Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sitting on the Top of the World Right Beside Her


Hill Country Flyer, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today I got word that one of my images was selected to be included in a national juried show. The juror is that great light warrior herself, Joyce Tenneson.

I'm quite shocked. She is, hands down, one of my absolute favorite photographers. She has style, creativity, substance, an eye for beauty and a mastery of the technique behind photography. Taking the best light, presenting interesting subjects, and "simply" turning them into works of art that transcend medium-she makes it look easy, even when it's not.

If you read my sidebar (which nobody ever does, but it's over there -> for the curious) I say that "once I was in an exhibit with Joyce Tenneson..." I was once before selected to have work included in a national juried show when she was the juror. It was called The Search for Transcendence because it was the exhibition corresponding with her then latest book, Transcendence. I still have that book on my shelf, and it's still as captivating as it was the day I first opened it.

At the time, I was honored and stunned, because I was such a fan of her work. Now I feel doubly blessed, because, well, I'm 2 for 2 and her work has grown so far so fast.

One thing I absolute love about her as a juror (and, an artist, really) is that she selects what she feels to be absolutely the best work, cohesion be damned. She picks photographers she likes, takes her favorite images from them, and builds a show around "quality" rather than trying to spot the latest trend.

Trends come and go, but somebody with an eye and a mastery for the craft of photography, somebody who's a true artist, somebody who consistently presents the world with new and valid work while constantly changing and growing, well, that's somebody worth keeping company with-and that, my friends, that's why I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world.

Now I absolutely must take one of her workshops.

Until next time...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Time to Chow


PaintedTrainNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Not much to say today-I've been quite busy working on a collage and finishing up a project, so this will be very short.

It's after 8 pm in my time zone and I have not eaten dinner yet. This makes me grumpy.

This is one of the train images from the rain. I like it, in a sort of blurry, out-of-focus, soft, painterly kind of a way. There's hidden people in it too-you can see them if you look pretty hard.

I wish I were a hidden person. Especially one that was well fed.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

All Washed Up


TicketBoothNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

One of the things you may not notice, right off the bat, about photography is that it's very much impacted by the weather. (It always seems to be happy and sunny in our memories, right?)

As a beginner, or even a serious amateur, taking on photography as a hobby, you tend to sometimes avoid inclement weather. If it's raining, snowing, cold, miserable outside, you just neatly tuck the camera away and wait for sunny skies or magical light to strike. Sometimes, as a professional, or more serious photographer, you can do this too.

But, sometimes, you cannot. This weekend I had one of those times. I needed to take a picture of a train, for a project I've been tapped to work on, and, well, as you might guess the trouble with trains, boats, planes, and other outdated modes of transport (hey, it ain't teleporting, right?) is that they like to stick to these arcane things we call schedules. They like to leave at certain times, from certain designated places and, if you're not there when they leave, well, you just kind of miss the boat, so to speak (or the train, as the case may be.)

This weekend, my selected train left promptly at 10:00 on Saturday. It left promptly-in the pouring rain. Ok, so forfeiting opportunity number one to shoot the train, I'm thinking, "let me try for the return trip."

The Hill Country Flyer runs from Austin to Burnett and back, every Saturday, leaving at 10 and returning at 4:30 (actually 4:15 as I've come to find out.) It leaves from, and returns to, the Cedar Park depot, which is highlighted in this image.

So, I'm sitting around, it's a sunny afternoon, and I'm thinking, "great, I'll waylay the train at 4 or so, finally shoot it in the sunshine, and then come back and post process. I'll be done by Monday." Or, so I thought. The rain showers started promptly at 4:10 and ended sometime last night, around 5 pm. So much for shooting the train from the high and dry.

Now, normally, I would complain about this. You would find me bellyaching about how I got all wet and all, about how it was horrible, about how I hated the Texas weather, and how I resented the skies opening up just as I was about to make my great photographic masterpiece. Not this time.

This time, I'm going to tell you how lucky I was. I was forced to take some pictures when I normally wouldn't have, and they came out great, mostly on account of the rain. I'm happy with the results-I had forgotten what raindrops can do to light-I now have a series of happy prismatic locomotive headlights, captured in soft light. I didn't get exactly what I wanted when I started, but I love what I ended up getting, out there in the rain.

