a picture of poetry in life

This video, Dark Side of the Lens, is beautiful on so many levels. The images are mesmerizing, and Surf Photographer Mickey Smith's poetic and philosophical narrative cuts to the core of what gives life its meaning.  You can google and find several interviews with Mickey Smith scattered around the internet, but I especially like this one at Megadeluxe because it's focused on the making of this video.

 

. . . If I only scrape a living, at least it's a living worth scraping.  If there's no future in it, at least it's a present worth remembering . . .


digital art gets small with sketchbook mobile

My android phone is replacing my graphic pad as my canvas of choice.  I'm fascinated with the speed that comes from working with my finger on a very small screen and the ability to integrate images and photographs easily.  My primary tool is Sketchbook Mobile by AutoDesk because (1) it has a zillion brush styles with adjustable sizes and transparency, and (2) it lets you work on Photoshop type layers that can be easily resized. 

The painting on this card started with a simple face drawing that gradually morphed over several days and dozens of fused drawing layers (including a final dimmed photograph of me in my bathroom mirror) into an abstract that feels eeirily earthy

Rugged Abstract: Digital Painting by Marina Flournoy

I completed the work using Photoshop on my desktop. Working small means small images, so I had to resample up to 300 pixels for good print resolution. But, other than that and a brightness/contrast adjustment, this is all phone art.


nine year old banjo whiz kid playing bluegrass

This video shows why nine year old banjo player Jonny Mizzone is creating such a buzz.   And his brothers Robbie (age 12, on fiddle) and Tommy (age 14, on guitar) show that extreme musical talent seems to be a Mizzone family thing.


imogen cunningham in her own witty quotable words

Imogen Cunningham self-portraits The clips below are from the video Portrait of Imogen.  I had it on vhs years ago, but it got away from me.   So I was happy to find these clips to view and share.  This award-winning film was created by filmmaker Meg Partridge, who is also Imogen Cunningham's granddaughter.   Working from audio recordings of her grandmother done years before by Cunningham's son Rondal Partridge (Meg's father), Meg Partridge added the missing visual element by combining the audio with engaging shots of Imogen Cunningham's photos.   I loved this video as much for Cunningham's witty observations as for the images.   The segment with my favorite quote was not included in these clips.   In it, Cunningham is explaining that the supposedly requisite early morning photographs were not to be seen in her work, because "crack of dawn, I'm not there."  I stole that one as my own.

In this first clip,  Cunningham talks about her determination to become a photograper and getting her first camera in 1901 through a $15 correspondence course:

  

Here she tells about being condemned as "an immoral woman" for photographing her husband nude in 1915, supposedly the first woman to do a male nude.  She says with irony that "now people seem to pay for them."

 

This clip shows platinum prints from 1910 when Cunningham was under the influence of writer William Morris and creating highly staged tableau type works based on his stories and titles.

 

This clip tells how she came to meet her photographer husband Roi Partridge, solidified their relationship through letters while he was in Paris, married, and had three children that became the primary focus of her photography in their childhood because "I didn't have any choice.  I couldn't get out of the garden . . ."

Here we see some of her plant and flower photographs, including her famous magnolia bud, photographed in 1925.   She seems piqued that what she calls her "most common" subject, the magnolia flower, is still so popular years later with "conservative buyers."

Here we see photographs of Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather (1922), who Cunningham says was "a beautiful woman and a very good photographer who didn't really have a chance . . .  she wasn't enough women's lib I guess."  I wonder if she was being facetious, because Mather was very bohemian and liberated from all social conventions.  But anyway, Mather "kept getting fatter and fatter and fatter and she died."

I love these photos of Martha Graham taken in 1931.   This was a shoot for Vanity Fair and it kicked off Cunningham's work in Hollywood, where she says she mostly photographed "ugly men."

This clip has some great period-evoking photos Cunningham shot of her aging parents in the 20s and 30s.  And a great story on how she got the wonderful photos of Alfred Stieglitz in 1934 using his camera, that had a "shutter so corroded you couldn't read the openings."

 

This clip has a few Dorothea Lange photographs and Cunningham explaining how her style could not be confused with Lange's "agony in the streets" style .  It also includes that wonderful Imogen Cunningham photograph of her unmade bed, and a lovely portrait of a white haired Dorothea Lange shot by Cunningham.

 

You can view the published work of Imogen Cunningham all in one place.   It spans her 60+ years of output and includes her famous nudes, plants (which look very much like the nudes), portraits, self-portraits, and images of people both famous and obscure.   You might also want to order the complete 28 minute dvd Portrait of Imogen from Meg Partridge. 


georgia o'keeffe in her own words and works

NOTE:  The first video is no longer available for viewing.  But the second is still enjoyable.

This video came through my Facebook news feed today and I was so taken with it I had to share.  It's grainy, and it doesn't show her work well, but it's worth the watch because it's Georgia O'Keeffe in person (at age 92), talking about how New Mexico inspired her.  And it's good background for the second video below.

I selected this video because, by showing some of O'Keeffe's sensuous New Mexico landscapes, it brings to life thoughts and observations she expressed in the one above.  It also includes some of the wonderful Alfred Stieglitz photographs of O'Keeffe.  I think the two videos work well together.


market street in san francisco before the 1906 earthquake

This short film was made over a hundred years ago along Market Street in San Francisco.  It's been known to historians for years, but was only recently digitally restored on high-definition videotape.  And the true date of filming was only recently discovered.  

Based on the state of building construction, the Library of Congress had dated it to September, 1905.  But a modern day sleuth, using rain puddles in the film, early car registrations, and an old theater advertisement, was able to show it was actually made in April, 1906,  just a week before the devastating earthquake and fire.  And he was able to determine who made it.  

Fascinating detective work went into solving the mystery of this equally fascinating piece of visual history.   It's even more fun if you're familiar with Market Street today.

Here's a link to the complete story on the CBS News page.