Reflections in a golden eye

20120529-145706.jpgFlax oil.

I was making salad dressing (I recently found out they sell it in bottles so you don’t have to make it from scratch every day) and as I poured the oil into the glass bowl, it created some interesting bubbles.  The color and the bubbles remind me of Serrano’s “Piss Christ”, which is actually a beautiful picture, of a crucifix radiating light.  I know that image ruffled a lot of feathers, and I can see why, but if you didn’t know that the golden substance was the artist’s urine, there would be nothing offensive about it.  It was his choice to name it that and invite controversy.

I am further reminded of a picture of the back of my eye taken by a technician using some neural analyzer.  She showed me some others and said “aren’t they beautiful? Each one different, and I love the colors”.

It’s not hard to find art in unusual places, if you let go of what you THINK art is, or where you THINK art should be found.  I once had a photography teacher say to me “if you want to take interesting pictures, go to Paris instead of KMart”. I hope he was not really listening to himself!  If one wants examples of architecture, I admit that it would be easier to find images in Paris, but someone with a sharp eye can take a picture of objects on a shelf at KMart that are professional, evocative, poignant, meaningful. Let your creative sense off it’s leash and see where it takes you.

Awaiting hair surgery

20120529-111420.jpgHair is complicated stuff.  Look at all these tools that are required to create a haircut.  I confess that I’m not sure what some of these implements are for but as I sat waiting for my hair guru to get ready for me, I walked around the salon and took pictures of things. I avoided getting any of the customers in the shots, because I wouldn’t want the whole world to see me with 100 pieces of foil-covered goo on my head either, so I respect their privacy.

This image was taken, of course, with my iPhone, and some minimal editing (cropping and adding a “vintage grunge” with Iris.  Iris Photosuite is my go-to app for editing because it is very simple to use and has most all the features I need.  The only thing that I don’t like — and this is extremely inconvenient — is that if you crop a picture, it saves it rotated 90 degrees.  I have developed a habit of using the iPhone editor to just rotate the image after I save it, which just goes to show, you can get used to anything.  (Software engineers are always brushing off bugs by saying this.)

An Upward Spiral



I love spiral shapes, they have a wonderful energy that draws me in. Always expanding outward to infinity, a nice metaphor for not being stuck.  I’m a sucker for a spiral, always have been.  I remember as a child with finger paints drawing endless spirals, just mesmerized, while the art teacher gently prodded me to “draw a real picture, like what the other children are doing”.   Perhaps a square house with a round yellow sun overhead?  Eventually I learned to make pictures that looked like that, with a mommy, daddy, children and a dog.  Some lollipop flowers.

I did manage to outgrow my childhood, and find my own creative sense again.  I won’t bore you with a diatribe about what school does to children; a forced conformity; preparation for being good factory workers, etc.  etc.  Oops, I almost started a diatribe.

Anyway, here are some lovely spirals.


Petrified Eggs

20120525-100338.jpgIf you’re ever bored with your photography and want a subject that will jar your brain loose, open a carton of eggs. In this pic I actually left the eggs in the carton, but as I have demonstrated on other occasions, I love to photograph eggs in different situations. I applied a stone texture to this B&W image to give them a petrified look.

A game of Go


In another departure from my usual, this is an unretouched/edited shot, except for cropping and rotating.  I noticed raindrops on the screen of my office window with the light shining through them, creating little ripples on the individual droplets, very pretty, and they sat on this grid pattern like Go stones (for those of you who have played the game). Go takes a lot of patience and like so many pursuits of interest, involves good pattern recognition skills.  As does math, software engineering, music, and data analysis of all kinds.

Even photography. If you study the works of the best photographers, you will find repeating patterns within a photograph.  Having patterns that repeat will draw the eye in certain directions, create emphasis, and unify something like, say, a street scene.  Look for patterns when you are framing a shot.  You will find that it makes for a stronger image.


An acquired texture


Message board, Franklin Street.

In a departure from my usual, I am using an untouched, unedited shot.  I saw this message board with months worth of handbills, announcements, advertisements, and concert posters.  As layers were added and ripped away, it acquired an unplanned texture that is more interesting than the stuff I create with Decim8.  The closer I look, the better it looks.


20120522-170853.jpgSee, there she is again, peeking in through a shattered window at my office. Kind of creepy.

One morning I arrived at the office and there was a broken plate glass window in the hall.  I was blown away when I saw how beautifully graphic it was, so managed to snap a few pictures just before they came to fix it.  Maybe the workers thought I was an insurance adjuster, but they waited until I was finished.

Used the model’s face as the background, and Superimpose-d the broken glass on top, with the vegetation peeking through. No other adjustments or editing.

Obsessed – but that’s a good thing


There are themes that I explore again and again.  In my photography, my journal, my conversations, the books I read. For a long time it was stone angels, I must have read Look Homeward Angel 4 times.  So what is it now, my obsession? ObsessionS, plural?  iPhoneography, for sure.  Themes in my pictures: fashion images set against some improbable and challenging background.  This particular model is currently the face of Marc Jacobs.  Every month there is a Marc Jacobs ad in all the fashion rags that has always set a model in some setting, and styled her, to be deliberately ugly.  Counterintuitive, but it makes you look twice, stare even, trying to read the secret meaning in the image.

The model he uses now is this Chinese model, who is being photographed in settings such as urban jungles (as opposed to flower meadows), grungy graffitied walls and such.  Still not pretty, which is exactly why I like them.  So I have become obsessed with this model, who becomes more beautiful the more you grunge it up.  She apears again and again in the images I’m doing.  Since I don’t like pixel-perfect images, I like to take her face and apply it to my own imagined settings, such as the swirling-galaxy background above, which is actually a picture of a store window in Chapel Hill, NC.

Thanks to Marc Jacobs for an innovative approach to their advertising, and how we are forced to see fashion in a different way.

Culinary Dreams


Or just without taste?  I was looking and looking for a certain picture on my iPhone, of a broken window, whose shatter patterns I particularly liked.  I couldn’t it find it (yet) but I found this pomegranate pic, which looks vaguely obscene, or at least not like vegetable matter, so I put it on a Decim8-ed background and added the eggs to give it the edible factor.

As I’ve written before, there are some days when the creative juice just doesn’t flow, it congeals.  And this is Sunday, folks, which means work tomorrow.   All of which adds up to me trying to force my mind back into its engineer box so I won’t suffer unnecessarily tomorrow.

So this is going to be my effort for tonight.  Note to self:  back up the blog.  Hackers have brought my site to its knees twice before, for no apparent reason.  Practice safe hex, protect your IP, take a backup, floss, dance, laugh.

Good night all, let’s gird our loins for the coming week.