Multiple Exposures

One of my favorites techniques to use in abstract photography is multiple exposures. Many cameras have the ability to take multiple exposures including using phone apps.

While I haven’t done much with phone apps, my Fuji cameras are capable of double exposures. And my Ricohs can make 5 exposures in one.

Abstract Street Photography
No Parking 8am-6pm, New York City, December 2015

In a way, making multiple exposure photos is like making a collage. However, with my cameras you need to take each of the photos within a short amount of time. I like the element of chance that this limitation imposes as with the photo above.

Abstract Street Photography
Hot Streets, New York City, November 2018

I understand that with many DSLRs you can also take multiple photos in one and that you can do that well after the fact.

I have also made a number of multiple exposures taking photos of my photos from computer and also using books and other kinds of images. The above photo is an example.

I strongly believe that there are very few limitations when it comes to creating abstract and abstract street photography. And it’s always fun.

A Photograph is a Photograph

For some, photography is about truth. Perhaps I should say Truth with a capital T. They insist that their photos represent reality. As if there’s only one truth for all. And their reality must be shared by all. With that they will state that they don’t process their photos and they rant on about the state of photography. As if some pure state exists. For others it is only real photography if shot with film cameras. As if digital photography is cheating or of lesser value.

Abstract Street Photography
Look Right, New York City, October 2019

While I’m hopeless taking photos with my phone, I don’t deny that it is a valid tool for shooting. It’s just not as substantial in my hands. I think that it’s rather unfortunate how elitist some people who call themselves ‘photographers’ can be about which tool you choose to use.

A photo is a photo is a photo. No matter how you make it. Can we just get over the divisiveness? The important thing is the end result. Period. And of course, art is in the eye of the beholder.

Breaking Down Boundaries

Photography, like the arts, is amazing in its ability to break down boundaries across languages and ethnicity. So long as you have sight you can view photos made by people from around the world.

It is possible that the only things that you have in common are human existence and a camera of some sort. Photography allows us to share our vision of the world we live in and how we experience it.

While looking at photos of a city that I haven’t been to before isn’t the same as being there and experiencing it firsthand, it does allow the mind to attempt to fill in the blanks about what it would be like to be there.

One Way One Way, New York City, September 2019

Can you imagine telling someone the raw details of the place that you live and thinking that they may find it interesting without them being able to see images? That of course also assumes that you speak the same language.

There are of course certain authors that are able to write in a language that creates images in the mind. And of course there’s always painting. But perhaps you don’t find the picture postcard photos appealing.

Do picture postcards ever really reveal the things about the city that you would find appealing? Perhaps if your main interest is architecture.

I am always wondering what the world is because of photography and what it would be without it. Certainly it would have a major effect on the travel industry. But also on the way that we view the parts of the world that we haven’t seen.

Is photography a bit like magic? And have we ceased to wonder how important it has been on how we think and live? Sorry to leave you with so many questions. If I discover the answers I will write the book. Thanks for reading. Your responses are always welcome.

Thoughts on Creating

Embracing chance leads to happy accidents. Repetition leads to style and then boredom. Boredom leads to experimentation. The process begins as clumsy missteps and moves into something akin to dance.

I call myself a backward painter. Unlearning grammar. Skirting the edges. Curiosity as currency and camera as paint brush.

Brooklyn Museum Abstract Photography
It Was Never Yours, New York City, August 2019

There’s No Going Backwards

Art does not exist to repeat or return to the past. It is always about moving forward. Whether art influences culture or culture influences art is like asking if the egg came first or the chicken.

Photography has many roles in our culture. For me it’s always about a creative pursuit. Photography is an art even if we don’t always think of it that way.

Museums and galleries still persist in using the terms art & photography as if they are not one and the same. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that photography is still rather young.

Regardless, the world keeps turning, culture changes and I continue to move forward. If I am no longer able to find a way to evolve my art then it will be an indication that it’s time for me to put my cameras away.

