Friday night we met at "Coffee Bar" (that’s its name) on Bryant in San Francisco for Margaret’s birthday dinner. Coffee Bar covered in Yelp here. The food was prepared by Radio Africa & Kitchen (a "nomadic restaurant"). . . for info, see here. Yelp reviews here.
Travelling along the coast, it’s not that unusual to see row upon row of exquisitely kept-up yachts and sailboats, but what a pleasure it is to come across remnants of the past, when commercial fishing was the mainstay of the California coast.
As well, the omnipresent overcast at the coast makes for nice translucent light, as in the above scenes from Crescent City and Princeton.
Photos: Del Norte Ice—Crescent City, 2005; Used Oil—Princeton, 2008
I have been thinking about my photorealist theories. As we know, photorealist paintings use photography as a launching point. However, the end product of the photorealist, while superficially resembling a photograph, is almost never concerned with "the decisive moment"—the description of a particular moment in time, which informs even the most static of Weston still-lives.
Photorealists quite frequently start with a source photograph as their initial inspiration; they might even use back projectors outlining the photograph on their canvas. At that point, their main decisions have to do with overall composition and the issue of how much detail to put in.
My question is: could the process go in the other direction? In other words, given that photographic files are now, thanks to Photoshop, incredibly plastic, could one start with a photograph and "work backwards" to a photorealist composition? I wouldn’t doubt that it would be possible. One would have to decide what a "photorealist composition" is, to begin with, and then, how to technically achieve the result.
I decided to try, for the moment, to duplicate a Richard Estes photorealist painting. As we all know, Mr. Estes is famous for including reflections in his paintings. See here, and here. So all I would have to do would find a suitable subject (with reflections) and squeeze off a few shots.
Well, it wasn’t quite that easy, but during a recent trip to San Francisco (luncheon date with my daughter, Shawna) I tried to scout out various locations. It turned out that this photo of a revolving door was the best example that I was able to find. At the Citibank Building, I think . . . at the corner of, um, Montgomery and Market? Of course, there’s more to it than the initial exposure. This photo, then, is the first iteration of this project.
Almost all my photographs from the 1950’s to end of the 90’s were in black and white. But now and then I took the odd roll of slide film. This photograph was taken on a backpacking trip using—probably—Kodachrome. I eventually quit using it because viewing slides required irritating (to me) intermediaries: slide viewers, projectors, etc. As well, I disliked the look of color prints at the time.
We have, at last, gotten some blessed morning overcast helping to keep the temperature down. This was taken looking into a vacant building in back of Trader Joes in San Rafael a few mornings ago.
I take a lot of photographs, and some are obviously marketable. Others are not. While not being something that I would package and try and sell at an art festival, this photo is an image that I might use for a project end photo (always a self-portrait of sorts.)
Or maybe it could be shown at one of those snooty art galleries.
Photo: Self-portrait, Reflections—Marin County, 2008
Sunday was the first day in a long time that saw a blue sky. Hali, Tuffy and I celebrated by doing the Roy’s Redwoods loop trail, a scenic loop that starts at the stable, winds through grassland, parallels the golf course, dives into the redwoods, then up to the ridge, then down through the bay trees and thence back to the stable.
At the stable, I couldn’t help noticing these bright green chairs; the horse obligingly posing for me.
Photos: Dark Fence Posts—Marin County, 2008; Green Chairs & Horse—Marin County, 2008
Another photo taken at the Beverly-La Cienega intersection. The camera points towards Ma Maison restaurant, itself now long gone. I was standing on the sidewalk across the street when I took the Beverly Park photo 22 years earlier.
Taken at the intersection of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevards. At one point, the main attraction for our family was the Pony Rides. I remember one memorable occasion when we were able to meet Hopalong Cassidy there (I think). I'm going to say (thanks to the internet) that the Pony Rides were still there in 1972.
Now, of course, the location is home to the multistory posh Beverly Center shopping mall.
You back up your truck to the edge of the cement pit and then toss all manner of unwanted things into it. What a liberating experience! And the sounds!
The recycle center (officially, the Resource Recovery Center) in San Rafael is a wonderful place, photogenic too. I took this series of pictures on color film using a Minolta 7000i. My first collage was a physical one: printing the photos and pasting them to a background as in David Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway. For this version I used Photoshop, adding a drop shadow to each photo to add a little depth.
It only remains to be said that the print has also been a modest commercial success, multiple copies selling these past few months.
In the Fall of 1999, I traveled to Baltimore to attend specialized training for the Social Security Administration. Topmost on my list of things to do was to go to North Carolina in order to sample pulled pork. (Well, yes, of course, I was intensely interested in the training too. O yes.) My trip had something of a nostalgic air, since I had also attended a much earlier training session in Baltimore at the Fort Holabird US Army Intelligence Training Center.
During the 1999 trip I managed to make it to Fort McHenry in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. A less stylized picture of the flag can be seen here.
Went over yesterday afternoon to pick up my photo exhibit pix at the Inverness library. A nice day, except that I have a cold. No sales . . . maybe 8x10s too small? Also quite possibly the venue too obscure. Hm.