Category Archives: Photography

What Would Grandmother’s Job Be?

My grandmother, Helen Marshall Smith, was born in 1914. Like most women of her generation her career opportunities were limited, and like nearly all women in her socio-economic stratum – Southern working class – her educational opportunities were nearly non-existent.

One more fact to note: she had polio as a child and that, plus some sort of hip issue I never fully understood, meant she spent most of her life on crutches.

I thought about Grandmother the other day as I wandered around Denver Botanic Gardens with my Nikon. Read more

#ArtSunday: Fall Flora

I recently purchased a new Nikon D750 full-frame, and on Friday my new Sigma 105mm macro lens arrived. Yesterday was my first flower-hunt with the rig. More test-drive than anything, but for me there’s something quite beautiful about this time of year, as nature begins tucking in and settling accounts…

Susan-in-Fall When-September-Ends

George Floyd and the Soul of The Mission

I’m a big fan of Dan Ryan’s. He sees the streets and he loves the people he finds there. And in him they obviously recognize something they can trust.

As a result he’s able to capture a frankness, an honesty, a whimsy that I think the rest of us miss entirely. Maybe we can’t see it, or maybe we’re afraid to.

Dan recently took his camera to the George Floyd Matters rally in San Francisco’s Mission District and came away with a visual record of a tough community that has seen plenty, and has now seen enough. But not so much they’ll forsake their values.

Give it a look.

George Floyd Matters rally

Oh HELL … Maybe: Perspective Matters, Huh?

First Cat White posted this at me on FB. (I’m known to have issues with heights above, say, two feet, and my friends love tormenting me.)

heights 1

My response was the now-ritualized “Oh HELL no.”

Her friend Chuck was skeptical and went sleuthing, which revealed this:

heights 2

That’s still more height than my back brain will tolerate, but this angle tells a different story.

My compliments to the shooter who figured this one out…

Which Type of Photographer Am I, Anyway?

winterSmith RiNoFor a long time there I stopped calling myself a photographer, opting instead for some iteration of “digital photoartist.” The issue was that my work was so heavily reliant on processing that even thought it may have started as a photo, it really wasn’t one by the end. Pixels were added, subtracted, multiplied, divided, contorted and riven by various and sundry dark arts, etc.

This sort of thing bothers the purists. If there’s a continuum with journalism at one extreme and art on the other, I’m hanging ten off the art end, and occasionally I’ve been given to understand this isn’t according to Hoyle. At times it almost feels like my character is in question.

So I tried to appease the critics by distinguishing up front which was what. I even went so far as to split my work up onto two web sites – one for my more traditional photography and another for the digital fuckery.

But then a friend passed along this PetaPixel article on the six photographer types. I got to #4 and stopped cold. Wait, you mean official, establishment experts accept what I do as … photography, full stop?

The author, Michael Rubin of Neomodern, presents a taxonomy that accounts for basically everything you can do with a camera. Kinda.

That first one – the Hunter/Gatherer – a lot of folks are that, including street shooters like my friends Dan Ryan and macro-god Denny Wilkins, who’s mainly a strolling nature wizard. The folks with limitless patience who set up in a blind for three days to get a shot of a lion yawning? Sportsmen. Ansel Adams landscapists? Explorers. And so on.

I actually seem to be a bit of a hybrid, though. I’m always an Illustrator. “Pixels are manipulated,” as it says in the article. With prejudice. But, I work from original photos. Everything starts with me and the Nikon. A lot of times I start out as a Hunter/Gatherer, but more and more (especially now that I have a lightbox) I’m a Director. My recent Fleurs du Mort series, for instance, was 100% staged in a controlled studio-ish environment, etc.

So I’m either a 1-4 hybrid or a 2-4. And all my work has been reintegrated into one portfolio site.

What are you?


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