Alexander Davis

I've been following Alexander Davis on Instagram for a while now, and I've really loved his work.

I asked him a few questions about himself and his photography. You can read about him below:

Would you mind telling me a bit about your background as a photographer? How long have you been making photographs?

My history as a photographer is rather limited, I’m really no expert. Professionally, my background is in advertising and film post-production, commercial music mainly, and my education is in Philosophy and Audio Engineering. I picked up a Fujifilm X100-T in 2015, looking for a new personal creative outlet as music had really become “work” and I needed something else just for me. I was living in New York at the time and would go on long walks around the city, taking photos, experimenting with editing them. I didn’t realize how meditative this practice can be, but it quickly become an important part of my life. Later in 2015 I moved to Los Angeles and had a brief stint working at an editorial/post shop in Santa Monica. Ultimately I had to get out of “the industry” for the sake of my mental health and a desire, at the age of 30, to focus on my own creative work instead of producing other people’s. I spent the next year driving all over California and taking loads of photos, then last summer I felt it was time to get out of the city altogether and moved back home to Colorado. My long-term goal is to have a physical gallery space at some point, transition to medium-format to start producing much larger prints and hand-build the frames. I want to create real things of value for people to put in their homes, keep it local and off the internet as much as possible.

Who are your influences? Who is your favorite photographer?

Oh man, pedestrian opinion maybe but I love Slim Aarons. It’s not what I do at all but I’m a sucker for that 60s jet-set joie de vivre stuff. In terms of inspiration, I’ve always admired the work of cinematographers and colorists since working in post and try to apply those types of grading techniques to my stills. I love everything Roger Deakins ever did, particularly Sicario. The look of that film and the setting are amazing. It’s similar but much more vivid than No Country for Old Men, which is pretty universally loved by photographers. I like to look at a lot of Americana, being a Colorado native, have got some Joel Sternfeld and Bill Owens books around the house. I saw Christopher Williams’ The Production Line of Happiness retrospective in NYC around the time I first started shooting. I think I was really consciously turned on by the look of film for the first time then. Lately I’ve been spending less time browsing Instagram than I used to. There’s so much great work out there, but I feel like I’ve just been looking at too much photography, perhaps feeling overwhelmed with influence and finding it difficult to really connect with people’s work due to the cursed algorithm and the nature of the platform itself. On top of that I’ve now lost any desire to go to Iceland. Ever. Truly, though, I have met some absolutely wonderful, immensely talented people through Instagram and I am endlessly appreciative for all the kind words. It’s been amazing to find a place in the community and I do love how enthusiastic many of us are about each other’s work, discussing techniques and locations and just messaging to say hello. That’s been a real joy.
Against The Modern World No. 3

Against The Modern World No. 3

About Against The Modern World, he says:

This series was taken at the end of April in Eldorado Canyon, a small town and state park just south of Boulder, Colorado. It was snowing with dense clouds moving between and around the jagged rocky features of the canyon, subtle spots of light coming through every so often which made for very dramatic atmosphere.
Against The Modern World No. 6

Against The Modern World No. 6

“The Organ” from The Great American West  My morning in Arches National Park last July was flat grey overcast, which was actually a nice change from all the other days I’ve had there when the light was typically very harsh. The Organ is an impressive edifice, roughly 500ft tall, and I really like how its stature came through in the image. I did a vertical composition as well, which can be seen in my 4x5 editions.

“The Organ” from The Great American West

My morning in Arches National Park last July was flat grey overcast, which was actually a nice change from all the other days I’ve had there when the light was typically very harsh. The Organ is an impressive edifice, roughly 500ft tall, and I really like how its stature came through in the image. I did a vertical composition as well, which can be seen in my 4x5 editions.

“Mt. Lincoln” from The Great American West  This was taken last November above Hoosier Pass, south of Breckenridge in the Mosquito Range. It’s a fairly low-key 4x4 trail up above timberline. Mt Lincoln is 14,295ft at its peak, which is seen here scraping moisture out of the atmosphere.

“Mt. Lincoln” from The Great American West

This was taken last November above Hoosier Pass, south of Breckenridge in the Mosquito Range. It’s a fairly low-key 4x4 trail up above timberline. Mt Lincoln is 14,295ft at its peak, which is seen here scraping moisture out of the atmosphere.

