Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hooray for Hollywood

What's your dream? I read an article once about how there are certain places in the country, in the world, that photographers, despite their better judgment, just have to take photos of - iconic places that perhaps don't equate to amazing photos, or won't "sell" per se, but are the "been there, done that, seen it, taken the picture" type places. We are, despite the fact that everyone has one, compelled to snap the photo all the same.

I considered Hollywood to be one of those places for me. I had several aimless hours to drive around, get stuck in miles of traffic, climb the steep slopes from Griffith Park to about half way to the Hollywood sign, and then cruise around for a few hours looking for stars, street signs, images that spoke of "Hollywood" to me.

In the end, Hollywood was just a big city, derelict in some places, overcrowded with tourists in others, and generally just a collection of too many people in one place trying to do too many things. But it was cool.., for what it was, for what it wasn't, and for me to just be there - to say I've been to Hollywood. It might not have been my dream to go there, but it re-inspired me - everyone has a dream..and some come looking for it in the streets lined with stars. What's your dream?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beneath the Smoke

This image was a case of being in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. I happened to be in Santa Barbara during the Jesusita fires just a few weeks ago - when they were evacuating the city I was with Jean and Bob, my very adventurous hosts, touring about, inhaling smoke and ash, and generally having the best time. The smoke was rolling down the mountain, along with people escaping from their homes with whatever they could carry in their vehicles. It was a very impactful moment for me and my first taste of true photo journalism. I am very glad I was there, I got some amazing images, and this image just won an award of merit in the 2009 "the View" Juried Landscape Competition at Rosewood Gallery in Kettering, OH. So every now and then I just manage to capture a moment worth savoring, worth remembering, and worth something a little more than usual.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Art of Photography

this post has no pictures. it's purely reflection. just this once. I had a conversation today with someone I respect - an artist in his own right who owns a frame shop in Dayton (custom frame services if you must know!). Dave, the owner, is an artist and craftsman, and he understands that the heart of a photograph, a painting, a piece of art cannot fully be realized unless properly set off - ie framed in such a way as to display the soul, convey the message, get to the point. I knew this once. Before I came to Dayton, when I first began to frame my images for sale, I chose the mat and the finish that would complete the image - elevate it to the next level. Then somewhere along the way I lost my nerve. I began doing what sold best - black frame, white mat. Maybe off-white mat for a twist now and then. I got away from black mats, even though they made my super-colorful images pop off the surface...they just didn't sell well.

I think I have come full circle. I am now ready, with Dave's help, to begin to set the images in the way they were meant to be - in a way that shows them to their best potential. And this is important. Not because I want to promote my work, or Dave's. But because I have finally realized, maybe recognized again, that art is meant to breathe - to have life. And the only way to make my photography into art is to give it everything I've got - to give it life. And maybe no one will buy it. Or maybe someday, someone will see it, be wowed by the finished product and want to design a room around it, instead of hoping it matches their furniture. I want the art of my photography to speak to people so they buy it NOT because it works with their color scheme but because they can't walk away without it. It's time to get back to basics.

Thanks Dave - for helping me see again what I once knew about my art. And for recognizing out loud that my photography has a distinctive flavor and style that can be recognized as simply MINE and deserves to be treated with care.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ventura CA

I'm getting much better at asking people to let me photograph them. Case in point was this day trip to Ventura. It was filled with skate boarders in clumps along the beach walk - another CA culture. There were a few that had a pretty unique look to them. So I finally just walked up and asked if I could take some photos. Keith and Neil were both totally willing to do tricks for me. Keith had a broken foot and was still willing. I got some amazing "air" shots that I am very excited forgive the million and one images.

along the beach walk