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From 1922 to around 1935 Alfred Stieglitz took a series of photographs of clouds that he named Equivalents. The photographs were not intended as literal series of meteorological studies but as an examination of states of mind. (1)
By photographing clouds, Stieglitz meant to demonstrate how “to hold a moment, how to record something so completely, that all who see [the picture of it] will relive an equivalent of what has been expressed.”
Stieglitz’s choice of intangible vapors as his ostensible subject was telling, for the vagueness of transcendental meaning is not easily sustained by material objects. Whether his equivalents achieved their goal is a question each viewer must answer for himself or herself; that they demonstrated the ineffable dimension of inspiration is without doubt. (2)
Dorothy Norman once recorded a conversation between Alfred Stieglitz and a man looking at one of his Equivalents prints:
Man (looking at a Stieglitz Equivalent): Is this a photograph of water?
Stieglitz: What difference does it make of what it is a photograph?
Man: But is it a photograph of water?
Stieglitz: I tell you it does not matter.
Man: Well, then, is it a picture of the sky?
Stieglitz: It happens to be a picture of the sky. But I cannot understand why that is of any importantance. (3)
With the theory of Equivalence, photographers everywhere are given a way of learning to use the camera in relation to the mind, heart, viscera and spirit of human beings. –Minor White
White was greatly influenced by Stieglitz’s concept of “equivalence,” which White interpreted as allowing photographs to represent more than their subject matter. He wrote “when a photograph functions as an Equivalent, the photograph is at once a record of something in front of the camera and simultaneously a spontaneous symbol. (“A ‘spontaneous symbol’ is one which develops automatically to fill the need of the moment. A photograph of the bark of a tree, for example, may suddenly touch off a corresponding feeling of roughness of character within an individual.”)
In his later life he often made photographs of rocks, surf, wood and other natural objects that were isolated from their context, so that they became abstract forms. He intended these to be interpreted by the viewer as something more than what they actually present. According to White, “When a photographer presents us with what to him is an Equivalent, he is telling us in effect, ‘I had a feeling about something and here is my metaphor of that feeling.’…What really happened is that he recognized an object or series of forms that, when photographed, would yield an image with specific suggestive powers that can direct the viewer into a specific and known feeling, state, or place within himself.(4)
Below is a link to a wonderful new book about Minor White
“Manifestations of the Spirit” by Paul Martineau
2.“Alfred Stieglitz: Equivalent” (49.55.29) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
3. Dorothy Norman (1984). Minor White, A Living Remembrance. Aperture. p. 9
4.White 1963, 17
Exhibiting at FotoFoto October 3-November 2
Lawrence Chatterton -Civil War Re- enactors
Ray Germann- New York City People
Rockaway Artists Alliance invites the public to ArtSplash 2014, their 14th annual multi-media arts event. ArtSplash 2014 is RAA’s largest exhibition of the year. It features a variety of work from artists from the metropolitan area and beyond. Included in this year’s exhibit is fotofoto gallery artist Rosalie Frost.
On View: September 13 – October 19
Studio 7 Gallery, Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation AreaRockaway Point, NY 11694
Gallery hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm to 4 pm
For those of you who are not familiar with Jim’s work, the following is from his web site…
“Jim Richardson is a photographer for National Geographic Magazine and a contributing editor for its sister publication,TRAVELER Magazine. Richardson has photographed more than 25 stories for National Geographic.
Richardson’s work takes him around the world, from the tops of volcanic peaks to below the surface of swamps and wetlands. ABC News Nightline produced a story about the long process of assembling a National Geographic coverage by following Richardson in the field and at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his color photography, Richardson has built a distinguished body of black-and-white documentary work about rural Kansas life. His audiovisual presentation, “Reflections From a Wide Spot in the Road,” has toured internationally. A 22-page story about his 30 years of photographing life in the north central Kansas town of Cuba, population 230, was published in National Geographic and featured twice by CBS News Sunday Morning, most recently in May 2004. His 1979 study of adolescence, “High School USA,” is now considered a photo essay classic and is used in college classrooms.
Richardson speaks nationally and internationally. He lives in Lindsborg, Kansas, where his work is featured at his gallery, Small World, on Lindsborg’s Main Street.”
After Jim was kind enough to field some technical questions, Scott asked if he wouldn’t mind answering a few general questions for inclusion on fotofoto gallery’s blog. He graciously agreed and here is how the “conversation” went…
SF: What was it that drew you to photography, as opposed to “how did you get your start”?
JR: Well, as a sort of a loner kid out on a farm I had many hobbies and I was fascinated by all sorts of “magical” technology, like telescopes and microscopes. So I think it was both the technology of cameras, and then the miraculous things that happened in the darkroom, that really got me going. But then, it also turned on my ability to make images that somehow transformed the everyday into something special. So I did a lot of experimenting with lighting, tabletop photography, shooting through my binoculars (early telephoto experiments) and photographing lightning storms. All of it a great deal of fun.
SF: Who would you cite as an influence(s)?
JR: First off my father, who picked up his cameras secondhand in pawn shops between Kansas and Texas on his truck route. That’s what got me started. But then when I was beginning in newspapers it would have been the great documentary photographers like W. Eugene Smith and David Douglas Duncan.
