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Spring in Memphis

It took 2 planes, a 3-our car ride and a host of quick decisions, but somehow in 24 hours we made it to a field of yellow flowers, time with family, and a beautiful day taking pictures.

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Savannah Artists

In Savannah, you can get a biscuit with sweet tea, walk bricked streets, and stumble onto an artist at every corner. Here’s a few impromptu portraits of several Savannah artists. Some students, some deep into their craft.

Alix Zandar

Chuck Hamilton

John, artist

SCAD Film Student

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Is the concept of “Obsession” a cliche?

Taking photography to another level certainly requires passion. Perhaps a passion to transfix an average life into an extraordinary one, or at least make buddies with that human need for purpose. What takes hold of a photographer to become transfixed on making images, flickring away, twittering pics, or attaching their mobile life to facebook? What is it that sharing our “eyes” or vision of vim (life) makes it a compelling obsession to have an audience?

I’m interested in discovering what lurks beneath other photographers’ motives and see if I am a bumblebee among other bumblebees, the Queen Bee, or the honey in 2010.

Regardless, take a look and vote through January 19th on these selections from W’s first ever Photo Contest. Notice the many odes to “Obsession” in the photographers’ concepts. Is it a cliche? Something to be explored in moments of youth or a life transition? http://theartcontest.wdesires.com/public-voting.php

My pick? Savannah College of Art and Design’s Teng Phour, below, whose work is about identity (a question I obsess about). Cast your vote by January 19th.

Vote for Teng Phour

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Landscapes

Yesterday, I noticed a circus tent and wished I had my camera (and the guts) to stop to take a picture. Taking photos outdoors on the backside of a country road requires the same sense of exploration and a little courage. So, it is, that while touring the network of pavement where stars can be seen hovering above a small cloud of ambient city lights…I found a few spots worth sharing.

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Between Eclipses

Do you know the story of Mercury? Mischevious Mercury went out on his first day of life and stole a herd of oxen from his brother Apollo (the Sun). He stole 50 heiffers and by sunset crawled back into his crib.

So says an astrolger friend who recently asked for photos related to methological stories of the planets. The cow story was too good, so every day I’ve been looking for a herd of cattle, and open fields. The full moon eclipse on July 7th prompted two hours of driving to chase the moon and try out the longer shutter speeds of  night photography. (The solar eclipse is July 21). Between the eclipses (and methological stories), here’s some of my first takes.

Book Alert: Found some useful information on using “Lab Color” in photoshop instead of Adobe RGB. The info helped with some of the saturation and color depth of the photos so far. Check out Night & Low-Light Photography by Jill Waterman.

Click the book to visit the site.

Click the book to visit the site.

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Identities

“Who you see today may not be the person I am tomorrow,”  writes my friend of 20 years in a recent essay. He’s in town for a brief stint and I ask to take some pictures. He agrees. I read over his emails, the essay…any words I can find he’s written…to reacquaint myself with who he may be now in his life, art and writing. 

He’s an artist, writer, performer. I remember seeing his journals years ago. Not exactly the written words, but visuals he would draw with pen on paper to capture a particular moment in time. The entries were fascinating. He’s the real deal, and a bit of a chameleon. A boyish face belies his age, ethos and the depth of intelligentsia he is part of.

I move my suburban living room furniture around for his visit. Make a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to find something he can draw on that might allow him to contribute to a picture. I decide on some black presentation board. Buy four panels and chalk.  I’m thinking of those journals. First we take some portraits.

 

  

Between takes I hand him the chalk and one of the black boards. He draws. I run to the closet and get out an unopened box of 48 feet of rope lights.  We improv a box from the black boards and duct tape–with his featured drawing in view. He has to leave in 30 minutes. Click. Click. The results are magical and strange. A gesture to his oeuvre and a portrait version of the subtext that his writing and art might instill in a reader/viewer. Happy New Year.

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1978

I’m schlepping into concept art (I hope). My first attempt at photographing an environment required no less than 1) a cool motel off the beaten path 2) trips to Boomerangs (Kansas City) and many nights online scouting for retro 70s-wear. And, of course, two models who are willing to have fun playing dress-up for an evening. 

My own parents’ 1970s foray into Square Dancing conjured up ideas for this shoot. As a former writer (I said former), I preconceived a storyline around the theme of “square dancers.” A main image concept I had (and actually got) was this photo setup below. Here, we see our square-dancing couple just won first place at a local dance off. See the trophy next to Sidney at the mirror?

after the dance

A note on the coloring. I used a pre-set action to get it. Apparently, I forgot to white balance, and the original, original is way too red from all the red in the room and what the subjects are wearing. Any ideas out there on what to do? Here’s the white balance tweaked to this before the action pre-set:

square dancers

And, yep. I did the hair and makeup. Dress by, well, that’s my mother’s old dress. A perfect fit.

A couple more photos of our resident cowboy.

Cowboy at the dance

Square dancers resting

In researching the decade, I looked through old advertising and many books. Of course, the 70s were filled with reaction to the Vietnam war, rising oil prices, and many of the ramifications of the economy that we are also seeing now. In fact, one advert I came across gave warning to “Wake up America” and continued on in the copy about our reliance on foreign oil. Almost 40 years later, it’s disconcerting to be reminded of what a similar path we are on. But, that’s another story, another time. Let’s get back to grooving on the 70s with another set of photos. The set up this time? Disco, hobo chic, and “Charlie girl” darlings….

1970s darlings

People magazine 1978

1970s couple

 

 

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