Vision – Interpretation – Creation

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Choosing Unique Photography Or Other Art For Your Home Or Office – Rediscovering Your Own Individuality

If we really look at ourselves and our day-to-day existence most of us – myself included – would probably have to admit that, in the main, we are more or less “ordinary”.

We live in an ordinary house (though it may be very nice), put on ordinary clothes, drive an ordinary car to an ordinary job where work an ordinary amount of hours, come home and eat an ordinary dinner and then watch our ordinary tv shows until we fall asleep at an ordinary hour.

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Yet, the entire time we feel that there are things about us that are unique, either about our personalities, our beliefs, our feelings or our ideas and desires. It’s just that, when we look around at our own day to day surroundings, we don’t often happen to see things that remind us of our individuality.

So, just maybe, we owe it to ourselves to pick out something unique to focus on from time to time, and for our guests or visitors to focus on, to remind us of the unique qualities we possess in our sea of ordinariness. Something that represents, in some way, the individuality that we feel inside. And here’s where the part about art comes in.

We’re all familiar with the “typical” paintings and photographs that adorn countless walls in countless places. There’s the typical farmland scene, the typical mountain scene, the typical ocean scene and, oh, yea, don’t forget the countless typical lighthouses, pastures, lakes, sunrises, sunsets…

Not that there’s anything wrong with them. Some of them are, frankly, “drop dead gorgeous” and could well be as good or better than any photograph I’ll ever take. But, if you get where I’m going, they’re “ordinary”.

Not that there’s anything wrong with “ordinary”. In fact, most of us are probably fairly ordinary, ordinarily. But maybe it’s time to break out a bit, at least in one small way.

So maybe its time to honor our own individuality, to find a piece of art – whether it comes from a paintbrush, a camera, wood, stone or clay – that is as unique to you as the uniqueness that lives within each of us, or that evokes a special feeling in you when you spend time with it, and put it up on a wall or a shelf, or place it in a corner, of our home or office (or, go nuts, both) to remind us and those who come to see us, in some small way, each time it is viewed, of our unique qualities as well.

And, as a possible bonus, consider this. In some small way, when someone appreciates a unique piece of art they form a relational, artistic bond with the artist who created it from his or her own unique interpretation of the subject, or with the art itself and the interpretation they make of it or the feeling it brings to them. It is, indeed, a two way relationship. And, in this way, the circle becomes complete

Enjoy the path to rediscovering the uniqueness in you. The journey is as valid as what you find at the end of the road.

As a start, feel free to explore some of my photographic art from the abstract to the contemplative to unique interpretations of landscape work at www.carlrubinophotography.com And feel free to follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carlrubinphotography.com to see what I post from time to time that often is not included on the website and Like my Photography only FB Page at http://www.facebook.com/carlrubinophotography

Carl

Photography and The Blues – Creating Within Constraints

The other day I was playing some improv blues on guitar and I realized that photography and the blues have much in common.

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In the blues genre, one is traditionally limited by a number of constraints within which to find creative expression. Twelve bars; the tonic, subdominant and dominant chord structure (I-IV-V); and one or two scales are pretty much the floor, walls and ceiling of a blues composition. It is within those “confines” that the blues musician must find a unique or convincing way to express themself. Some would argue that it is more difficult to find a unique creativity within those narrow confines than in, say, improv jazz or classical music. The good ones accept the challenge of the parameters of the genre and create some exceptionally creative and moving pieces of music. From Robert Johnson to Susan Tedeschi, the confines are the challenge within which their talent has shone and from which they have moved our spirits, not to mention our bodies.

And so it is with photography. In subject, composition and other aspects of creating a photograph, one must work within fixed parameters to create their “voice” or unique expression. The subject before you is fixed, be it a person, a landscape or a street scene. And the “frame” of your photograph is fixed by the film or sensor you are working with. Yes, you are free to choose your subject, where to point the camera, how to frame the composition and when to press the shutter button, as well as being free to choose from a plethora of technical elements, but you cannot change the physical aspects of the subject, the arrangement of the landscape, the colors before you, the lighting, etc. You must skillfully work with what is before you to bring about your unique expression that creates an artistic photograph, as opposed to a “snapshot”.

