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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”


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).

a new path

I normally do not reveal a lot of information about the wrapped images I create. This is mostly so that the viewer may use their imagination to give a more personal story line to the images. Therefore I do not talk about what the object is that has been repurposed, or transformed. The important thing for me is the present, what is the object now, and what is it in the audiences perception. I am going to break this rule a little today to mark the beginning of a new path I am taking my work down, one in which I am manipulating the image much more than in the past. The post from February 8, 2013 titled “wrap #3” is the first in what I anticipate to be a long series of these images. This new image not only involves the physical draping of an object in the field but is a composite image made from two seperate digital photographic images. These newer images will have more layers of information.

I have been contemplating these processes for a long time, ever since I saw Joel-Peter Witkins‘ work while attending grad school. I was always fascinated by his manipulation of images. It’s the feel of this manipulation that I am striving towards.

a return to a familiar way of working

Beginning with the post on February 2, 2013, I am returning to work on a portfolio of images  with the same motif as my thesis project from grad school. This work found its genesis in the work of Christo, the Belgian born artist who wrapped buildings, sidewalks, etc. I use the process of wrapping to give resurrection to discarded, forgotten objects, repurposed for the amusement and enlightenment of myself as well as others. The final image produced is to be seen as a work complete, the story is yours to fabricate in your imagination. I hope we all have fun as I explore again this way of working and the images that will come forth.

New post after six months

August 17, 2012 was my last post until yesterday. I went more than six months without picking up my camera. So yesterday was a very inspiring experience, reinforcing the reasons I love photography. There are many reasons I was absent from my artistic life last fall. I am back now with renewed purpose. The shoot yesterday felt as if I’d never stopped working and the photos looked as if no time had passed between last August and now. I am once again enjoying the creative process which brings so much pleasure to my life. I am looking forward to the work I will produce in 2013, I believe it will be my best work ever. Thank you for looking.

Black Water

This is another image from the archives, since I am still without a camera at the moment. I have been working on a series of photographs from Springfield Lake , using the ideas of reductive photography that I have been thinking about lately. I have been reducing elements in my images through choice of camera location, angle of capture, image elements and Photoshop retouching. A collection of the work so far can be found here.