Jerry Uelsmann is well known for his masterful photo-composites that are achieved in the traditional darkroom. While it is true that this kind of composite can now readily be created with the help of Photoshop, for me, few are able to create the kind of surreal masterpieces that Jerry has been able to produce over the years.
I plan to visit the exhibition of Jerry’s work ‘The Mind’s Eye: 50 Years of Photography by Jerry Uelsmann’ at the Peabody Essex Museum in the coming weeks. Check it out on-line here and read the Boston Globe review here.
Listen to Jerry talk about his photographic process in the video below:
Todd Hido‘s name penetrated my consciousness at some point along the way and so when his name came up again yesterday I thought it was time to finally find out more about him. I’m probably most familiar with Todd through his books that Nazraeli Press have published. His work seems to have focused on the American Landscape – interiors of vacant buildings and night shots of homes – that remind him of his childhood in Ohio. Check out the videos below to hear Todd discussing his work.
Hugh MacLeod‘s third book Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear arrived at my house earlier this week and reminded me all over again why I love Hugh’s work. He mixes quirky cartoons with very pithy commentary that cuts to the heart of the issue. It’s very cool. The balance of text to cartoons in Freedom is biased towards cartoons, which makes it very easy to dip in and out of, or to go through at once, which is what I did.
One of the magazines that I read featured the image above as the lead in to an article in a recent issue. I was of course more interested in the photograph than the article. It was created by Eirik Solheim, a Norwegian photographer, and originally described in a post on his website here. Essentially what Eirik did was to fix his camera in place and then over the course of a year took 16,000 photographs from that same spot. Of these he selected 3888 images from which a strip one pixel wide was taken to build the composite shown above. Very cool effect and has me wondering about other possibilities.
He also goes on to describe how he made time-lapse videos showing a years worth of photographs in a minute or so. Check those out here and below.
I think one of the challenges that we all have as photographers is showing the everyday in new and interesting ways. Michael Eudenbach is one photographer who seems to make doing this easy, making photographs that I always enjoy looking at. His photograph of the bow of Endeavour, shown above is a particular favorite. Michael has a talent for finding a unique way of representing the scene in front of him, resulting in photographs that make you feel as though you’re part of the action. You can find more of Michael’s photographs here. Check out the video below that shows one way that Michael uses to find unique viewpoints. For personal feedback on your images you can find Michael on PhotoSynesi
Sally Mann has used a large format camera to photograph the deep south since the 1970’s producing bodies of work that cover portraiture, architecture, landscape and still life. Perhaps her most well known work was ‘Immediate Family’ which focused on her three children who were all under 12 at the time. It’s release was met with controversy, including accusations of child pornography – many of the photos were of her children playing and swimming naked at the families summer cottage.
Sally Mann has received many awards including being named ‘America’s Best Photographer’ by Time Magazine in 2001, she’s a Guggenheim fellow and three times a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship awardee.
Check out the 2006 documentary of Sally Mann, her work and her process ‘What Remains’ below.
I find that I can learn as much from looking at books from other visual artists as I do from photographers. One such example is ‘Landscape Meditations’ by Elizabeth Mowry, that I found recently while browsing in a local bookstore. From the introduction I knew this was a book I would gain something from when I read:
‘when one uses an idea already expressed by others, it becomes unequivocally necessary to take the idea deeper, further or in a different direction to avoid finding oneself on an inevitably dead-ended plateau with unfulfilling work that echoes refrains from someone else’s songs.’
This and other ideas in the book are very much in line with my thoughts for what I’m trying to do with my photography, to have my personality come through in my work. How to get there is a struggle that involves working hard and intentionally. I feel as though Landscape Meditations provides some framework for the exploration for those things that catch our attention, the themes that run deep in our work.
The book begins with a brief historical survey of those artists that have worked in series before launching into the 10 chapters that form the bulk of the book. The general format for each chapter is an introduction, the work and finally a section titled ‘Thoughts: artist to artist’. I found myself reading the ‘Thoughts’ sections for all the chapters first and then going back and reading the chapter through.
Thoroughly enjoyed the book and is one that I’ll keep coming back to.
As you can probably tell from the photo above, my book collection is getting a little out of control. While I would have a hard time paring it down and parting with any of the books I thought that it would be a fun exercise to select 25 ‘how-to’ books to hang on to. I decided to select a set of ‘how-to’ style of books. Some a very practical nuts and bolts of how to use Lightroom or Photoshop, some point the way ‘how-to’ using examples from the authors, some feature exercises designed to help you find your way of capturing images, some ask more questions than they answer and finally some help with talking about your work and sharing it with the world. These are all books that I still find useful, although not necessarily ones that I would recommend to someone who’s just picked up a camera. I’m sure this would be different to your list and would be happy to hear what you would have included. A ‘top ten’ from my collection of art books, monographs etc. in the coming weeks.
I stumbled upon the documentary ‘Press Pause Play‘ this week. I’ve mentioned here a few times that this is an amazing time that we are living through in terms of the ability to create and get things out into the world and to do that on your on terms. Press Pause Play asks the question ‘Does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out?’ While heavily weighted towards the music industry I think that the comments from people like Moby and Seth Godin are relevant to anyone involved in the creative arts. Check out the full documentary below.
Austin Kleon’s book ‘Steal Like An Artist’ arrived last week. I love it – get a bunch and give it away to your friends. It’s a quick read but lots of great material to keep going back to. The book is built around the list of 10 ideas shown below:
#6 is of course the answer! We all should be spending our time and energy on doing good work and getting that out into the world. Any rewards will flow from that.