whiplash wind storm
When I am lost you bend me back
See what’s behind
The music moment is provided by the Tindersticks. Their song FROZEN from their recent album – The Something Rain.
Night comes darkly
Bringer of dreams and nightmares
Floating in space
Flash of excitement
A thousand stars fading from view
Dreamers wake to light
Your music moment is by Mazzy Star – FADE INTO YOU
from their 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See.
I’ve been fascinated with concepts of time and our perceptions of it. I just saw this wonderful film that is an artful exploration of the subject of time.
It is titled THE END OF TIME by Peter Mettler…. It is mostly image and music but there is some spoken word. And wow, the spoken word has so many quotable quotes I would just say watch the whole movie. Here is a trailer to entice you.
Did you know that the root word for time and weather is the same in many languages? With that in mind here are eight questions and possible answers arranged in an hourglass shape.
Q: Are you rushing because you are Late?
A: I am getting wet.
Q: Do you like the hot afternoon sun?
A: It is 3PM.
Q: Are you really 85 years old?
A: The sun is setting.
Q: What time is it?
A: It is snowing.
Q: What time is dinner?
A: The wind is blowing.
Q: Where is the sun rising?
A: The dawn comes early.
Q: When does the moon rise?
A: The temperature is dropping.
Q: Do you have the time?
A: Can’t you see the clouds in the sky?
Identity presence existence metaphysic existential reality:
these are the issues.
“Life is an illusion and we trick ourselves into thinking and believing it’s real.” ~ mobius faith diaries
When I took this photo (below) I was fascinated by the door handles, lock and chain. But as is often the case – after I got home and started processing the image I realized something quite disturbing. I was standing directly in front of these doors but nowhere in the image. No reflection of the photographer. Where had I gone? Where was the photographer? I suddenly began to question my existence for some reason. I began to doubt all that I thought I knew was real. I just could not fathom…. logic told me that when someone is standing in front of an object that is casting a reflection that person should be part of the reflection. But here, the glass doors were reflecting the street behind me but showed no interest in reflecting me – the reflected image was not interested in my narcissistic obsession. Okay so this is the stuff of nightmares. I actually did have a nightmare about this the night I processed this image. There had to be some logical explanation. There was NO “photoshopping” of this image to remove my reflection. I had simply disappeared at some point in time between the time I pressed the button on the shutter and when the shutter closed again. This was during the day so there was no time-lapse – I was shooting at full speed.
I noticed the crack/space where the two door meet. Had I disappeared into the crack of dark space. And if so how come I have no recollection? If we cease to exist do we have no recollection of what came before? If we cease to exist on this plane do we just start some other existence with no remembrance of the existence we had when we were mortal corporeal beings? Had I crossed some astral plane to the other side of the doors and was looking out? At one point I did actually wonder if I was looking out or looking in thru these doors. One can see the windows in the vacant dark space which contrast with the reflection of the street. But again, I began to question – is this a reflection of the windows or reflections of the street?
Your music moment today is provided by Khôra featuring their track ONE IS THE OTHER from their album Silent Your Body Is Endless on my favorite Canadian Label (Constellation Records).
***The truth of the matter – destroy your illusions – reflections have a way of bending. And that’s exactly what happened in this image. As you can see in the photo there is a space between the doors which means they were not sealed tightly shut. They were bowed out slightly reflecting the sides of the entrance and the street behind. The doors were bowed out enough to allow me to stand in the crack or space between without being in the reflection. You can figure out exactly how much if you measure the angle in the reflections which seem to close in behind me. Also logic tells me (and you hopefully) that there is no entranceway like this that narrows then gets wider as you get closer to the door. Think of a theater – outside on the sidewalk the entrance is wide and then funnels you into the doors not the other way around.
Bottom line. I no longer have nightmares about getting lost and disappearing. I CAN understand, appreciate and enjoy when it does happen. 🙂
Behind caged bars
restless heart, fearful mind
murmurs of change
This image is one of the not-so-hidden spaces in downtown Akron. Just on the other side of this building is South Main St. And it is adjacent to the Akron Civic Theater. This entire area has been under a slow renovation for several years. Just behind me is the popular LOCK 4 of the canal which runs through this area. It is already repurposed as a wonderful outdoor entertainment space with live jazz, blues and gospel over the warmer months. When I peered though the windows on South Main and between the bars through the cracks in the plywood I did see construction lighting and various clean-up tools as if this structure is under renovation. I just hope they don’t tear it down like they’ve done other historic buildings downtown.
Your musical moment to help digest this post is provided by FORQ (yep it’s pronounced fork). The track is titled THE HARD WAY from their self-titled album.
