Topic: Digital (180 posts) Page 1 of 36

Shirley 2

This follows Shirley, a series of photographs I made in 2023.

In this post we will pick up where we left off, starting a new phase of these pictures made over a short period of time.

We now are just to the right of the house, presumably what is their yard. We are looking in the same direction, but we are dealing with some depth, although contained by the hill at the back. The center of attention here is the trellis with off-season vines clinging to the structure. The snow on the lower left frames the photograph and seems to lead us into its middle space with various items scattered haphazardly around.

Here, we've turned a few degrees right to make our first photograph that isn't constrained by being a flat plane image. Presumably we're seeing into the immediate future of where we're heading, the light yellow house and at least one   truck with a partly obscured sign on it saying "Fuel".

But the big reveal here is that very long fence, forming a "T" shape at its bottom with another facing the street. The picture is defined at its edges by my effort to fit all of the fence in the frame. Of course, I'm standing there with the camera up to my eye thanking my lucky stars for the quality of zooms these days, in this case a 24 to 70mm.

I believe in my earlier days I wouldn't have strayed far from the rule of having to work in parallel planes with the subject. While still doing that here, I am looser now. So many rules and requirements are now gone, freeing us to do as we wish, to work to the needs of the subject and the photographs we make. 

Last one, breaking with another tradition:

This almost square photograph is an affront, planal as in the earlier frames of the series but absolutely inescapable as there is literally nowhere else to go. In contrast to our first house, this one is clearly empty, one hint being the realtor's lockbox on the door knob. As full of life and occupancy as the first house was, this is empty and a little forlorn.

So, here we are, at the end of the second post of the pictures I made in Shirley in the end of winter 2023. Of interest might be that this is a series intended to be viewed as prints. I made the prints quite large at 25 x 17 inches to allow all of the details to be seen. Next up? Shirley 3.

Topics: black and white and color,Digital

Permalink | Posted June 4, 2023

Book: Buffalo NY Silo City

There is a new book out with a limited run on the 10 years photographers were allowed to photograph what is called: "Silo City" in Buffalo NY.

Spearheaded by photographer Mark Maio with permission from the property's owner, Mark ran photo workshops for 10 years before the complex was sold to developers.

The abandoned warehouses and silos are extensive. I attended a workshop in 2016 and, after an orientation and safety walkthrough, we were let loose to photograph as we wished for two days.

The book publishes many photographs from workshop participants over the 10 years it ran in really first-rate reproductions. It also gives us the history of the silos and the role they played in bringing the grain harvested in the American midwest on its journey through the Great Lakes and on to the rest of the world

The book was just published in a limited run, catering to the 40 or so photographers that have their work in it. But there is talk of another run. Interested?

I suggest you approach Mark directly at: 

and ask to be put on the list for a copy from the next printing.

This is a superb book and deserves wide exposure.

This last one is from the Buffalo Water Works which was a site we were given access  to on the last day of our workshop.

Topics: Color,Black and White,Digital,Northeast

Permalink | Posted March 1, 2023

The Stream

Shot in the spring 2019, they are photographs from a stream on Martha's Vineyard. The stream would appear after it rained, running down the beach to the ocean in Aquinnah from a pond inland. It would run for a few days, dwindle to just a trickle, stop, then start again after the next rain storm. 

I just finished making the prints in February 2023. 

The photographs are now on the site:

Why photograph it?

Because it was magic.

Comments welcome. 

Topics: Color,Digital,Northeast

Permalink | Posted February 6, 2023

A Little Crazy

Well, things got a little crazy the past two weeks or so. First Skye (my granddaughter) came back from camp in NH early due to getting Covid and then Maru (my daughter) got it at the end of Skye's quarantine. We live close enough to one another that I have either been at the studio or off on a road trip.

Last week I took 48 hours and drove to Burlington, VT to shoot. The weather was wonderful and I shot enough to feel like I was successfully renewing earlier days when I was very prolific. I've been printing the past 2 days and there are good pictures, thank God.

