Random Sights and Diversions

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Solo Show in Greenwich CT

If you’re in the area of Greenwich CT in January or February, stop by the First Bank of Greenwich which is hosting a show of my photography. And if you’re near here this Wednesday the 13th of January, come to the Opening/Reception.

This is a major show, featuring selections of my work in three genres or styles I have been working on: The Impressions From Nature series; Landscapes from the American southwest and from New England; and (mostly) studio-produced florals and botanical images. I am really excited about this show. I’m honored to be included in the shows presented by the First Bank of Greenwich, a bank that is community-oriented and a leading promoter of the arts in southwest Connecticult. The bank presets a series of shows throughout the year.

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Photographs Belong in Art Galleries

Visitors study pictures on show at the Photographers’ Gallery, London. Photograph: Alamy. The Guardian, Nov 13, 2014.

I have wanted to write something about the question of photography-as-art for a while. A recent article in The Guardian (“Flat, Soulless, and Stupid: Why Photographs Don’t Work in Art Galleries.” Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 13 Nov 2014) now prompts me to do so.

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones says he wishes we would not put photographs (apparently, any photographs) in art galleries. Well. I couldn’t disagree more.

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Solitude (Rocks)

Solitude (Rocks). Nikon D200. 105 mm (Micro-Nikkor Macro). ISO 1000. 1/125 sec at f/6.7. Digitally manipulated. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Solitude (Rocks). Nikon D200. 105 mm (Micro-Nikkor Macro). ISO 1000. 1/125 sec at f/6.7. Digitally manipulated. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Is it lichens growing on rocks? Or water coursing over and around boulders? Or something else entirely? Does it matter? The original scene is in nature. The image is based on a natural scene but becomes a “pure” image, a created impression. The reality is in the eye and perception of the viewer. My aim in this series of impressionistic and digitally altered images is not to recreate a specific and recognizable representation, but to convey an impression of the rich colors and textures – often not perceived by the native eye – inherent in nature.

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Alfred Stieglitz and The Photo Secession

The images I’ve been producing lately, featuring an antiqued tinted look achieved entirely through post-capture processing – remind one of the Photo Secessionists. Indeed, I’m striving somewhat intentionally at least partly in that direction.


Camera Work

Camera Work

The Photo Secession, a movement during the early years of the 20th Century, takes its name from a photography exhibition that was organized and led by Alfred Stieglitz. [NY Met Museum: Alfred Stieglitz and American Photography, and Alfred Stieglitz and His Circle. Also see  Edward Steichen and the Photo Secession Years]. Stieglitz selected the photographers whose work would appear in the show. The Photo Secession show drew a tremendous amount of critical and popular attention at the time. Subsequently, in his work and in the pages of the magazine he founded, Camera Work, Stieglitz became the clear leader and most noted of the “photo secessionists.”

Alfred Steiglitz - Spring Showers.

Alfred Stieglitz – Spring Showers.

The photo secessionists reacted against the highly formal and posed photography being produced in Europe during the late 19th Century. Photography then was not only formal and stilted but highly representational and documentary. Rarely was photography viewed as art. Stieglitz and the photosecessionists, however, argued for more pictorial works and said that a photographic work should be perceived and appreciated primarily as an expressionistic work of art by the photographer.

Alfred Steiglitz - Venetian Canal.

Alfred Stieglitz – Venetian Canal.

The work favored by the photosecessionists was usually characterized by more natural scenes and soft focus. Steiglitz suggested photographs should be more like paintings. Photographers carried out extensive post-capture processing in the darkroom to achieve highly manipulated images with the desired tone and texture. For the photo secessionists, the subject of an image was less important than the photographer’s processing and manipulation. It was most important that the photographic image realize the photographer’s personal vision, thus turning what had previously been an almost entirely documentary medium into an art form.

Georgia O'Keeffe - Alfred Steiglitz.

Georgia O’Keeffe – Alfred Stieglitz. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Amazon: Stieglitz and the Photo Secession.

Edward Steichen - The Pond: Moonrise.

Edward Steichen – The Pond: Moonrise. Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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Light and Shadow: Selected Works 2012-2014

Light and Shadow: A collection of selected works in black-and-white from 2012-2014 at Joanne Mason Photography.

Grand Canyon from South Rim

Grand Canyon from South Rim (Copyright 2014 Joanne Mason. All Rights Reserved)

For the last year or so, I’m been working increasingly in black and white, both shooting for black and white and also working on developing and refining techniques for processing black and white images with a certain look and style. Black-and-white photography is the art of capturing and manipulating the interplay of light and shadow. It is a realm of contrast, of pattern and depth and texture, where light and shadow yield to each other deeper resonances in the eye of the imagination. Shadows and light are found everywhere in the natural and synthetic world. I’m looking to create images that are enhanced by this interplay of light and dark. These are images with lots of contrast and also lots of (usually) sharp detail, images in which the shadows reveal as much as they obscure.

Rocks (Copyright 2014 Joanne Mason. All Rights Reserved)

Rocks (Copyright 2014 Joanne Mason. All Rights Reserved)

This is a collection of selected photographs created from 2012 to the present, consisting of landscapes, natural scenes, and architectural images. This collection represents my recent work in black-and-white image-making. (View the complete portfolio as a slide show. [Allow time to load.])

Camelia (Copyright 2014 Joanne Mason. All Rights Reserved)

Camelia (Copyright 2014 Joanne Mason. All Rights Reserved)

Equipment: Nikon D200 and various lenses (usually Nikon 105mm Macro, Nikon 12-14mm zoom, Nikon 17-55mm zoom, or Nikon 70-200mm zoom); and Fuji X100 with fixed 23mm lens. Images are processed with Lightroom and Nik SilverEffex and other software tools.

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Leanne Cole Photography

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. Leanne Cole (Used with permission).

Every so often, I find a great blog or photo website, or photographer, that I want to feature here and recommend. Leanne Cole’s blog is one such. With great design and lots of content, aptly subtitled “Art and Practice,” Leanne’s site is a model of a great photography blog.

Leanne is from Melbourne Australia, and her blog features her photography in and around Melbourne and throughout Australia. Having lived in Australia a few years back, I love her work, which is varied and evocative – The next best thing to being there! The site is kept fresh and up-to-date because Leanne blogs regularly and often. Each week, Leanne posts photography and remarks from her “Weekend Wanderings.” She also features an extensive section on “Learning Photography,” with tutorials and helpful remarks on photographic technique and post-processing. It’s informative, educational, educational, and includes great Australian landscapes and scenes.

Yarra River Bridge at Southbank, Melbourne, Australia. Leanne Cole (Used with permission).

Leanne’s photography is accomplished and appealing. She achieves rich and deep yet natural color, especially in shots of buildings and urban scenes, and she has a good eye for landscape composition. I especially admire her skillful post-processing work.

You should also visit another site of Leanne’s, Leanne Cole Photography, with her portfolio and galleries and images for sale.

Leanne is a member of Photographers.com.au and frequently posts there. I found a recent post and discussion on “Photography as Art” by Leanne quite interesting. I’ll write more on that topic soon. (If you’re in Australia and not yet familiar with Photographers.com.au, you certainly should check it out!)

Highly recommended: Leanne Cole Photography: Art and Practice.

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