If you want to be a "real" photographer, sometimes, you have to shoot things when you don't want to. When it's cold, or damp, or wet, or you're tired or your feet ache. You run out of gas, you get rained on, and your equipment breaks, but you keep going because, well, that's just what you do. Pictures don't come from themselves. Nobody ever made a masterpiece sitting on their duff, hand to chin, saying, "I'll do that tomorrow, when the sun's shining."

I'm going to mark this untimely rain storm down as a "happy accident." This doesn't make me a great photographer, it doesn't make me brave, a hero of any kind, or even, really, a true professional.

It's just what I do and who I am that's all.

Until next time...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Men Fishing


FishingUnderHighway, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Masculine is a hard topic for me. All photos of late have been very "feminine," outright "girly" and even somewhat "frilly." So be it.

You can't always shoot things both ways, and I'm just making up for all those tomboy things I did when I was a kid...things like climb trees, skin my knees, fish off the pier, and chase balls around the school yard with the best of the boys.

Ok, so maybe I did start out life as a tomboy and I'm turning all "girly" on you now. Does that mean you really have to hate me for it? Does it make me evil?

This was taken in New Orleans. It's a bunch of fishermen who fish every weekend on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

I hope they catch something better than I did. (Well, unless they want to grow up to become "feminine/girly/frilly" female photographers.)

Until next time...

Pink Rose


Rose578, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is a pink rose, with kind of a yellow center.

It's rose number 578.

(I don't usually shoot flowers, but sometimes. )

This was taken in the rose garden of the Texas State Capitol building, during a light spring rain storm. I didn't even know that the state capitol building had a rose garden, let alone they grew pink and yellow roses there.

I climbed into the bushes and some friends almost had to drag me out. Lots of folks climbed in after me too. I just had to get closer to the flowers, that's all.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thoughts? Birds?


Homage: The Crow, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, so I admit it. I'm on some kind of wild animal kick this week. First it was the doggie (who I miss dearly,) then the horses, now I'm for the birds. (Well, maybe I always was for the birds, just now I've started taking pictures of them.)

This is part of my cinematic leanings for the week as well-this image was completed in tribute to the movie The Crow which, as many of you know, was Brandon Lee's last movie.

I think that this crow is sort of a cross between Uta Barth and Alfred Hitchcock. Not sure if it's really all that dramatic, but it kind of fits in with the feeling of the movie. (Is it dramatic enough for the project, do you think?)

Since I'm asking for some feedback, I've recently started a Johari Window for myself. If you know me (personally), you can go here to contribute (it only takes a few clicks of your mouse) and, after you've submitted your feedback, you can click here to watch it change (or see what others think of me too.)

[Of course, if you don't know me, you can just click on random odd words and throw a mouse-based monkey wrench into the mix, just for fun, right?]

Should be kind of a fun social experiment, don't you think?

That is, if I can get you, my, ahem, "loyal" readers, to get up off your duffs and actually click on something. (Well, ok, you don't have to get up. You just have to visit the URL and click a few words.)

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Don't Chew-Push the Little Button on Top


BrownHorseNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today, I finally ordered the Venice book, thanks for your suggestions, and also picked up a discounted copy of Michael Kenna's Japan, as well as a new hard drive. (Amazon was good to me.)

This horse is friendly-very friendly. So friendly, in fact, he kept trying to sniff (or eat!) my camera.

I could just see it now, me posting tomorrow's blog about how "some horse ate my camera and so I can't put a new picture up today." Ha! A likely excuse, right? (I'm sure that you, my all so esteemed readers, would not fall for such a lame excuse.) But it's true. It almost happened. I think he was hungry, thought that I was going to feed him, and didn't want to give up when the only thing in the general vicinity was my camera. It started to look appetizing (gulp!) Hey, maybe he's really a budding photographer in disguise?

I never knew that horses were so friendly. PETA be damned, I thought that they all just kind of "stood there" out across the great plains and all. Now I know better. There really is such a thing as an extra friendly horse and, in the "now you know" department, this is what one looks like, should you ever wonder about it.

