Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I find it interesting that so far people have found what I've said about my photos to be just as interesting as the photos themselves. And I guess that makes sense as it adds to the story. Some photos work because you really have no clue as to what they are; and others work because you have an idea as to what's going on but you can't quite figure it all out; and still others work because it's all laid out there plain as day. My adding text helps to lay it all out.

On that note, I've had the idea of applying photos to luminous plastic rectangles and typing on the back of them, adding to their story (be it real or imagined), and I think that will work well. I'd originally wanted to do glass, with the photos encased in glass, but I haven't really researched that yet.

And I've always kind of toyed with the idea of making photos more than just sheets of paper, but solid things that you could handle. And adding something (story/text) to the back of it then clearly gives it more depth than just something that hangs on the wall. It would be an object that had feel and weight.

Anyway, this photo was taken in Union Square, NYC. I like the way all of the paintings have the same blue background. And I like the mix of personas: Mr. T, Tupak, Bob Marley, Barack and Michelle, Bruce Lee, etc. The other thing I find interesting is the combination of the colors to the left, the red awnings and red truck, and the blue and green of the recycling and trash bins. I don't think that the blueness of all of the paintings would work without some kind of colored anchor to keep it from becoming a big blue blob. And the green sweater of the girl that's passing through works as well too.

I've also cropped the top off of it, which gives it a bit more of a panoramic feel that helps it feel more real. Which is an interesting idea. We don't really see in squares or mostly square rectangles, we see the world in a more panoramic way. Why aren't more photos done at least a little bit wider?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm not sure what draws me to this particular wall in Hoboken, but I've photographed it many times.

I think it's the color of the sea-foam paint contrasted by the red of the brick beneath, and the way it's peeling. It's like skin torn from muscle. It has a very organic feel to it.

And in this specific shot, I think that the reflection of the light on the window to the left (giving it a grayish hue), contrasts perfectly with the smaller, but darker window to the right. It gives it some kind of balance. Both are 'caged', which is also interesting; and you can see that rust has dripped down onto the ledge below, kind of like blood.

Additionally, both windows have flourescent lights in their upper halves, but the one on the left is a touch darker, again, giving balance. And the shadows from the fire escape just round it completely out.

Just an interesting pic.
There's nothing unusual about this photo. In fact, there are probably hundreds of thousands of snapshots of this mural - that's the power of New York!!! But I'm drawn to this image for three reasons.

Firstly, Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) was an influence in my life and I appreciate that someone went to the trouble to memorialize him in this way.

Secondly, it reminds me of the kind of love/hate relationship I have with New York. In fact, this particular spot across from needle park holds memories for me (both good and bad). I even recall seeing this when it was first put up, and it's still there, which is kind of amazing. Eventually it will be gone, and this and the other million images of it will live on as part of its legacy. And of Joe's. (And I think that the idea of how we connect ourselves with works of art is really important, but that's a pHD paper that someone else is going to have to write / has probably already written many times before).

But beyond that, beyond my personal interests, it just kind of says "punk" to me. It's kind of trashy, but with a message. It has attitude. It's half of this and half of that, but certainly centered, or should I say more like something along the lines of being self-consciously grounded. It's not perfect, but it's in your face. It has presence, even if that presence is a little bit rough around the edges... it has grime!

And it's kind of universal. This could have been taken in London or Glasgow or Munich or Paris or even Anchorage, Alaska. Or maybe even New York City.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One of the things I like to do is just walk down the street and take pictures of groups of people. It doesn't really work with individuals because they see you coming. I like to catch them by surprise, and that works best when there are lots of people around and they're distracted. And having several people in the shot usually gives a range of different looks, and some interaction between the people in the groups.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I think that for a photo to be really engaging it needs to have some emotion to it. A lot of my pics are simply design driven, with color and line creating shapes (as in SLEEVE). This one, however, has an emotional level to it. The lighting, firstly, makes it pop. There's the glow of the window onto the street, and darkness to the right. There's clearly someone there, but we can't see who it is. Then there are the posters, brightly lit and a bit washed out. To me that gives them a sense of urgency. It's not perfectly lit, and the exposure's not right, but it has to be that way. It has an immediacy to it. THEN, you add the content of the posters to it and there's a whole lot of "film noir" going on in the shot. Of course, just like a film, it's safe. We can see the lights of the city in the background, and we know that when it's over we'll walk out into the evening street as we always do.
Quite a few of the photos I take involve mannequins and store front windows. I'm not just recording already created or "found" images though (although I do have to credit the people who've put the windows together), I'm building upon what's already there.

I like the way that the reflections on the glass work with the images inside the window, and depending on where you move the camera you can dramatically alter the design. In a way, depending on how you shoot it, you're entirely changing the idea that the store-front designer created and writing your own story.

Finally, there's usually a great complexity that's achieved. Certain parts of the shot become little stories of their own (the word vignette popped into my head but I don't think that's quite the right usage). And they become layers to the greater piece. Of course, in the end it's just another store-front window, and if you show too many of them together they start to loose their charm.
This is another one that's basically about the color and the design. The images are good too, but it's really the way that your eye is moved about the plane; and the way that the pinkish block of the reflected building in the lower right is balanced by the weighty darkness in the lower left; and the way that the lighter colors of the upper middle and right are balanced by the darker black band (which also creates a triangle opposite the darker triangle at the bottom).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I like this photo because it has a kind of vintage feel to it with the lettering on the window, and almost like a ghost-like quality as well. You can see the glass because it's dirty, and the colors are kind of washed out. That, combined with the blackness to the right gives it a kind of eerie feel.


Although this window display was intended as part of the presidential elections, I thought that the change of color to the icon was also a good representation of how the nation was feeling. The normal soft green of the copper oxide is warm and comforting, whereas the red expresses danger, anger, and perhaps fear. Yet at the same time, Liberty still stands proud and strong.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I find that people always make photos more interesting. I saw these posters along a construction site wall and found the juicy couture interesting enough to take a picture of. I liked the way the ripple paper matches the zebra and stripped stockings. The one with the delivery guy in the center is more interesting to me though. And I like the design of it. The rippled paper idea is still there, but it's just part of a fuller piece.

NYC T-shirt

What I like about this photo, apart from the bright yellow-orange of the T-shirt and the missing hand, is the stuff that's going on in the background. There's a reflection of a face, and a decorative building, as well as something amorphous to the left.

Face at the MoMA

This is an interesting photo in that it kind of looks like a face to me. I was at the MoMa Design store and I looked up above the checkout counter and there it was. Kitschy, yes, but not trite.


Although I initially wanted more contrast to this pic, I found the raw image that I got to be quite interesting as well. It appears almost prison-like. It's grey, and flat, and blocking. It's like a dull cage, all of which makes sense because it's designed to keep people out. But there's another level. The matte grey of the fence seems almost like armor, and the neon inside is like a fire within. It's heroic/romantic... yet it also kind of looks like a BBQ grill.


I'm not sure exactly where this image came from. I was in San Diego - I at least know that. And I know that it was something that was moving. Other than that, it just has a very nice depth of color with the rust and the sea-green/turquoise light to the upper left center. I like the composition and the balance. And you can't see the richness of the colors here, but it's pretty saturated. If I did this as a painting I think it would work very well.



I don't think I need to go into the history of this as it's very current. The photo is really just about the the composition and colors; the ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA just adds to it. It's just an interesting found image. All of the primary colors and white remind me of what made Mondrian famous. And the "NO TRESPASSING / POLICE TAKE NOTICE" sign is a little bit of a twist, but for exactly what reason I don't know. I guess because Frank was a little bit beyond the fringe. Nothing else really. Just a snapshot.