February 20, 2017 – Analogue Landscapes of the Digital

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This is probably my favorite thing about photography – it’s a tool that lets the photographer share images with the world that would otherwise remain in the shadows, ignored, misunderstood, or unrecognized. This is a photograph of the metal casing and interior parts of a computer hard drive. The steel case has corroded from humidity, giving it an organic and interesting texture, and edits have been made to the color.

There is a whole world that exists in our bedrooms, in our pockets, inside our car doors. We never see what’s inside of our television, and we usually don’t question how the light-emitting diode actually functions, even though we’re obsessed with all of the flickering screens in this modern world competing for our attention.

This image is a meditation on that invisible world.

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”
Matt Hardy

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February 19, 2017 – Painted Brick

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Midtown Tucson is slathered with foot traffic, dotted with some reasonably questionable neighborhoods, and absolutely covered in the shittiest graffiti you’ll ever see. There’s no real artistry to it, just a level of “this is the mark I’ll be making” level of hooliganism.

About a decade ago, when I last lived in the neighborhood, I remember there were several efforts for graffiti abatement; billboards and hotline numbers to report graffiti, paint donation programs through local hardware stores, and private homeowners who opted to foot the bill on their own. I used to walk the mile and a half to work at Jones Photo, Inc – it wasn’t uncommon to see a fresh coat of paint on an adobe wall on my walk home, only to see fresh spray-paint scribbles on my walk to work the next day. Folks quickly stopped even trying to match paint and they’d take whatever the hardware store was handing out, or they’d buy the cheapest primer; the walls and garage doors, businesses and restaurants, were slowly covered in sloppy bands of mismatched color, rolled despairingly over the tagged scribbles.

It’s frustrating, to be sure, but my photographer’s eye also found some interest in these textures. And it seems like the plague of artless graffiti has largely subsided – at least, compared to years ago. Most of what you’ll find today are grease-pen scribbles on light posts or at bus stops, or markings on defunct businesses, in back alleys, and on abandoned buildings like the one pictures above.

Naturally, if I have my camera with me, I’ll be taking pictures.
Until tomorrow, my friends, I hope you enjoyed today’s photograph.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Elliott Erwitt

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February 18, 2017 – Saguaro Cactus Landscape

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Sometimes black-and-white is the only way to go. There’s a timelessness to black-and-white landscapes that is almost universally appealing. This was taken while hiking through the mountain run-off in Sabino Canyon last week. My feet were wet and squishy from tromping through knee-deep water, tromping up to the Seven Falls area.

A thunderstorm rolled through and cut the hike short, but it was an exquisite several hours in the canyon.

Getting out into the world, walking the downtown streets or the canyons are going on my ‘urban hikes’ are terrible important to me. There’s so much to discover out there, even just walking around the block, if one takes a moment to concentrate, train themselves to really keep their eyes open all the time.

I hope you like today’s photograph. Cheers.

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
Jim Richardson

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February 17, 2017 – Vintage Photos

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What I love about photography is that it captures a moment never to be reproduced. Photographs are the mosquito in amber of human memory, imprinted with our own projected thoughts and emotions. Snapshots, if they survive long enough, become aesthetic curios. A casual photograph of a street scene in Manhattan taken in 1915 becomes more than a snapshot, but a historical document that captures, with accuracy, what life looked like in that particular place at that particular time.

One of my history professors once told me that the best way to have my work remembered would be to regularly go to the supermarket and photograph the merchandise on the shelves. Print, save, and catalogue them, and wait for time to do the rest. His thinking is that future generations will be thirsty for ideas about how we lived in the past, that the photographer of the present has only a vague concept of how radically a society can change in the short span of a generation or two.

My great grandfather was able to tell me the story of seeing his first automobile as a child and how dazzling it was. He could tell me how, years later as a young man, that the hand-crank engine starters were frustrating as he. He and his wife – my great-grandmother – operated a single-screen silent theater; he ran the projector and she played the piano. I say all of this to point to the last years of his life, with the internet revolutionizing instant electronic mail, cable television that allowed him to watch every Minnesota Vikings football game, and even a wireless headset so he could listen to the game without the noise of the game disrupting everybody else in the house.

Things change faster than they seem. And an old snapshot of a daughter or a girlfriend at cheer-leading practice somehow becomes a nostalgic conversation piece, a document of a by-gone era that makes the viewer think about their experiences in high school, wonder where the people in the photograph are today, or even if they’re still alive. It’s a faded piece of paper that reminds us how little time we have, and how precious these small moments might actually be.

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”
Susan Sontag

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February 16, 2017 – No Parking

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Today’s image of the day is simple and clean, but I was attracted to the faded paint and texture. I’m often criticized for making pictures that don’t have meaning, but I think there’s meaning embedded in just about any picture that anybody takes – not just professional photographers or self-proclaimed artists.

So much of the time, I really simply enjoy taking a small detail from the world and printing it big.

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
Diane Arbus

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February 15, 2017 – The Circuit

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This is a completely synthetic landscape, the subject matter based on function over form. Whoever designed this circuit board was focused on making the disc drive it was a part of to function properly – they weren’t interested in inspiring aesthetic interest from a photographer like me. For whatever reason, though, there’s an elegant beauty here. Most of my macro photography focuses on raw textures and plants – stones and concrete, flowers and insects.

But I find something incredibly inspiring by images like this.

To me, this type of image represents possibility. It’s a representation of human creativity.
I hope you like it.

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February 14, 2017 – The Rose

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What else but a flower would work for Valentine’s Day?

I’ve never really been interested in this holiday. External pressure to shell out some cash to show your significant other that you love them – as though it wouldn’t be more spontaneous and romantic to do that on any other day of the calendar year. I’ve never had much luck with this holiday, and never much appreciated long lines at restaurants and the procession of perpetually dissatisfied partners; when expectations are artificially inflated by marketers, it’s hard to clear the bar.

Maybe that’s just me, though.

This year was a little different, I must admit. My lovely girlfriend seems to share my attitude toward Valentine’s Day, which is a first. We both had to work today, and we both seem to feel the same about crowded restaurants and bullshit expectations. We spent some quiet time together and watched a couple of movies, and I had the best Valentine’s Day I think I’ve ever had as an adult.

This image is one of her favorites from my archive, so it makes perfect sense to share it all with you today. I hope you like it and, despite my antipathy, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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