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|Straight from the Camera
So I kid the glamour guys all the time about their angel wings. And what do I find in my last shoot?
Kim Taylor, Straight from the camera to you.
|Nov 30, 2007
Watched a show on Masterworks (TVO) on Arthur Lipsett. Type his name into youtube, there's a couple of his films online. He worked for the NFB and did film shorts.
What the hell happened?
I vaguely remember seeing films like this in the '60s. I remember a show on CBC from the '70s called Sidestreet, and remember it featured full frontal nudity in pre-prime time... supper hour.
The French New Wave, Eraserhead, Dodeskaden, Fail-Safe, A Clockwork Orange. What have I seen in the last 20 years that influenced the way I see the world visually? Shrek 3?
Is it because I'm old, because you don't "see" films like these after you turn 30 or is there nothing shocking to the senses being permitted today? This stuff used to show up in prime time, now I have every confidence that if it's being made and shown today it's in some very obscure corner of the net.
God forbid we should be exposed to any image that will stick in our brain for the rest of our life. Better to see what you see 24 hours a day, stuff that just goes by without any notice at all. Stuff approved by committees that have "the best interests of the children" in mind I guess, or whatever other justification works to shut down any sort of challenging idea.
After all Lipsett killed himself and his buddy Ryan Larkin ended up a panhandler on the streets of Montreal. Creativity is dangerous. Stay away kids... of all ages.
|Nov 30, 2007
||The blog as surrealist
I'm reading "A Boatload of Madmen: Surrealism and the American Avant-Garde 1920-1950" by Dickran Tashjian and it's not a bad read if you're interested in the topic. I'm enjoying the ride from Dada to Abstract Expressionism, a trip I was never quite sure had a decent roadmap.
Everything illuminates of course, and this is no exception. I'm starting to see, from small references and quotes in the text, a bit more clearly how I work. The idea of "pre-visualization" of an image is pretty common, as is the idea that you need a plot outline to write anything.
But that's not how I work, never has been, and it's counter to the surrealist attempt to connect with the unconscious with its automatic writing and its images created by playing exquisite corpse. Now I'm no great believer in the existance of an unconscious, let alone the wisdom of trying to talk to it, but I do believe in under-planning. I've never started writing with more than a hazy idea of a topic, and I don't go into a photo shoot with an image in my head. It's much more fun to have some vague idea of a lighting scheme, or some sort of set design and then start working to see what happens.
The result of all that is I never quite know what I think about anything until I hear myself say what I think, I never know what images I want to produce until I get some sort of "yipee" feeling as I snap the shutter.
So, what's a blog if not a game of exquisite corpse, played with oneself. You let it rip for a couple of months, then look back and see what you've done in the hopes that you'll catch a glimpse of who you are.
Or maybe it's just another blast into the universe.... I'm here.... I'm here.
|Nov 29, 2007
MIKHAIL GALLERY presents STAGED, by Halifax
photo-based artist ADRIAN FISH
Mikhail Gallery is pleased to present STAGED: The Complete
Portfolio by Halifax photo-based artist ADRIAN FISH. The exhibition
marks the first time the entire portfolio of images of performative
spaces has been presented as a single project.
Mr. Fish is a winner of the 2007 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward competition, which recognizes the best new photo-based artists from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He appears in a concurrent exhibition at Kathleen Cullen Fine Art in New York, organized by the Magenta Foundation, from November 29 to December 22, 2007.
First presented in Toronto in May as part of Patrick Mikhail Gallery’s participation in the 2007 CONTACT photography festival, the STAGED project has been expanded and reworked. For this special holiday presentation, the 14 new museum-quality Chromira prints will be available in the collectors’ large-format edition at 48 x 48 inches offered at $2950, as well as a limited edition of 12 x 12 inch prints offered at $900.
The Staged project documents performative spaces, directed towards the spectator seating area. Each respective environment is devoid of viewers, suggesting the pregnant moment before an anticipated spectacle. The weighty absence of an audience nevertheless insinuates their presence. This inversion of the traditional role of actor-as-exhibitionist, and audience as voyeur constructs a quiet tension within the image.
examines the venue of the theatre as a 21st century
manifestation of Roman Empire-era structures. The lack of people within
each photograph invites the viewer to contemplate the architectural
aspects of the theatre environment, as well as the nature of
entertainment in the present paradigm.
that make up the Staged project are of theatres located in
Toronto, and represent a variety of designs over nearly nine decades.
