JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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Unified Jazz Ensemble at the Opera House

Jun 4, 2018

Plus  – Update on my Upcoming O.H. Presentation / Site Fix-Its / On B&W. As everyone (sometimes I joking refer to everyone as both of them) probably knows by now Havre de Grace Street refers to anything going on in and around Havre de Grace, including at the Opera House when I can get access. This posting will only be up a couple of days before the next, so it will just have a couple of quick shots from the Cultural Arts Board sponsored Jazz demonstration at the Opera House during the First Friday celebrations. The performance launches a month-long series of cultural events at libraries around the County. For imformation and schedule go to the Artists in the Library page at CulturalArtsBoard.org.

     The image above is a group shot of the Unified Jazz Ensemble. If they are any indication of the quality of the series of events, they will be well worth checking out. these guys were good – if not outlandishly photogenic. Two more shots below and then some important notes on my own upcoming Opera House presentation, some site fix-its and a short rant that comes to mind about B&W photography.

     The First Friday images should go up Wednesday morning.

Opra House Presentation Update(open info but primarily for a couple of people offering suggestions, ideas and feedback)

     I hope to make regualr updates on progress, additions, etc. here as this thing evolves. Nan and I have attended far too many of these things to be willing to let it fit into the normal mold. As a starting point, I'm taking a pointer from watching Rogue Swan events at the Opera House – whatever I can do to make it fun and interesting for me might just do the same for those attending. Some of my ideas:

     – Open with a rousing piece of Rapanui music playing to a fast paced color slide show (more like a screen-saver) so everyone gets an opening look at the island and its people.

     – Introducing some of the B&W images with related video clips.

     – At least one instance of B&W sequence that tells a story made into a video with Ken Burns effect (this will be very cool).

     – Still planning to distribute the books during break and drawing for the framed print near the end, maybe. People keep telling me that this would be a mistake – I'll be taking more feedback on that one.

     – Want to work in a Short video of Nan's 13 island paintings (again, Ken Burns effect on stills) somewhere – maybe going into break.

     – Really want to work in Roberto Pakomio's one music video, maybe as a final item after I'm done and before lights come up – it has a very memorable "farewell" after the body of the video ends.

     – A triptych of triptychs, sort of I just couldn't resist calling it that. While thinkting about how to indroduce some things into my presentation, I searched back in some of the stage performances from the Island – none of them for the "tourists" (we generally avoided those, partly because they tend to be big, formal extravaganzas attended by nothing but tourists, but also because they are pretty expensive to get into). What I came up with was a series of three three or four part sequences that make either framed triptychs or, more to the point here, sets of individual slides designed to click through quickly, back and forth in both directions for effect. (Again, if I'm having fun maybe everyone else will too. As soon as the talk is over I'll figure out just how to post them on the blog).

There I go again, finding ways to expand an already extensive body of work from the Island.

     – And oh, if anyone has something they want me to address, please let me know.


A Double OOPS and Fix-Its:

     I was very grateful to have It pointed out to me that my Harford County folio was incomplete, a full 20 images short. Somehow this winter when I did some site work the old second page got deleted without me updating it to a new one. It's fixed now, by simply adding the images to the present page – consolidating things even more. I've also now done the same thing with the Acadia page. Again, I really appreciate it when someone notifies me about a problem or discrepency on the site (including spelling – my nemesis when typing on a computer).

     At the same time I was informed that my "Contact me…" link was sending people to a non-existing email address. It seems that last month when I was making header changes I copy-pasted the email address in the link without the first letter of the address. So naturally no emails were getting through. Bummer. Fixed it.

  Mini-Rant:

Color photography feeds the emotions

B&W is food for mind and soul.

Recently the subject of "why B&W" came op again, over the phone or something, and at home in the kitchen I blurted out to Nan: "Maybe I should have stepped in it and blurted out that in photography color feeds the senses and emotions while B&W is food for the brain and soul". Nan pointed out that I had better write that down as a starting point before I forgot it – duh, by the time I found a pen, I had to ask her for part of it back. Arrrrgh.

I believe I can defend the statement, if simplifying it a tad. Put another way, stripped of the fickle, and only marginally based in reality, narrow band of the color spectrum that is visible to the human eye, we are left with and confronted by so much that is constrained and concealed underneath – shadow, tone, light, expression, texture, line and geometry, perspective, detail, meaning, etc. What emerges is whatever statement that the image itself might make, along with that of the photographer who made the complex choices needed to render his take on the scene (often requiring a series of images to decipher). The word "style" comes to mind, but that is only one factor.

B&W photography begins as an abstraction of reality and lends itself to becoming a conveyance of how the artist sees the world.

This is not to denigrate color photography as a fine craft, or the skills necessary to do it well. Besides, it’s where all the money is. But a B&W photographer does what he (in my case) does for the same reason an artist works in charcoal, watercolor, oil, stone, wood, etc. B&W photography, like other mediums, begins as an abstraction of reality and lends itself to becoming a conveyance of how the artist sees the world. And like the other art mediums, is a lifetime learning process, evolving, changing. The fact that it begins by picking up a camera is irrelevant.

Back when photographers had to choose between color and B&W film, fewer people questioned the medium as a true art form. But with the advent of digital photography, in spite of the fact that shooting RAW RGB gives the B&W photographer more control over the conversion process, it seems to have created the impression that B&W is somehow a subset of color. Well, it can be, especially for the myriad photographers who simply select a B&W preset. With some of us the monochrome image is what is visualized from the git-go – it's a matter of perspective. In the best way possible, it's not about pretty pictures.

 If only camera manufacturers would offer the option of a much-sharper-without-those-darn-color-filter-layers over the sensor anyway, good camera, with a B&W only sensor, that doesn't cost as much as your car. There is an outfit now that actually converts camera bodies – I'll consider that as soon as the GfX is on the list and I have the money (as if either one of those is going to happen).