Friday, July 23, 2010

Photographs: Revisited

Every once in a while I like to, as George Tice would say, crack open a bottle of wine and look at [my] photographs. Revisiting photographs is a great way to see things you didn't see previously, to think about new or different ways to make the print, or just plain reminisce.

Many of the great master photographers revisited their hunting grounds on a regular basis. Edward Weston moved to be within walking distance of Pt. Lobos so he could have un-fettered access to it. Ansel Adams spent a great deal of his life in and around Yosemite NP. George Tice has produced two monographs of work on Paterson. The list goes on...

I started thinking about revisiting my photographs this past week due to two things. First, one of my sisters got a new job just a few blocks from some of my early photographs in Paterson, NJ. So, I decided to look up some of the locations I used to photograph on Google Maps. I was expecting for these places to be gone... bulldozed, burned, replaced by vanilla structures. Much to my surprise (and delight) they are still there!

Foundation, Paterson, NJ, 1983 by Richard M. Coda

138 Getty Avenue, Paterson, NJ, 2010, via Google Maps

Garage Doors, Paterson, NJ, 1983 by Richard M. Coda

62 Grove Street, Paterson, NJ, 2010, via Google Maps

Garage Doors, Paterson, NJ 1983 (uncropped) by Richard M. Coda

Second, I was driving up 32nd St. in Phoenix yesterday and noticed one of my photographs has once again "disappeared" (this is the second time for this particular image). It was previously overpainted an ugly black, brown and green striped pattern. Now it is solid red and yellow. I will be sure to go back and make another image soon.

2320, Phoenix, AZ 2008 by Richard M. Coda

I am sometimes torn between photographing new locations and going back to old locations. While "change" is inevitable, I am torn between letting things be and rejuvination. Letting them be can become urban blight, which can be great for a photographer, but not so nice for the people who live nearby. Updating things can make them "plain vanilla" and visually uninteresting. Sometimes I get lucky and get both!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Work of Art

I heard the most ridiculous thing yesterday morning...

Lindsay was watching "Work of Art" on Bravo (kind of like project runway only for artists). The challenge was for a "shocking" piece of art and one of the guest jurors was Andres Serrano ("Piss Christ")... a hack IMHO. He was critiquing a piece and said, and I quote, "The piece failed for me because I didn't get it. It had to be explained to me..."

Now, wait one damn minute... here's a guy who's made his career shocking people and leaving them scratching their heads, telling us that if "he" doesn't get it then the art has failed. In that case most art fails.

We went to the Cave Creek Art Festival's "Adult" showcase (no not that 
kind) last week and there was this guy there with a sculpture 
"explaining" it to people who obviously didn't get it. "Oh, there's 
three drops of real human blood here because..." The sculpture was very "interesting" (to paraphrase my friend Joe Trevino), but, give me a break.

BTW, Lindsay had all three of her pieces (one watercolor and two pencil drawings) accepted in the Youth Division of the Visual Arts Competition in the Cave Creek Film and Fine Art Festival this year. She also had one of those pencil drawings selected as a finalist. We find out this weekend which prize she has won. Side note... the quality of the work in the Youth Division was VERY high this year. For the most past, the work was as good, if not better, than some of the Adult division work. Please support your local youth arts organizations.

I hope to start posting more very soon. Work has finally picked up and I don't have much time for photography or anything else. I also turned 50 in June and was planning a big post on that but it will have to wait. Stay tuned.