Carol Panaro-Smith & James Hajicek

I've long been an admirer of and influenced by the work of collaborative duo James Hajicek and Carol Panaro-Smith. I discovered their photogenic drawing work around 2004-2005 when I was really getting into making Lumen prints.

Their work hearkens back to, and indeed is directly born from William Henry Fox Talbot, the originator of photogenic drawings, the experiments for which began in 1834. He discovered that paper coated with a salt solution, then brushed with silver nitrate turned black when exposed to light, and a final coat of salt halted that darkening. He then made what is essentially a photogram, placing botanical specimens on the sensitized paper, and exposing it to sunlight. Thus, the "photogenic drawing," and one of the first successful photographic processes was born.

Today, James and Carol use variations of Talbot’s early formulas, and create beautiful pieces that are layered, possess depth, and have fantastic textures. I remember being stunned at the colors and textures the first time I saw their work, and those same feelings return each time I look at their work.

Earth Vegetation 08/17

Earth Vegetation 08/17

Their compositions are so simple and organic, as if they clamped the plants between the glass and paper right where the plants grew out of the dirt.

Earth Vegetation 06/01

Earth Vegetation 06/01

A paragraph, and specifically the last half of it, of their artist statement for their latest body of work, Arc of Departure, resonates in me, and describes the experience of making this sort of work so much better than I’ve been able to in the past:

“The work evolved in stages from its initial intellectual underpinnings through a focus on the physicality of the remaining organic artifact to the spirituality of experiencing “the awe” of being in the immediate presence of this sacred transformative act - magic in its very essence, ruled by serendipity, elusive mysteries, fugitive images, and the ruling master of all – the ultimate impermanence of everything.”

Arc of Departure 09/09

Arc of Departure 09/09

Be sure to visit their website, and you can read an article about their work on Lenscratch. It’s well worth it to spend some time with their work, which can be seen at the Joseph Bellows Gallery, the photo-eye Gallery, and the Tilt Gallery.

Charles Petillon

Whimsical is what comes to mind when I look at Charles Petillon's photographs.

He takes bunches of white balloons and arranges and places them in the landscape. These bunches of balloons have the feel of a cloud that has descended to hover just feet above the ground, and the luminance they add to the land is really quite beautiful.

Mutation 2

Mutation 2

33 KM 1

33 KM 1

Igloo 2

Igloo 2

You can check out more of Charles' work on his website, and follow him on Instagram.

Jeff Frost

If you like time lapse photography, night photography, and video, you'll enjoy Jeff Frost's work. He even crosses over into Earth Art a bit. I've been looking at Jeff's work for a while mainly through his Instagram feed, but also through his website, and his videos hosted on Vimeo.

Jeff was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work that you can read below:

Would you mind telling me a bit about your background as a photographer? 

My background is really as a musician. So I tend to think of photography and contemporary art in terms of rhythm, texture, and mood. The timing of a video edit is as delicate as the fixing I used to have to do to for one of my shitty ex-drummers. If you're getting it right, you're 'in the pocket' in both mediums, and that can come down to mere milliseconds of difference. Time lapse itself is as mechanical and precise as a Roland 808, which can make it difficult to humanize, but also prevents an invigorating challenge. 

I never imagined myself being a photographer or a film maker. When I realized the music thing wasn't going to work out, I went to a school that essentially taught me the basics of commercial photography: how to shoot headshots and weddings, studio lighting, product photography, etc. All of which I did as student to scrape by. As I was shooting weddings I'd find my thoughts wandering. I'd make estimates on how long a couple would last before the divorce. Then I'd feel guilty and think, 'Well this can't be healthy.' In class I was rebelling by creating fine art instead of commercial work. The weirder and more complex I could make it, the better. This lead to painting optical illusions in abandoned houses, which I think of as some sort of minimalist-maximalist paradox in motion, and weaved into a non-linear film narrative. 

