Grain

These fantastic structures are all over the place here in my  back yard — so to speak.  And yet it was only recently that it occurred to me to photograph them, when I came across the patchwork patterns on the silos in #22 and 24.  But I’m late to the party.  I remember vaguely from my own studies in architecture years ago that Le Corbusier was fascinated by grain elevators and silos, but I didn’t know his interest was piqued by photos taken by Walter Gropius.  More on that in excellent article HERE.

I have divided these into groupings based on familial similarities in order to clarify what I’m looking at.  There is some overlap, but I’m trying not to overthink the individual taxonomies:

Grain I — Elevators and silos in a departure from my usual ‘no subject’ bent and (more on that, HERE),

Grain II Abstracts — Graphic abstractions/compositions pulled from the elevators and silos.

Backsides II

For this collection, I thought I’d landed on Unpremeditated for a title after a lot of struggle to find the correct word.  It’s an unwieldy one with its ‘meditate’ crusted over by the barnacles ‘un’ and ‘pre’ and ’ed’, but it’s got the meaning I’m after: “not characterized by willful intent and forethought : not planned in advance“.

That meaning is appropriate on at least a couple levels — there was no beauty intended by the original creators of these walls with their pipes and cables and brackets.  And these back alleys are not so dependably high yielding in beauty as, say Muir Woods is.  Eduction was a close second: “to bring out (something, such as something latent)”.  Or distillation... 

You get the idea.

But in the end, I’ve resurrected the name from a collection of photos I’d started back in the 1900’s using 6 x 9 cm film in a view camera.  You can see those HERE.  What I’m seeing in these, I first discovered in those.

These are only a minor evolution in the thread I was pursuing in most of my work; all the same motivations in my General Statement apply here as well.

Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unpremeditated. Accessed 5 Feb. 2024.

Tag

So is this just another case of an entitled white guy appropriating the work/culture of black and brown artists?  Or am I a curator, shining the light of recognition on an art form not sanctioned by the ‘art world’s’ gatekeepers?

A hooligan defiling somebody else’s property?

(before you call the police, know that these are compostable, biodegradable paper and barely stick anyway.  They’ll be gone in a week.)

Less Than 90

Brand new collection, so bear with me...

These incorporate a variant that escapes the single-point-perspective square appoach I normally employ.  In a sort of Eureka Moment I have allowed the third dimension to intrude:  these are captured from an angle smaller than 90° off the subject plane.  

Not a big deal maybe.

Open

This has grown into a collection of spaces defined by architectural elements.  Not sure what it means yet.
So far what I’m seeing is the conflict between ‘open’ vs ‘enclosed’ and ‘loss’ vs ‘potential’.  There may or may not be any more to it than that.  After getting Near Grinders, I unconsciously began to analyze and rationalize what it was I was seeing and pretty quickly the ‘concept’ ran out of control ahead of the ‘vision’ —  the verbal half of my brain had taken over from the non-verbal.
So I’m examining these.
What you see here is a ruthlessly culled version of the original series including only those photos that most closely represent what my eye initially saw in that first vacant lot.  I hope to add more, so stayed tuned…

Northtown

There was a buddhist monk named Bodhidharma who according to legend stared at a wall for 9 years in deep concentration; and when he grew frustrated with being unable to stay awake in his meditations, cut off his eyelids. I can’t realistically expect anyone to give these photos of walls more than about 20 seconds attention, never mind inflict disfiguring self-mutilation. But there is some value—I think—in looking at admittedly banal scenes with more than a casual glance.

I’ve been meditating on such walls as these for a lot of years without any good, conscious justification. And I’ve come to question the formal schooling I’ve received that would have me subdue the world with preconceived intentions and “artist’s statement”. I’m trying to un-learn such mental hamstringing and am growing to trust my eye.  I accept these walls and poles and wires as a sort of visual koan, or Rorschach inkblot test and resist assigning too much meaning to them.  Words can only poorly represent a tiny fraction of the full spectrum of possible thought—the fewer I use to try to explain photographs, the better.

Northtown...In 3-D!

On one level, the idea of photographing in 3-D is just a transparent gimmick to get people to look at my photos—like Lady Ga Ga wearing a meat dress. But on an entirely more sincere level it is an attempt to draw them into looking at what they might not otherwise, and if it takes something like anagrams and 3-D glasses, I’m certainly not too proud.

Besides, I find it pretty hilarious: the idea of presenting flat, two-dimensional scenes in three dimensions. And to heighten the experience of visiting humble Northtown, all the more so. Don’t get me wrong, North Kansas City—or as we locals fondly regard it, the “Paris of Southwest Clay County, Missouri”—is a beautiful place! But this is certainly no collection of kitten videos or gorgeous sunsets.

Photos of Noble Savages Enduring Wretched Circumstances

This series of photos is an attempt to challenge the assumed inherent dichotomy manifest in linearity, be it tangibly spectral or temporally idiosyncratic.
And in the next paragraph, a graphic account of wild animals ripping the flesh from careless tourists.

Blind

I've written multiple ‘statements’ about this series, and changed its name (from Painted), but when you get past the rationalization, what the photos are really about is willful blindness.