Monday, December 31, 2007

As Balzac said, "There goes another novel."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blade Runner the final cut. As a late Christmas gift to myself I bought the 4 DVD set of the final cut and 25 year commemoration of the original release of the film. The 4 DVD set includes of course the 'Final Cut' of the film by Ridley Scott and an additional DVD with the 3 other theatrical releases of the film; the original U.S. version, the European version, and the directors cut released in 1992. The original U.S. version released in 1982 was not a big success. My biggest dissapointment when first seeing the film was that it bore absolutely no resemblance to the Dick novel. As beautiful as the film looked it was little more then a chase movie with a surreal happy ending tacked on at the end. To see the original U.S. theatrical release juxtaposed against the Directors Cut is to watch two totally different films. One is a 1940's B movie detective thriller set in the future for no particular reason where as the film as Ridley Scott conceived it is a classic film noir with a science fiction treatment. It contains all the themes of classic noir; a nihilistic world view, a detached anti hero, and a "case" that will be his last. It is not really the story Philip K. Dick told in 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' but it is a good film. As the first adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story (at least one he got credit for) done by a major director and a big studio it didn't hurt his reputation. He died before it's release and his family had to watch the film fail initially. Philip K. Dick liked the way the movie looked but felt that Ridley Scott totally missed the point of his novel. On the second DVD is a really good documentary on the production of the film. The original script called 'Dangerous Days' was written by Hampton Fancher who was later replaced by David Peoples. Fancher was not a big fan of the book but managed a screen treatment that did get the project started. He also seemed dedicated to adapting Philip K. Dicks book to film which I don't believe ever was an issue with Ridley Scott. Ironically one of the orginal financiers was a Philip K. Dick fan who wanted to see a film treatment of one of his books . Ridley Scott was not interested in the script, couldn't finish the book and may have only worked on the film as a project to keep him busy during a troubled time in his personal life. By the time the script was ready for production an actors strike was called and the film was delayed for a year. This gave the art design team a lot of time to work on every little detail of set design and props which gave the film a look like no other film ever made and probably saved the flawed film from obscurity. As bad as the original release was it looked amazing and all of it done at a time way before computer generated special effects existed. Upon viewing the finished product Ridley Scott felt he had made a really good looking film but had no idea what it all meant and the producers had a big expensive film that made no sense to them and they needed to recover some of their money. In post production Ridley Scott lost control of his film and it became the property of the financial backers who wanted it to be released so they could recoup their losses so it was rushed in to release without further imput from Scott. This is probably why the film tanked on release because it was finished by men who were incapable of appreciating what the film was and only saw what it cost. The flawed film survived and eventually was released as Ridley Scott envisioned it and gave the film a story that matched it's elegant look. Though it is not an accurate adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel it shares many of the same qualities of the source work; enigmatic, ahead of its time, visionary and totally original. I'm glad that I bought the set. It was not expensive considering all that was included and the special features are really interesting. Roger Ebert gave the original film a thumbs down but I give the Final Cut DVD set an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I went to the Museum today on my lunch hour. I was disappointed that the photograph collection still contained about 95% of the same photographs that were on display in September. Since my membership began in August I have seen them change the pictures on display just once. The collection contains 5000 prints and each year more are added. The new Gilkey center devoted to the graphic arts has a space devoted to displaying the collection. So one would expect someone to get off their lazy ass once a month and perhaps rotate the images. I spent about 10 minutes looking for anything I hadn't seen before and then went to check out the Museums newest acquisition this work by Van Gogh, The Ox-Cart, 1884. It's a small miracle to get close enough to such a piece and see the way the paint is laid out on the canvas.

