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The Daily Image

I started this year, 2019, with the ambitious goal of posting one image per day on my blog. I had tried to start what is called a 365 project a couple of years ago but had to stop in March of that year due to my inability to organize my life around the project.

This brings me to my current success in this new project. I have tried to set aside specific times in which to capture my daily images and this works some of the time. I think what is different this time is that I have learned how to adapt to changing circumstances and make the photographs when the opportunity presents itself rather than trying to force a schedule on the project. On days were there are so many other things that need my attention I find small moments in which I can become creative.

My normal process is usually much slower than what I have been doing lately. Much of the recent work is captured relatively quickly. While this new approach may have some disadvantages and will probably not be my permanent mode of working going forward, I have produced quite a bit of worthwhile images using it.

I have been so pleased with this project so far that I am considering extending it beyond the end of the year indefinitely. My image blog would become a daily blog of pictures, but I am also imposing the restriction that I must feel that the images are of very good quality to be posted.

Subscribe to by blog magazine

I have decided to offer a photo magazine through my Patreon account. It will be a monthly magazine full of all of the images from my daily blog in printed form. This will be a way for me to offer something of value to people who decide to support my artistic efforts. I am offering this subscription for $29.95 per month. It is available at Patreon here: patreon.com/shbphoto

Can Art Exist In A Vacuum

The purpose of art, at its core, is communication. The initial inspiration that an artist feels is almost always personal. The first person that must be satisfied by a work of art must be the artist. Once art is produced the next logical step is to show it to the world. This is where most artists dilemma appears; how to get the work in front of an audience. The easiest way to do that is to upload images to a web site that accepts work to be featured, and there are plenty of sites that serve this purpose. The problem is that just uploading files does not guarantee that your work will be viewed. The artist must actively promote the work.
Most serious artists ultimate ambition is for gallery representation or at the very least to be included in shows. This can be a difficult goal to realize and I would guess a large amount of art work is in storage, lacking an outlet for display.
Recently I visited my local arts council to touch base as I have been interning with them since last August. I found out about an upcoming show that I could submit my work to while having a casual conversation with the director of the program. The moral of the story is that the most important factor in furthering an art career are the contacts.

More Than One Way

If you read my blog entitled “The Price We Pay For Art” you know that I was having a problem accessing one of my favorite spots to capture images. I went several weeks before I got the courage to drive my vehicle past the no trespassing sign and thus avoiding the tick infested journey I was afraid of. I am so glad that I made the decision for not only did I avoid the nasty bugs but taking the car with me to the site made the whole experience more pleasant and creatively fruitful.

Revealing Magic Tricks

I have said before that I don’t like to show anything but finished pictures, but I am in the mood to illustrate the work that goes into my images. So here is a “before” image of “White Square” after the initial crop, but before any other work was done.

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The Price We Pay For Art

I recently returned to the abandoned shed to make some images. I had planned the trip all week and just before I left my sister in law offered to take me to see the new Star Trek movie. I had one hour to drive to the park, walk to the train bridge, then up the trail to the abandoned shed, photograph something meaningful, then retrace my steps back home. I was walking through some tall grass at one point remembering the hospital stay that a tick had caused me three years earlier.
I made my way to the shed and with little time to work I made  quick decisions about what I wanted to do and got to work. I spent a total of twenty minutes making images of three different wrappings. I only had five minutes to get back to the car so that I would be on time for the movie, so I hurried on my way back.
When I got home I put my gear in my office, grabbed a bite to eat and got in the car with my sister in law to leave for the movie. As I was driving toward the theatre I noticed something on my left arm, it was a tick. I removed it at the next stop light and thought nothing more of it. We went to the movie and enjoyed it very much.
Later at home, while processing one of the images, I looked down and saw four more ticks, three small ones and another big one. This really freaked me out and by the time I was done checking myself I had removed and killed about fifteen ticks, small and large.

I usually stay away from areas where I might have a tick jump on me, but the work I have been doing at this abandoned shed has really inspired me creatively. I do not know wether I will return or find a different way to get to that location but I am determined to continue with the work I am doing, ticks be damned.

