April 05, 2017 – Cracked Typography

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“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
~Ansel Adams

Simple words, but profound. We live in a world that Adams never could have predicted, where phones have camera lenses that outperform most film cameras from the last hundred years, where every single citizen is in the business of making and distributing images. Now that everybody has access to the technology, and now that everybody practices with social media – facebook and snapchat are the real juggernauts – the photographer is easy to miss, and the photographer is motivated to try and look at the world differently, rather than just document it.

Perspective is everything.
Where you stand is everything.

Everybody is in the business of making pictures now. But not everybody is in the business of making unique images. It still takes determination, creativity, and skill to make memorable photographs. Selfies at the bar are a dime-a-dozen, and there’s a great big world out there.

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February 28, 2017 – Desert Rot

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One of the things that photography, and the volumes of underlying science, have taught me is that there is an aesthetic beauty implicit in the process of decay. When the veneer is stripped away, and as common objects are vulnerable, new textures surface. When we peel back the skin, we see new things – and we usually spend most of our waking lives trying not to see what’s beneath the surface.

Gray’s Anatomy. Diagrams of dissected bodies. Scars and scratches on once-pristine buildings, automobiles, billboards. We close our eyes in most cases, turn our heads, and ignore the viscera. I’m rather attracted to it.

Here’s my proof.

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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 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 13, 2017 – Alvernon Plaza

alvernon-plaza-post

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When I was in college, almost ten years ago now, I used to go on what I would call “urban hikes.” I would put my headphones on, tethered to my Discman (yeah, before iPhones and iPods) in my backpack. I would listen to music and walk for miles around town, looking for interesting things to photograph. I would look for cracked paint, old signs, compelling shadows, and every category of garbage tossed into back alleys.

I went urban hiking today, to the tune of about ten miles, just walking around midtown with music in my ears. It was a great diversion. I had forgotten how calming and meditative this practice had once been for me, and I think I’ll be doing this more often, now that I’ve moved back to Tucson and life is starting to make sense again.

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February 07, 2017 – Vida Graffiti

vidagraffiti-post

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I make a lot of pictures that don’t necessarily mean anything. My intent isn’t evident, and I have no specific audience in mind. I just see something that captivates me, often the ignored and banal details of our everyday lives, and I make the picture, I secure the image, I file the document away for future study.

I think a lot of photographers feel that way – that their work doesn’t necessarily have any intrinsic value in the exact moment that they made the picture. But there’s this strange sense that it might mean something to somebody, someday in the future. It’s like a contract with a shadow figure. It’s faith. I’m not a religious person, and I don’t believe in an afterlife. Photography is the closest thing to faith that I will ever have.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
Dorothea Lange

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January 28, 2017 – The Drip

thedrip-post

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Today’s image, like many that came before, is a throwback to the days when I was making mostly abstract artwork. Rather than rattle on about my interest in abstract photography, I will simply leave today’s image with the following quote by Pablo Picasso:

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”

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