The Painter and the Photograph©Amazon

The medium has always been of interest to me, and feel that it much of the process in image making. I have always felt that photography falls short of painting as a means of expression. There is the problem of photographic immediacy that has always bothered me, and at the same time the long time it takes to paint an image on the other.

The booklet: “The painter and the photograph” is an interesting bit of information as it opens up the possibility to make images that are a bit of both. Which I find very interesting. This is not new to me, but somehow the book puts it within a framework that is manageable. I like things to be manageable, or maybe I should really say that I like my ideas to be confirmed.

When I read a book or certain articles, I make judgements whether they feel right, or are useful to me. If I get annoyed by something I read, a lot of the times I know I am reading information that someone puts forward as Logos or method of persuasion. Since we live in different realities, I don’t always agree with what I read. and know that these people are “full of shit.”  Not very academic I know, however, I still like to refer to stuff in a base way once in a while because it’s a language everyone can understand very easily, including myself.  If they one is deconstructing anything. Photography  in particular, they themselves do not have the answer.

I like using various mediums and will start introducing this “mixed media” into my work. deep down, I feel that this may be the answer to a lot of questions. For example, the ubiquity of photography has made me numb to images, in fact I get annoyed by the strait camera image. So maybe this is a way to experiment more with the medium.

As I move forward with the project, I am still stuck between the objective and non objective image, and by objective meaning the recognition of objects in the image as opposed to not recognising anything or even using anything recognisable in the image.

Still  looking into the possibility of mixing painting with my images. Still have the deep down desire to keep my project within the walls of my house and yard.  Whether this means doing the whole project like that or collecting information from the outside and bringing it home to be modified, changed and reformed still remains to be seen.


Coke,Van Deren. The Painter and the Photograph. The University of New Mexico Press.



As I move along the course, my role is becoming more defined idea wise, and more separated in my practice. I like the idea of being an ‘art-photographer’ always have and a ‘happenings-photographer’ both of which are difficult for their respective reasons. As an art-photographer I like abstracts, but am still having great difficulty envisioning how to do it for my FMP. as a happenings-photographer, I like the idea and have no problems with it, but feel that I would be selling out the reason I started this course and that is to figure out the abstract route. Glad Dr. Gary reminds me that the course is still young and have plenty of time to figure out the exact course of action.

I have a lot of technical experience in photography, particularly motion picture imaging. I have helped many people in my career teaching them what I know or feel that they deserve to know. I’ still old school in that respect,there interest that is shown me the more they get in return. I do not waste my energy or experience on everyone the same way. There has to be a deep interest from anyone wanting to learn for me to give deeply in return.

I have been teaching film classes for the past two years, and always tell my students that teaching is a two way street. You will teach me things and I will teach you things, and by the end of it you will have learned something new and so will I. This has turned out to be true many times. People I encounter have knowledge in different fields, and bits of knowledge gleaned from them has enabled me to do stuff that I normally would not do. One of my students got me investing in a certain part of the market, another one got me interested and investing in cryptocurrency, a few have become new friends. It has also taught me to teach and to reflect on myself in ways that I never did before. Like, treating everyone equally, giving individual attention, helping the ones with learning difficulties to get through it.  It is really a very satisfying line of work. Also it allows me to share my knowledge that I have accumulated of the decades, it’s sort of a release valve in a way, emptying out in order to take new stuff in.

Still thinking about the workshop. I am taking it to a professional/business level and will be doing week-end cinema workshops here in Hollywood and Los Angeles. Working on a website with my new partner, that I met while teaching and filming a movie, called Hollywood Film Production Workshops  www.hfpw.org and hope to launch the site very soon.

As far as the methodology is concerned, I am still going to experiment and implement other photographers methods such as ‘forcing’  the image as well as image ‘appropriation’ and playing with the element of chance,within a framework (HWY138) and being open to see where this leads. Potentially this could lead to an outcome where my FMP becomes a ‘happening’  or ‘abstract’ but as yet have no idea how to formulate it yet.

Below is the poster for the workshop.