Next time, I bring an apple. And hope his teeth aren't too sharp. (If he swallows all of my Compact Flash, would that then give me a valid excuse to buy some more? Hmmmm.)

Until next chomp...

Monday, February 20, 2006

White Horse, Cameras, Action!


WhiteHorseGlowsInTheMist, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Recent fascination has turned towards photography with a cinematic touch-images that appear to be movie stills. First, I was working on submitting some of my more dramatic images to a forum. Lately, I've been tapped to work on a new project, "...goes to the movies," which involves creating (or re-creating) still shots from films.

I've enjoyed photography for a long time, and frequently shy away from assignments I feel are too "easy," preferring instead to challenge myself-to sort of flex my "visual muscles" if you will-working instead on things I consider more difficult: motion blur, soft focus, night shots, and the like. It's just who I am and where I'm at right now as an artist. (I've done my share of "easy," believe me. I'm just not "there" right now, that's all.)

Perhaps I'm drawn to this latest dramatic assignment because, well, I can't quite put my finger on what makes an image cinematic (and, I suppose, in turn, dramatic really, since all cinematic images are somewhat dramatic in a sense.)

Is it the lighting? Is it the landscape orientation? Is it a sense of motion? What is it, specifically, that makes a still photograph look like it came from a movie rather than a gallery wall? Maybe it's a combination of orientation, lighting, distance from and choice of subject matter?

I kind of think that this image looks rather cinematic, although that feeling comes more from a mood, situation, scenario, rather than anything technically specific about this image. (If pressed, I would say that this looks a bit like a still from an old western movie.)

That doesn't make it dramatic really, just maybe looking a bit like it fits in with other "western-y" types of shots. If you have any strong thoughts about this, either way, please do email me or post a comment.

I'll ponder this question some more as I try to get all dramatic on you.

Until next pony...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Obituary for a Top Dog/RIP Charlie Barker


CharlieNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Yesterday, I made the difficult decision to put Charlie down. He was suffering from dementia and was quite ill.

I got Charlie when he was much younger. He was quite energetic, loved to go on walks, and could be quite obstinate at times, which actually contributed to him being the perfect pet (for me, anyway.) He always did what he wanted and he really "ruled" the house, truth be told.

When I rescued him from the shelter in Austin, they told me that he was "about 4 or 5 years old." I've had him 14 years almost to the day. (That would make him somewhere between 16 and 20, depending. He might have actually been 2 when I got him, since he had bad teeth. Either way, he was old enough to drive and possibly even vote.)

I learned a lot from Charlie. He used to never sit too long, he would always get up and stretch (I should do that too.) He used to always drink a lot of water. He always had the best appetite (even ate before going to the vet yesterday) but he would always "walk it off." He loved to walk, and would walk for miles in his younger days. He was an excellent jumper and once caught a blue jay, in his mouth. He could hunt quite well but also loved to sleep when it was time for rest. He loved having his ears rubbed and appreciated a good pat on the head. He was like a little "energizer bunny" of a dog because, even in his old age, he just kept going and going.

He was a great dog and will be missed. I feel very honored and lucky to have shared my life with such a wonderful pet for so long.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Blog of Historical Proportions

Some radio talk show host the other day was going on about the "blog-o-sphere" and some recent current events. He was talking about the shooting incident with the Vice President and the right wing vs. left wing bloggers-how they were each putting their collective "spins" on what happened. This got me thinking. What if, instead of blogging being a recent invention, what if, instead, it came to us long ago or that, perhaps, it had always just been with us?

Could you even imagine if Abe Lincoln had a blog? What about George Washington. Imagine the "revolutionary bloggers" if you will. Maybe even if Kings, Pharos, Saints, and all sorts of historical figures had blogs?

Imagine blog entries that started out by saying things like, "Four score and seven blogs ago..." or "These are the blogs that try men's souls..."

Truth be told, I bet some historical figures would not have made very good bloggers. Sure, he's considered a favorite president now but, I do believe that history has been rather kind to folks like Lincoln. I'm sure that, in his day, in his own time, he was vilified even hated for wanting to free slaves. History dictates that there were just too many angry plantation owners and, well, even today, we all know he was shot. While now considered a great president, his blog might not have been very popular.

