Monday, December 30, 2013

Masculine Virtues Rock

In defense of men... Camilla also rocks.

Quote from a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal.  

"Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. "Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It's oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys," she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. "They're making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters."

Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America's brawny industrial base, leaves many men with "no models of manhood," she says. "Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There's nothing left. There's no room for anything manly right now." The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm "inspires me as a writer," she says, adding: "If we had to go to war," the callers "are the men that would save the nation.""

A Man's Man teaching an older woman how to shoot. (skeet) She nailed it time and time again. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Waxing Moon

In South Carolina, the state flag is a Palm Tree on an Indigo background with what appears to be a waxing moon in the corner. I thought it was the coolest flag. Alas, while researching the indigo article, I found that it wasn't a moon but was, instead, a gorget. (A plate of armor that was worn around the neck)

The waxing crescent moon, however, will always been my preferred fiction. It simply fits this amazing place. I took this in early October 2013 for my Halloween greeting card. I was standing on a bridge getting eaten alive by tiny winged vampires but what a beautiful night.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mason Murer

The art work was hung in the gallery with care with hopes that Atlanta soon would be there.

These are a few of the images that were juried into this show. Mine are the Railroad Tracks because you know I have a love of the rails and the Foggy Dock next to the rails because fog is beautiful and hard to get right. Plus, I had a transportation theme.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Smarter Consultants

Here's some unconventional wisdom. Click to read the entire post. This lends itself to what I was saying in an earlier blog post. The measuring stick used to determine those tabulations that mark as a "good" commercial is stuck in old thinking. This post speaks to the idea of the inner voice and right brain thinking. 

"Smarter Consultants help organizations improve productivity and joy in work by enabling people to make decisions that better serve other people, stakeholders. Smarter Consultants are about helping organizations improve results by empowering behaviors that improve results. Empowering behaviors is an unconventional wisdom because it is more about managing the intangibles than measuring the tangible."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Majestic Landscapes

These landscapes appear to be somewhere out west. There are large boulders, a river bed that has almost dried up in the heat, and a cave carved by the river's snow melt in the spring. On a higher peak, the snow lingers and tumbled rocks rest in its icy grip. 

The place looks like it might be somewhere in the Colorado Plateau or so its prehistoric-appearing strata or layers in the rock would suggest. The area spans over 130,000 miles in 4 states and is knowns as "Red Rock Country." 

One image, however, appears to place the area closer to an ocean with a shoreline and crashing waves.

The imagination soars. Mine did, anyway, when I first saw this place. I couldn't wait to get my camera.

It is, however, a construction site in South Carolina. 
Palmetto Bluff is building a new pier and cove on their inland waterway. 
The moral of the story:
Always keep your eye out for amazing shots, even when you find yourself in uninspiring places. 
Make a cathedral out of whatever you photograph...
"It is the Eye that says Ohhh."

Location: The award-winning Place, known as Palmetto Bluff, which is a Green Vacation Spot, 5-Star Resort, and a Residential Paradise. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 ads per Adweek

People in advertising really don't get it. They Really don't. 
No offense ad people... you work so hard and it seems awfully cold to bluntly say you don't get it but hang on...put down the defense mechanism for a minute. 

Step out of your box... start considering what is good and the measurements by which they are tabulated. 

These are the top commercials this week. 
The T.O.P. picks. 

The problem is that this collection is slim pickin's if you're female or if you just use your right brain a lot. 

These aren't good and no matter what the tabulating folks tell us, they're just not correct. By whose standards? By the average joe watching? The amount of money spent? There are always official ways of tabulating. But if these are good, then the methodology needs to be scrutinized. 

This one.. oh she's so cute... is one I want to like. I want to like that child and her "take no crap" first day instructions. The young actor is amazing and she did a fabulous job but the commercial isn't good. The concept and message aren't good. 

But in sports...Women comprise about one-third (34%) of the adult audience for ESPN sport event programs.

What if that means that what this brilliant child is telling us isn't true. What if the First Day issues for the little girls that care about getting new clothes are not going to happen on the playground? Those issue are going to be in the library. 

What if... stretch the creative brain... 


Try "Winning the Library" as a theme. 

Make it fun. Make it work... and reach out to the highest and best in our children. 

Set a tone that's positive and still fierce. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

WIF, ACP, Mason, and Jane

I'm a member of Women in Focus, in Atlanta. It's a non-profit, artist-initiated organization of women photographers who have joined together to support and promote the photographic arts. It was founded in 1993 by a group of women who recognized the need for a formal network of women photographers who could assist in each others' personal, professional, and artistic growth. Women In Focus is dedicated to facilitating a forum for open dialogue regarding photography in all of its forms. 