This weeks activities were a little challenging. I had to think about how I was going to execute the ideas I had on my bookshelf. It’s interesting when bares one’s ideas to a crowd or an audience, there are always the responses that one expects to some degree, that one may like or dislike, however there is always someone who will present some information that it ambiguous or abstract enough that opens up one for thought. I did get some good feedback from from pages with the kind of response that I was hoping to illicit, and one that opened me up to some thinking.

The core methodology of my work is evolving, becoming more open, open to discovery, exploring the locations physically, spending time there as opposed to just thinking about it.

Moving forward, I am considering using many different kinds of cameras along the way. I have a varied collection of older digital camera, film camera and polaroids, I like these forms of making images, and toying with the idea of using them more instead of selecting one particular camera.  This however may be a problem with unity. I will go forward and play more with the idea. I went out and did a series of images on one of my old analogue Nikkormat camera. Still have to develop the film and scan it to see what it offers.


Should the photographs resonate with the space and place? This question, like anything else depends on a number of factors. If the imagery is part of the environment, I would say yes, sometime a piece is strong enough to survive on its own, without having to be in context with it’s surroundings. Generally I think the weaker a piece or a photograph is the more labels, framework and context it needs, because without it, it would just collapse or fall apart.

In my opinion, most art-works are so weak that without a framework it will just integrate into oblivion. The modern day ‘artist’ has learned to capitalise off the ‘soup label’ without which you as a viewer would nothing about the work, or even it is is fact a piece of art, or a nother piece of sidewalk garbage that has just blown in. In my piece that will happen at the site below, I hope the viewer steals, mutilates, or destroys the image. The only reason I am going to leave a guestbook is to find out why.  Why steal, destroy or mutilate?  It’s a very brutal location, the people driving past the installation are blue collar workers and most of them won’t get it.  Some may steal it because they may perceive it as a piece with value, they may destroy it because it is out of place and does not fit their. This is all conjecture. I would love to see how well I can predict the future.

I have submitted my space, its the one below. I had already made up my mind to do this before the weeks activity required it. I just posted it, it was a little late this week. however, I will go back and see the response.

My methodology if I understand the word correctly, would be a system or ideology of methods  or a system of methods that i will employ Well, I have moved out from the strict abstract limited restricted environment of my home out into the desert. I will employ the camera instead of camera less photography, I am going incorporate motion picture into the mix, I am going to draw on my prior technical, photographic skill and equipment and empty new ones such as vintage digital cameras, and I am going to take an open approach to the out come of the project to see where it goes as opposed to a specific location that I had in Carmel to get my work shown. I will show it there if the opportunity came but I am no longer aiming for it like i did in the past.  I feel like I have been unshackled, in a lot of ways. No that i did not understand the advantages of chance and opens. I have studied the Tao and the works of John Cage for a very long time. Rigidity is the mark of death. I understand this conceptually, now I am having the opportunity to experience it. I guess the old adage is true. One can never in words explain the color red, to someone who has never had the experience of seeing it.  Im seeing it!

Llano Del Rio.jpg

Link (Links to an external site.)  Image courtesy of link.

I have already considered an alternative space to show my work for this module. This is Llano Del Rio (A socialist commune, that was attempted here around the turn of the 20th century) off Pearblossom Highway very close to where David Hockney photographed his collage in 1986, it is a half a mile from there.  I like this space for a number of reasons, one, mentioned above, secondly, it’s the remains of an old hotel from around 1914.

My show is going to be in the lobby of this hotel with a guestbook, left to the public of the highway immediately to the right off camera 75ft or so, and the elements, which is very harsh out here in the desert. There are a few challenges here besides the people from the highway and the elements. This is a national heritage site and I am going to have to obtain permission to do it.

I figure I will handle the site rep like a gallery curator, it is going to take some salesmanship to sell them the idea. Besides having become fascinated by this highway through the desert, I have discovered some interesting people who have worked and lived out here. Another person of interest was Aldous Huxley. Author of Doors of Perception.


