Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting closer to my "manifesto"...

There are two interesting discussions on "artists' statements" here and here.

I had to respond to one...

I have now read both this post and Joerg’s. Lots of interesting points on both sides.

I guess I would have to consider myself a “refucynic”. I did not go to art school, nor did I want to. I am a self-taught photographer… I love the history and consider myself a classicist (I prefer the old, dead guys, and the guys who will be gone soon). Sometimes that comes across as “snobby” or “elitist” but I really don’t care. I photograph what I like and do not restrict myself to any one topic/genre/style. I think that work can stand on it’s own without explanation, especially the guys I like. Most of the photographers I admire never went to art school or wrote statements… they didn’t need to. Many wrote about their photography, but not the BS we see today. Maybe because the world was simpler then, and now…

The younger “emerging” “artists”… they are a different story. It seems to me (for the most part) they are project-oriented. Pick a project (even better if no one else has done it before, like photographs of splattered bugs on windshields at Interstate rest stops... if I ever see that one I will sue the photographer 'cause I just thought of it) and then try to make photographs. Therefore they need a statement from the get go. They do box themselves in a lot. Most of the “emerging” stuff I see I don’t like. I am happy that (as stated above) it is OK to say “That sucks!” The thing that really gets me is that a lot of this emerging work looks the same. I couldn’t tell you if MFA-1 or MFA-256 did it. Kind of like what happened to popular music (read Rock n Roll) in the 1980s - it all started sounding the same. And now we have American Idol… thank you very much. That’s why I gave it up for jazz, and not that “smooth jazz” garbage (same story, different genre).

I personally don’t have/sort of have a statement. I only say that I am drawn to “things that have been overlooked, forgotten, or looked at, but not seen. I find compositions where others see the ordinary, or nothing at all.” Does that mean that I won’t do landscapes again? Nope. In fact, for some reason I “had” to do some landscapes last time I went out. I don’t know why, I just felt like doing landscapes. Many of the images I made in Phoenix have disappeared in the last year… gentrified. I am playing with portraits now, and indeed, my most recent one (last week) has faded already (a victim of the economy). So I guess, my “sort of statement” works, but it doesn’t box me in.

I think the one thing that the “art schools” don’t/won’t teach is how to “enjoy” photography. Photography is an exhilarating, contemplative, personal, gratifying… oh crap, I might as well say it… it’s FUN! Most of these MFAs I see look like they have some psychological issues to work out or they are out to change the world. They’re not having FUN!

My two all-time favorite movie quotes:

“I’m pretty good at recognizing crap when I hear it” Dabney Coleman, On Golden Pond

“You like that word, don't you... bullshit? It’s a good word.” Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond

What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another one bites the dust... again

2504, Phoenix, AZ, 2008, Richard M. Coda

Well, another of my color images has been painted over. This is really starting to worry me now.

This one may not be too bad... they painted it yellow and white. I will go back and re-photograph this one.

I read in the Arizona Republic today (Scottsdale section) that they are having a "south Scottsdale revitalization meeting" this week. Although this image is in Phoenix it is on McDowell Rd. – one of the targets of this "revitalization". I am sure Phoenix is on a parallel track here. I really hope they don't take these lively neighborhoods and wrap them in vanilla. We moved out here because everything was different than New Jersey, where almost everything looks the same. That is starting to happen here now, too, and I'm sure long-time residents will tell me that it's been going on for a longer time than I am aware of.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Portrait of an Artist #3

Self-Portrait, Acrylic on Canvas, 16x20", 2009 by Lindsay Coda

Actually this is my daughter's recent self-portrait. Not bad for a high school freshman. She recently took a portrait class in the continuing education department at her school. Her teacher, Mr. Pesselato, was one of my photography portrait subjects.

I am very impressed with my daughter's talent – I wish that I possessed her talent. I am sure she will have a long and fruitful career in the arts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Portrait of an Artist #2

Jim Cook is the head of the Art Department at my daughter's school. He is a gentleman above all, but also a gifted artist, a passionate educator, and a good friend.

After finding out we had to do a few portraits for my LF class this semester, I asked Mr. Cook if I could photograph him. He has one of his paintings displayed in the Art Center at the school and I thought it would be great as part of an environmental portrait.

I finally got to take his photograph yesterday. This was the first time I used 4x5" color negative film. I felt it would work better than my usual Velvia transparency film. I have to say I am impressed with this film and will try it outdoors as well. I also took an 8x10" black & white of the seated image. As soon as I develop it I will post it here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Inspiration?

I was looking at my friend, Frank Ayala's photo in the previous blog entry and something in my head told me that I had seen this, or something like this, before. Then it hit me.

Eroded Rock #51, Pt. Lobos, CA, 1930 by Edward Weston

Although one is a figure study and the other is a rockscape, I find them to be almost one and the same. What do you think? Let me know.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'd like to be Frank...

Frank Ayala!

Sea Shell, 2003 by Frank Ayala

Franks is a friend from Rod Klukas' large format class at Scottsdale CC. Frank photographs the human figure mostly, which I don't have the opportunity to do. He is also an accomplished painter, which is something I have been kicking around inside my brain... taking some of my photographic images and painting them, abstractly, of course.

Visit his website to see more of his work at Formedbylight.com.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Portrait: The Organ Grinder

Not really. Actually this is my daughter's Jazz Band teacher, Mr. Rowe. He is also the musical director and organist at a local church. He was kind enough to sit for a portrait for my LF class.

This was the first portrait I had taken with a large format camera in over 25 years. I used the 8x10" for this one, with a 450mm lens. Space was kind of tight (pipe organs are hard to move) so I had my back up against the wall and was standing on a pew to get the angle I wanted so you could see the keyboard/console in the back. The lens was wide open so depth of field is really tiny.

I think I like portraiture. I'll keep trying!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rest in Peace, Captain Chaos!

Our prayers go out to Dom Deluise and his family and friends. He was one of the funniest people to ever walk the planet.

Thanks for all the laughs, Captain!

Finals tonight...

Spent yesterday dry mounting images. Spotting today.

I will be showing several things tonight... four new 16x20 color prints, six recent 8x10 contact prints of Phoenix, three portraits (two 8x10 and one 4x5 contact prints), an 8x10 contact print from 1989 (negative exposed 1989, developed/printed 2008), and my first 11x14" contact print.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's work.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hopefully, a good conversation starting over at DLK Collection

There's an interesting discussion brewing over on DLK Collection's blog.

I have been gathering my thoughts on this for a while now and will soon post a "manifesto" of sorts on my thoughts on the current state of "art" photography.

And now, for something completely different...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Saturdays on the Plaza at Su Vino Winery - May 2, 2009

I am participating in a free outdoor art show on May 2, 2009 from noon-5:00 PM. This event is being hosted by Su Vino Winery in Old Town Scottsdale at the Main Street Plaza (Marshall Way and Main St.). There will be many artists and entertainment will be provided by Matthew Thornton from 1-4 PM.

I will also be having a show with my daughter, Lindsay, at the Winery from July 9th - August 4th. There will be a reception Thursday July 9th from 7-9pm.

If you will be in the Old Town Scottsdale area tomorrow... stop by and say hello.