Hello again everyone. As many of you know I have a preoccupation with the subject of rust in my photos. More than a few of my photos feature rust in some form. Today is no different. I’ve been thinking about why I find rust to be such a dynamic subject. Part of it is (as I’ve written on my previous blog) the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic; Finding beauty in the imperfect, the flawed and discarded. But it also goes beyond that. I think rust has many lessons to teach us. No only about the inevitable end of all things but also how we can come to terms with the inevitable end. Rust is strong. It’s strength does not lie in speed, or the forceful blow to its subject. Rust is gentle. It does not seek to hide – it is visible in its destruction. Rust takes it’s time; the object of its affection is coaxed into its corrosive embrace.
You and me like all things must end. It is the nature of things. We are mortal. That means we will not live forever no matter how hard we try to extend the time we have. I don’t care how fit you are, how free of disease you have been, your physical fitness, or your emotional health. You will die. In fact, you might say you are already dying. And that’s okay. There is beauty in the process. What? Yes, there is beauty in the process of dying = it’s all in how you look at it. You can approach it with grace and appreciation for the time you have and the inevitable end or you can fight it every single step of the way. I once heard a woman say, “I do not plan to grow old gracefully, I plan to fight it every step of the way”. I’ve always found that viewpoint rather tragic. But that is the prevailing viewpoint in western society. In fact the exception in western culture is that you must fight it and with medical and technological advances you can fight aging, disease etc. But that is all a delusion. In the west we have become masters of delusion and self-deception.
Why do we find Autumn to be one of the most beautiful times of the year? Autumn is the season of dying. The leaves on trees are the most colorful just before they die and fall to the ground. And this change seems to happen rather fast but the change actually started at the point the leaf first came out and reached maturity on its branch back in the Spring. Our lives are the same way. It’s not just the newborn and young that are beautiful. Beauty is enhanced through experiences that are both good and bad. Rust is like that; it is one of those experiences that may seem to hasten the demise of something but it does not know that. It just is. It is a part of nature. A part of life experience just like disease, physical and emotional discomfort. Those things exist to add to our beauty.
You find me
Slowly you Change my life
I love you
I feel your presence
your corrosion adds beauty
glory of Autumn
Your rough embrace
Enhances my life through change
I welcome you
The color of love
Textures the smooth beauty of life
Open arms tremble
Sing a song of rust
A slow ballad of decay
Autumns dying love
Sound of slow scraping
Crippled dry dusty fingers
Illusions of age
You teach strength through weakness
Beauty in Frailty
Your music moment provided by a band I recently discovered and had to buy all their albums – Do Make Say Think – A TENDER HISTORY IN RUST from their album You, You’re A History In Rust.
****Hey! if you have short form poem or haiku about rust and the ideas I’ve written about, please feel free to post in your comment. 😉
I once read something that got me thinking about how I photograph different subjects. I’ve started becoming more interested – not in just photographing a subject but actually photographing in a way that may allow people to look beyond the subject. How do we frame a subject?
Is the frame to be ignored for the subject?
Investigate the setting. Investigate the frame.
Can you see behind? What is hidden by the subject? What is revealed by the frame?
How does framing a subject tell us more about the subject than the subject itself?
For many in our image conscious culture life beyond the frame is frequently unthinkable. I think the opposite is true. Looking beyond the subject can deepen my appreciation and understanding. It inspires more questions on the journey that can propel the viewer further into the world of the image.
If you’ve followed me for some time then you know that I am a big fan of abstraction. And so often my images have been composed only of the subject itself. I haven’t changed As one friend told me “you actually think in abstract.” Maybe I’m just starting to expand my view to include a larger world and larger context in which the subject appears and that – for me – is just as interesting as the subject itself. That’s why I love images like the ones I’m posting here where the subject almost seems like a void – a vast emptiness that nearly fills the frame of the image but is framed by its surroundings.
I like the contrast between being and nothingness (as Sartre would phrase it). I find the tension between two opposite things utterly compelling. Existential imaging?
SHOW ME EVERYTHING – by Tindersticks from the album The Something Rain
***I found the subject for this photo near my home and felt it legitimately illustrated how I feel about what is happening here in the US.
In Trumpmerica – the left is not tolerated. The legitimate press is not tolerated. There is only one way – the right – Trumps way.
It’s funny how someone’s desire to “Make America Great Again” has actually made it worse. Muzzle the press. Authoritarian rule. Punish the opposition. Meanness. Lack of noble character traits. Ignorance. Re-writing history.
Q: What happened to my country of birth?
A: SHE’S GONE AWAY (Nine Inch Nails – as performed in TWIN PEAKS: The Ltd Series)