Chaco Canyon: Pueblo Pintado

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A year ago, I was in New Mexico photographing the landscape and monumental ruins of Chaco Canyon.  This is one of my very favorite places, and yet when I speak to people, whom I know or meet, about Chaco Canyon very few have ever heard of it, despite the fact that this one small area in northeastern New Mexico contains one of only a handful of Cultural World Heritage sites, and the most monumental of pre-columbian ruins, in the United States.  Over the next few weeks, I'd like to share some of that imagery, and a bit of knowledge about Chaco Canyon.  In this week's post, I will begin with Pueblo Pintado.
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Graduated

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Our dear family friend and "second daughter" Rhiana Schafer graduated from UC Berkeley, in May, with a double degree in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. As a graduation present to Rhiana, I created the polyptych "Graduated" from 36 images of the congregated graduating class in their caps and gowns, and a few chairs.more...

Light Space Color Motion

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The exhibit Light Color Space Motion is the first public showing of work from the San Francisco Windowpane photographs. Below is a link to photos of the gallery and an essay that I have written for the exhibit. Light Space Color Motion continues through July 16 at the Las Cruces Museum of Art in Las Cruces New Mexico.more...

The Anasazi of Red Mesa Valley

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The Red Mesa Valley, 1000 years ago, was a bustling agricultural hub with dozens of communities organized around chacoan “great houses”. Casamero, was at the center of one of these agricultural communities. This week I will be visiting the Red Mesa Valley and Chaco Canyon, and I look forward to sharing with you the artistic fruits of this adventure.more...

The Place Beyond The Horizon

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In a little over two weeks, I will depart for a visit to Chaco Canyon, in northwestern New Mexico. It will be twenty years, in September, since my previous visit to Chaco, and I am looking forward to what this trip will bring –both spiritually and artistically. On my previous visit, in September of 1995, I took a series of digital panorama images with an Apple Quicktake 100 camera and a bulky panorama rig, and on this trip, I plan on taking high resolution digital panoramas with a considerably more sophisticated kit of technology. The images below are re-framings from the 1995 panoramas. Following the images is text adapted from a book that I am currently producing about Chaco Canyon and the Quicktake images. more...

Fenced In

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The intention of The Sketchbook is to share the process of creating art, and this post is in that spirit. In a previous entry, I shared a photo essay on the subject of the border fence between El Paso Texas and Ciudad Juárez Mexico. On a recent trip to El Paso, I continued my photography of the Fence, and in my re-visiting of what was a very informal effort, an artistic approach has now emerged, along with an intention to pursuing this as a full-blown artistic project. The artistic approach that I am now pursuing is the creation of images of the landscape that are mediated by the structure of the border fence, inverting the usual stereotype of the latino looking longingly through the fence at Del Norte, and taking the perspective that it is actually we, on the north side of the border fence, who are being fenced.
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Windowpane Takes Form

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A photographic work of art is never complete until it takes physical form. I have previously written about the capturing of windowpane images and the distillation of the images through the canon. The final step on the road to completed windowpane works is the printing of the images, and last week the first artist’s proof came off of the printer.more...

Bahhh...Happy Spring!

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Occasionally, I encounter something so strange and delightful that I just have to share it. I captured this image last week on Mission Street in San Francisco. Make of it what you will. more...

And now, for something completely different...

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A project that has been simmering for while, and has now resurfaced as a serious study, is one that uses satellite imagery to tell the story of human energy production: power generated from resources extracted from the earth. I don’t know what final form the artwork will take, but it is an important project to me, and I hope that it is something that you will care about as well.more...

...It's Chinatown

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This past week, I spent an afternoon in San Francisco's Chinatown.  Not the tourist Chinatown of Grant Avenue, but the Chinatown of San Francisco's Chinese community: Stockton Street and the side streets and alleys that run between Stockton and Grant.  Here, you will find  the butchers, fishmongers, tea and herb vendors; the restaurants, bakers, and watering holes; the social, educational, cultural, and political organizations; here you will find the bustling street markets below the tenement dwelling places of recent Chinese immigrants.more...

Windowpane

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The arc of an artistic project is a path of discovery.  Over the past few months, I have shared the path of one project with you, beginning with the first post on Urban Reflections.  Much discovery has happened along the way, including the recognition that the reflections were not a project so much as a technique –a method of photography; one that I am using to tell multiple stories.  I am calling this technique Windowpane.  I have described the technique in multiple posts to this blog, and now in a brief essay.
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A Spring Gift

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Occasionally, as I walk the streets playing the flaneur, the universe will send me a gift. This happened two weekends ago. The gift took the form of a troupe of ballerinas that appeared at Octavia Street and Hayes Street in San Francisco. Today, I want to share this gift with you. Happy Spring!more...

Mid-Market Mashup

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This week, I spent an afternoon making photographs in the area of San Francisco known as "Mid-Market".  This stretch of Market Street, from Powell to VanNess makes a slice through the Tenderloin, San Francisco's skid row.  Among the dealers, pimps, addicts, and prostitutes is a poor population, mostly people of color, living in run-down apartments, residence hotels, and on the street.   Everything is changing... more...

Retail Swarms

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The Urban Reflections have reached a critical mass and I am busy working on curation of the images and on determining how the images will be printed and ultimately released. I am still working with the camera though, and this week I would like to share two recent images.more...

