Photography and art making as play.

Tag: art

Sunday, May 14, 2023

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A man with a taste for fine art,

Said he needed to do his part.

He jumped into a frame,

Quite a piece it became,

A fabulous steal at Walmart.



Monday, March 6, 2023: Joseph Stella Exhibition at High Museum of Art

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When I first started this blog in 2012, I ended my “About” introduction by saying: “In the meantime, I think I’m a painter at heart.”

If any more proof of that was needed, 2022 provided it in spades. I had reached a point by the end of the previous year where I felt uninspired and stuck. Composite photography I had long enjoyed doing, now left me cold. Photos I would have happily posted years ago elicited yawns of “been there, done that.” I honestly wondered if my photographic career of 50+ years was now on life support.

In February, I began playing around with a more “painterly” expressive approach that dispensed with photographic detail and realistic colors in favor of bold hues, softer lines and shapes, and more fluid distortions. Whether it was a response to dark times caused by Covid, the war in Ukraine, domestic upheaval in the U.S., the muted grays of a New England winter, or my own creative block, I don’t know. Not being an art historian I also can’t tell if associating my imagery with the Fauvist movement is an insult to its founding painters or a homage. Nevertheless, I consider them my collective muse.

Most photographs I’m taking these days become the raw material for another kind of image that more often than not bears little resemblance to the original. Although a particular subject can excite me, I know that clicking the shutter is just the beginning. At that moment, I have no idea what the end game will look like because the few tools that I use in my Photoshop toolbox drive the process. In severing the bond to reality, I enter my own previously unimagined world. The final photo might appear as an indecipherable mishmash at first glance but that’s a plus for me as long as its subject is revealed with a closer look, or it holds together as an abstract composition. The most successful images, I’d like to believe, speak to an underlying truth or essence, or evoke the “aha” response in viewers.

Now if only I could paint, I’d probably go back to using a phone strictly for talk :)

Pairs of “before” and “after” images from recent posts follow. (Click on images to enlarge.)

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January 1 marked the 10th anniversary of Pixetera, which began in 2012 as a photo/day project and continues to this day, albeit with less frequent posting. In my last update, I referred to 2020 as an awful year; unfortunately, 2021 was every bit as bad on a global scale, if not worse.

(Click on images to enlarge.)


From a creative standpoint, it’s been an eventful 12 months. I self-published my book of mashups, Compositopolis Journey, to mixed reviews—from me! Its general format consists of double page spreads that feature a pair of photographs: on the left, one of several original camera images that led, on the right, to the final composite. While pleased with the reproduction, my printer (a local company that does work for Blurb but charges its own customers half of Blurb’s prices) struggled with getting the trim right: in one proof, too much was cut off the top; in another, an equal amount was sliced off the bottom; in nearly every one, the title on the spine was off-center and/or slanted. The cover photo and text on the last—and final copy—was also misaligned. As a result, I’ve chosen not to make any copies available for sale, nor do another book. The whole experience in fact, including several work-arounds to make up for the printer’s failings, has destroyed any excitement I once had about self-publishing.



Another major project was an exhibit called “Springfield Then and Now” (STaN) that I conceived as a celebration of both Springfield’s illustrious past and present promise. The original idea was to pair large-scale photos of noteworthy historical figures with current residents who were following in their footsteps, in vacant storefront windows throughout the city. Having parted with my professional equipment ages ago, I invited a photographer friend, whom I thought was a good match for the job, to join me in the project. She in turn connected me with someone who had access to funding. STaN took about six months from start to finish and involved a ton more work than any of us anticipated but on balance I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

On the minus side, I would have preferred that we had a wider demographic mix of contemporary subjects, and multiple locations rather than a single downtown one with almost zero foot traffic. That’s where the money was though. Absent my original collaborators (I’ll spare you the unhappy details), I’m hoping to fix that in 2022 but it’s been a hard slog so far.

At the beginning of 2022, I find myself in a place that I’ve never been photographically. It comes after 40+ years doing commercial work, and a decade of serious personal expression: although I still enjoy taking pictures, I’ve become somewhat bored with the camera output, and pushed to “wring” more out of each image. That’s one reason I’ve gone down the composite path into abstraction. But even that seems to be running its course. I need to find either a wholly new approach to my photography—which may involve finally getting a real camera again to replace my iPhone—or doing something else entirely.

What would it be like to ditch my identity as an artist? Who would I be and what would I do in the new space that opens up afterwards? Intriguing questions to start the year!

Monday, August 23, 2021: Acquilted

A visit to the home and studio of master quilter Ann Feitelson was like being let loose in a photographic candy store.

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Sunday, July 11, 2021: Peacemobiles

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Monday, March 29, 2021

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Sunday, October 11, 2020: BLM

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

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Robert Markey, mosaic artist

The bright colors in this mosaic are reflections of a nearby wall mural. The artwork itself consists of mirrored pieces of glass: Thus, its appearance will vary throughout the day, depending as well on the angle from which it is viewed.