April 9th, 2013
I first became acquainted with the idea of the arcology playing one of the earlier versions of Sim City. At some point, your cities become so advanced that building clusters can be build which are self sufficient food/energy/population pods. It was a fascinating new toy for me as a game player.
Sim City 2000 Arcologies
I don’t think I realized at the time, how much that idea resonated with the rest of my life and ideas about how we should live and interact with the world around us. That the built city doesn’t need to mean a loss of green space or local community (on a simple level).
I also certainly never realized (at the time) that it was a concept created by visionary architect Paolo Soleri, and not an adaptation of a science fiction concept, or genius game developer.
Arcosanti master plan
He spent a lifetime theorizing, testing and building to show the world that we could live better. Better for us as people, better for us as stewards of this planet. Arcosanti and Cosanti in Arizona have provided testing grounds and training grounds for thousands of young architects and builders (and dreamers) and will be a small part of the legacy left in the wake of a Paolo’s death. I hope the foundation and its custodians treat them kindly and continue the work. They are ideas worth keeping.
Sand cast vaults and domes at Arcosanti
Rest in peace Paolo.
Thank you for giving us a vision of the future that we can look forward to.
Images copyright Cosanti Foundation (and EA)
February 20th, 2013
I don’t think it’s common for a commercial photographer to have a fine art show, of his commercial work. Of course, one could get into the cultural ramifications of art as commodity, and discussions about the role of art in general – but really this is a simple post.
Iwan Baan has a show opening in LA. His work is amazing, and if you can, you should go see it.
Architizer Write Up on the Show
December 4th, 2012
Lots of good food for thought of on Ian Roger’s art/illustration blog “Grey not Grey.” But this post, in particular “Is Instagram Conceptual Art” raises a LOT of really good questions that all artists, photographers, designers and even casual social media instagrammers should consider.
What is art. And who decides why something qualifies.
Obviously, these are not new questions. Dada (Duchamp in particular) made this question central to their explorations and experiments. But it bears revisiting from time to time as our interactions evolve. With social media crossing over and blurring lines between gallery, documentary, diary, telephone, and verbal dumping ground – everyone has to a small extent, become something of a curator. We frequently also hear about how we are all “content creators” sharing photos, recipes, stories, poems, and nonsense among ever growing circles of individuals – at what point do we face the question of if we are, intentionally or no, artists.
Certainly a case can be made for art requiring intent – “I am trying to make art” or “I am trying to create something to communicate X idea” but in the end, intent cannot be the sole measure. Any art history student can show any number of pieces of “art” that were never intended with that as a purpose. Craft is compelling – but then we start to deal with lines between what is “merely” craft and what is art – is a graphic designer an artist? An illustrator? What about a scientific/medical illustrator? or a photographer (landscape? wedding?) – where do we draw that line? Should we? Ultimately, do we not know until we see how the audience receives it? Or history?
There are no easy answers here. Instagram is just one more tool in a toolbox for humanity to try, once again, to communicate with our peers effectively. And sure, I only need to see so many pictures of your cat with the “walden” filter dropped on it. But then again, I’ve always liked art.
Keep creating everyone. Good light.
July 30th, 2011
Did a fast and fun backpacks shoot for the good folks over at Design Bureau Magazine. The issue should be hitting the stands later this fall – I’ll update you on when you can expect it. Tight deadline, but a pretty clear idea of what they wanted – and I had just enough time to run around the warehouse district, set up 5 guerrilla locations, shoot, and move on in one day of perfect light. Definitely learned a few things, and would love to revisit some of those ideas with the bigger cameras, and more time.
Julie Failey has been continuing to develop her lovely jewelry, and we’re changing direction a bit on how we are shooting new pieces. Keep an eye on her website. I feel like we’ve got a good tag team going on with Giana Sitzes doing on-model lifestyle shots, and me handling the the product shots. Julie is a blast to work with, and her vision and energy keeps us all moving forward. Always a good thing.
We took a family vacation to Blowing Rock, North Carolina to spend time with a good friend, and do the tourist thing. Really amazing part of the country. The Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains down there are spectacular. Kate even managed to get me across the mile high “Swinging” bridge on the top of Grandfather Mountain. I had forgotten how much fun landscape shooting can be – a couple decades in the flat midwest will do that. Once I process the rolls from that trip, I’ll share a few here. If nothing else, it was great to break out of my usual patterns.
I hope you all are doing well. Good Light.
January 26th, 2011
The perennial question on forums, in person, in emails, and at client meetings… Which is better, film or digital? With its inevitable followup, which do you choose to use for X, or Y shot.
And the answer is, like with so many things, it depends. Better at what? Better for whom?
I’ve touched briefly on this before. (Film is not dead) and how for certain photographic needs it may just be perfect. But what I didn’t explain why it may be perfect for your needs too… so more detail is in order.
So first. What are the major factors influencing my decision to use either a digital solution or a film solution for a client need.