Designed by some of North America’s most renowned and accomplished
architects including Peter Smith, Arthur Erickson, and Kuwabara Payne
McKenna Blumberg, the theatres showcased include the Princess of Wales
Theatre, Roy Thompson Hall, and the Canon Theatre.
Adrian Fish is a Toronto-born, Halifax-based artist and teacher working in the medium of photography. He has an MFA in visual art from York University, as well as accreditation from the Ontario College of Art & Design and Sheridan College. His work has been shown in a number of institutional galleries and artist run centres, including the Koffler Gallery, Red Head Gallery, A.W.O.L. Gallery, and the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax. He has also exhibited internationally, both in the United States and Japan. Mr. Fish currently teaches at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His work entitled Stage 1 – 3 can be found in the collection of the Canada Council Art Bank.
To view the
complete STAGED portfolio, please visit the gallery website
Opening next at Patrick Mikhail Gallery….Cheryl Pagurek presents new photographs and video in the solo exhibition EPHEMERA from January 9 to February 3, 2008.
|Nov 29, 2007
Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845-1945
February 2 to April 27, 2008 Vancouver Art Gallery
The hauntingly beautiful photographs created within the Pictorialist movement in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries are among the most important works of art in the medium’s history. TruthBeauty will bring together more than 150 of the finest photographs by renowned artists such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Baron Adolph de Meyer, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Josef Sudek. The Pictorialist artists sought to elevate photography—still seen in the nineteenth century as merely a mechanical tool of documentation—into the realm of fine art. Drawing upon major museum collections worldwide, including the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, this historic exhibition will reveal the rich aesthetic, diverse approaches and technical innovations of Pictorialism—one of the first truly international artistic movements.
The exhibition is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in collaboration with George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Curated by Alison Nordstršm, Curator of Photographs, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.
Alvin Langdon Coburn
Regent’s Canal, London, 1904
George Eastman House Collection
Gift of Alvin Langdon Coburn
|Nov 29, 2007
October 20, 2007 to January 20, 2008 Vancouver Art Gallery
Over the past two decades, Roy Arden has become one of Canada’s most respected artists. His work has contributed significantly to Vancouver’s reputation as an important centre for contemporary photo-based art. This exhibition presents a mid-career overview of Arden’s multi-faceted practice and the diverse strategies used in his art from the early 1980s to the present. It encompasses the lyrical colour imagery of his early Fragments project, his work with archival images from the late 1980s, as well as the more recent photographs of the contemporary urban environment that register the transformative effects of modernity as revealed through the experience of the everyday landscape. Several video works and a recent web-based project are also presented.
Combining Arden’s activities as a photographer and video artist, as a scavenger-archivist of existing imagery and a producer of original pictures, as well as an acute observer of local detail as it relates to urban life on a global level, the exhibition presents a comprehensive look at Arden’s complex and thematically rich body of work from the past quarter century.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated hard cover book, co-published by the Vancouver Art Gallery and Douglas & McIntyre, with essays by Dieter Roelstraete and Russell Ferguson, and short texts by Peter Culley, Peter Galassi, Shepherd Steiner, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Thomas Weski.
Collection of Family Von Brauckmann
Photo: courtesy of the artist
|Nov 29, 2007
|Straight from the Camera
||Why I'm not such a
great portrait guy
Took some photos for the girls who graduated the self defence class I taught this fall. Were supposed to be nice softbox headshots, even lighting, white seamless stuff. Did actually take some but somehow most of the shots ended up like this one.
I don't think I'd be very good at senior photos.
Kim Taylor, Straight from the camera to you.
|Nov 28, 2007
||Paul Melcher Blog on
For those interested in stock photography, here's an interesting blog, http://blog.melchersystem.com/ The author has been around quite a while in the industry and I suspect has a pretty good idea of what the future holds.
