Sunday, June 15, 2008

Let the Show Begin!

Last night was the opening of the show "The Camera Always Lies" at the Center for Photography at Woodstock curated by Beth E. Wilson. I was one of 5 photographers represented in what is a brilliantly curated exhibit. One's first impression is that there is a wide variety of artists and styles and what exactly is it that ties them together. Beth did a wonderful job of putting these different aesthetics into context and showing how unified they can be "in the sense that nothing is as it initially appears", thus the title of the show. The exhibit was divided into four categories or themes that as she puts it "emphasizes the elusiveness of established borders and boundaries within contemporary practices".

I will say that I did not know what to expect. I questioned the title and where my work fit in. Once seeing the work in relation to the theme and the other artist's works I am convinced of her vision.

I do hope you will have an opportunity to find your way to Woodstock. It is a wonderful exhibition of contemporary photography and curatorial excellence.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No pictures!

For those of few you who have been reading this blog you will know that I have been trying to get this bench project started. I have been working part-time in a friend's office and the building has a wonderful, daylight filled lobby with two nicely designed benches. Quite often someone will sit on one of these benches to wait for a ride or to rest. I am drawn to these images (see the home page of my web site). So much so that I have begun a project of photographing these people, with permission of course. Having their permission is essential in order for me to pose them in such a way that the story comes across. I am interested in the human act of waiting. Whether it be for a bus, an appointment or to catch one's breath, the individual along with the location creates a wonderful visual statement.

All that being said, today I was confronted by a person (let's call her Harriet) who is in a position of authority at one of the medical offices in the building. She was not representing the building in any way rather she felt I was violating the rights of the people I was photographing. Clearly I was not, as I always ask permission. She then went on to say that it was a private building and that I did not have permission to photograph. Once again she is wrong since there were no posted signs saying I could not take pictures and in fact it was a public lobby.

She was nice enough but clearly not aware of the law. She made statements about the legality of it all with having any real knowledge. Why she felt compelled to even start this dialog I do not know. In fact, she had no connection to the building other than working there. It went back and forth for a while and ended up without a conclusion. I had expressed to her that the law allows me to take pictures anywhere, including an office building. That's ok, since I do know the law I will continue to take pictures until I am asked not to by the building's owners. Nuff said.

Below you will find an excerpt from an article about photographer's rights.

The General Rule
Except in special circumstances (e.g., certain government facilities), there are no laws prohibiting the taking of photographs on public or private property. If you can be there, you can take pictures there: streets, malls, parking lots, office buildings. You do not need permission to do so, even on private property. Trespassing laws naturally apply. If a property owner demands you leave, you must. But if a place is open to the public — a mall, office-building lobby, etc. — permission to enter is assumed (although it can be revoked). In terms of the law, trespass and photography are separate events; the former is illegal, but the latter is not. Only if the use of photographic equipment itself violates a person’s privacy (e.g., by using a long lens to look into someone’s private room) might it violate privacy law. Further, while people have a right of privacy, businesses do not except as it relates to trade secrets. Subject to specific limits, photographers can publish any photos they take, provided those photos do not violate the privacy of the subject.

Out of the woods

This is not the actual bear. My pictures are horribly out of focus.

It is becomning increasingly common for wild animals to find their way into our everyday lives. It hit a little closer to home the other day when I was alerted to a bear in my front yard. The pretty sizable bugger was sauntering around the yard like he/she owned it. I grabbed for my camera thinking since I am a photographer I could get a good picture for posterity. In my excitement I was fumbling, trying to get the camera off Manual and into Auto mode, take the lens cap off and shoot while it was walking away. Not being satisfied with an out of focus image I went after her/him and started shooting while I was running. Needless to say all I got were more out of focus pictures. The bear eventually walked back into the woods never really knowing or caring that I was trying to preserve this experience.
Now all this being said, I would highly recommend checking out Amy Stein's photo project called Domesticated. She has done a brilliant job showing the relationship between humans and wild animals and the impact on our domesticated life and the effect it has had on the animals behavior. You can see it here:
I've been living north of NYC for about 17 years now and this is a first. Coyotes, Deer, Turkeys, and all of the regular critters have become a normal occurrance...but not Bear.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Just a few days away

Ok, so I'm excited about my upcoming show in Woodstock. It's a rather big deal for me. It was only 6 months ago that I chose the path of enlightenment. I am quite anxious to experience the feeling of seeing my work on the walls of a gallery. Especially one so prestigious as The Center for Photography. The show is hanging for 2 months so you all have plenty of time to make it up to the Catskills to see it. Please let me know what you think of the work. I look forward to your feedback.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Don't you just love Photoshop?

Endless fun!

What I see out my window

I go out on my deck and this robin starts yelling at me. The only thing I could do is take a picture.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good art- Really good art

I went to The Met yesterday and spent some time in the photo galleries and then more time in the European Painting gallery. It was all very inspiring. There was such a passion, detail and story to the paintings I saw. It was wonderful.

The photo galleries showed work from Fox Talbot to Richard Prince. I was inspired by the simple and limited techniques of the early days. Images consisted of long exposures requiring the subject to remain still. The image was a bit blurred, soft and filled with expression and gesture. I especially liked the work of Julia Margaret Cameron (see above). Cameron forced her subjects to sit for long periods of time to make her dreamy often sensuous images. She created blur through both long exposures, where the subject moved and by leaving the lens intentionally out of focus. She created some of the most beautiful portraits I have ever seen.

I will use this inspiration in my own work and develop something that speaks to my interpretation of the sensuality and narrative that came out of the early European painters and photographers that I admire.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

in deep thought - a little order in the chaos where the mind dwells

This is an image I made during the project Unguarded Moments. It fits with the Bench Project as much because of well, the bench, but also because of what a bench is. It's a place for momentary relaxation, a bed to sleep on, to wait for a bus or in this case a time to reflect upon ones life. I am drawn to this type of photograph in so much as it isolates and often identifies the human condition. I especially like to be the hidden observer which allows for the moment to be an unfettered, truthful expression.

Just call me Tiger

I spent this past weekend in the Hamptons that culminated with 9 holes of golf. I was amazed at how much fun it was. I had always thought that golf was not a game for me. I played my last game about 20 years ago and since then the closest I ever got to a golf course was watching Tiger win the Green Jacket on the telly. Well, now I'm hooked. I'll be spending some of my leisure time I have at the driving range.