minimalism

lately I have found myself at a crossroads in my photographic journey, and it is a welcomed divergence from the course I have been on since I began shooting large format film. In the course of an artist lifetime, so long as one continues to create, there will be moments in which personal perceptions and tastes will evolve and new direction will be taken. This process is essential to the personal growth and development of not only the artist but the resulting art. generally these periods are brought on by the times, new influences and new discovery but are also born out of necessity for the artist to remain both relevant and inspired. If there are long periods of no growth or evolution in ones work and in ones self, both the work and the artist become stagnant and as a result cease to inspire as well as find inspiration. Over the years I have been inspired and influenced by many artists and works of art, whether that was in my early years producing pencil drawings or more recently through the camera, I don’t believe there is or ever has been an artist that worked completely in a vacuum and without influence. In my photography, influences have changed over the years but I have retained certain qualities from each and they along with my own personal style continue to compound and develop and this is what keeps me refreshed and inspired to go out and continue to produce new work.

Cat Head Bay - Study 1, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Head Bay - Study 1, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

When I made the decision to return to film I was influenced by the work of a two photographers in general, one whom I had met through local art festivals and one whose work I was introduced to through a photography book I found at a local book store. Both of these photographers were from the Midwest, the region I too am from and both worked with large format color film and their primary subject was the landscape. I was inspired by the detail and look produced by large format and the vivid color and contrast of color slide film and the work of these two individuals inspired me to produce much of my early work. These photographers were C. W. Banfield and Ron Leonetti and their work and advice helped push me in a creative direction that I have followed since 2012. Along the way I have picked up new influences and these too have been instrumental the in development of my work and more recently I have found influence and inspiration in two photographers who like C. W. and Ron both shoot film however unlike my previous influences work exclusively with medium format film and in the 6x6 square format of the Hasselblad 500 series camera systems.

Cat Head Bay - Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Head Bay - Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Whats also interesting is that while I have been influenced by the work of both of these men, at least one of them has also been greatly influenced by the work of the other, and whats also interesting to note is that we are all separated generationally by a period of about ten years. The photographers I am talking about are Bruce Percy and Michael Kenna and it is the latter who has had the most influence on the direction I am now taking in the work I am producing currently. While I have found a lot of inspiration in the work and teachings of both of these men, it is Micheal Kenna who is know for minimalism in his work as well as shooing almost exclusively with black and white film. Over the past two years I have become more and more drawn to the look and feel created by the 6x6 square format and in August of 2018, I picked up a Hasselblad 501c with an 80mm CF lens and an A12 back. I first used this camera on my September 2018 trip to Yellowstone where I shot it along side of my Mamiya 7ii 6x7 cm system however I decided to load the Hasselblad with black and white panchromatic film instead of my usual choice of Fujifilm Velvia 50, color slide film. The results were refreshing and for me held true to Micheal Kenna’s words that black and white unlike color is more of a suggestive media while color film can often leave little to the imagination as it is the way we see the world every day. I also find that black and white film has a certain romantic quality to it and I think this stems from the early days of photography and the periods of the 1920’s 30’s and 40’s when much of the iconic black and white images were produced. Michael Kenna came of age as a photographer in the 1970’s and this is also the time period when the minimalism moment in modern art was born so it is no surprise that he is one of its pioneers.

Cat Head Bay - Study 3, Leelanau Peninsula Michigan

Cat Head Bay - Study 3, Leelanau Peninsula Michigan

The collection of images you see here are part of a new direction I find myself taking and represents really my first attempt to add a minimalist quality to my work. The exclusion of color is also a departure from my previous work and takes me back to my roots in photography working with black and white 35mm film as a teenager. I welcome the abstruseness and open interpretive quality found with the use of black and white and look forward to experimenting with mood and tonal relationships that suggest mystery and space.

Cat Heady Bay - Study 4, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 4, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 5, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 5, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 6, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 6, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 7, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Cat Heady Bay - Study 7, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

Without a doubt I will continue to discover new influences as I trace the steps of those who came before me and incorporate these influences with those that I have previously discovered all melded with my own personal style. I am grateful to these artists that have left their mark on me and empowered me to experiment, grow and produce my own work and I find inspiration and excitement in the prospect of the work that has yet to come. Here’s to the journey!

Copper Harbor & MN North Shore Trip Film Review

Here is a video review of the three rolls of 120 film I shot wile on my July 2017 trip to CopperHarbor, MI and the North Shore of Lake Superior in MN. Its a first impression account on the images I captured and my reaction to reviewing them. I hope you injoy!

A Whole New Format

In 2012 I set down my D700 and entered into the time honored tradition of large format photography. My reasons for doing so are addressed in "Coming Into My Own" a blog post from late 2016. Wile I can not say I have completely mastered the craft, I am confident and pleased with my progression over the past few years. Working with film and with a view camera system has helped me to slow down and really consider whether or not I make an exposure or if I wait till another time when all the elements are right. It has been a rewarding journey down this path, however I have decided to alter this course to a degree. A course correction that I began late in 2016. One of the deciding factors for me was that while I was deliberately slowing down my process to create a better product, I was also not amounting much of a portfolio. Another factor was that as I age, the weight of my pack made it harder for me to carry on longer treks and I began to look for a solution that would still conform to my standards and ideals yet allow for more flexibility with less weight.  

Ebony 4x5, Otter Creek, Honor Michigan

Ebony 4x5, Otter Creek, Honor Michigan

After quite a bit of research I decided to pick up a Mamiya 7ii outfit and began a new chapter in my journey as a photographer. The Mamiya 7ii is a medium format range finder systemknow for being one of the sharpest on the market. As with my ebony the Mamiya also requires the ability to visualize the final image before making an exposure. With a rangefinder system you do not actully look through the lens, but instead a rangefinder window on the camera body or in the case of the 43mm, 65mm and 210mm, through a viewfinder mounted on the hot shoe atop the camera body. So in this regard you are seeing a approximate framing of your composition, not the actual composition you will see once the film has been processed.

Mamiya 7ii, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire Michigan

Mamiya 7ii, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire Michigan

The system has yielded a dramatic reduction in the weight and size of my pack and the images I have captured, tell me that I made the right decision. I will continue to make images with my ebony 4x5 system, however I can say with confidence that the Mamiya 7ii will be my primary outfit moving forward. Especially as I travel to far off destinations. I am excited to work with this new system more in the coming months and years and will continue to learn and develop my abilities as I go. Below are three Images I made in November and December of 2016 on the first two rolls of velvia 50, 120 film, I ran through the Mamiya. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoied making them.

"November Sky" Otter Creek, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Honor Michigan

"November Sky" Otter Creek, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Honor Michigan

"Life In Slow Motion" Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire Michigan

"Life In Slow Motion" Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire Michigan

"Hypnagogic" Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Honor Michigan

"Hypnagogic" Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Honor Michigan