Dan Heller Blog on the photographic business
Yet another good read, a bit more broadly based but still talking stock. http://danheller.blogspot.com/
|Nov 27, 2007
Chambers See his story in
I'm having a show at the George Billis Gallery in LA - please stop by if
you are in the area.
November 27 - January 12, 2008 -- Reception: 5-8, Saturday, Dec. 1st.
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Blvd. • Culver City
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 - 6
Have a great holiday season!
|Nov 26, 2007
||The Good Photograph
It's time to finally reveal what makes a good photograph. This is what I have learned on the net and from various magazines over the last couple of years.
|Nov 25, 2007
|Straight from the Camera
Kim Taylor, Straight from the camera to you.
I'm usually looking for that brief instant before or just after a model takes a pose, I like the life there more than the little death that happens when a model stays in a position more than half a second. But if I remember this one right, she took this pose and held it until I shot. This is only our third time shooting and I'm liking what she's doing.
|Nov 24, 2007
||Go ahead, copy me,
Just reading an article about copying here: http://www.epuk.org/The-Curve/456/visual-plagiarism and once again I'm astounded at the modern idea that ideas should be intellectual copyright. If you really want to be offended by this kind of copying you could go to http://www.coloribus.com/ and check out the advertising coincidences.
Or just compare Goya's "Third of May" and Manet's "The Execution of Emperor Maximilian". How about Richard Prince? All of art can be seen as a discussion, a copying of, reinterpretation of, or rebellion against the work of some other artist who has come before. Forget the lawyers, jump into the pool and hope that you can do work that is good enough for someone else to come along and "steal it".
A couple of years ago a model I was working with came yelling into the studio ranting about a relatively local photographer who had ripped off some of our work. Sure enough there was a shot one month, and another a couple months later, and yet again. All stuff that we had done and posted online a month or two before it showed up in print.
OK maybe, but I could show the model exactly where I'd ripped the stuff off from someone who had done it many years before I had. I've got a pretty good visual memory and thanks to the internet I can find images that I remember from 30 years ago. Maybe the other fellow did rip off our ideas but I'm certainly not some creative genius working in a vacuum. Everything I've ever seen is grist for the mill, every technique someone else has ever invented is fair game as far as I'm concerned.
Here's another point of view (about the same point of view). I teach martial arts and a very long time ago I decided that there are only so many ways to bend a wrist. Just because one school looks kind of like another doesn't mean they're related. It is possible to come up with the same idea someone else does, especially if the aim is to make a wrist hurt.
How many views are there of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris? How many streets running up to the front? Does Atget get dibs on all of Paris until his streets are torn up and rebuilt? Does Berenice Abbot get New York City?
If the lawyers get any better at their jobs and the intellectual copyright laws go much further, we may all be taking photographs of our walled-in back yards and selling them to Corbis.
Back to my own work and the other photographer. What would have happened if I had gone to court? Well the magazines he was shooting for could certainly afford better lawyers than I could, so they would likely have won any case I brought forward. For photographers to start pushing for wider copyright protection is for them to be asking that the "rich get richer". If you can afford the lawyers to prove you've got a copyrightable idea first, you can sue everyone else right back into the factory jobs they were trying to get away from.
Nah, I vote for working hard enough to have someone come along and steal my ideas. By then I'll have moved along to another one I'm sure. If I can't come up with more than one idea in my life, I'll be back at the factory before the case gets settled anyway.
|Nov 24, 2007
Working in a studio with a bunch of guys trying to make a living at photography makes me feel guilty. I feel like I should be out there marketing myself, making the rounds and finding those jobs, but what time I spend on photography is spent shooting or editing this magazine. In one case I get to make whatever images I feel like, and in the other I get to talk to whatever photographers I want, and look closely at their images.
So what's the problem here, why can't I just accept that I've hit the jackpot, I still have to make a living, sure, but finally, after 20 years of doing what I don't want to do, I've got time to do what I want.