Anxiety and Creativity

In a recent post about a new spot I have found to photograph in I described the anxiety I was feeling due to the fact that I was essentially tress passing and breaking into an abandoned building. While looking over the two images that I posted from that session I was struck by the thought that worthwhile work can come from stressful situations. It seems the energy from the anxiety I as feeling translated into a burst of creativity. This creativity was short lived but intense, and I produced two images that I am very proud of, so there must be a link between creativity and stress.

paradise found

I have been searching for the perfect place to restart my wrapped project ever since I moved to Springfield, MO. I have made many scouting expeditions which consisted of me driving around trying to find an abandoned building. I was having no luck until a few months ago I noticed a building behind a large fence set back  about 100 yards from a road I travelled on frequently for several years. Two days ago I confirmed my hunch that this shack was connected to the remote urban area I have been photographing recently. The connecting road can be seen in the image “Three Objects”. That road would take me the back way up to the shack I had seen from the street as I drove by earlier.

I had made up my mind that I was going to explore the shack so I set out over the train bridge which is the only way to cross the river and find this secluded area. I decided to make some art in the area I was already familiar with first before exploring my new playground. Honestly I was a little apprehensive, I had no idea what I would find a the shack or if anyone would be there to chase me away.

As I was photographing a small wrapping in the open area I noticed a piece of brand new red luggage was sitting in the concrete cylinder that I had used for “Wrap #8”. That piece of luggage had not been there two weeks before when I photographed “Three Objects”. The item still had the cardboard on the front advertising its features, which made me curious as to what might be inside. I decided to open the luggage and found nothing inside, but the fact that it was there highlighted for me that this place was no secret, and that made me anxious for the rest of the day.

Despite my anxiety I decided to press on with my original plan to explore the shack. My original intent was only to see if it would be safe to enter the structure and if anyone was living there. The large fence that was in front of the structure hid me from view of the street where the traffic was, but I was still afraid of being seen as I remembered that on the other side of the fence where the words NO TRESS PASSING in large spray painted letters. There was an opening in the fence large enough to drive a vehicle though which lined up with the front door to the building. This, I thought, is where someone will see me from the street. I pressed on, reminding myself that even if someone saw me they probably wouldn’t care enough to call the police. Besides, I am only making art, not vandalising.

I entered the structure and started working and as soon as I did all my fears where melted away by the euphoria of creativity. Creation is like a drug for me, it makes the world disappear for a while. I created two images and decided to call it a day, I had to pick up my wife from an appointment. I left the way I came in and was back home within 15 minutes (this place is very convenient).

Later that night as I was getting ready for bed I found a tick on my shoulder. I spent 5 days in the hospital due to a tick bite several years ago, so I did not like seeing this intruder trying to snack on me. I processed the two images almost immediately and posted them to my blog. “Wrap #10” and “Wrap #11“.

Behind “Three Objects”

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I do not normally talk about the objects that I shroud in linen to produce the work in my wrapped portfolio. I have been working on this project on and off for a number of years but this is the first time I have decided to reveal the “skeleton”, if you will.
So here it is, I took this photo with my iPhone just after packing everything up, so it is not a true before picture. To be honest it was an afterthought. I do a lot of physical gardening at a site like this in addition to the digital gardening that comes later.
This is in the middle of the city were I live but is only accessible by walking across a train bridge over a river. The space feels very remote & secluded unless the baseball teams are playing in the field half a mile away.

some thoughts on Wrap #5

I’ve been working on this image for several days. First you may notice that this image is of the same object from Wrap #4, but from a different angle and with some added wrapping. I was very pleased with the look of wrap #4 but I tried to approach the new image without reference to the previous. I prefer to work this way so that I am able to process the image any way I see fit.

The second thing you may notice is this image was posted twice. After the initial posting I was not happy with the way the image looked, especially when compared with Wrap #4, so  I decided to re edit the image and I even referenced the previous image as a guide this time (so much for my “rule”). I think the second edit is better but I am still not happy with this image, not sure why. If I were to hang the piece I would need to revisit it but for now I’m going to leave it alone.

I am becoming more aggressive with my image altering with the new work. I am going beyond the digital clean up and moving more towards reconstruction of the images in order to produce the image as I imagine it. This is still subtle enough that you would not be able to tell unless looking at a side by side before and after, I do not want the images to look fake even though they are not totally true to life. The plan is to take this even further as the work progresses (think Andreas Gursky).