SF: Is there a particular working photographer who you enjoy or for whom you have a special respect or appreciation?
JR: I think several of my colleagues at National Geographic fall into that category. I think of John Stanmeyer who is just dogged in getting to the heart of stories. And Peter Essick who does such wonderful images of the environment, particularly when the story is difficult and not obviously “visual.”
SF: There are continuous technological advances being made in photography. Do you still shoot any film or are you strictly digital now – and do you think mirror-less cameras will overtake the DSLR?
JR: I don’t shoot any film; switched completely as soon as I could after I got my first digital camera (a Nikon D100). Never looked back. Mirror-less cameras will overtake DSLR’s, almost certainly. For many purposes they already have.
SF: In this digital age just about anyone with a camera phone might refer to himself/herself as a “photographer”. Do you think the proliferation of these devices has, for the lack of a better term, “dumbed down” photography? And is this necessarily a good or bad thing?
JR: I don’t think the proliferation of camera phones has dumbed down photography any more than the printing press dumbed down writing. It has expanded the range, democratized the communications, made it possible for virtually anyone to speak “photography” as a second language, and elevated the best photography even higher by simply setting bar higher. All to the good.
SF: If you could only take one camera body and lens (or maybe you’d choose your camera phone?) to shoot your favorite subject, what would you choose or consider your “go to” options?
JR: I’d probably take my Nikon D800e and my 16-35 Nikkor. But that is because you said to photograph my favorite subject and that would probably be the Hebrides of Scotland – and that means I need a lens that can take half gray filters, thus eliminating my 14-24mm Nikkor. The subject dictates the camera.
SF: If you had to choose your one, favorite place to shoot where would that be and why?
JR: Oh, as I mentioned above it might be the Hebrides of Scotland. Or it might be Cuba, Kansas, the little town where I have been taking pictures for 35 years.
SF: In your opinion, what makes a photograph “great” or exceptional? Are there certain elements you look for?
JR: I look for the direct communications, the elegant way it goes straight to the heart of the matter. I’m almost totally ecumenical when it comes to style as long as the effect is direct communications.
SF: How much would you say you rely upon post-processing versus trying to get it “right” at the time of image capture, such as through the use of ND filters, lighting systems, etc.?
JR: I try to get it as right as I can in the camera. For National Geographic we are pretty much in the non-fiction photography business, so there is a real limit on how much post processing can be done. Tonality, contrast, dodge-and-burn are pretty much OK. Beyond that it’s all thin ice out to the really deep waters of Photoshop.
SF: How do you catalog, archive and backup decades worth of photographic images – and how much of what you originally take winds up being kept? Has everything been digitally converted?
JR: I catalog in Aperture, for me the very best of the cataloging software today. (I can’t imagine why photographers don’t catalog their work more effectively.) I have about 600,000 images in my main Aperture catalog that I work out of on a daily basis. All of that takes up about 10TB on a 5-bay drive (JBOD, not RAID.) which I back up off site. And then I use PhotoShelter. And then, of course, anything I shoot for National Geographic is also fully stored in their archives.
As for shooting, I keep every frame. But in practical terms a full NG shoot, which might be 40,000 frames results in a core set of images numbering several hundred that get the brunt of the use. We show about 40 to the editors, from which 10-20 are used in the layout.
Only a fraction of all the slides (from the film years) has been digitized. Most of it probably will never be scanned.
SF: What do you consider to be your proudest accomplishment, or greatest work, as a professional photographer to date?
JR: I was named Honored Citizen of Cuba, Kansas for photographing their community. I was named Kansan of the Year for photographing our Flint Hills. Mostly I count my accomplishments in terms of taking on stories that no one else wanted to photograph and making them sing in the pages of National Geographic. (The Ogallala Aquifer was one such.)
SF: Lastly, using your remarkable talents as a photographer, what would you still most like to accomplish?
JR: Probably I’d like to get my photo files in order and not feel like it’s a total mess all the time. Actually, it would be to get all the photo books I have threatened to do done.
The Huntington Arts Council is proud to announce the “Personal Best 2014 Members Show” featuring the works of HAC member artists. Incorporating a variety of media forms, nearly 90 pieces will be highlighted in two exhibits at the Main Street Petite Gallery.
William Grabowski, curator for the Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Petite Gallery says, “the Arts provide us with many media from which we might create a unique interpretation of who we are as artists. When we uniquely combine our techniques with our spirit we produce our ‘Personal Best’. All Arts Council members are urged to display a piece of visual artwork in our Main Street Petite Gallery that shows us at our best. From these wonderful examples we will all benefit and be inspired for the future – personally and artistically”.
“Exhibit I” runs now through August 4th and will be followed by “Exhibit II”, running August 7th through September 2nd.
Participating in the Huntington Arts Council 2014 Members’ show are fotofoto gallery artists Andrea M. Gordon and Holly Gordon.
