SPIRIT STANDING STILL - a blog about photography, mostly
"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen." (Minor White)
The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled. - Sue Monk Kidd
Well, we’re firmly entrenched in the dog days of summer. These are droopy, wilted days with roiling thunderclouds that offer little relief and rob us of cool morning breezes. Air conditioning is a blessing - until the utility bill arrives.
It’s definitely not my favorite season for photography. But it is the perfect time to have fun with photomontage, so I’ve been playing with my abstract images and combining them with subtle textures, to enhance their otherworldliness. Heat - thunder - humidity - flash flood warnings - I was in the mood for some cool hues today!
This little guy arrived the other day. It’s an Ondu pinhole camera, and we’re just starting to get acquainted. It has a simple, elegant design. Solid wood. Shoots medium format roll film. This is the front view - the small rectangular piece of wood is the shutter. You simply lift it up to make an exposure. It doesn’t get much simpler than that (the camera came with a 3-page manual!).
It may be a while before I share any photographs taken by my new friend. There’s no viewfinder, so learning the camera’s angle of view will take some practice. And then there’s the simple matter of turnaround time - sending the exposed roll off to the lab and awaiting it’s return. Ah, the good old days of film!
I decided that something this unique deserved a name. Maybe Brett, or Minor, in honor of two of my favorite photographers? Or Imogen, who’s not only one of my favorite photographers but a badass role model? It was too difficult to pick just one favorite artist, though. Instead, in honor of the camera’s unique properties, I decided to name him Charlie McCarthy...
Because he’s made out of wood, and with practice, I hope to be able to speak through him.
"How can you be so obtuse?" - - "What?? What did you call me?" - dialogue from the movie Shawshank Redemption
Part of the fun of photomontage is that you’re never sure where you’ll end up. I’ve noticed that my montages - no matter what my original idea - often end up full of color and texture, sometimes a bit chaotic. And I like that! But the other day I decided to set myself a different task - to go minimalist. Specifically, to limit the color palette and constrain the layout strictly to squares and rectangles. More Mondrian, less Pollock.
A fun challenge. Things were progressing in an orderly, 90-degree sort of way, but hold on - there was sudden urge to triangulate. Just a hint at first, but then a full-fledged triangle appeared. Then another poked out, and another. There was just no stopping them!
The irresistible urge to deviate from the plan and find a different angle. It’s something I feel acutely.
I’m drawn back once again to the allure of the pinhole photography effect. Still don’t have an *actual* camera, but I continue to play with altering images in a way that evokes that feeling. This ‘bumper crop’ of old vehicles is just the sort of image that lends itself to the pinhole effect.
Taken at the Motor Transport Museum in Campo, California.
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck
Here’s a bright, kaleidoscopic image that seems appropriate for the Fourth of July! It’s one of a series of photomontages created from pictures of tree bark.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Fourth. Dig your toes in the sand, hang out in the shade and be careful of the potato salad. (And I hate to disagree with Ms. Bombeck, but if you think you have overeaten… you have.)
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© Fay Henexson
Favorite Sites / Recents Reads
In the Moment: Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog
Carol Leigh photography blog
David du Chemin photography blog
Fine Art Landscape Photography of Seung Kye Lee
My Modern Met "where art enthusiasts and trend spotters connect over creative ideas"
Ian Plant Dreamscapes photography blog
William Neill's Light on the Landscape photoblog
Art Wolfe blog
Recently read, and highly recommended:
The creative habit (Twyla Tharp)
The museum of extraordinary things (Alice Hoffman)
Snow hunters (Paul Yoon)