Full post returns when I’m out of the woods.
Very pleased to FINALLY announce the next project I am bringing into the world. This one is particularly exciting, as it is a collaboration with two fellow members of the Latent Image Collective. Along with my photo compatriots Fábio Miguel Roque (who hails from Portugal) and Hean Kuan Ong (living in Malaysia) we are unveiling our book and exhibition project titled “The River, The Ocean, The Sea.” We have been working on this collaboration for almost two years, and it is now almost ready for “prime time.”
The idea behind the project is that each of us lives near a body of water that is a defining feature of the place we call home, and the place where we create our art. Each of has explored this theme in our own personal way. the results of this exploration will be released as a self-published book, and will also be the focus of an exhibition at the Albuquerque Open Space Gallery later this summer.
My part of the project features photos from the bosque surrounding the Rio Grande here in New Mexico, with most of my photos coming from within the city limits of Albuquerque. The project has forced me to approach my work in a new way, and it really opened me up to an environment and an aesthetic that was unfamiliar to me. I am proud of this new work, and extra proud to have connected my city with two other far-flung locations. We are united through photography, and through our reliance upon the precious element of water.
Our ambitious project now needs YOUR help to get over the final hurdle and out into the world. The cost of printing 100 books, as well as printing and framing over 90 photographs for the gallery exhibition is quite steep. To that end, Fábio, Hean Kuan and I have created a GoFundMe fundraiser to help offset the costs of this project. We are offering some really great, limited edition incentives for those who can support our effort. I would be humbled by any help you can provided.
To support our GoFundMe, please click here.
Water is life, as is art.
Sometimes work life gets in the way of personal life. This was one of those weeks. In the interest in keeping up this weekly blog posting, I’m at least sharing a few images I made while focussing on a TV production. Long hours in prep and two 12 hour days on set left little time for anything else. I did find a few covered cars out in the field, so not a total disengagement from my personal work. See you next week.
Film vs Digital. The seemingly endless debate that has raged for years now. Do we really need more words spouted about this issue? As I pondered what this week’s blog entry would be about, the internal debate between pixels verses film frames swirled in my head. I recently made an investment in a medium format film camera. l hardly needed another camera, never mind a film camera, but the freezer full of film in my house keeps begging me to expose it, and why not add another relic to my collection? My intention is to run 35mm film through the medium format camera, thus rendering quasi-panoramic images on the film (see example above.)
I tell myself that I prefer the permanence that film affords, that I feel more centered when I shoot film, that it slows me down, making my shooting more intentional. I learned photography on film, many years before digital photography even existed. I suppose I feel a connection to my roots when I shoot with a film camera. I also have this warped thought in my head that somehow film photography is more “legitimate” than digital, that it is more “serious.” Which ultimately is a crock of shit.
The irony is that even when I do shoot film, I end up digitizing it with a scanner. Which takes time, on top of the money I spent on film and processing to begin with. And even after the scanning, there’s the retouching of a multitude of dust specks and hairs that invariably muck up the raw scan. The random times I’ve ended up in the darkroom over the past few years have yielded more frustrations than rewards, and more time spent setting up than actually developing and printing. Never mind the chemicals being inhaled while I agitate some prints in the developer tray. And how many of those precious 36 frames from one roll of film are “keepers”?
So why do I continue to shoot film? Why do I feel the need to flagellate myself in the service of the film deities (that might not even exist…gee, how existential.) Why must I fetishize such a labor intensive, unpredictable, costly frustrating process? And who really gives a shit if an image was shot on film or with a digital camera, or even an iPhone? (and to be clear, I’ve created books and exhibits that have featured images from all of these methods.) Does the viewer care? Does the audience put more value in one method over the other? Does anyone really apply more worth to an image if it was the result of hours spent in the darkroom, or if it was a quick hipshot taken with a mobile device while waiting for the traffic light to turn green?
And to push my puritanical inner demons one step further: what are the limits of using Photoshop or Lightroom? Cloning out dust on an image scanned from a negative, that’s ok, right? What about converting images from color to black and white? Film simulation presets in Lightroom, making a digitally capture image appear more film-like? I have software that can make a digital image look like an antique wet-plate photograph. I have apps that replicate light leak damaged film. Foul or no foul? Really, am I the only one who cares about this? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And by the way, don’t even get me started about my vinyl LP collection.
Earlier this week I watched a set of short documentaries by French director Agnes Varda. The films all revolved around the theme of photographic representation of reality, or of a straying from reality, more precisely. Viewing these films was oddly and sadly coincidental, because as it turned out, Varda died just a few days later. If you are unfamiliar with her work, I encourage that you seek it out. She was at the leading edge of the French New Wave of cinema, the infamous boys club of greats like Godard and Truffaut. Her work never lost a sense of wonder and humility.
On a lighter note, I’m excited to be talking part in a group project with a circle of Albuquerque-based photographers. Too soon to spill the details, but framing up some work is getting me excited for this new opportunity. More news to come.
I spent a good part of this week in Los Angeles for work. More specifically, I spent three days at LAX. It turned out to be a good place to let the lens of my iPhone wander. There is a nice geometry to the airport, which serves as interesting backdrop to the parade of thousands of people heading off to wherever they may be jetting off to.
Other things are on the horizon. I am putting the finishing touches on two (!) new self-publishing projects. Look for a “one, two” punch of new work coming very, very soon. As is the usual case, I’m keeping my cards close to the vest, but more will be revealed soon, including a special offer for my email subscribers (which you should sign up for…)
A frozen moment as I left the Sundance Film Festival.
I am excited to share a new body of work on my website today. The series is a bit of a departure for me, in that it is all color photography. The pairing of the images are the result of a kind of visual improvisation, both in my approach to how I shot, as well as how I created the resulting diptychs. Everything was shot with one camera and one lens, during an extended stay in New York during the Spring of 2017. The shift of political and social winds could be felt as I roamed the streets, though I tried (but failed) to not make any overt political statements with the images. I guess the personal is political, as they say. This series will be the subject of a new book I will be releasing in the very near future. I hope you enjoy.
Those of us who live in New Mexico know the importance of the Rio Grande. One of its values is the wonderful, (mostly) undeveloped nature of the bosque that adorns its banks. The bosque offers a respite from the urban life of Albuquerque, and yet exists within minutes of the city itself. It's a thicket of salt cedar, fallen branches, various flowers and grasses, jetty jacks and the abundant cottonwood trees, which at this time of year, explode into yellow and gold. Today was a perfect, overcast day, so the wife and I headed out for a quick wander. Except for temporarily straying into an extremely muddy patch (as is evident in the photo of my destroyed Chuck Taylors) the day rewarded us with many sights and sounds. Of course, I decided to capture the glorious colors of autumn in black and white.
I had the pleasure of taking a day-long road trip with my good friend Bob Ayre this past weekend. Bob knows New Mexico like the back of his hand, so it was a treat to let him guide me into uncharted territory in the northwest part of the state. My Fiat would never have survived some of the unpaved back roads we traversed, and I probably would have chickened out heading down some of the routes by myself. With Bob at the helm, I saw some difficult to reach locations for the first time. Here's a sample of our journey. Thank you, Bob.