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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Want to keep it short this morning as I want to get right to work on a piece that is on the easel. And that desire to go right to the brushes is a good thing, an indicator that a groove is coming.

So, for this Sunday morning here are a couple of noir-ish photos to accompany one of  my favorite songs, Stolen Car, from the 1980 album ,The River, from Bruce Springsteen. The mood of this song, especially within its organ and piano lines, always moves me.

Good painting music.

Have a good Sunday…

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Just a bit chilly this morning. Another -9 or -10° beginning to the day. The only consolation comes in knowing that it could be worse, like it is for some folks out in the Midwest. Everything seems to take longer in the cold so it has me running a little late. Thought it might be a good morning to run a post from a few years  back concerning the photography(painting?) of Teun Hocks. Take a look and if you’re in the colder regions, stay warm

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I came across these photos by Dutch artist Teun Hocks  (b. 1947) which reminded me very much of the work of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, which I have featured here twice before.  Actually, it was on this same day last year that I last featured them– perhaps I am looking for an alternate reality on this date as opposed to trying to relive in some way that morning twelve years ago [this post originally ran on September 11, 2013].  The ParkeHarrisons create elaborate but real backdrops against which they photograph their Everyman in allegorical scenes– there is no digital manipulation.  It is more like the worlds created in the earliest days of cinema when what was seen had to made real in some way, even the most fantastic scenes.

Teun Hooks Untitled- Man on IceTeun Hocks works in very much the same vein except that he creates a painted backdrop against which he photographs himself as the sometimes comical but deadpan Everyman.   Think Buster Keaton here.  He then creates oversize  gelatin silver prints on which he paints in oils, treating his original photo as an underpainting.  The result is a beautiful image with a painterly feel that is  imbued with both humor and pathos.  You can’t but help feel some sort of connection with Hooks’ character as he faces a sometimes puzzling reality.  Don’t we all?

I’m showing just a handful of the work of this prolific artist here as well as a YouTube video showing a larger group.  Hope you’ll enjoy this on this day.

Teun Hocks

Teun Hocks Baggage

Teun Hocks Untitled-Man Sleeping with Weight

Teun Hocks CrossroadsTeun Hocks Prairie

Teun Hocks Music

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We are into the month of October and it’s very dark and gray here this morning which has me thinking of Halloween. I thought that since I was in that mood I would run a post from back in 2010 about some macabre images from France in the 1860’s. Guitarist Brian May of the band Queen spent decades researching and assembling the most complete collection of these stereoscopic plates, which he published in a book a few years back. I’ve added a few images and a video featuring some of the plates as well.

I came across these photographic oddities and thought they would be fitting in this week that ends with Halloween.  The stereoscope was invented in Paris in 1850 and became a worldwide sensation over the next decade.  In 1861, a series of 72 of these stereoscopic photos were printed anonymously in Paris that consisted of macabre scenes of Satan and various aspects of Hell.  Called Les Diableries, these plates were a drastic turn away from the often mundane photos seen in early stereoscopes and were quite the sensation in 1860’s Paris.

The photos remained anonymous in that time because they were viewed as politically satiric of the French government of the time, the Second Empire under Napoleon III.  To openly chide the Emperor at that time could bring dire consequences but the images circulated freely, nonetheless.  I think they are a remarkable set of images from that time and I can imagine how they must have resonated in the minds of people who weren’t exposed to the mind-boggling array of imagery that we often experience in a single day in our time.

 

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The British photographer Alfred G. Buckham (1879-1956) was one of the pioneers of aerial photography. Already a photographer, his career as an aerial photographer began with the outbreak of WW I.

He became the first head of aerial reconnaissance for the Royal Navy and later translated that to a private career of daring and wondrous shots taken from small planes, often with him standing perilously on the plane with one leg tethered to it. He was involved in 9 plane crashes and it was only in the ninth that he was seriously injured, having afterward to breathe for the rest of his life through a tube in his throat after a tracheotomy.

This shot at the top of the page taken by Buckham from above Edinburgh, Scotland around 1920 is one of my favorite photos. I urge you to check out the website devoted to the career and work of Alfred Buckham. Interesting stuff.

I thought I’d accompany this photo with a track from the album Skala from musician Mathias Eick that is titled, of course, Edinburgh. Another track, Oslo, was featured here several weeks ago. Not all the tracks are titled after European cities, in case you were wondering.