Imagine Benjamin Franklin's blog. (Now, there's a laugh for you.)

I could almost smell an entry that started out, "So, today I was out flying a kite, when it hit me..."

Until next (non-historical) blog...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It was Quiet When I was there


TreeAndMissionTop, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I know there are historic bells in this bell tower but, somehow, while I was there, it was pretty quiet. Not even a peep from the usual "natives" who frequent the missions to attend church services. Not much except for a rather new-ish silver car that was parked in front of this building. Lucky for me, I had already grabbed my shots before the buggy landed and screwed the pooch for the rest of the photographers who made the trek.

Geesh, if you're going to park in front of an historic building, at least have the decency to drive an old car (one that's photogenic anyway.)

That is my idea of "old."

Until next time...

The Walking Dude


PriestWalking, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I went to the missions in San Antonio last Saturday, to take some pictures. I was fortunate enough to photograph a ballet folklorico group while I was there (think spinning dresses or check back in a few days to see what they look like.) That was a lot of fun, despite fighting the overly "blasted out" typical Texas midday light (hope you like shadows!)

I didn't get any spectacular images from the folklorico folks, although I got a couple that are "passable." I really liked this guy though, who I managed to "catch" as he was walking out of a wedding. I saw him walking, snapped, and then noticed his white socks.

I love those white socks. They really make the picture for me. There's just something about them that does it for me. (Sure, the mission's pretty too but, you just gotta love them socks, right?)

The missions are run by Jesuit priests, of which he is one, and serve as working churches for the local community. You can read more about them here.

Very pretty those missions are. And, they serve as a favorite spot to photograph, apart from keeping sinners from running adrift.

My car's in the shop today getting new brakes so please forgive today's shorter than usual and entirely less engaging (although quite "sock-erly") journal entry.

Here's hoping that I can "stop in" tomorrow for more.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Tough Cosmonaut to Crack


LaPerlaBoutique, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

All this talk of ipod engravings, female astronauts, orbital mechanics, Valentine's day, and having your own "send a monkey up to mars!" space program got me asking one serious question this Valentine's Day.

When couples sex it up in an airplane, they join a select (ok, maybe not but...) few known as the "mile high club." That's all well and good, frankly, by now, I think we all know how to work that little "occupied" flag, even in the coach bathrooms. (The "mile high club" isn't even restricted to first class anymore, really.)

But, since we're now sending all these women up into space, along with civilians, celebrities,and even cheap cosmonauts, who can now easily afford a ticket to the milky way, it's only a matter of time before somebody starts, ahem, "gettin' busy" up there.

I think that the time has come for us earthbound mortals to coin a phrase for the "we did it in orbit" brigade, that's sure to follow.

Now, being the enterprising snowball that I am, I started thinking about some possibly terminology to fill-in this much needed gap in our collective vernacular. Just so you'll be prepared, mind you, should you happen find yourself in a black hole and jaunt off looking for that G-spot while conveniently located outside the earth's gravitational pull.

Here are some suggestions:

  • The Stratosphere Sexpots
  • The Black Hole Fillers
  • The Orbital Mechanics (Eeew. Geeky.)
  • The Gravitational Pullers
  • The Space Monkey Pounders
  • The Zero Gravity Sex Kittens
  • The Shuttle Riders
  • The Mars Explorers
  • The Milky Way Milkers
  • Intergalactic Pod Pounders (beats pounding a regular ole' mattress, right?)
One has to wonder really, when you're up in orbit, zero gravity and all, could you even like, well, pull it off? I mean, given that situation, it's even hard to stand up straight, let alone...well...you know. Still, given our species propensity to procreate, it's only a matter of time before, well, somebody "does it" in space, right?

That is, if they haven't already and we just don't know about it yet.

Until the earth rotates about it's own axis once again...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Crazy Podlings in Love


IpodNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

You may have noticed that I finally broke down and purchased James McMurtry's Childish Things (despite your suggestions to the contrary.)

