Recent Random Project #4

Last night there was a need for me and my partner to make a quick trip to campus around 10pm. Instead of driving we opted to walk the short distance to enjoy the night. I decided to bring my 6D in case any photographic opportunities presented themselves. Along the way I began to position myself along a specific trajectory so that I would create compositions of color, shape, light, etc. with my eyes. Giving myself in to this impetus, I decided to do a microproject of found compositions. 

This project is purely about photographic vision. By this I mean the requisite process of seeing and recognizing that our bodies do thanks to the interplay of biological optics and our perceiving mental processes. 

I've included the images in the sequence that they were made in. Night walks are rather fantastic on their own, but adding a hunt for found compositions seems to make for all the more exciting experiences for me. 

Jumping Leaf

Things should be fun. Things are fun. I chased after a leaf in the wind and then turned the documentation of that chase into a GIF. Enjoy and have fun. 

The Rest Of The Room

Over the late fall and early winter I collaborated with SOU art student Jess Volk to produce a photography exhibition. Our project, The Rest Of The Room, is a visual cross-examination of what is written in the semi-private realm of gender-binary restrooms. Our final images feature physical marks that alter the messages contained within these semi-private spaces; these messages are inscribed into the various surfaces that populate restrooms in their respective manifestations.

Our process consisted of multiple expeditions around campus and Ashland in general. On these expeditions we’d enter establishments with the intent of closely examining the entirety of the two respective restrooms. Depending on the crowd present at each location, we’d either head right in and then leave, or hang out for a while to observe the scene and gauge the potential outcomes connected with entering restrooms with cameras. In this way out process mimicked the experience of the original author of the message: clandestine and wishing to avoid detection.

The final images were printed on standard letter paper and then pasted to the gallery wall with a liquid starch. In this way we were able to lift the messages from the wall of the restroom and re-inscribe them into the wall of the gallery for a wider audience to see: the rest of the room. By installing bathroom graffiti on the walls of a gallery we are bringing the two forums into conversation, as well as bringing into conversation the topics that the two respective binaries decide to inscribe in a public restroom.

Our decision to utilize standard letter paper over photographic paper was a conscious move to separate our project from the confines of the tradition field of photography; instead we sought to situate our work within the realms of sculpture, installation art, and photography. Pasting the images to the wall allowed us to avoid merely installing work on the walls, and instead allowed us to augment the walls by making the images a part of the wall itself.  

5 Rules

1. Stay Close To Home
2. Slow Down
3. Disregard Onlookers
4. Photograph Ideas, Not Just Objects
5. Shoot From The Gut

Recent (not-so)Random Project #3

This project stems directly from ideation and experimentation processes relating to an independent study project in photography. The rough concept, as it lies now, is about taking photography literally—that is, drawing with light; however, this is meant to be markedly different from the recent popularity of "light painting," which is photography featuring things that are intentionally "painted" into the photograph via a long exposure and light-emitting devices that leave a light trail. 

My interests that led to the concept are focused on light as a phenomenon—without which there could be no photography—and how light is introduced to and recorded by the camera, represented visually in the film and resulting negative, and then reincarnated onto photographic paper via the secondary light source of the enlarger. Thus, the original and recorded source of light needs the collaboration of the secondary and projecting light to be brought back to life in print form. 

This project, then, consists of experiments in recording and representing light; that is, I'm using my digital cameras to investigate methods that I will then use with analogue processes with the end result being a set of ten archival black and white prints on fiber-based paper. Below is a sampling of directions I am moving in with this study . . .

Recent Random Project #2

During my winter break from classes at SOU I made a trip down to Carmel, CA. During the trip, which included two days of 7+ hour drives, I worked on a new project from the moving windows of the car. My intent for this project was to work with what was in front of me, which in this case was often the passing countryside of California. With such a project came the challenge of negotiating rapidly moving subject matter—this meant either using a significantly high ISO value to freeze action or accepting motion blur, as well as finding and making compositions with very little time and no re-dos, so to speak. 

To this end I wound up with three distinct facets of this project: movement-based compositions that are painterly in aesthetic, found compositions shot from the window of a moving vehicle, and wide-aperture exposures shot at night that are about color and form. 

The set of motion-made images is about using what is in front of me to create a photograph, as well as about using the economic advantage of digital imaging to see the world around me through new and different lenses. 

I love that I am able to create an almost endless stream of images with my digital camera—a practice that would rack up exorbitant expenses if shot on film. Further, this fiscal freedom allows me to use my camera as modifiable eye to experience the world in new ways. Although these images mimic the experience of the scenery outside a moving car's window, by freezing a passing moment I am able to see the countryside in a way that would normally be all but fleeting. 

