Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ode to the Pictoralists

Pictorialism, an approach to photography that emphasizes beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition rather than the documentation of reality.

This has basically been my modus operandi since I abandoned "straight" portrait photography back in the late 1990's but one of the things that the Pictoralists had (or didn't have, depending on point of view) was the original methods of photo making. This included early cameras. glass plates generally coated with photo-sensitive chemicals, slow lenses, etc. While a lot of people today might roll their eyes and say that these things were hindrances, it was these tools and techniques that allowed a couple of things. First, the slowness of the process allowed the photographer to sit and study what he/she wanted before the shutter was even cocked and two, it led to a very specific look that was delicate, graceful and strong at the same time.

The resurgence of these photographic processes happened maybe 10-15 years ago but I have to say I didn't want to get caught up in that endeavor as I didn't have a darkroom anymore and had no desire to set one up. A dedicated space for the large camera format was also something I didn't have so for a long time, I created work with the intent of beauty, composition, fantasy in theme and all of the elements that the Pictoralists included in their photographs but without the famous look. Until now. In strangely stumbling upon an Adobe Photoshop tutorial on YouTube and then playing with the tools further, I have finally begun to get the look I wanted.I posted a couple here recently but I have delved a little deeper since. I am pleased.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


I've noticed I haven't had many posts so far this year and I have 2 thoughts for that - I haven't had a thought I felt worth posting and/or I have been in a bad place in many ways.

The latter is one that I don't even know how to describe. However one of the reasons for where I am in that over the course of the last year, the news of death - I mean death of ones that I knew personally or even just enough to be familiar with has become a weekly and sometimes daily thing. My mother died and now both of my parents are gone. It's surreal to think that I am old enough for that to happen..

I have a great fear of dying. Many people I know tell me that it's useless to worry or fear it because we don't know when it will happen to us and all we can do is live. So why not live for today and not worry about tomorrow? All true words and it is what I do but then I hear of someone dying and there it is in my mind again - oh my god, I am going to die and I can not change that. It's inevitable. And if I am not careful, those thoughts will lead me to have a panic attack.

And then there is the thought that there will be nothing left of me once I am gone. As my husband and a couple of friends that I have are the closest people to me, there will be no legacy to leave with anyone. I never had children.

Will my art become part of MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre or Musee D'Orsay? Doubtful so what will there be? Will there be a history of me? Does it matter?

“Like a wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we were, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.”- Harlan Ellison