Color

 

There are two directions I want to go in my photography, and color is one of them.  (The June 23 post here notwithstanding …)  But, it is secondary, and not really the point of this blog.  Having said that, here’s the deal:

I am not a “street shooter”, or a documentary photographer.  There was a time when I was young that I carried a camera with me everywhere.  I got over it.

However, in some contrast to that predilection, I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind for years about a project that is documentary and involves social commentary.  It’s really more the social commentary that attracts me to the project than the photography.  I have not pursued it because there were too many other things to do, and I just haven’t wanted to deal with this aspect:  The project would involve a blog of (digital color) photographs, with commentary about what is depicted.  It would not, by my intention, be political;  but due to the subject matter, I can see where it would get political to some viewers in about 4 seconds!  I just don’t care to deal with that.

A while back, my wife and I were talking about this (again) and she suggested that I simply start taking the photographs, but not start the blog.  Then, I could see if a body of work was developing that might make the blog and its consequences worthwhile.

Fair enough.  However, another project has put the social one on the back burner yet again.  (It’s OK)

I am a musician, as well as a photographer.  (Holy Ansel Adams …)  My near obsession musically is the pipe organ.  Pipe organs are big and esoteric things.  Most of the actual instrument is often not visible, being located either behind a screen or a facade of pipes that are only a small portion of the total instrument.

There are some very famous and historically significant organs in East Texas and in the Dallas area that are now being celebrated with an annual festival.  festival link

I offered up the idea of documenting the instruments photographically to the director of the festival, also the organist at one of the better known churches.  He responded with much enthusiasm!

Test shots have been done and the start of serious work is eminent.

In discussing all this with the festival director, he commented that he really liked black and white.  Hmm …

Darkroom time?

 

I spent a couple of hours in the darkroom today.  While I did make several prints, the whole purpose was to do some digital video of the process in order to put together a publicity video for the upcoming exhibition in October.

No irony there.

The best way to promote an exhibition of darkroom photography is with digital media.

Now I just have to get past the learning curve of Adobe Premier (video equivalent of Photoshop) to make something remotely presentable.

Yeah, but is it art?

Is photography an art?  For that matter, what is art?

There are no universally accepted answers as to what makes art “art”.   Don’t believe it – look it up.  (If you really wish to go down a rabbit hole, go here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art-definition/ )

For many, it distills down to: it is art if the artist intends it to be art.  Okay, that’s pretty broad, but it contains the kernel of necessary, essential truth; i.e., that art is deliberate.  This is implied, even in a dictionary definition along lines such as: Art is the the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty.  Or: Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

This discussion can go on and on.  But the point of this small essay was not intended to answer “what is art”, but whether or not photography is art!  To even answer that, we must assume that art is, well, art.  Art exists, and we know it when we see it.  Art is the given.

Once we accept art, the question of whether or not photography is an art is easy to answer.  It is summed up very simply by  photographer Ruth Bernhard, who said: “Photography is art when it’s used by an artist.”

Paul Caponigro said: “Photography’s potential as a great image-maker and communicator is really no different from the same potential in the best poetry where familiar, everyday words, placed within a special context, can soar above the intellect and touch subtle reality in a unique way.”  The analogy of poetry is apt.  The poet uses words out of a dictionary.  All the words are in the dictionary, and we can all use them.  But the poet arranges a few of them in a way that transcends the usual.  It is the deliberate act of the arrangement of words that makes poetry.

So it is with photography.  The light is there, and any or all of can capture the light on film or a digital sensor.  The challenge is to do it in a way that transcends the usual.

That is the hand of the artist.

Happy Independence Day

In the United States, July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson.

Best wishes to all my American friends and readers, and I ask indulgence from the international friends and readers.

Here’s a pic I took in my freshman year of college …

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Announcing an Exhibition

 

I am very pleased to formally announce an exhibition of photographs highlighting work done with monochrome film and darkroom practices.  Prints shown will include silver gelatin, as well as other “alternative” processes.

The exhibition will feature the work of these Texas photographers:

  • David Brown
  • Michael Castles
  • Susan Harlin
  • J. B. Harlin
  • Matthew Magruder
  • William McEwen
  • Valerie Yaklin Brown

October 1 – 24, 2014

Janette Kennedy Gallery

Southside on Lamar,  1409 South Lamar St.  Dallas TX, 75215

Artists’ reception: TBA

This exhibition is produced by The Silver Darkroom.  

Special thanks go to Valerie Yaklin Brown for her counsel and assistance.