This post opens my web site to the public. It is not the first post as I created many in the process of learning how to use this site. I have left a few that I thought might be fun and give you a sense of who I am besides a photographer. The primary purpose, though, is to provide a place online where others may view my images. The Galleries are organized by theme and each has 7-15 images relating to the theme. The images that are there now will stay the same for quite a while but I will either replace them eventually or add sub galleries with different images. I will also add new themes as they arise.
Each gallery features a collection of images in a grid. Clicking on any one of them will launch a slide show that you control using the forward and backward arrows on either side of the image that appears.
Rocks and Ruins at the Vista Grande Public Library, September, 2022
Reception: Friday, September 9, 3:30 – 5:00 pm
In a recent Pasatiempo article Santa Fe photographer Alex Traube says “I couldn’t help photograph that rock…and start doing things with it and become enchanted. I surrender to that enchantment.” I too cannot help photographing rocks and, as it happens, ruins. I am drawn to them: a single pebble on a beach, a fat boulder in a sea of pebbles, a collapsed schoolhouse, an abandoned barn. Some rock formations are so fantastic everyone would want to photograph them. The scant but alluring remains of ancient indigenous settlements (such as Hovenweep, pictured above) have attracted photographers since cameras were invented.
Rocks and ruins are part of the landscape and, in this part of the country, ubiquitous. Hundreds of ghost towns, both ancient and relatively modern, dot New Mexico’s map. The land is rife with long extinct volcanic cones which spewed boulders across its surface. The result in both cases is a compelling geometry of light, lines, textures and shadows.
Rocks and ruins both contrast and complement each other. Rocks are solid, often immovable, randomly placed. They suggest permanence, stasis. Ruins are transitory, fragile looking, placed initially with purpose. Both have stories to tell: rocks of the earth’s history, ruins of human intentions. Both evoke questions: how were these solid things that look like peanut butter created? why were these ruins abandoned? The most ancient, enduring ruins were made of stone.
All of that and alliteration too.
El Gancho is a local (104 Old Las Vegas Hwy in Santa Fe) fitness center with tons of wall space they like to have covered with art. A friend was invited to hang her photographs for the month of August but found the space overwhelming and invited a couple of other photographers, to join her. Here’s a poster I made to introduce us to the patrons.
I plan to hang some old favorites:
and there is some wall space just opposite the child care center that I think will be perfect for those Costa Rica monkey pictures for which I promised to make a new gallery (and that may still happen..):
The El Gancho show will be up from August 1 through August 30, 2022.
Owing to a snafu with the original reception date and given the current surges of COVID cases, new and breakthrough, I decided to cancel the reception for this exhibit. No sense in exposing myself and others unnecessarily. Do stop by the library if you are in the area in September. I just hung the show today and it looks quite nice. You’ll find a number of the hanging images here and below are a some that are newer.
Our local library has resumed on site art exhibitions and I will be the featured artist for this September (provided the delta variant doesn’t close us down again).. Here’s one of the posters I’ve created to publicize the show. Do stop by if you’re in the area: Vista Grange Public Library, 14 Avenida Torreon, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Reception Saturday, Sept. 4, 1-3 pm.
Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis recently accepted one of my images for their up coming show, the invitation for which is below.
The show runs through July 3, 2021 and will be accessible online after June 19th. Here’s the image picked by the juror for inclusion.
There are a large number of splendid monochrome photos in the exhibition that can be enjoyed online. I will send the link when it becomes available but in the meantime you may want to check out their other recent exhibitions.
Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis, MN is mounting a show called “Animal Beings.” I liked the theme and submitted a whopping seven images (I usually never submit more than five) to the juror. The Iguana Portrait above was one and here are the other six.
One got chosen for exhibition. Which one would you choose? The juror picked this one.
The show runs from March 20 through April 3, by appointment only at the gallery. It should be available for viewing online at the Praxis site. If not, I will post the link when I get it.
Because of the pandemic restrictions, this annual show will be, like many others, a virtual exhibition, available for viewing onlineonly. The good news is it will up for nine months, December 26, 2020 until September 30, 2021.
I am, as always, pleased to have my images juried into this show and there is a little story that goes with this year’s selections. Several years ago I had submitted and had accepted into the show one of these Taos images, the one titledNo Sanctuary – Taos, 1847. I printed, matted and framed it in one of my new beautiful, brushed Aluminum frames only to have it returned to me, unhung, because the frame was gray, not black! Since this show is virtual, frames are not an issues so I decided to submit it again along with two companion Taos images and all three were accepted. They are:
This exhibition was scheduled for the month of September, 2020, at the Vista Grande Public Library in Santa Fe, NM. Because of the restrictions of the COVID19 pandemic, the library has been opened on a limited basis and, as of this writing, is likely to continue in that mode for the foreseeable future. The show that would have been hung will be presented in virtual form on the library’s website. I am presenting it here as well, divided into two slideshows: squares and blurs. Note you can stop the autoplay by clicking on the button in the upper right corner of each image. Please see the previous post for an introduction to the exhibition.
A few years ago I saw an exhibition of small, square format black and white images of Michael Kenna. They were powerful in their elegance and simplicity; I was surprised such small landscapes “worked.” I determined to try my hand at square format. I found myself looking at images with an entirely different eye, finding my impression of the landscape rather than the landscape itself and directing viewers to that intent.
The challenge is to simplify the composition, to distill the essence that makes the scene special. It is a very satisfying exercise and one that is by no means finished as I continue to search for the right balance between shape and texture, the optimum placement of elements within the square and the effective use of negative space. An example may help illustrate these ideas.
This is the original lake trees image. The final image follows.
Here I wanted to reduce the image to what essentially attracted me: those dead trees trunks sticking up from the water. Converting to black and white emphasizes form and texture without the distraction of color.
In the slideshow which is the next post, the black and white square format images are my earliest; the color images more recent.
I use “blurs” to summarize a variety of manipulations that can be used to render a straightforward photograph more aesthetically pleasing, more faithful, perhaps, to an original impression, evoking an ethereal or mysterious atmosphere. The intent might be to create a gentler feel or emphasize a more graphic or abstract quality.
Photographers have been doing this from the inception of the medium, sometimes because they had no choice, then purposefully by the Pictorialist School in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to emulate the look of “art.” More often it is done to follow the urges of a personal aesthetic sense. Here is an example.
This is the original at the shore image. The final image follows.
At the Shore
This is all about abstraction, presenting the shapes and colors without the distracting detail of the sand pebbles and the small lines of waves. It fits how I see, feel the scene when I am lying in the sun on a beach squinting at the ocean. That little bit of magenta in the mid ground which is easy to ignore or miss in the original becomes more prominent.
There are myriad darkroom techniques to achieve these effects. I have used what amounts to a digital darkroom to transform certain images into something more than an accurate record of a scene, something that allows me to use my imagination and, I hope, engage yours.
I like making photo books but don’t really look at them as often as I’d like to see the images, especially if they remind me of a very special time, place. For these I make a poster or a montage of the images and hang it someplace where I see it often. Here’s my poster for the super bloom.
This year started out great for photography with acceptance into the 2020 Anza Borrego Desert Photo Contest . This contest was preceded, in the spring of 2019, by a spectacular super bloom in the Coachella Valley and surrounding areas, a super bloom of quality and quantity that had not been seen in decades. And I was there for both of these shows!
Anza Borrego Desert Photo Contest
One of my favorite places is the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern CA. It covers over 600,000 acres of wilderness and mountains, much of it inaccessible except on foot. What is accessible are vast areas of badlands, palm oases, slot canyons, 4 wheel drive roads, broad vistas – a landscape photographer’s paradise. Each year a photo contest, limited to images taken within the park boundaries, entices hundreds of photographers to show their work.
Although photographing there for years, it did not occur to me to enter the photo contest until last summer, after having spent many hours pursuing the fabulous wildflowers of the super bloom. I had lots of images to choose from and submitted, digitally, the 10 allowed. I was surprised and pleased when 8 of those 10 made the first cut, the final couple hundred from which the judges would pick winners in each of the six categories. Submission then required the images to be printed, mounted and delivered to Borrego Springs, a small town that sits in the middle of the Park. Wintering now in the Coachella Valley, it was a pleasure for me to make the delivery. Here are the 8.
The last two images, Palm Oasis and Feast for a Desert Prince, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Black and White and Animals category, respectively, and were displayed, along with all the winners, during the month of February at the Borrego Art Institute in Borrego Springs. At the excellent critique session that preceded the opening reception I discovered, to my surprise, that almost all the winners were local, professional photographers. I was in very good company.
Super Bloom 2019
The images above with wildflowers were taken in the spring of 2019 during that amazing super bloom. I was enchanted with the wildflowers, vast fields of which replaced the drab greens, grays and tans of the desert with purple, pink, yellow and white. They appeared not only in the expanses of the neighboring parks but also on every vacant lot, every patch of bare ground in the urban sprawl of the Coachella Valley.
I marveled at the vistas, but also saw stunning arrangements of flower varieties set among rocks, in dry arroyos, up hillsides and, of course, individual flowers. I photographed them all hoping, someday, someway to give others a glimpse of this glory. A book? Sure, but then I was daunted by the task of identifying all those flowers and just set the whole idea aside. The Anza Borrego Photo Contest spurred me to cull these photos for suitable entries, but the real motivator to create a book was the COVID19 pandemic with its mandated stay at home regimen.
The book, Super Bloom 2019, was just published by Blurb, You can see a preview of the whole book here. What follows are some of the images not in the book.