“Morning Light” from The Great American West  I take my morning coffee in the car and just drive around nearby rural areas a few days a week. The early light against the foothills makes for beautiful views and subtle contrasts, just nice quiet moments.

“Morning Light” from The Great American West

I take my morning coffee in the car and just drive around nearby rural areas a few days a week. The early light against the foothills makes for beautiful views and subtle contrasts, just nice quiet moments.

Subtlety No. 4  A morning drive through a particularly dense fog in Niwot, Colorado. Left Hand Creek is seen winding through layers of trees.

Subtlety No. 4

A morning drive through a particularly dense fog in Niwot, Colorado. Left Hand Creek is seen winding through layers of trees.

Subtlety No. 5  A panorama looking south toward Boulder over Left Hand Reservoir, taken from Neva Road.

Subtlety No. 5

A panorama looking south toward Boulder over Left Hand Reservoir, taken from Neva Road.

Subtlety No. 10  A foggy morning somewhere along Buckhorn Road, west of Masonville, Colorado.

Subtlety No. 10

A foggy morning somewhere along Buckhorn Road, west of Masonville, Colorado.

Check out more of Alexander's work on his website, and follow him on Instagram.

Nancy Holt

Back in 2008 I wrote about Robert Smithson, and how influential he and his writings were becoming on my art then. Through all that reading I learned about Nancy Holt, who was married to Smithson. I really only remember getting familiar with only one of her works, Sun Tunnels in north-western Utah.

41.JPG

Holt, who passed away in 2014, really was quite a prolific artist. Many of her works no longer exist, due either to their intentional ephemerality, or to their being destroyed, as in the case of her Missoula Ranch Locators (1972), which was destroyed so that the owners of the property could build a home.

Her work was made to be an interactive experience. At Sun Tunnels, the viewer stands in one of four concrete tubes and looks through holes cut into walls that line up with certain constellations. Or, the viewer might look through two tunnels to see the sun rise and set at the winter solstice, or the other two tunnels to see the sun rise and set at the summer solstice. Through this interaction, or participation, Holt views her pieces are fully complete.

I have a strong desire to make people conscious of the cyclical time of the universe

If you feel like making the trek to the Sun Tunnels, you can find some info here: Sun Tunnels info from Utah Museum Fine Arts

And you check out the Sun Tunnels on Google Earth

You can read more about Holt here.

Joe Rudko

I've been a fan of Joe Rudko for a while now, and I'm real excited to share his work here!

Joe reenvisions other people's memories using torn, or cut found photographs, drawing, and mixed media. The results are quite intriguing, and his imaginations seems to be boundless in the way he rearranges and reinterprets these old photographs.

Color Wheel

Color Wheel

Path

Path

Out of Frame

Out of Frame

Grab yourself a cup of your favorite hot beverage, and check out his work on his website

You can also follow him on Instagram.

Bryon Darby

In the fall of 2016 I felt I needed to seek out other photographers and artists in my area, and either create or join a community of artists that had as a goal to help each other in our creative endeavors. Part of that search lead me to a series of lectures done at Utah State University by artists who came to give a presentation to students about their profession, and how they got to where they are now, and work they've done, etc...

One of those presenters was Bryon Darby.

9 hours in 9 panels

9 hours in 9 panels

Distant Aircraft No. 3

Distant Aircraft No. 3

My biggest take away from his presentation was what he said about making work:

Make work first and figure things out later...Just make! The only sin is not making!

Bryon is an ASU alum, where he studied under one of my favorite photographers, Mark Klett, and his influence shows. Not directly in his work, but more so in his ideas and concepts, and never in a derivative way.

Entire 101 Freeway Loop, 91.2 Miles in 82 Minutes

Entire 101 Freeway Loop, 91.2 Miles in 82 Minutes

Walking the Barracks Fence

Walking the Barracks Fence

Munitions Bunkers

Munitions Bunkers

Old Barracks Site

Old Barracks Site

Seventy Flights in Ninety Minutes

Seventy Flights in Ninety Minutes

5_20100617corralledsaguaros2.jpg
5_20090310desertcenterpalms.jpg

His most recent work is his New Farmers project. It is a collaboration between himself, a sociologist, and designer, and documents a new generation of farmers in the American Mid-West.

