24 January 2013
Part One: Rust Series
II. Black-and-White Photographs
Let us know which you prefer and why.
In the twenty-first century it is not improbable to have a teenager introduce an adult to a technological innovation, skill or technique. So I should not be surprised or overwhelmed that it happened to me. It’s simply part of our digital culture, part of our day-to-day meanderings.
A year and a half ago it happened to me with a steady flurry. My initial lessons and encouragement pushed me to shop at the Verizon store, where I found myself in awe of my own bold step: purchasing an iPhone 4s. But it took months of indecision and stewing.
What inspired this leap–and it was a leap–were my grandchildren. While they spent time thumbing their own iPhones and snapping photographs, they transformed the way that I viewed these devices. Mainly, I was not prepared for the quality of the images produced.
Apparently, iPhones and other Smartphones as part of the digital toolbox of photographers (of all talents) was really, really old news. I was just catching the spin.
Prior to this discovery I was taking my grandchildren on excursions that eased into photo shoots. They both were intrigued and longing to use my Nikon DSLR, and I complied. After my acquisition of the iPhone it became easier to share my Nikon. We juggled back-and-forth between these technologies.
The camera gives and we receive in return. Over time my grandson became immersed in the magic of the camera’s lens. He became one with the possibilities, having an immediate bond with the invention that changed art, art history and people’s historic perspective of events and time.
My grandson has an innate ability to call upon an inner periscope—an intuitive lens that seeks and finds the seen, unseen and unusual. While I’ve given him some tips about technique, shared information about photographers, gone on numerous photo shoots, and bought him books about photographers and photography, he sees in the way that art critic and philosopher John Berger wants us to see the world: details, nuances and the collective whole. We are observers and voyeurs of nature and human nature. Also we are storytellers, visually recording what we envision and witness.
During December 2011 we ventured into parklands that led to his fascination for the oxidation of metals: rust. Since that momentous occasion, we have shared the exhilaration of photo shoots in various locations from abandoned buildings to horticultural centers to urban landscapes to our college campus to the West Coast…
He began a journey that continues today, discovering a marvelous yet unusual quality in subjects that seems antithetical to one’s sensibilities. So I knighted some of his images “The Rust Series.”
Each time that we enter a photo shoot, there is a swelling of my heart. He is so comfortable and relaxed with the camera as an instrument of his creative lens that it is readily apparent every time. Truly, he’s a natural. While his iPhone will do, he is enamored and clearly attached to my Nikon DSLR. I’m ready to solve his longing and will pass on my first Nikon DSLR to him SOON.
As a richly visual subject rust grabbed his attention. The weathering gives object-after-object layers, cracks, dips, holes, colorations, discolorations, and mystery. All these unique characteristics and subtleties are found in his photographs. He has redefined beauty through a most unlikely theme. He takes raw materials that most would discount, and collapses their facade to become aesthetically pleasing to the viewer’s eye.
So I decided that he makes a terrific first Guest Photographer. In the Lens section are nine of his photographs, divided into three parts: The Rust Series, Black-and-White Photographs and Polaroids. As he builds a portfolio, you can see his artistic talents flourishing.
Still, there is more to tell. In June I took my grandchildren to San Francisco. As I planned that holiday, I realized that I did not want to be laden with photographic equipment. That was another reason to buy the iPhone. With my grandchildren’s and friends prodding me, I made the plunge, which turned out to be a sound and worthy decision.
During that West Coast adventure the iPhone tossed me into the arena of iPhoneography–a journey into mobile documentation and another phase of digital photography. While we all used my Nikon, the iPhone was indispensable and remarkable as a narrator of the golden city that stole our hearts.
Now many of my posts include photographs taken with my 4s. It has become an essential apparatus for its portability and dependability. It has become my sidekick on daily walks. The 4s has been there when I needed it, easily keeping me company and helping me record a spontaneous moment of observation.
As a blogger I have noticed more and more photographers using iPhones. Some even use it as their primary instrument.
iPhoneography is bursting its seams. I think it needs a separate Internet for the explosion and profusion of users as well as images taken, seen, shared, and stored. The volume of photographs shot on any given day would be astounding to calculate. I cannot even guess numbers.
Over the last few months I have been chatting with two other photographers about beginning an iPhoneography challenge. While there are many platforms of social media for posting work, we thought a specific challenge was needed.
Please join us on February 04, and help us launch another forum for iPhoneographers to spread their work. Here’s our logo:
Inspiration comes from the expected and unexpected experiences and people in our lives. But I never thought that my grandson would influence the direction of my photography. Today’s post is my thank-you note to him–a way to honor his talent and the way that he inspires me.
I also have to thank my teenage granddaughter who in her own way is beginning to understand the world that the camera’s lens can open for her. She acts as my technical assistant, helping me navigate the iPhone’s digital girth.
They are responsible for the spark that lit the idea for the challenge. I raise my iPhone to them, and salute the future of digital photography. That notion awakens my imagination to ponder innovations that are on the horizon–innovations that are unfathomable but sure to burst through the avenues of cyberspace.
Still, I am astounded that my teenage grandson can create such painterly photographs. And he does it with little editing and lots of inner drive to record how he sees the world frame-by-frame.
Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.