Moreso, these images also represent my dedication to my photographic practice regardless of what is in front of the lens. I believe that a continual practice is vital in my development as a photographer, and I cherish any opportunity to be behind the camera creating. 

Furthermore, I've found that constant compositional practice—such as finding balanced scenes outside a moving car—helps me in composing in the moment when it's more of a serious or commissioned shoot. 

This next set of images are similar to the above ones, though I am relying less on abstraction and motion and more on the action of seeing and creating an image in the span of a few seconds. 

And finally, this last set of images consists of compositions made with my digital camera late in the evening as darkness was falling. I found myself entranced by the constant stream of headlights, taillights, and neon signs around the highway; then, as the cities faded into the rearview mirror and trees surrounded the road ahead, the moon came out and began to illuminate the landscape around me. I aimed my lens at the moon and made long exposures with a large aperture, resulting in globular forms against a black sky. 

At the end of the day, this series of images represents the simple joy that a camera can bring to ordinary, everyday life. Cheers to that. 

Recent Random Project #1

This is the first post for a new journal-specific project of mine—the Recent Random Project, Project. For this project I will design and shoot a random project, specifically for my Journal. These projects will not only be a continual stream of new material for the site, but they also will serve as an avenue for me to work with concepts, material, or techniques that I am currently interested in and thinking about. 

This first project is an exercise in in-camera, digital double exposures. Both of my digital cameras (a Fuji X-Pro1 and a Canon 6D) have a built in function to serve this purpose, though I have rarely ever made the time to utilize it. On a nighttime walk, recently, I decided to create compositions in double exposures from the various sights I passed that night. These are the resulting images. 

The very last one that I made was the only one that I decided to make in color, all the rest were shot originally in black and white—which is to say, they are not conversions and no color file exists. Please enjoy.

Grammar Center Inaugural Event & The Found Image

This past Saturday I attended the inaugural event for The Grammar Center, a new "exhibition and performance space located in Southern Oregon that supports experimentation and exchange." The Center is the joint project of two of my professors from Southern Oregon University, Brooks Diedorff, in photography, and Melissa Geppert, in art history. 

I brought my Fuji X-Pro1 along for the evening with the intent of making pictures to document the occasion, which included a screening of video art works from three different artists, live music following the screening, and (of course) free beer, wine, and snacks. 

During the screening I found myself entranced with the light coming through the window—the privacy film on the window was turning all the headlights and taillights from the cars outside into beautiful abstractions. These blurred lights, along with the pink coming from the fluorescent Grammar Center sign, caught my eye over and over.

People who know me can attest to the fact that I quote Dorothea Lange quite often—both in regards to photography and to life in general. One quote of hers that has always stuck with me, and one that I was holding in my head during the Grammar Center event, is this: "The camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera." 

This idea of learning to see is something that resonates strongly with me and my photography. It seems as though camera technology, as it continues to improve, is making it so that any layperson can pick up a half-decent camera and create a technically sound image—one that is sharp, well-exposed, renders color nicely, and that features creamy bokeh. This being the case, it is all the more vital to me to focus less on these technical aspects and more on what exactly I am choosing to include and exclude in my frame. 

To this end I find myself continually looking for images in the world around me—every passing moment can be an exercise in seeing. Although I would say that I was already a rather visual person before seriously taking up photography, the more I photograph the more beauty I find in the everyday scenes around me. As Dorothea Lange so eloquently put it:

"Beauty appears when one feels deeply, and art is an act of total attention." 

t the end of the evening, I was excited by the artworks that had been screened and for what lies in store for The Grammar Center; I also came away satisfied and content with the visual experience that I had in the space—both through the lens of my Fuji and through the lens of my own eyes. 


My Deer Pictures, Introduction

          I’d like to introduce a project that I’ve been working on, off-and-on, for over two years now, My Deer Pictures. The project involves interacting with and photographing the deer in Lithia Park at night. Each post in my journal about the project will feature musings and updates.

See more of the images from this project by clicking this entire sentence. 

          I always make a point of leaving my watch at home. This decision is two-fold: for starters, I don't necessarily need to remind myself of the fact that I am jaunting about in the dark, well past midnight; more importantly, I don't want a reminder of time and how we as humans experience it—in fact, sometimes I feel like I go out and work on this project to escape the ever-present sense of time that our society knows all too well. 

Welcome To My Journal

This section of my site serves as a living document of my thoughts, experiences, projects, and jobs. Please check back for regular updates :-)