Painters, though the good ones are truly skilled in many respects and create what is truly a high expression of art, have no such limits. They are free to create the vision they “see” in their head without the confines of reality. Photographers, like the blues musician, must work within given fixed constraints. From Andre Kertesz to Mary Ellen Mark, the better photographers accept, and relish, the challenge to create unique works of self-expression and present emotion and meaning to their viewers.

An interesting parallel – photography and the blues – conjoined confines of excellence.

Think about this next time you listen to the blues or look at (or take) a photograph. The challenges of limitations.

If you’d like to see the photographs I create, visit my website http://www.carlrubinophotography.com and Follow me on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/carlrubinophotogaphy.com and Like my Photography only FB Page at http://www.facebook.com/carlrubinophotography

…Carl

If Mark Rothko Had A Camera…Creating Photographs in the Style of Mark Rothko’s Multiform Abstract Paintings

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Since I first saw one of his geometric, mulitiform or color-field abstract paintings many years ago I have been deeply impressed by Mark Rothko’s work. As a photographer leaning toward the abstract, I am challenging myself to create photographs that borrow from Rothko’s style of painting.

While the characteristics of his works of this genre changed over the years, and included both color and greytone pieces, Rothko’s works of this type most frequently were comprised of two or three dominant planes of color or grey-tones that softly and subtly merge, complement or contrast one another, sometimes “divided” by narrower bands of other color or grey-tone. An example of this type of Rothko’s work can be seen at http://www.markrothko.org/dark-over-light-earth.jsp.

A combined exhibition of Rothko’s “grey” works and famed photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s seascape photographs was recently presented in London’s Pace Gallery, drew much critical acclaim, and spawned a book. So the concept of a photographer’s interpretation of or inspiration from Rothko’s work, or of parallels to be drawn between Rothko’s multiform paintings and the work of some photographers is not new.

In fact, for some time I have been taking panning or “swiping” shots with long exposures to create blurs of otherwise static or relatively static subjects, such as mountains, beaches, open bodies of water and other subject matter, like the one pictured above. To my eye, images of this nature are quite beautiful, stimulating and satisfying in their own right. However, though some may see parallels between images such as these and Rothko’s work in that they result in non-focused colors laid in blocks one on top of the other, this technique does not produce an image that is sufficiently “Rothkoesque”, to my way of thinking, to constitute a sufficient “homage” to Mark Rothko.

So I am now setting out to create a body of work, perhaps steeped in abstract landscape photography but perhaps not, that will satisfy my quest to do in photography a project with sufficiently reflects Rothko’s inspiration, and which is significantly different from any of the photography that I have found by others of this nature to be considered unique.

This will be a project which evolves over a period of time. From time to time I will post images from this project either here on my blog, or on my Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/CarlRubinoPhotography. As the project attains a sufficient enough maturity, I will post some of the images to my website at http://www.carlrubino.photoshelter.com. At some point, if I feel the project warrants it, I may even launch a Kickstarter campaign in connection with the project to create and promote a sufficient exhibition of the work and, perhaps, a book.

Take care
Carl

Sleepless In The Adirondacks – Empty Mindedness and the Thanksgiving Turkey

For some reason, I woke up this morning at about 3:00 am and could not fall back to   sleep, no matter how hard I tried.  So I started to think about the meaning of life.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have absolutely no idea what the meaning of life is.  So, after about thirty seconds I gave up on that attempt.

Then, for some unknown reason, I spontaneously flashed on the idea of Thanksgiving, and how all the turkeys get axed so we can make pigs of ourselves and argue with each other over stupid things that we can’t change no matter how hard we try, like the outcome of an election.

So I decided I’d try to write something to put on my photography blog, since I haven’t added anything in about a week or so.  And I sat there trying to come up with something clever to write, but I got nowhere.

Then it hit me…The problem with all of these things is trying too hard, or maybe just trying… So what does any of this have to do with photography?  Actually, quite a lot.

More and more over the years I’ve come to realize that my best photographs come when I have not set out to capture a pre-meditated image of something but, rather, simply allowed my self to be in the place where a photographic opportunity might present itself if I remain empty-minded, without thought, and open to experience whatever reveals itself.

It is in this state of nothingness or empty mindedness that an image comes to me, as much as I come to it, without trying, without obsessing, without planning, without pre-visualizing and without trying to replicate something someone else has already done.

Just like the spontaneous thought about the turkey, it’s when you’re not trying that things come you.

