Tuesday, January 31, 2012


                         Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee: Take 5 - Letters and Sentences.

“People parted, years passed, they met again- and the meeting proved no reunion, offered no warm memories, only the acid knowledge that time had passed and things weren't as bright or attractive as they had been.”
Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the dolls

In Monday Morning Coffee -Take 3 - wrote about time and the role of a camera's shutter.  Choices that are there for the taking - sorry couldn't help myself. Fast or slow shutter speeds leave a mark on the image.  Hard and fixed or soft and blurry. 

A problem with still photograpahy is that the image is still.   As if you wrote using one letter or perhaps one word.  There is no where to go.  Writers use sentences, paragraphs, pages to say something.   

Still photographers have a single fixed image.  That is their letter and sometimes their word.  Sentences happen by combining images.
One's life always has a chronology and, with enough hindsight, possibly a development.  Still photographer's have always been fascinated about images in sequence influencing one another.  This montage effect is the heart of cimema, video and most picture books but their sequencing is arbitrary and for effect.

 Break out from the stillness of still photography.  Try sequences to communicate passage of time. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Loading Dock

                       Richmond, Indiana.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

El Station

                       Chicago, Illinois 

Black and white photographs seem "just right" for an Indiana Winter's day.  Gray overcast sky with a steady rain.  Good time to be indoors working with film and digital files in the darkroom/lightroom.

Will be working more and more with black and white film in the coming months.  Forces a slower approach to photographing and a more careful composition. 

Digital seems to call for taking many photographs followed by long hours in selection and post processing.

As always - click on image to enlarge.                              

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


                                Richmond, Indiana

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Image started as a 35mm colored slide.  In the darkroom the slide was enlarged to a black and white film negative.  We now have a negative which can be used to print - on photographic paper - a positive print.  This is an "old school" wet darkroom way to work.  A lot of time - couple of hours for setting up enlarger projection, getting correct exposure, processing, and drying film. Then repeating the steps with the film negative and photographic paper to achieve the final result - a print.   

Using a digital workflow, begin by scanning the slide and saving the result to a computer. Opening the digital file, using Photoshop software, the scanned positve slide is sized, sharpened and finished.  The digital file is printed using an ink-jet printer. Time required from start to print - less than an hour. 

Yes, the two prints - analog / digital - differ.  No, one is not better than the other - just different.  Which way to work is a maker's choice. Which print to choose is a viewer's choice. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee: Take 4 - Aim and Push

"No photographer is as good as the simplest camera."
                                                                         - Edward Steichen

The parking lot image was photographed on 35mm film with a plastic Ansco Vision I camera. Simple tool that cost about $5.00. Fixed shutter speed; fixed lens opening and focus free-i.e. fixed focus. Two choices- where you stand and when you push the shutter. Aim, push the shutter release and that's it.

In this case the camera was loaded with infrared-film - the reason for the red filter pasted over the lens.

These days you can spend some $7,000 (Leica M9) for a camera.  That will buy a lot of Ansco Vision cameras.  Now with the Vision I you also get a built in flash.  The Leica doesn't offer that!

 Not suggesting that you stop using your Leica/Nikon/ Canon/.......  cameras.  No they offer many choices and are able to produce fine images.  They offer a photographer more control of the final image. A photographer can craft an unique image by using focusing, various lens openings and  shutter speeds.

Every now and then, put away the expensive camera, pick up something simple and take a "walk about".  When photographs appear, aim and push.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Games with Planes

                 (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Light

A very cold early winter morning in a downtown urban area.  (click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Summer Grass

Winter has arrived to Indiana. Cold overcast skies.  Time to spend indoors working in the darkroom and the lightroom.  Reviewing, selecting, printing/finishing previous work.  After a brief morning walk, time listen to music, read, and  to work with still life images.  (click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

60's Signage

                        Oberlin, Ohio.

Somethings never change.  Taken in the 60's and valid today.  (click on image to enlarge)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee: Take 3 - It's About Time

"In a still photograph you basically have two variables, where you stand and when you press the shutter. That's all you have."
-- Henry Wessel

Shutters, like seducers, have two basic techniques: the stare and the wink.  Photographs occur at the precise moment when a person, a camera and the world interconnect.  Each part of the collision has its own reality, its own set of times: our personal lives move along, the world paddles its own canoe, and the camera shutter blinks and blurs.  All three times can mark the final image and produce images uniquely photographic in their feel and form.

