three trees to the west

How about a break from the saffron experiments with doll clothes?

Below are three of the pecan tree pinholes photographed in New Mexico just after Christmas. I hope to create large scale, single color gums of these and have then ready for the Naturalists exhibit here in Dayton next September. BTW, the Naturalists has a new working title of In Vivo.

From left to right, pecan tree #8, #6, and #4.


Pecans and Pinholes

This morning I got out on a walk to the row of pecan trees I have been photographing for the past three winters. Not exactly a morning constitutional, yet. It’s about a mile and a half from the bunk house to this stretch of pecans.

I was passed by about four vehicles on the way to the trees; these were tractors, semi-tractor trailers, and maybe a passenger car. The first pickup truck to stop to check on me was driven by my father and law who asked if I wanted a ride. I got a sense that no one walks in Dexter, NM.

I photographed all fifteen of the original pecans. There are several rows of younger trees. I am interested in the original row because these were older trees that were pruned back and moved from another location. They are strange looking, almost Seussian in appearance and the first thing I truly recognize when Bridgette and I pull into her home town.

The photograph below shows the Holga 120WPC photographing the third pecan tree to the south. I’ll be back out there with more film on Saturday and Sunday to photograph the rest in pinhole fashion.


substitute distillation for abstraction

The glow of summer is in the rear view mirror and it’s finally cooling down here in southwestern Ohio. The Miami valley is probably about three weeks away from the trees of winter which means I don’t have time to re-do the film developing mini disaster from nine days ago. The pinhole chapter of Forces of Nature has been pushed back slightly due to a rust in the water supply problem which struck the photography lab. I’ve been developing film on the occasional Saturday and decided to expose and develop four rolls of film on the same day. The same day the rust decided to show up.

To get to the point, the wash water for the film was full of rust which stuck to the emulsion. Too much to try and spot out in Photoshop. The film will have to be re-shot on the appropriate day that has directional, late afternoon sunlight. Bark, sunlight, and leaf shadows will make an occasional appearance in these images. I just need to figure out the optimum camera subject distance when photographing with the Holga 120WPC.

some secret notes to myself from last nights Lightbourne lecture at the Cincinnati Museum of Art:

Leo Rubinfien, Arbus, Sander, Sontag, photographs saying nothing and showing too much. People looking into the camera and away from the camera, color photographs influencing black and white. Most importantly, substitute “distillation” for “abstraction” when discussing camera based images. Writers of prose speak better about their photographs then photographers who leave the writing to the wordsmiths. At least from a sampling of one speaker.

color blind and home is where the studio is

Last night I was able to re-photograph the red rose petal anthotype of Somnambulist #6 which is the only one I did on the back of Kozo Unryu paper. This one will also have the title of Blue Blouse although it is not blue in the anthotype and it isn’t really rose petal red once it interacts with the paper.

Lot’s going on in the home is where the studio is. I modified the Holga 120WPC which hopefully will eliminate the vignetting which was randomly cropping up. In the Woodland Cemetery I spotted some amazing tree fungi which will make it’s way into the tree bark pinholes. I learned how to identify a new tree (for me), the sassafras, which is one of the first trees to change color in the cemetery. I  may have also settled on a method / process to print these images. More on that later.



September Song

Suzanne Silver's Soap House

Two days left of this month and, because it is my little obsession, hours to vote in the first round of ArtPrize. It’s been a busy week which is my way of saying that I’m at a loss for time in the studio. Bridgette and I went to the Wexner Center for the Arts last Friday to see Guy Maddin’s new movie Keyhole and the next day I had to photograph installation work by Suzanne Silver. Now the funny thing is that usually there aren’t any happy coincidences but the Guy Maddin movie turned out to be the autobiography of a house and an installation Suzanne was working on in the Franklinton neighborhood near Columbus was in an old bare bones, abandoned house.

Things I’m am working on that need to get to the printed image stage …the pinhole images of tree trunks to go along with the vandyke brown prints which make up the Forces of Nature and from walking projects. Additionally I  have been picking pokeberries and getting some of them into emulsion form. More on that this weekend but let me say that Everclear is making a welcome appearance in the emulsion recipe. Thank you Nate Smyth for the grocery bag full of berries from your dad’s backyard. It must be the mother lode of pokeweed.

This is only a test


From last Wednesday afternoon while the alternative photo class at the University of Dayton was working with pinhole cameras I decided to try out a new one.

Pinhole will make an appearance in next fall’s “Naturalists” exhibition at Dayton Visual Arts Center. Here is the starting point, a test roll with a Holga 120 WPC. I may play around with the shutter, the shape of which I believe is causing the semicircular vignette at the bottom of the frame.