So maybe I’ll take a lesson from my photography practice, get back into bed and just see what happens.  And later on I’ll just sit at the table, tune out the stupid arguments that are sure to ensue, and eat whatever happens to come in my direction…

Happy Thanksgiving…Carl

Choosing Unique Photography Or Other Art For Your Home Or Office – Rediscovering Your Own Individuality

If we really look at ourselves and our day-to-day existence most of us – myself included – would  probably have to admit that, in the main, we are more or less “ordinary”.

We live in an ordinary house (though it may be very nice), put on ordinary clothes, drive an   ordinary car to an ordinary job where work an ordinary amount of hours, come home and eat an ordinary dinner and then watch our ordinary tv shows until we fall asleep at an ordinary hour.

Yet, the entire time we feel that there are things about us that are unique.  It’s just that, when we look around at our surroundings, we don’t often happen to see things that remind us of our individuality.

So, just maybe, we owe it to ourselves to pick out something unique to focus on from time to time, and for our guests or visitors to focus on, to remind us of the unique qualities we possess in our sea of ordinariness.  Here’s where the part about art comes in.

We’re all familiar with the “typical” paintings and photographs that adorn countless walls in countless places.  There’s the typical farmland scene, the typical mountain scene, the typical ocean scene and, oh, yea, don’t forget the countless typical lighthouses, pastures, lakes, sunrises, sunsets…

Not that there’s anything wrong with them.  Some of them are, frankly, “drop dead gorgeous” and could well be as good or better than any photograph I’ll ever take.  But, if you get where I’m going, they’re “ordinary”.

Not that there’s anything wrong with “ordinary”.  In fact, most of us are probably fairly ordinary, ordinarily. But maybe it’s time to breakout a bit, at least in one small way.

And, as a possible bonus, consider this.  In some small way, when someone appreciates a unique piece of art they form a relational, artistic bond with the artist who created it from his or her own unique interpretation of the subject.  And, in this way, the circle becomes complete.

So maybe its time to honor our own individuality, to find a piece of art – whether it comes from a paintbrush, a camera, wood, stone or clay – that is as unique as the uniqueness that lives within each of us, and put it up on a wall or a shelf, or place it in a corner, of our home or office (or, go nuts, both) to remind us and those who come to see us, in some small way, each time it is viewed, of our unique qualities as well.

Enjoy the path to rediscovering the uniqueness in you. The journey is as valid as what you find at the end of the road.

Feel free to visit my  website http://www.carlrubino.photoshelter.com to see some examples of my take on abstract and unique interpretations of a variety of subjects.

Carl

Photographing A Unique, Themed Body Of Work – How I Came To Create “Reflections Of A Dream State” Without Realizing It

 

                                                   

 Themed bodies of work often come about as a result of    the photographer having a fairly solid idea of the theme or message to be presented before the shooting starts.  But that’s not always the case

Last summer I debuted a solo exhibition entitled “Reflections Of A Dream State”, which presented a theme that was totally unplanned and was not even identified until after all of the images had been created.  I’d like to be able to say that I developed this theme before I made the first image in this portfolio, but that wasn’t the case.  Here’s how it came about.

For quite some time I have been photographing at an active beaver pond near my home in the Adirondacks.  The pond offers me the opportunity to incorporate much of what I concentrate on frequently in photography – reflections, water, trees, motion, painterly techniques in photography, the abstract, and creating my own unique interpretation of what lies before me.  It is one of my favorite places to shoot at, and even just to be at.

One day, I was at my computer looking through a series of images of reflections taken at this beaver pond.   As I looked through the series, I selected a relatively small group of those that appealed to me for one reason or another, but without any idea that they were necessarily connected by other than having been taken at the same location and by all being reflections.

All of the images were of trees reflected on the surface of the beaver pond.  Some were affected by ripples from wind, some by waves and one or two by the wake of a swimming beaver.  The images ranged from distant to near, distinct to wildly abstract, color to black and white.

Some of the images I had focused on, like the one on the left above, were more literal.  Others, like that on the right, were highly abstract.

Suddenly I realized that there was an overwhelming relationship that this group of images shared.  They were like the progression of a dream!

In many of our dreams, there are scenes that are more literal, recognizable and make “sense”.  And then there are those that are highly abstract and seem to make no sense at all.  Or, maybe they do, and we’re just not sure of what it is they mean.

