Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Ruby Bird Portfolio






Sonia Soberats is one of the subjects of Frank Amann's documentary film he's currenlty filming- SHOOTING IN THE DARK.
Sonia invited me, as well as Victorine Floyd Fludd and Hashim Kirkland to join her in shooting some of her light paintings she has planned. It's a series thats autobiographical in nature, and illuminates different memories and points in her life.
We spent a day recently in Brooklyn's Ruby Bird studio workimg on Sonia's ideas, while Frank's very nice film crew expertly scurried round and round us, moving things and adjusting all sorts of unseen aparatus.
Sonia asked me to bring in my easel, brushes and some art work for one of her light paintings, which shows me making a painting of Vicki and Hashim while Sonia sits by admiring the scene around her.
 Here's the "Ruby Bird Portfolio". These are light paintings of the work that wasn't put on the walls of the studio set, but remained in my portfolio because they needed strong gaffer tape to adhere to the brick wall, and that would have ruined the delicate paper.
These are light paintings of charcoal drawings. They're not representational often, and some use the slivers, and dimly looming globes of other worldly moons that hover above striped,  folded fabric surreally. Who sees the other side, the far side of the moon?  Even the most sharply sighted person can't ever see those bright craters and ancient lava beds -  a symbol of blindness - a symbol of...nothingness.
Another drawing depicts an x-ray of a Caravaggio painting. X rays are used by art restorers to see beneath the surface, to the underlying, rough structure of a painting's earliest stages.
The re imagaining forces the charcoal drawing into existence again after thiirty years.  I dont think I'd have made this series if I hadn't gone to the studio that day, i try to be mindful of opprotunities to make images. I'm not concerned about the purity of any media and in fact its exciting to blend photography and traditional drawing.

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Light Mind" recieces Academy Award nomination!

Jie Yi was just bursting with excitement when she told me the utterly fantastic news...her documentary film "Light Mind" made it past the semi finalists, and is an officially nominated film for none other than the Academy awards! That's the Academy awards. I mean...really! I am so proud of her. The gold, silver and bronze prizes for the Student film award will be awarded June 7.
I wish I could be in NYC  to be there with her then, but I'll be in Guanajuato Mexico for the opening of my exhibit there at the Foro Cultural 81. Things are positive lately.
I've taken a break from writing now and have to focus on photography... the new results are in the pervious post.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In Memory of Ben Paige


Looking at Death”, Benjamin Paige with SWPC members, 2003





Yesterday I learned Ben Paige had passed away after a long illness.
Ben was with the Seeing With Photography Collective for many years. He was a determined photographer who was an inspiration. Ben created many memorable and wonderful images,  despite his total blindness.  Ben sometimes showed up tired -but full of ideas and enough energy to work, even though earlier in the day, he had to undergo kidney dialysis. You can experience some of Ben's work here...

 Read Ben's own words as he relates his experiences with our art group. I interviewed Ben in 2006. "Italics " are my own words.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pre Digital


At the photography group I belong to, we've been getting rid of excess, while organizing and packing essential props away. An upcoming building renovation requires us to move our location temporarily. 
Mark Andres and I spent some time looking through boxes of prints, our old view- camera work. He mentioned he wants us to put together a portfolio of images and writing to bring to various photography book publishers. Mark flipped through the silver prints quickly, and we remembered the incidents, people and events surrounding their creation. The newer people in the group sat around listening to our stories and recollections of SWPC artists,  many no longer with us.

So, in that kind of nostalgic mood, I've been browsing through some of my own early work too – all pre -digital, 35mm negative scans. Here are a few. Excuse the dust. All made from about 2003 to 2006.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whats new?

