Indianapolis is just one of many U.S. cities that are quite conservative and have been for decades. The skylines of cities like this do not embrace soaring modern architecture. I have always been a fan of Sullivan’s concept: “Form follows function.” One thing that irks me about conservative politics and architecture is the desire to retreat. It is not enough to be stuck in the past, it would be better to go backwards, as if to grow is wrong. Another is the desire to “fix things” by adding non-functional decorative elements. The beauty of nature is in the efficiency of nature. The same is true for things we create to make our live more efficient.
My grandmother had hand crocheted dollies pinned to the arms of her easy chairs. This was an add-on that had no function and she thought it was “pretty.”I took these shots on the expressway in Indianapolis. These add-ons do nothing for function or beauty. They add cost and are, to my mind, unattractive. They are the architectural equivalent of a filibuster.
RECORD WHAT INTERESTS YOU, SORT IT OUT LATER.
It is a good idea to trust your instincts….you are almost always right.
I am interested in a lot of different kinds of images, advertising, reflections in water, old trucks, clouds, demo derby cars…lots of things. I investigate with my eyes which are the window to ideas. I think this is true for most artists, so this is no big revelation. I just thought I would show you a simple example of this I ran across last week. After walking across a large white bridge I noticed the reflection of it in the water. I always have my camera with me and so I took this photo. It was almost like real life imitating a painting ideas I have worked with before..
I then printed out the picture and took it to the studio. Below is a photo of the painting.
I did the blues first and let them dry. Next I painted the reflection. I used acrylic painting markers as well as a fine brush. People who have no idea this is a bridge reflection seem to respond to it as a purely abstract image. I always point out that actually, all “abstraction” comes from concrete reality. I am particularly interested in water shapes right now. The bottom line is the same as the top line….trust yourself, do not worry for a minute what others might say.
Not everything we try is going to work, but we should try everything we wish to make work.
In some of my first forays into painting (literally without a lesson, 1967) I painted what I saw around me in the Gary, Indiana area, this included trucks.
Many years later, after dropping out of teaching for a few years I did a formalized venture into highway images (1977-87). This brought some of my early road trip experiences as a kid as well as my love for the whole culture.
After that I pursued some experimental work including a lot of mixed media constructions. I became interested in design systems in nature and oceanic art. Lately I have been working on a series about clouds.
So here we are, I just retired and I although I am doing work on two books and some experimental photography, I felt like I had painted myself into a corner.
My solution is to go back to those trucks and cars. I came to this through photography. I was taking pictures of the interiors of junk cars. I then started looking at the fronts of those beloved old Fords and Buicks. Now I am making some small canvases, I will work towards bigger work soon. These aren’t quite as photo looking as that early work. I am taking more liberties with color and adding some symbols. I do not know where this is going but it is going….and that is the important thing.
There are several approaches to taking photos of birds, today I went upstairs. From the top window I could look down on the birds. This can help in several ways. Flight is easier to observe as well as distance. Looking down to the ground it becomes obvious you can now take pictures of several birds without much of a depth of field problem. Instead of objects moving back into space they are pretty much on the same plane. This is a big help if you want multiple birds in focus in the same shot. As a matter of variety and interest some photographers actually carry a ladder in their vehicle. Changing your point if view is a nice change…and sometimes a real advantage.
This is an example of how shooting from above can help beet the depth of field problem.
Paw Paw Marsh, Martin County, Indiana
Why would you risk snake bite, ruining your camera and God knows what to stay all day in a freakin’ swamp? tick bites-terror supreme!
on the other hand…….
Why would you strap yourself into a plastic and metal thing on rubber wheels and hurl yourself down asphalt at 60 miles and hour….with idiots coming at you at all directions?
Great Blue Heron
We know air travel is safer….and so is nature. A mucky-yucky swamp is full of beautiful life. That is why a lot of photo people like it. If you have never entered a marsh area (marsh…that is what we tree hugging liberals call it) before sunrise…well you should. As the sun rises and the fog lifts wild life comes alive. Since you and your camera were there first, and you are quiet, then you will see a lot of life others miss. Hint-if you can-do this on a weekday when the other folks are off to work.
