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University of Kentucky Art Museum

The UK art museum has a large exhibit of photographs by the late Ralph Eugene Meatyard, something that probably has never happened before.  Meatyard had a strange way of seeing the world and his photographs show that.

They are loosely divided into groupings such as his mask photos, interiors, exteriors, and the doll photographs.  I found the exhibit very enjoyable, if you are used to only enjoying landscape or waterfall photographs, these may not be for your.  With an open mind about art photography, however, they show an approach that is refreshingly different.

Meatyard was a member of the Lexington Camera Club way back when the camera club movement was popular and thriving.

Joe’s Kestrel Print at the OVCC

Joe\'s Kestrel Print at the OVCC

The Ohio Valley Camera Club had a really good meeting Thursday night.  Joe Browning won Best of Show with his nice Kestrel print.  In the digital age, it is unbelievable that a photography group could have 47 matted and printed images for a meeting night.  The OVCC didn’t even have this many prints and this high quality back during the film days.

 

 

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

On the way for coffee with a friend, I noticed this poster in the window of a local shop and thought the reflections and background would make a nice photo for Halloween.

 

at River and Rails Bakery

at River and Rails Bakery

River and Rails Bakery
Huntington, WV

While in line at the bakery-coffee shop, I noticed this haunting image on the wall behind me.  In a world of art that has little meaning, I thought this print was intriguing.  It evokes emotion, rather you really like it or not.  Sad, hopeless…

 

 

Pendleton Art Center

Pendleton Art Center

I’ve had some website issues for a good while now, Mike Adkins came to the rescue last night and we’re back in working order.  I’ll have mobile photography photos for the next little bit until we get back up to speed.  This photo above has a story to it, I shot it awhile back at the Pendleton Art Center cafe.

When I was first out of school and working my first job, I met an older fellow named Bob Elam.  At the time, about 1981 or 1982, I had joined the Ohio Valley Camera Club and Bob was interested in this because he and his brother Frank had been very active members of the Armco Camera Club back in their younger days.

He invited me to his house to look at photographs again and again but I never did.  You know youth has its pitfalls and one of them is not believing in your elders, you tend to think things of the past are just not worthwhile and I remember speculating these photographs were nothing but snapshots.

Years after Bob had passed away, I found out that the Armco Camera Club must have been a great organization.  Frank Elam (Bob’s brother) has left the community a treasure trove of high quality black and white photographs that depict the everyday scenes of the area during World War II,  at least one of which has been reproduced as a flood wall mural.  The above Hipstamatic photograph shows a Frank Elam photograph of a downtown parade in the 1940s.

 

Eyes and forks

Eyes and forks

Welcome to July.  I thought I’d open the month with a composite image, something that I haven’t had much success with but was inspired by a couple of images found in the gallery exhibition of the Ohio Valley Camera Club.   This one somewhat depicts recent life.

But I didn’t have a complicated talent, nor was it enormous. Some
people thought I did because I wrote poems and was shy, didn’t
make eye contact, kept to myself. Nowadays they’d say
“high-functioning end of the autism spectrum,” but back
then oddity was interpreted in a kindlier fashion.

 The Keillor Reader by Garrison Keillor

Mail Call

Mail Call

Received a couple of photography related items in the mail- the latest edition of Interview Magazine, which was founded by Andy Warhol back in the 1960s.  I find that I  flip through the edition and then stack them all up for later reading.  Every now and then, I’ll have lunch with someone and we’ll go through the magazines and critique the photos.  Modern fashion photography isn’t the same form as it used to be, that’s all I’ll say.  I do enjoy the magazine quite a lot.

Also received the book Art & Soul, which is a large coffee table book with photos by Brian Smith.  More on that later, but have to say it was a bargain through Amazon’s service of linking you with other book sellers, particularly one that had the book for less than $10 even with shipping calculated in.

And then the I-phone has met its demise and will be relegated to becoming an I-Camera only, the cracked screen wasn’t too bad but the flash is now shorted inside the housing and won’t turn off, causing the battery to run down over time.  Still works good enough for mobile photography though.