Funny thing about James, I predict that his father, Larry, will be quite the talk of the town/busy beaver come Oscar time, what with his latest "cowboys in love" flick, Brokeback Mountain, probably running off with the loot of little gold men. (Silly me, all this time I thought that, if men wanted to find golden statuesque men, they frequented discos, not their typewriters.)

Speaking of love, since this is Valentine's week, I thought that I would share a few ipod engravings for the cause. If you're thinking about getting an ipod, delivered from China, in the next 48 hours, here are some suggestions for engravings:

  • Plays "Love Stinks" at full volume
  • Cuter than a puppy/Better than a dozen roses
  • Inside...a playlist just for you
  • All this and I'm only a torso
  • Shake this money maker/Jiggle this wiggle stick
  • I'm not cheap/this IS the latest model
  • What? You want it engraved too?
  • I'll get the ipod/You buy the music
  • Love is in the air/Keep this in your lap
  • It's like a sleek musical teddy bear with earbuds
  • If you're reading this, Can you try on that lingerie now?
  • You said "size didn't matter"
If you wanted to be especially mean, you could add onto that last one "...so I got you the 30G." (Ouch!)

Until next lustful podling...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Death by BLUR

Here's my photo friday entry: BLUR.

This "challenge" was really easy for me, being a Uta Barth inspired lensbaby addict and all. ("Hello, my name is Carol and I'm addicted to blurry out of focus photos...")

This image was taken in New Orleans in one of the many cemeteries I visited. I think that the blur works well with the wrought iron fence work found there and I wanted a slightly different, more personal, take on those cemeteries, since they are, at times, excuse the pun, "photographed to death."

Until next time...

It's TREE


NightTreeWCloudsNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I thought that I would post today's "Photo Thursday: Tree" entry up by including a picture of TREE so, here he is (at least, I think it's a he but, like, don't quote me on that.)

For those who don't know the story of TREE, you can read about that here.

This particular image was a "runner up" for a nocturnal project that I participated in. At the time, I opted to include a different image because it had more of the sky and clouds, which is what I was really trying to shoot, not more of the tree (or TREE) like this one. Although, I do think this is an ok image on it's own, it just didn't convey the "nighttime sky" feeling I was going for at the time. (I do think it fits the current theme, "tree," quite well though.)

This is, in case you couldn't tell, only the top of TREE. Sorry but TREE's just too big to fit himself into one frame of film.

Until next wooden sky touching green leafed thing-a-ma-jig...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

EEew I Touched It/I Use Film


WhiteMaskGoldTrim, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

One of the "extras," the nice little perks if you will, of running a website (actually, a blog) like this is that, apart from learning all sorts of new and informative things, I occasionally get free stuff. Lately, I've been getting more than my fair share of free stuff. (For some unknown reason, I've been getting lots and lots of free stuff recently. Thank you, my snowflakes, who keep sending me free stuff. I do appreciate it.)

The latest arriving garb is a Utata.org T-Shirt (Thanks!) and a shirt that reads (I swear I'm not making this up) "I Use Film!"

Funny thing about that last one, except for my Polaroids (which aren't really...Ok, I'm going to come right out and say it...Polaroids don't really count as "film," because, well they really aren't-you don't have to develop them like "normal" film, the images on them just sort of sit there and "mush out" by themselves, so they don't really count as "film" now, do they?) I almost never really do use film.

And, I don't even know who to thank for this, the latest round, of free stuff. Really, I don't. It just showed up at my house one day. And, like a trained monkey completely lacking in the "fear of anthrax" department, I just opened it and, behold, there it was-an "I Use Film!" T-shirt that I'm supposed to now wear when I'm out not using film, unless I happen to wear it when I'm out making a Polaroid, in which case, well, it's just kind of lame. (The "film" part of it, not the T-shirt. That's kind of cool actually. Well, about as cool as an "I Use Film!" T-shirt can be if you don't actually use any film while wearing it.)

The other day, I had to make some copy slides. Since I needed slides, I had to, (horror of horrors) actually touch some real, live, honest to God film. (There, I said it. Phew!)

