Framed and Wrapped

New show is ready to go. Maru and I deliver it next week. There are two parts to this exhibition to be held at the Martha's Vineyard Museum for the next three months.

On the Ground: Analog black and white prints from the late 80s and early 90s that I donated to the Museum last fall. 21 prints made during a time when I was working through the Vineyard Open Land Foundation to document land not yet built on. 

Above: Recent color digital aerial photographs of the island made from about 2012 until last year.

Sadly, there will be no opening reception.

The Museum is open and suggests calling ahead to reserve your time 508-527-4441

The dates for the show are January 22-April 25, 2021

Questions? Email me: Neal

Permalink | Posted January 12, 2021

PhotoWork 2

Continuing with a second post on the questions asked to photographers in the book: PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice (Aperture,  edited by Sasha Wolf).

7. How do you know when a body of work is completed?

In earlier days this was very tough for me. Mostly I didn't and often was so into a particular way of seeing and working I didn't want to give it up. I also often was depressed when a series was done and hadn't found something new yet. This is better now as I am more disciplined and also more familiar with the ups and downs of my particular way of making art.

8. Have you ever had a body of work that was created in the editing process? 

Yes, perhaps this is most pervasive in editing aerial work. Over hundreds of frames shot each time I go up, it isn't until I am editing files that I get to see what I've done then work to bring cohesion by choosing various streams or series.

9. Do you associate your work with a particular genre of photography? If yes, how would you define that genre?

Modernist and minimalistic. I was born just post-WW II and much of that era's design, architecture, art and music had a large influence on me.

10. Do you ever revisit a series that has already been exhibited or published to shoot more and add to it?

No.

11. Do you ever revisit a series that has already been exhibited or published and reedit it?

No.

12. Do you create with presentation in mind, be that a gallery show or a book?

Sometimes. It can't help play with your head when a prestigious show is on the books a year or two down the line.  Will this be in, will this new work make it into the show, will I need to print these differently, larger or smaller? Often, with my work, I can't make a book that shows all of each series for it would be too big. 

Again, thank you to Sasha Wolf for her editing of PhotoWorks and to Aperture for publishing it.

If you enjoyed this post check out the first one: PhotoWorks

and you can always reach me at: Neal's email

Topics: Commentary

Permalink | Posted January 3, 2021

PhotoWork

I invite you to join me on a new project. Several years ago Sasha Wolf edited a book put out for Aperture called: PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice. She sent out a questionnaire with 12 questions to photographers, some of whom I've heard of and seen their work and some I have not. I was not invited to be a part of this project. 

Many names you'll recognize: Robert Adams, Dawoud Bay, Lois Conner, Todd Hido, Abe Morell, Alec Soth.

But what a great idea! To provide access to photographers' methodologies and practices. It is a wonderful book and I am grateful to Aperture and to Ms. Wolf for bringing it to us. 

But I got to thinking: what if I had been asked to reply to the same questions? And, perhaps as a model for you, what if you were asked to do the same?

That's just what I am going to do. It may take me a few posts but I am going to reply to the same twelve questions she asked for her book.

Here  goes:

1. What  comes first for you: the idea for a project or individual photographs that suggest a concept?

I don't know that formulating a project and then executing that idea is a good way for me to work. Although I have cooked up ideas for things to photograph and then gone out to realize the idea the project has never come out as planned. Mostly I like to react to surroundings and make it up as I go along.

2. What are the key elements that must be present for you when you are creating a body of work?

The quality of light stands out for me; contrast, quantity, color but also, as I photograph outdoors, what air I am looking through as I make a picture of something: the atmosphere. After all, it is the light that allows me to make the picture. But equally important is my own frame of mind. This feels almost like collusion, between "it" and "me". One of my core beliefs is if I can just see it, then whatever I am in front of with a camera can become a series.

3. Is the idea of a body of work important to you? How does it function in relation to making a great individual photograph? 

Much of my work is made in series and time plays a large role as I use the sequence to make work that is a narrative. So, yes, the work is made conceptually to tell a story.

4. Do you have what you might call a "photographic style"?

This isn't so conscious and I am not driven by a perceived reaction to my work. My approach is internal and, if I look back at decades of work, I can see some consistency in design.

5. Where would you say your style falls on a continuum between completely intuitive and intellectually formulated?

I need both. I can't just make my work with just how I feel as I need intellect to research, to figure out a path, to find a precedent, to refine and improve my projects before they are complete. 

6. Assuming you now shoot in what you would consider your natural voice, have you ever wished your voice was different?

This is like asking someone if they'd like to be someone else. I do know I can't emulate or approach content with another sensibility. This is means I must self respect as I know what I can do, what I can contribute and that to try to do what someone else does will never work for me. 

Let's stop here for the first post. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Topics: Commentary

Permalink | Posted January 2, 2021

Merry Christmas 2020

What a year.

So much pain, so much suffering, so many dead.

For many, a year to get past, to be done with, to move on from. But I  wish you all the best of holidays. Stay close, hang with family and loved ones. Be safe. We will be past this soon. 

Four years ago this same time, just before Christmas, I wrote a blog that sought to make connections between things disparate. I was working on a book called "Trees, Sand and Snow." The blog is: here. I just reread it and believe it's worth taking a look at.

And, I will leave you with this:

Perhaps not the most upbeat views of Xmas views, but not a total disaster either. Two wreaths hung high (so as not to be stolen?) in a mall parking lot, the store a Bed Bath and Beyond and gray wintery skies.

Wishing you the best.

Topics: Northeast,Digital

Permalink | Posted December 24, 2020

MT View Estates

Mountain View Estates: what comes to mind? A series of Tyrolian style cottages nestled in a pasture looking over the Swiss Alps, perhaps? Or a gated community of high-end homes with a grand view of the snow-capped Colorado Rockies?

Not at all. Mt View Estates is a housing development sitting on a hill above a gravel pit in White River Junction, Vermont.

I found it in 1991:

It blew me away and became an obsession, as these things do, for about a year. Here are a few more:

Hypothetical: local builder gets word that the old gravel pit up the hill is going on sale. His uncle is on the town planning board so they cut a deal that will allow the builder to buy the land cheap and put houses on it around the perimeter of the actual pit. Rules are bent. There is only a passing discussion about whether some of the new homes might slide into the pit. They both make out like bandits.

Last picture in the series:

A dead bird. 

Prints are about 12 inches square and are analog, printed by me, and archivally processed. They are in A+ condition. There is only one set.

Box where the negatives are stored.

The full series is on the gallery page of the site: Mt View Estates

Wishing you a warm, safe, and excellent holiday. May 2021 bring us all relief from this godawful pandemic. I do believe things will start to improve on January 20th.

Comments? Neal's Email

Last: you can subscribe to the blog. It's easy. Go to the blog page and enter your email on the "subscribe" heading on the right. I do not share or sell your email to anyone.

Topics: New England,Northeast,Analog,Black and White

Permalink | Posted December 20, 2020