“Late September” by Barbara V. Jones
This July in Gubbio, Italy the photographic artists of fotofoto gallery will participate in an international exchange show. The exhibit, entitled “Made in America”, is part of the gallery’s international outreach and cultural exchange program. Earlier this year Paolo Tosti, Director of the Terracomunica International Project, along with a group of students from the 2013 Umbria Festival photography workshop, exhibited at fotofoto gallery in Huntington, New York. Now Gubbio will play host to this exciting and diverse collection of photographs, all of which are “Made in America”.
Alli Rufrano, of fotofoto gallery, is coordinating this exhibit while simultaneously leading the 2014 Terracomunica workshop. You can learn more about this by referring to an earlier blog posting here.
So, if you can’t make it to Italy between July 2nd and July 14th, feel free to make the shorter excursion to fotofoto gallery on 14 West Carver Street in beautiful downtown Huntington, New York for the “BIG” exhibit. The gallery artists at fotofoto will be going BIG with large sized, original prints that exemplify the creative diversity of this group of photographers. Admission, as always, is free!
Hope to see you in Gubbio or Huntington in July!
The public is invited to a slide presentation at the library Bay Shore – Brightwaters Public Library on Thursday, June 12th, 2014 at 7:30pm. Local Photographer and fotofoto gallery artist Holly Gordon will share her shooting techniques and tips. This presentation is a must see for gardeners, garden lovers and photographers alike.
Perennial favorites taken with Kodak film more than a decade ago are fresh and vibrant. Recent works created in camera in Monet’s renowned garden, Giverny, France reveal her love affair with color and light. In Monet’s journal, Gordon read, that he was good at two things: gardening and painting…and she immediately saw an intimate connection as she was an avid gardener and painter long before she chose to focus on the camera for all her creativity. Her most current works are images digitally created with the use of NIK filters. The seeds of these blooms may have been planted in soil years ago, but fertile cyberspace has allowed them to germinate now…and it is ripe for viewing.
Please visit the library’s web site for additional information…
This is a free event!
This Saturday and Sunday, May 31st and June 1st, Huntington’s Heckscher Park plays host to the Art League of Long Island‘s 47th annual “Art in the Park” craft fair. More than 75 artists and craftspeople will display their one-of-a-kind works. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, woodwork, ceramics, fiber arts, and more are available for purchase.
There will also be live music, food vendors, hands-on activities for the whole family , and live art demonstrations by Art League instructors.
A Raffle will run throughout the weekend, winner to be announced Sunday afternoon. Proceeds will benefit the Art League of Long Island, a not-for-profit organization serving the community since 1955.
Admission is free and hours both days are 9am – 5pm. Please help support your local arts community.
Hope to see you there!
The East End Photographers Group will be celebrating Spring with their annual 9-day photographic exhibition at Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton, NY. This is a very special exhibition that will feature guest curators Elena Prohaska Glinn and Marilyn Stevenson. Also included in the exhibition will be historic images by celebrated Magnum photographer Burt Glinn.
The show will feature traditional, digital and alternative photographic processes and include fotofoto gallery artists Scott Farrell, Ray Germann, as well as photographers Ann Brandeis, Zintis Buzermanis, Dell Cullum, Anne Drager, Paul Dempsey, Peggy English, Rich Faron, Alex Ferrone, Janet Glazer, Gerry Giliberti, Pamela Grienke, Greg Hollmann, Joel Lefkowitz, Virginia Khuri, George Mallis, Berton Miller, Joanna McCarthy, Guy Pierno, Joan Santos, Dainis Saulitis, Steve Schreiber, Rosa Hanna Scott, James Slezak, Marilyn Stevenson, Nick Tarr, Mary Trentalange and Bob Wilson.
The event is free and open to the public. Opening Reception: Saturday May 31st, 5 to 8 PM. Exhibition runs from Saturday May 31st through Sunday June 8th, 2013. Closing Reception will take place on Sunday June 8th 3 PM – 5 PM.
Gallery Hours: 1 PM to 5 PM weekdays and 12 PM to 5 PM on weekends.
Ashawagh Hall is located at 780 Springs Fireplace Road in East Hampton, NY.
For more information you can visit the East End Photography web site at…
This month at FotoFoto Gallery in Huntington, New York, two photographers’ visual documentaries explore life, death and life anew in the gallery’s May exhibit.
Patricia Beary’s “Whisper Loudly” features compelling images captured from European cemeteries. “Narratives are exposed in the artifacts and architecture of memorials…as each image solicits inquiry…questions will outnumber answers as the viewer interprets incongruous relics. In a setting honoring the dead, life is revealed.”
In relative contrast, “Tulips” by Holly Gordon “exalts the glorious tulips that have been photographed throughout her worldwide travels – from Monet’s garden in Giverny to our Long Island flowerbeds, and places in-between.”
The exhibit runs Friday, May 2nd through Sunday, May 25th, 2014. Opening reception is Saturday, May 3rd from 5pm until 7pm. Admission, as always, is free. You are also invited to join the photographers on Sunday, May 25th for a “gallery talk” at 2pm. Holly and Pat will offer insights into their works, their creative processes, inspirations and more.
FotoFoto Gallery is located at 14 West Carver Street. Hours are Fridays from 5pm – 8pm, Saturdays from 12pm – 8pm, and Sundays from 12pm – 4pm.