Recently, I started to think about my continuing body of photographic work in terms of ongoing, broadly defined projects. Each project, there are now five, is distinctly different from the others. And each project represents a style or a subject matter that I love to photograph. Oh I still photograph other things that fall outside of my five projects but I feel that the five projects define who I am as a photographer as much as I define what the nature of the five projects are. I believe this so strongly that I have revamped my website around the five projects. I have eliminated over half of the galleries that I added one by one over the years. And will probably end up eliminating others going forward. All the while, I am organizing my new galleries around the five projects.
“MORNING BECOMES ELECTRIC”
The first project is entitled “Morning Becomes Electric”. Those of you who have followed my work for any period of time must know that I am a morning person. I love the early morning hours and have for as long as I can remember. As I write this, it is 5:00 am and I have already been up for an hour. Many write of the golden light that comes with sunrise. I, on the other hand, greatly prefer what I call the electric light – the vibrant colors lighting up the sky in the hour and minutes before the actual sunrise. Nothing beats watching as night becomes day and sky becomes electric. The period between nautical twilight (dawn) and sunrise, the hour that encompassed civil twilight and dawn, is my most favorite time to shoot. The sky is continually changing as morning tries to lighten up the night and night tries to hang on for just a few minutes longer. “Morning Becomes Electric” is my attempt to capture what I see during that electrifying period. And what I see, what my eyes see, is color… bright, vivid, saturated, bold color. That is what I try to capture in camera and try to enhance to match my vision in processing. “Morning Becomes Electric” will continue to build on images like the following.
Ocean Grove (NJ) 010712
The second project that I continue to work on is simply called “Contrasts”. This project encompasses all my black & white work. I chose “Contrasts” for the title for obvious photographic reasons… contrast is such a critical element in black and white photography. It’s not that every black & white image “must” have bold blacks and bright whites and strongly contrasting elements in order to be successful. However, we must always consider contrast even if all we are dealing with in an image are myriad shades of gray. But the obvious is not the only reason for entitling this project “Contrasts”. I tend to also look for a play of contrasts in the subject matter I choose to photograph whether they be contrasting lifestyles, contrasting architecture, contrasting time periods, etc. Here is an example.
Eastern State Penintentiary (PA) 022511
The third project that I continue to work on is entitled “Soft Petals”. I love flowers… all kinds of flowers from tiny wildflowers (that some call weeds) to the many hybrids found in private and public gardens. For years I have photographed flowers trying to get every little bit of detail possible out of my images. Then an epiphany. While the detail was wonderful, it wasn’t the detail that I loved. It was color, broad swaths of color, soft sensuous colors. It seemed there were two directions I could go. One was to broaden my view from the macro to the wide angle and look to capture patterns of color across an entire flower bed or garden. The second direction, and the one I chose, was to stay macro… to stay up close and personal as it were but to soften the focus to the point where I could capture the soft sensuous colors while only maintaining the absolute bare minimum of detail. And thus was born “Soft Petals”.
Fourth is a project I simply call “Simplicity”. For the last year or two, I have been really enamored with my take on minimalist photography… minimizing the number and complexity of the compositional elements while continuing to have the composition tell a story. This project is my attempt at showing visually that less can be more.
Some have said that four photographic projects are too many for any person to work on simultaneously. And here I am now adding a new, fifth project. I really had no specific plans to create the “Manhattan Project”. It just sort of happened as I started to take more regular trips into New York City and started to wander around the wonderful neighborhoods (Chelsea, The Meatpacking District, Greenwich Village, Soho, East Village, etc.) with my camera in tow. I am far from a street photographer and am still somewhat uncomfortable photographing people. But I have found a certain sense of photographic freedom on my trips in New York. I am working outside my comfort zone but I am expanding my photographic horizons. And that is what my “Manhattan Project” is all about.
Not the Hogs & Heifers Type 032312
And there you have it. My five projects: “Morning Becomes Electric”, “Contrasts”, “Soft Petals”, “Simplicity” and the “Manhattan Project”.