My eye keeps finding more images for my Ghost Women series. This time, on the walls along the streets and alleyways of Barcelona. (See more of this portfolio, along with an explanation, under the Galleries tab above.)
In this photograph of some urban graffiti and poster advert detritus, I was seeing two couples–but their relationships are quite different. Perhaps one couple (upper) has managed to find accommodation and contentedness while the other (lower) is dealing with resentment, fear, perhaps even abuse?
Can you see the face of self-destruction in this next photograph? Torn and disfigured…disappearing…perhaps due to unspeakable childhood traumas…the disintegrating effects of an addiction, maybe…
Apparently comfortable, happy and healthy in their own skins in this urban space–what are their 3000 personal stories?
All I want is respect…dignity…you know, all those standard human rights we all ought to enjoy…
High voltage 69…authorized personnel only…
In a bar…on the street…a furtive glance. But who is he, really? Perhaps just a mere phantom of her own personal opera?
Is she in pursuit of a life-saving superhero? Ah, but superheroes are often distracted, with other, grander (!?), things on their minds. Or maybe they just want to go out alone on the balcony for a pensive smoke now and then…
And, finally, we have Leonardo’s reflective Mona Lisa selling Louis Vuitton handbags. I wonder what da Vinci would think of that? Would Lisa del Giocondo approve? And who were the Madmen/women who came up with this mad marketing campaign, anyway?
The march of progress continues along a southern section of Airport Road in Longmont, Colorado (as it does all along the entire Front Range). The constant drone of generators and the pop-pop-pop of the air guns as they relentlessly and ceaselessly drive nails into the wood framing…the sound of jobs…the sound of new homes in the making…the sound of a “healthy” economy.
So…I now have two more examples for my Neo-Topographic portfolio.
These new apartments or condos are going up along Airport Road, on the southwestern outskirts of Longmont. Note how Nature (here, as exemplified by that sliver of a glimpse of Longs Peak on the far horizon) is slowly being boarded up. The storm clouds are gathering–no coincidence. A “worm” or “snake” in the foreground tempts our eye into the image:
Here is another, very similar, view. We still have the storm clouds and Nature in the distant background slowly being extinguished but, to this composition, I add a hilly foreground that rhymes with Longs Peak in a certain way–they are both mountains of rock and dirt, but the former is a result of short-term human economic activity, the latter a very, very long-term project of the geologic forces–plate tectonics–of the Earth:
Three more for the portfolio, all from old, weathered and torn posters hanging on obscure walls…
“Disappearing USA Woman Haunted by Her Two Exs”:
“Torn From A Good Father”:
“The Scarlet Letters Of Our Times”:
You never know when a quick photo op stop might turn into a much deeper visual investigation.
And so it was with this strange and otherworldly section of fence line on the lands of the Navajo Nation. You’ll find it–if you are paying attention–along U.S. Route 89 in Arizona, north of Cameron but south of the turn toward Tuba City.
Here is my collection of images from this meditative session. What questions might they imply?
So, what do you do when you are tagging along with your significant other to a local clothing store…but, truth be told, you aren’t really all that interested in what might be on the rack?
Well, how about assign yourself the creative task of an iPhone photo essay?
Only a couple of these were cropped and I spent all of about three minutes post-processing each (Google Silver Efex Pro).
Just added a new portfolio of 12 images under the Galleries tab.
Here are three, to give you an idea. The message should be quite clear, I would think.
The difficult part with these photographs is deciding which images should be layered together, then finding the “just right” placement of one over the other.
Most of these pictures came from files that were originally quite small (some were from my iPhone). I ran them through Topaz Impression to give them an effect I liked in addition to converting them to black and white. I have them currently sized at 18″ x 12″ but they could probably go to 30″ x 20″ quite easily.
I mention this somewhat technical information because it seems that many photographers get caught up in squeezing out maximum sharpness from their 24 to 36 to 50 megapixel super-machines when sometimes it isn’t really necessary. Yes, for a classic landscape, you likely do want that sharpness. But, if there is a specific concept in play that involves social or political commentary or story-telling, then the compositional elements and whether they are successful in communicating with the viewer are way more important than high definition and pixel resolution.
It looks like my images from this contest, along with a short interview/bio (four pages total), will finally be published in the June, 2017 issue of Black & White, a nationally distributed magazine published six times a year. Yeah!
Of the three separate portfolios I submitted, “An Orwellian New York” was the one they chose.
To peruse all 36 images (in random order) from the three separate collections I presented for consideration, you can do so here: Black & White Magazine 2016 Portfolio Contest Daniel Joder.
And, here are two examples from each of the three portfolios, with the two from “Orwellian New York” photographs at the end…
From the “Front Range Neo-Topographics” portfolio:
From the “Western Civ 102” portfolio:
From the “An Orwellian New York” portfolio. A note on the first photograph–it is not a composite as some have thought. I simply framed the unique juxtaposition of the tenement building and the relevant part of a huge billboard on the left with my telephoto lens set at 180mm:
Sunday is a good day to head out in search of more images for my Neo-Topographic portfolio (plug “Neo-Topographics” into my SEARCH box and you’ll find myriad blog entries and image collections on this topic).
Well, the construction sites are usually quiet and I can go about my photography with no interference. That is one big reason. And, I kind of like my pictures with just the suggestion of frenetic human activity rather than pictures that depict actual frenetic human beans.
Also, the clouds today were cooperating quite well. With plain blue skies I likely would have stayed home. I try to capture these Neo-Topo photographs with heavens that suggest a bit of impending doom lurking beyond the horizon…er…well…an impending storm anyway.
So, here are a few possible portfolio candidates from today…
The farm looks recently abandoned–but proudly and carefully tended during its prime. Now, a Wal-Mart and condos have moved into the fields to the south:
Just a hint of relatively virgin Mother Nature is still visible between the structures:
I love the pile of carpet remnants on the left, and how the street leads you into the open maw of the garage on the house awaiting its roofing shingles:
Here you see the carpet remnants again. The front door was open and the sharp chirp of a smoke alarm with a low battery echoed out into the wide street:
Silent, inanimate, particle board faces gaze off to the west, toward the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the elk, black bear, coyotes, and eagles (and, with luck, someday with wolves and GRIZ):
You’ll find this scene on the east side of Highway 287, about a mile north of Longmont Colorado. This house has been hooked up to that tow truck for God knows how many years. All the tires–on the truck and under the house–are completely flat and rotted. What were the initial, ambitious, plans? What happened to stop the move so abruptly? The farm in the distance on the left is the same one you see in the first image above. A raptor sits on the peak of the old barn. On the right, it looks like files of condos are beginning to fill in the vacant fields…a Wal-Mart squats just a half mile to the south with its spacious and busy-bee parking lot:
A different angle shows more of the new condo (or apartment) development. The Wal-Mart is visible on the far right: