Do what you want…

Friday, May 28, 2010

As you grow older, it dawns on you that you are yourself – that your job is not to force yourself into a style but to do what you want.”     ~Beth van Hoesen

I know I have talked about this before and that some will try to categorize me as a, oh no! Generalist! But, although I don’t hold slavishly to a particular style or school, I really do have a style of sorts. I endeavor to capture life, as it comes at me, both my outer and inner life.

After capturing and image in camera, I take it into post production. Some images are quite strait-forward and need just minimal processing, others, not so. Sometimes I just play with possibilities until the image shows me what it needs to shine.

I approach each image as an individual and unique entity. Although I do have certain workflows that I tend to follow, I will deviate from them at any time if I see a way to make a particular image successful.

Although I do work for income, I never leave joy out of the equation. I find joy in both the image capturing and post production parts of the workflow, that’s what keeps me excited about the process of creating images.

Of course, I do know the difference between my personal work and assignments, I’m not going to turn a commissioned head shot into a Picasso!

Here is a playful, alluring image where “she” is just hinted at in a tropical appearing background.

Enjoy,
Tom

Image as story…

Thursday, May 27, 2010

“Art is literacy of the heart”     ~Elliot Eisner

We talked about imagination and spontaneity yesterday, but we should never forget the heart’s importance in creativity. If we love what we do and what we capture in our images, our work can’t help but shine.

I started reading books of stories and fairy tales at a very young age, I have fallen in love with stories and believe they are mankind’s best teachers. Author Deena Metzger has said, “When Stories nestle in the body, soul comes forth.”

My love of story has carried over into my image making. They are called landscapes, abstracts, panos, etc., but they are, in one way or another, stories. Picasso said, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” If this is true, then my images are my life, there for all the world to see.

Imagination vs technique

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What is overlooked is the importance of imagination over technique.”     ~Vincent Versace

I found this great quote on Scott Kelby’s blog today, Vincent is “guest blogger” today. You can find the article here.

Imagination and spontaneity, they cannot be overlooked as the true sources of creativity. Some of my finest images happened in a fraction of a second, before I even had time to think.

At one time, I felt a little guilty about these images, but over time I began to realize that they were pure Zen. The body grows wise with practice and often knows what to do before the mind can wrap itself around it.

This is a spontaneous image in the sense that I saw the guitar sitting there, saw the beat up wall and floor, placed the instrument against the wall and captured the image. all in just a few minutes without a lot of thought. I emphasized the golden glow a bit added a little texture and voila!

Enjoy,<br />
Tom

The mystery in each of us………

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The mystery isn’t in the technique, it’s in each of us.”     ~Harry Callahan

How true. The mystery in each of us even determines how we use techniques, hardware and software. Our own vision is the most important element. We have to have faith that if we are true to our own vision, others will feel something when they view our images.

To me, mystery is the nature of this wonderful world and the universe at large. I am happy to participate in each day that is given to me, and if I am lucky enough to capture some engaging images, so much the better!

Spaceship earth….

Monday, May 24, 2010

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.”     ~Marshall McLuhan

This continues the thoughts from Friday’s entry. Once again I say this is our home, the only home our children and grandchildren will have to live upon. It’s our duty to care for it, to pass it on in better shape than it was given to us.

Here is an image showing people trying to conquer nature, true; but in a fairly benign way! We are blessed with a wonderful home full of treasure, we need only take care of it.

Enjoy,
Tom

This precious jewel of a planet….

Friday, May 21, 2010

“Environments are not just containers, but are processes that change the content totally.”     ~Marshall McLuhan

The terrible oil leak in the Gulf coast will change the environment there for a long time to come. It makes me sad and angry that we take such risks with our fragile planet, without any plan to deal with disaster when it comes. It doesn’t take genius to foresee the possibility of an accident like this when working in such extreme conditions.

Heartbreaking is the only way to describe the plight of the people and wildlife affected by this tragic event. One of the reasons I create so many images of the commonplace is to show that there is really no commonplace.

This planet is a precious jewel floating in the blackness and emptiness of space.

This is our home, we have no other place to go to and we never will. This is so important to understand, we do not live in a science fiction world, we live here, now, on this one and only real world.

We have a very small latitude of environmental space where we humans can exist within this universe, if we don’t take care of this, our home, we will soon be a memory like the dinosaurs, except who will there be to remember us?

Choosing a label?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I believe that if it were left to artists to choose their own labels, most would choose none.”     ~Ben Shahn

Unlike Mr. Shahn, I don’t pretend to speak for all artists, but for me, I certainly agree I would choose no labels for myself. Picasso himself, also agreed, saying that God himself had no particular style, but tried anything and everything. Why imprison oneself? It’s hard enough to break out of one own personal tendencies and try something new, so why encourage them? As I have said before, I like to treat each image independently, even moving into the abstract if that’s what seems best for a particular image.

Here is an image that skirts the line between realistic and abstract. I feel it works wonderfully for this particular image.

Enjoy,
Tom

Every child is an artist…

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”     ~Pablo Picasso

This is in line with yesterday’s topic of simplicity. A child naturally possesses simplicity, but as we grow into adulthood, passing though the educational system, we lose our innocence and simplicity, often enough we can’t wait to lose them! It’s usually, only after a lifetime of experience and hard work that we rediscover their preciousness.

In fact, some even indicate that those who possess what we call genius are those who simply have not lost the simplicity and the open-mindedness of childhood.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Tuesday,

May 18, 2010

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”     ~Leonardo da Vinci

I’m not sure how many people or artists in the modern world believe this, but I certainly am a disciple of simplicity, in life as well as in my work. Sophistication means elegance, style, poise, finesse, savoir faire, informal, style and cool. All these are also elements of simplicity. An artist must work a long time to fully appreciate the power of simplicity, so it’s often only the mature artist who fully embraces it.

Here is a very simple, but colorful image that at the same time tells a story. Each lobster fisherman uses a different color buoy, which he attaches to each trap he sets. This one has chosen a color not easy to miss! You can just catch a glimpse of the traps in the upper part of the image, right center.

Enjoy,

Tom

Artistic salvation…….

Monday, May 17, 2010

” Don’t be an art critic, but paint, there lies salvation.” ~Paul Cezanne

The same holds true in photography, go and capture images, work hard and get better and better at your craft, let the critics have their say, but don’t get caught up in it, it’s better to cultivate your vision and your skills.

I have found that if you work hard at your craft, you will reach a new plateau every seven years or so, as your technical skills catch up with your vision.

One of the nice things about being an artist is that, if we were to live for three hundred years, we would still be able to learn something new tomorrow and still be able to improve!