Another classic landscape from the 2011 Pt. Reyes trip. I got very lucky as the fog lifted just before sunset on this day, and I already had a spot scouted out. It was dark and somewhat treacherous to get out here, and I was surrounded by a herd of elk. A long exposure brought out the post-sunset light, but it was quite dark to the naked eye, I didn’t have a flashlight, and getting back was an adventure. A worthwhile one, though, as the sky and ocean colors work very well with the shape of the land, and there’s a lot of nice detail in the dark areas that may not come through online.
Here’s something else from last year’s downtown Christmas morning shoot. It’s December now and I’m thinking about what to do this year. It’s a pretty great time for photographers; everyone else is as home getting their presents and I kind of feel like I’m getting one in having the city to myself.
This is how I feel in December.
A small panorama from the Pt. Reyes trip is this week’s classic photo:
That’s the Point in the distance, across the bay. I did a lot of driving up the north coast on this trip, which I hadn’t done before, and mostly didn’t find anything I wanted. But this is reasonably nice, with an attractive little headland sandwiched between the bare brown ground of August in Northern California.
Just before I took the panorama version of this photo, I grabbed a regular photo with the ultrawide lens. I ended up liking the panorama better, but it’s huge and expensive, and this one turned out perfectly good as well, and it works in standard sizes, so I thought I should make it available.
The panorama will be in a show called “45th Parallel” at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI in January. This seemed like a natural fit for the subject due to the use of the 35W bridge as an astronomical calendar.
It’s that shopping time of year, and it would be nice if you would do some of that here, so how about a sale? There’s no specific photo associated with it this time; instead I’m going to open up the whole catalog.
Get a bunch of your Christmas shopping out of the way at once.
Through December 10th, get any five 8.5″x11″ prints for $125. You can look at them all on the redesigned and updated portfolio page, where there are some that haven’t made the blog yet.
Everything in stock on clearance.
Everything on the Photos In Stock page has been marked down through the end of the year. This is the lowest price there will ever be on any of these. Once the year is over this will be the only way to get 2013 prints and the price will go up.
The full title of this book is How to Read a Photograph: Lessons from Master Photographers, but despite the title it’s a history rather than much in the way of teaching. There’s some analysis but it falls into the category of critical facility rather than educational.
Even as a history, it’s not especially inspiring. There are some good photographs in here, and even some you won’t have seen before, but it’s not a particularly well-curated collection; indeed most of the photos included in it are pretty questionable. There are a few nice ones like the Evans to the right, but mostly it’s portraits and street photography, and not especially great street photography.
Though published in 2008, the book is lacking in quite a few areas. Three Japanese photographers, all working in 1968, are the extent of the book as far as anyone who isn’t European or American. In particular, Latin America exists as a place where European photographers can go for inspiration, not as somewhere that produces its own talent. Jeffrey is extremely devoted to the idea that art photography equals portraits, making the choice to leave out Latin American photography especially baffling. Less geographically, there are very few color photographs in the book, which makes me wonder why Jeffrey didn’t just write a history of black and white.
On the other hand, the strength of the book is work from outside the dominant culture, specifically German photographs taken during World War I and early Soviet photography. Some of the Soviet photos are even good, but more importantly these aren’t the same pictures you’ve seen everywhere else, which is a problem with the later part of the book. (Unfortunately it also means I can’t find the one I wanted to use as an illustration)
The text of the book is about seventy percent interesting historical detail and thirty percent art critic allegorical nonsense, which makes reading it both essential and extremely aggravating. This is particularly bothersome in the case of Evans, who was thoroughly against assigning subtextual meaning to his photographs. It also makes it a very slow read.
As the book moves on it falls victim to the themes art photography has been stuck in since the Great Depression: an incredible focus on despair and anxiety. Very few of the photos in the last two-thirds of the book are any fun to look at, even if they’re good. Jeffrey even manages to shoehorn Ansel Adams into this paradigm, turning Adams’ conservationism into an obsession with mortality.
The last photo in the book is Sternfeld’s blind gardener, which, while emotionally complex, might actually bring forth themes of joy and accomplishment. Yet Jeffrey’s comment on it and its predecessor is “Neither of these figures represents anything.” It certainly ended the book with me not thinking highly of Jeffrey. Not recommended.
This week’s classic photo is from my last trip to Pt. Reyes, in 2011. Which is a sign that it’s been too long and I have to get back there again pretty soon.
I really love the differences in tone of the leaves within the fog here. This photo was one of the inspirations for me to learn to print, and my early print of it hung at the bottom of my stairs until last week, when it was replaced by “My Valentine.” Which is somewhat less soothing, at least to people who weren’t there for it.
One of my photos is the July selection for the World Tapir Day 2014 Calendar! All proceeds from the sale go to protect mountain tapir habitat in Ecuador.
So I’ve gone back through the first couple of months of Amirah photos and pulled out a bunch of the best ones for use on cards. They look like this: