Week-6-Project Development.

This week I went up to Carmel. I made an appointment to meet with the Curator of the Weston Gallery in Carmel. My intention was two fold: 1. For him to take a look at my portfolio for this module and get his opinion on the work. 2. To ask if I could have my FMP exhibition up at the Gallery.

I met Ansel Adams at the Weston Gallery when I was a young film student at Cal Arts back in 1982.  He was having a retrospective of his work and a friend of mine told me about it and asked if I would like to go, because he knew that I was a fan of Ansel and the Zone system.

Many years before when I was in the Navy in South Africa, I had seen a documentary on Ansel in Yosemite and it was then and there that I decided on a career in film/photography and applied to Cal Arts. Here it was some 4 years later and I would finally have the opportunity to meet him.

We drove up, went to the Weston, I met Ansel, had a book signed, and made a series of images of him both B+W and color, which I have had in my possession since. While up there was introduced to Point Lobos and the work of Edward Weston, so both these photographers have had an influence on my practice as both a cinematographer and more recently as a photographer.

My history with the Weston Gallery goes back a long way. I would like to come full circle and have my FMP exhibit there, or at least manage to get some of my work on show.

I drove up, went to the gallery, and met up with Richard Gadd the curator in his office. From the get go it was very casual and comfortable. I discovered he was originally from Ohio, I had done a movie up in that area so was familiar with Dayton (where he was from) Columbus and Sundusky Ohio. We spoke at length about Ansel and Ed, he was interested to see the images I had made back then, which lead into my current work and my Module 702 images.

The Weston is a very conservative gallery and I was a little concerned about my abstracts. So I included a few ‘strait’ images in my series on fences, to make my context clear. Fences is about the barriers, challenges and difficulties that I and other artists experience in life, which can spill over into others areas of life as well, and how to deal or overcome them.

When I showed Richard the series, which included both real and abstract images, I was very concerned that he would gravitate to the real images. However it was the opposite. He said he did not have to see the realistic image of a fence to get the concept I was trying to convey, that all he needed to see was the abstracts.

Veiled View ©Pierre Chemaly

This fueled me to keep moving in that direction. We spent about two hours at the gallery. He showed me some rare abstract images that Ansel made, one was ‘Broken Glass’ that he was getting ready to send a collector. He also shows me an image that Ansel made at Manzanar that he shot over the ‘Fence’ at the back of the camp around 1942 of Mount Williamson. It was ironic that he shot it over a fence, and it also happens to be my favorite or all Ansel’s images.

He later invited me to a talk that was being held at the CFCP (Center for Creative Photography) by Richard Tuschman. It was also an opening at the gallery there on his work. The talk was very informative, I went to the opening to see Tuschman’s work, met him, he asked me for my business card, I don’t know why, but will see where that leads. I will also be in contact with him to find out how he went about getting the exhibit at the CFCP.

I feel that this experience was a great help. It gave me courage to pursue my practice in the abstract direction. I made contact with the gallery curator. The Weston, is gallery I respect and had the opportunity to meet with Richard Tuschman, who I will approach to find out how that all fell in place for him, and how it did that.

I also went to see Kim Weston (Ed Weston’s grandson) at Wildcat hill.  I brought up the fact about burning my work. He recounted a story about Ed Weston doing that, which he later regretted. We had a discussion about printing and printing techniques, and I will return sometime later this year and he will give me a printing refresher, so happy about that.

Made some fence images both on the way up and down from Carmel. Went to Point Lobos, for old times sake and found a wrist watch just hanging on a fence up there, very strange, so made a few images of “time” to add to my list of findings. On the way up found a hand written message on a piece of wood strapped to a fence that said “repent” made a few image of that.

This week was a major step forward for me on many levels and look forward to making some images of the work I did up in that area this week past. And look forward to how things will pan out with the gallery and with  Richard Tuschman.

Week-6-Contextual Research

 

  1. Ansel Adams Abstracts
  2. Pushing Boundaries.

1. This week I was introduced to Ansel Adam’s abstract work by Richard Gadd of the Weston Gallery at Carmel-By-The-Sea. I am very familiar with Ansel’s work, but up util this point in my practice, I did not know that Ansel dabbled in the abstract.

Richard showed me a few pieces. The subject matter of one piece was a pane of broken glass. Supposedly there are only four known prints of this image. I have never heard of it, or seen it before this time, so it was nice to know that ol’ conservative Ansel, had broken out briefly from the ‘Landscape’ genre.

As I looked at the image, I wondered why he made an image of broken glass. I theorized that it may be linked to a story I had heard about Ansel. Supposedly he was a little drunk, and was supposed to have said: “I was an artist once.” I tried to find some evidence of this story which was in a documentary, but as yet have not been able to substantiate it. However, seeing that image made me think of that. The subject matter: broken glass, the subject: a broken man/artist.

I researched Ansel abstractions, and came upon an article written by Robin Greenwood:  –  ‘Ansel Adams and Abstraction.’   I was hoping to find some accolades about the work, however to my surprise I found that Greenwood did not like them: “these were the ones I really disliked.”  It is interesting to not that not all people like abstractions. here is his reason why: ‘They are clichés now; abstract compositions. Boring.’  This will have to be something I take into consideration in my own practice. It seems that one  cannot please everyone, and one man’s meat is another’s poison.

 

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2. Pushing Boundaries.