Old habits die hard I suppose, a lifetime of never doing anything without thinking about the money that might be made on it, or lamenting the money that must be spent on it, I finally get to shoot as many frames as I want, as fast as I want, and it's not going to cost me anything more than it already has. Of course I resent the time spent reviewing, selecting and editing all those hundreds of shots. Human nature to complain yes?
I don't think that's the real problem though, you can't shoot 24 hours a day. No I think the real reason I'm not fully happy just shooting is that the other half of the equation is missing. It's not art until someone else sees the result of your work. If people aren't seeing the image, it isn't doing anything. Just so much seed spilled on the ground.
For yet another day then, I vow to start looking for a gallery to show in, or another magazine to publish in. I won't of course, but I feel like maybe I'm getting closer to getting off my butt.
|Nov 24, 2007
||Make it Big
Big photographs be damned. One thing that makes photography, photography, is its ability to rescale the world. I still can't get my head around a photograph that's larger than 8x10 inches.
Almost every print I ever made was less than that, usually 5x8 inches including borders. Don't get me started on borderless prints, I don't know what they're for. I print them but I don't know what they're for, I stick them in portfolios. You can't mat them without losing part of the image and if I didn't want to see that part of the image I wouldn't have printed it.
No matter what I shot, a mountain, a goat, a leaf or a bit of shell in the sand, it all came to the same size, which was just about right to hold around three feet from my nose.
Trust me, humans are very interested in things three feet from their noses since that's the distance of a fist with a rock in it. It's about where we dig around in rotten logs for grubs. In other words, it's biologically important.
Nowadays I don't have as much of an urge to print as I once did, and I think I've finally figured that out, it's because I can look at my shots on the computer monitor. Not only is it handy, fast, and highly colourful, but it's also backlit. You get a nice glow to the shots, sort of like blowing them up big and putting a lightbox behind them to display them. Only without the expense of printing and buying lightboxes.
I like it, it's about three feet away.
|Nov 23, 2007
|Straight from the Camera
Kim Taylor, Straight from the camera to you.
Oooo, gotta love the retro stuff. I couldn't afford a zoom when I was a kid but I always wanted one so I could do cool stuff like zoom blur. Love it, but I keep getting accused of using a photoshop filter damnit.
This is REAL photography! Hand held, long exposure and twist the ring! All over in 1/4 second.
|Nov 23, 2007
||New forum online for
We've deleted our old forum that was full of spambot signups and have put a brand new forum online. Click the link at the top right to check it out. We're just configuring it and are all ears if anyone has a suggestion.
|Nov 22, 2007
||The Genius of
This BBC series looks great, perhaps it will drift across the pond one day. Meantime, check out the website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/photography/genius/
Books on Photography
I tried for a while, to review books for 180 but I just didn't have time to read them. If you're interested in books though, check out http://5b4.blogspot.com/
Video of Craig McDean Shoot for W
Not very long, but you get to see the man himself and a bit of the setups http://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/video/2007/12/craig_mcdean_v
You can see the shots here: http://community.livejournal.com/foto_decadent/1646349.html#cutid1
|Nov 22, 2007
Some advice on what to use for a portfolio, and how to arrange your images inside of it from "A Visual Society", a photography agent from NYC. The rest of the blog is worth a read as well, and a little further down you'll find some advice for your photography website.
Just for good measure, here's another blog to read through, the editor is taking a break so you ought to be able to catch up.
|Nov 20, 2007
||A Must Read Blog
If you're serious about editorial photography you need to be reading http://aphotoeditor.com/
Whoever our anonymous photo editor is, I hope he doesn't get discovered, fired and drop his blog any time soon. Similarly I hope he doesn't get sick of writing to the net in the next couple of weeks... in other words, go read it now, good things often don't last on the web.
|Nov 15, 2007
||Nerves Scraped Raw
Every time I talk with another photographer, especially one just learning the ropes, I get told the beauty and benefits of shooting Raw. Each time that happens I get an anxiety attack thinking that some time around 20 years from now my kids are going to be cursing me for not having proper digital negatives.
Of course I shudder to think what they will feel about my shoeboxes of analogue negatives that I haven't looked at in 20 years myself, but never mind, I want to vent about Raw files.
