Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Everything Changes... Everything Remains The Same

While at Malibu the other day I realized just how much surfing had changed. I get so wrapped up in the film vs. digital world that I didn't see that change is everywhere. When surfing became popular in the 60's everyone was riding long boards. Change came but it was an evolution of design so it wasn't apparent as change. Boards got shorter and lighter and fins were added in multiples.

Today in the water you'll find alias, the ancient Hawaiian boards, long boards short boards and reproductions on every era's designs. The "change" is that everyone isn't riding the same current design, but designs of choice selected from over a 100 years dating back to the ancient Hawaiian wooden boards. Surfers are no longer a single entity, but sub-cultures with in the sub-culture of surfing.

I'm not so sure this is a good thing, as short boarders dislike long boarders, long boarders dislike short boarders and everyone dislikes the stand up paddlers! Maybe the digital film thing isn't so bad after all, at least we're still using cameras.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spaced Out Technology

While trying to figure out why my email provider is down, I went looking through some old photo files to keep me from trashing my computer in frustration. I came across a few images from the Kennedy Space Center and realized how far technologically we've come in a very short time. Maybe having to wait for the server, even that name doesn't only apply to your waiter anymore, for my email to return isn't a big price to pay.

But if I had to describe my Internet provider, I'd say they used the "rocket" in the middle photo for their satellite launch!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's All About The Background

Years ago I overheard Walter Iooss Jr. at a baseball game tell another photographer, "it's all about the background." I've seen Walter many times since and never told him how that resonated with me. I know he loves surfing so here's one from today at Malibu. With all of the cameras pointing west up the beach, I noticed the angle south with the pier in the "background." Thanks again Walter.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ars Gratia Artis

Last night while commenting to the artist on her work she exclaimed, " I hope no one takes the Polaroids!" For the uninitiated this was in reference to Polaroid's demise and the scarcity of said film. ( Maybe she hadn't heard that Polaroid was back in business, but that would ruin this posting).

Anyway, it started me thinking about when is a photograph, (Polaroid included), painting or any other medium, art and not just the end product of someone's creativity? Maybe it's when someone other than the creator acquires the piece and displays it for others to admire. Or maybe the infamy of the person creating the work automatically makes it so. The above photograph was taken at a house about to be demolished. If the paintings weren't photographed and no one but the painter saw them were they art?

Was she keeping the Polaroids from becoming art by not letting others acquire them? Or is art just art for art's sake? Something to think about next time you think about filling the empty space on the wall behind your couch.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Good 'Ol Days?

Are the good 'ol days good because of selective memory or were they really? I had the good (?) fortune to play around with a 1960's era water housing for the Hasseblad; my medium format camera of choice, these babies weigh 2130 gramms (or 4.7 lbs.) by themselves. As noted in previous posts I'm no fan of digital but I am not one to shun modern innovations either. Swimming out with what seemed like a Sparklets Bottle with the Hassy inside and guessing at focus and exposure was enough to have me longing for a waterproof point and shoot digital camera. Then to only get 12 shots and have to swim back to shore convinced me that it is selective memory that makes the good 'ol days seem so wonderful.

Above are Thom and Joe at San Onofre. Thom's riding an old school finless wooden board weighing about 75lbs. Maybe he know's something about the good 'ol days I missed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tim Brehm Retires After 38 Years

Today, along with classmates and students from a span of 38 years, celebrate the retirement of Tim Brehm from John Burroughs HS. I was lucky to be in his classes and to get a head start on my career. Thank you for imparting your knowledge and techniques on us and supporting us as we started into our professional lives. Above is a photograph, (high-contrast litho film assignment), that was part of my High School portfolio that was presented for scholarship to Art School.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just Another Ferris Wheel Photo

While outside the Texas State Fair Grounds on a photo shoot last week, I ran to the fence with my trusty IPhone and took what I thought was a pretty cool snap shot. When I showed it around back at the shoot the first comment I heard was, " wow, bet you're the only person ever to take a picture of that Ferris wheel!" Pretty accurate comment, and one that got me thinking. How many photos would we not take if we thought "that photo's already been taken"? Or more likely, how many photos are taken because someone has seen a photograph of the same subject?

I have always been inspired by others work but have always tried to put my own spin on the subject I'm photographing. I never thought about why I didn't like a photo (mostly my own), until now. Is it because the photographer, maybe subconsciously, is trying to recreate the same image as the one they saw in the book or museum rather than use it as an inspiration? I now think that in my case it's that the photograph I shot too closely resembles a work I've already seen.


Read in the paper while out of town that Ken Griffey Jr. had retired. I couldn't wait to get home and put up this post. I was referring to Mr. G in the May 22 post on Dorthy's passing. I hope he didn't read it, feel bad and call it quits.