Sunday, August 31, 2008

Study of a Head (Tie-dyed Shirt & Lunar Simulacrum), 2008

In case you haven't noticed, pictures of people are rarely posted here & for a very good reason. While I might be able to invest a common weed with an architectural grace or even a certain air of upright, monumental nobility: I am notorious amongst my friends for taking consistently unflattering photographs of people. On the rare occasion I attempt to capture a personal likeness, experience has taught me to focus primarily on what they're wearing or some abstract formal element of the picture that has little to do (except, perhaps by chance, on a symbolic level) with their appearance. Lately the subject's face is most often partially obscured or totally out of the frame altogether. This portrait, complete with my mug playing an all too prominent role, is yet another example of why you should never, ever ask me to take the photos at your child's sixth birthday party. 

It was three o'clock in the morning. I found myself slightly inebriated from some very fine reposado tequila, couldn't sleep, was trying to constructively pass the time & if I look rather bored & cranky… I was. Still, this morning I tried to convince myself the photograph was really about the strange combination of muddy, green hues & that odd reflection at the left which is, just to clarify things, the simulacrum in the title. (As opposed to my big, round, sleepy head.)

Honestly… I suspect that posting it here was just the rare opportunity to use one of my favorite words, simulacrum (pl. simulacra).

Spanish Study (Fig with Jute Twine), 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Garden Study, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunset, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This photo is for my buddy George over at 1904. Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair to the rest of you as this is a bit of a private joke between the two of us but I thought you might like to see these little scamps before they set off on a journey to the West.

It took ages & a lot of quarters but I finally got all ten.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Damaged Marionette, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunset, 2008

Approaching Storm with Three Birds, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunset, 2008

Sunset, 2008

While we are all aware that reductivism & serialization have always been among the most important conceptual components of modernism's aesthetic language ~ after posting this photo it occurred to me that I might have finally wandered into a territory that borders on obsessive.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunset with Five Birds, 2008

I just noticed that there are actually six birds flying around in the sky but one is so small as to be almost invisible. I didn't see it until I'd posted the titled picture & then clicked to enlarge it. In the end I just decided to just ignore the sixth bird; "five" sounded better than "six" in the title. 

Besides, if I'm not mistaken, aren't odd numbers usually considered more auspicious than even?   

Untitled, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Twilight, (Verbascum thapsus) #3, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Twilight (Verbascum thapsus) #2, 2008

Gibbous Moon #2, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gibbous Moon #1, 2008

Suburban Delphi (Grapevines, Sunflowers & Satellite Dish) #2, 2008

Trumpet Vine & Weeds, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trumpet Vine #2, 2008

The Feral Lawn #3, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Suburban Study (Night), 2008

Sunset, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Daylilies at Sunset, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Twilight (Verbascum thapsus), 2008

The common name for this plant is the Greater Mullein & greater it certainly is. This somewhat prehistoric looking specimen is around eight feet tall & has been in several of my photographs this year, although much smaller at the time. The small, sporadic, yellow flowers are really not much to look at ~ I'm mostly interested in the leaves, which are a beautiful shade of downy grayish-green & form a large rosette in the spring. This is what is known in horticultural circles as an architectural plant, in other words, a large plant with a strong, bold form that is used as a focal a point in the border. In this case (Mullein is a wildflower, though not rampant enough to consider a weed) I think it would be best in a wild border as it's not a particularly refined plant; as you can see, it gets a bit funky looking at the end of the season. I don't happen to mind that so much but that may be because I'm approaching late in the season myself &  getting a bit ragged around the edges… I can sympathize. 