The audience is a critical part of an artists work, without them, is a work of art real, does it exist? From the old adage “If a tree falls in the woods, and no-one hears it, does it make a sound?  Personally I think artists need to consider the audience, but specifically what type of audience? For me it’s more of a tribal audience, in the fact that I like to make certain kinds of work, and would like that work to appeal to my tribe. I’m not interested in a global audience. I like to do work, and hope that a certain type of audience will respond to it. I do not make work specifically to attract and audience.

The same applies to a curator. I would look for a curator that appreciates the same ‘Genre’ that I like to work in  that being ‘Abstract and Happenings’ then do work an approach them. If they are successful, selling and exhibiting works, and they have a criticism of my work, I will listen, evaluate, and make a decision based on a bed of logic, reason and intuition. If I come to a conclusion that that are right and changes need to be made, I will consider and base changes on that.

Curators are the gatekeepers, and necessary  to an artist getting their work appreciated and sold in the public realm. I think as an artist, if a problem with the work arises, both sides should air their views and them come to a conclusion based on facts, evidence as well as intuition should be made. A curator is a partner in a way, no two people have exactly the same views, how ever in any working relationship it’s a give and take on both side. My feelings are:  A single person has the power of one person. Two people have the power of four, power is quadrupled with two people working at something.

This week I posted my idea of having my exhibition out in the desert at the site of Llano Del Rio on Pearblossom Highway  HWY 138. I had a single positive feedback. so I am going to go with it. As far as my methodology goes, I have become more open to outcome as opposed to have a very focused view of what I want, this has given me a lot more confidence, not being so worried about a specific outcome, and it is making the process a lot more enjoyable.

Personally, besides abstract, I enjoy happenings. I am considering doing my FMP project as more of a happening that a series of abstract images.  I may incorporate abstraction into the happening, thus satisfying two aspects of my work. Moving forward, I am going to experiment a more in this direction.


Not made by human hands?


Link (Links to an external site.)

Some of these images came to mind. They are ‘photographs’ made from nuclear blasts onto concrete.  Made by humans, is questionable? Indirectly I suppose so. However it was not the primary reason for making the images, they are a byproduct of the radiation blast and discovered after the event. The image you see, is a  photograph of a ‘photograph’ made by radiation.


Think about:

  • The relationship between you and your chosen apparatus.
  • At which point responsibility becomes a consideration in your approach.
  • Whether another photographer can do what you do, and whether you could be more original.
  • How you are not just another “button-pusher”.

The relationship between myself and the apparatus is good. The enjoyment received from holding a camera and making images affords me tremendous joy. Life without the machine would be devastating. Even if it is possible to create without the black box, my work would take on a whole new look. Even though that is not a bad thing, it is not the new, being sought after, at least right now.

Responsibility as an approach is a very general abstract. As far as content goes, in my practice is very responsible, in that the content is not offensive or hurtful to others, or at least not intentionally. Red or line could be offensive to some people, however not one such individual has been met. Can another photographer do what I do. No!  They can copy what is being done but can never be me making the image. Them is them and I is I.

Being a button pusher bothered me for most of my life, however, since beginning the MA,  I have eased up on the word ‘creative’ instead of defining it as a lofty unattainable thing, I have reclassified it into a simple pragmatic term. It has become much more do-able. I tried to fight the impossible and lost! And I am okay with that also. Great being older!  On being a button pusher. Instead of avoiding being a button pusher, I have decided to do the exact opposite for every limitation ever imposed on me, by myself or others.

In your CRJ, write a short summary about:

  • Your experience of the week’s activities and any feedback received.
  • Any reconsiderations to the core methodology of your project.
  • The forms your project / photographs could potentially take moving forward.

This weeks activity was very enjoyable, I went out to HWY 138 to the location where David Hockney made the 1986 collage Pearblossem  Highway. I originally planned to photograph the area with my 4×5 polaroid camera, I did that but was not satisfied with the results and did it again using a very old Leica Digilux camera, the first consumer version they made in 1997/8.

Feedback on the images were positive, as I get deeper into the MA, I am learning to be more open about my practice, and not to be so determined to get a specific outcome work in a specific way, in other words to remain open and see where the river takes me. I am interested to explore HWY138 more. It’s an very interesting corridor than traverses East and West across the California desert. An area that I have enjoyed travelling for a while.

