After a long, hard road to get my website up – most of the work being to get over some barriers in my head – I finally got it done just under a month ago. Well, since then it’s been gnawing at me that it is separate from this blog. But I don’t want to do away with all this “stuff,” the writing and the photos I’ve posted. I also don’t really want to go to the trouble of trying to tweak all the settings on a new blog or if I were to import all these posts, so…
Please update your links, readers, feeds etc. and come and visit often. Now that I’ve got over the hump, I fully expect to be posting more. I’ve even got a new photograph up there already for you to enjoy!
The new blog, for what’s worth, even has a new name: Split Prism. While it lacks a giant header and such to make this obvious it should be forthcoming. “Why Split Prism?” I hear you ask… well here’s a short-ish explanation:
Split Prism: Photography & writing by Edward Brydon. The name split prism evokes both science and photography, the pursuit of both of which I have dedicated my life to. The prism is used in science to demonstrate that light is made up of waves and that each colour within light has a different wavelength. A prism splits light that hits it at an angle to the plane of its side into each component wavelength (colour). Split prism focusing is a type of manual focusing creates two images using a special focus screen between the mirror and the pentaprism in an SLR, or as in rangefinder focusing. When the two images are aligned the the scene is in focus. Photography is also dependent on light, how much or little there is of it. So it is at Split Prism that photography, science, and indeed life, converge.
Update 24th October 2013: After quite a bit of thought the “new blog” will in all actuality be separate from the blog attached to my photography website, linked to above, and cover different things. Split Prism will likely be more writing than photos, and more on science than life in general.
Update 16th October 2014: Well, it turns out Split Prism was a non-starter. I was concentrating on the name rather than the content itself. I haven’t posted nearly as much as I thought I would either, but I have been busy working on some projects. That precluded the writing but means I will have more to share in the future.
See you there!
On the last evening of three discussion-laden days and nights, something was brewing inside me, and when that happens I tend to get quiet. For about two hours I sat and listened, fidgeting and drawing deeper into myself. But I knew there would be a point when I could not be quiet, and that point eventually came.
I was in Port Townsend, WA, to attend the 3rd Artists Round Table (ART), put together by Ray Ketcham and Sabrina Henry. ART is an offshoot of other programs they run that approach the idea of “photography as art” from a much different point of view than seems prevalent these days.
Particularly noteworthy is the print and online magazine Ray and Sabrina run, together with several other people, called Rear Curtain. The magazine is aimed at visual storytelling, bringing authors and photographers into collaboration.
Previous ART participant Stuart Sipahigil was also there to act as another mediator, but also to work through some of his own “stuff.” ART does not consist of photo walks, or gear talk; it is an intensive three-day discussion about art and the artistic life.
Everyone attending had the intent or curiosity to at least find out what these things mean to them. Most of the heavy thinking about what is discussed and found during ART is done after the event. And I can attest to this, nearly three weeks after the fact.
Each morning of the weekend program we would meet in the living room of a small rental apartment to begin the day’s discussions. Apart from meals and tea or coffee breaks, all discussions were held there. The days lasted from 9am until 10pm or later. It made for a comfortable, intimate and intense atmosphere.
To underscore that ART was not about photography, per se, but how we as artists are expressing ourselves through photography, artists working in other media were invited to speak. The two artists who came were author Wes Cecil and sculptor Jan Hoy. In addition, Ray also has an extensive background in sculpture.
The discussions every day prodded each of us towards what will be important as we move forward as artists. Whether we knew it at the time, each topic broached an important aspect of how we can define our practices as artists working in the medium of photography.
Throughout the three days, and especially during the final evening’s discussion, thoughts about my own art and artist’s life were slowly becoming clearer. I had a growing feeling nagging at me that we were skirting around a key point. I got quiet and fidgety because I needed to strengthen my conviction about the feeling and to coalesce my thoughts. Eventually it burst from me.
The essential thing to living and working an artistic life, through whatever medium you choose, is honesty.
First and foremost you need to be honest with and about yourself. That will lead to honesty in your art, an honesty that is personal. Someone said to me recently, ”Create work that is personal rather than profound.” In other words, be true to yourself. Don’t succumb to “group-think” art that is so common these days; don’t seek validation in “likes,” “+1’s,” and other such things. Photograph because you need to, have to, want to. And do so honestly.
There is still much to do in finding exactly what this means to me, but the discussions at ART have given me the confidence to be true to myself and freed me to pursue my photographic vision and voice, honestly. For that I thank everyone who was at ART, and especially Ray and Sabrina for organizing it.
About the image: The image used at the top of this post is not mine, it is Stuart Sipahigil‘s. En route to ART I spent the first 3 hours watching a film on the flight. Immediately afterwards, I opened my window shade and was dumbstruck by the landscape below. This was my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, and I was truly awed—from the plains and mountains of Montana, through Idaho and the Palouse, to the chain of volcanoes stretching down the North American Pacific rim. I was immersed in the landscape…so much that I did not make a single photograph [there was the airplane window glare to contend with also]. So thank you, Stuart, for providing me with a reminder!
