29 July 2010

Simple and humble . . .

Taking a few days off and once again tinkering with my photography.  Also, once again hiding out from the heat in the lower depths of the house -- soon I may turn into a mushroom!

I keep finding new methods, then try to take some time to learn the steps.  Sometimes it doesn't work out; sometimes it does.  I had been reading in The American Art Review about an exhibit that has been touring the country, TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, and was intrigued by the images from the exhibit. 

I have always been attracted to the works of Julia Margaret Cameron, some of which are quite famous, of Alfred Steiglitz and Edward Steichen, so famous they are iconic.  But this exhibit also surveyed other photographers, such as Peter Henry Emerson, who worked more with pastoral landscapes.

In some ways, I think the Pictorialists were reacting to the growing industrialism in America and Europe, as were the American Tonalists -- thus the softened edges, the muted hues and colors, the graininess of the image, creating works that seemed to harken back to earlier times.  

Today I used the early light of an overcast day to capture these two images, more interested in evoking those same sensibilities, but also to celebrate the elemental beauty of these pots.  Over the years I have collected a few stoneware and raku pots.  There is no perfection evident here, merely intriguing surfaces that are worked, chipped, scarred and, in the case of the raku, burnt.

I don't paint still life.  Every time I have tried, the image is flat and dull, lifeless.  But with the camera, still life can be evocative, almost painterly.  So in a way I am able to pay homage to these simple vessels that have served a multitude of purposes.

I'll continue to fiddle and tweak to see what else I can come up with -- and perhaps use these images to create some paintings.  We'll see.  For now I am pleased with today's "fiddling" . . .

Blessed are they who see 
beautiful things in humble places
where other people see nothing. 
Camille Pissarro


Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings Dear Kelly,

I am glad I stopped by this evening to see your post and the newly re-designed blog.

The lighting on both images is rather beautiful but then one cannot improve upon an overcast day with natural light filtering into the house and leaving sift shadows on the cool surface.

I do wish you would have come in lower on the subject, allowing us to engage with it, rather than just observing in passing, for I really wanted to have a closer look.

Thank you for sharing and I wish you a wonderful evening,

ArtPropelled said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos and the quote fits this post perfectly.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Nice place to end the day 'pleased with today's "fiddling". These photos are stunning!

Kelly M. said...

Thanks so much for your comments! Yes, Egmont, I'm still in the learning stages and finding the tripod a bit unwieldy -- lol! I will give it another go and try for a more "intimate" shot. So good to hear from you, too!

ArtPropelled -- many thanks for your visit and kind words!

Mary Ann -- yes, sometimes it's quite satisfying to end the day "pleased with fiddling!" Today's "fiddle" may be tomorrow's masterpiece -- Ha!

Don said...

I like both of these photos. They induce meditation.

Don said...

I like the stillness of these photos.

Kelly M. said...

Thank you, Don -- for some reason I keep thinking of the Shakers and their traditions of simplicity. Maybe it's the heat?!