Eeew. I feel so slimed. Eeew, I touched it. I actually put my hands on some of that silver gelatin cellulose stuff I once used to make pictures years ago, back in the days before I ran out of Compact Flash every second. (I haven't been this slimed since, well, if I had to guess, probably that "Nicolas Cage plays with Hookers" movie watching incident. And that was pretty gross. I still haven't fully recovered from that one.)

So, now I'm thinking, "ok, I can legitimately wear that "I Use Film!" T-shirt, because, well, I did once, right?" (Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a stretch.)

Today I went out shooting and found that my thumb was having some weird kind of conniptions. It kept wanting to advance a film lever that wasn't really there. It was so odd, it was distracting me. I had to keep re-composing my shots, because my thumb was having these weird "I Miss Film!" spasms the whole time I was out taking pictures. And, I remembered how heavy my old film using camera was. And, I thought about all the flickr groups, one of which is actually called "I Use Film!" but none of which will cop to sending me a free T-shirt (probably because, well, nobody wants to admit to sending a free "I Use Film!" T-shirt to somebody who doesn't, right?)

So, since I have an "I Use Film!" T-shirt, but I really don't, but my lack of film has left my thumb twitchy (because it's missing that little lever and all) should I now go out and get a T-shirt that reads, "I Miss Film?" Or maybe "My Thumb Misses Film, but I Don't?"

And, more importantly, how do I get over this strange feeling that I've been slimed because, horror of horrors, I actually touched some of that decrepit silver gelatin emulsion stuff I used to use all the time? (It's not like that hooker movie, I can't just wash my hands a lot. I can't "bring back" my thumb that way. No, this is serious. We're talking thumb jerking and ice packs here.)

Somehow, I doubt they make a T-shirt for that.

Until next 37th exposure...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Lights, Cameras, Photographers!


WhiteMaskGreenHat, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Yesterday, brought us the "runners-up," today brings, drum roll please, the top 10:

10. Maggie Taylor-Her landscape of dreams managed to dream itself into prime time, landing a spot as the opening credit sequence on the hit TV show "Ghost Whisperer." Despite her recent success, she's earned herself some "street cred" because of her Photoshop skills. Some really sweet badass mama jama Photoshop skills, to be precise.
9. Hiroshi Watanabe-An Asian master who has since moved to LA, he's not one to "go Hollywood" on us-his work bears a strong Asian (Japanese) minimalist style coupled with great tonal range and interesting choice of subject matter.
8. Cindy Sherman-Now, here's a woman who re-defined the essence of self in so many different ways. All dressed up and nobody to be, she's the lady who taught Madonna a few tricks about re-inventing herself. Like that old saying, "it's like deja vu all over again" she's continually re-defining her essence, and we get to bear witness. We don't know who'll, exactly, she'll be tomorrow but, if the past is any indication, it's going to be one wild ride.
7. Paul Strand-Mast of the master print, he's an old master who brings life into black and white.
6. Eddie Soloway-I absolutely love his "natural eye" series, despite the fact that I usually hate nature pictures and avoid landscapes. One of my dreams is to be able to take a workshop with him someday. (He does give workshops and, yes, I almost took one a few years back but couldn't quite manage to pull it off.)
5. Kate Breakey-A favorite with an Austin connection, her works breathes new life into "small deaths." Perhaps not for the squeamish, it can be experienced as powerful and moving, given the right circumstances and gallery setting.
4. Eliot Porter-Another nature connection that brings us an honest, natural sensibility, Porter's work is motivated for his love of the natural space and his desire to include "the great outdoors" into everyday living. Not what I typically shoot myself, but something I can enjoy wholeheartedly.
3. Michael Kenna-In his own words, "I prefer suggestion over specific description, haiku over prose." He's the master of suggestion, the hint dropper extraordinaire, the visual haiku poet who shouts in whispers and screams in silence.
2. Joyce Tenneson-Instructions: Take an empty milk bottle. Add some creativity, excellent lighting, some symbolism, a little religion, some human element, some charm, wit, and tonal range. Shake well. Break bottle over head and enjoy. It's hard to describe her work but almost impossible to put down.
1. Robert Mapplethorpe-the master of light, the best of the west, the man who shocks, moves, captures, and conveys. His figurative work was special, his flowers amazing, his statues grandiose but it was his attention to the quality of light and his ability to print masterfully that makes him tops in my book.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Master Puppeteers


HorseAndMaskNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

In the "folks who are so good, you'd hardly notice the puppet strings" department, today I begin my most humble selection of photographers I call favorite.

