9421 Mission Road, Leawood, KS
August 20th, 2014
For a very short time I’m offering a 20% discount on the Cafe Trio prints. The code to use is WDP201. Only good for the next 8 days.
To buy click HERE.
Back from Block Island with about a million digital negatives that I shot over the nine-day trip. Right out of the gate I find myself in a conundrum. I found this house that was once a church. I mopeded over to photograph it. At the time it seemed to present a fairly straight forward photograph. Planning on it being a Black & White and all that but then I get back here to Kansas City and when I look at the negative I shot it explodes with all kinds of possible stories.
What to do? The trials of an artist. It’s not like there’s one right answer. So I put it to you. I am attaching the original capture and the original corrected capture. The corrected one has been edited to take out the irritating bending the lens adds to the shot. From there I fell down a rabbit hole. Let me know which one (or none) of these versions works for you. I feel I’m far from done exploring this photograph and it’s just the first of around 1300 negatives! Of for the days of film…
I worked on a photo I took in New York City back in 2009. Th image was shot using a Leica M8 digital range finder camera. It was so dark in this entrance to the building that I had to use the highest ISO the camera has. That means noise in the negative. In the film days it meant grain in the negative. All about the same problem.
I tried to salvage the photo by turning it to Black & White but as you can see it didn’t help much.
Now just 5 years later the tools have evolved (along with my skills) to the point that I decided to take another try at it. Using a combination of Lightroom adjustments plus Photoshop retouching with Topaz Clean, Topaz DeNoise and DxO Optics 9 I was able to clean up the noise while keeping image detail. I used Optics 9 to true up the wall and improve the composition.
Then back in Lightroom I turned the image into B&W for final output. All told, two hours to create a greatly improved photograph. I have put the original color capture here along with my original try at a B&W image (2009). The last photograph is the 2014 final version. What can I say?
The 15 photographs I chose for an exhibition at Cafe Trio may at first appear to be a random and unrelated set of photographs but they are not. I spent lots of time developing this collection.
The creation of a fine art photograph is a focused and directed effort to capture an idea not just another shot of a sunset. At the core of my work I create ideas. A single idea was formed long before any photographs were taken. Part of the role of an artist is to see then examine and interpret all aspects of our existence. An artist examines the world, its people and their relationship with one another as well as with nature. I look at the emotions that dwell with in and drive what we do. I think about how one person’s seeing isn’t like the next persons.
Where I might see despair another sees horror and yet another may miss it all together. There’s no one interruption. I clearly remember in my Highschool days English teachers, one after another, taught us there was only one “right” meaning to any given poem. Now there’s a setup if I’ve ever seen one. In class we’d read a poem like Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice then the teacher would ask the class, “What’s the poet trying to say?” I would put up my hand with what I thought was that singular answer only to be ridiculed moments later by another classmate’s “correct” answer.
It wasn’t until years later and after writing a lot of poems myself as well as taking creative writing classes, writing workshops and the like that I realized the truth of it. The only person who knows exactly what the poem means is the poem’s author! The author isn’t 100% clear on his poem’s full meaning and depth. A poet strives to create a piece that elicits an emotional response. He knows that the life experience a reader brings to a poem impacts its meaning.
In fact, if the author doesn’t engage the reader in an interpersonal way his work fails. Same story for art. I hope that a piece I create invokes an emotional response and causes the viewer a moment of introspection.
So what’s the deal with these 15 photos you say? With each photograph I started with the basic captured image. I look at this image as the stepping off point for the story the photograph will eventually tell. This image will bare little resemblance to itself when I’m done. The process isn’t important (unless you want to learn and become an artist yourself) it’s more about what “I” see underneath. I strive to push beyond the metaphor the image represents, strip away the false representation and expose what the image is for real. That’s what artists do.
On average I spend three hours in post-production for each photograph. That translates into 45 plus hours spent on these 15 pieces. Remember I also had to take the original image too. Some of the images were captured very close to my house while others range from New York City to Block Island, Rhode Island. The where isn’t as important to me as the what. It’s about the story the photograph is telling.
While you look at the fifteen pieces there is one very important element missing. That’s you. The observer. I envision if someone came along to take the same picture they would see you standing just out of frame as the observer to my efforts in taking the shot. The Observer Effect is an idea usually seen in science. How much does the fact that I’m observing the experiment I’m performing affect the outcome of that experiment?
As you enjoy these fifteen photographs remember you are in them as the unseen observer impacting the final reality of photograph. I hope you enjoy the experience.
To extend your experience visit my online gift shop to purchase your own copy to hang on your wall.
Originally posted on Where Writing Lives:
I have been married to a teddy bear of a man who gives great hugs, has been there for every single kid-catastrophe, including speeding tickets and Kathleen not putting oil in the lawn mower resulting in its early demise (Kathleen, I will share the blame on that one – didn’t we put the oil in the wrong place?) He is the calm, I am the storm. I am an awful-izer, he is the optimist. But we’re a team. I scream and wring my hands, he thinks it over while he mutters.
Catch that difference? Muttering vs. screaming. He’s been with me through several miscarriages, knowing when to comfort and when to just be with me in my grief. When to step in and when to step back. He was there with me in the car on the way over to my dad’s retirement home, the morning he didn’t show up…
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Originally posted on Where Writing Lives:
Perfectionist Anonymous meeting: “My name is Patti and I am a perfectionist.”
I never strove to be this. I was born this way.
I have never in my life not made the bed unless I was at a hotel. I hated “paint by number” sets. One mistake, one teeny brushstroke off and I was so done with it. Little plastic thimbles-ful of paint into the trash. My knitting is according to the directions – always. If I wind up with an extra stitch, I would never just knit two together to make the math work. Nope. The row gets ripped out until I find where the knitting went off in the ditch.
It wouldn’t occur to me to not gather a handful of out-of-place stuff as I walk through the house. Flip flops on the stairs for the…
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