Since the first images made by Niepce and Daguerre, photographers have pushed the boundaries of the image. And just like painters, who got tired of realism, photographers followed in the me vein looking for ways to express themselves through images. Much of the photographers work is gleaned from Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. Photographers like Minor White and Aaron Siskind had painterly qualities in the work and Siskind himself worked alongside painters like Kline, and from what I can see they drew from each others works.

Aaron Siskind -Chicago. Photo Credit:https://www.invaluable.com/blog/abstract-photography/

I like looking at works of artists who are abstractionists, I particularly like the work of Kasimir Malevich, Paul Klee and Kandinsky. Malevich abstracted down to the color black and the square shape, Kandinsky moved in the same direction with the use of color alone. Klee abstracted down to still having some recognizable shapes and forms from the real world, but for the most part abstracted them down to their basic forms.

I am doin the same in my practice at present. In my module project fences, I am slowly pulling away from the subject matter of the fence alone and moving into the subject matter of fences as metaphor. Metaphor for boundaries, challenges, difficulties and successes we have in out lives and out art. So I am withdrawing the physical fence more and more from my images. Hopefully by the time the final major project comes around there won’t be a single recognizable fence in the image.

Refs:

https://abstractcritical.com/note/ansel-adams-and-abstraction/index.html

https://www.invaluable.com/blog/abstract-photography/

Week-5-Project Development.

Feb 28. This week is almost over, and have been very busy constructing images. I have moved from the position of just taking/making a photography to be a physical part of the making and constructing the image.

This week about the ‘Gaze’ is interesting. Why we look, how we look, at life images and people are interlinked. Fundamentally, we are attracted by beauty in whatever form it takes. For me it is the beauty of the new, and the unexplored.  I’m a Christopher Columbus of images, always looking for the new and the different. Now maybe shifting gears to ‘create’ the new and the different.

The theme of the: ‘Rise of the Phoenix’ has always been of interest to me, and how I could apply that in my own practice to create something new has been  a challenge for a very long time. This past week, I was going to have a ‘burning’ of my images, in order to start again with new ideas, I have accumulated over my live plus those new ones acquired in the MA.

As I got to the back door to do the burning, the wind started up, it was cold, cloudy, foggy, rainy and snowing. (yes is does happen in California, at the higher elevations) So, that ended the burning. I had printed about 40 inset prints, an the ink was not completely dry, and I threw the images out the back door into the wind, placed a few around the yard, and went back into the house. Some I collected an hour later some six, some were left out all night and other for days.

The images were totally at the mercy of the elements. And they were transformed into totally new images. The ink ran, smudged, concentrated and thinned out, to make some images barely recognizable, and other still recognizable. I then took them inside and rephotographed them. I will also scan them next week, and I played in Lightroom. I have happy with the imaged and finally been able to abstract them in a way I have wanted to do but unable to achieve. I presented a few images to Michelle, and she was pleased with the advancement, and like the abstractions. I have a webinar later with my tutor Paul, so will see what the outcome is on that.

I have managed to secure an interview at the Weston Gallery in Carmel, with the curator Richard Gadd. It would be a dream of mine to be able to have my Final Major Project there. I am going up to have him look at my work in progress and set see if there is any possibilities of getting my work shown. I will be up against Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, who both have been a major influence in my life. I met Ansel at that Gallery back in 1982, when he had his last retrospective there. It was then, that I was introduced to the work of Edward Weston, and Point Lobos. From Ansel I learned, that ‘The Negative’ is only half the story, they rest is in the print. From Ed I learned that one can do work in a very limited area (he is supposed to have said that he could photograph at Point Lobos his whole life)  I always considered that statement very limiting, but as I get older, it makes a lot of sense to me. So, I made my series in my back yard.

Went down to Freestyle Photo, and Blicks in Hollywood, bought paper, ink, and nice portfolio case, and have been busy all week photographing, lite-rooming and printing work in progress print to present on Saturday at the Weston.

All my digital printing in done on a Canon Pixma-Pro10, and so far I am very happy with the color as well as the black and white prints. I am using after market inks, the original Canon Inks are so expensive, and so far they have been about 95% accurate. If I make prints for presentation, I use the Canon OEM inks and the color is about 99% accurate.

I work a lot in 35mm and 6×6, so behind a little on the processing, but will get to it when I come back from Carmel.

Richard Tuschman, is having a seminar up there, so I will be attending it. I did contact him by email, and he responded. so hope to have a little chat with him after the seminar, and hopefully get some nuggets of information on how to proceed with my own practice.

 

WEEK 6: Project Development. Point Lobos/Weston Gallery/Wildcat Hill

I went up to Carmel California, to visit the Weston Gallery and to visit Point Lobos. I stopped in at Wildcat Hill and met with Kim Weston to find out if he knows where I could find out about a statement I had heard about Ed Weston back in 1982 when I went to Point Lobos for the first time. I was in Carmel and heard that Weston said, the he could photograph in Point Lobos his whole life. Kim told me that it is in fact written some where, and that Point Lobos was Ed’s “Go to place” plus he had bought that property: “Wild Cat Hill” that was less than a mile away. I also went to the reserve and made a few images.I also dropped in at the gallery so see an original of Pepper 30, but there was not a single original copy to be seen. There where a few images printed by Bret Weston, but no originals. It was nice to visit the gallery, where I had met Ansel back in 1982 at his last retrospective.