Again this autumn, WIF is taking part in Atlanta Celebrates Photography. ACP is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the cultivation of the photographic arts and the enrichment of the Atlanta art community. 2013 marks the 15th Anniversary of ACP.

ACP hosts an annual, citywide photography festival in October: The Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. This is a huge event and amazing photography will be displayed throughout the city from Fine Galleries to tiny corners of coffeeshops. Art and Culture are everywhere. 

The WIF artwork will be on display at Mason Murer Fine Art and 37 of our member Photographers were juried into the WIF Show by none other than Jane Jackson of Jackson Fine Art

I'm please to report that two of my images will be among the work being presented. 

It is quite an honor!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dawn's Early Light

The Story behind an Award:
     This photograph was shot in the Classic Pictorialism style with its mood and atmosphere being produced by the dawning morning light illuminating Mr. Pruitt's Flag. It was first published in July of 2012 in Coastal Isles Magazine's inaugural edition with an article I authored called the Soul of the Lowcountry Summer. In April 2013, the image won an Award of Excellence from Communication Arts Magazine. This is the leading trade journal for visual communications. (These awards are like the Oscars for people in the commercial art industry.) It's the largest creative magazine in the world and showcases the top work in graphic design, advertising, illustration, photography, interactive design and typography. Interestingly, over 5000 images were submitted and 130 were chosen to win. Of those 130, only 10 of the photographers were women. 
     When James W. Pruitt graduated high school in 1957, he started working as a storekeeper. For many years, he had a small store of his own. In 1989, however, progress decided it needed a new parking lot and shut his store down. Since then, he's been at his family's store. He was raised in the small home attached to the rear of the store. The home and the store are made of white clapboard with green shutters, and Mr. Pruitt has always hung an American flag over the door. This photo is Mr. Pruitt's flag. The store is still located in what is now known as the Northwest Quadrant of the town of Beaufort in South Carolina.
     The town of Beaufort has a fine history -  from long time past to a more modern history -  that has Hollywood remembering it fondly. Forest Gump, The Big Chill, GI Jane, The Great Santini, and The Legend of Bagger Vance are just a few of the movies that have found filming locations here. 
      Further back, in 1861, Union troops arrived in Beaufort and the area slaves were freed. They formed their own community in what is now known as the Northwest Quadrant of the city. In those days and for many years afterward, as it was settled by black tradesmen, laborers, and small businesses owners. It was known as Freedman's Village. Mr. Pruitt's store is located on Greene Street.
       In 2011, I had located my studio a block from Mr. Pruitt's store. I spotted this beautiful shot a year before, but rain moved in and I missed the shot. The following year, I spent the spring mornings waking up early... waiting for the light to be right. The title is "Dawn's Early Light." 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Alta Lakes. Tesla

Last year I was able to visit a very cool Ghost Town in Colorado. Just outside Telluride. I'm rather taken with Ghosts stories and Tales of Yore.

I also like SteamPunk and the Victorian way of thinking about the industrial age. Nicoli Tesla was an inventor who is dear to the heart of SteamPunkers and Geeks.

Tesla also spent time here in the Mountains of Colorado. I'm developing an image series based on this Ghost town. Here's a few outtakes of the series.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Assignment: Indigo. Blue Gold, the history of Indigo

Recently, I wrote and photographed an article on the history of Indigo, especially as it pertains to the Lowcountry.  It was fascinating and I became intrigued with Indigo. It's got serious mojo. 

Along the way, I got to speak with many people on the subject. Here's the link to my article, called "Blue Gold," and at the end it mentions these people as a list of references but I wanted to mention them again here. 

Mary Lance produced a documentary called Blue Alchemy - Stories of Indigo. It's stunning work and Mary was gracious and kind in answering my questions. She even overnighted a copy of the documentary. Her website is here.

Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Indigo is grown in the Heritage Garden. This is on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Their phone number is 843-689-6767. Carlos was super helpful on the phone and is in charge of the Heritage Garden. This is not a formal garden but is very much a backyard growth of experiments. They try to keep vintage plants alive in this section. So cool.


In Charleston... If you haven't been here, you MUST go. This place is outstanding and so are the people that run it. The Charleston Museum 360 Meeting St., Charleston. 843-722-2996.

The one-woman, historical presentation on Eliza Lucas Pinckney by living-history interpreter Peggy Pickett is outstanding. 843-815-5311. Peggy is a wealth of historical information. No, really. That sounds like I'm just being nice but this woman knows her stuff. She has that love of her subject, which translates when she speaks about it. Call her and book her for your group or tour. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Personal Work: iPhone.

I actually call it my Eye Phone.


