Photographic Art

Waterlily; Absent of Color

The second image I had chosen is this image of my waterlilies in my back pond. This was the template I had used in my head for the Yucca plants. The success of the direct sun and the dark shadows grabbed me. It reminds me of a film noir as far as the scale of gray tones from the dark shadows to the bright whites. This is probably the more successful tonal range in a black and white that I had accomplished.

Why I chose it.

Light, I chose to photograph this subject because the layering of light brings out and the details throughout this image that holds my interest. My eye is drawn first to the flower itself, bright, detailed and textured in the grayscale of the darker peddles. The lighter peddles has a look of collar, reflecting the light on to the subject of the darker and a separator from the leaves around it.  Though the flowers are in the spotlight my eye doesn’t stop there but move to the right and down following a circular motion of the leaves. Each pad having just enough light falling on it to give detail and motion from front and moving to the back into the shadows. With the light and softening of focus I can’t help feeling that there is depth to the composition that compels me to explore.  

I find beauty in compositions that have depth and motion pleasing to the eye and emotionally gratifying. I did not get the same feeling from the color version of this photograph, in fact I felt conflicted by the red of the flower and the lighting of the subject. I could not get past the red to explore the rest of the image. The red of the flower essentially flatten the composition and stalling the motion of the image. By switching it to black and white the image came alive, more interesting leaving me wanting to look from the bright whites of the flowers to what was hidden in the shadows. Like a good story, this image has layers that moves us through the image, to leave and return to discover more.

I know they are only flowers and the depth I see maybe self-serving but I do think this image has a story and moves the view not only to search the image but upon returning, find new details missed from before. To me that is what I am hoping for, an image that is not only pleasing but one that makes you want to look at more than a few times. This is why I feel it would be a good image to donate to the hospital.

What do you think? Am I reading too much into it? Is this a good image for the hospital or not? I’d like to hear from you, good or bad. Leave a comment or email me what you think so far and you could be picked to win a matted and signed copy of your favorite image.

Thanks again and feel free to share this or any other post.

Waterlily; Absent of Color

Making of a Print

Well I have picked up my print and I am meh about it. The printers did a fine job and printed exactly to the proof but I think where I feel it to be a loss is in the punch of the image. I think where I went wrong is not understanding the medium I was printing on. I was hoping that I would have a lot of the qualities of a photograph on the paper when it was never going to happen. But all is not lost

This is what the image has going for it; it is sharp throughout the image. There are no blown out whites or funny digital hiccups that detract from the image. The greyscale is exactly as I had created it and the dark are full. There is not a flaw in the print anywhere in this print. The only thing I don’t like is the lack of a punch in contrast that you get from a photographic paper. With that said, I am not going to trash it but stare at the print for a while and figure out what to do with it. I may just matte and sell it and let buyer frame it themselves. I am, however, going make a large print of the same image on photographic paper.

But to counter that small disappointment I created some images of my Yucca plant that is blooming in the backyard. This is the second year in a row that both plants have bloomed and so I took advantage of my day off and defused sunlight to make these images. Two of these images are shot in front of the vine plant growing next to it. I find that the green textured leaves of the vine plant make a great modeled background when it’s blurred out. The last one is done with black side of my reflector to hide what was behind the flower.

I really liked the soft defused light in the images I created and feel that it is the key that makes the photograph despite what I had originally planned. I was looking for the sunlight streaming through the tree to create drama of highlights and shadows that are in my water lily photographs. Instead I kept battling the high think clouds of the morning so I just went with it and ending up loving them more then what I had planned. Funny how that works.

If you love these or any images on my site feel free to contact me for a price quote on any size of print you want, as well as any questions you might have. I would love to talk to you. And if you have enjoyed this post or the images I have created, feel free to share I would appreciate it.

CR Museum Gallery

Well it took a few weeks but this week I will have my work available to purchase at the Cedar Rapids Art Museum Gallery. I am really excited about it because as I looked around the gallery there are a lot of talented artist’s work I share space with. One, who I am familiar with is my professor of print making, Chuck Barth. He prints using etched plates and creates color prints Mexican flavored inspired figures. Beautiful work.  

I placed two pieces in so far but I have plan to do more as I can afford it. My work centers around the City of Cedar Rapids which is unique from any of the other artist in the gallery. I was told that people are generally interested in artwork of this town, who knew? The work I am planning to put in has a bridge theme to it. Two of which are completed, one I need to print and one I am thinking of needs to be created. The bridge I am contemplating in using to create an image is being worked on now so I am waiting until the project is finished.

Now that I have a taste of getting into a gallery I plan to do reach to more outside the city. I’d like to explore the possibility of Iowa City just because my work would have some familiarity but would be to familiar that it would not sell. I am also considering going out to other cities in different states, I just need to research them and see who I might fit. But it all hinges on getting my work completed.

So, this past month I have been occupied with my new job. The unfortunate thing about being an artist is that sometimes you must work a job to pay the bills. I returned to St Luke’s and now working as a Phlebotomist, I draw blood for the lab. I am good at it and you get to meet people from all walks of life. It’s a job that reminds you how fleeting life can be. I think it pushes me to keep photographing and creating work always, now more than ever. Life is short and I don’t think I have a body of work that is complete. I am on the tail end of my training and my hours are closer to my regular schedule so it is leaving me time to create photos and post. I am excited to get back to work and create more photographs.

Door #72

Doors as a subject matter doesn’t sound like much of an interesting subject matter but for me the old building doors around town fascinate me. Old as in the buildings of the 20’s and 30’s because the designer of the building incorporated the door to the design, unlike today. Today’s buildings seem to treat the door as an afterthought or something to hide. Today’s doors are just a pane of glass with a handle and words painted on it, or it is glass framed in a metal sleeve. A cold barrier that is relative unimpressive and uninviting.  