Who are some of your influences as a photographer, and who is your favorite photographer? 

My influences are also more towards the music and painting side, but I'll get to a few photographers as well. Musicians who influenced me early on were a lot of the alternative rock stuff like REM, Wire, the Cure, but when I heard Nine Inch Nails "ruining" sounds it really changed how I think. Right now my influences are becoming more abstract on that front: John Cage, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Kim Cascone, Christina Kubisch. All of this filters into how I shoot photography, make soundtracks, and work on sound design. 

I love the minimalist painters (Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Piet Mondrian, etc), but really I love every era of painting. Classical painters such as Caravaggio and Bosch are examples of wild innovation within their time, and also examples of how to get away with it. I adore Andy Warhol and pop art. Street art has had a huge influence on me as well, and that's where my paintings of abandoned buildings stems from. 

For photographers the ones I admire and am influenced by have little to do with my work aesthetically (in most cases). The fearless, tireless, tenacity of Diane Arbus has always blown me away. Richard Avedon honing his portraiture craft to include interactions designed specifically to illicit emotional responses from specific people is an example, for me, of how productive it can be for a photographer to step away from passivity and jump into the thick of things as well as the importance of brilliant planning. Lee Friedlander is one example where you can at least somewhat draw aesthetic parallels. The way he composes and plays with the psychological reaction of the viewer has always had a huge impact on me; same goes for Edward Burtynsky in a much different arena.

I can't say that I have a single favorite. Too hard to choose. 

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I love when artists make work that is interactive and collaborative with the landscape, and there is a lot of that in Jeff's work, and my favorite examples are found in his Flawed Symmetry of Prediction body of work.

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Check out more of Jeff's work on his website, and 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

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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.

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/

Kevin Hoth

Kevin Hoth has some really interesting work. Some of it really plays with your eyes and brain.

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Kevin was kind enough to answer some questions I had about his work, specifically his Everywhere All at Once body of work.

Andy Duncan: Would you tell me a little bit about the Everywhere All at Once project? 

Kevin Hoth: This is my (annotated) artist statement for the project:

The project is really a result of experimentation over several years and scenarios. The series is really about how we experience and represent space. Ansel Adams said–somewhat cheekily–the hardest part of photography is knowing where to stand. This is essentially an acknowledgement of the importance of the camera’s coordinates in space or the vantage point of the maker. I use a mirror within the landscape as a way to combine two vantage points - in front and behind me - in one frame. Representation of photographic seeing tends to be from one vantage point or coordinate in space – you extend a ray from your eye to the scene. I’ve often felt this is a representational limitation since what we may experience as seeing is a three-dimensional, multi-sensorial experience. By creating images that combine multiple scenes–albeit from the same vantage point–my aim is to create a two-dimensional image that evokes a more whole representation of seeing. Though the idea of landscape may carry with it certain metaphors, I use the landscape as a sort of blank canvas or background layer (to use the language of photoshop) devoid of social cues or commercial symbols. I use a circular mirror as a reference to the shape of the eyeball and to the fact that all images -- whether formed in the brain or projected on the capture plane -- are created optically as true circles.

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AD: How did it come to be? What was the inspiration behind it?


KH: This series really came out of another body of work I made that I called The Surface of Things. I was photographing a lot of reflections - in shop windows, in car windows, etc. and I came to realize that I was actually photographing three "spaces" at once - the space in front of me like the interior of the shop, the surface of the glass itself, and the space behind me that was reflected in the window. I've always been drawn to reflections and the way you can see other spaces that aren't in front of you but this series went beyond that.