Let's start with the "runners up" if you will. (These are the folks whose work I absolute love but who didn't quite make the "top 10" for whatever reason.)

Let's see, there's:

  • Uta Barth-Her work is best summed up with the phrase "woman's got abstract." Love the degenerative nature of her photography. (Just when you think that your stuff is a little out there, in terms of the abstract, check out her work, it's enough to snap you right back into the realm of the "real," that's for sure.) Often copied, she's an original and never quite really duplicated.
  • Loretta Lux-I love her series of children's portraits, which masterfully blend painting and photography into something that looks a tad like science fiction. It's amusing, disturbing, and engaging all at the same time.
  • Todd Hido-I'm new to his work but I enjoy his "Suburban Hell at Night" series. Makes me want to stay nocturnal.
  • Candida Hofer-Architecture of Absence is a favorite book. I love the theme, I have work along those lines, and I've copied it unknowingly for years. (Very strong architectural work.)
  • Edward S. Curtis-Perhaps the greatest of the "old west" photographers-he was the original shadow catcher. You might not know his name but you probably recognize his (early) portraits of native Americans which, despite advances in technology, have withstood the test of time as intimate portraits from a forgotten time.
  • Stephen Shore-Uncommon Places is perhaps the most influential book of images on my shelf. Anybody who can take a fast food wrapper and turn it into "high art," while landing himself in MOMA at the tender age of 23 in the process, deserves his spot in the company of greats.
  • Raghubir Singh-An Asian master-I was first introduced to his work by the good folks in the office at Aperture. Photographically, we are cut from the same cloth, as my work bears a strong resemblance to his, but he pulls in much more "camera foo," earning himself a spot with the greats.

The next postings will bring you the best of the best.

Enjoy!
Until next time...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Can I get an AMEN in *Here*?


LongBrownMask, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, I admit it. Despite the fact that I know I really shouldn't do it, despite the fact that it probably ranks me right up there alongside the likes of Maximus the Mad, The Walking Dude, and probably Satan himself (only I, perhaps, lack the pitchfork and tail) I sometimes shop at the resident evil locale, that bastion of "big box" bad taste, that uber-evil, mega-sized corporation looming over our collective nightmarish horizons, that chain store we all love to hate...Yes, my little snowflakes, I sometimes shop at Wal-Mart. (Hey, it really is the closest grocery store to my house and their prices are cheap.)

To make matters worse (or perhaps, better?) my local uber-evil mega-, super-sized Wal-Mart Super Center is, in fact, open all day every day. Yes, it's true, I live right near a 24x7 Wal-Mart Super Center and I occasionally frequent the joint. I not only go there but, horror of horrors, I sometimes shop there on Sunday, especially Sunday mornings. (Stand back! I'm armed with coupons and not afraid to use them.)

You see, a long time ago, just after they opened said "house of horror" I noticed that my local Wal-Mart is, in fact, totally empty on Sunday mornings. (You do remember Sunday mornings, don't you? That's the time you're supposed to go to church. That's the time you're supposed to be in bed, sleeping off Saturday night. That's the time, well, frankly, you might find yourself doing one of a host of things, none of which is probably "shop at Wal-Mart." And that would be the time that I, the enterprising snowball that I am, finds herself shopping in her local "evil emporium" to avoid the lines.)

I go there sometimes early Sunday mornings because, well, I need groceries and, as much as I hate to admit it, it's empty and I'm cheap.

Now, several of my friends, who needle me about shopping at such, ahem, "fine establishments" will be quick to point out that I have poor taste in grocery stores. So be it. I sometimes need milk, gardening supplies, hardware items, and the like. I refer to it as my "worshipping at the church of cheap" since I usually find myself only able to stomach it on Sunday mornings, when the rest of the civilized world (well, ok, maybe just the rest of Cedar Park) are either off in dreamland or stuffed into a pew down the street.

