Monthly Archives: October 2006

Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Kent, Connecticut. Brad and his wife Karin are artists who live near us and who I’ve come to know and respect. Brad studied painting at Yale with Josef Albers and has been around the painting, printmaking, and photography world for a long time; he has a long view on it which is refreshing in this digital, decontextualized world of ours.

Brad was instrumental in pushing me to start printing my photography and to take that end of the process as seriously as the exposure end of it. He makes large, monochromatic photographic prints of natural forms (plants, landscapes) and they are fantastic. His knowledge of color theory, zone system, and all of the post-exposure pieces that go into making a fine print is both broad and deep yet, he never wears any of it on his sleeve: he’s one of the most humble people I know.

Flickr is a great virtual community and I’ve met many wonderful people there who I’ve learned a lot from but I need to balance flickr with a more local community of people who I get together with to talk about all of this stuff, from “what is photography” to where they buy their ink to “what did you think of the John Paul Caponigro* lecture.” I’m delighted that Brad Smith is part of my local community of friends.

*Karin, Brad and I went to hear JP caponigro who gave a talk at a local college and while we weren’t crazy about his surrealistic photographic work, the talk was absolutely first rate and his ideas about how photography fits into the art world are worth considering. If you can get a chance to hear this guy talk, don’t miss it.

Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper

Warren, Connecticut. I’m standing here cooking my morning oatmeal and while I’m zoning out stirring it I’m watching an arc of intense sunlight move across the butcher block table. I can see that the light will eventually strike the salt and pepper shakers so I let the oatmeal simmer while I set up camera and tripod. Of course, I’ve now recorded for all to see that our salt is almost completely crystalized and both shakers need a cleaning. However, I like this shot enough so that I’m going to go public with our slovenly shakers.

Morning Light Reflection

Morning Light Reflection

Warren, Connecticut. The past few mornings it’s been cold enough so that we’ve had to make fires in the wood stove. This transition from early to late fall comes with cooler weather and a different kind of light and color. Greens have turned to reds and then to yellows and most soft maples are bare. Only the pond grass on our pond and a few apple trees hold out green. Winter is on the way.

PicLens Picture Viewer for Safari

PicLens is an extension for Safari (Macintosh web browser) that allows the full-screen display of photographs on major photo sharing web sites. It’s quite useful and beautifully designed and free. It’s in beta now but I’m using it with no problems at all. If you’re a Mac user who’s also a photographer and you use a major photo sharing site, I recommend giving it a try.

Grandma and Erin deep in discussion about academics

Grandma and Erin deep in discussion about academics

Waterbury, Connecticut. Our granddaughter Erin’s school had their open house last night and Erin was eager to tell grandma all about the finer details of “kindygarten” while ma, pa, and grandpa looked on.

“Grandma, they have a whole new class this year that none of us have ever heard of before, it’s called SCIENCE.”

Computing is killing cursive writing

The Handwriting Is on the Wall

The computer keyboard helped kill shorthand, and now it’s threatening to finish off longhand.

As a person with both dyslexia and dysgraphia, I can’t complain. Handwriting is not one of my strong suits nor has it every allowed me to express the complexity of my thinking. Not that it should die off, but I I’m delighted to see it being diminished.

(Source kottke.org remaindered links.)

American Flags

Backlit American FlagsNew York City. I feel so badly about what the leadership of my country is doing in the world and at home these days that I’m reluctant to express any nationalistic pride. I grew up hearing Spiro Agnew (Nixon’s VP) saying “love it or leave it” and now we have Bush’s “you’re either with us or you’re against us.” Neither of these statements reflects the values that I think this flag represents.

Backlit American FlagsReal freedom is allowing, even encouraging, unpopular, critical views of the country and its leadership. It seems to me that people with a certain ideological tilt have appropriated the American flag (and the United States itself) and the rest of us don’t want to be associated with them so are reluctant to associate with it. What a terrible shame.

Backlit American FlagsWell, I’m a liberal Democrat and I’m taking back the flag, at least for these three images.

Reflected Assemblage

Reflected Assemblage

New York City. The grid of the outer skin of a glass office tower coupled with the warping of some of its glass is reminiscent of David Hockney’s assembled photographs taken at various angles of a single scene. There are enough glass towers with surfaces like this in New York, not to mention multiple angles to view each one at to see different reflections, to keep a photographer busy for a long time.