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PIXelations 21

Another Show

by fotofinish , 06-28-2008 at 10:33 AM (344 Views)

The month of July looks like my best month to date for my photography. In a couple of weeks, the Hartford Business Journal will publish its annual edition, this time with four of my pictures, three full page and one that spans a page and a half. They just sent me a letter to invoice them so I can get paid.

Also, I just found out that two of my photos will be shown at the XG Gallery for their Annual Anniversary Invitational. The opening is July 17. I belong to the gallery’s photo society so it is not quite the expected honor, especially since I have to pay $100 to hang those two. They will feature six more of my photos on the gallery’s website included in this charge. I also opted for an extra $50 charge to have a link to my website from theirs. I look at this as advertising for me. I think they have selected nine other photographers, some like me are considered emerging artists; others are established artists. But the day of the opening coincides with a monthly celebration of the city of New Haven called Third Thursday where the arts district shops are all open late and have scheduled activities. So I guess the gallery should have decent traffic that night.

My pictures are from what I am considering my second body of work shown in previous blog entries below, the forgotten paper mill. Here’s the two I will show:

More pictures from this new gallery, the forgotten papermill, are here.

All in all, a very good month!

Connecticut Science Center

by fotofinish , 07-06-2008 at 10:05 AM (274 Views)

For more than a year now, I have taken some shots of the new science center being constructed in downtown Hartford. The architecture is attractive and will offer views of the Connecticut River. The building construction should be complete this Fall with the opening about a year from now. I’m not sure what my goal is yet. I have to look back through the shoots to see if this is worthy of a body of work. Anyway, here are a few recent photos:

More pictures are here.

The invite

by fotofinish , 07-08-2008 at 07:33 PM (285 Views)

I just received the show invitation. There are 14 of us. Here’s the text of the invite:

of the

July 17 through September 13, 2008
Opening reception
July 17th from five to eight pm

Please join gallery co-founders Patrick Mansfield and Jennifer Jane
along with invited exhibiting photographic artists


The link to the gallery is here.

So now what?

by fotofinish , 07-19-2008 at 10:06 AM (313 Views)

The XG Gallery opening went well. The gallery was packed with people, especially since it was the City of New Haven’s Third Thursday celebration where many shop are open late and the arts district is alive with openings of their own. What a sense of energy! For some reason, this opening had more energy than the last opening in March. Maybe it was just that this gallery is smaller than the one in Hartford. More than likely this was due to the fact that there were 16 of us showing two pictures apiece with all of their family and friends in attendance.

I was there with my wife Jayne and my daughter Sarah, and I was glad they came and supported me. My friend and fellow photographer Stan also visited and supported me. Family and friends, that’s what any of this really should be about…

At one point, there was a disheveled-looking woman who was guzzling the wine and cheese. Jennifer, the gallery director, said she was reluctant to say anything to the woman since the woman might have been an artist.

I had the pleasure of talking at length with Misako Oba, one of the other artists. Her photographs involved photo etchings and you can read about her process here. She was very bubbly and it was plain to see she has the passion for her work. You can see some examples of her stuff here. She has show in many renowned places, including AIPAD photo shows in NY.

I also had the pleasure of talking at length with Eliot Lewis who also was showing his photos. Besides being the former keyboardist for The Average White Band and currently the keyboardist for Hall and Oats, he also is a gifted photographer. While on the road with the band, he manages to get his camera out to capture some images. You can see his work here.

But getting my photos prepared for this show was a struggle for me. Through some miscommunication, I brought down two photos the gallery director really did not want, so I had to go back and print and frame two totally different photos. I had submitted two from my new papermill series, but she decided to pick out two of my landscape shots as seen below:


…and this one I shot back in 2004!

