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If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I had submitted a series of 5 images to be considered for a juried show at the New Orleans Photo Alliance, whose opening I attended last night.
In answer to the question I posed in the previous post, the two pieces that were selected for the show are the following two pieces, hung one over the other as indicated:
As is often the case when showing work in a public setting, especially pieces that haven’t had the scrutiny of others outside of my trusted circle of friends, I get the opportunity to get valuable feedback and a fresh perspective on the work. Last night was no exception, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to reevaluate the portfolio in progress as it continues to grow and develop.
Another wonderful byproduct of the show was the opportunity to put a few more photographers faces to names. I had the pleasure of meeting Seth Boonchai, current president of NOPA, and Michel Varisco, a founding member of NOPA and faculty member at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
As is often the case when I show work for the first time, I left the exhibition with mixed emotions set into motion by the opportunity to see my work in relationship to other photographers work, as well as hearing a range of interpretations of these photographs that I need to contemplate, process and then move on.
I was psyched today to learn that I had a couple of photographs accepted into the first annual juried Members Show for the New Orleans Photo Alliance. I’ve had the honor of participating in a previous show at their gallery entitled, “Louisiana Road Trip“, with a piece titled “Sea Pride” and was impressed with the professionalism of their exhibition. This group formed not long after hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast, with a mission ”to encourage the understanding and appreciation of photography through exhibitions, opportunities and educational programs.” I came to the area a few months after the storm and was enthralled by the process of seeing the gulf coast rebuild and to witness the rebirth of this great city of New Orleans.
The work accepted into this show is from my “Sign of the Cross” series and was taken during my recent self-funded road trip throughout the Southwestern USA. It is a subset of my “Ashes to Ashes” series that features imagery collected in cemeteries across the Nation. I’ve found compelling imagery of crucifixes throughout these journeys and find the combination of the effects of weather and time on them to create poignant transformations that imbue the photographs with a palpable energy that I find mysterious, powerful and enervating.
I submitted the included five photographs for consideration for this show and two were chosen for the exhibition. Which two do you think they included? Would you have made a different decision?
The opening for the show is June 9th at the NOPA gallery. It would be great to see you there
New Orleans Photo Alliance
1111 St. Mary Street (map)
New Orleans, LA 70130
Saturday & Sunday
Noon – 4 or by appointment
Sometimes I find inspiration right at home, and seeing my niece Jenny’s dog, Pugly “maxing and relaxing” in her favorite recliner had me scurrying for my camera and tiptoeing up to snap a few pics of her in the bliss of an afternoon nap. She is without a doubt one of my favorite models, regularly “voguing” into poses that remind me of some art history reference or another. She is patient, stays in position for an extended time if not startled and while she doesn’t work for peanuts, dog treats work just fine. I was talking with a good friend of mine about relationships we’ve had over the years and we came to agreement that our canine pals made the short list without a problem! Thanks to Jen for sharing her canine companion with me and honoring me with the role of being Pugly’s dogfather : )
I attended an annual event with my family recently where the parish churches in the New Orleans area set up altars in honor of my patron namesake, St. Joseph. These altars are labors of love, populated with a variety of food items that have special significance.
I’ve photographed these altars over the years and find them to be challenging to capture for a number of reasons, with lighting often topping the list. The displays I’ve seen are often set up in the gymnasium of the parish school and as a result, the lighting can be a mix of warmer toned incandescent up lighting and candle light coupled with the cooler overhead fluorescent lighting that tends to wash the scene with it’s typically flat toned light. This was the case for the awesome altar we visited at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie, LA. After viewing the scene and investigating potential camera angles and compositions, I found that while there were plenty of interesting subjects, that I wasn’t compelled to take any photos. Since I wasn’t capturing any images, I decided to use the time as a learning lesson and applied the “squinting down” technique I learned as a painter to isolate the light/dark patterning/tonal massing opportunities available in the hope that any missed opportunities would come to light, but this only reinforced my decision to pass on filling up my memory card with shots that would miss the mark.
Then the magic happened! The overhead lights were turned off for a brief period of time, likely at the request of the film crew that was there interviewing one of the priests when we arrived. The ambiance went from a rather flat expanse of conflicting light sources to one of lovely, consistent, warm, shape defining up lighting that rendered the objects in a beautiful “buttery” light. The upside of the earlier canvassing of the scene for potential shots paid off nicely as I was able to take advantage of this short window and quickly capture the shots that I might have otherwise been unprepared for. The overhead lights flickered on again all too soon, but I was giddy with the anticipation of editing the few shots I was able to get off in the intervening moment of golden light. These are the kind of moments that make it all worthwhile for me as a photographer and serve as a great reminder to be prepared and to remain open to the possibilities, you never know when lighting will strike : )
As a lifelong guitarist, Youtube has become one of my favorite sites for learning new technique. There are a ton of instructional videos to choose from, but wading through the video stream to locate the cream of the crop can become tedious so thought I’d share one of my newest finds.
I’m a longtime James Taylor fan, so I was super-psyched to find that he has his own Youtube channel and has posted a few really finely made guitar instruction videos showcasing his unique technique.