Potentially moving forward, I am considering doing a piece on that highway ‘HWY-138 Start to Finish’ and because I have a great collection of old cameras I am considering doing a series along the highway using all my apparatuses.



Think about:

  • Whether you embrace inherent collaboration in your work or whether you consciously resist it.
  • How you are learning from your subjects / collaborators / participants / respondents, or helping them, or both.
  • How you might be taking advantage of your subjects / collaborators / participants / respondents.
  • Any other ethical concerns you may have.

In your CRJ, write a short summary about:

  • Your experience of the week’s activities and any feedback received from peers and tutors.
  • Any reconsiderations to the core methodology of your project.
  • The forms your project / photographs could potentially take moving forward.

I find collaboration in my work to be difficult and I have a tendency to resist it, so as part of overcoming this trait, I am going to make an effort to collaborate more.

Feedback from Gary has been very good. In that I have to move forward and experiment more with my work as apposed to being stuck in the theory of it.

Now that I have been introduced to re-photogrphy, repeat photography, appropriation and the re-use of images. I am starting to see that making images can result in a myriad of ways and need not necessarily be reliant on re-inventing the wheel. That modification of things past can aid one in making images with a new form.

Moving forward with with my photography, I am going to employ some of these strategies in my work, particularly mirrors and windows and play around and experiment more in this arena, put away the thoughts I have of appropriation and re/repeat photography or other strategies as being plagiaristic old been done before attitude, and see if I experiment and play around with it if I can come up with something different. Maybe cut down on always attempting to make something ‘New’ and replace it with something ‘different.’

Activity: Making a Zine.

Having a difficult time communicating. Not getting emails with what’s to be done. Great resistance on my part, but making the effort to forge through it and get the activity done.

I did not get an e-mail from the group, or should I say I did not receive an email with directions from the zine group. Asked for another email, and even though it was sent did not receive it. So, I missed out in being involved in the zine project.


Appropriation and Re-mixing as a strategy for making art.

Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriation_(art)

Re-mixing. A remix is a piece of media which has been altered from its original state by adding, removing, and/or changing pieces of the item. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remix

I have been quite upset this week with appropriation and remixing. I suppose it strikes a chord somewhere in my own work where I have felt nothing more than a bad copy of everything I have read, studied, seen or experienced. Particularly of photographers and artists who’s work I have studied and enjoyed.

In reality and actuality, I am attaining the conclusion that my life and work are, at best, appropriations and remixes of those who have already made the journey.  I have spent decades attempting to be ‘original’ however, once again, Divine writings come to mind especially the quote. “Nothing in the world is new. Everything that is, was already and everything that is to come, was already.”

I have always regarded myself as a mere transformer, not a creator, because I do not form or make something out of nothing.  I merely transform everything I make from something else, be it using a camera, film, chemicals, paint, or metal . . . The list goes on and on. I’m not even sure if my ideas are original. Are they merely based on what I have seen, heard or experienced?

No matter how hard I have thought about it, I cannot get past the point of being a transformer, maybe that’s the best I will ever be. However, this does not stop me from being the most transformative appropriator or remixer, should I choose to embrace them?  Maybe I have no choice?  I say ‘maybe’ because in my mind, there are no absolutes.


Think about:

  • What approaches were of most relevance to your practice.
  • Where your original contribution may be, especially if all mediation can be considered remediation.
  • How authorship might differ from intent.
  • What constructive approaches could be taken if someone remixed your work.

In your CRJ, write a short summary about:

  • What you did during the week, feedback received and how you will respond to that.
  • Any reconsiderations to the core methodology of your practice.
  • The forms your project / photographs could take moving forward.

This week I’m still playing catchup, it’s Friday, week 2 and I’m still attempting to complete this weeks work.  I will be going down to a local museum that has old photographs of the area in the 30’s. I’m going to re-photograph the location of an old hotel that was up here in the 30’s and see if I can find the ridge line.

Im am considering experimenting with appropriations and remixing, I feel that I have to embrace that which I have at least thought about avoiding in my work, but which I have not been able to do in actuality.