I’m not sure I would do this kind of gallery in the future. I had to pay $100 to show these pieces and it makes me wonder if I got in because of merit or because someone else who was chosen refused to pay the price. Plus the gallery gets 50% of each sale, if any. I also had a lot of trouble with the plexiglass in the archival 18×24 frames I chose, a lot of scratches which I could not see when I bought them. There must be a better vendor out there and I really need to find one. All in all, I learned a lot more about the process of showing and promoting my work. I viewed the expenses as advertising expenses and another baby step along the way toward developing my art.

But now comes the hard part. My papermill series is essentially done and I need to come up with another idea for a project. After seeing all of the other photographer’s works at the show, the need to come up with “something different” is very unsettling. Yes, I know I have to do this for myself and not really care if others recognize the effort or not, but I am not satisfied with yet another landscape or mill series. I need to “create” something different. I’ve been thinking a lot about montage. In the current issue of B&W magazine, I enjoyed the work of Bulgarian photographer Veneta Zaharieva. Her work is very soulful and has that sense of mystery that I have been so fascinated with lately.

So, now what do I do?

I’m published!

by fotofinish , 07-31-2008 at 07:15 PM (329 Views)

I just picked up the ten copies (part of my contract) of the hard-covered, coffee table book that published four of my pictures! The book is a directory listing of some of the business’s in Hartford and this issue has 239 pages. The book is published by the Hartford Business Journal and this issue is titled, Hartford: New England’s Rising Star.

A friend of mine and fellow photographer, Stan Marchut, also had two of his published as well.

One of mine is the first photo people see on the first page of the book. Three of my four are full pagers, the fourth one is a page and a half! It’s not really that big a deal since most of the other photographers had at least a dozen or so apiece. But this is a first for me!

Now I’m just waiting for my first check for this!

PS. …AND I just got paid, too! Just went out to the mailbox…

Lightroom 2.0

by fotofinish , 08-07-2008 at 08:49 AM (368 Views)

I recently downloaded Lightroom 2.0. The local adjustment brush and gradient tools are two reasons alone to get this version. So now, instead of just being able to make only global adjustments to your pictures, ie exposure, color, etc., you can make local adjustments, that is adjustments to just parts of your picture, ie, a face, a tree, a portion of your picture. But the kicker is, all of this is done non-destructively ever to your original picture! Only the final output, ie, the print, the exported jpg, etc., is changed by the recipe you created in Lightroom. I am now 99% in Lightroom alone, rather than Photoshop, for developing my pictures.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I still see a need for Photoshop for those situations where I need to do something creatively or something very specifically to correct a problem.

If you do get Lightroom 2.0, do yourself a great favor and purchase Michael Reichmann’s and Jeff Schewe’s Lightroom 2.0 video tutorial. It is 7.5 hours, 40 video modules, of instruction which touches on every aspect of Lightroom including its new features.

I haven’t done much technically with this version yet, other than to make some configuration changes. It converted my version 1.1 database just fine. I’ll have more about my adventures in Lightroom with future blog entries.

As a side note, I am in the process of creating a new website. I plan on using Lightroom to publish my galleries to my new site. So far, I’ve created the pages, which I did by hand using notepad and HTML. My goal is to keep this whole thing simple and clean. The only flash I will use is what Lightroom will create for me for my galleries. I have my new domain name and will soon select my hosting vendor. More on this in upcoming blog entries…


by fotofinish , 08-12-2008 at 08:48 AM (296 Views)

Jayne and I are headed to Aruba this Friday with the family and will be back the following Friday. My daughter, Sarah, my youngest, just turned 21 yesterday, so we wanted to do something as a family, perhaps for the last time to get everyone together. So my two boys, their friend (like another son), my sister-in-law and her husband are all going.

My family has always been water-centric whenever it came to family vacations. I look forward to being with all of them and getting some well-needed R&R. This should be a different experience with all of them “grown up”. The energy level is still there. I am proud of them all.