But I don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. There’s always something new to explore and ways to expand even if progress sometimes appears to happen slowly.

In art there is no going backwards and repeating the old. That reminds me of all the reunion bands who come back to play their old music from 50 years ago. If I do that, please let me know. No turning back time. As if we could. Here’s to the future of art!

A Backwards Painter

When I was about 12 years old, I took art classes from a well known art school. We were required to draw from a human skeleton in many different mediums.

It was a style of learning that was alien to me. I was completely uninspired and didn’t complete the classes. I thought that I must not have any artistic talent as a result.

It took me many years to realize that I just didn’t fit in to more traditional styles of art and that photography is one of my mediums of creative expression.

Multiple exposure photography in New York City
Cuddling, New York City, June 2014

So I call myself a backward painter. I rely on that which physically exists in front of me and my camera. It is always a combination of how I feel and see things on a given day.

It isn’t so much about thinking or having a preconceived notion about what I will create. Rather it is about observing that which is taking place around me.

This is true of both my abstract and street photography. They are a reflection of how and what I see in the world around of me.

The Act of Writing About Art

I am both a writer and an artist. I struggle with the idea of writing about that which I create. They are two different and mutually exclusive activities.

Writing about what I create would be an attempt to justify or place into a context something which was not created with a preconceived notion. It is looking backwards and attempting to create meaning that didn’t exist at the time. Hence I do not write about my work in any detail about what it means or doesn’t mean.

July, New York City, 2019

At least for me, the creative act is something that just happens. It operates on an intuitive level. I do not create that which I can imagine in a finished state. I wouldn’t know how or why it would be of interest.

It was with great pleasure that I read a quote by Gerhard Richter on the same subject. He said “to talk about painting is not only difficult, but perhaps pointless too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate.”

He also stated at one point that if he could write about painting that there would be no reason to paint. I write about photography and art in general terms and some of the effects that it has on myself and perhaps on society. I write about my experience of it all.

I invite your comments on what you think about these things. Curious Frame was created to engage in dialogue about the state of visual images in the world today.

Sex Sells

It should come as no surprise to anyone that sex sells. There’s nothing new about that. But for some strange reason it continues to grab our attention. All the products and companies in the world that are vying for your attention and ultimately your cash are using this in some form or other.

The invention of photography has certainly helped to create and perpetuate the sex sells method of appealing to consumers. I’m not writing about nudity or pornography. That is an entirely different subject.

Urban Bliss Two #15, August 2017

Whether it’s about fitness, fashion or cultural norms to mention just a few possible areas, people are expected to live up to certain standards that are typically influenced by campaigns that utilize sex appeal. Your life will be marvelous if you buy or do whatever it is that’s being advertised.

It would perhaps be inaccurate to label it as subliminal. However, the more that we see images that utilize sex as a method of appealing to us, the more it seems normal. We no longer stop and question it.

I don’t know how we escape this or if it’s entirely possible to do so. But perhaps taking a little time to have a look at the messages that you’re being fed on a daily basis and questioning their claims is a good start.

An Artist Works with What’s Available

Some people will say that there’s nothing new under the sun in the world of art. While my view of the state of art is not so bleak, all art is somehow influenced by what came before. Some more than others.

In the music world it’s called sampling. In the world of art it’s called appropriation. Andy Warhol is perhaps the most famous appropriator in the art world.

When it comes to photography and especially street photography, many moan about the inability to achieve the same kind of classic photos that were produced in the past. Some even go so far as to focus on creating only work that looks like the past.

Winogrand Doubles – Brides, New York City, August 2019

It’s as if they could imitate the past and live in another place and time. Rather sad if you ask me. An artist works with what’s available.

I sample the work of artists and photographers in my work. It’s about creating something new from something from the past. You could say it’s a form of recycling.

In the world of philosophy, all philosophy is a dialogue with the ideas from the past. In my multiple exposures I utilize the works of others to create something new and current. As in the photo above where I sample photos by Garry Winogrand.