Here's the arguments I hear. "If you shoot raw you can change it to whatever you need so that you can use your shots for anything you might need them for later.
Shoot "everything" so I can change it all later? How about I shoot what I want or need now and then I don't have to mess around later trying to get the effect I want. If I need a different look or feel to the shots later, I'll shoot new images with that look and feel.
I don't shoot anything that ephemeral, I shoot models in the studio and I don't think either of those things are going to be in short supply any time soon. Perhaps if I was shooting something that was a one time only chance, like maybe sports or news. What do those guys shoot anyway?
I should shoot raw so I can print it wall-sized? I dunno, about 5 years ago I got a perfectly good 13x20 print from a 2mp point and shoot camera, I've never worried about size since.
But what if you need to rescue shots that go wrong? Hell we can look at the back of the camera or on our laptop monitor to check the shots right now. I'm not a photojournalist and if I was I'd use the magic P button and AWB along with autofocus. There aren't too many situations that the camera won't do a perfectly good point and shoot job. No if I want to rescue a shoot I'll just look at it and change what I need to change.
Shoot raw because the art director wants raw? Sure.
Otherwise, it's slow, a memory hog, and not much use to me. But that doesn't mean I can't worry that I should be shooting raw for some reason I haven't thought of yet.
|Nov 15, 2007
||Dove tells it like it
I see that Dove has another viral commercial on youtube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=3eihluKwRo0
This time a very sweet little girl blinks in slow motion with backlit hair blowing softly until suddenly she's exposed to the "beauty industry" and their evil images. These, presumably, destroy her self-esteem and cause her to... what? Buy beauty products such as Dove soap?
I'm sure there are more than a couple of us here who remember the '70s Virginia Slims ads? "You've come a long way baby"
The idea of course was to co-opt the feminist movement to sell cigarettes. Here Unilever, makers of Axe and Slimfast as well as Dove are riding on the coattails of the self-esteem movement.
Big deal, my 13 year old took one look at the first Dove Evolution video (it's all over the net, I'm not going to look up the link, you can't miss it) and knew right off that the thing was ridiculous. She wasn't surprised when told that they had to send the model home and picked a girl off the crew to be the subject...
The message that post production editing changes real people into impossible beings for advertisments is just plain fake. Why would anyone go to the trouble of all that work when you can easily find one of the especially beautiful 1% or so of the population conveniently listed at a model agency.
The ironic thing is that there actually ARE people who look like what was "faked" on the original Dove ad. One actually COULD look like that if lucky enough to have the right genes.
So what's the point of the ad? What's the message? Feel good because these models don't really look like that?
Post production CAN make an "ordinary" person look like that, but all that message puts out there is photographers better do a hell of a lot more pinching and pulling and cloning so that we can all look as good as Stam or Daria in our family portraits.
|Nov 14, 2007
||Save me from pixels
More specifically, save me from brilliant colours and sensors that will show me every eyelash from 20 meters away using a cheap telephoto lens.
20 years of HP-5 (cheaper than Tri-X) and a Spotmatic II with an f1.4 50mm prime, of underdeveloping negatives (cheaper to use someone else's old developer) and overexposing prints, left me unprepared for the digital age when I finally came back to photography after a couple of decades of "rest".
What a trap! To be able to get super-saturated colours, and sharpness that was unimaginable, let alone impossible made me into some sort of pixel peeper. Yes, that strange variety of geek that worries more about the latest unsharp mask ratios than the composition.
For several years I haven't been able to imagine grain, soft focus, shallow depth of field, or black and white. Not that I haven't tried on occasion but I keep hearing a voice saying "yes, this is a black and white shoot, but we'll shoot it in colour and change it later". Mine of course.
On the other hand, I am starting to master the technology and here is my proof.
I haven't a clue whether or not my monitor is calibrated.
I don't know what an ICC profile is, but I do know that for some papers I have to bump up the blue a bit before I print them so that they look the same as they do on my monitor.
I don't shoot in raw.
I tried, I really did, I shot in raw and jpg and without looking at the jpg I processed the raw file to where I wanted it, exactly as I wanted it, pixel by pixel. Then I looked at the jpg and damned if it wasn't the same. Now, with a change of computer, and a loss of a cd, I don't even have the camera maker's software to work with Raw.