Recently, I found myself in the local evil emporium searching for, who would have guessed it, but lightbulbs. Yes, I needed light bulbs, yes, I was there Sunday morning, and yes, I just naturally assumed that they would sell them, so I tucked my tail into my jeans, packed my pitchfork into my hatchback, and rolled my shopping cart into my local "big-box-a-teria" in search of some illumination.

Now, call my crazy but, somehow, light bulbs seem like just the type of item you would imagine Wal-Mart selling, right? I mean, when you think of Wal-Mart (putting aside the pitchforks and all for a second) don't you just think of aisles upon aisles of groceries, cheap clothing, hardware, beauty supplies, bicycles for kids, cheap electronics, and probably somewhere right in the middle, light bulbs? Crap, I know I do. Somehow, I had this mental image of light bulbs sitting right there, right in the middle of the "evil emporium" sandwiched somewhere between the cases of frozen foods, the painting supplies, the hardware, and the towers of Rubbermaid plastic storage containers.

Trouble is, I hadn't a clue as to where they might have hidden them. (Actually, if I had a clue, I would have taken the light bulb down from atop my messy head and plugged that into the lamp.)

So, there I am, wandering around Wal-Mart, AKA, "the church of cheap" on Sunday morning, looking bleary eyed and bushed, wondering, where in the Hell (complete with pitchforks and tails!) the, ahem, "good" folks at Wal-Mart might have hidden the damned light bulbs. I looked high, I looked low, I searched through cheesy looking curtains, avoided children's toys, waded through cheap electronics, to no avail. There was not a light bulb in sight.

I ended up, same as always, walking out with Oreo cookies, hand soap (Ha!) and a giant bag of really great tasting ruby red grapefruits. (I love ruby red grapefruits. Really I do.)

So, my friends, tonight I may be forced to watch the stupid bowl in the dark but, damn, at least I'll have a pitchfork and a ruby red grapefruit by my side to enjoy it with me.

Until next big box...

PS If you happen to know where they hide the damn light bulbs, please do let me know, preferably BEFORE next Sunday morning.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Disguise


MaskWatchesManWalking, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I selected this mask because she (sort of) looks like me. Actually, she looks more "real" than some of the other masks I have been shooting, so that's why I picked her.

In case you're wondering, this is, in fact, a mask and not a "real head." It's a bit hard to tell because she sort of looks like she has eyes and all.

These types of masks would make for excellent disguises. You could really hide in front of everybody dressed up like a clown, devil, jester, or even a pretty lady (would do wonders for the gents in the "room," really it would. :~)

This is mask "Mask Watches Man Walking" from my series.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Homage


CallaPetalNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's published. Here's a link to the Utata series of tributes to the masters of photography.

My work is filed under two of my absolute favorite photographers: Robert Mapplethorpe and Joyce Tenneson.

I believe that I once met Robert Mapplethorpe while at a party in NYC as a teen. I didn't know who he was at the time, but he seemed like a nice fellow. Now that I've "grown up" (well, ok, maybe not but...) I fully recognize the significance and impact of his work. He is my favorite photographer. Most folks fail to see the influence his work has on mine but, in some subtle way, it's always been there. (My recent addiction to all things lensbaby and overall "softness" to my work can be directly attributed to his influence.)

Joyce Tenneson is a monster of a photographer. Her depth, spirit, eye for detail, attention to quality of light, compositional style, and creativity all combine into one "monster of a master" package.

My work really does neither master justice but it's there now for you to enjoy.

Until next master...

Photo Thursday: Group


PresHallJazzBand, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is a "group shot" taken inside of Preservation Hall in New Orleans, LA, sometime shortly before hurricane Katrina (May/June of last year.)

Preservation Hall is one of the oldest jazz venues in the country. It's a dark, cozy place where you can sit on the floor at listen to some legitimate jazz music for hours.

I wanted to get some "painted/blurry" shots of the band, so that the results would look more like a painting and less like a photograph. I think I did that here, although lots of folks, I'm sure, will absolute hate this, citing it as a blurry mess. (Whatever.)

This image is one of a series, which you can view here.

Please also don't forget to vote for your favorite TiVo.

Until next time...