Photographically, this should be an all-snapshot kind of trip. I do plan to get some early morning shots but I’m just not expecting to have anything more than a couple of printable ones. See you when I get back!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

by fotofinish , 08-26-2008 at 09:13 AM (317 Views)

As the title suggests, Aruba was hot, figuratively and actually. I had no idea it was only 17 miles off the coast of Venezuela and that you can actually see the coastline from the hilltops on the island. As far as pictures go, I really did not have much of an opportunity to get anything except the usual family and tourist shots. There were 8 of us and we all had a ball. That said, I ended up taking some 600 pictures. I’ll post a couple in an upcoming entry…

On another note, a New Haven paper reviewed our group show at the XG gallery . I never had a formal review of one of my pictures before, but here is what it said:

Some works probe the enduring quality of nature, the photographers revealing themselves as affectionate observers of natural life.

Jerry Grasso’s “Tranquility,” becomes a joyous play of light and color, the reflections of water lilies and trees in a stream finding a perfect balance between the intimacy and the expansiveness of nature. New Haven Register.

I have my new website running but I need to rework the gallery pictures before I let anyone see it yet. I now have a domain name with one vendor, and host with someone else. I had fun writing my own website. I’m just not a graphics designer, but at least I have it running. More about this in another entry, too…

Elements of Design

by fotofinish , 08-28-2008 at 01:34 PM (326 Views)

I signed up for another class with photographer Mallorie Ostrowitz. It begins September 22. Here is its description:

NEW Advanced Seminar in Photography: Exploring Abstraction
This class will consist of five classroom sessions and four field trips (sites and times to be discussed in class). We will consider the work of contemporary photographers and how they use abstraction in the photographic interpretation. Each field trip will be matched with a particular design problem. Assignments will be critiqued in class, along with topical discussions. Each student will be responsible for a research project, as well as their shooting assignments. The class is designed for advanced students with a solid understanding of light and photographic technique. The emphasis in this class will be on the art, rather than the technique, of photography.

Here are the things I learned from my two previous photography classes with Mallorie so far.
Photos that are a level above the norm seem to exploit one or more of the following elements of design:

Enough has been said about the importance of the quality of light in pictures. The mission as a photographer is not just to capture that gorgeous landscape; it is to capture the light hitting that gorgeous landscape. But this can also be flipped around. Shadows and the patterns of darkness can also be the major element in a photo and should not be overlooked as a major source of inspiration.

Since I already introduced the idea above, patterns, whether in nature or produced artificially, add strength to an image. These are found through the alignments of objects in a scene. Perhaps the strongest pattern, as defined by veteran photographer Vincent Versace, is the interrupted pattern. This can be found by a missing element in the pattern, or the appearance of a contrasting colored element in the pattern.

Readily apparent shapes like circles and ovals are fairly easy to detect. But shapes can also be determined by formations of color or light as well. Shapes do not have to be literal, but these types are usually more difficult to find.

Dominate lines of course in a scene can be horizontal or vertical. But it is the diagonal ones which seem to be stronger than the other two. Ever wonder why someone tilts a camera and produces a tilted scene? It many times is done on purpose to add emphasis to a scene’s dominant lines, to make them stronger.

Coarse or smooth surfaces in an image can create a sense of touch or feel in the viewer. And although textures can contain patterns, the combining of the senses of sight and touch in an image can only make that image appear stronger.

One way to detect any of the above elements in a scene which may not be readily apparent is to close one eye and then squint with the other. That has the effect of rendering a scene in two dimensions, which is how my camera sees a scene anyway, while cancelling out specific details allowing the scene’s basic graphical elements to magically emerge.

Images can contain one or all of the above elements of design. Literal interpretations of these elements, ie, tangible, obvious objects like lines, ovals, grids, etc., may not be as strong as the non-literal ones formed by color, light, or darkness.

It’s OK to have more than one of these, as long as these contribute to the overall theme or purpose of the image. Remember, less is usually more. That’s a hard concept for me to grasp and it’s one that I will probably have to wrestle with for the rest of my life. Polish-Italian tendencies are my nemesis!

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