March Final Friday: Open Studio Tours

Station North announced this program centered on Oliver Street in Baltimore, Maryland.  Toured the soon to open Baltimore School of Design, a middle – high  magnet school focused on architecture, fashion and industrial design.  It is going to be a neat place to go to school for creative students.  Great layout that provides tons of pin up space, project team discussion rooms, and opportunities to share ideas, just like some of our best enterprises.  Also had time to tour several studies at 405 Gallery (405 E. Oliver).  Special thanks to Tim Nohe for the time he spent explaining his work in Australia.  There was a lot more to see, but I ran out of time.

I really hope they do it again in the fall.

Broaden Your Horizons

…what mattered most… is the tension produced… by the surprise of difference…  —  Linda Pastan, in Carnival Evening

Fulton Avenue composite street scene.

Fulton Avenue composite.

Although I am most comfortable photographing natural scenes, I live in an urban environment. After about 10 years of commuting to work down Fulton Ave. and up Monroe Street, I finally realized that that there was a lot that was photographically interesting on those streets and in those communities that I passed each day, but basically ignored.  Much of it is blighted urban community, but there are areas that remain healthy and vital with people interacting on front steps, street vendors with crushed ice in the summer, and clean streets.

 

Composite image of burned church

Composite image of burned church

This developing body of work, tentatively title “Fulton-Monroe,” is an attempt to broaden my photographic horizons, test my creativity and document something that was part of my life for about 10 years.

I am not a “street shooter” in that I am still uncomfortable going up to people and asking them if I can take their picture (something I should remedy), so these are really all urban landscapes, illustrating the nature of the community or neighborhood by implication, but missing the important human component.

Plants in windows composite.

Composite image; large weed growing out of a broken window vs well-kept window box.

Since this is outside my usual work I would especially appreciate comments on this blog.

Gallery Opening

For me, the real learning has come from working and looking at other people’s work. — Steve McCurry, June 2004 in Kodak newsletter.

On Saturday, I attended a gallery opening for James Dusel, Echoes of Rome, at the Full Circle Gallery. Mr. Dusel’s presented works were silver gelatin or paladiotype prints of architectural images from Italy, but other places as well, including Baltimore.  They were all excellent images, although not generally in my area of interest.  However, attending gallery openings is critical to see others’ work, meet the local community, and provide opportunities to network with gallery owners and managers.  In addition to enjoying the artwork, conversation with other artists and photographers, I now have an opportunity to follow up with the gallery manager with my own work.  A truly excellent afternoon, even if I couldn’t afford a purchase.

Kamiwaza

Most mornings I read Seth Godin’s blog.  Godin is a marketing guru who frequently focuses on issues relating to art and creativity, but I also see him as a
philosopher.  He usually writes something worth thinking about.  This morning he talked, briefly, about “losing” because of self-doubt and self censoring.   Godin used the word “kamiwaza,” which I had not previously come across.  So I googled it, and found a conversation between Seth and John Wall on the Ronin Marketeer that discussed Godin’s book the Icarus Deception, and not only defined kamiwaza, but provided good advice to any artist on how to take a chance, be brave, and really put yourself out there. Since hesitancy to put myself “out there” is one of my problems, I thought others may also hang back, and I should share Godin’s insights.  An excerpt from the interview is below.  You can read the full interview at Ronin Marketeer.

Seth Godin:
We’re afraid to stand up because we’re afraid that someone’s going to say, “How dare you? What right do you have? What hubris for you to stand up and say you know anything?”

To be open means being vulnerable to feedback. Vulnerability ignites the enemy of arts and creativity, which is shame. Everyone carries some shame around. We don’t want it activated. We don’t want to be called out for flying too close to the sun. So it’s easier to just hunker down and wait for things to get back to normal.

The stories of the gods are stories of what we could do and what we could become. The Japanese have a term for this, which is “kamiwaza.” “Kamiwaza” means god-like, with no wasted motion, with confidence, and yes, with hubris. And so, when we see a cheetah running through the jungle, we see kamiwaza, because the cheetah could not run any better, any more fluidly, any more perfectly. But when human beings set out to do it, we check ourselves. We hold ourselves back. We imagine that a platform is for other people, not for us, because we haven’t been picked. It turns out that in this new fluid economy, waiting isn’t going to be a particularly productive plan. [end quote]

To take this to heart, some of my recent creative attempts are included.

Badlands in Petrified Forest National Park from the Nizhoni Point overlook

Badlands in Petrified Forest National Park from the Nizhoni Point overlook. Filtered with “find edges”.

Badlands taken from Blue Mesa overlook in Petrified Forest National Park

Badlands taken from Blue Mesa overlook in Petrified Forest National Park and modified with finding edges filter.

Check Out the Maryland Green Ball at Sustainafest.org

“Through the magic of art and entertainment, SustainaFest opens your eyes, touches your heart and expands your mind, forever changing your perspective on crucial social, economic and environmental issues and your place in this world.”

SustainaFest leverages the power of art and entertainment to spark dialogue and action on the most pressing social, environmental, and economic issues of our time.

Be inspired. Take action.

The Green Ball on March 15, from 7 – 11 PM at Governor Calvert House, 58 State Circle in Annapolis is a fund raiser for SustainaFest.  Come and have a good time, participate and help this worthy endeavor more forward.  See http://www.sustainafest.org/page1/page1.html for ticket info.

Swamped with Spam, I may not have answered

If you wrote or commented on my blog and didn’t receive a response, I apologize.  I was swamped with spam, sometimes over 3000 in a week, so I just deleted it.  I now have help from Akismet which should filter out the spam but let the comments get through.

If you respond or comment and still don’t get through, I urge you to email me and I will try to get you “unspamed” and will respond to your comment on the blog.  There is an email link on my home page at www.richeskinphoto.com .

I am really sorry for the inconvenience or apparent lack of responsiveness.