Sunday, July 28, 2013


Don’t ask me why but the hinge on this one really grabs me.  It’s the element that completes the picture and without which the image would be lacking. In fact, that’s a design concept worth studying, the idea that a single often small component can make such a difference in a painting or photograph.  That component has been described as the “punctum”, a point or detail that creates a connection with the viewer.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

See forever sky

A lot of people ask why we moved to Taos and most who do are folks who have made the same mistake, I mean choice.  Other than bad judgment, I tell them, we couldn't find a house we wanted to buy in Santa Fe. 

Then I recite a list of the real reasons that include better weather than northern New England, a bugless summer that lasts more than three days, skiing on actual snow, an honest to god art scene and that I, that’s the operative word, had a hankering to get back west.  Peggy not so much.

But first and foremost it’s the endless vistas, the see forever sky. There’s chest filling exhilaration as you stare in an oxygen deprived reverie across the chaparral with distant mountains heaving upward.  It’s akin to freedom in some abstract way. 
It 's no mean task to pick a couple of images that exemplify the eyes wide open desert.  I hope that these photographs taken just east of Antonito last week capture the feeling just a little.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where you find it

It’s been said by many photographers that there’s a worthy image pretty much anywhere you happen to be. You just have to look or maybe the word is “see.”  So it was as we sat with our good friend Jamie Hindman at Cora’s Coffee Shoppe in Santa Monica.  Cora’s is a tiny mostly outdoor affair that’s attached to its pricey northern Italian sibling, Capo.  It’s misleading and unprepossessing moniker masks some serious culinary intent and a large, brunchish menu that’s uber Californian.  Wagyu “Kobe style burgers, rotisserie tacos de carnitas, steak, celery, arugula and parmesan salad, crimini polenta, rigatoni with white truffle oil meat sauce, artichoke tarragon omelet and Turkish breakfast with homemade simit ought to get you to the left coast pronto.  Cora’s and Capo proudly source their produce from Santa Monica’s extraordinary farmers market.  Goat’s cheese and wild sage honey anyone?

Both images today were shot in Cora’s leafy cafĂ© and were taken from a sitting position with little more than a twist of the waist.  I’m all about economy of movement.  As a lapsed restaurateur, I think place settings make great though scarcely rare still lifes and the simple fountain on the wall behind me was a tasty bonus.  Both are everyday things that seen from the right perspective are artful and full of mood.  
Note to self, you have to have the camera with you to record this stuff.  As for simit, that's a Turkish bagel. 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

By Design

A couple of nights ago my friend Elizabeth Daley, the powerhouse dean of the film school at USC, said that she had particularly liked last week’s photographs of the grain silos.  That was, in more or less her words, “because I like the ones that are designed.”   Now truth told every image I share has been designed or at least I think it has, which is to say consciously composed.  But there must be a difference in the ones that seem obviously designed and all the rest.  Equally true is that I don’t know for sure which ones pass the design test. 

It seems to me that the abstract work is more likely to be seen as designed.   But then, the corrugated bin landscape last week is representational, tells the whole story yet is “designed” in Elizabeth’s view.   Is that because silos are inherently aesthetic forms or that the composition works?  Or both?

Early on in my digital transition my images were entirely about composition and I worried that they lacked emotion.  Still do.  Even now, left to my own inclinations, I could easily design clever little vignettes in the viewfinder and call it a day.  Presumably though when design and evocative content  intersect you've produced a winner.  “Am I right or am I right?” as John Goodman's Walter Sobchak character asked in The Big Lebowski.

The ones I’m showing and telling today are ones that seem to be more about than form than anything else.  To show gamut I've included a still life, a landscape, an architectural, a nude and a sketch of winter.  There is no intended message or obvious emotional content in these so if it’s there I got lucky.
How many of you click on the email that you receive so that you go to the actual blog? Please do so when you’re moved to comment.  You'll see the images and copy in a more finished form and can click on the handy Comment link below each post to leave your pithy reaction to it.  It has been suggested that one of the reasons that there are relatively comments on the blog is that a lot of folks don’t actually get to the blog and can’t comment there.   I get about three times as many email comments as ones that get published and I’d sure like to see that ratio improve.