Visual Touch

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My first foray into the medium of photography was in making close-up images, technically called “macro photography.” Growing up in a city, even in rather suburban-like Northeast Philly, I had access to limited nature. My interest in nature drove my image making anyway. Because of this, I had to find my inspiration in very small areas (square feet instead of square miles). A macro lens allowed me to make images within a field of view of inches. At that level of exploration, everything becomes interesting and new.

Since that time, the content of my images has expanded to include every scale of nature (wildlife, landscape, even the universe!). Now I live on a farm (very un-city like). And, I find myself looking to explore again at the macro level. I find that I can express as much in the space of a few inches as I can in a landscape depicting a few acres.

Images of the macro kind are made with the same thoughts and feelings as any other type of image. I still deal with experiences, metaphors, color, line, shape, texture, light — just in a smaller area.

Above is an example of an image I made a while ago at Longwood Gardens (just outside of Philly). It is a minimalistic piece with strong color. The color content is harmonious more than complementary. The yellow against the red is very powerful. Keeping the brighter yellow as a small part of the image, I feel, keeps the image balanced.

Just as you say that a body feels warm to the hand, so you might say that it feels red to what you see with” ~ Virgil C. Aldrich.

 

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Artistic Growth

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Artistic growth. It is not something planned, it happens organically as experience and knowledge are gained. When I first started working with a camera, my primary intent was to record what I saw. It was a rather literal representation that guided my purpose.  I’ve been working with a camera for 40 years though and have long understood that photography is not just a literal medium. It is a selective, abstracting, very plastic medium when so desired.

When one looks at the world with artistic vision, with the need to express feeling, and personal values, the medium of expression is of little relevance. I find myself less interested in the typical photographic renderings based on sublime locations and extraordinary events. If an image elicits a response of “luck”, “right-place, right-time”, or “where did you get that?” I wonder if I am creating something personal enough. While, there are certainly times and places which drive me to make images, I hope that those images are more than recordings. I want them to be about something bigger than the content in the frame.

While any selective process has an element of personal meaning to it, I acknowledge that  my response to an event or place can be guided by a desire to impress others or for financial gain. As an artist who must live off the work he does, I accept that my motivation is from more than one thing. But also, as an artist, I have to create images consistent with what drove me to be a full time artist. Right now, that work is rather different than when I started, and even different than what I was creating 5 years ago. If I were still creating the same pictures that I was 30-40 years ago (or even five years ago), I would be stating that my life and experiences have led me nowhere new, that I have not grown, or changed in any way. And that would not be true.

Much of my new work is done on the 7 1/2 acres of farmland my artist wife and I own, or in my studio within the farmhouse. Here the aesthetic experiences are simple but no less profound. As in other locations where I have worked for many years, I see more deeply with increased submersion. On or near the farm, I have daily, seasonal, and yearly interaction with nature and it is here that my most authentic work is now done.

Home of the Weeping Cherry

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I am a big fan of Japanese woodblock prints, especially those relating to nature. The aesthetics of simplicity, muted color, and brilliant use of space (positive and negative), is very pleasing to me. Over the last several years, I have been conscious of my desire to work in a more minimalist style. One way in which I create in that style is with a long telephoto lens. With the narrow perspective and thin depth of field of a long lens I can isolate objects and compress elements within the composition.

This beautiful Weeping Cherry tree is one of my favorite features of our farm property and one which I go to each spring to experience anew. On this overcast April day, I watched a House Finch explore the tree’s bowing branches. The combination of pink flowers and rosy red of the House Finch create a harmonious combination. I composed for a bit of contrasting tonalities in the background and with sufficient negative space on the left to keep the image airy and light.

I like this new piece very much. It represents the direction my work has been heading now for a few years and which I am continuing to build upon. I made the print on a matte paper which maintains the subtlety of tones and softness of the light. It will be introduced this weekend in Timonium, Maryland as I tour with the Sugarloaf Craft Festival.

The finished piece titled House of the Weeping Cherry, is approximately 10×14, double-matted to 16×20 with all acid-free materials, and framed in white with UV-Protective, Reflection-control glass. The Edition is limited to 100 and is part of “The 100” Series, priced at $239.00 framed and $114.00 matted. Both are available at my gallery on-line HERE.

 

Every 3 Years

For the last three years I have been listening to the same song over and over. I like the song a lot, so I listen to it all the time. It’s a great song; I like the artist, I like the music, I like……..alright, I admit, I’m getting tired of it. But, I bought the song to listen to it and so I do.

For the last three years I have been watching the same movie over and over. I like the movie a lot, so I watch it all the time. It’s a great movie; I like the acting, I like the camera work, I like……alright, I admit, I’m getting tired of it. But, I bought the movie to watch it and so I do.

For the last three years I have been eating the same thing for breakfast day after day. I like what I’m eating a lot, so I eat it every breakfast. I like the flavor, I like the ingredients, I like……alright, I admit, I’m getting tired of it. But, I bought the food to eat it and so I do.

For the last three years I have been wearing the same style of cloths day after day. I like the cloth a lot, so I wear them. They are great cloth; I like the form, I like the material, I like……alright, I admit, I’m getting bored of wearing the same cloth. But, I bought the cloth to wear and so I do.

For the last three years I have been reading the same book over and over. I like the book a lot, so I read it again and again. It’s a great book. I like the writing style, I like the message, I like……alright, I admit, I could enjoy reading a new book. But, I bought the book to read it and so I do.

For the last three years I have been looking at the same artwork on my walls day after day. I like the artwork a lot, so it stays on my walls. They are great works of art; I like their colors, I like their moods, I like……alright, I admit, I’m getting tired of seeing the same art on my walls. But, I bought the art to hang on my walls and so it does.

Four Seasons

LF Project 2One of the things I really enjoy about living in this part of the country (north-central PA), is having four distinct seasons. So when I received an inquiry from a customer about doing a four-seasons arrangement with trees being prominent, I was very pleased. My client had already selected three pieces from my gallery on-line and wanted me to work up some options specifically for spring. After sending her several thumbnail images, she made her choice.  But still a bit uncertain, she needed something else.

It always helps to be able to visualize an art arrangement on a wall, so I sent her a mock -up image of the pieces she selected. Not only did she have a better sense of how the selection would look together, she loved my specific arrangement. As an artist, it is rewarding to me that I can both create works that speak to people, and assist in how they will live with the art they purchase.

Resolute!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor many in America, the Bald Eagle is the symbol of freedom and strength. These magnificent birds represent both qualities well. They are also however symbols of what happens when Americans stand up to the greed and short-sightedness that causes great environmental harm. Once Endangered, these birds have made a great comeback. They represent a resolute attitude by those who understand that we live on a planet where our actions have consequences. When I see these majestic birds in my own backyard, it gives me hope and a sense of determination to fight so that this experience may be had by our children.

This image is available as archival 7×10″ and 10×14″ Limited Edition prints from my gallery on-line.

 

What’s New is Old Again……

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I sometimes feel transported back in time by the simplicity of the rural landscape around me. I can imagine that it is the middle of the Nineteenth Century with no wires, no automobiles, no cell towers. On a wintry day with snow on the ground, the landscape becomes even more stark. Working with the most modern of photographic tools, I still felt compelled to create a monochromatic piece suggestive of old glass-plate days and wonky lenses.