If you’re interested in learning his style, or just some great general fingerpicking tips, I encourage you to go to the source and check out these finely crafted videos that give you better than a front row seat’s vantage point of both his left and right hand technique.
Thanks so much to James for making these available and demystifying his process. I hope you find them as helpful as I do!
I’ve been running across a number of scenes lately that are asking that I shoot from a really low vantage point. The challenge in doing so is twofold. First is getting the composition the way I want it and second is getting the proper focus, especially as I can’t see through the viewfinder. I’d normally use the autofocus – but it’s difficult to engage the correct spot when the camera is so close to the ground.
Today I stumbled on a solution that has me psyched to continue exploring these low viewpoint shots. It involves using the live preview function. I normally preview shots through the lens as the live preview function runs down the battery so much more quickly. Finally out of frustration, I relented and turned on live preview after I had incorrectly framed a low angle shot I was trying to get for the nth time This allowed me to easily frame the shot but I was still having difficulty getting it in proper focus. That is until I accidentally hit the magnify button while in the live preview mode and was presented with a close up view of the center of the image making manual focus relatively easy especially as I pressed the magnify button a second time and got a super close-up view. Suddenly I was able to both frame the shot the way I wanted and to focus accurately. I spent the next hour testing out this feature and was rewarded with shots that were much clearer than previously made in similar circumstances (though the battery light was blinking by the end of the session – which typically doesn’t occur when I’m previewing through the lens). To get even sharper shots I’ll either have to break down and carry a tripod with me (not my favorite accessory to lug around and set up) or invest in faster glass (I’m liking that solution!) This has also been a great reminder to me that its well worth my time to revisit my owner’s manual, as dry as it is to read through, as it often provides solutions to problems that I’ve encountered with the equipment.
By the way, I was looking at the current issue of Arizona Highways magazine (great landscape photography!) after having “discovered” this technique and I ran across this very tip – too funny.
While out looking for more specific nature/landscape shots within the Coconino National Forest a few days ago, I stumbled upon a series of shots that fit into a portfolio entitled “Ground Found” that I had begun many moons ago. I typically find these shots when I’m out scouting for other material, so it wasn’t a surprise to find them, but I was surprised at how many shots I accumulated over the next several days, making me wonder if, once the door is open, that I’m sensitized to looking for them even if I’m not consciously doing so? This new series of shots of found objects began initially when I was in the forest and spied an old saw that someone had forgotten, laying on top of an old tree stump. It looked to have been there for awhile, as evidenced by an active patina of rust coupled with a disintegrating handle. The following day I decided to investigate an area off the main road that I hadn’t wandered through yet as it was very close to a well traveled road. Along with the accompanying sound of traffic (that I had been intentionally avoiding), I found the evidence of the usual carelessness associated with proximity to populated areas, namely trash and so my “Ground Found” series received a bevy of new entries that are now represented within a gallery of the same name on my website: www.josephkerkman.com When I get a chance, I’ll augment the collection with some of my favorite shots from earlier incarnations of this ongoing series. I think it’s interesting (and very cool) that my personal vision has some consistency over time and that series such as these seem to get richer over time.
Whoooooshhhhhhh! – That’s a sound that I’ll not soon forget! Standing near the rim of the Grand Canyon recently, I spied several large birds flying in the distance along the edge of the canyon, no doubt on the prowl for a morning meal. I was entranced by their seemingly effortless flight, and one of them kept circling around behind me, flying into the sun where I lost it’s course, then circling around in front of me – but as evidenced by the resounding rush of air over it’s wings – quite close, in fact. I was standing in the shade of a shorter pine tree, so when the bird made it’s return flight, I initially lost it in the glare of the sun, and it was also blocked by the tree, so on it’s first pass, the sudden blur past my field of vision, coupled with that remarkable sound of it hurtling past me in space was initially quite a surprise. Thankfully, it repeated this maneuver several times, giving me the opportunity to try and capture it in flight as it whizzed by. This was no easy feat, and I was only partially successful at getting a shot that was properly exposed and in focus. Panning with it as it flew by was really challenging, nothing like spinning around near the edge of a 600 foot drop to get your heart rate up! This experience, coupled with other recent animal sightings has me interested in getting more animal action shots, so I’m dutifully researching the how’s and where’s and hope to have some better shots to share in the future.
I’ve photographed flowers in the past – but they were typically found within domestic areas such as gardens or arboretums. It’s been really cool on this journey to find wildflowers within their natural habitat. I’m most drawn to them either during the golden hours, or on overcast days when the harsh sun and it’s related shadows are mellowed by the cloud cover. They usually catch my attention when they’re struck by the early or late rays of the sun from behind – creating a wonderful translucent glow that can make for some great imagery. It often reminds me of stained glass when I catch a view of them lit this way.
I did a quick search to see if I could identify the red flower above and thought at first that it was a firecracker plant – which would have been awesome as this is the Fourth of July weekend, but on closer look, it appears to match the images of the “Beardlip (Penstemon barbartus) more closely. Let me know if you have a different definite identification and I’ll make the corrections : )
I found this beautiful white, morning glory-like bloom on the edge of the reservoir in the Winslow, AZ city park – really lovely blossoms about the size of my open hand.