Offset Newsprint, 11 x 21.5 inches, 24 pages (with Hossler & Stock)

Offset Newsprint, 11 x 21.5 inches, 24 pages (with Hossler & Stock)

Amy Saunders, Jefferson County, Kansas

Amy Saunders, Jefferson County, Kansas

Natayla Lowther, Douglass County, Kansas

Natayla Lowther, Douglass County, Kansas

Sweet Love Farm, Jefferson County

Sweet Love Farm, Jefferson County

Go look at more of Bryon's great photography on his website.

Diane Meyer

Diane Meyer has some really great photographs mixed with embroidery.

Former Guard Tower Off Puschkinallee, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

Former Guard Tower Off Puschkinallee, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

By having the embroidery take the form of digital pixels, I am making a connection between forgetting and digital file corruption. I am interested in the porous nature of memory as well the means by which photography transforms history into nostalgic objects that obscure objective understandings of the past.
Erna-Berger Strasse, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

Erna-Berger Strasse, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

Former Wall Area Between Rudow And Altglienicke, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

Former Wall Area Between Rudow And Altglienicke, Hand Sewn Archival Ink Jet Print, 2013

View more of her work on her website.

Seung Hoon Park

I really love the work of Korean photographer Seung Hoon Park (or Park Seung Hoon).

Montmartre 1 (Textus #252)

Montmartre 1 (Textus #252)

Park works with an 8x10 camera, and 8mm and 16mm film strips. He makes two exposures, then weaves the strips of film together. I love the discontinuous and misaligned nature of his pieces.

Textus #053-1

Textus #053-1

You can check out more of his work and read more about his process by following one of the links below:

https://susanspiritusgallery.com/artist/seung-hoon-park/

https://www.artsy.net/artist/park-seung-hoon

https://theartling.com/en/artists/seung-hoon-park/

http://www.lifestyleasia.com/413789/moment-photographer-seung-hoon-park/

Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich has been photographing the Mississippi River Watershed for several years now.

Rail Bridge, Smith Mill Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Rail Bridge, Smith Mill Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Watermain for the City of Asheville, The Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

Watermain for the City of Asheville, The Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

So many of his photographs give me a guilty pleasure: they're beautiful photographs, but what's depicted in the photographs of what has happened and/or is happening to the landscape is frustrating, infuriating or even horrifying.

The sorts of scenes like the one below are a great example of what I mean.

Campground, The French Broad River, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Campground, The French Broad River, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Brown family farm, North Fork of the Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

Brown family farm, North Fork of the Swannanoa River, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 2007

Hominy Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Hominy Creek, Asheville, North Carolina, 2006

Coal Fly Ash Spill, Harriman, Tennessee, 2009

Coal Fly Ash Spill, Harriman, Tennessee, 2009

Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant Outflow, Tennessee River, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 2010

Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant Outflow, Tennessee River, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 2010

Bonnet Carré Spillway, Mississippi River, St Charles Parish, Louisiana, 2012

Bonnet Carré Spillway, Mississippi River, St Charles Parish, Louisiana, 2012

Check more of Jeff's work on his website.

Eadweard Muybridge

After last month's post on Timothy O'Sullivan, I thought it might be fun to make that a pattern, and talk about some of my influences each month.

Eadweard Muybridge didn't immediately become one of my influences. I think in my History of Photography class we mainly discussed his motion studies and experimentation. But I could be wrong; I was in Seattle for half of that semester while I was prepared to donate bone marrow to my brother who was undergoing treatment for Leukemia. It wasn't until about three years after that class that I really began paying attention to his landscape work he did in Yosemite.

Today, Muybridge is most known for his motion studies, which began with him being hired to settle a bet between two men, one of whom was Leland Stanford. The bet was whether a horse, when galloping had all four hooves off the ground, or if an animal that size was always in contact with the ground. Muybridge was hired, and devised a system of 12 cameras set at intervals along a race track, which was all in white. A trip wire was attached to each camera so that when the horse passed in front of it, the shutter was tripped and the exposure was made. This was in the days of wet plate collodion, when exposures were seconds long, so it really is remarkable for Muybridge to have figured out how to reduce the exposure time enough to stop motion the way he did. This led him to perform many more studies of animals and humans in motion. These studies ultimately led to the invention of the motion picture.