Looking at the buildings of the era you can see that the door is something that was thoughtfully designed to accent the building. A door way is a place that greets visitors, to prepare them for the wonders of the design of the inside and the object that announces you to the outside. A door is functional keeping the weather out but a door should incorporate the design of the whole building. A door is more that its name implies.

The Matyk Building Door is set in, giving you the feel of being in the space without being truly in. The welcoming being closer to the inside, the shelter of the space from the weather gives the space warmth.  This accented by the plants, which are dead, and the glow of the gas light above and the wood. The wood that gives life and character of the door. Wood is warm, life and a welcoming feeling to the space to the house. I believe no matter what the rest of the building is made from, a wooden door will always warm you before you go into the house and that is how it should be.

The exit door from the TCR Building has that quality as well. The doors have that feeling of the warmth of the inside sheltering us announcing us to the world. What this space says to me, “Thanks for coming, we have enjoyed you but now the story is over and it’s time for a new story somewhere else.” That sounds funny but to me that is what a good exit door should be.

Doors, there is a lot of them around town that I will be photographing because I believe in some way they are a part of our town visually and metaphorically.    

The Matyk Building Door. The plants are long past dead but still gives life to the space. 

The Matyk Building Door. The plants are long past dead but still gives life to the space. 

The TCR Exit Doors. This space is a warm thoughtful exit out to the world that says to "thanks and comeback again." 

The TCR Exit Doors. This space is a warm thoughtful exit out to the world that says to "thanks and comeback again." 

Bill #1

You ever have an encounter with someone that leaves you thinking to yourself “There was a reason for that, just what it is?” I had such an encounter while walking with my tripod over the shoulder, down 3rd avenue. I turned to my right and saw someone waving me down then crossing the street. For a moment, it looked like a friend of mine but just a little ragged, it wasn’t.  Once I recognized that it wasn’t it was too late. I was committed to the engagement of conversation with whoever this person was.

“How was the fishing? I see you have a pole “then he stopped, “Oh sorry I thought that was a pole.” I said no “it was a tripod for the camera.” “Taking pictures of what?”  I explained that I was photographing around the down town are and I was about to head out. He asked for what and if I worked for a newspaper or something? I replied that no I was just doing it for myself. That is when he said I should photograph him that he would be a good subject. At first I was a little reluctant but what the hell, I could do it.

I had him sit on the bench and asked him what he was up to? He said his name was Bill and that he was walking around. He explained he was a Navy Vet and that he was trying to work the lawyers for a shoe shine. “Most of the don’t because they carry plastic.”  I told him I thought that sucked on the lawyer’s part. He talked about a few other things but I couldn’t quite follow and after the session I gave him a few bucks. And before we parted he told a blond joke about two blonds on the opposite sides of the river. I can’t remember it but it is the equivalating of a blond being behind a steering wheel being called an airbag.  The whole encounter took all of 5 minutes and I came away with an image I did not ever think I would get and he with a few bucks.

I felt and still feel I am missing the point of that encounter. That there was some reason for it and maybe I missed something. Maybe the reason for it has not yet played out and that it will hit me someday when I least expect it. Either way I hope that he did get something to eat with what I gave him. If you see Bill ask him to tell you his blond jokes and maybe give a few bucks for a meal. Bright his day and the other people like Bill in the world. We all have something that we can share with others just to make our lives a little bit better.

Hardest thing to do...

I think the hardest thing is to be honest with yourself. This is something I struggle with every day because I am something of a dreamer. I have dreams of owning my own business and being the boss instead of answering to a boss. I get tired of taking jobs that people tend to look down at you for doing. I shouldn’t let that bother me but it does. And being a boss or owner is not the easiest thing to do because the how well the business preforms is related to the person who is in charge.

So recently I turned 50 and started to think about what I wanted to do with my second half, the better half of life. I set out to see what I could do with my photography and more to the point what I was willing to do with my photography. Much to how this site is set up for now I just don’t see doing portraits anymore. I enjoyed it for the most part but I just can’t give it the attention it deserves and as the market stands, my style is not “in.”

I started to seriously consider doing product and food. I had even tried some lighting techniques and food styling and felt I had a good start. I then explored what I need to learn and how to go about it, the business side of it is my downfall. I come to find there is a lot that I am sure if I was younger, I would jump right in and tackle. But now that I am older and the risks that I need to take are just out of my comfort zone

A few weeks ago, I got excepted to sell my work at the Cedar Rapids Art Museum which is a big honor for me. I feel with the help of my friend Lori I got this opportunity but I must say, as hard as it is, I do feel my work is worthy. But again, it was who I know and that she was my champion for the cause. Trying not to sound conceded. The point is that with this event and the fact now and commercial work is not in my future, it would be best for me to work a fulltime job and create art. Who knows maybe I will create a body of work that people are drawn to and will be willing to purchase so much that I can make a living with it.  

So, over the next few weeks I will be rebuilding this site to highlight my artwork and not my portraits. My goal is to highlight my photography to the regular non-photography people looking for art to hang on the walls of their home and workplaces. As far as other photographers, I hope to inspire them but now this site may not have the details of how I created an image or what I use for gear.

I am going to embrace it. As much as my ego wants to do it all, I can’t, my life is complex and time isn’t completely on my side so do what I can and create images for me. Create for all that find them wonderful, and for those who don’t.

Welcome to my next 50 year journey, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.