Monthly Archives: May 2012
For the first memorial day iteration of the Photo of the Week I thought something like this would be appropriate.
I have no idea what kind of plane this is, but I found it sitting at an airfield in the middle of nowhere in VA. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the rolling hills at the foot at of the Appalachian mountains. I was traveling alone on my way home from something (I don’t remember what at this point) and I decided to take the scenic way home. I didn’t actually take many pictures that day, it was gorgeous, but the sun was blasting and not great for photos. Mostly I just drove on back roads and was content to take in the landscape and wonder about the people who live in houses, big and small, ramshackle and grand, nestled into the foothills.
Little “towns” perforated the winding road and I could not help but imagine these hills crawling with bayoneted muskets and and scarred by canon fire. Not too far from where I was driving there is an historic battlefield where I have watched many reenactments. This must have been a very different place back then…and yet if I saw a of regiment drum-lead soldiers, marching over the hill towards me, I don’t know that they would have looked out of place.
The history of this country lives in every rock on which blood was spilled; in the soil of every field planted in hope; with every brick laid for the future. Take a trip on the back roads, through the fields and rolling foothills, and image the beauty of our country marred by fear, and the smell of burnt powder. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who work every day to keep the smell of death and burning towns, and the terrifying buzz of a Geiger counter off the shores of this great country. Many, including myself, tend to think of these men and women abstractly, a mindset we cannot afford to continue.
This is of course hyperbolic hogwash, and we modern, jaded Americans find it quaint. That does not make it any less true.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve been posting allot of digitally altered images. There is nothing wrong with them, in fact they are more or less my forte, but sometimes I want to show you something more “real.” One could have a long philosophical discussion about whether a photograph even represents reality, but for the purposes of this discussion I will say that I think a photograph represents a portion of reality, one of many pieces that never quite seem to add up to the whole. You might even say that obviously altered images still represent a portion of reality. In that case, rather than physical reality, emotional reality. Provided of course that they were created with honesty by the artist.
We humans, as the product of evolution may not be well disposed to view “thoughts” a part of reality, but they do “exist.” Perhaps art is the manifestation of an, as yet, uninvolved emotional sense. Clawing for life through thousands of years left us with an organ designed to keep us alive, but maybe human art taps into a part of our brain that is still evolving, still in its early stages of development. The implications of this idea are myriad, and though completely speculative, I find this concept oddly compelling. Perhaps this can explain some of the seemingly ineffable, yet extremely powerful, nature of the best art.
(I cross my heart, there were no drugs involved in this post. Though I do have I pretty vicious head cold)
All that being said, this week we have two images instead of one. There is a good(tenuous at best) reason for this. We are talking about images, altered or not, representing reality. The two photos from today’s post are practically “untainted” by my dirty digital hands, and thus should represent some portion of physical reality, right? Well here is another question: does artificial light count as altering reality?
These photos represent to different angles of the exact same object in the same location. They are lit entirely artificially by a singe strobe light which I placed behind the bench pointed directly at the camera lens. The fill light is coming from the bounce of the flash off the wall that was directly behind me. Both photos were taken after dark, on a very, very, dark night. They are also shaded from any light from the sky by overhanging trees. In other words, it was pitch black out side. In other words, the only light in the images is completely artificial and also slightly different for each photo.
Despite all of this “alteration” I would say that to be both these photos represent their subjects very accurately. In fact, I tried to take pictures of this bench during the day and I just could not establish the drama that simply oozed out of the ancient moss covered wood. When I looked at the bench, I could see its age, its life, its character, its creepiness perhaps. But, taking a picture communicated none of these things. It was not until I completely “artificialized” the conditions that the truth of the bench make it into the lens.
Objects may exist regardless of the consciousness that perceives them, but they are irrelevant without that consciousness. In other words, facts are useless unless they can be conceived, communicated and understood. Perhaps sometimes, in art, but also in life some portions of reality must be “adjusted” so that truth about another portion can be understood.
I apologize for the rambling and “deep” nature of this post, so very much, but that’s what comes out when I sit in a Starbucks in midtown and watch humanity rush past my window.
If anyone actually makes it this far please let me know so that I can apologize in person the next time I see you.
Thanks for reading!!!
FB: Daniel C. Bloom Photography
These are the exact parameters and pressures I was shooting under when I made this image. I got several great images out of that lovely morning and I am quite proud of some of them. At the time I was completely absorbed by the moment, but after staring at images on a computer for hour, it is hard to not let your mind wonder.
I occurred to me that sometimes a crappy shooting situation is less stressful because if you get anything that meets your artistic standards you can be very satisfied with the practice and skills that allowed you to work through it. However, working with the perfect parameters can sometimes make for stress of a completely different nature.
I don’t think that I am the only artist who has a large portion of self esteem inextricably intertwined with artistic endeavors. Given that fact a perfect shooting environment can be a very precarious position to be in. Not because of the fear of getting nothing; if you have any skills there will be some usable end result. No, its because the perfect situations is where an artist must navigate the treacherous waters of transcendence. What do I mean by that? I am referring of course to the question of true genius or great skill. Skill can be developed, and not just technical skills either, artistic instinct and eye I think can also be developed. But, there is another level I think. A level almost no one ever reaches, and even more rarely know they have reached it.
It seams obvious to me that virtually no artist can know if they have reached that level. Thankfully it seams impossible be that much of an objective observer of your own art or art around you. For this reason it makes no logical sense to even allow these thoughts to percolate in the brain, but I do it anyway. I think this may present a fundamental problem: The perfect environment for creating art has always forced questions of an unanswerable nature into my mind and I am not sure that I can change that. It has also crossed my mind that these questions may be the very thing that separates 10k hours from genius.
Thanks for reading!!!
What more could a photographer ask for given that dancing is all about physical beauty and emotionally charged movement. If there was ever a recipe for engaging photos this is it. We have all seen hundreds of images of perfect bodies, frozen in astounding positions, floating effortlessly in mid air. The best of these images are truly breathtaking.
For the image in this post I wanted to make something a little bit different. I say “wanted” but in this particular case the intention was mostly subconscious or just luck. I had three dancer in a studio after a headshot session, and they all just happened to be working on a piece together. We were in a dance studio so naturally there was the required wall of mirrors. I have found that given these parameters it is all but physically impossible for an impromptu “class” not to break out. This was fine with me because I have my camera all ready to go and as I mentioned before photographing dancers makes my job easy.
The particular piece that these three were working on didn’t involve allot of leaping about or large lifts. The dancers stayed close and entwined with each other for big chunks of choreography. I was fine with this because it was quite visually interesting and I wasn’t really set up to freeze motion the way I would need to for the traditional leaping photos.
I have several images from that session that I quite like, but I think this one is my favorite for a few reasons. First, although the composition is a little messy, it is still well proportioned and interest is added by the asymmetrical line formed by the dancers heads. Second, the eyes locked on to the lens, casting challenge to the camera are extremely engaging and they lock in the atention of the viewer and ground the the center of the image. Third, and you may not even have noticed it, is that only color in the image is in the skin, hair and eyes of the dancers. The background is completely white and the clothing is completely desaturated. This was something I did in photoshop in order to bring more interest and contrast to the image. Removing the color from the clothing to me creates a great deal of emphases on the beauty of the human body.
I know I have missed the last two weeks, I am just super busy, but I will not let it happen again. Thanks so much for reading!!!