When I started out in mobile photography about five years ago now I found great joy in expressing my creative urges through constructed photographs, better known as photomontage. This was a 360 degree move away from the straight black and white street photography I had been shooting over a three-year period for my MFA thesis project in Documentary photography.
At the point when I picked up my first iPhone and began to shoot and play with photography apps, I had reached the emotional burnout phase in my thesis project. It was an intense study and all I wanted and needed to do after presenting and defending my thesis was to play and create quirky, beautiful pieces of art. In a sense it was art therapy in order to heal myself from the stress of my project. That phase continued for three years.
It was a great time in my life. My photomontage pieces were being exhibited in galleries across the globe and found their way onto the pages of mainstream publications, while many pieces sold and ended up in private collections. I felt free to create my own surreal, entertaining worlds which provided me with a temporary escape from reality and I was in awe and surprised at the response these pieces received.
It has now been a few years since I have spent any focused time on creating photomontage works. For the past two years I moved back towards straight photography again with some street, documentary, and macro work. Recently I felt moved to create another photomontage piece called “The Butterfly Effect” which was highlighted on this blog after I reviewed the Juxtaposer app. I decided on a whim to enter this piece in a call for art for the Mobile Digital Art and Creativity Summit Exhibition that was going to be held in the prestigious Palo Alto Art Center.
Last month I received the news that “The Butterfly Effect” had been chosen as a finalist for the mDAC exhibition and would be on display at the Palo Alto Art Center through the month of August. I was thrilled.
We attended the exhibition opening and had a great time soaking in all the amazing art created on iPhones and iPads. There are two categories of art on display. My piece is in the Mobile Photography Art category. The second category is Mobile Digital Painting for which I have a ton of respect. Below is a slideshow with some photographs of the event and a lot of the beautiful art created on mobile devices.
This latest experience has been a great motivator for me to create more photomontage pieces. I am currently working on a piece to enter for an upcoming exhibition that explores the imagery and concepts depicted by 14th century Surrealist Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. Such a fun study!
I don’t often do this but think this is an awesome promotion put together by Fine Art America and NakedWines.com. It also provides me with an opportunity to shamelessly promote my work for sale. Of course any purchase of my work helps to offset some of the costs I am incurring for cancer treatment above and beyond what my insurance currently covers.
If you are a wine and fine art lover or you know somebody who is, if you purchase any one of my prints (any size and style) during the month of July from the link below you will instantly receive a $100 OFF certificate for NakedWines.com. To use the certificate you must be a new customer to NakedWines and it can only be applied towards wine purchases of $160 or more.
Even if you don’t drink wine you can always re-gift the certificate at the holidays. Better yet, give your loved one a fine art print and you can put your feet up and drink that $160 worth of wine that you bought for just $60 (plus whatever you spent on the print) :-).
DESCRIPTION FROM FINE ART AMERICA
“When you place an order on Fine Art America, we’ll e-mail you a $100 gift certificate from NakedWines.com… instantly. It doesn’t matter how large your order is on Fine Art America. If you order a single greeting card, you’ll still receive the gift certificate.
Once you receive the gift certificate, all you have to do is visit NakedWines.com, enter in your gift certificate code, buy some wine, and you’re done! Then, just sit back and wait for the wine to arrive on your doorstep. If the logistical stars are in alignment, maybe your wine and your order from Fine Art America will arrive at the same time!”
Below is the link to my Fine Art America store where you can order prints. I have also included the promotion information link on FAA. Who knows, you might also find some other wonderful artists’ work on the Fine Art America site worth collecting or promoting.
NOTE: I most definitely will not hold it against you if you decide to share this blog post with all of your friends across the globe and on every one of your social media accounts. Honest I won’t and cheers!
I normally like carousels…don’t get me wrong. They tend to evoke happy emotions and visceral memories of innocent childhood fun. There is just something about the deeply resonant tones of the piped in organ music and the gentle circular motion that makes it all so soothing. Maybe it is tied to my love of horses and the fact that I never did receive that pony I asked for each Christmas. Whatever the reason, as an adult I am always drawn to carousels like metal to a magnet. To watch the intricately painted animals circle by in their hypnotic up and down rhythm. To hear the echoing tones of the Calliope music fill the air from afar. To be transported if but for a moment into the past when the promises of life seemed boundless.
For the most part these colorful contraptions appeal to that wide-eyed child deep within. But they also tend to stir up something far more sinister should I linger; the dark shadows of the past that rode along with that innocence. The intense moments of fear that consumed every fiber of my being. When I was pulled towards this particular carousel in Pier 39, I approached it with childlike anticipation. Yet there was something about the look on the faces of the horses that made me take pause. Ears pinned back, mouths open wide and legs positioned in an all out run. A carousel stampede in the making. A frozen yet tangible moment of fear carved forever on their faces. What was going through this artist’s head when he carved these figures? Most likely some of the same things that passed through my own when I decided to snap this photograph.
