At the moment, I feel that I am getting back into the flow of my series after a month away, but I do not feel that I have my rhythm back yet.
November 30, 2007
November 28, 2007
I think I am now past the Germany/China trip jet lag and getting back to my local artistic flow; but some changes have since occured. Just before I left for Euorpe and Asia, we had the local wild fires for a week here in Southern California, then gone for three weeks, then the Thanksgiving holiday coupled with the jet lag. Meanwhile the season has changed, we have the time change with Daylight savings time (morning light and very little late afternoon light) and my own time away.
So when I started to drive out to the Inland Empire again, it was sans camera. I just had to experience it again with only my eyes, head and heart and without a glass lens between me and my experiences. So after 5 weeks, did I feel the same about the series that I was so excited about before the fires?
There are some subtle differences and changes, but I find that there the few changes (both within me and the landscape) and that I again see the similar things that I saw before and the same feelings are being rekindled. So this morning was a photo morning, stopping at a location that I had found during the week of the fires. As mentioned above, the light is different, not bad or fabuous, but different. I think that I am getting engaged again in my latest series, Transitional Seam;- )
I will need to rethink my photographing strategy, and of course the morning light is quickly on the wane as is the late afternoon light.
Best regards, Doug
November 26, 2007
Last week after my return from China, I had my interview with Brooks Jensen, the Co-Editor of LensWork magazine in preparation for the LensWork Extended DVD and print editions.
I am always fastinated with the reactions that I receive from my images, and this conversation was no exception. I knew that Brooks would want to talk about my artistic development and the Bad Trip – Sad Trip series. Not being familiar with the LensWork Extended format, I did not know where this part of the discussion would go.
After discussing my background development and the series itself, we started discussing individual images, including this one, Heart Broken Fence. What was interesting to me are the images that he chose to discuss and some of the comments and thoughts that he had about them. One image from the series, Winter Field, Indiana, he identifed as wanting to spend more time discussing in one of his podcasts, which he thought would be in December, before the issue 74 was on the newsstands. I will post that information when it becomes available.
We did talk briefly about his image selection process for the magazine (all of the images will be on the DVD) and again, I will be extremely interested to see which images are in the print edition and especially the pairing of the images. As I am working on my privately published book and recently did my image pairing from this series, I want to find out if some of those same image pairs are in LensWork, or what image pairs are created in LensWork.
All in all, an intersting experience and I guess that well after the fact, I wish that I could have mentioned some other stuff, but that is for another time, or perhaps right here later after edition 74 is published;- )
Oh yeah, I was dying to ask if one of my images had either the front or back cover, preferring the front cover of course. But that will be one more surprise when I finally see the printed magazine!
Best regards, Doug
Clarification: the interview will be only on the DVD Extended LensWork and not in the print edition.
November 25, 2007
For me, this is a classic image that summerizes my impression of the JiaXing landscape; massive transition in the midst of very old tradition.
Massive transistion in that eveywhere there is change occuring and it is happening very rapidly. The huge amount of construction cranes are not restricted to Shanghai, but to almost all cities of any size. Understand that JiaXing is larger in population than Atlanta, Georgia and most Americans know of Atlanta, how many can say that they have even heard of JiaXing? Not me until I went there.
The old pagoda (on the grounds of the 1921 Club) is dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, those built and those being built, with the cranes and construction in the haze, looming in the distance. And of course the usual omipresent haze. And the airconditioning units on the wall and the heating units on the roofs. When you buy an apartment in China, you get the bare walls. That’s it. No utilities or fixtures. And it is not uncommon to see the laundry hanging out the window to dry. A combination washer-dryer is a big luxury item. Available at WalMart of course. Yep, they have a WalMart, almost like home, situated next to McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut. (and yes, I did make one trip to McDonalds, and again, just like home, yummmmy).
