I love the distortion of shadows - the world seems familiar and strange at the same time. To me one of the interesting things about shadows is how often we inherently recognize what is casting the shadow, even in the absence of the actual object. I'm also captivated by the indirect stories they tell of our existence.
There is something about towering objects that invokes ambiguous feelings - on the one hand, there is a sense of majesty and wonder; on the other hand, the erection of a towering object seems overly egotistical. In this case, the tower (even with its marvelous views) is overshadowed by the incredible murals in the base building - so marvelous that one can excuse the excess of the tower.
I dislike as much as anyone any implication that the Zone System is an esoteric end in itself. To begin with, I did not 'invent' it. It is a simple codification of sensitometry.... There is far too much 'yak' in photography. Too many people talk and write; too few make photographs of personal and enduring quality. (emphasis mine)
This statue was an unexpected find while climbing the Filbert Street stairs to the Coit Tower. It reminded me of statuary I saw many years ago in the former Eastern Bloc of Europe - a writhing mass of naked bodies in some way meant to epitomize the class struggle against oppression. Transported to a well tended English-style garden, it seemed to have acquired a faint whiff of eroticism.
Title: "Palm Bifurcating Frame, Filbert St. Steps"
(click on image to view larger)
It's interesting to work with these negatives several months after the images were made. In looking them over, I found what was for me a rather high proportion of images with the subject firmly centered in the frame. I usually consider placement carefully when composing an image, and I have no reason to think I wasn't working carefully at the time. I have always had a strong affinity for the square format - back when I was painting in watercolour and acrylics, the vast majority of my work was on square fields. Many painters dislike the square format, but my feeling was always that once I made the first mark on the paper or canvas, the square had inextricably been divided into rectangular spaces. I think with these images from SF, I was simply finding that middle placement of a subject works well with a square frame.
This was a hard-won view. Our friend Stephanie offered to drive us over the Golden Gate bridge after we'd all visited the De Young museum. Unexpectedly, what should have taken 15 minutes by car ended taking us over 2 hours - we hit the mother of all traffic jams, on a Sunday afternoon no less. Stephanie was baffled by what could possibly cause such a congestion, and we constantly dithered between hanging in there, or trying to find an escape route. Well, we hung in there and were rewarded by this late afternoon view of the long shadow the bridge casts over the water.
I was entranced by the architecture of the DeYoung museum in Golden Gate Park. I was drawn to make this image by the intersection of the edges of the building and the shadow, and the way the rectangular window is divided into light and dark. I find myself vacillating between thoughts of impending doom (as if trapped in a deep dungeon) and eternal hope when I look at this image.
What, a holga image of a palm tree? Such a cliché you might say, but it's my cliché and I'm glad to have it. After all, it seems silly not to make an image of a palm tree when in California with your holga. I think it's the unpredictability of the plastic camera and film development that can make even such a cliché image unique. I have certain modifications I use to soften the image captured on film by my holgas, and in this case part of the modification has clearly scratched the film along the top edge. Also for some reason, I have a lot of "bromide drag" in the negative from the development process. I absolutely love these imperfections, the slightly quirky character they bring to the image that seems so appropriate for the subject, which seems to be listing precipitously towards the building behind.
The title of this blog is taken from Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series of books. Bertie is a wee precocious boy who's not allowed to be a child. His mother has grand plans for him, and has organized "The Bertie Project" to educate him well beyond his years. This blog is meant to be my own personal "Bertie Project" - a way to lead a more enriched life.