I decided not to submit any work to the Newspace show for "The Altered Landscape". Today was the deadline. It really is true that your creations become like children to you and the way others embrace or reject them will be taken very personally. This personal connection to your works can be a liability but I don't think I would want it any other way. Art should be highly personal and connected to the person who creates it as if it was made up of their spiritual or aesthetic DNA. Being a parent of flesh and blood children has shown me how ones children become extensions of your own awareness. Their pain is literally your pain. You are committed to their protection. I feel I have to create a larger brood that can defend itself. The few hundred pictures I have made over the last 3 1/2 years are still young and not ready to venture out on their own. I intend to keep them close by under wing so to speak until they have grown teeth and claws.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A White Christmas in Portland. True it was only a couple of hours of wet snow fall with trace accumulations but it did fall on Christmas Day which for Portland is a very, very rare event. The last time there was snow on the ground on Christmas Day was in 1990. I remember that event because it was a cold spell that hit Portland about a week before Christmas with temperatures below freezing and quite a bit of snow and a silver thaw and temperatures close to freezing that allowed the snow to remain on the ground through Christmas Day. I can also remember two times one in 1983 and another in 1992 where snow fell on Christmas Eve during a pre-Christmas cold spell but then melted in the warm wet weather that followed so that no trace remained on Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Hearth.
The Amaretto cookie paper trick. I swear this works but when I tried to illustrate how it is done it didn't work for me and I only had two wrappers that have been sitting around for awhile so you'll just have to try it out yourself. I learned this trick over 30 years ago from a friend one Christmas. It was at a party and a housemate of mine was always sent a big tin of these from his mother each year. The cookies come in groups of two wrapped in this paper. The cookies are so sweet they hurt your teeth so I'm not a big fan of them but the wrappers can be used for a fun little trick.

The Amaretto Cookie Trick step by step instructions. 1. Flatten out the paper.2. Roll it fairly tight in to a roll that will be about the size of a toilet paper tube. 3. Set it in an ash tray on a low table and not anywhere near anything that is highly flammable. 4. Light the top in more then one place so it will burn down evenly. 5. Make sure you hold very still while it is burning so no wind currents will knock it over before it has burned down. If you did it right just as the tube is burned down to the last little bit at the bottom the last little ring of paper while still on fire will rise straight up 6 ft in to the air depending on how still the air is around it. The ash will very slowly float down and if no one moves or breaths it may land back in to the ash tray by itself. Since I learned this trick I've never met anyone else who had seen it before but in the film 'Big Night' near the end of the big meal everyone sitting down at the table does it.

Crechians. I am not a religious or even spiritual person but in a box of old Christmas ornaments that had been in my wife's home when she was growing up there was this charming little set of figures that I like and put up on our mantel this time of year even if by definition I am probably what you might call a secular atheist. I was listening to a story on NPR this morning about a group of atheists who were trying to create an alternative set of symbols for a non-christian Christmas for their atheist ministry (these people really needed a good swift kick in the ass). If you consider that the symbols of Christmas and Christian religion are an amalgam of several religious traditions predating Christianity I see no problem with adopting Christian symbolism as my way of celebrating the holiday which for me is more of an aesthetic rather then spiritual experience.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Card Hall of Fame. I like to keep my best Christmas cards. Here are three of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Christmas Tree Trilogy. Circle of Life.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Favorite Photographs taken in 2007. My black and white work that I produced in my darkroom. I like at the end of the year to review what I've done and put it together in one post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My favorite books. If I was stranded on an island and could only take one book with me I'd cheat a little and ask for Joyce Carys 1st trilogy made up of three short novels; Herself Surprised, To be a Pilgrim, and The Horses Mouth. It would be a tougher choice if I had to select only one of the three because each is a masterpiece. To read them all is like a wonderful meal at Genoa except instead of five courses it's three and dessert is served first. Each book is about a life told in the 1st person. It's all there in three volumes; life lived to the fullest and life squandered, the world of men and women, art, politics, youth, age, birth, death,love, God, poetry, philosophy, history. Everything, really, I mean it. I believe that anyone who reads them can count themselves better educated. Over a period of thirty years I've read them all many times and each time I draw something new from them. I have the complete trilogy in one volume, and with the help of Powells and E-bay I managed to find all three in separate volumes of the 1st American Printing with the covers designed by Alan Haemer. The trilogy doesn't have to be read in sequence and most people have only read the last and most popular and easiest to find third volume, The Horses Mouth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"It's coming on Christmas,
They're cutting down trees,
They're putting up reindeer,
And singing songs of joy & Peace..." joni mitchell

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yesterday I experimented with darkening the area above the wall by extra exposure to see how it impacted the image.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dodged or undodged. This is one of the images I'm thinking about submitting (while still thinking about submitting anything at all) to the Newspace show on the "Altered Landscape". The wall behind the tree reflected much more light then the trees behind it so the apeture was adjusted leaving the upper third of the image underexposed by a stop. I can compensate for this by dodging the upper third of the image by about 50% and I get a little more definition to the trees behind the "Bone-sigh". Yesterday while making some test strips I was liking the background darker with just the barest outlines of the leaves so I thought of printing without any dodging at all. Now I'm thinking perhaps of burning in the upper third to get a dark black rectangle with just a few lighter areas and see what that looks like. For most of these pictures I tried to keep the compositions simple by just focusing on the bonsai against the neutral background leaving out the park that contained the bonsai garden outside of the composition. For this picture I must have decided to include the forest as well as the tree perhaps to try and say something about the world within the world or whatever. I didn't like the image and the only reason I'd consider it now is that someone I really respect likes it and it kinda sorta fits in to the theme of this show or at least my take on what the theme of the show is.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More scanned prints from the 1980's; a winters day in the japanese gardens, the veiw out my front door on a summer day in 1982 of my amc pacer, and another windowsill picture.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Gallery Opening

I got an e-mail from one of the photographers I met in Cheri Hisers workshop that he had a photograph in a juried show on Night Photography at the 23 Sandy Gallery. This is a very nice little space and the show was an impressive collection of many different styles of work taken at night by some very competent photographers so Jon had much to be proud about being included. Jons piece can be seen here There was also a work by Laura Valenti who taught the Darkroom 2 class at Newspace that I was enrolled in last Summer. I think it it's a very big deal to get the opportunity to show. A photograph not in public view is like the tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it.

Hercule. In 1978 soon after moving in to S.E. Portland I bought a 3 speed Hercules bicycle that I rode around town on for years before I finally sold it to a college student about 10 years ago at one of our garage sales. I regret now getting rid of it because it was a really great bike and was one of the last shreds of my monastic single life. I wish now I had taken more pictures of it. This is one of my favorites though taken at the top of Mt. Tabor during the very bad snow/ice storm we had in the Winter of 1978/79. I need to post more of my photographs taken on my biking adventures.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Nash Ambassador. Here is a photo of one of my favorite cars a Nash Ambassador, two tone in sky blue and navy. I believe the front bench seat folded forward and the car came with a thin portable mattress and mosquito netting that would snap in place around the windows so you could sleep in comfort inside your car. If I had one of these I'd want to live in it. This picture was taken in southeast Portland probably in the early 80's.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Another one of my weird still lifes taken probably in 1980.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Call for entries from Newspace has got me thinking about submitting some pictures. The theme of the special show to be in February will be 'The Altered Landscape'. There is no condition on how old a photograph is for it to be eligible for submission (past shows required the photograph to be no more then 2 years old) which would give me a chance to submit some older work like my Kamm House ruins photographs that I took over 30 years ago. These three pictures contain an element of duality, the unatural in opposition to the natural. The Bonsai tree juxtaposed against the uncultured trees behind it seperated by a wall, the two lawns side by side one well manicured the other overgrown, and the decaying pillar with it's leaf design returning to nature along with decaying real leaves. I have trouble thinking in terms of themes, or series when taking pictures. I tend to take pictures one at a time and always think of them as solitary rather then part of a group.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rex Putnam High School production of Hello Dolly Fall 1970. I took these pictures as part of a photo essay on the production of a play. I focused on the behind the scenes images of set preparation, costume design, and rehersals. The theatre was a great subject and the lighting was ideal for available light.
Web Statistics