Unimpeded by our waking consciousness and “directionality”, the relatively identifiable visions that first appear in our dreams morph, shape shift, and evolve into something far different.

The images in this grouping seemed to reflect that very progression from the literal to the obscure. Without realizing it while shooting, I had creating a photographic interpretation of the shape and reality shifting nature of our dream states

So, without a conscious conceptualization as I shot these various images over a period of a year or more, I had created what I think is a pretty cohesive body of work with a recognizable, yet abstract, theme.

Was it an “accident”?  Was it a product of my subconscious?  Was it because I tend to work and think in terms of interpreting the scenes I shoot and often focus on the abstract?

My guess is that it’s a combination of all of these things.  Take a look at the “Reflections Of A Dream State” Exhibition Portfolio on my website http://www.carlrubino.photoshelter.com and let me know what you think?

Hope you enjoy viewing that portfolio as much as I enjoyed putting the images together for the exhibition.

How To Find Things To Photograph: Sometimes You Just Stumble Across Something – But It Helps If You’re Paying Attention

Small Car Only - Sneakin' In

I’m often asked when I’m teaching a workshop or showing my work in an exhibition, how it is that I find interesting subjects to photograph. The answer is simple: just keep your eyes open and your mind empty. Okay, I know, that sounds overly simplistic.  Well, with a little bit of effort, it’s not too difficult to do.

Many of us, as we walk around, have a set of “blinders” on.  We’re headed somewhere and that’s what we’re focusing on, whether it be a city street we’re walking on or a hiking trail we’re looking straight ahead.  If we take the blinders off and let our eyes wander, we can see much more.

Glance around in every direction, and up and down.  Let your peripheral vision work for you. You’ll see things, believe me.  There are photographs all around us.  All we have to do is see them. That’s the visual part.

 In this example, I was walking through a parking garage, heading to a bookstore.  Had I just looked straight ahead as I walked, I never would have seen this “street” scene.

In some cases, such as this example, maybe just keeping the “blinders” off and noticing things all around you is all it took to see this interesting (at least I thought it was) relationship between the thrown out or left behind sneakers and the “Small Car Only” sign on the wall, like they were “sneaking in” to a spot they didn’t belong in. In this case, the “visual” alone was enough to generate an interesting photograph.

Okay, here’s the “mind” part.  Unless we’re in the middle of meditation (and maybe even then too) most of us have our mind constantly bombarded by thoughts about the routine, mundane affairs of our daily life – bills, work issues, things we need to do at home, and on and on and on.  If we’ve got these things spinning around in our head our mind is far too cluttered to focus on the creative.

It’s almost impossible to have your creative “mind-space” in a place where it can be truly receptive to what your eyes see and where it can interpret that subject in a creative and meaningful way if it’s bogged down with a barrage of ever changing thought.

How to get to that “open” mindedness is far too great a subject for this blog, but it essentially involves finding a way to free your mind of those random and ever present thoughts.  Methods that work for many are meditation, “relaxation” technique and the like.  In reality, it is all about letting that barrage of thought free and not “holding on” to any of these little “invaders”.

It takes awhile to get the hang of, but it’s well worth it.  If it doesn’t come naturally, and for many people it doesn’t, find a mediation center or workshop in your area and learn what may become one of the most important things you can to enhance the creativity of your photography, whether “street”, landscape, abstract or just about anything else.

Particularly in my landscape oriented work, a relationship between open vision and empty mindedness is what I feel results in my “seeing” the interpretation or vision I create from the scene before me.  My eyes catch a glimpse of something that interests me, whether its the color of trees and leaves in a forest, a raging river or patterns in a field.  But I don’t just take out my camera and fire away.

Instead, with my mind on “empty” I contemplate the scene as fully as I can, often literally meditating on it, taking in as much as I can with all of my senses.  Then, and only then, do I truly identify how I want to portray that scene.  And only after all of that do I start selecting a lens, working out the details of the composition  and bringing that vision into the camera.

I think you’ll see examples of the result of this process in numerous photos on my website  http://www.carlrubino.photoshelter.com , especially in my Trees, Rivers and Abstract Galleries or in my Exhibition Portfolios.  Hope this helps you take better photos, or more appreciate those taken by others. – Carl

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