EadweardMuybridgeHorseinmotion.jpg

Though most known for the motion studies, Muybridge started out his professional photographic career as a landscape and architectural photographer. He photographed San Francisco, and surrounding areas including Yosemite. Some of the scenes he photographed in Yosemite were made from the same point as photographs made by his contemporary and competitor, Carleton Watkins.

eadweard-muybridge-valley-of-yosemite-confluence-of-the-merced-and-yosemite-creek.jpg
muybridge_valley_of_yosemite.jpg

For an excellent biography on Muybridge, read Rebecca Solnit's book River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

Or if you don't want to buy a book, you can read this excellent bio over at Imaging-Resource.

Or you can just check out the Wikipedia article on Muybridge. 

Melinda Hurst Frye

Melinda Hurst Frye is a Seattle-based artist, who uses a scanner in her work to create fictional scenes of plants and their root systems, and the creepy crawly bugs that live under our feet.

For her Underneath body of work, she started out in her front yard, where she would dig a hole big enough to fit her scanner, let the dirt settle for a few days, and then return and place the scanner in the hole, add any insects that she didn't want to add to the scene in post production and scan an image. She makes 5-30 scans of the scene, with lights aimed strategically, and sticks propping the scanner up to keep it still. Afterwards, she scans other insects, or visits Burke Museum of National History and Culture, and photographs taxidermy specimens of moles, or groundhogs in their labs.

MHurstFrye_U03.jpg
MHurstFrye_U04.jpg

This work evolved from an exploration of what was above the earth by scanning high resolution "portraits" of insects, and grubs, caterpillars, and larvae, but her interest in what is hidden led her to start digging into the ground and scanning the critters found below the surface. This play then brought her to her current process of placing the scanner in the holes she digs.

MHurstFrye_Mantis+Gladiola.jpg
MHurstFrye_Eggs.jpg

I love the playful and experimental nature and quality of Melinda's work!

IMG_0092.JPG
Nest.jpg

I asked Melinda about her influences, and she responded with this:

My experience as a mother has had a big impact on my work. I mine my personal life for subject matter, and kids are pretty consuming. Their initial wonder and exploration of nature, watching insects and digging in the soil, have been a big influence on my work. I want each image to present or inspire curiosity in the viewer, the kind that echoes what we felt as kids when spotting a bug in a flower or under the leaves. Additionally, the general aesthetic (lighting, color palette, and tableaux-like compositions) of Dutch master still life paintings helps me make certain decisions when building an image. When I get stuck, I go to them.

I adore Louis Bourgeois and her spider series—specifically Maman* in Ottawa. First off, it is 30 feet high and when you stand under it you feel like prey, it is an experience rather than something you walk by. I connect with her nod to motherhood in the piece: motherhood that is less saccharine or huggy, and more raw and sharp. Still loving, however, packaged in a leggy spider that is not interested in our acceptance, but the survival of her babies.

Lori Nix and Julie Blackmon are big faves with their narrative photographs and unique approaches. I can stare at those images for days. Both Emmet Gowin and Harry Callahan made imagery of their family that are so tender and kind. Recently I saw an image by Gowin of his wife Edith with silhouettes of moths** all over the image and I just about
died. All of my worlds came together in that piece.

Head on over to Melinda's website to view more of her work, and then go follow her on Instagram!

*Maman Wikipedia entry

**Emmet Gowin's photograph at Pace/MacGill

52 Photographers Is Back

I began the 52 Photographers Blog circa 2007-2008 as a way to expand my photographic/artistic vocabulary and get to know many more photographers than I already knew and share the work of artists that I enjoyed looking at and who were currently influencing my own work.

I never actually made 52 posts, as I got super busy with other things. Posts became spaced out, and clustered, and then it finally died off, and I let the domain expire.

Then in 2016, I thought of resurrecting the idea, but instead, decided to just write blog posts on my Departures Blog with no set schedule or plan. For 2018, I debated with myself whether or not I would fully resurrect 52 Photographers or not, and I ultimately decided to take the plunge, and here we are!

While 52 Photographers will be heavily photography-oriented, I've come across artists working in other media that I am going to want to share with you! I can't wait to share the work of so many really great photographers!