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I was then up at our family cabin in northern Wisconsin and I bought some square mirrors and was playing with digging them into the sand at the shoreline. Those experiments were fun but didn't really solidify into a series that I liked. I don't recall how long after this it was but I noticed some round mirrors at Michael's (the craft supply store) and bought one. I took it on a trip to the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado and was digging it into the tops of the dunes. I spun the mirrors to bring the mountains inside the mirror while the sand was just a backdrop. I made several more images this way in 2011 and then kind of just dropped the series. Then about a year later a friend - and I can't recall who it was unfortunately - said "Hey I really liked those mirror images - are you making any more of those?" So I came back to them and when I saw that I could connect the horizon lines from the space in front of me and behind me in one shot then the series came into its own. I saw I could connect rocks, shrubs, tumbleweeds, clouds or whatever together from two spaces and congeal them into one, using only optics. People send me images all the time that are kind of similar but as far as I can tell I am the only one who is connecting the objects behind and in front of me and fusing them in one apparent landscape in a nondigital manner. 

AD: What is it like dealing with the logistics of carrying mirrors into the field? 

KH: I've taken them with me on a lot of trips. Home to Wisconsin, to the desert in southern California, on a lot of hikes in Colorado. A lot them have broken but actually never in the field, so to speak - only in my backpack. I used to carry them inside a book on Feng Shui (it just happened to be about the right size). I've finally made a wooden carrying case for them so I can take them out of the country and such where I might not be able to easily buy round mirrors. 

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AD: How difficult is it to make the composition? 

KH: It can be pretty challenging, especially if it's windy. Then I have to snap off a lot of shots which annoys me since I have to edit through them all. I've gotten pretty good at getting myself out of the way and matching up the two spaces. Some landscapes actually don't work as easily for it. I went down to White Sands National Park in May, and for the life of me I could not get a decent shot using the dunes. I actually went into it predicting it might be challenging - I'm not sure why - so I wasn't that disappointed.

D: How large are the mirrors you're working with? 

KH: They are 10 inches in diameter. The store was out of the 10" ones the last time I went in so I had to buy some smaller ones. They don't seem to work as well but I made some decent images down near Marfa, Texas over Thanksgiving break.

AD: Do you consider the project finished or complete?

KH: There are a solid ten or twelve of them that feel like a nice body of work. I thought it was complete, but I think I will make more in the same color palette, but then shoot some other images in another style using the same principles. The working method of it will flow through some other work, I'm sure of that.

Another project that I quite like is his latest one, Ingestion Transformer. The images in this project are all edible, and are intended to be eaten, as a way to reassert our power over the photographic image that can have so much power or influence on us.

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Thanks to Kevin for allowing me to use his images in this post, and for taking the time to answer my questions!

Visit Kevin's website to see more of his work, and check him out on Instagram!

Laura Hendricks

I first saw Laura Hendricks‘ work on The Jealous Curator Blog several months ago, and instantly connected with her work. Her collages have an otherworldly feel to them, and yet a familiar feel. They’re done in a way that makes one feel simultaneously that there’s something a little unnatural about the landscape but also in way that feels that everything just makes sense. I’ve been following her Instagram feed ever since I read that blog post, and it’s fun seeing some of the videos she posts of her working out which two photographs to collage together. 

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Head on over to Laura’s website to see more of her work and check her out on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did! 

David Shannon-Lier

This post originally appeared on my Departures Blog on May 27, 2017, and the interview in a subsequent post on June 2, 2017.

Clear back in October, Lenscratch had an article in their Art + Science series on the body of work by David Shannon-Lier titled Of Heaven and Earth. The first image in the article, Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah, pulled me in, since I love long exposures of the moon and sun, but also, there was more to the image than just the long white arc of the moon as it traveled across the sky: on the rocks in the foreground is a light line that matches the radius of the moon's path. 

Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah

Chalk Moonrise, Muley Point, Utah

Not only are these absolutely gorgeous photographs, but the concept behind them is so fun and interesting! 

In a LensCulture article, Lier says this about his work:

To produce each photograph, I leave open the shutter for a very long exposure. The result is an image of the moon or sun playing off of an altered landscape. In this way, the heavenly meets with the human, the immense with the intimate and one of the most constant forces in our world—the movement of the solar bodies—interacts with a line of rocks or grass: a mark that is small and completely fleeting in meaning and form.
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Badlands Moonset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands Moonset, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

I emailed him and asked some questions about the body of work, and he was kind enough to answer.

