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1.03.14 Random, totally random

What an odd morning.

That said, I cannot sit in front of the computer screen in my pajamas any longer. Snow and cold cannot deter me from stirring the stumps because I think my muscles will seriously atrophy.  After this post, adios.

I got some interesting emails today and a post from a fellow artist on FB with the Justin Timberlake SNL skit called Dick in a Box. If you have not seen it, watch it on Vimeo or YouTube. My education was so incomplete without this.

https://vimeo.com/79860874

American humor is curious. It is self-deprecating and, when not totally stupid, derives some of its absurdity from British humor which is tops. I like Justin Timberlake even more.

My cockatiel Doofus, the gray companion of yellow Goofus, has learned to say “Good Morning” so well enunciated that it is impressive. Goofus sings the Cubs anthem, though, so he’s not an underachiever.  They are males, about 15 years old, and get on very well. I have never had any bird live this long. They like the light in the room, I feed them good stuff, and keep them clean. They do not fly around or leave their cage. Once one got out by mistake. We both almost had strokes.

Someone posted on FB something about an odd Japanese fad among teenagers called Oculinctus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculolinctus

Where do people come up with these things? Whether it is a tabloid hoax or not, it was put out there for people to consider. Then there are Japan’s “hikikomore” hermits.

“They’re mostly disaffected teenagers and twenty-somethings, withdrawn almost completely from society. There is no precise explanation to account for the rise in hikikomori, though there are several known contributing factors, including the rise of the internet, intense academic pressures, and parents willing to shelter their children well into adulthood.  Psychiatrists (many of whom are forced to make house calls to visit their patients), have only recently set upon the task of helping the group dubbed by some as “the missing million.”

There’s more.

“There is a growing trend among young women for yaeba (literally “double tooth”) caps on the canines, which lends their smile a kind of crowded appearance. ” Orthodontists, pack your bags.

Sources:

http://listverse.com/2013/05/26/10-bizarre-aspects-of-japanese-culture/

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/130615/japanese-eye-ball-licking-trend-could-spread-disease

I am not singling out the Japanese but there seem to be as many crazies there as here or in North Korea.

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01.02.14

So odd how photographs of winter and snow can be so appealing especially during the summer, and less so in winter.

This leads me to think about types of pictures I do not like:

  • Pictures of naked people in bed. If that is the cover image for a film, it will never make it to my queue.
  • Nudes in general. I am not prudish but I do not like seeing the idealized human figure unclothed, be it female or male
  • Boring images that look very good
  • Boring pictures that look bad
  • Abstract images, unless the photographer has been very clever and non-imitative
  • Photographs that reveal nothing about the photographer

Picture types I do like:

  • “Snapshot Aesthetic” street images, if the composition and dynamics are perfect
  • Images from extreme angles and perspectives
  • Images with unusual composition, that at the same time, have a deeper meaning or context
  • Images with different kinds of humor, dry, ironic, etc.
  • Boring pictures that look very bad
  • New approaches to the usual, showing me things in ways I have never seen before

Mind you, these are just broad categories.  Do not attempt to see if your work fits in one or the other because I may love your image or hate it, despite what I said above.

 

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The good and the bad

The good news first. The new issue of PH magazine, a Canadian photography publication, came out today with the January 2014 issue featuring my work. I am happy to be alongside some wonderful photographers and hope you take the time to take a look. I love that it is a free download so people can take their time to read and view, as well as share it with students.

Here is the link:

http://www.phmag.ca/magazine/happy-new-year-2/

This aspect of digital information sharing is potent. One reason I take photographs is to share a real moment past with others. The ability of a two dimensional image on paper to move another to feel something from a different space and time is remarkable.  It is the abfab best. I can have a momentary intimacy with a total stranger with a camera between us, and the photograph allows another to be there with me, even decades and decades later.

Being able to communicate with another drives me, makes me feel it is all worth it, even the inevitable rejection and solitude.

I hardly ever sell my work. That does not bother me. It is the reality of my personal situation. If I were to depend on photography to bring me money, it would ruin everything. Of that I am sure. Perhaps it is foolish, or superstitious, but I need to make photographs from a simpler place. Thoughts of money or success are hindrances to me. Do not be offended if your situation is a different one. There are those who do brilliant work and can make a living from it. Just not me.

