mobius faith imaging
flesh & futility
songs from the wood pt2
Still seeing more wood creatures: or to quote a Jethro Tull lyric, maybe I've been drinking to deep from "the cup of crimson wonder".
animal spirits in the wood
I've been finding animal spirits in the wood lately. Not sure why my eyes have just been opened to this now.
the hiding place
Todays two images are simply titled AMERICAN RURAL ROMANTIC 1 AND AMERICAN RURAL ROMANTIC 2. I chose those titles because I really feel these two images present an idealized/romantic view that so many people have in, and out of, the United States of what rural or country life entails. So many people have told me, once they learned that I grew up on a farm, "Oh that must have been a lovely existence," "the wide open spaces," "the simple life" etc. But that has always been problematic for me in the same way that people at a funeral will only say positive uplifting things about the deceased, even if the deceased was a "bastard" that committed criminal acts. The truth is, with all romanticism there is a dark side, a truth that people either ignore or just fail to see, or understand. Here's the facts: growing up on a farm is very difficult. Like any existence it has its "plus" side but it is extremely hard work, long hours, unpredictable schedules, lonely, a battle between man, nature and economic fortunes. One of the things I've always loved about David Lynch's films is that they often will start with a bucolic, romantic ideal and then quickly delve into the under belly of that existence. These two images today hint at that. If you look beyond the beauty of the scene you will see problems in each image. Problems with the structures and in the first image problems with the setting. Structures are starting to fall apart and weeds have started to grow. And in the case of the second image the tree itself is a symbol of a turn for the worst as all the leaves have fallen from it's limbs as it will struggle to make it through the winter months. Only time will tell if it will survive yet another winter. So the problem with Romanticism is that it's really not very romantic. It is a failure to confront the truth. It just tries to coat over the truth like frosting covers a cake. It doesn't take much to scrape it aside to see what's left. Reality - you may be able to "have your cake and eat it too" but it will be without frosting.
Tied to life
QUESTION: THE TITLE OF ART OR ART OF THE TITLE?
This past week I've been thinking about the titles that people use/don't use on their artworks. I've heard arguments for and against titles in our time. The most common argument I hear about titles in our internet age is that the key words in a title can help people find your work more easily if they are not already followers of yours. On the other hand, I've also heard that titles are a distraction from the work in question. This has led to two basic approaches to titling ones work. First either listing it as a most banal, plain descriptive title (i.e. "Flowers With Vase", "Farmhouse", "City Life" etc) or simply no title at all (i.e. just a blank space) or using the word "Untitled". What if both of these approaches are wrong? Might it be simply a sign of laziness on the part of the creator to come up with a captive title? I have certainly been guilty of this lazy approach. Wanting to post something but not wanting to spend time with the image I've created to think about what it could mean or what the image could "say". I think, as a creative exercise, that a title should be approached as a writer who writes a book. After all who would read a book with no title on the cover or simply the word "UNTITLED" on the cover? Who would read a book titled, "THE BROKEN DOWN CAR"? Maybe some would but it is not very likely. What if we put as much effort into a title as a writer puts into a book. Add to that, who says titles have to be short? Are long titles a distraction or can they actually illuminate artwork much as artwork can illuminate a good literary work (as was proven in ancient times). I suppose listening to the post rock genre of music is to blame for my conundrum. There have been many post rock recordings with album and song titles that go beyond the common 1-4 word limit that most recordings use. Examples (band name followed by album or song title) - The Silver Mt Zion Orchestra - HE HAS LEFT US ALONE BUT SHAFTS OF LIGHT SOMETIMES GRACE THE CORNER OF OUR ROOMS - Explosions In The Sky - THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL DIE, THOSE WHO TELL THE TRUTH SHALL LIVE FOREVER - Hammock - RAISING YOUR VOICE... TRYING TO STOP AN ECHO - Godspeed You! Black Emperor - LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNA TO HEAVEN - Red Sparrowes - THE FEAR IS EXCRUCIATING, BUT THEREIN LIES THE ANSWER In Truth there are many great short titles also but I think there is less substance (or maybe thats not the right phrase) or requires less from the listener. The titles of the albums listed above is a literary art in itself. I would argue that it provides an additional context for listening. Not only the casual listening that one gives a pop song but a deeper listen that engages ones imagination, intellect and emotional complexity. A longer title can be a literary short-form poem, even a haiku. It doesn't take away from the music but enhances the listening experience. Or, in working with images, as I do... enhances the viewing experience. For the visual arts a longer title can lead the viewer into the image from a different point of view. And has the opportunity to change the viewers experience and possibly behavior that has become so prevalent in a click-bait world. In short I will do anything to slow the viewer down to enjoy the experience of the image. Here are some images of mine that I've recently created with longer titles. Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments.
WE LANDED FOR THE STORM BUT WHEN THE STORM HAD PASSED WE HAD FORGOTTEN HOW TO FLY
WE SAT UNTIL WE COULD SIT NO MORE, BUT WE ALSO COULD NOT STAND, SO WE ASCENDED
I LOOKED AT MY HOME AND SAW THE EXPERIENCE OF MY SOUL
What’s all this crop?
In my photography I've started thinking about "how I can make things look longer or taller." I think the right crop might be the answer. The two photos today are examples of my pursuit of this idea. I've always loved vertical landscapes which comes from my interest in vertical Japanese woodblock prints like the ones by Utagawa Hiroshige. I think the particular crop in these two photos, which is a vertical 16X9, creates this effect nicely. It makes the main subject of tall trees look even taller in my mind. It "heightens" their already magnanimous stature. I also used various textures and effects. What I find really funny is that the main tree in the photo on the left is significantly smaller that the tall tree in the photo on the right. It's more of an overgrown shrub, actually, that is about 12 ft tall compared to the large tree on the right which must be about 50 ft tall. But again, I think the crop really goes a long way to lengthen this tree. Hope you enjoy. What do you think? Is the crop pleasing to your eye? Or is it just too much?