Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lurking II

Title: "A deepening stillness"
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The shadows whisper, reluctant to reveal their secrets but burdened by the deepening mystery that surrounds them.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the cooling shade

Title: "Gleaming"
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It is such a relief to stand in the cooling shade after a long, hot climb; to see the intensity of the sun condensed into one glowing point reflection.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Title: "Shadowtalking, Coit Tower (Oct 2010)"
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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.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Unseemly Sense of Scale

Title: "Coit Tower, Mid Morning"
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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.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Too much yak

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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)

Ansel Adams, 1982

Beyond a Gnomic Existence

Title: "Class struggle, Filbert St. Stairs"
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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.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Uncertain Majesty

Title: "Palm Bifurcating Frame, Filbert St. Steps"
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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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Journey Measured in Inches

Title: "In the shadow of the Golden Gate"
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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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Geometric Oddities

 Title: "Triangular View, DeYoung Museum"
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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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Iconic Cliché

Title: "Palm Tree, DeYoung Museum"
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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.