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.
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.
The New Mexico Art League’s latest exhibition features representations – in a variety of media – of the fabulous skies in this state. All three of my submissions were accepted (a first) and the one above was taken right up the street from my house. It’s titled Eldorado, the name of our little unincorporated community about 12 mile southeast of Santa Fe.
Another image, A Proper Perspective, is a variation on a theme. You’ve seen it before in black and white. Here is the color version.
A Proper Perspective
The third image, Virgas, may also be in a gallery on this site, called there Into the Rain. It was taken in NE New Mexico, near a town called Roy, where the land begins to become plains. I changed the title because on closer examination I thought the rain wasn’t actually reaching the ground, hence virgas. What do you think?
Upcoming at the Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis is an exhibition of black and white photographs and one of my submissions was juried into the show. It’s called Saguaro and it’s reproduced below,
The exhibition runs from July 26 through August 9 so if you happen to be in the area at that time do stop by and have a look.
Note added, July, 2020: Turns out I got the Juror’s Choice Award for this image. I didn’t know this until I recently received the little book Praxis published with all the images from the exhibition. They do this for every show. If you have an image in the show you can buy the book but it’s gratis if you get an award. I hadn’t ordered the book so was surprised to get it in the mail and when I opened it discovered Saguaro was the Juror’s Choice: a welcome surprise amid the COVID19 gloom.
I usually only submit images for consideration to local exhibitions because schlepping my images any further than Albuquerque is unacceptable. Packing them off to ship even more unacceptable. When the Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis indicated they would print and frame the 30 images chosen for their The Shape of Things international exhibition I figured it was worth a try. Of the five images I submitted, Sunnylands I was accepted into the show and went on to win the Juror’s Choice Award.
Friends who live in Minneapolis visited the Gallery and took a video and still pictures for me. I can’t put the video on this site but here’s a picture of the main panel of the show. My image is on the upper left. Thanks Liz nd Di!
The Shades of Gray exhibition of black and white photographs by New Mexico photographers continues to be one of the most popular in this area, if attendance is any measure. I continue to submit entries and am pleased to have two out of three submissions selected this year: LA and Look Up! Here they are.
LA’s Disney Center
Exact dates for the show are on the Welcome page of this site. Information about and directions to Expo New Mexico can be found here.
I’ll save the book for the next post but if you want a preview check this out.
Most of us are familiar with Joyce Kilmer’s poem with its vivid imagery of trees suckling at the breast of mother earth and his self-description as a fool for trying to describe in words such a magnificent creation. I share his frustration.
I am always attracted to trees, to the patterns and textures shown by the bark, the limbs and sometimes even the leaves. Their visual complexity is alluring, especially in the spring when the gloriously complex structure of deciduous trees are tinged with a delicate yellow green halo of small leaves.
I’m often tempted to anthropomorphize: trees “hide” their structure with a covering of leaves or needles; some “show off” with stunning coats of color in the Fall; all “go with the flow” of wind and weather. But here is a lovely example of the opposite:
“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreen and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
I hope you will enjoy the woods that I have created.
Here are some images of trees that do not appear elsewhere on this site.
I made this triptych for my friend Charlie who lived here while he worked at what was then the Southwest Regional Office of the National Park Service in Santa Fe. He moved on to other positions in other locations but always loved this area and wished he could return. Alas, it was not to be.
The image on the left is the Rio Grande gorge as seen from the road to Taos, an iconic image. The middle is Taos Pueblo North. I am especially fond of this image because, unlike most that emphasize the towering massiveness of the Pueblo, it is put in the proper (to my mind) context of the land and sky. The image to the right was taken while camping at Wild Rivers Recreation Area near Questa, NM. Here the Rio Grande and Red Rivers converge at the bottom of an 800 foot canyon. This image is looking north, up the Rio Grande. Putting them together in one frame would, I hope, give my friend and anyone else looking at it a taste of this magnificent land.
Each year hundreds of photographers submit thousands of photographs to the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS) which showcases the finest photographic work being done in New Mexico. A jury of professionals selects only the best photography from Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, and elsewhere in New Mexico for inclusion in the annual show.
I read that somewhere and saved it for an occasion like this. I probably would not have been so extravagantly boastful. I’ve known about ANMPAS for about 8 years now, since I began to show my work but have managed to submit entries only half those years. Traveling in the RV during the winter I either forgot or didn’t have the right images with me. When I did submit I usually got at least one entry juried into the show. This year I was determined to not let the deadline slip by and got a couple of images accepted:
YELLOWSTONE MAGIC The hot springs and pools at Yellowstone National Park provide endless variations of color and abstraction.
BUNKER HILL Not Boston’s, LA’s!
Here are images accepted in previous ANMPAS shows , 2011-2013.
Great Sand Dunes NP
The ruins of the original church of San Geronimo are reminders of that brutal deed.
Near Garfield, NM, the springtime flood irrigation of the groves promises pecans.
Jin Mao, Shanghai
The show runs from April 1 through April 23 and the Fine Art Gallery at EXPO New Mexico will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. Opening reception is Sat., March 31st from 2-4 pm.
For the second year in a row the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS) has presented an all black and white photography exhibition. This juried show features about 200 images from New Mexico photographers who may submit up to three images. I am pleased to have images selected for both shows. Here are five images of mine that have been juried into the exhibit in 2016 and 2017.
Death Valley National Park
Funnerary of a 16th C. Spanish mission south of Tubac, AZ
Death Valley salt flats from Dante’s View.
At Oliver Lee State Park near Alamogordo, NM
The opening reception for this year’s show is Sat., Dec. 2 from 2-4 PM at the EXPO New Mexico (the old Fair Grounds) Fine Art Gallery. It is open to the public Sunday, Dec. 3rd through Wednesday, Dec. 27th; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Gallery hours are 10am – 5pm.