Which brings me to an entry by Frank Rodick on his blog:

http://frankrodickblog.com/2013/08/13/on-making-art-and-feeling-like-shit/ – more-398

Sometimes it does make me feel like shit. I am not alone and feeling like shit might actually impel me forward as an artist, Mr Rodick says. I believe he has something there.

Okay, now the bad news. About a week ago, the IRS sent me a notice that I owe them lots of money from back taxes for 2011. I was shocked. I always pay my taxes and am scared shitless of the IRS. So, I immediately wrote them a letter with copies of all the information I could, decrying my innocence.

Long story short, I was wrong. The information I had relied on from the accounting firm and an executor was inaccurate. I do owe the money.  I don’t care about money, (the root of most problems, along with religion) and I am sure I can work it out with the Feds but, in the process of figuring this out, I discussed the mess with two people whom I trusted, and they refused to take responsibility for giving me the wrong information.

I went to bed sick. Firecrackers at midnight did not help. This is a very personal blog, as you can see. Time for the Serenity Prayer, a wise mantra for many of us who know.

So goods news and bad news, readers. Happy New Year.

 
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Happy Birthday to me. At 8:52am I turn 65. I am a senior citizen. I can get Medicare. I am retirement age. All of those facts could depress the bejeezus out of me, were I not so happy.

I have nothing but gratitude to the Graces for my life and good fortune. Not material fortune, mind you; my credit score bites. My family, friends, students, and photography bring me vast joy.

My husband and I have the honor of caring for our two doggos, Mango and Blue. They are siblings but oh, so different. Mango, the female, is alpha, and reacts more aggressively to everything. Blue is a slow poke, physically as malleable as putty, double jointed, and has a jealous streak. They are Jack Russell mixes and are rescues.

They have become my furry muses when neither my camera nor I can bear to brave the bitter winter winds.

I photograph them and invent stories about them. I will share one of a series I am working on. They possess a magical ability to enter works of art and return, telling wondrous tales. Here is the most recent image, called Blue and Mr Rothko Get on Famously and Discuss Friedrich Nietzsche and Things.

I will work on these images with the intention of writing and publishing a small book. I have gone so far as to purchase the ISBN and rights to an eBook. Such is the plan.

BlueupsidedownMoving2 copy

For those of you who may think I hate digital photos, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. I even like taking pictures with my iPad Air. Any and all ways of making pictures are swell.

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Gag me with a Spoon

What are the criteria we accept for discerning photography now?

The work I see in many galleries, both bricks and mortar and the more recognized online ones, leans heavily toward generic images: landscape, documentary, and portrait. Ninety nine percent of the work is digital color. It is easy on the eyes, bland, and bankrupt. Cloud and sunsets, numb portraits, well-lit domestic scenarios of upper middle class spaces, vacant landscapes. Mute and Large. They are like travel pix, plain mug shots, stock photos. They challenge nothing, stimulate nothing more than the eye at best.

What is the purpose of these images?

I am going to grab four random free stock photos and show you some examples of what I am talking about.

generic2

generic1

generic3

generic4   

These are nice pictures. They are available for download for .99 cents. They look like what win Emerging Artist Competitions. Gag me with a spoon. Now.

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AyAyAy

I watched a very good documentary called Corwin last night, about a very influential writer, essayist, director, and producer of radio shows in the late 30’s and 40’s. I had never heard of Norman Corwin before but his broadcasts were considered by many to be uncommonly good, because he wrote the scripts unaltered and unedited by network owners/execs.

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the networks moved to television for news and commentary. TV moguls learned to create and push their own agendas with respect to information dissemination. And, Norman Corwin was nudged out. He saw his medium changed beyond recognition.

I can feel his pain. And shock. I look at the recent photographic work that fills the sites of so many galleries, online as well as bricks and mortar.  There is a certain look to a good deal of them. Here are some of the categories:

Ninety nine percent of these are digital color.

1. Subjects staring into the camera, motionless, emotionless, with a simple pale background. They say nothing, unexpressive, muted figures. They are relatively attractive. Usually the figures are young and thin; maybe they could be reject models from an ad agency.

2. Another look is the domestic scene, in color, nicely lit, lots of light, vacuous and generic. Usually the environment is upper middle class, comfortable, and suburban.

3. Then, there is the landscape. Color pleasing, horizontal, frontal, and somewhat rural with fragments of human bits as commentary. There are hundreds of these.

Here is a sample of number 1.

This replaces the masters. This satisfies the buyers. This pushes no boundaries. Ay, Ay, Ay.

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