Nov 18, 2014

Polar Pop Tanker Truck

Hello and nice to see you again. Here's something to make you smile :)

I finally saw one of these crazy trucks. It's just advertising for Circle K's polar pops but it sure does look like a tanker full of soda!

Aug 15, 2013

James Turrell

I finally got to LACMA today (aka the Los Angeles County Museum of Too Many Rules…another story) to see the big James Turrell exhibit. I found much of it gimmicky, esp his holograms. What was most impressive was being visually immersed in various colors, which was difficult as there are rules preventing you from getting too close to the installations. That's a waste as one of Turrell's goals has always been to make you realize that our visual view of the world is merely what our optic nerve delivers to our brain. Everything visual is subjective and related to what we have just seen.

The one room that does envelop you in a sea of pink changed how I saw a pure white light installation just around  the corner. That pure white light looked blueish green until the pink after-image faded. It's standard stuff of graphic design, warm colors appear to be closer, dark colors appear to recede. Any big swath of a bright warm color produces a similar after-image, even when the light is reflected as in print. Turrell quietly pounds the table with this fact by using transmissible light to recall the line from an old TV ad— You're soaking in it! 

Of course my perception of reality goes way beyond what I can see. My reality is 100% based on how my brain interprets and processes the stimuli and communication it receives through my five senses. I've intellectually realized this many times, Turrell made me feel it…pretty cool! 

Like my favorite line from the movie Being There says—"Life, is a state of mind."

Mar 16, 2013

Industrial Fog

The fog came in last night and I went a little Todd Hido in my industrial neighborhood.


Feb 20, 2013



A few years ago I did a portrait project using close-up photos of skin instead of the more traditional face/body approach. These close-up photos show the intimate trace of a life, from wrinkles to stretch marks to scars to texture. It's a portrait from a lover's perspective, showing all the up-close beauty, wonder and flaws to which only a lover is privy.

To make them I photographed the skin all over a person's body, inches away, from head to toe. The resulting "portrait" consists of dozens of individual photos arranged in a grid, all of the same person. (I've yet to do a group portrait consisting of multiple people mixed together tho it's a great idea.)

When I started to think about how to display them, I decided to painstakingly mount each individual 3 x 4.5" print onto matte board, then glue a piece of magnet sheet to the back of the board. I could then use a sheet of metal as the mounting surface for the grid of tiles that forms each "portrait". (A quick glance at some of the finished pieces on my website might make this more clear.) That's been several years ago and despite having the work in a few shows, the project never came together in a way that fully realized my vision. Hate that. 

I was cleaning house over the weekend and came across several boxes of these skin tiles. "Not likely to use these ever again" minimalist self said to pack rat self. "Toss them, you'll feel lighter." At the dumpster, my inner pack rat longingly gave them one last caress and, since the dumpster is steel, I stuck one on the side just for fun. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was re-creating a portion of Danuza's portrait on the side of the dumpster.

One idea behind graffiti is to get art out into the world where everyone can see it, not just the rarefied gentry who visits art gallerie and museums. Placing something as intimate and delicate as close-up photos of skin on a trash bin is thought provoking. It might also be trite, I can't really tell. What do you think? 

I also like the fact that, like real skin, these will weather w/ age…and not always so well.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, but for now it gives me a smile every time I take out the trash. 

Dec 20, 2012

Center for Photographic Arts

I'm pleased to say that the Center for Photographic Arts (CPA) has accepted the four images below for their 2013 Juried Exhibition. The jurors this year were Chris Johnson, Professor of Photography for California College of Arts and Dean Brierly, currently an Editor of B&W magazine.

The first two images 3532 Passing Ship and Inga will be on display at CPA's gallery from January 12th to March 1. Inga was also chosen for SFCamerawork's member show earlier this year. The juror for that show was Lisa Sutcliffe, assistant curator of photography at SFMOMA. The other two images chosen by CPA will be shown in their web gallery only.

3532 Passing Ship is from a new series I started shooting while at Esalen this past month. All the photos are long exposures under moonlight. They continue the conceptual theme of my horizon series by showing an unexpectedly beautiful man-made presence in an otherwise natural landscape. The 15-minute exposure made the ship on the horizon into a bright yellow line.

The opening reception for the show is at CPA's gallery, Jan 12 from 4-6 pm, Carmel CA (between San Carlos and 9th Street).

3532 Passing Ship




Oct 26, 2012

A few shots

from a late-afternoon walk through Griffith Park the other day. Apologies as computer screens don't do well with dark images. Detail is lost in this first image and the results are a bit garish. The print is much more nuanced and subtle, just like the light at dusk when it was shot.

Trees and water tower, Griffith Park Los Angeles

The next is a "prospecting" shot for a new horizon image. I shoot all my horizon images with a 4x5 view camera and often find it useful (and cheaper) to take some digital test shots, live with them for a bit, then go back with the 4x5 to shoot the real deal. Sometimes I'm so convinced of the image that I don't need this extra step, but in this case I wanted to make two test prints, one with the upper "natural" part in sunlight, the other with it in shadow.

I didn't get there early enough for the entire top half of the frame to be lit, so you have to use your imagination to extend the sunlight all the way through the foliage, stopping right at the white cement.

The sunlight makes the image louder than the one below and I usually prefer quiet images with power. But the light also gives the top one a more dynamic feel as compared to the bottom which is more static.

Which do you prefer? "Neither" is an acceptable answer. Saying no is a huge part of the creative  process.

Oct 15, 2012

It calls!


Crenshaw and 51st. Having seen a shuttle launch and a landing, this was an especially surreal sight.

Tree trimmers had pruned the outer branches minutes before Endeavour rolled through. Clearance was about six inches…

Brakes for ANY vehicle! 
Whenever my college girlfriend Elizabeth Flint uttered the two magic words "It calls!" (and usually after more than a few beers) I knew we'd soon be on our way to Cape Canaveral. I went to Duke University in North Carolina during the early days of the shuttle program. While alcohol and teenage hormones typically result in different outcomes than hopping in a car to see a shuttle launch, we were decidedly not typical teenagers. Duke is about a nine hour drive from Cape Canaveral, well within the reach of two thrill seekers anxious to share in America's pride.

Our first trip was an exciting dud; the Challenger launch was aborted at T-12 seconds. The second trip was much less embarrassing as launch was aborted at T-35 minutes. (progress?) For the third we decided to go in style and got press credentials, courtesy of the Duke newspaper. That got us much closer and apparently better luck as we saw Challenger rocket into orbit. It was quite a sight, even from the press area which was about two miles away.

We also happened to be in California to see the landing of Discovery. Early landings all took place at Edwards Air Force base in the Mojave Desert. That scene was much less tied-down than Cape Canaveral and spectators and press were on equal footing in terms of viewing conditions. We heard the trademark double sonic booms then spotted a small spec falling out of the sky. Saying that the shuttle is a glider is one of those statements that's true only by a technicality. It really did fall like a ton of bricks with almost no forward movement. It was a picture-perfect landing. Wish I could have said the same for my relationship with Elizabeth.

The space shuttle program has been an obsession of mine for more than thirty years. I was giddy to see this inspiring, familiar spaceship close enough to touch. It was also gratifying to see the enthusiasm of other Los Angelinos who came out to soak up the awe. Apparently it called to them too.