FYI, this image was taken out my window the first morning of my stay in downtown JiaXing. We stayed here only two nights before moving to the 1921 Club near that pagoda. Even a five lane bowling alley on the fourth floor of this hotel. Nope, no bowling during this stay, but their adjacent Tea Room had some nice Jack Daniel’s to savor;- )
Best regards, Doug
On my return trip from Shanghai to Los Angeles and home, I did a four hour layover in the Tokyo airport (and I do recommend Japan Airlines). And is my habit, I had a forward window seat for the leg into Tokyo and we had this wonderful landscape, with the clouds and the sun rays shining through. It was a nice greeting.
My issue at the Tokyo airport was more of my own, as I also use my cell phone to keep track of the local time. And I thought that I had it on automatic update, but I did not. Thus the one hour time change in Japan almost had me miss my connection to Los Angeles. It did not help that there was a gate change since I landed and I was sitting at the wrong gate. But when I looked up at a clock and saw the local time, I realized that I should have been boarding and there was no plane. Strange. Then a quick, “I’d better check”, then find that there was a new gate for the flight and I was then doing my own ‘flying’ through the airport. Lucky that this airport is not so huge and that I was in the right terminal. But all is well that ends well and I made the flight in time.
Note: my first impression of this image is to include it with my series Ethereal Images. And I may be working my mojo on it a little more as well, but time will tell. Now just to let it sit and allow me to reflect on it for a while. The airplane window that I photographed with was a little dirity on the outside, thus not much I could do be try to choose a clean area to photograph throuh, I think that this image is realitivly ‘clean’.
Best regards, Doug
November 24, 2007
In retrospect after the earlier color ‘people image’ that I posted of the wedding couples in the Shanghai park, I realized that this image has a more Jeff Wall look to it. Again, not that this is what I was trying to do. And this was taken with one exposure at a decent shutter speed. For those not familiar with Wall’s work, his images are tightly composed, edited and constructed over a lengthy period of time.
But of the three images I made of this scene, the last image caught the groom who had been using a book to shade himself while his wife was being photographed, to then look at the ‘book’. The ‘book’ was in fact a pictorial of all of the potential photographs that the photographer could take of the couple while they were at this park, and it was for selecting their poses. How funny, but not unlike wedding photography here in the USA.
So here is the wedding party, the smiling and posing bride, the photographer and his assistants, all working very hard to make the lasting memories of this happy occasion. Very nice.
Now to work my black and white mojo on this image……
Best regards, Doug
Update: I am having a little trouble with this blog management, as I had uploade both the black and white as well as color image. Some computers have the color image, some black and white. I will try again tonight to have the color image displayed.
After posting this image yesterday after using my Black and White mojo, I found myself thinking about how this would look if I stayed with a color image. Interesting image, no?
I also found myself thinking about the Contemporary Chinese Photography that seems to be popular at the moment, but this is after the fact, not while I was making the photographs. For this and the other similar images I made, I was very interested in how the bride and groom were dressed very ‘Western’, the trailing wedding party, the photographic teams, and the posing of the bride and groom in the context of this park. The couple’s photographer is probably going to great lengths to eliminate the background ‘clutter’ of the buildings and the fisherman along the lake.
Also thinking that I usually do not photograph people, that the human element is frequently missing, implied, but missing from my images. The reason, I do not feel comfortable in taking ‘snapshots’ of people, although I find images of people to be interesting. But in this case, these were people who were already getting their pictures taken, so it is not like they did not want their picture taken, eh? So as I was taking this and other photographs, I kept getting eye contact with the bride and groom, who both began smiling, perhaps that I was take their photograph also. I could only follow up with a nice ‘XeiXei’ (Thank you) and smile. My follow on words of ‘Congraduations’ was sometimes replied with a very warm English ‘Thank you’ in reply. Nice.
Maybe I broke through my people picture taking barrier. Now I just have to find a lot of wedding parties where I can photograph the bride and groom being photographed. For some reason, I think this is going to be a narrow field of fine art photography;- )
Best regards, Doug
I did not have the ability to leave travel log comments on my blog after arriving in China, thus there is a two week gap in my writings. The trip into Shanghai from Hong Kong did not start on the right foot.
