Once again I forced myself into the studio with no idea to begin from, but I soon remembered we had a cello – and what is more aesthetically pleasing than a cello? It is nearing Halloween (the greatest of all holidays) and I began thinking about fake spiderwebs. The scene in Great Expectations where Miss Havisham’s cake is covered in cobwebs came to mind for some reason, and so that was my goal… I set the cello on the floor so that working with the fake webs would be easier. I then posed my hands reaching in the frame and loosened one of the strings for effect. When I was done processing the image, it didn’t feel complete, and so I photographed some long strands stretching out and edited them onto the cello. It’s simplicity makes it.
I wanted to tackle a subject that was fairly new to me: Fire. The idea was a man with his arm stretched out, engulfed in flames. I began first by lighting myself brightly from the top corner, and decided on a pose where my face doesn’t seem phased by pain. I think this tells more of a story… Next I had to photograph flames, but I am fairly paranoid of fire, so I made sure everything was tested and safe. I set up a table with a thick mirror on it, and then experimented with rubbing alcohol, both by soaking string and just pouring it onto the glass. None of the images were perfect alone, so the flames here are made up of a combination of about 8 separate exposures.
Sunset Quotes: Bob Marley
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” – This might be one of my favorite quotes of all time. I love Bob Marley’s music – it is both happy and rebellious, a mixture of positive thoughts as well as social injustices… We are all human and we all have shortcomings. When we allow someone to get close to us, it is inevitable that one will hurt, disappoint, or betray the other. You see this with couples, friends, and family. I have hurt others and been hurt myself. I can say however that when you find someone that you benefit greatly from, that you care deeply about, you can find a way to deal with that suffering and forgive. Sometimes this give and take makes a bond even better in the end.
When is a work of art considered finished? Can something old be picked back up and considered new? I seem to go through phases of creative or productive ebb and flow. In times of making, much of these things get stashed away in digital folders not to be seen for weeks or even years. Over two years ago I set up a backdrop, lights, tripod and then grabbed some string and flowers. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I recall trying to express how I felt in the form of poetic imagery. I then tossed the image aside… Today I rediscovered this beauty and realized how well it fits into my current body of work. I spent some time editing the photograph until I felt it was a perfect fit. What was an old creation that went nowhere was now picked back up and given a place in my portfolio… I also chose to title it “Melancholia” – which parallels the meaning of the piece.
Richard Avedon, “Beekeeper”, 1981
Avedon was an American fashion and portrait photographer with a huge collection of work. Many images we may have seen but didn’t know he took them. The famous Simon and Garfunkel album cover, a young Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Buster Keaton and many more… The New York Times spoke of him saying “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”… Here we see a beekeeper with his bees, simple and surreal. I recall hearing that Avedon would set up a white backdrop so that many photos could be taken outside using the sun. He also has left in the strange border markings that tell the viewer a large format film camera was used. See more at http://www.richardavedon.com/.
I bought a hundred glow sticks before leaving for vacation at the Outer Banks, NC. I figured they would be a fun way to play around on the beach at night, ring toss and so on… We then had the idea to make a group photograph with everyone involved. I set the exposure for the stars, the focus for the people, then took a couple 30 second exposures while three spelled out OBX and the rest of us jumped up and down in the background. Sometimes a byproduct of “fun” can be “art”.
I just so happened to be vacationing on the beach during the solar eclipse. Since we were in North Carolina, it was a way better view than back in Pennsylvania, however still a few hours north of being in totality. Nonetheless it was an amazing event and so beautiful to witness with clear skies. I had bought a bunch of certified glasses and a filter for my camera. It may not be the most amazing photograph, but it was a task any photographer would feel the need to complete.
I began this idea many weeks (or months) ago, but was not happy with the poses I had in mind. I decided to re-shoot it. Basically I wanted a man walking on a wire, but with such ease that there is almost no stress involved with the difficult task. I tied rope between two light stands, laid a soft mat on the floor, and then posed myself upside down – then I could simply flip the image 180 degrees and create a simple illusion. I tried a bunch with my feet but for some reason I decided to do a few poses with my hands. This was exactly the shot I was looking for… It makes me think about how sometimes, although it might be rare, we are encountered with a difficult situation or task and dive into it without worry or fear. It becomes effortless.
Kahn & Selesnick, “Constellation Matrix”, 2011
Nicholas Kahn from London and Richard Selesnick from New York are collaborative artists working with photography and installation art. Their images feel like fictitious histories set in both the past and future. Their work blends surreal storytelling with almost alien-like or fantasy worlds.. Many of the images really push the boundaries of the standard size with frames that stretch out very long. Others are a blending of many exposures, some taken by the NASA mission to Mars. See more at http://www.kahnselesnick.com/
Sunset Quotes: Page McConnell
“Keep it simple and true, let a spirit flow through. Every note that you play, like you’ve got something to say. Every note is a light, if it’s gonna burn bright. You’ll be out of its way. But don’t worry if the stars don’t align. Rule number one, have a good time.” – I was reminded of this song because recently I have been on a huge Phish kick. The band is currently playing the Baker’s Dozen, 13 shows at Madison Square Garden in NYC. An amazing amount of shows! I have been listening to them all, and then recalled some musical side projects of the band. I saw Page McConnell (the keyboardist from Phish) and his side project Vida Blue in 2003 or 2004. They were a really great group. I liked the positive vibe and Page’s voice in this song, Electra Glide.