I don't work with Lightroom, Aperture, Phase One or Photoshop. I do work with Irfanview and Photoimpact since they're around the right price I figure, being free and less than a hundred dollars.
What I'm trying to say is that I'm finally starting to get shots out of my camera that look like what I want them to look like. I let the camera's software convert the raw files to jpgs since I haven't been able to do a better job, and I concentrate more on shooting than I do on editing.
But the battle rages, I keep thinking maybe I should get a sharper lens or switch to photoshop so I can use the latest noise reduction plugin along with the fancy sharpening plugin and the plugin that tells me how to get the model to stop picking her nose...
|Nov 13, 2007
A little list of submissions pages on the web for print photography magazines. If anyone else has a suggestion, send it along and we'll add it here.
http://www.bandwmag.com/ esp. http://www.bandwmag.com/contest/index.html
http://www.focusmag.info/ esp. http://focusmag.info/submissions/ (not the marketing package... yikes)
http://www.silvershotz.com/magazine/index.php esp http://www.silvershotz.com/magazine/index.php?act=submission
http://www.cameraarts.com/intro.php esp http://www.cameraarts.com/submissions.php
http://www.photolife.com/ esp http://www.photolife.com/submission.php
http://prefix.ca/ esp. http://prefix.ca/submit.html
Some others, I didn't find a submission page but they profile photographers
|Nov 9, 2007
Noorderlicht Fotogalerie Akerkhof 12 | Groningen T 050 318 22 27
E firstname.lastname@example.org www.noorderlicht.com
openingstijden woensdag t/m zondag 12.00 tot 18.00 uur
De geschiedenis van
Rommert Boonstra geldt als één van de grondleggers van de hedendaagse geënsceneerde fotografie in Nederland. Hij viert zijn vijfenzestigste geboortejaar met een retrospectief in de Noorderlicht Fotogalerie; een terugkijken dat bovendien prominent ruimte biedt aan recent werk dat zijn hernieuwde verlangen naar speelsheid en vrijheid belichaamt.
‘Ik heb nu de theorie dat je pas na je zestigste interessante dingen gaat doen. Dan heb je wat meegemaakt, dan krijg je vage vermoedens van hoe de dingen in elkaar zitten’.
24 nov. ‘07 t/m 13 jan. ‘08
Opening vrijdag 23 november 17:00 uur
De tentoonstelling wordt geopend door Kees van der Meiden, directeur TwentseWelle te Enschede, in aanwezigheid van de fotograaf
U bent van harte welkom!
|Nov 9, 2007
||Looking at Thumbnails
Having spent a lot of time on photo sharing and comparing websites, I have looked at a lot of thumbnail shots and I have started wondering just what that does to one's selective abilities.
By scanning through what are essentially colour contact sheets I suspect one may find a bias in the shots one chooses to look more closely at. This bias may even explain in part what images and artists float to the top of the rankings at those websites.
Does one develop a bias toward headshots, bright colours, strong, simple geometric shapes and high contrast combined with hyper-sharpened images? The thing is, I just can't see Jeff Wall, Edward Burtynsky or Thomas Struth being hits on a thumbnail-dominated web gallery.
I don't have a lesson here for myself except perhaps to remember "horses for courses", if you're looking for detail-rich large scale art, don't look at thumbnail sites.
|Nov 8, 2007
||Removing the artist
from the art
Does every portrait you take become a self-portrait? There's a large body of thought out there that says even in the most "straight" photojournalistic shot you take, there is the shooter. Your ideas and thoughts come through in the framing, the composition, the timing of the shot and the exposure, even if you don't do any further manipulation of the image.
I suspect that's true. But even if unavoidable, is it a good thing?
What about art photography? Is it necessary to the definition of "art" that we pre-visualize the image, that we shoot as part of a series or a project, that we have a conceptual framework that determines the meaning and message of the image. Is it necessary that we inject ourselves into the artwork to the maximum degree possible? An artist's statement for every shot?
I've heard it said.