The more I think about it, it seems impossible to avoid photographing anything that does not belong to another. Even if I photograph an egg, it belongs to some chicken somewhere. So, just because I cannot locate that chicken, speak chicken, or ask that chicken for permission, does it give me permission to use her egg? In actuality it does not. I’m using someone else’s property for my gain and not for it’s intended use.   I’m having some fun here, but I am sure the point is made.

Moving forward, the question is: To appropriate or not to appropriate. I’m more confused than ever.

I went to the museum and obtained photographs of the Lebec Hotel built in 1921 and a Gas station that was moved up to the area in 1950. I made images of the hotel and the gas station.  Finding exact spot where original image was made is quite the challenge in numerous ways from a position and focal length, film format and accessibility standpoint.

Lebec Hotel, Lebec CA. 1930’s

Lebec Hotel site June 2018 © Pierre Chemaly


Hancock Gas Station 1950’s


Hancock Gas Station site today June 2018 © Pierre Chemaly

As can be seen by the above two sets, in re-photography of the images some 90 and 70 years later respectively, there is substantial change in the content of the image. Also in the case of the Lebec Hotel location, there has been major changes in the ridge line and land formations, due to tree growth and land collapse. However some of the ridge line on the left and land formations of the right are still recognisable.

Thinking about methodology in my practice. The more  look at other people works, the more I see remixing and appropriation, sometimes I wonder if there is anything original anymore, then maybe I should approach  the ghost directly, and use some appropriation and re-mixing in my own work? Maybe that’s how others do it….steal under a nice name. Appropriate!




















Continue reading Week_2_Coursework_Reflections.


I came in a little late on this module. For some reason, it did not come up on canvas. After a few emails and phone calls, it appeared.

So, week one has been catch up, with week two on it’s heels and week three a few days ahead,this week has been particularly stressful attempting to read and digest all the information. I just finished my weekly assignment, albeit a week late. I also missed office hour with my tutor, so that was also a bit annoying.

I just completed this weeks activity, “Place over Time” with the place being an image in my mind and how the time of my image blended physically,also how it ties into my final project both abstractly and imposed constraint wise.

“Place over Time” activity photo for Module 703

Man Ray’s ‘Lips’ is an image/place/surface that I return to a great deal in my mind. At first glance the Lips seem out of place floating in the sky over the trees and the observatory. However there are some parallels in his surfaces that I like. 1. Made in his studio at #2 Rue Ferrou. 2. including the image of the Observatory close by his studio at the Jardin du Luxembourg which he frequented often. The image was made within a mile of where Man worked/lived. In my final project I’m planing to confine my project to my house and yard.

My image was made up in Monterey California at Point Lobos. When I saw the formation of the “Lips” in the rock, I immediately thought of Man and made the homage. I did a bit of photoshop on it, by liquifying the top part of my lip to match Man’s and image transform to match the angle. Other than that it was a pretty close match.


Think about:

  • Strategies employed by other practitioners of particular interest to you.
  • Challenges met / overcome by other practitioners and any compromises they had to make.
  • Differences between tools, methods and methodologies.
  • Various forms in which practice can be communicated and shared.

In your CRJ, write a short summary about:

  • What your current practice is.
  • What you did during the week, feedback received and how you will respond to that.
  • How you would describe your methodology.
  • The forms your project / photographs could take moving forward.


At present I am experimenting with doing my FMP in and around my house and yard. I like the fact of being able to explore images in my immediate environment, having all my tools and instruments at hand, able to work anytime day and night, challenging myself through limitation. A few artists who did this come to mind. Man Ray,  Edward Weston https://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/travel/29footsteps.html and Barbara Kasten. https://art21.org/artist/barbara-kasten/

This week and the next few weeks I am working on my darkroom and studio downstairs.  Getting all my cameras and lenses cleaned and checked.  I posted my activity, it’s bottom of the list and a week late so will check back later on feedback.

I  have a collection of many cameras in many formats ranging from 16mm up to 4X5. I enjoy using them, so I will use them all during this course in one way or another. Every camera makes an image differently  and I would like to employ these differences in my project. I will also be using digital and analogue image making processes.