The Fence

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Photo Essay – The Fence
The US-Mexico border stretches 1,951 miles, from the Pacific Ocean, to the Gulf of Mexico. 651 miles of the border are fenced, 20 of those miles of fence divide El Paso, Texas and Cuidad Juarez, Mexico: a contiguous urban area with 2 million residents. On my recent visit to El Paso, I photographed a portion of The Fence from Downtown El Paso/Juarez northwest to the Mexico-Texas-New Mexico border, west across the desert towards the border crossing at Santa Teresa. more...

Mesilla Town

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I am currently in the West Texas/Southern New Mexico region helping my mother after the passing of my father on January 30. While here, I am continuing work on Mesilla, … extending the work, into the town itself, and building on the Urban Reflections work.more...

Poetry, Hums, and Photographs

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When I go looking I generally fail. When I go seeing, the world reveals itself. For the flaneur, all you can do is to go where the photographs can find you. I was reminded of this last week as I was walking the streets of San Francisco with a camera. Looking!

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Back From Holiday...On Ice

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I’m back from the holidays, and taking a break from The Sketchbook, and I’m looking forward to new year of blogging. I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season! To celebrate the New Year, I have shifted the content of the site a bit and added a new body of work, and removed (for now) another. This new work is a series of seven images that I call On Ice. I hope that you enjoy it.
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The Making of the Canon

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Much of my process of making photographic art is embodied in the Canon of images.  New images are added, and other images are moved out, on a regular basis; patterns emerge from within the Canon, and suggest new avenues for photographic exploration; some images become more meaningful within the context of the Canon, others less so, and fall out. My goal with the Canon is to create a body of work that is a cohesive whole, composed of individually powerful images.more...

Appropriation of the Appropriated (at Pier 24)

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There is a lot of play involved when I work on a project, and sometimes some surprising images result. Today, I want share two images that fell out of the Urban Reflections project. These images are not likely to find their way into the final canon of work, but they are wonderful photographs. Pier 24 is a somewhat obscure private photography gallery in San Francisco. more...

I Lied About The Camera

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In a previous post, I wrote about the central role of the iphone camera in the birth and evolution of Urban Reflections, and when I wrote the original blog post, I was thinking of Urban Reflections as an iphone camera project.  Well, I have recently been experimenting with capturing reflections with my Nikon DSLR camera, and the results have been dazzling. more...

Gratitude

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This week, my wishes for a happy day of Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of November is a day in that is loaded in meaning for the citizens of The United States. It is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate a mythical event in US history. The myth is a happy one; the reality is much more complex and the contradictions and controversy have been much discussed elsewhere. This is an important conversation, but is not my purpose here.
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Lagunitas Redux

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This past week I visited the reservoirs on Lagunitas Creek with my friend, the wonderful, talented artist Hagit Cohen. In 2011-2012 I created a body of work in the Lagunitas Watershed, and I had not visited the lakes in over a year. Hagit and I are considering a joint project in the watershed and were visiting together to get a sense of the creative possibilities. During our visit, I was again struck by the beauty of the light on the reservoirs –particularly at Alpine Dam. more...

Modern Love

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As I wander the city with a camera, in search of reflections and shadows, the impression that we are a society enslaved to our smartphones is unavoidable. The subject of today’s Sketchbook is a study for a diptych which, for me, evokes the digitally mediated human relationship. I am calling this work Modern Love.more...

A Reflection into the Night

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This past week, I was having a cappuccino at my favorite Italian haunt, Caffé Puccini, on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. Looking out the large windows into the night, the reflection of the interior of the café projected onto the night life of the street. more...

Catching a Shadow

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In a previous post I wrote about the genesis of the Urban Reflections arising out of an observation while waiting.  I have found that this is a common scenario.  Many an artistic project begins with unstructured time and awareness of my environment.  Mindfulness is central to my photographic art.  This is true of Urban Shadows, which began with noticing the shadows cast by holiday shoppers in the low winter's sun.more...

The Genesis of Urban Reflections

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The Genesis of Urban Reflections occurred in December 2014, while waiting for my family, Holiday shopping at Union Square in San Francisco. I have long had a fascination with reflection , and on this day I noticed the depth of the reflections in the shop windows, and the contrasting and contradictory juxtapositions that presented themselves in these reflections: high-brow and low-brow, wealth and poverty, culture and commerce.more...

Urban Shadows and Urban Reflections

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Today, I will pick up two threads, from previous posts, and tie them together. I am in the beginning phases of two projects: Urban Reflections and Shadow Walkers. While these two projects are visually very different, they have much in common conceptually, technically, and in the physical locations of the source photography.
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Urban Reflections

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I am currently working on a body of work that explores the urban landscape through reflection and shadow. This week I spent an hour photographing reflections in windows in downtown San Francisco. You can see some of the images in this gallery -beginning with image 3.
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Shadow Walkers

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The mobile phone is the perfect spy camera: so ubiquitous that it is barely noticed. Standing on a corner of a public sidewalk, capturing images of the shadows of passersby I appear just another urbanite engaged in the archetypal 21st century pastime. more...

The Cure for 'Low T'

An op ed in the New York Times today is critical of the pharmaceutical industry for it’s advertising of drugs to treat “Low T”. A similar article back in October 2013 promoted me to create an advert for my personal cure for Low T.
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Sonoma County Water

This past Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to tour the Russian River facilities of the Sonoma County Water Agency. These facilities pump fresh water from the gravel beds beneath the Russian River to supply water to municipal water users in southern Sonoma and northern Marin counties. more...