There certainly are a lot of mysteries in this world. Things beyond human comprehension that do not seem to fall into the realm of logic. Some of us toy with the possibility of a spiritual realm, using strange tools like EVP’s, IR illuminators and thermal imaging to try to capture evidence of the ethereal. For centuries now, humans have been praying blindly by faith without any concrete evidence whatsoever, that something greater than themselves actually hears their pleadings. If Christians can believe in a Holy Spirit and the resurrection, then why not believe in the existence of ghosts? Alternately, there are those on this earth who doubt the possibility of anything beyond the concrete and the physical. They choose to place all their faith in that institution called “science” to prove or disprove reality. So if one’s faith is in science, then what of Quantum Physics with its invisible units of energy? Our own planet is but a tiny grain of sand surrounded by a universe that stretches into infinity. How is it that we as human beings became so egocentric that we believe we are the only planet with any form of intelligent life?
Whether you believe in the possibility of little green men with advanced technology traveling from afar to visit our world or you guffaw at the notion that there is any entity out there with an intelligence far greater than yours, all must pay a visit to the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado at least once in their lifetime. Peruse the alien abduction books in the bookstore. Pick up a glow-in-the-dark Alien Frisbee for the kiddies, then stroll through the Healing Garden and leave your own quirky offering at the alien shrine. Before you leave you must stand for a while on the metal platform to soak up the breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristo’s in the distance. Take a few moments to look towards the Heavens, and maybe if you are lucky, you might spy something otherworldly in the sky.
Photo: Abandoned stone house in San Luis Valley, Colorado.
While driving through the San Luis Valley in Colorado last summer this little stone house spoke to me on many levels. It was beautiful, yet broken. The external structure was solid; created with care by fitting stone against stone with an array of well-placed colors and sizes. It spoke of pride of craftmanship and the love of detail. This was a house that was at one time loved by someone and filled full with life. Sitting on several acres, it had unobstructed views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the white-capped peaks of the Blanca Massif in the distance. The beautiful Rio Grande River twisted and turned through the deep canyon walls a few miles to the West and the New Mexico border was within walking distance of its doors to the South. Shattered windows had once served as protection from the driving winter winds and the bitter cold. I imagined children standing there, looking out at the snow-covered acres while sipping hot chocolate and warming themselves by a blazing fire. I imagined Christmas celebrations, birthday parties, summer picnics, singing voices and babies crying. And now it sat, abandoned; filled with shattered glass, bullet-ridden walls and a crumbling roof. It looked so sad and all alone.
There in the San Luis Valley it still remains in lonely dignity, as it weathers slowly over time. I may never know the truths of its past for certain, yet its essence in that moment when I stood before it has a place forever inside my mind. This same house now sits proudly before me in a photograph and continues to whisper the secrets of its past. Every now and then I make a point to stop and listen. And sometimes I begin to hear the warmth and laughter of a better time. A time when this now shattered structure was once a happy home.
There’s just something about birds. It doesn’t matter where I am, when a bird flies overhead I have to stop in my tracks and observe it. Living on the Pacific Flyway, I am especially drawn to the migratory birds that move steadily across the skies during both the Spring and Fall. Just the thought of their arduous journey, some flying thousands of miles to their final destination, leaves me in awe. I admire their stamina, their focus, their strength. They do constant battle with the elements and yet they keep going. Some would call it instinct, but I believe there is much more to it than some blind response to embedded DNA as they journey towards their final goal. If you stop and listen for awhile, really listen, you can hear the excitement in their calls as they begin to head north towards their breeding grounds. You can see the determination in their wings as they fight against strong headwinds and rally for position in their “V”. I can only imagine what it would feel like to have the ability to fly. To me it speaks of freedom. To me it speaks of joy. It is the ability to journey wherever you choose high above this cluttered earth. The ability to ride the spiraling currents and observe life from a safe altitude; all the things that I desire for myself. Perhaps that is why I photograph birds. By capturing their essence in photos I can study them and begin to dream. I can move beyond the confines of this human vessel and begin to soar.
One of my favorite places to visit in the Pacific Northwest is the little town of Port Townsend, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. A true Victorian-era seaport, it’s just a short, enjoyable ferry ride across the straits from Seattle. For the past 33 years, the town has been host to the Wooden Boat Festival in September and I have been fortunate enough to attend two of those years. More than 300 beautifully crafted wooden vessels sail and motor into the Point Hudson Marina for the event which draws visitors from all over the world and is graced by some of the top wooden boat experts in the nation. There’s just something about strolling through that quaint little town, viewing all the refurbished vessels of yore, feeling the cool ocean air caress my skin and tasting that salty air on my lips that gets me dreaming. Dreaming of a life way out at sea with the waves lashing across the bow and the winds filling the sails to take me to distant shores…I think it’s past time to pay Port Townsend another visit.
There are times when something catches my eye in a certain moment in time when I know that I just have to shoot it. The oak tree in this photo was one of those moments. We were driving through the gold country shooting pioneer cemeteries for an upcoming book project when our sunny day turned with an approaching storm. We passed hundreds of wild oaks on our way to Fiddletown and suddenly I saw this lone oak atop a hill that had this amazing essence about it and knew we would have to stop on our way back after shooting Fiddletown when the light was better. We finally reached the tree around 4:00pm when the sun was lower on the horizon and a wonderful cloud cover had formed in the background. I decided to take multiple exposures of this scene and later merged them all into an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo to enhance the amazing light and shadows that existed in reality.