A side note for you archeologists & Classics scholars: the Romans would strip the leaves, soak the dried tops in tallow & use them for torches, possibly in religious rites. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gothic Study, 2008

This full moon shines down on an isolated country Manor house. There are mysterious goings-on: a young woman in harm's way, a cruel & disdainful aristocrat with a secret, an unctuous Italian Count of questionable pedigree with a stiletto concealed in his boot, debts that need settling & surreptitiously administered doses of chloral hydrate or laudanum ~ all in close proximity to the ruins of some abbey or a desolate moor. There is the frisson of anticipation; the hair on the back of your neck is standing up. There is someone out there; you can sense it ~ out behind those yew trees by the gate or crouching in the inky shadow of the stables, patiently waiting for one of those clouds to obscure the moon…

OK… We all know that my moon is not really above a drafty, fog-shrouded Elizabethan Manor house but rather the double-glazed, brick & vinyl clad suburban homes I've shown you so many times.

Still, it's very Wilkie Collins, yes?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Suburban Study, 2008

Twilight, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moon, 2008

Look… The moon is almost full again. This is the first time I have ever managed to catch some of the detail on the moon's surface in a photo. While we here in the West see a man in the moon, Japanese folklore claims there is a rabbit up there, pounding rice to make mochi. Rabbit in the moon, eh… Well that might explain my current fascination with things lunar: 
Rabbit Meets Hat… 
Rabbit Meets Moon… 
Rabbit Makes Mochi… 
Which reminds me ~ I haven't had daifuku in ages.

I suppose, in a kind of off-handed way, the moon thing explains my love of moving water as well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Suburban Study, 2008

I normally try to avoid a matched up diptych; in other words the pieced panorama. If you look closely at the two part photos I've been posting, many of these diptychs do not literally match up to form a continuous image. What I am playing with here is the idea that certain textures, colors, forms & shapes have what I like to think of as a visual affinity, encouraging the eye to move back & forth between the two photographs. (Eye movement is very important in art, but I'll discuss that another time.) The brain then constructs a visual bridge that creates a single unit. It's not an accurate reality but rather a manipulated & invented one, constructed more to evoke (only in the most abstract sense) a particular experience, rather than provide illustration. (Sounds a bit like old-school analytical cubism, doesn't it. Could this be the result of the fact that I was trained as a painter & not as a photographer?) I suppose one could call this a kind of gestalt but that's making it far too complicated. Besides, when it all works, most of this stuff should initially occur on a subliminal level, only be noticed after repeated viewing & analysis. Simply, fundamentally, I believe this instinctual need for closure is what makes us sentient, it's what our humans brains do: intuit, interpolate, invent, make the implied connections, connect the dots, fill in the blanks…

Naturally, having shoveled out all this bullshit, the two photographs above match up almost perfectly. Hey… Sometimes reality does not need to be mucked about with & the quiet, rather ordinary sunset was the perfect end to the meteorological roller coaster we experienced today.

Untitled, 2008

That streak of light in the sky… UFO? Meteor? Burning satellite debris? No, nothing that dramatic, merely a jet on its approach to the local airport. All day & late into the evening there is a seemingly endless procession of them just above my eastern horizon. I'm talking every three minutes here.  In case you haven't noticed, there are frequent cameos appearances by aircraft in my photographs. More often than not, these are unanticipated. At first I wasn't sure if I should post this but I liked all the other ambient light sources: streetlights, different windows, doorbells & even that distinctly odd, somewhat incongruous glowing line of the jet lights.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Untitled, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gibbous Moon (after Henri Rousseau), 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Arabesque, 2008

It seems the sky has been exceptionally dramatic this summer or maybe it's just that I'm paying more attention to the movement of the clouds & the effects of light… Whatever the reason, I cannot seem to stop taking pictures of it. It's become this weird sort of exterior Intimism. What do I mean by that? Well, the name is most often used to describe the work of painters like Vuillard, Bonnard & in contemporary painting Howard Hodgkin, who all look in & focus on domestic interiors. However, in my case, it's all about what I'm seeing while looking out from my windows or porch. The same four windows ~ the same trees, rooftops & houses…

Of course this probably means I need to get out more & not just into my overgrown, neglected yard to photograph the neighbors cabbages.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cabbages (after Juan Sánchez Cotán), 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sunflower at Night, 2008

The Feral Lawn #2, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Feral Lawn #1, 2008