On a cold Saturday night, DoN walked over to the Fleisher Art Memorial Gallery on Christian Street for the closing party of Rick Wright‘s long running exhibition, Late Petroleum Age Vessels; a unique portrait collection of ordinary household plastic containers, bottles and jugs. The anthropomorphic effect embedded in the rich black and white photographs of plastic bottle faces actually activated the face recognition technology in DoN‘s new camera – a Kodak Z981 with 14 megapixels and 26x zoom!
But, Rick dimmed DoN‘s camera shine a bit by demo-ing an iPhone app that simulates a variety of SLR cameras from a Brownie to a Leica with a wide selection of “film” and developing effects; no wonder the camera was so cheap, it’s already obsolete!?! – camera’s are not only everywhere, they’re in everything. The ubiquity of cameras and smart phones has created a nation of photographers, to be noticed in a sea of competition you have to step outside the boat and create an experience for viewers, the same way musicians now depend on creating a live experience since the bottom fell out of traditional music marketing. Rick Wright‘s photographs engage the viewer in a staring contest, some of the faces so alien and strange that an awkward exchange of glances like meeting a foreigner speaking a different language takes place. Fortunately, Rick is a photography teacher at Fleisher Art Memorial, his grasp of the language of photography, image-making, symbolism, content, composition, light and texture not to mention his depth of knowledge of print making in all manner of media is impressive making his art understandable. Rick is very approachable and sharing, by helping others, by teaching and lecturing he has set himself apart as a “real” photographer who is also a fine artist.
Rick Wright will be presenting a lecture at Perkins Center for the Arts, 395 Kings Highway, Moorestown NJ, February 27th, 2011, 2 – 4:00PM. Wright is the sole juror of the Photography 30 annual photography exhibit at the august art space, DoN is honored to be included in this year’s show – the opening reception is January 30th, 2011, 1 – 4:00PM.
Rick Wright, Late Petroleum Age Vessels @ Fleisher Art Memorial
The Photographic Society of Philadelphia holds monthly meetings at The Plastic Club with lectures by expert Philadelphia photographers, last week’s lecture was presented by super-blogger and uber-cool photographer Kyle Cassidy, author of Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes and Who Killed Amanda Palmer, a Collection of Photographic Evidence, his talk a sort of primer on how to get un-stuck in the creative process by involving his audience and using exquisite corpse techniques in exhibitions to involve the community and stimulate interest in his work. By using social media Cassidy has connected with fans and followers, currently he has an exhibition of photographs traveling the world and cities across the USA, at each stop a new image, selected in a process DoN did not completely comprehend, is added to the collection. During the Q&A, Kyle was asked how he selects his models and he replied they needed to live in a 3 block radius; Cassidy involves his friends and beautiful wife, Trillian Stars, in impromptu photo shoots, creating characters, narrative and dramatic effects with often really simple cameras and ambient light. Like Rick Wright, Kyle Cassidy is also glued to his iPhone, tweeting his fans with pics and ideas, keeping his brand in the public eye in a friendly, inclusive, tech-savvy manner, creating a model for the new reality of self-promotion in the art world. DoN has resisted a smart phone so far, seeing the glowing blue faces walking the streets like zombies is off-putting, but he may soon join the pod people.
The Photographic Society of Philadelphia maintains an on-going exhibit of member photographers at the Bonte’s Cafe’s in Center City. Even though it’s coffee shop space, the vibe is insider artist with photographers working together to keep photography viable as a sale-able product in a world full of available free images and home schooled photographers. DoN wanted to show off his new camera to PSoP VP, Morris Klein, but he was trumped by Klein’s Photoshop app on his freakin’ smart phone – it’s 4G, whatever that means.
Obviously, photography is in a state of flux with new, faster technology putting high-end features in the hands of the masses; digital photography bumped traditional photography and is now being bumped by smart phones and social media. DoN sees people sharing pictures on their phones with each other, clustered around the tiny glowing screens, oohing and ahhing. Lady Gaga has introduced a new line of Polaroid cameras incorporating instant pictures, with social media upload capability and a little wireless printer you can send pictures to from your phone so you can print them out and share with friends. Photography is inherently friendly but can be isolating and frustrating when people misunderstand the meaning of image making.
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists is very supportive of photography as art; a school of photography is growing with each new group of fellows completing their fellowships. Leagues of photographers like Amie Potsic, Julia Blaukopf, Genevieve Coutroubis, Peter Prusinowski are working in consort, teams and individually, imprinting a new vision of how to create, produce and market photography to a generation of collectors who think photography is easy.
DoN‘s photography will be included in a group show of photographers and painters, Bud Boehringer, Yeoun Lee, Bill Myers, Lorna Kent, Lee Muslin, Edna Santiago & Marcy Morris, at the Da Vinci Art Alliance Gallery opening February 25th, reception 5 – 8:00 PM.
Hold your phones up!