Monday, January 30, 2012

And our faces, my heart, brief as photos...

When I open my wallet
to show my papers
pay money
or check the time of a train
I look at your face.

The flower`s pollen
is older than the mountains
Aravis is young
as mountains go.

The flower`s ovules
will be seeding still
when Aravis then aged
is no more than a hill. 

The flower in the heart`s
wallet, the force
of what lives us
outliving the mountain.

And our faces, my heart, brief as photos.

-John Berger, 1984.

What he did was important, and what we do is just an extension of it...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rest in peace Delhi-dog

This morning when I woke up and my old pup Delhi could no longer walk. She was not eating or drinking. I had to do one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I had to have little miss Del put down. Having been best companions for the last 16 years really reinforced that she was nearly always there from the start of my adult life. I doubt that I know what to do without her. Images to follow soon, for now I'm going to snuggle with the dogs that are still with me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

the crepuscular theory of light & other hooting owls...

Jim Richardson.
It is really exciting to see every one's blog sites turn on and begin to glow. I am reminded of watching and waiting for fireflies to glow in the darkness on humid Missouri summer nights spent on my grandparents' farm. It's a fond memory and at the same time a prompt for me that we are all about to begin a bit of a journey together. The anticipation and giddiness of children racing through the yard, zig-zagging in and out of the trees, as if on pause until their eyes catch a flicker. It is that charge one feels in the suspense of waiting for something that is so rousing and often underrated.

So, as I sit back and watch the flickers, I am realizing that so many of you have even actually posted something already!! Your consciousness of what you see everyday is about to go from latent glimmer to smolder and hopefully beyond. This is profoundly cool for me to watch, and not to mention a bit contagious. I guess I figured that it was probably a good time to give you a preview of the actual journal assignment and to give you a few teasers for the days when you could really use some inspiration or for forward thinking.  Consider this entity--your blog,  the evidence, of your attention to a photographic ecology of sorts.  I am asking you to look around you and notice your interaction with your visual environment...

Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.
Fireflies.  Gregory Crewdson,  1996.

The journal requirement for this course is an extremely important component in learning about how we see the world. Everything that we see or are exposed to effects us, sometimes noticed, other times it is more subconscious. Making photographs is directly fed by what we like & dislike, what we do, where we go, what we see, etc. and our ability to be open and expressive. The journal will become a process book for your life/photography and will guide us into becoming more aware of what we think about everyday--VISUALLY. By the end of the semester when we look back on this record we will be able to see how much growth has taken place as well as have some technical notes and ideas to hang-on to for further pursuits. Ideally it is a place in which you can document your thoughts, observations, etc. however, the purposes it can serve are unlimited. To name a few:  

•photographs (serious ones)
•photographs (more personal)
•tear sheets (other folks photographs)
•internet searches
•breadcrumb trails... 
•observe/document the world around you
•record visual or cultural experiences
•notes on exposures & light conditions
•notes from the darkroom
•notes from class
•notes from critiques
•notes from technical demonstrations
•make a scrapbook
•talk to your professor
•get things off your mind that you might not want to say out loud
•collect postcards, magazine clippings, tickets, anything you are interested in.
•do research on further ideas about the the world of photography
•collect current events and the photographs we live through every day in the media.
•pretty much anything goes...!

One expectation that I have for your journal/blogs it that I want you to examine one new artist that you didn’t previously know about prior to now each week as a minimum. You should have 16 artists by the end of the semester.

When in doubt or if you are at a loss you can choose from some of my questions/ideas below...

        Stan’s Seven Deadly ?’s
Here are a few brain teasers that were presented to me by one of my professors. Feel free to expand upon these questions in your journal if you need some ideas to get the ball rolling...

•What is your personal definition of photography?
•What is the difference between a snapshot & a photograph?
•What is a cliché? Name 20.
•What is the most important thing in your life?
•What is your greatest strength/weakness?
•What is your greatest strength/weakness as a photographer?
•Where would you like to be as a photographer?
•What is keeping you from getting there?
•Complete the following sentence until you run out of things to say: 
         "If I could make a set of photographs, they would.............."

You could pick a place or a thing and photograph it once a week, once a day, once a something, for the duration of the semester.

You could also take a photo challenge to get you looking around... here two examples that were turned in by students... (authors unknown-my apologies...)

Last but not least, I will most certainly throw out some questions, links, or other little delicacies that you are more than welcome to interact with me over.  It is my hope that through this process journal you will find solace in seeing each other's attempts at being intentional with your photographic explorations and begin to crave the input that can only come from the eyeballs of others.

Most importantly, please be respectful in your interactions with one another and tell the truth. If you choose to post something deeply personal or painful you have officially been warned that the responses you receive (or even the lack thereof) may not feel great. Please only disclose what you are mature enough to receive public commentary regarding. These are REAL-LIVE!! blogs, not thoughts in a vacuum.  This makes it all the more interesting, and all the more close to home at times.    

Monday, January 16, 2012

Please allow me to introduce myself...

(Oh wait,... I was about to break into a Rolling Stones' song there for a second ;)

Welcome to my schoolhouse blog.  I am having a bit of a challenge this semester tearing myself away from my cozy little holiday break (as seen in the photo).  But really, who am I kidding. Going back to school is always hard, as is change of any kind for that matter.  I feel like I need a pep talk so that I will "warrior up" for the occasion... and I always do rise to the occasion, but sometimes it just takes more effort than others.  I must remind myself that change, while new and unknown, is also exciting and fresh. 

And so as I mull it over I realize that there are many new things bubbling to the surface at the beginning of any given semester, for example, these blogs we are starting. This should prove to be a lovely new addition to our class, and hopefully we will kill a lot LESS trees because of it.  Posting images and linking to images/websites seems to be one of the more prevalent needs of our investigations into the realm of visual literacy these days, so here we go. I think it might allow us to connect with one another just a bit more. Enjoy.