New Work: Trump Faces (Adoration of the MAGA?)

  • Post category:ArtPolitics

"Trump Faces" isn't a proper name for the project. I originally called this one "Faces," but only as a working title—you can't have a dozen projects titled "untitled" if you want to stay sane. So "Trump Faces" it is, while I try to think of something better. The images are portraits of people at Trump rallies, taken from news photographs and videos of those rallies. All those little faces in the background? The mysteries of machine learning allowed me to take those tiny faces and enlarge them, and they still looked good. It also allowed me to enlarge them even more to give some of the faces an off, plastic…

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New Work–Black Sun (The Anomaly)

  • Post category:ArtPolitics

Black Sun (The Anomaly) is my newest project. Initially, I wrote two sentences here, all of the text that would accompany this project. But I felt it needed more and so, at just past midnight, I started to write that something more. The photographs should enlarge if you click on them. Tomorrow is Election Day and "breaking point" isn't quite the right phrase. With "breaking point" I think of a branch, bending and bending in your hands, the arc ever-increasing until with a snap it breaks, an upside-down "U" now an upside-down "V." Things break and then there is nothing. "Inflection point" doesn't work. A phrase borrowed from calculus, it…

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Transformation of Trump: The Primaries Project of 2016

  • Post category:ArtPolitics

I can't remember another presidential election in my lifetime where so much has changed, so much transformed in only four years. Four years ago to this day I was working on my Primaries project. My original conception was to make portraits of each of the candidates running for president, photographing them off of the television screen. I used an old Sony 27-inch Trinitron that I had purchased just after high school—it ran fine all these years and only stopped working yesterday—and decided to shoot each of the presidential debates of both parties, mounting the camera on a tripod in front of the television and setting the camera to shoot one…

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Revisiting 100 Days with Only A Few Days to Go

  • Post category:ArtPolitics

Earlier in 2016, months before the election, I was buying typewriters. Lots of typewriters. I had an idea, only partially formed, of using typewriters in a project and estimated then that I needed five or six different models to make the idea work. This estimate morphed and changed as the idea morphed and changed and my workshop was filled with typewriters in the end. I had a chocolate brown Olympia SM3, a red IBM Selectric II, a pale blue Olivetti 32, a shiny black Royal, a brilliant yellow Adler. I purchased thirty-six typewriters, clustering them all around my workshop and I borrowed six more, these built in the 1800s. At…

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Every Mention of Ansel Adams in the New York Times in the 1940s

  • Post category:Art

(Note: This article is part of a series.) January 21, 1940Notes of Camera World In a roundup, the book Graphic and Graflex Photography is highlighted with a list of chapters: "...Ansel Adams gives advice on print-making... June 9, 1940Diverse Attractions At the Golden Gate Fair. Old Masters, North and South American Contemporaries Are Well Represented. A roundup of art exhibits at the Golden Gate Fair. A photography show that Ansel helped curate is mentioned at the beginning of the fourth subsection. "Several Galleries are given over to a Pageant of Photography, directed by Ansel Adams and T.J. Maloney." December 31, 1940Photography Gains Recognition As Art. Modern Museum Sets Up Department…

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Transitional Delights, Four Years later

  • Post category:ArtPolitics

(As we approach the election I thought it might be interesting to share a project I undertook during the transition after the 2016 presidential election. A slideshow of the images from Transitional Delights (2016-2017) follows the text, which is excerpted from a longer essay.) The needle danced and bounced on the screen. Drawn as a car's speedometer the graphic was displaying the up-to-the-second probability of the 2016 presidential election outcome, hours away from confirmation. There was no need for that confirmation, of course, Clinton was ahead, way ahead, and the election meter's needle pressed far to the right, jittering in the mid-80 percents. Some surveys placed her chances well into…

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Every Mention of Ansel Adams in the New York Times in the 1930s

  • Post category:Art

(Note: This article is part of a series.) August 17, 1930Santa Fe Has Its Own Architecture. Inspired by Indians and Spanish, It Is Now of Frankly Modern Type. By Mildred Adams."Santa Fe has developed a style of architecture all its own, so distinctive that people are beginning to speak of 'the Santa Fe type,' just as they speak of a Cape Cod cottage or a French cháteau." Uses three of Ansel's photos from Taos, cropped. November 13, 1933Indian Craft Opens New Art GalleryIn a long list, the article mentions Ansel's exhibit at the Delphic Gallery in "Exhibitions This Week" subsection. This is the first paragraph of that list: "Among the…

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New Work: Fools

  • Post category:Art

I've undertaken a series of projects in the last four years centered on the Trump presidency, starting with the early debates in 2016 (or was it 2015?). Nothing is especially photoshopped here--the weird spiraling colors are from interference patterns, layers of them, caused by the digital nature of the camera when it is photographing a screen made of pixels. Sometimes all those rows of pixels line up and weird things happen. These twelve images are samples from one of those projects. I made the source images in late 2019, part of them made during an artist-in-residence at the Mojave National Preserve. I was living in a dorm with park service…

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Was Ansel Adams A Landscape Photographer?

  • Post category:Art

If you google "greatest landscape photographer" and expect to hit a link for Ansel Adams you would be wrong. You get a page of click-bait links, all with numbers in the titles: 25 Best Landscape Photographers Of All Time, The Best landscape Photographers You Need to Follow in 2020, 15 Inspiring Landscape Photographers, Top 12 Landscape Photographers Working Today, and on and on. Including a number in the title is a recommended way to make Google's search engine happy, inducing the search algorithm to place your empty-headed list of nothing-cicles above everyone else who is doing equally content-free lists. In 1996 I put up on the "World Wide Web" (as…

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Book Review: How He Became Ansel Adams—A Review of Senf’s “Making a Photographer” (Part Two)

  • Post category:ArtBooks

(This review of Rebecca Senf's Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams appears in two parts. This is part two. Part one can be found here.) If a deep dive into the Parmelian Prints wasn't treat enough (or new enough) for you, Making a Photographer explores in-depth Ansel's photo album of the Sierra Club's 1928 trip to the Canadian Rockies. It was a month-long adventure. Ansel took about 250 photographs during the course of the trip with a range of cameras, producing 6 1/2-by-8 1/2 inch film negatives, 4-by-5-inch film negatives, 3 1/4-by-4 1/4-inch film negatives, and a handful of 4-by-5-inch glass plate negatives. He eventually assembled 178…

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