There is, however, another theory of the relationship between artist and art. In the martial art of iaido, which I have practiced for a couple of decades now, my ideal is to remove myself completely from the performance. Iaido is a Japanese sword art which is kata based, that is there are specific sets of movements that one makes which tell a little story of attack, response and finishing up. The art is done solo, so it's just the swordsman and his sword in the middle of the floor.
In this art there is no room for interpretation, for creating a signature style, improving on the motions or otherwise personalizing the performance. One does it as it was taught, and as far as I'm concerned, one takes oneself out of the performance as much as is possible. If there is an extra twitch, get rid of it, if the movement is exaggerated here, get rid of it, if it's too small there, get rid of it. Above all, don't think about it, just move, just "be" the kata.
The ideal performance would see the artist disappear completely. Anyone watching would, at the end of the movement, think to themselves "which one did he do"? In fact the swordsman himself would be unsure if he had started or finished yet.
Of course a photograph is not an iaido kata, we don't strive to produce the same perfect image each and every time we press the shutter... do we? I suppose one could think about all those seminars on "portrait lighting"... but never mind that.
What about the performance of shooting? For myself, I'm pretty sure I am actually trying to take myself out of each photo I shoot. I have no interest in being present in the final image, and I find myself setting things up in such a way that there is no real need for anyone to be behind the camera pressing the shutter. In fact I have tried arranging a situation with model and set, and setting a camera to interval-timed shutter, taking a shot every 10 seconds or so.
It doesn't work very well but it continues to fascinate me.
So if I need to be there in some way, how can I take myself out of the shot? Going back to the iaido analogy, I see that I can't do iaido without holding the sword either, but I can take my thoughts, my constant rational nattering, the narration of my life I produce constantly, and shove them all aside. They are what get in the way of "being the kata" and I remain convinced that they are also what get in the way of capturing a real image.
Perhaps this is the way to find "the decisive moment"?
Well thank goodness for digital cameras, I can shoot and shoot and shoot, constantly practicing so that my thoughts and my endless chattering selves become smaller and smaller until I suddenly disappear with a little pop. With any luck my model won't notice that I've left the room.
|Nov 7, 2007
Featuring work by Vid Ingelevics, Lisa Klapstock, Jimmy Limit, Lisa Stinner, and Michael Taglieri
November 9 – December 2, 2007
Opening November 9, 7-10pm
1183 Dundas St W
Five Canadian photo-based artists explore the diverse signatures being etched into both the natural and urban landscape. Focused on the structures and systems of order employed by our populations, with wit and intensity, the artists featured in It’s Good Enough Here all respectfully embrace and explore the contemporary landscape. From Parking Lots to Wood Piles, and industrial gardens to residential gardens, the images presented serve as a record of the current stature of nature within our industrialized and developed nation.
Vid Ingelevics appears courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery.
Lisa Klapstock appears courtesy of Jessica Bradley Fine Art +Projects.
For more information or contact please view the website at www.le-gallery.ca or send an email to email@example.com
Wil Kucey, Director
|Nov 7, 2007
The Geometry Of All Four Seasons
Opening preview: Thursday 8 November - 6 to 9pm
Exhibition: 8 November - 22 December 2007
Clint Roenisch Gallery
944 Queen West
With those words I begin the journal I engaged myself to keep for you-no words could be more suitable!
Very well then. The place: on board the ship at last. The year: you know it. The date? Surely what matters is that it is the first day of my passage to the other side of the world; in token whereof I have this moment inscribed the number “one” at the top of this page. For what I am about to write must be a record of our first day. The month or day of the week can signify little since in our long passage from the south of Old England to the Antipodes we shall pass through the geometry of all four seasons."
- William Golding
opening to Rites of Passage1980
The Clint Roenisch Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by the British-Canadian artist Martin Bennett. The exhibition runs to 22 December 2007.