Hoping to get back on track this week though don’t expect very good photos.  I’m going to concentrate on restoring the last few years of this website over the next month (the years from 2004 to 2006) and then we’ll be finishing up the 10th anniversary in early July.  I’m hoping to put together a presentation on the 10 years of this photo-blog (which will be a surprise to many, I’m a little like a not-famous Bill Watterson in that I don’t like public speaking engagements (who, by the way, has made the news recently), however a friend agreed to stand up and help me along and so it ought to be doable. I’m hoping the local camera club might be interested in the program.

 

Pottery face, April 2014

Pottery face, April 2014

Pendleton Art Center
Ashland, Kentucky

Spent the evening at the Pendleton, the pottery studio is getting an update with new work tables and I helped put things together.

I’ve not written up much of a formal review but I’d have to say that the small Canon Sl1 with the 10-22 Canon lens is just about one of the finest combinations I’ve ever used. I’ve recently been using the live-view “tap and shoot” routine where you frame up your composition on the LCD and then tap a focus point on the screen.  The mirror flips for a focus confirmation and then the shutter fires, making it pretty easy to both frame up the composition and fire the shutter with minimal shake.  Also works very well when you want to hold at chest level or over the head.  A tilt down screen would be just perfect then you could shoot from waist level just like in the old days.

 “If I were two faced, would
I be wearing this one?”

Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

Arthur Tress image at UK Art Museum

Arthur Tress image at UK Art Museum

I wanted to flip back to an photograph or two from the Wide Angle exhibit at the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

A couple days ago, I had an image showing the display of some well known photographers, however I think one of the important educational points of the Wide Angle show is how it allows you to find new photographers and new styles.

This photograph depicts a picture made by Arthur Tress, a photographer  that is known for his staged surrealism.  His image shows a street hockey player shot in an enveloping scene of steam rising from the road beneath him, from some sort of vent.  It is a striking photograph, sort of creepy but alluring.

Within the show are also photographs by Ralph Eugene Meatyard who also favored such a style, often using his children as subjects in his made up surreal images.  Meatyard was a local Kentucky photographer who was a member of the earlier Lexington Camera Club and died in the 70s just prior to the club folding.

For some time, his photography was collected and considered as good as the photographers such as Weston, Adams, and such.  Meatyard’s popularity faded but has began a resurgence in recent years and I’ve ran across his photographs several times lately.  Meatyard had a tie in with Thomas Merton and also Wendell Berry, both of whom I have often written about.   See Meatyard’s Wikipedia entry for more details.

Within our local camera club, we had a photographer in the mid 1980s who leaned toward “staged surrealism” and I remember not liking the images very well at all, but now after 30 years I can still distinctly remember them while I have forgotten most all the others.  That is one mark of success.

 

Arthur Rothstein and Marion Post Wolcott

Arthur Rothstein and Marion Post Wolcott

University of Kentucky Museum of Art
Lexington, Kentucky

In this scene, the middle photograph is “Fleeing a Dust Storm” by Arthur Rothstein.  He was a photographer with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) that photographed the country during the depression era.

This is a well known photograph, critically some have said it isn’t that good of a composition but we thought it was one of the better ones of the show.  Supposedly, Rothstein either “tweaked” it at best or else totally staged it, at worst.  The subjects are leaning while they walk to communicate their toil with the weather and the composition seems to suggest the building is occupied, though a close look at it shows the door has not been opened in a long while, nor could it ever be without a good bit of shoveling.  Still, it is a great photograph to view in person.

The photograph on the right is “Wagons deliver tobacco to barn on Russell Spears farm, near Lexington, Kentucky” by Marion Post Wolcott.  Her photographs, taken as a collection, seem to be my most favorite from the FSA project.  She photographed in West Virginia during the same time period, as well as spending a month in the Lexington Kentucky area.

I believe the photograph on the left is a Walker Evans shot, though my notes are sort of jumbled at that point.

 

 

 

Folk art at HMOA

Folk art at HMOA

Huntington Museum of Art
Huntington, West Virginia

This shot is from a visit to the HMOA where I found some folk art on loan from  the Kentucky Folk Art Museum that is affiliated with the Morehead State University .  I have to confess that it has taken me awhile to start appreciating folk art, but after several visits to the museum in Morehead,  I’m finding many examples that I like now.

 

 

Art at the Pendleton

Art at the Pendleton

Pendleton Art Center
Ashland, Kentucky

We stopped for awhile at the  Pendleton and I enjoyed this interesting art work in the front lobby, entitled The Three Artists  by Melanie Osborne.