I baked these. Then, they looked good enough to eat so I took the snapshots with my eye phone for facebook.

After I posted this one, someone asked for the recipe.

I have to tell you that shooting food for commercial work is not the same thing as using an eye phone to shoot fresh-baked goodies to make your facebook friends drool. 

The quality in the shot above is found in the subject matter, not the photography. And may I assure you that those ARE quality baked goods...made with my own two hands. 


In photography, some photos are just advanced snapshots and those shouldn't be used to represent a quality product or establishment. When you think about it, quality is about honor. Honoring your work and honoring the work of those you want to spend their hard-earned dollars on your product. In our culture, we value artisans and handmade items because we know it takes commitment and it takes hard work to produce. Blood, sweat, and tears are usually involved to create quality. 

Always Honor Quality

Because nothing worth having is ever easy or cheap. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Technical - Tangents and Composition.

Greg was the director of my portfolio school.  He warned me repeatedly about lines that lead out of the image. Earnestly and sincerely, he spoke to me. 

He also told me about framing the shot and keeping the viewer's eye inside the composition. The rule of thirds is the biblical standard in Photography and it's a fine standard. It is. 

He spoke of Tangents and Lines that Exit the Framing. He spoke of many cardinal rules all of which I dutifully learned.

Because it's true that you must know the rules to understand how best to break them.

I like shots that lead the viewer's mind out of the image. I don't like to trap them inside my mind.

 I want to find that moment that takes the mind's eye on a private tour of its own imagination. 

This image is a dried leaf on razor wire on an abandoned graveyard gate. It always makes me want to look over the gate. It sparks my mind to ask... why is it abandoned and exactly who does the razor wire keep out... or in? It gives birth to the metaphors of the ways we cling to life and the ways we dishonor the ones who have trod life's paths before us. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Principles: In Camera or In Photoshop.

When I was first taught about cameras, there was no such thing as photoshop or digital darkrooms. You had a real room that was dark or you had a good relationship with a lab.

This is one of the first pictures I ever took. It was with a Polaroid Swinger. It was THE coolest point and shoot of the times. 

When I was taught photoshop, I fell in love since I've never been fond of rooms that are dark. I learned all I could but, during the process, I also learned something unexpected. 

Just because it CAN be done in Photoshop doesn't mean it SHOULD be done in Photoshop. 

It's not about being "honest to the spirit of photography" or  being"old school" since I view Photoshop as just another tool in our quest to capture different than a lens or a tripod. 

The reason I stand by my claim that doing it "In Camera" is important? 

It's you. 

It's about stretching your mind and body. It's about learning patience. 
It's about handling surprises and rising to the occasion. 

In Photoshop, you get to control everything.
In life, you don't.

Sudden rainstorms or forgotten bug spray can demand an immediate opportunity to punt. 
Only then can you test yourself... get out of your box of comfort and learn to make a good shot out of whatever the fates determined would be your lot. 

These things will not be learned in Photoshop. 
And the more you learn, the more you come into your own and the more you understand, the better your work becomes. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Assignment: House on Haig Point.

When I'm on location, I try not to take a lot of extra equipment... or people. Maybe a stylist or the interior designer. 

I do take extra lenses, usually four. I use available light whenever possible. I bracket and manually combine those shots. I'm not a fan of HDR. After a tour of the building, I have usually requested in advance to be left alone to roam freely. I make several passes with the different lenses. Tilt and shift, wide angle, and macro are usually in my saddle bag. Depending on the size of the place, it might take me 3 or 4 hours with more work in the digital darkroom. I'm always looking for the story. If I'm not writing the piece, I like to discuss the writer's slant so I can make sure to get a shot that reflects the tone of their article. 

The home on Haig Point is on a small island, accessible only by boat, off the coast of South Carolina. Like me, the owner is in love with arches. The home is a study of arched ceilings, windows and doorways. I seem to believe with some left-over child's delight that there is some secret magic in arches, so the home was a wonderland for me. To read this article and see a few of the shots, click this link.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Personal Work: Random thoughts about shooting sunrises and setsets

You should take photos of the sky. To put magnificence into a tiny box is to share a miracle of accomplishment. To do it well is a gift of talent that has been gently bestowed upon you. It tells you the Sky's Resident Artist sees you watching...

and approves.

Always shoot them. Foggy Mornings and Golden Lights of Night.

When my son was small, I told him that if anything ever happened to me, there would come a day here and there when he really needed his mom. During tough times that happen in all our lives, I told him to make time to watch the sunset and on those days, I would ask the Sky's Resident Artist if I could help paint the sky that night for my little boy.
So far, I've never needed to ask, but my promise stands. No matter how old my little boy gets, I will always paint the sky for him.