Yes, that is my photograph above gracing the cover of a magazine! I am extremely excited to announce that my series “Holiday Displays of New York” has been published in the latest issue of the visual storytelling magazine and website Rear Curtain. This short series was completed last year during the Holiday season, and while the displays may have changed the intention and sentiment behind my photographs have not. Of course it is also entirely appropriate they should be published at this time of year. Working with the Rear Curtain team on this was as simple a process as there could be. I could not have asked for better; indeed I am very pleased to be associated with this magazine.
Rear Curtain is a genuine photographic story-tellers magazine, filled with work that is of a very high caliber. In fact the quality is increasing with every issue as more and more people realize that they can submit their photographic series and stories to them. If you are looking for such a venue I urge you to go for it. Their mission is one I whole-heartedly support:
life people stories
At its heart, Rear Curtain is about storytelling. Images hold the potential to share some of the most powerful stories that connect us no matter where in the world we live. Finding stories that link people to one another and that reflect how we are all the same can make the world a better place. Through sharing our lives and those of the people around us–our family, friends, neighbors, and our community–we can move others to new points of view by showing what we all have in common regardless of race, culture, religion or geography. These stories can improve understanding and influence behavior, all with the hope of–in some way–changing the future.
Our mission is to be a place for emerging visual storytellers to share the stories that are important to them and also to be a resource of learning tools for those who wish to advance their storytelling skills.
I’d like to thank the whole team over there, Ray Ketcham, Matthew Connors, Sabrina Henry, and Stuart Sipahigil, for supporting my photography. I’d also like to thank my family, friends, and you, the people who visit this blog for also supporting my photography through comments, and timely confident boosts or critiques.
Yes, I’m aware I’ve been a little blog-negligent of late. I’m trying to be more judicious about what I post, when, and why. The content shouldn’t suffer from forcing to a photo or article out. I have to say though that I’ve also been trying to get as much time with my son, who’s almost one (!!) as I can. It’s harder than it was before what with my commute. That makes my weekend priority to spend precious time with my family. I appreciate your patience and hope it’s been worth the wait. This was made with the Yashica 635 and 120 Tri-X400 film on a photowalk with a neighbor and some now mutual friends. While I have been craving getting out of the city to the countryside lately, an unsatiated craving, it was just the tonic I needed on that particular day to get out for a walk with little pressure. Thanks for the invite Dan, Alex and Christina.
I recently started working at a location that is much less urban than I have previously been used to. More on my new job soon, I promise, but just to let you know it’s an exciting blend of what I did previously, and what I like doing in my spare time. Anyway, I’ve got to say it’s quite refreshing to see grass, plants, trees, and water while walking around the work campus and it’s possibly just the fresh air I needed. That said, I’m not used to stumbling upon new creepy-crawlies and such-like that are natural to this habitat. Not to say I’m shocked, it’s more of a surprised, “Oh. Oh! Cool!” That’s the recent reaction I had to what I had originally, at first glance, assumed to be a bumblebee languorously flying between flowers the other day. As I looked closer though it seemed too big to be a bee. The wings were bigger but still beating as fast, and the body was bigger. As I watched it dip a long protuberance into a flower I thought “Wait, is it a hummingbird…a baby hummingbird?” But still something wasn’t quite right: it had a proboscis, not a beak. Looking even closer, I realized it had antennae. “It’s not a butterfly, is it a moth?” I wondered out loud. Someone else close by who had seen me looking on with interest and heard my last comment asked, “Is there such a thing as a hummingbird moth?” It did not take long for a tandem mobile phone internet search to come up with an answer. Yes, indeed there is such a thing. Little Mr Hemaris thysbe, otherwise known as the Common clearwing, Sphinx moth, or Hummingbird moth.
These images are 1:1 crops of a [near] central portion of each image and thus represent 1/9th of the overall image–I don’t have that great a close-focusing range 50mm lens for this stuff. However, considering I had my camera on me, even with my manual focus, non-macro, 50mm lens, I thought I did quite well to get the images you see here. I guess that’s one way to confirm that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Never mind the technical details, it was just one of those little things that was so cool to come across and reminds you of the variety of nature. In fact they have a counterpart in Europe, an example of convergent-evolution–that is, the evolution of a similarly adapted species in separated environments. Cool!
With the apartment quiet, and deeply involved in whatever I was doing at the computer, there was a certain diligent peace to the morning. It really hadn’t been long after my wife and son had left for work and daycare respectively but I had moved into my frame of mind needed for the tasks I wanted to accomplish that morning. I was trying to make the most of my time between jobs, alternately completely relaxing and attempting to make headway in a few projects that had been on the backburner for far too long. But when I got up out of my chair and turned around to get something I was completely snapped out from where my head was at, I was thrust instantly into the singlar fact I had a son. A child. That I am a father. The visual of my son’s toy, sitting there on the rug in that shaft of light, went directly to my heart and the huge amount of love I have for him, my wife, and by extension my family. It’s a simple child’s toy, a wooden lion wearing a green helmet with wheels for feet and string to pull it (that of course he likes to chew on at the moment rather than use to drag it around), which harkens back to a different era a few generations ago maybe. Its presence there, alone in the room, hit home. Sometimes we need a reminder to stop and pause, to think, digest, and reflect on what we have. I spent a good while just sitting on the couch doing that.