I recently remarked to a friend that I did not like the way wide angle lens shots looked because they warp the information on the right and left sides (edges of information lean in towards the center).
He told me how to do “photo-stitching” or panoramic shots. I would now like to pass this on to you. I think you will be amazed at how easy it is!
1. Turn the camera for a vertical format, take 5-6 shots from left to right. Make sure each shot overlaps the last one by about 25%. Take care not to jog the camera up or down, just stay in place and twist your body as you shoot.
2. After putting the photos in Adobe, select the 4-5, highlight them (left mouse button+shift). Now tap the ENTER key. This will load all of your photos ( you will see them displayed at the bottom of the screen).
3. Go up to FILE then NEW. This will open a window that allows you to choose: PHOTO MERGE PANORAMA.
4. A photo merge page comes up. Click on ADD NEW FILES. Then click O.K. Believe it or not-the work is done. Now simply wait for a few minutes and the computer will stitch the images together. Give it time to resolve all of the edges and lighting differences in each shot. When it is done it will be obvious.
Now simply crop the image and save it.
After saving the image it may or may not be in the file you pulled it out of, the first 2 or 3 times I had to go to “recently changed” to find it. After that the image did stay right in the file I pulled it from.
Good luck and have fun!
I am a very, very (and yes…very) non-technical person. I was recently introduced to something that I find is not only non-tech, it is fun and retro and invites a little Luddite in me to step forward, always a good feeling.
My friend gave me an old camera with a pop up viewer and a black square long box she had constructed. As you can see shapes were cut into it to accommodate the camera and provide an opening for the lens.
The black box slides down over the old camera. The next step is to turn the auto flash on your camera off and set to macro (an image of a flower may be on the dial). You can still use auto-focus. When you first shoot it will be frustrating because everything will be backwards, it takes a while to adjust. When you move left the view moves right, etc. Once you get used to it, things are interesting. This method allows you to embrace the (to my mind) wonderful imperfections in old photos. As a matter of fact I often use Adobe to make them “worse.” In the photos you see here I used two mannequins I recently purchased. Subject matter always counts. Ordinary things take on a new look when shot this way.
P.S.: Depending on the camera and lens you use, you may have to elevate you “good” camera just beyond the top edge of the black box.
Here are 7 collages I just finished. They are in a series called: Eye Thicket.
The classic series such as Monet’s haystacks and cathedral are of one subject viewed with different light and times of the year. Another way of seeing a series would be the wonderful lily pond views that Monet created. Indeed he is often credited with the concept of a series.
I made these 7 collages at the same time, often tearing papers and applying parts to several at the same time. The individual works grew together as a family rather than in sequence. Maybe this isn’t a series at all, I am not sure. I do know this; I did not want to make seven things that would be a kind of visual rut and I wanted each one to be able to stand by itself.
You can also view these and other works on my website: http://billwhorrall.com/
Here are 3 of 22 alternate shots of an Amish barn.
I was riding in a car one day and saw this barn in the morning. I returned later to insure the sunrise would strike it the same way. This is the view and crop I ended up with, a frontal view. I used the quick fix on Adobe Photoshop Elements to put a tiny bit of red into this image.
There are many angles one could use here, including elevating or lowering the camera. I looked at the barn from different angles and took about 20 shots. After viewing them I returned to my original impression. I think it is great to go with your instinct…but do not overlook other possibilities.
Here is a shot I took that turned out very differently than the image I expected. The camera did not see what I saw. Vertical shots are often disappointing for me. Below you can see the re-crop and fix.
18″ 24″ mixed media on paper. by Bill Whorrall. This is an example of using a photographic source without it being static or being solely dependent on a photo reference.
The image above is part of a series about water and other elements related to water. It is also a way of seeing how a photo screened image can become quite painterly and loose. A real challenge is using photography without the media itself dominating the space.
18″ 24 on paper. Mixed media with photo-screened elements by Bill Whorrall
This work uses photo screened images of clouds and water. The soft edges and triangle, circle help push the photo reference away while maintaining the integrity of the photo-derived information. The overlapping color, drawing and writing provide layers of perception and detail.