Photographs might dance with Faulkner's sense of art: "The goal of every artist is to stop movement, which is life, by artifical means and to maintain it fixed so that, 100 years later, when a stranger may gaze at it, it will once again move, because it is life."

 The shutter question, "How is this moment different from any other?"  Cartier-Bresson: "To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression."  Not only can shutters hold the jetsam of life in meaningful visual balance, they can also suggest relationships that don't really exist.  Strangers in the night can meet, not just pass, in a shutter's flash.  Forever framed, their passage acquires a weight we flesh out with our fancy.

Shutter graphics have nearly infinite possibilities.  It depends on the direction and speed of the subject's movement (if any), the shutter's design and speed, and the direction and speed of a jiggle of the camera (if any).

What people love about photography is the chance it gives them to preserve some moment in their lives so it can be savored and re-savored in furtue times.  All moments, public as well as private, can be photographed.  Every choice of what and when to photograph reveals self, but photographs of private moments are directly about one's actual life.

A shutter can be a tool to make reality visible, to see the unseeable, and to expand the duration of a millisecond to a millennium  The most timeless photographs, those which endure the longest, may actually be the most timely, the most full of time.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee: Take 2 - Why Are You Standing THERE?


Every camera image makes use of a lens somehow.

Photography's problem is to make beautiful photographs of what is there, rather than to photograph what is "beautiful".  One "chisel mark" a lens can make on photography is acceptance - of the world, of the medium and of oneself.  Nothing has to change in order to be photographed.

Photographs can contain more than light, tones, texture, color and realistic detail; they can also convey a personal feeling about the mood of a place, the feel of a texture, the lightness of a tone, and the flip side of a soul.

Find a place to put your lens.  When you find it, you will be comfortable there and your images will seem right.

                                New Paris, Ohio

Here a viewer is presented with a direct head on view of the subject.  Yes, we can determine the name and nature of the business. However the presentation seems simply to show that and not much else.  Raises few questions.  Provides little information. A closed image - no avenue of escape. Stuck within the frame.

                                New Paris, Ohio.

Moving a bit to the right, allows a view beyond just the face of the building while continuing to allow a determination of the name and the nature of the business.   Information -  entrance to upper floor, roadway on the right, hint of what lies beyond the building.  Questions - upstairs , roadway, neighborhood.  An open image - wander over the face of the building, walk down the roadway along the side of the buildings, and explore the reality beyond. 

Any photograph should answer the question, "Why was the lens placed here rather than somewhere else?"  The answer will probably reflect an effort to walk the tightrope between image and reality, and to give photographs an interest and life of their own without violating the life of the reality itself.

P.S.  Will be off line for a bit.  Should return in about a week.  Check back for the next Monday Morning Coffee:  Take 3

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Lost in the Midwest: Antiques

                                        New Paris, Ohio.

A village with a population of about 1650 in west central Ohio.  (click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Lost in the Midwest: Church of Christ

                                                London, Ohio.

.  Another closed and boarded London church.  (click on image to enlarge)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee: Take 1

Changes are coming to Today's Image. Monday posts will be more about photography rather than more photography. Reasons for this include the coming Indiana Winter. Indiana winter weather is a messy cold collection of rain, snow and dark overcast days. Once in a while the sun makes a brief entry, but for the most part it seems to have moved elsewhere. Not that you can't photograph in such weather, it is just I would rather not! This is a time to be working in a wet and/or dry darkroom. This is a time to edit, plan, and produce hard copy. A time to review old work and begin to think about new projects. Time of closure and moving ahead.

Changes that will allow a discussion materials, tools and ways of working.  Discussion that permits reflection on the who, what, where, and why of choices made.  Discussion of how to present these choices.
Please feel free to take part in the discussion.  Would welecome your thoughts and suggestions.  Always seeking different points of view.  Like a turtle- we make no progress unless we leave our shell.