Elements and more…

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Today I find myself still contemplating how to define “elements” for this photography project. The dictionary definition(s) didn’t get me any closer to finding a suitable bit of inspiration.

So, after I laid out  the day’s lessons for my students, I proceeded with my daily routine, which generally includes reading through emails, Facebook posts, NPR, and PetaPixel.

PetaPixel is a great web resource for all things photography. One of today’s posts was “10 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life (It Changed Mine)” by Frank McKenna. The information in the article was nothing new, but for some other reason re-reading those tips and concepts (a lot of them inspirational) triggered something in me. The item in particular that moved me asserted that one ought to, “practice, practice, practice,” and that every day a photographer should pick up his camera and go take pictures of something. It reminded me of something John Lennon once said, to the effect of, to sing you have to first open your mouth.

Duh.

Still, I’d strongly encourage other creatives, not just photogs, to read the article by Frank McKenna, and like myself, get inspired to create and use their God-given talent. Just get up and go make art…

… and enjoy it!

Elements

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How do you define “element” and why was it chosen for this quarter’s theme for Artist Collective submissions? Whatever the reason, the task at hand involves producing artwork by July 18th.

My process usually involves looking up the definition of the word and then throwing ideas at my peers, and getting feedback as murky or coherent as it may be.  Merriam-Webster defines element as:

1a : any of the four substances air, water, fire, and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universe

b plural : weather conditions; especially : violent or severe weather 

c : the state or sphere natural or suited to a person or thing 

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What do you mean “Fresh”?

FreshOysters

Oysters are probably one of my favorite comestibles, and I wash them down with cold PBR tall boys.

Last month, Thomasville Center for the Arts Artist Collective’s theme was “Fresh.” I really struggled to find a concept for the project. Luckily a trip to Panama City, Florida’s Hunt’s Oyster Bar provided enough inspiration. After roughly four dozen raw and six frosty mugs of my favorite hoppy beverage, I had an SD card full of fresh images.

After eliminating all the poorly composed, and blurry or poorly lit images, I found a couple to play with. The process I employed to produce this image was similar to one I used to create simulated spot color seperation for silkscreening. Isolating colors in PhotoShop, and limiting myself to three to four colors, helped produce the above composition.

I submitted this piece to the Collective and a few weeks latter recieved a phone call from Darlene Mathis, the Center’s Adult Programs Coordinator, who conveyed that my “Fresh” piece had been selected to be on a wine bottle. Who knew that a tasty, fresh treat could turn out to be a cool piece of artwork selected for a great bottle of fermented grapes.

Low Light Photography

This began as a backyard experimental project with a friend, involving steel wool, twine, a wire whisk, a 9-volt battery and several beers. The experiment helped me understand some of the fundamentals of low light photography, which eventually evolved into many other projects. For this one, I chose areas of Thomasville, Georgia. I decided that I wanted to see what it looked like during different seasons at night. Displayed are some of the photographic results … with a little patience and a lot of time …

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Digital Gum Bichromate

The gum bichromate is a fairly old process of adding dyes or other pigments to a photograph to recolor the image. I discovered the digital process after seeing images from the process on  a website, a few months ago and started experimenting with different photographs I’d taken since college.

Needless to say this has been a great new artistic outlet for me. Images that have large elements in the composition seem to have the best results in my opinion and using a limited color pallet adds a bit of impressionism. Now I have set out to take photographs of locomotives and rail cars, paying attention to the composition during production rather than spending time cropping the image post production.

I do this mainly so that I can focus on the colors that I choose for the bichromate process. I also look for a large white element in the composition to help create negative space since the color really occupies most of the page.

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