Saturday, May 23, 2009

Travel

In the last few years my business travel has increased in intensity to a point where it is less than fun. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity that can’t be avoided if I want to do my job properly.

As I’ve mentioned before I take the camera on almost every trip. Sometimes it makes it out of the bag and sometimes it doesn’t. In looking at the hotel images I’ve written about previously, I’ve recently noticed a bit of a theme, especially in the color stuff. Whereas the B&W stuff is about the shapes and forms the color work shows a bit of the loneliness the road is really about. This image in particular shows the “glamour” of traveling. It’s the view outside of some nondescript hotel in Seattle.

I post this image because I’m in the process of getting my images into a more coherent group of images, get a new website and develop direction. With the help of Dan Milnor I think I have a start.

If you haven’t been to Dan’s blog please check it out. His photography, especially his B&W stuff, is something I aspire too. His writing on the blog is thought provoking from a photography industry viewpoint, at times hysterical and always entertaining. It’s a daily read for me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coming Home

These two wonderful women are the loves of my life and without them I have no clue where I would be. But I have a sense it would be in a significantly less of a good place than I am today.

I try to make more images around the house but I’m usually met with the rolling of eyes and the inevitable “What are you doing?” But occasionally I get an image I like. Most of them will never see the light of day or beyond the walls of our home anyway. But this one makes me smile because Jordan comes home this week and Diane and I are both very happy campers.

She’s in finals week and will soon finish her first year of college. It’ll be good to have her home and it’ll be fun to see what images I will be able to sneak in over the summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Southwest Desert

Not being a California native, it took me some time to get used to the vast open landscape. But the desert, despite it’s desolation, was instantly a place in which I felt comfortable and connected.

When I first moved to California over a decade ago, it was to escape the comforts of my native south. I say native south, because I really didn’t reside in any one place for a long enough period of time to ever call myself a native of a particular state. But what I knew, where I grew up, and in large part what formed my world viewpoint was developed throughout the southern states.

The terrain was something I was intimately connected with but I can remember a particular flight, somewhere out west although I can’t remember specifically where, and seeing the snow covered mountains. This wasn't the first time, but it was certainly in a way I had never seen them before from the window seat of some cattle car of an aircraft. I can vividly remember thinking about walking above the clouds on the ridges where no one could touch me or see me. I could be alone in the vastness that I saw from the air if I could just get to those peaks and valleys.

But life, being what it is, has to be lived. And that’s where the desert comes into play for me. There are two places that have had a profound calming affect on me in my lifetime. And they both were exposed to me at particularly difficult times and close to one another in time span. The North Georgia mountains and the Southwestern Desert, two completely different places provide me with a calm ground, places that transport me from wherever uncomfortable place I might be into a place where what matters most becomes visible. They are safe havens, spiritual places providing the grounding that I need.

Diane and I spent a few days out in Borrego this past February and it was a great trip. Just the two of us in the Airstream, alone out in the vastness of the desert. It snowed and prevented us from going to our original destination, but as we always try to do, we made the best of it and headed to another place. When we got into Borrego Springs the rain was going sideways, it was cold and windy and I needed to get set up. I did so in the current weather conditions and once finished headed inside. No sooner had I headed inside then the sun came out, the rain and wind stopped and it became glorious.

Luckily for me the weather returned. I made this image as we drove and the clouds gathered. It’s certainly not a great image, but as some of my favorite images do, it brings to bear wonderful memories and reminds me of what’s important.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hotels

I spend way too many nights in hotels. I don’t even want to contemplate how many nights this year will be spent in a bed other than my own on these business trips. But, since I have to do it, I’ve taken it upon myself to document them. I’ve written about it before so I won’t go into it here, but I do think I might have something here if I keep trying. Here’s one of the images from Shanghai and the Grand Mercure on the morning after my arrival.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Leica Factory Video

I'm stuck in the airport killing time and came across this video. If you've ever wondered how a Leica was made this video will give you a glimpse into the manual labor needed to put these machines together. I know there are some camera geeks out there that will get a kick out of it but you'll have to read the English subtitles because it's broadcast in German. Click on the title above to go to the video.

Fresh M.I.L.K.

The winners were announced in the Fresh M.I.L.K. competition this week and unfortunately I wasn’t among them. After viewing the winning entries it’s clear that my submissions weren’t close to what they were looking for. While I thought, upon deciding what images to submit, that they reflected the theme, it’s obvious that my images were too singular in subject matter and didn’t have enough of the interaction required to address the judges intentions.

But it did provide a desire to enter my work into more competitions provided they meet some criteria that doesn’t blatantly rip off the entrants. Having reread the T&C’s I don’t think I would have entered but would have still liked to win.

This year I am building up a body of work to start submitting for the 2010 juried competitions. It’s the foundation for where I think I want to start taking my work. Closing in on 50, I want to put more effort into my work and less into my occupation. We’ll see how that goes but it’s the plan as I see it today.

The first step of that plan is to get with a photographer I respect and start looking through the initial edit of images I have. I’m also taking a workshop in San Francisco later this year that I really excited about. More on this stuff later.

This is an image from Shanghai. I didn’t get around to processing the film until this past weekend because I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile. I was much more excited about the Japan images. But I did get a few images from China I like and I’ll post them over the next few days. As is typical these days, I’m in another airport flying to another town so bear with me a bit.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Patterns


I’ve recently printed about 60 images that I really like and that I’ve taken over the last few years. After I received the images I noticed, but had not realized when choosing, that all of the images were from the Leica. I’m not sure if I’m surprised by this or not.

I’ve spent a good portion of my photographic life shooting 35mm and only in recent years have I moved to medium format and only in the past 6 months moved to large format. The Leica was purchased in order to carry a camera with me as I traveled and to replace the digital camera I had which was just too big to carry comfortably. It’s the one I usually have with me and it’s been on 90% of the trips over the last two years.

But on this past trip to Japan I decided to take the Yashica Mat with me after the poor results with the Hasselblad while in Kentucky. I knew I wouldn’t get much time to get out and comfortably make images but wanted to have something with me just in case.

As usual the images, due to the lack of committed time, appear to leave a lot to be desired. As I reviewed the 60 images I printed out, edited them a bit and selected what I thought were strong images I noticed that the images that I liked the most were taken when I had some time to actually get out and make images. In most instances I had time by myself and spent time observing and making images. These few rolls from Japan recently will suffer from the fact that I didn’t get any time to just wander around.

These are two more from Japan and I really liked the patterns in the two buildings. The color one is from one of only 2 rolls of color I used while there in March and they were both taken on a Saturday while I had time to myself and just walked and observed. I like these two images and in the context of the images I’m selecting work well.