Andy Duncan: How long have you been working on this project, and do you think there will ever be an "end" to it, or point at which it will be considered finished?

David Shannon-Lier: I have been working on this project for a little over 5 years now, though the first year and a half to two years of that was spent figuring out how to make the pictures and refining my methodology. I hope to put a book of this work together and I am actually working on including long exposures of the movement of the sun. This is a little trickier as days tend to be a bit windier than nights. I am now building a folding wind break to bring with me on my trips after this last outing.

 AD: What was your inspiration for this work?

DS-L: The inspiration for the work came when I was driving from Massachusetts to Arizona for graduate school. I began to think about our old home and how as we drove west it was slowly setting below the horizon. It occurred to me that I rarely thing about the larger world in three dimensions. I wanted to make work that would point to that gap in our thinking. Now I see that gap as a metaphor for the gap in our conception of our own lives: we know we are small, ephemeral beings, but we can't shake the notion that the things we do every day carry some sort of weight.

 AD: How did it begin, and how has it evolved?

DS-L: The work began as mostly technical problems and solutions. How to plot the motion of heavenly bodies? How to do it accurately enough to where the pictures didn't fall apart? How to nail down the exposure, especially considering small apertures and reciprocity failure? These problems took the better part of a year an a half, most of the experiments taking place in my back yard. As I solved those problems, I began to travel in concentric circles around our home in Arizona, at which point I had to solve other problems to do with travel and how to do this out of a car and away from the support of a home base. Now all that is behind me, which makes the work easier, but in some ways less exciting in the execution. The concepts have developed a bit and I now see the work as about that particularly vexing mix we have as a species of being mortal, conscious and aware that we are both.

 AD: Do you have any thoughts or ideas of what comes next for your photography?

DS-L: I am always taking pictures of things that fascinate me. I am interested in the landscape and the sublime, particularly that aspect of the sublime that is closest to fear or dread. It seems to me in these moments we can begin to get at that human knot I mentioned above.

 AD: Who is a favorite photographer of yours?

DS-L: There are a lot. I find the best persona to embody as a visual artist is a compulsive thief. It does no good to steal from one artist or movement, or even one medium. But if you can constantly be taking in new information, and stealing a bit from here, a bit from there, from other artists as well as science, philosophy, theology, culture the work will end up being rather more interesting. This is all to say that sometimes (as is the case with compulsive thieves) I am unaware that I am borrowing from some area until long after and I could spend entirely too long listing all of them. All that being said I will mention Bill Burke and Mark Klett, who I worked closely with and who have influenced me by osmosis. Also, someone who is working now and really gets at the ideas of the landscape and the sublime is Michael Lundgren.

 AD: Because I'm a bit of a tech junkie, what programs or software do you use to project or predict the positioning of the sun and the moon?

DS-L: The solution to that technical problem was to use very accurate data and a very accurate tool for measuring the data. I started getting my data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, but I now use an app called stellarium. It has the same data, but is a little easier to access on the road. From that I can get the precise location for any heavenly body at present or in the future. I use a surveyor's tool called a transit, or a theodolite to plot the points that I get from the data, and then place my camera in the spot where the transit made its measurements. It's a bit more complicated than that and a lot more tedious, but that's the gist of it.

Man, I loved the part about stealing from everywhere!  I've heard the quote that's often attributed to Pablo Picasso: "good artists borrow, great artists steal." But for all the times I've heard it, I never really thought to apply the stealing to all facets of life, not just to steal from other artists.

Thanks for your time David! I can't wait to see more of your work!

To see more of Lier's work, which I highly recommend, you can visit his website. Also, he's been featured on LensCultureFraction Magazine, and Hoctok.

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!