Friday, September 6, 2013

It's been a while -- okay a year -- since I posted anything to the blog.  We were more than overwhelmed with coping with winter on a remote farm in central Kentucky.  We went through a lot of wood because our electrician could not get the new heat pumps working correctly, and the house was under-insulated.  There were other problems, most of them caused by two city dwellers moving into the country and being woefully unprepared for what lay in store for them.
Final upside: we made it through, and many of the perks of living out here made themselves evident: finding out that we could depend on our neighbors, and realizing the sense of fulfillment that comes with letting them rely on us.  Days of so much snow that we could not get down our steep gravel drive, and being forced to really see scenery that was so breathtakingly beautiful it would break your heart.  Going out into the woods with two excited grandchildren to cut down the Christmas tree, and dragging it home to where Grandma had made hot chocolate, and drinking it while warming up in front of the fire place.  The quiet. 
I am going to do a series of postings on how living in the woods has changed my photography, and the changes in my life and art, but for today this will do. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I am proud to announce that I now have work hanging in Lexington!
My pieces are installed in First Presbyterian Church, a stop on the September 21st Gallery Hop in downtown Lexington. I will be there from four until eight PM. Come by and say hello!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Get Real Or Go Home

Buying a new house has eaten my life for the last month or two.  I have been getting very little work done (although I have been out shooting three mornings this week), and the printer has put more ink into cleaning than on to paper.

But first the new home: six rural acres in Anderson county, up on a ridge.  Pond, fireplace, big porch and the real catch -- an eleven by eighteen studio thirty feet from the house with electricity, running water and plenty of outlets for computers, printers, framing tools... A dream come true!

The land is so beautiful that I can probably shoot for a month and never have to leave the property.

So will this make me a photographer for real now?  No, but it will remove a lot of the excuses I previously made for not working steadily.  I hope I am up to the task.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye -- Saying Hello

Saying Goodbye...

And I had to say goodbye to Gallery 104 in La Grange.  Wonderful people, fun place to be, but I was not selling, and it was costing me to drive eighty miles round trip to work a couple of days a month.

When Solaris Gallery in Versailles decided to represent me, pieces and prints that sat unsold in La Grange started going out the door in Versailles,  so switching my stock t the new gallery was a no-brainer. 


I have also been accepted at the Kennydid Gallery of Photographic Art in Midway Kentucky, so my "area" seems to be moving away from Louisville and more towards Lexington.  I like this.  It's closer to home, and sales are up!  Win win for everybody!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Pretty, But Is It Art? No, Probably Not

So a friend and I were walking around a gallery a little while ago, looking at the art on the walls and judging whether or not it actually was art.  I don't have a great art education (that may or may not be an advantage) but I did learn the basic rules of composition: rule of thirds, using directors, creating tension with diagonals... And I was attempting to explain why some things worked, and some didn't.  My friend could have cared less about the rules; he only knew what he did and didn't like.

I was looking at my oldest son's blog earlier today (he is a photographer too, and a really good one) where I saw he had posted the following quote:

"Whether visual art is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder and a matter of opinion. Whether or not an effort is art at all is defined by indisputable laws of composition."

A nice summation, I think.  If you disagree, have at it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

Photographer or Graphic Artist? 

I followed a conversation on another website about photo editing, and one of the participants commented that "...after that much editing, you are no longer a photographer, you are a graphic artist."  So how much is too much? 

There are photographers that eschew any editing at all, developing and printing the image exctly as it is captured in the emulsion or on the CCD.  At the other extreme is the photographer who stages elaborate setups almost like a video shoot, and then heavily edits that image until it bears no resemblance to anything in reality.  One viewpoint refuses any editing or manipulation that was not available to us in the traditional "wet" darkroom: burning, dodging, solarization... If it could not be done under an enlarger it is not allowed today.  This is too tied to the past for my taste.  If I never get D-76 on my hands again it will be too soon.

I fall somewhere in between: every image  is evaluated on its own, and calls for a degree of editing that bears little relationship to the image that came before, or the one that comes after.  Presets are a starting point, rarely the solution.  I have only done one series of images in a "project," and those have not been published; probably never will be.

So I use all the tools that are at my disposal, but nothing to the point that an effect draws attention to itself or away from the image.  I am too much of a traditionalist for that.  Where are your limits?  Where is the line that you will not cross in image manipulation?

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Almost Went Home Early...

   But I didn't.  I knew I would have a very hard time explaining to my wife exactly why I had spent three hundred dollars for a weekend workshop, and had only stayed for three hours and one meal; not to mention having driven one hundred and seventy miles, only to turn around and drive home.  With gas at over four bucks a gallon, it seemed like a wise choice to avoid each of those discussions.

   So I stayed at a workshop I had no interest in. See -- I consider myself a Landscape Photographer,  and I have no interest in wildflowers. I had no interest in looking at them, in shooting them, or in framing and ultimately trying to sell prints of them.  Waste of time.  Give me mountain vistas, huge storm clouds, frost and morning mist and old barns.

   I ended up learning more this weekend than I have in the last year.  The instructor, Tom barnes, has a number of books published, all focussing on outdoor and nature in Kentucky. 

   So thanks to Tom and the rest of the group, I now adore shooting flowers and other small bits of nature.  I enjoy the technical aspect of capturing them, and the colors -- the way they seem to saturate the image. 

   The students were an eclectic group: hobbyists, pros and wannabe semipros like myself.   We hiked all over the top of Pine Mountain and Big Black Mountain.  We took pictures.  We looked at each other's setups.  We critiqued and we networked.  I got back Sunday afternoon and was exhausted. 

   Today I looked through the files, and I think I got four keepers out of the ones I shot; not a bad average at this stage of the game.  I will get them up on the website in the next couple of days.

Lessons Learned:

1. Keep an open mind when somebody suggests a new direction for your art. 
2. No picture is wasted.  Even the bad ones can tell me something about where I am in my learning process.
3. Have a good time.  If it isn't fun, find something to do that is fun.