Driving northern Vermont's back roads behind the wheel of this

was just plain fun. Do you know that going through Smuggler's Notch the road goes down to one lane but is still two-way? That had its moments. 

Smuggler's Notch, NH

At this point, I ask not so much: well framed, well exposed, cleanly seen and above all enough perception to make pictures that are smart.

I make no excuses but it has been a long time dry. Hard to not be cynical, to not regard photography as something largely in the rearview mirror. Much time in the studio since moving in February; editing, filing, labeling, including contextual information with bodies of work, updating the archives' database, etc. Probably too much, as looking back makes it hard to look forward. With friend Gail here from Toronto a few weeks ago giving me a needed kick in the butt I am looking forward again. 

Put your eye up to the finder, look, compose, wonder, set focus, hold the camera steady, trip the shutter, think: different angle, different focus, lower, higher, needs different time of day or different time of year? After all, what are the chances that as you stand in front of whatever, you are there at the best of possible times? Remote at best. Or, are you in front of it with a camera because you've spotted it at the best of possible times? Who's to say?

Ah, perfection is elusive. And can be dull too. Let a little humanity in there, a little   roughness around the edges, a little something wry, twisted, organic, intuitive and felt. Try not to make past pictures over and over, but be adventurous and provocative.

Wake up! Approach your subject like a hunter, after your prey. Analyze it, think it over, and look critically. You are making photographs, a medium where being done well is exceptionally difficult. Look at the genius of the masters that preceded you. Do you aspire to that? Bring your A game.

The blog now has a comments section. Feel free to respond. Confirms my efforts.

Topics: Northeast,Color,Digital,New Work

Permalink | Posted August 23, 2022


(Note: This is a post that's been sitting in the archive of posts written but not published. You can tell it is a little out of date, but I believe it is still relevant.)

Sometimes you know when you make some new work you are going to lose some fans. Either the new work is so different you've crushed their expectations or you just have to make it and the hell with what others think. 

Case in point: San Jose Squares, 02.2018

Downtown San Jose, CA, shot square, hence "Squares", mid-February. Black and white. Of stupefying quality, really first-rate, in a flat tonality reminiscent of my 80's and 90's square work in black and white (Oakesdale, Portland, Hershey, Yountville, Nantucket, etc). The new Nikon, feeling familiar but foreign too. A subtle but perceptual shift in rendition,  so natural and neutral as to be transparent.

I am writing this soon after seeing the Sally Mann show at PEM and clearly, it had a powerful effect on me. How anyone can cut through the surface like that is beyond me. She's like a hot knife through butter, or a cut from a razor; fast but no pain til later.

But today at the studio I went through the San Jose prints and this is hard work to get behind. Flat and quiet, you've got to work at these before they become available. Fred Sommer's "short attention span" comes into play here and they are easy to ignore. But slow down and look in there and they are relentlessly rewarding.

Hm. I seem to be making work that no one gets or no one cares about. San Jose,  Shrink Wrapped, winter 2017, the Spruce Pine work (2012, 2013,2014, 2018) on the Road to Pinnacles,  2018. Maybe I'm just making bad work, but I don't think so.

At the Sally Mann, Sara Kennel, the curator, spun the work so well, confirming its substance and genius with every breath. No dispute, this is hugely important work. What an opposite, though. I know, who am I to compare myself to Sally Mann? Well, someone who's been doing this longer than she has, so perhaps I qualify. But if I do go there, I look at her ability to cut through, to essentialize a photograph compared to mine, which are sharp and clean and precise and cold(?). Beautiful seems to reign supreme in mine but she will kill conventional renderings and use the materials to get what she wants, rough and edgy and visceral. Jesus, go through that show and you leave needing a bandage. Know of the work she did of the decaying bodies? Look at her pictures of her husband and they seem to forecast his end.

So San Jose Squares? Deserves another look, some serious perusal perhaps. Maybe you're moving too fast, doing too much and it's affecting the quality of your life. Slow down, take a longer look at some work that contains... a lot. You'll walk away richer, I  guarantee it.

See the full series here.

Topics: Black and White,Digital

Permalink | Posted August 4, 2022