A Long, Long Time Ago

**WARNING**

This post is for my thoughts and reflections and nothing more.
The NEW format for this blog will begin with my next post.
CHEERS!

 

A long, long time ago I used to write a blog.  It was originally going to be dedicated to photography, then it became personal, and then about I’m not sure what, and the last post was nearly one year ago.  A lot has happened in that time, I put on my latest Art show in Denver featuring all new work primarily consisting of wildlife and Nature photographs contrasted by urban environments (it is the show I am most satisfied with to date, and Im happy to say that some of the art did not end up back in my house!).  I got a day job working as a classic Porsche mechanic, and traveling (a lot), that probably has something to do with me not working as a mechanic anymore.  I got Married to my best friend and better half of the last ten years, in Maui, Hawaii (one of my favorite places on Earth – so far), and planning even more travel.

With my day job ending, I was faced with what seemed like an endless number of options for me to consider, do I go back to school?  Do I continue to pursue a future with cars?  Do I make my photography my full time gig?  I have spent a great deal of time with these questions, and receiving plenty of advice from friends and family.  I am still unsure what the future holds, all I do know is that I will use this time to invest in my passion for photography, travel, art and writing.

That brings me to what will be the new content format of this blog.  First a new name is in order.  Second, the content of the posts will act as a journal as I explore light (that is code for photography), the places and people that inhabit our magnificent world and the adventures of life.

Now I am faced with major writers block, and as I HATE when people end stuff with inspirational quotes, I will leave with a fundamental principal of physics instead!

In a system where no external forces are present, every action force is always opposed by an equal and opposite reaction force.

Italy: Part Two: Opening Night: The Gallery

In a word, opening night was a dream!

But let me reflect on it coming together.  Earlier, if you remember (or if you missed my last post) the show was not in such a blissful state.  Eventually customs was worked out and in just two days we managed to get the art on a plane from Rome to the Catania airpot in Sicily.  This is where our story continues.

Coincidentally my mother was to arive on opening day, this being a Friday.  And in keeping with Alitalia airlines tradition, they forgot to put her lugage on the plane, but as luck would have it her bags would end up on the same plane as the art!  After hanging out at cargo pickup for some time, which by the way looked like something straight out of a mob film including some guy hanging out in a beautifully tailored suit, very dark sunglasses and smoking a cigarette, the art arrived on the platform.  At this time we had three people, my mothers luggage and all the art to fit into the car (a Fiat Multipla for those of you who are interested), suddenly all those years of getting yelled at to stop playing Tetris paid off!  There was now about one-and-a-half hours until opening, this could only mean one thing, it was time to drive like an Italian, and luckily we had one on board, she decided that 160 km/hr was appropriate, that it 99.42 mi/hr, or in American math, 100 mi/hr.

She's a looker!

She’s a looker!

and in a 2002 Fiat Multipla with three abreast seating and  literally ever square inch taken up in the car is in the best of terms, unnerving…..

We did arrived, unpacked and hung the work in less then  30 minuets, and my poor mother, who had been traveling for so long, now had no time to take a nap, however we did have time to clean up and change and get back to the gallery.

Back at the gallery all the stress and pain faded away.  It was packed, the gallery looked great and no one the wiser to the state of the show just 40 min. earlier.  Speaking of the gallery, it is called Spazio 30 (Spazio Trenta) and it is quite simply a breathtaking space.  It is not a huge modern space like some galleries stateside.  But rather a blend of modern minimalism, with straight clean lines and tasteful lighting, contrasted with classical arches in stone that were cold and rough on your finger tips, and large slate tiles on the floor which added weight to the lofty high ceiling.  I will never forget this space, I loved it!

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But this whole trip is about art, so what about the work?  Well, I am happy to say that it was very well received.  It is always so gratifying to have people enjoy your art, and so much better when they express it in Italian.  In the United States, you might hear “Your work is nice”, or “Beautiful”, or “very nice”, all are fine, and I accept them with great gratitude.  But in Italy to have people who want to meet you, and greet you with “Molti Complimenti” and “Bello”, it is wonderful (and sure, I know that a lot of this has to do with the romanticism of the language).  But what happened next, is something that I will never forget and something that I wish we did over here in the U.S.  A lovely and brilliant man, Salvo, gathered everyone in the front room of the gallery and gave , what I imagine, because it was all in Italian, was a colorful and quite theatrical presentation of the work, the inspiration behind the work and the artists.  IMG_1434It is something I wish we did here, and something everyone was really into, they seemed genuinely interested and engaged.  Apparently this is standard operating procedure for gallery openings in Italy, and I love it, I think it creates a connection between the artist, their work and people who are there to view it.  Eventually, about 9:30pm, everyone needed dinner, so off we went.