I think this composition fits the photo very well, with a gliding beat that I can imagine aligns itself well with swooping over the Scottish landscape in a small plane in 1920. Give a closer look and a listen and have a good Sunday.

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“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”

― Werner HeisenbergAcross the Frontiers

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I stumbled across this photo the other day and I have come back several times to look at it. It’s the image of a mosquito’s foot at 800x magnification and there’s a strange organic beauty and weird delicacy to it that draws me in.

The complexity of the individual elements in its design is fascinating. The reddish grabby claws have a certain elegance but I can only think that if a mosquito were the size of a housecat they could latch on to you with those claws and you would never be able to merely swat them off.

Thankfully, I have yet to come across such a mosquito.

I can only think that if something so common as a mosquito can seem so alien, even if beautiful, imagine how strange the truly alien might be. As the physicist Heisenberg points out, are we even capable of imagining such strangeness?

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I am replaying a post today that I ran for Memorial Day back in 2010 that featured the living photographs of Arthur Mole. I have added a few more images to the original post. Enjoy and have a good Memorial Day.

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Arthur Mole Photo- Marine Corps Insignia

On this Memorial Day, I thought I would show some patriotic images photographed in the first part of the 20th century by Arthur Mole. Mole made a name for himself at the time by assembling large groups of people in formations and photographing them from a specially constructed 80-foot tower. He started at church conventions and later did the same for a number of universities but was probably best known for his symbols of the US and its military.

Needing large groups for his intricate compositions, military bases seemed like the perfect place to find massed groups of people to use as the paints on his palette. For instance, the Marine Corps insignia shown here was shot at Paris Island and took 100 officers and 5000 troops in order to fill out all the details in the composition.

Athur Mole Photo- Shield of the United States

It took quite a few more people to fill out the upper details in his compositions in order to maintain perspective from the perch where he shot as these areas were considerably larger in size than the than those nearer the camera. Take this US Shield shot in Battle Creek, Michigan as an example. It took 30,000 troops to complete this but the bulk of these troops were used in the area above the first row of stars.

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The varying shades were achieved by having the troops wear different clothes, obviously. For the light areas, they simply wore t-shirts and for the dark areas they wore their uniforms. In the shield photo, those in the dark areas also wore their hats to make the tone more uniform on film. No shining faces breaking up the dark shades.

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Arthur Mole Living Photograph- Liberty Bell

These are pretty amazing photos when you consider that they were taken in world long before Photoshop or any type of computer generation. It must have taken a tremendous amount of planning and effort to pull off these shoots, from the building of the tower to the precise placement of each soldier. For that alone they deserve a tip of the hat.

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And on this Memorial Day, the sight of troops who sacrificed in some way for our country standing side-by-side to create the symbols that embody our nation is a  fine way to remember them outside of the battles they fought and the great sacrifices they made.

Arthur Mole Living Photograph – Star Detail

Arthur Mole Living Photograph American Flag

Arthur Mole Living Photograph- Statue of Liberty

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“We are animals, born from the land with the other species. Since we’ve been living in cities, we’ve become more and more stupid, not smarter. What made us survive all these hundreds of thousands of years is our spirituality; the link to our land.”

Sebastiao Salgado

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I featured the photos of the Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado here several years back. Originally an economist, Salgado took up photography in his thirties and embarked on an epic journey to document the great beauty and darkness the of this world, photographing grand vistas and wildlife along with refugees fleeing genocide and workers in the grimmest of conditions. He does so in a wondrous fashion that has a way of connecting us in the present day to all the ages that came before.

This feeling of connection definitely hits me every time I come across his photos of the gold miners in Brazil, taken in 1986 and included in his 2005 book, Workers: An Archaeology of the Industrial Age. I love this title. The work has that archaeological feel, like artifacts that will stand as lasting images of our time here on Earth.

These images feel absolutely biblical to me. It takes away any doubt I may have previously held about how man created the ancient wonders that still stand today. The workers shown may be contemporary miners but they could just as easily be slaves in the age of the Egyptian pharaohs. Or lost souls trapped in one of the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

If you get a chance please take a look at some of Salgado’s work. It is amazing imagery and truly human in every sense of the word.

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