One of my goals during this three trip, was to spend some time writing about my artistic statements for the various series that I have in progress. So during the 12 hours to Frankfurt and during my stay in Marburg, Germany, I did take the opportunity to get my raw thoughts about each series down on paper. On the 6 hour flight from Frankfurt to Hong Kong, I wrote a little more. Then in Hong Kong, I found the recently copy of Focus magazine (almost 20 bucks) and added that to my travel readings. So far so good and perhaps you already see where this is heading. So a two hour layover in Hong Kong and then the three and half hour flight to Shanghai. I did take out my notes for more thinking and writing, but feel asleep instead. So when the flight landed in Shanghai, I awoke and stumbled out of the plane, 12 hours flying and 6 time zone changes. Yep, I left all of my notes that I had collected as well as the Focus magazine in the seat back of the plane. I did not realize it until I stated to unpack at the Marriott Yangtze in Shanghai, but TOO late. Grrrrr.
So, I stated off my China trip in Shanghai trying to write down and remember all those wonderful things that I had written. Or at least I am pretty sure that it was insightful and wonderful. Oh, well.
Across the street from the hotel I was staying is a nice little park and on Sundays, it is absolutely filled with couples, kids, families and many newlyweds getting their photo pictures taken. At one time, there must have been about 12 couples, trying to get their individual photos taken while not getting the other wedding parties included in the photographs. It was very amusing to watch, especially what they thought were the correct posses to take. And lots of digital and video cameras. It made for a nice Sunday afternoon.
Best regards, Doug
November 19, 2007
Okay, I am now back from my three trip and I am ready to start working on my privately published folio on the Bad Trip – Sad Trip series, which I guess you could also call a Monograph. I have also initiated a new catagory bucket (Books) on the side bar to help consolidate all of these posts for those who are interested in the condensed version of this book publishing project.
To recap, I have selected the images from the series for the book, completed the image pairing with images on each page and a single image facing each other, the initial sequencing of the images through the book and started printing the first dummy, with ten pages completed. I also have the 100% rag medium selected for the pages; Moab Entrada Natural, 190 gm.
My current short term goal is to have the dummy completed in time for Photo LA, which is in mid-January. My concern is that I may have to be back in China for a client project that week. Which has me thinking, as I was going to use Japanese silk for the book and clamshell cover, since I will be in China again, why not buy a bolt of Chineese silk instead? But I need to figure out how much material that I need, what size and orientation and what are the pros and cons of buying this material in China. Costs will be less, that’s for sure. hmmm.
I now need to better define my book publishing costs and how I am going to finance this. With the hand binding and custom clam shell box, this is going to be an expensive book to produce.
Well, back to printingthe dummuy some more, so I probably won’t have another update on this for another week or so…..
Best regards, Doug
November 18, 2007
Well, now I am at home from this three week trip. Nice. I do feel upside down at the moment, since I am essentially on China time with its 9 hour difference. Not so nice, but this to will pass. But then I am greeted with a restart on my main computer due to some F’ing ‘automatic’ updates, which resets my computer and I can’t ‘see’ my network. And I can not think straight at the moment as to what I am suppose to do to correct it. Yes, I am not a happy camper. grrrrrr.
Okay, that was kinda of therapeutic. It was my intent to move all of my images to my main computer and use that system with the calibrated monitor before posting any more images. So I will post this one in the mean time and hope to have better luck later in the day. So, there is a chance that I may pull this image down and reload it again after I see what it really looks like. I think that with my portable, I do get a close approximation;- )
Okay, enough for now, I have some unpacking and other stuff to do. And find some coffee. Lots of coffee.
Oh, as to this image, I made it at on the shore of West Lake, which is located in Hangzhou, about an hour and half south of JiaXing, thus about two and half hours Southwest of Shanghai.
Best regards, Doug