 

And on that note, I am getting hungry, so off I go!

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Italy : Part one : Travels : Drama

Well, that didn’t according to plan.  The idea was to spend my time in Italy writing and updating the blog, guess what didn’t happen…..So the plan is to write a few post that will be up in the next several days, and it would stand to reason that I start at the beginning.

 

I left early in the morning on the 27th of May, with a flight from Denver to Washington D.C. then on the Rome and finally to Catania on Sicily, where I would pick up a car and make the drive into Ortigia.  The good news is that things did happen in that order, the bad news began in D.C.  We were 3 hours late getting into the air, so naturally I missed my connection to Sicily.  after being forced to buy a new ticket (thanks Alitalia) I had 20 min. to make the flight, but I did and made it to Sicily.  I picked up a car, A little black Fiat Panda with 6km on the clock, and off I went.  Now I have been to Italy several times, but always relied on public transport, so this would be my first experience driving fist hand in the country some refer to as “God’s Racetrack”, and I was to do it in a little 1.3 liter Fiat.  But it was marvelous, it took second for me to realize that I was born to drive like an Italian, the biggest problem was the car, it just didn’t have enough power, but I digress.  I ended up finding my way through the city of Syracuse, buy blind luck, and was quickly in Ortigia (the old part of town).  I found a parking spot and made my way to the flat where I would be string the duration of my stay.  I was desperate for a shower, so I took one, and then headed to the gallery.

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This is where things begin to go down hill rather quickly.  And to start things off, there was no art, neither my work or that of the featured artist, Catherine Carilli, was at the gallery and to make it worse we didn’t know where it was.  We found that it was being held in Rome for customs reasons that I could write and entire post on, but I will spare you the pain.  The next two day were spent getting the work out of Rome and to the airport in Catania where I could pick it up, basically a lot of paperwork.  But success, and I was able to pick up the work on Friday, and roughly around the same time that my mother arrived.  A 160km/hr drive back down to the gallery, a bit of illegal parking, and I’m not exaggerating, less than 30 min. to hang the the show before the opening reception.  But we pulled it off, and my fist international exhibition was under way.

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Italy Update

The exhibition in Sicily is fast approaching, and there is good news!  Everything is actually (I said with a semi surprised tone) coming together very nicely.

The prints are amazing.  I choose to use a professional printing (Photo Craft in Boulder, CO) service to produce all my Fine Art prints, and for several good reasons.  The first is that they have a Lightjet printer, and there is no way I could afford such a tool (or find a place to set it up).  The second is that is their profession, they print stuff, and they have an entire division dedicated to fine art photographers, so they understand our…….quirks.  Fact, I have used other printing companies, and I have never had a photograph printed this well, everything about it is superior, I am one happy camper!

And the good news continues.  The framing is nearly complete, only the backing and hanging kits remain.  It is difficult to describe how a simple mat and frame can transform the photograph, but it really does and I am so happy I made the right choices for this show, they look great.

Next is getting everything to the shipping company to be crated and sent to Italy…..then comes customs….

 

Photo of the day

"The Lonely Stairs"“The Lonely Stairs”

Seattle, Wa.
2014

I find this photograph rather eerie and maybe just a little bit depressing.  We, as a species of innovation and construction, have gone to great lengths to develop construction materials and techniques, and a great amount of labor goes into these projects.  Although a simple set of concrete stairs my not be the pinnacle of our capabilities, it has been and will continue to be, a fundamental element in everything from a rural home to the urban streets of our largest cities.  With this thought dominating my mind, I captured this image, a concrete set of stairs buried in the heart of Seattle with no one using them.  I had stumbled upon a central pedestrian walkway/park in the city, and yet, I watched this set of stairs go un-used for quite some time.  I remember it made me a little sad, and also a little uneasy.  Was there something wrong the stairs, something that made people avoid them, something I was unaware of as an outsider?  Was it bad city planning?  Or was it just coincidence that at the time of my presence, there was no one there to use them.

I use my camera to capture these moments, and hopfully not only capture the physical, but also express the thought and emotoins I am experiencing.  I chose to shoot the stairs in black and white as a way of focusing the viewers eye.  With the removal of color, there is only contrast by which to interpret the scene.  I also deliberately chose to fill the left side of the frame with a tree.  The city planers went to great lengths to incorperate nature in the walkway, and to remove this aspect of the environment would be to present a dishonest image (this is a common thread in all my work (hence the reason I don’t use photoshop)).  I could go on, but in an attempt to keep my rambling to a minimum I will stop.