Glad to be back online after a very long absence due to technical difficulites and replaced wiring. My friend Darius, who has been very busy opening his new " Foro Cultural 81", in Guanajuato Mexico, will be exhibiting some of my work there in June of this year. Take a look at this cultural gem by going HERE . http://forocultural81.com/

Sunstone 17


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Sunstone Series












A Sunstone is a cut crystal of calcite, used for sea navigation by ancient peoples. When the sun was obscured by thick clouds and  accurate direction needed to steer by, a sunstone crystal was held up to the sky. In it's facets, the navigator could discern circles of radiance, lines of polarized light, which cut through the dense overcast, and unmasked the hidden sun behind, allowing an accurate reading of direction for sailing.






The photographs in this ongoing series are like personal landmarks or beacons of navigation, each now mostly obscured by vision loss, and each of these recent photographs contain another image - points of visual imagery re- imagained, and brought into a new, immediate context.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Filming with Nori

 
 
Nori Mizukami continues filming his documentery, and yesterday he spent time with me, both of us got to work. I made a number of light paintings which may be used in Nori's film. I suggesttde a close up of an eye, and also, I thought that using a laser pointer would be interesting too, because Nori's film, in part deals with,his own unfortunate experience getting Lasik surgery. Last image of the night here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oliver Sacks talks with John Dugdale

John Dugdale is a blind photographer, whose work I've been admiring for many years. I actually met him briefly when SWPC went to one of his exhibitions.
Here both Sacks and Dugdale discuss vision, sight loss and perception.
Mark Andres, of SWPC, will be moderating a discussion of this
film at the Rubin Museum in New York October 9.

UPDATE... Mark wasn't able to moderate the discussion, but Donald Martinez and I both did. The Rubin Museum's theatre is quite innovative and relaxed, providing seating at candle lit tables, so the audience can enjoy lunch too.  The dark space, though difficult for me to navigate, is very warm, and Don and I took some questions about image making and sight loss from the many people gathered there. Though I couldn't see our audience- I heard the applause at least! Thank you to the Rubin Museum.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Fae4UPCMqtA

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Moon- Half a diptych

Last week I finally finished the last section of my diptych called-"The Sun and the Moon". Each main area is enclosed by slender column like forms. This style echoes ancient Greek and Roman fresco decoration that presented the illusion of a hanging panel painting suspended in a miniature architectural enclosure.
Phil, Charlie and Nori helped me out by lighting the two columns, and I did the lighting of myself grasping the luminous spheres, and the surrounding atmosphere. I brought in a special, dot patterned paper that produces a granular effect, I use this paper often. I hope to join all the elelments and present the final piece complete, but, for now, here's the right side.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Photography workshop in Penza Russia

On Saturday September 7, I will be participating in a workshop organized by two of my Russian friends, Anton Akimov and Anna Nistratova. What's different about this workshop, is that I'll take part via the internet, and that's new to me. Norihiro Mizukami has helped me tremendously by sharing  his expert filmmaking skills, and has made a demonstration video of me explaining the light painting technique. It'll be shown to the Penza students. Here's the result of that night's photo session.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The View from Here: On the Snapshot Part 1

It's the personal snapshot I'm going to dwell on. Not the intriguing, or ironic, or unexpectedly fascinating, no. Only the picture whose sole purpose is to remind and reawaken, provokes this inqiry.

The availability of inexpensive cameras and better film in the mid twentieth century, left many Americans with plentiful, usually colorful, paper totems of memory never intended for any other purpose than the personal document. Some artists explore the personal, casual and intimate photo as their theme, but I refer to the unintentionally ordinary.

 And to how they resonate and evoke beyond their appearance, beyond just the trap of the visual. Unbound by concerns of form and freed of trends, our snapshot albums let us do a little time travel, and the veneer of style peels away with laughter at our confidence and comfort among the hilariously outdated. It's one of the pleasures of time travel in the shoebox. As great art, they fail - all, but retain their unmistakable grip, molding our memories and charming us with the light and shadow of a vanished world.

These casual snapshots are the dual of my striving as an artist, and examining their meaning is like trying to see the back of my own head, so woven into my mind's fabric of self have they become. Its an inquiry of words. I wont need to mix color on a palette