- Timeframe and Workflow
- Technical Requirements and Merit
Lets tackle each in turn, starting from the top.
Read the rest of this entry »
March 19th, 2010
or… Test Run with the Horseman.
I finally got a chance to head out with the Horseman. I had to wait to get a tripod sturdy enough (thanks Kevin!). Otherwise, I was pretty much limited to wishful thinking.
The weather was not terribly cooperative, so I headed to the Garfield Park conservatory to function test, and play with the 75mm ultra-wide on the Fuji 160S (three new things at once, MADNESS).
All in all I’m pretty happy. The camera and film performed well. The tripod will need some tweaking, and will be upgraded down the line – but all good for now. A few shots below. No portfolio pieces today, I don’t think. But still fun.
100% crop from the center grotto of the above. Nice little waterfall. (man, I need a new scanner. FYI Client work is drum scanned, not done on this old thing.)
All in all – I think things worked well. A few kinks to work out. But good tools, and I like the way this film scans. Once I nail the color balance, we’ll be in good shape.
March 3rd, 2010
Jim Fiscus has an interesting interview (given by a student from his alma-mater, East Texas State) over on the Stockland-Martel blog.
In particular, I liked his parting advice to “aspiring” photographers. (I put aspiring in quotes, because frankly, I think it applies to ALL photographers.)
Learn business skills. Outwork your competitors. Take risks, and be willing to fail.
Good stuff. A simple lesson that bears repeating. Luck is important, but the harder you work, the more opportunity for luck to jump in and lend a hand – you make your own luck.
A few other gems hiding in there. His point about good light is important. Many people seem to think you can fix or create just about anything in post production. And there is no doubt that you can do quite alot. But starting with good light. Learning how to light and set a subject, puts you that much further ahead. It saves you time in post, you start with better material, all in all – you can work to make a good or great picture that much better, instead of spending all of your time trying to overcome flaws in technique.
All of which is a long way of saying. Technique matters. It doesn’t matter how grand and creative your vision is, if you cannot effectively realize it in final image.
Read the full interview here.
Thanks all. Good light.
January 28th, 2010
Far from it in fact. It may be the perfect solution for a wide range of photographic needs (especially architecture work). I think mostly, it is just suffering from a PR hit. It’s not new. It’s not shiny.
Maybe we should just start calling it: High-Def ExDR Silver-Polymer Media
It’ll be a hit. You heard it here first.
The original full frame sensors.
(A quick self portrait while waiting for the Brown line to the dentist…)
In other news.
I keep stumping myself about my blog. I outline these huge sweeping posts about Photography as aesthetic… Or Authenticity, and truth. Interpretation vs. translation…
Then I get overwhelmed and end up writing nothing. This is a problem that I intend to work on. Feel free to call me out on it.
January 10th, 2010
Fuji has announced that they will no longer be making quickload 4×5 films – ceasing production in April.
This is very disappointing. I had been using Porta 160 VC readyloads from Kodak, and when they stopped manufacturing, I finally settled on the Fuji 160 160-C quickloads as a replacement. Now with those going under, I’m not sure what will make the most sense from a workflow standpoint.
Have I mentioned how much I hate having to load my own holders? Dusty, annoying. Room for error. Etc.
Maybe I’ll just have to hire an assistant to do that for me while on location.
In other news… I saw on Rob Haggart’s blog “A Photo Editor” - Lady Gaga Named Creative Director at Polaroid – I am of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand – she’s proven she’s very good at creating and maintaining public interest in a brand (herself). On the other hand, what polaroid needs is good products and good strategy, not gimmicks.
So we’ll see.
Mostly I just want my Type 55 back. But I know I’m a very small market share.
January 8th, 2010
A few things I stumbled upon and wanted to share with you.
I’m deliriously happy that I just picked up my new 4×5 camera. A Horseman LS45, in fantastic condition. Sure it’s big and heavy, but it’s gorgeous. A few choice accessories, (and probably a beefier tripod) and I’ll be one happy snapper on the next architectural shoot.
Isn’t she pretty…
(please ignore the shadow on the wall… I know…you know, we’ll just pretend it’s not there.)
Those of you that have time and a good internet connection should also watch this amazing aesthetic piece on architecture. Alex Roman did an amazing job with this entirely rendered piece…which is a bit frustrating how good that is getting. But well worth seeing.
Click the image to view the HD video on Vimeo.
And finally – I know I’m a bit late with the news (since it happened in late November) – but I just learned that Charis Wilson died at the age of 95. For those of you who do not know. She was Edward Weston’s muse, model, and by most counts, writer as well (writing the grant proposal that got him the first Guggenheim fellowship ever awarded to a photographer, and likely many articles attributed to him during that period). She was a cool woman, always active in the arts and elsewhere.
And of course, many of Weston’s shots during their period together are among the finest he made. Two stunners I had the privilege to see on exhibit a few years ago.
NY Times article here: Charis Wilson, Model and Muse, Dies at 95
Thanks Charis, for a life well lived, and your contributions to the art.