In The Raw

Or do you sleep in the nude?...

Desert Rose among thorns.

The image I posted prior to this post at midnight today was also posted on Google+ and I was asked by someone who viewed the photo on my Google+ stream if I would mind posting the original photo. I'm not sure why fiona munday is interested in seeing the original but I agreed to do so for several reasons.

My photography and this blog have evolved to where the images are no longer SOOC (straight out of camera) or slightly edited. Rather they've become something else, Visual Art that has been edited or "processed" to either retain the essence of the original image or alter it into something entirely different. The artwork produced is not pure photography and it is not a painting or drawing or some other visual medium since it was not created directly onto canvas, paper or something else. It is digital and resides in a file on a computer until reproduced through some printing process. I consider this no different than creating a painting, drawing or some other visual art by using a photograph as guide or by projection. It is taking an original photograph and turning it into something visually appealing whether it is an enhanced recognizable version of the original or artwork that is completely different.

This is a topic of controversy among some photographers who are purists and I choose not to wade into what is "real" photography and genuine photographs. It seems specious to me since every photograph has been altered in some way depending on what camera you're using and if you're using special lens somehow it's changing what is "real." In any case I haven't thought of myself as a photographer since I used a 35mm film Hanimax Praktika camera in the seventies and eighties. Along with being a writer I consider myself a visual artist that creates images. I also don't think any photographer, painter, sculptor or artist of any kind is under an obligation explain how they do what they do and how they arrived on a particular piece of artwork. If they choose to do so I find it interesting but I believe it is a matter of choice. Generally I don't share the originals or explain exactly how I processed a photo, very often because I don't write down step by step what I do and I don't have a standard process it is continual exploration. In a sense I think it also takes the mystery out of the piece and doesn't allow the viewer to make their own interpretation of it.

I share the original photo, taken on my Droid X 1 using the app ProHDR straight out of the camera, to show the progression from original photo to final artwork. I use primarily three editing programs and I'll leave which I used for this final piece as an enigma although an experienced pro I'm sure can figure it out. What I will say is I adjust, edit and upload on the smartphone camera as well as on a PC. A final word on the topic is that although I think every decent photograph has the opportunity to become something special through processing you still have to start with a basic decent composition. There are flaws in this one with that I can see but all anyone needs to do is read my post from May 9th of this year "Rules, There Are Rules?" to further understand my point of view about rules, flaws and creative endeavors.

Desert Rose Among Thorns

Color me blushing bloom...


Bridge Over Dry Wash

Fortified for overflowing downpour torrent...

Although simply supported
wooden bridge braced,
beams bolstered sturdy and
cantilevered with timber,
weathered but strong with age.

Spanning dry sandy wash
this day ready waiting,
traverse well assembled and
spanning each abutment,
acclimated to deluge of ages.


Zimbawe In The Sonoran Desert

Recessed in natural grotto...

Zimbabwean stone sculpture by Agnes Nyanhongo.

2002 Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Arizona


Sanctuary Electric Blue

The soul and spirit are eclectic...

Let them conduct freely outside the walls.

Too many people are bound by religion and tied to beliefs that are tight and rigid. The message there is only one way, one path, one road rang different bells for me than the ones traditionalists hear. When I broke away from the mold shaped by thousands of years of interpreted history and read the authentic and verifiable origins for myself I gained a new knowledge. An open passageway that was truly free.

There is a difference in what is commonly meant as religiously holy and what is spiritually holistic. The thoroughfare to freeing the soul, spirit and mind is not a toll road encased in the narrow paths many religions consider holy. The constraints of religion in actuality turn people away from spiritual enlightenment rather than open the door. Spirit is everywhere, conducted by us that choose to be open to it and not confined to the walls of a building and the minds of self anointed officials. We all have a direct link to the Holy Spirit of God and a Higher Power if we choose to make the connection.

Originally posted 10/16/11: reposted for Easter Sunday 2012



Speeding voltage in rapid transit...

On the Latitude of Lassitude

A geographical location of the creative mind...

In the central desert of Arizona primarily there are two seasons: Fluctuating Mild and Flaming Hot, commonly referred to as winter and summer. There are two brief seasons in between we call fall and spring although those who live in true four seasons climate's mock us for not having a true autumn where leaves turn photographically splendid and a spring where the world seemingly jumps out alive as flowers brightly bloom. Personally I'd rather not go through all those seasons and changes of clothing and enjoy the mild winters we have and generally I'm in my element in the hot, hot summer.

For some reason the shift between winter and summer that we refer to as fall and spring bring on an inexplicable languor in my mood although my life is in balance and stable otherwise. I long ago gave up analyzing it but retain angst over why to some degree because...well, I have to have something to wring my hands about when bored. Logically I understand that the lethargy actually is a pause and recharging between my two creative seasons that coincide with winter and summer. Logic however has nothing to do with matters of mood and consciousness to souls like mine. That's another wisdom I have gained with age and learned to let go.

"It is as it is" as the common pronouncement goes.

It is spring in the desert now, the trees have long past budding and sprouted leaves almost instantaneously as they do in this latitudinal climate. The weather is warming at night, a sure sign that summer is on its way and suddenly we will one day find ourselves in blazing heat. The sun is already bearing down in its inimitable way as it does in arid lands. I am patiently waiting for the zest of life for me, creative energy and mind thrilling thoughts that cause me to make visual art and write to come along and they will.

If patience is a virtue I wasn't born with it but I have learned to cope with not having it. Sleep is a great comfort and storage house of unconscious ideas and I have no guilt about indulging in it for that reason. I also see no dishonor in doing nothing productive except what has to be done to maintain a household, pay the bills and keep the mind and body healthy with sustenance and mild exercise. It does no harm since for a large segment of the general population that is the core of their daily lives and they do little else. That is not a judgment on the average person merely a statement that if I engage in it while waiting simultaneously for summer and inspiration, so what?

During the two seasons of our winter and summer I create pretty good creative work for a modest unknown artist. In between I am still creating but to me it is production of mediocre work to keep myself busy and continue to hone my skills. Others may judge otherwise, one way or the other about the quality of what I do at any time but that must be somewhat irrelevant to me out of necessity. All creative people want to bring into being work that has meaning to someone else observing or absorbing their particular art form. Whether or not I do that is for others is not known to me and I'm not sure it is important at this point in my life that I do. Naturally it is my desire to give pleasure to the observer of what I create and it would be falsely humble of me to say otherwise but I am not consciously aware of whether I do or not.

Perhaps someday I will know but the important thing to me and the message I really want to impart to others who create is the therapeutic value of it for our own well being. Perhaps we might not be Sergei Rachmaninoff, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams or Walt Whitman and known in our own time or possibly we could be like Emily Dickinson and never know in our lifetime. We may be another fish in the stream that forges imaginative work that is great, good, average or just plain. It is all irrelevant in the long run since recognition is not always a sign of greatness and some pretty poor work is well recognized and shamefully bad.

What is of value is the importance that it is to us, that we do whatever is we do creatively and continue it to keep our lives from being as commonplace as much of the general population since otherwise for us it is quiet desperation. The meaning and happiness is important to us and very likely to those around us since they also experience the joy we get from making our art. Without that joy we live in frustration because we are not expressing our inner selves outwardly as required by the very nature of our individual souls. That also means sometimes we have periods that we must wait for inspiration and if we continue to work our craft, when ingenious eruptions do occur we are ready with tools and skills to bring them to reality.