I always attempt to create meaningful images, and on a personal level this certainly qualifies.  I will continue to view this image and be taken back to that moment, and after all, is that not what Photography is all about…

(This image will be part of a exhibition I have later this summer in Denver!)

My home away from home [Seattle]

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I suppose I should address the extended absence of posts. It goes something like this, I recently got back from a trip to Seattle, and apparently I am too lazy to update this blog when I am away from home (definitely something I need to work on).  And when I returned home, then was much work to do for the Italy show and thousands of images to sort through.  Better late then never, here is a a quick summary of my trip.

Day 1: The sun was out so I grabbed the camera and disappeared.  And then, to no ones surprise, it began to rain, so I exchanged the great outdoors for the great, and more importantly dry, indoors. At this point I found it necessary to watch “Frasier” and make dinner.

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Day 2:  The City!  I am very picky about my big cities. I like Denver (but only as a friend), I’m too terrified of huge cities like New York, hate Paris (except for like 10 blocks, and yes I know I just lost another Facebook friend for this), love Florence (yep, thats in Italy!), and LOVE Seattle.

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I love that the city is by the water, I love that it is built top of the old Seattle that failed catastrophically after an earthquake, I love the people, I love that some people have to take a ferry to get to work, I love the buildings, and the restaurants, I love the Space Needle, I even love…well…like, the weather. And more than anything, I love that this place inspires me. I feel excited, rejuvenated, and driven to create. I’m like the kid from “A Christmas Story” when he got his BB gun. (For photographers only: It is like rediscovering the magic of photography again, re-falling in love with the craft of still image making).

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It did rain all day, but that didn’t stop the photography!  City photography is new(ish) for me, but I must say that I greatly enjoyed myself.

Day 3:  Surprise! it was raining, so basically I did nothing…..I think I took the dogs for a walk.

Day 4:  500MM Bliss!  I picked up the GF from the airport and headed into Seattle for lunch, to pick up fish at the market for dinner, and then she decided we needed to go shopping, And the sun was out!  and to cap off an awesome day, I stopped by one of my favorite camera shops in the country Glazers Camera, and picked up what has to be one of the greatest lenses ever made, the Canon 500mm f/4L IS USm II.

the dream team

left to right: 300mm f/4 L IS USM | 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM | 500mm f/4 L IS II USM

Day 5: The Wild. _MG_0793This day was one of the primary reasons for my trip to the Northwest. In keeping within the tradition of wildlife photography, I was up at 4am, showered, and on the move. And joy of joy, no rain! Many hours and many, many photographs later (so many that I ran out of memory) it began to rain, so I called it a day and headed back to base. I spent the day with the 500mm, and boy did it make an impression. I have used many fine lenses, but nothing quite like this. It was so sharp, the AF so fast and so accurate, and the IS system so effective, there is no questioning its $11,000 price tag in my mind. Using this lens is on of the highlights of my young career as a photographer. (I must also say, that it is so nice to have that amount of reach with a lens, it is so nice not struggling to get closer to an animal, only to have them move away from you.)

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Day 6: I returned the 500mm……sad.  But the day quickly improved, I discovered a part of the city I never knew about (North Admiral and Alki Beach area) and decided this is a place I want to live at some point.  Finished the day with happy hour overlooking the city.

Day 7:  Back to Colorado….if only it was that simple.  My flight was delayed, so I picked up a couple of magazines, and grabbed a beer (….or 2….or 3).  finally got home, late and began the post travel equipment inspection (and prying nothing got damaged by the airpot monkeys).  Thanks to my beloved Pelican cases everything arrived safe and secure. Dinner, and then sleep.

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Dear Seattle,

I will return!

Step 7

Good news! the Kickstarter campaign was a success! Thank you to everyone that contributed, this show could not happen without you!

So whats next?  well, I have the proofs for the show and am poring over them and making many notes.  The final prints will be made in the next week, and frames are getting sorted.

Tangent!  I am producing a show book.  This will include all the images from the show accompanied by my thoughts on each piece, as well as some general words about the show, my work, the process and a personal reflection on the experience.  (I like to produce something like this in order to document all my shows)(if your interested in a digital, or large hardback copy please contact me)

Now its time to do some marketing – make some flyers/posters and send out invitations.

Photos will return to this [photography]blog in the next post, I promise!

And if Italy is too far away, I will be having a show in Denver later this summer….