Sunday, July 24, 2016

Escape to Denver

After two weeks stuck at the house waiting for a new roof to be installed I had a virulent case of cabin fever and decided to drive to Denver Friday. The trip was exhilarating and tiring at the same time. I stuffed as much into those 32 hours as I could.

I needed to absorb some city energy and Denver's booming downtown proved to be just the ticket. Since our January trip to LA I've had cityscapes on my mind; zoomy metal and glass piercing the sky, contrasting eras fighting for air space and psychedelic reflections that seem to vibrate in the panes. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

500 but who's counting

Butternut Squash, Studies and Abstractions, East Conway, NH, October 2, 2003

Google tells me that I've made 500 blog posts over the last ten years. My records show 470 so we can agree on two things: it's a lot and I can't count. My first post was in 2006 but I only did a handful. Then in 2009 I got after it and haven't missed a post since. Topped out at 74 a couple of years when I was an undisciplined young man.

For this post I want to do something to recognize your endurance. It can't have been easy.

Here beginning with "Butternut Squash" above, it's the one I think of as the seminal image in my return to photography, are a few oh so carefully chosen photographs that trace my ascendancy from a total novice I was to the total novice I am today.

The captions tell the tale. You'll find the title, the name of the series of which the image was the first and location and date. I hope you'll click on the image in your email notice so you can see each one full size. As always your comments are most appreciated. Thanks for watching.

Vanishing Point, At the Edge of What's Left, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, July 23, 2004

John Snyder, Monumental Heads, North Conway, NH, September 8, 2004

Silent Running, The Fog Series, Putney, VT, October 2, 2005

Bicyclists, Street Series, Munich, Germany, March 29, 2006

Sagrado Corazon, Divine Light, Peñasco, NM, August 1, 2006

Brush Strokes, The Fog Series, Taos, NM, December 4, 2007

Found Art, Found Art Series, Rinconada, NM, March 7, 2008

Cuba and Perros, The Last Shepherd, Taos Plateau, NM, December 26, 2011

Vielle Ferme, Baudinard sur Verdon, France, September 23, 2012

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pow Wow Colors

A pow wow is a gathering of Indian Nations in circle of friendship according to Richard Archuleta of Taos Pueblo. The renowned Taos Pueblo Pow Wow was held this weekend and in recognition of the event is this composition. It’s something of an homage to Taos photographer Lenny Foster and his extraordinary “Healing Hands” series.

Tribal regalia, a detail of which is shown below, brings a frenzy of colors to the three-day extravaganza. 

Sunday, July 03, 2016

A deer in the headlights

Ulrich Gleiter, a German painter living in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was a house guest of ours a while back. While he was here he asked if I would take a Russian passport photograph for him. He made it clear that there could be no smiling. The resultant image looks like a booking shot for a one way trip to a gulag. His wide eyed innocence is humorous in a bleak Russian sort of way.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A doe a deer

A mule deer at Point Reyes Light

There’s nothing I don’t like about this doe. So far it’s the only image from the Fog Series that’s had to be color. The coat of this comely mule deer is a tapestry of silver slivers, warm grays and muted browns. Surely this creature needs a full palette to express its beauty.

You need to click on this image to appreciate it fully. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Top of the World

The view from 10,500 feet. That's the sloping from of San Antonio Mountain some 40 miles distant at the far right.

In the dark of night I repaired to the big corral on FR 87 just past San Antonio Mountain. There I was to meet Andrew Abeyta and ride with him to Cuba’s second camp and follow Cuba and 340 wooly critters to their high camp in the Cruces Basin Wilderness. This endeavor required a 2:45am wake-up call with no shave and breakfast on the road if I was to meet him at 4:30 sharp. By mid-afternoon I was paying the price. Old people aren’t meant to sleep four hours.

I hadn’t been at the corral for more than five minutes when headlights approached from US 285. I jumped in to Andrew’s pick-up and we began the tortuous trip to the Top of the World. This was the missing piece to the whole year of following the annual sheep ranching cycle You may recall that I couldn’t reach the high camp last year because of bridge construction on FR 87.

This is what it looks like at 5:30am when you've had no sleep.

Ready to leave camp two.

Leaving camp two

On the way to the Overlook

Arriving at the Overlook

Victor and Andrew at the Overlook. Those guys make me smile.

It was easy going getting to camp two but from there all bets were off. That is some rutted out mess. Andrew bottomed out at least three times but was able inch his vehicle and trailer out of the crater every time. Guy's a pro.

The journey was rewarded by a camp site they call the Overlook. From Cuba’s aerie is a view over a lush valley with a shimmering blue lake and beyond that mountains separating the Cruces Basin from Highway 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.

Do I look fat in this picture, Andrew?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Van Gogh at Saint Paul's

Window in the entrance portico of Saint Paul Asylum

From May 1889 to May 1890 Vincent Van Gogh was a patient at the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum outside Saint Remy just 12 miles north of his former home in Arles. Following his legendary ear cutting episode Van Gogh committed himself and picked adjoining cells so he’d have a studio. Well into the 1920s France was at the forefront of all medicine, the place where doctors from around the world came to learn the latest treatments for the gamut of afflictions including those of the mind. At least at Saint Paul's the humane treatment that the mentally ill received in late 19th century France provides a stark contrast to the care of the mentally ill in 21st century America.

Van Gogh's cell.

For Van Gogh the stability of the regimented life in the hospital was a tonic and within those safe confines he painted 150 paintings that year. “I feel happier here with my work than I could be outside. By staying here a good long time, I shall have learned regular habits and in the long run the result will be more order in my life.” 

In September 1889 his Starry Night over the Rhone and The Irises were exhibited at the Société de Artistes Indepéndants and and in January 1890 six of his paintings were shown at the seventh exhibition of Les XX in Brussels. Sadly, just as he was gaining recognition his epileptic attacks became more frequent and, feeling that he was not improving, he vacated Saint Paul's for the Paris suburb of Auvers-sur-Oise.

Saint Paul's, now Clinique Van Gogh, is still an operating mental hospital, one that uses art as a therapeutic tool. On the day we visited an art show displayed the work of patients and therapists alike. 

Wander Saint Paul's sunswept grounds and signs show what Van Gogh saw when he painted during that prolific year in France’s Alpilles.