Martin Bennett was born in Winchester, England in 1970 and immigrated to Canada in 1975. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art he now divides his time between Canada and Europe. He is known in Canada for his Static Image paintings that examine the regions of abstraction, photography, figuration and the mechanical reproduction while being none of these at once. These works, based on his own photographs and then painted in oil in patterns and grids of colour, employ a system that constructs the image while simultaneously obscuring its reading behind a veil of optical effects. In the final process Bennett meticulously sands down the oil paint to such a degree that the weave of the canvas begins to show through, creating a third vivid field of visual reference. In this way much of the inherent tactility and lusciousness of oil paint is suspended in favour of a slow, simmering and elusive method of presenting the image. To arrive at this method of working Bennett looked to the multivalent cues and visual strategies found in the works of Boetti, Magritte, Canaletto and others. For this exhibition Bennett further refined this system to include 'folding volumes' where geometric, diagonal planes of colour are nested within scenes from Rome, London and Canada.
In July 2007 the gallery presented a two-person exhibition "Martin Bennett and Alighiero Boetti: Numbers Speak Volumes". His work was also recently shown at the Power Plant Centre for Contemporary Art. His paintings are found in the public collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts; Astrazeneca; Newport Partners; Home Oil; the Nickle Arts Museum and the Glenbow Museum; TORYS; Osler, Hoskin, Harcourt and Arcis Corporation among others.
For more information or images please contact the gallery.
CLINT ROENISCH GALLERY
944 QUEEN ST. W
TEL: 416 516 8593
Wed - Sat 12-6pm
|Nov 6, 2007
||It's not so bad to be
To find contributors for 180 I go through a lot of blogs each month. While scrolling through some of the fine art nude sites I noticed that I was spending about half a second apiece on the images as I rolled down the page. It didn't help that for the most part the photographs could have been shot by the same person. I began to get irritated that there was so little that looked like what I do, or that interested me.
After a few minutes I came back to my senses and decided that it's probably not a bad idea to be lonely. If I ever manage to get some time to promote my work, it ought to be easy to stand out from the crowd.
In a very similar way, I dropped out of posting on the community photo sites quite a while ago. When you post on those sites there is a definite urge to start looking for positive comments. Once that happens you end up shooting what "everyone" thinks is a good shot. Not a bad thing if you like the style of that particular community, but death on your own artistic growth. As an editor, I can check the top 5 or 6 artists and know roughly what the next 400 will look like.
Better to be lonely, to work in the darkness, out past the borders of the village.
Check out the ground-breaking work in any field, science or art, and you tend to find the young, the inexperienced, the uneducated. Teens and Twenty year olds who have finished their technical training but have not yet fallen into the mainstream ruts of the rest of their field.
I don't know if this is because old folks tend to look to the history books for an answer while the young in their arrogance look to their own efforts (and so find a new way of doing something), or whether age brings familiar ways of thinking. Either way, if one wishes to do something new, one should probably not spend too much time looking at what's old.
It is a truism of course, that if one wants to do something new, one cannot do what's currently being done so again, why look? And yet I look, every month. Of course I saw the backside of my twenties a long time ago and would have a hard time pretending to be innocent of what's gone before. The damage is done.
If, in my own work, I'm still doing something new or at least out of the currently fashionable, I suppose it may be because I'm not looking for approval any more. And with my editor's hat on, I can't find those groundbreakers without looking.
It all comes back to walking that lonely road. As an artist you're looking for somewhere new, and as an editor, you're looking for someone out in the wilderness.
See you there.
|Nov 5, 2007
Subscription Button, what's that all about?
It's actually about not much at all. We're not going to try to charge for 180, but if you'd like to buy us coffee some month, or maybe a magazine this year, click the button and subscribe. We'll fall off our chairs if anyone actually does, but thanks in advance if you feel the urge!
Something a bit new to try
I was going to find some blogger system somewhere and do one for the magazine but what the hell, I can do it faster and with more control here, a blog is just a really long web page anyway. What else does a blog do? It lets you search for old posts... so scroll up and down here.
Blogs also let you comment on the posts. OK send me an email, there's a link up top there, and I'll post your emails on the blog here. I'm not going to try and keep track of all the threads so consider your email a post, write it so that folks know what you're talking about.
I read somewhere that there is now a program to strip the comments out of youtube, and that makes the system better. Being someone who rarely reads comments, I can sympathize. But if you've got something to say, I'm all for it.