Tag Archives: format

What is The Potential of A Photograph?

Some artists start their creative process by looking at a blank canvas. They envision the scene they wish to portray and think on what colors or tools they will need. They may begin with a sketch and some painters even begin with a photograph.

It’s a personal inner vision that tells them what the next step to creating their art is and what they need to do.  Then they use their experience as an artist to tell them how to accomplish it. It really is no different for the photographic artist. As you would expect, it begins with a photograph.

No, wait, it begins even before that. For me, it begins with my camera. I will walk down seemingly endless amounts of garden path and corridors looking for anything that strikes my eye. I look for things that are different, full of color, or makes a statement in some way.  Then I have to ask myself about the angle of the subject, the lighting conditions, and even what settings I might need on my camera. Soon after all that, I take the shot.

Once I have these various tasks done and I’ve finished my picture-taking for the day, I take my undeveloped artistic blueprints to my office.  There I start the mental and physical process of choosing what will work and what will not.

Cameras have limitations, and no camera will always manage the impossible feat of matching the human eye.  So, if I deem 3-10% of the number of pictures I take on a shoot as having some potential, then I’m happy.

I call those pictures a blueprint for that is the best description of what raw unformatted pictures are to a photographic artist. Those pictures are my canvas, or my sketch, and from them I ply my inner artist to create, simplify, expound, and develop my inner vision.

On a recent trip to Florida earlier this year, I found this palm tree flowering in a courtyard. The sun was shining and the sight of this strange flower sufficiently struck my curiosity.  I immediately saw potential with this flower.  This is the raw unfiltered image.

What is the potential?
What is the potential?

At this moment it’s just a picture.  Nothing has been done with it.  As a photographer I could sit here and ponder the exposure, the depth of field , and all of the photographic niceties that make a good picture and traditionalists usually do. But as an artist,  I’m looking beyond the technical at an image that can be transformed into a living work of art.

What kind of potential do you see for this photograph?

This week I’ll use it as my canvas and next week I’ll show you what I see.

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New Layout- We Start 2014 With A Bang!

Welcome to the new layout of A&A Photographic Arts in 2014!  As you have noticed, we have changed the blog layout to better show the type of blog that highlights our photographic artwork and yet is still easy and intuitive to use.  This new modern approach will give us “more bang for the byte”.

We have made this move to a different visual format for several reasons.

  1. We wanted a more modern style format for your viewing pleasure.
  2. This theme has a more pleasant font for reading.
  3. Our old theme was not playing nice with some browsers and mobile devices.
  4. This particular theme has a better support for behind the scenes administration type stuff.
  5. Stability

Your visit to our site is important to us.  We want you to have a great experience every time you visit us.  Hopefully, I will have any strange “bugs” worked out very soon.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a new photograph that we just put on display in the gallery.  Enjoy!

The Last Light

Discover other works in our collection at http://aa-photographic-arts.artistwebsites.com/index.html.

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Art Prints

Pictures, Laundry, and Archival Prints?


We have created a system that empowers you to order artwork directly from our site to the printer and have it printed on a special paper called rag paper.  Curious, I did a little research into this popular type of paper.

Rag sorting at the Mt._Holyoke, Massachusetts Paper. American Writing Paper Co. Public Domain

Rag paper has been around for centuries. The normal everyday white papers found in schools and notebooks are made from wood pulp.   However, in the history of paper this is a relatively new way of manufacturing it.  For centuries the world used a paper called rag paper.  Rag paper is not made from wood pulp but, as the name suggests, rags.  Specifically, cotton rags. Though some other fabrics are sometimes used, it seems universal that cotton is the go to fabric for both the ancient and modern worlds.

Cut rags after removing from washing drums, paper mills at turn of the 20th century Public Domain.

Paper, made of cotton and/or linen is called paper rag.  It is not unusual for cotton fabric to be recycled for this specific purpose.  It’s weird to think that tomorrows fine art could be made using your current pair of undergarments ( there’s a thought ! )   or even your blue jeans.   Any of those materials could be recycled into rag paper.

Rag paper is stronger than pulp paper.  This makes it last longer and be more tear resistant than typical wood pulp paper.  The reason is that the fiber of the cotton rags are longer and more dense than the fibers found in wood pulp.  This gives the rag paper it’s strength and durability.

Why would somebody put artwork on a piece of rag?  Simple, in the manufacturing process, the rag paper becomes Ph. neutral or acid neutral.  That means that no acid or base chemicals are left in the materials.  The pigments and inks placed on the paper absorb into the fabric and stay without any chemical degradation caused by acids and bleaches found in non-archival papers.  This is why most of today’s national paper currencies continue to be made with cotton rag.  You can wash a dollar bill and it doesn’t disintegrate after any money laundering in the washing machine .

American Writing paper Company (Public Domain)

It is this very reason antique documents, like the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, and even the Magna Carta are still around today.  Paper rag is naturally archival when made.  It will last for centuries.


Here is a video from an Indian paper manufacturing company that makes handmade rag paper.



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Impermanence of a Spring Rose


A perfect flower is going to offer up a perfect picture.  That is, assuming all of your equipment is working correctly, the light angles and levels are great, and lady luck is at your door step.


Yet, I have offered up an “imperfect” flower.  It has a little brown around the edges of some of the petals.  The color white in the center is not a perfect white but a more cream color.  What was I thinking about when I took this picture?  Most professional photographers would simply throw this image away.   That would be a huge loss.  I wasn’t thinking about photography, or it being the perfect picture.  I was making art instead.


The art of impermanence.   Things don’t last forever.

I wanted to elevate that feeling of impermanence to another level.  Sure, I could have spent many hours at my computer working in Photoshop to make it a “perfect flower”.  But it would ruin the chance to view the idea that reality shows us all nature’s beauty if we take time to look for it.

I’m looking at this rose,  and I see that it is deep into middle age.  The green at the bottom of the flower tells me that it is still got a long and prosperous life ahead of it.  But the brown?  It’s the grey hair that some people start to get in their 40’s.  It’s impermanence shown in nature.  It’s nature’s way of physically telling the world, “Hey, look whose not a kid anymore!”   It’s not demeaning to the flower, indeed if the flower could speak I think it would be saying “ I’ve lasted this long?”  “Wow.”


It’s an interesting challenge to our general way of thinking that everything has to be perfect.  Especially in photography.  That in itself Is the great thing about being an artistic photographer.  I get to see and share nature’s way of saying being impermanent is perfect.  Enjoy.


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Why I Take Pictures of Machines

I love taking pictures of inanimate objects.  When I deal with picture of artificial objects, my ideas are very different.  I deal with fellow creators and their designs.  It’s that paradox of structure in a free-flowing universe that fascinates and motivates me. I want to see a brilliant engineering feat.

I investigate the way man has tried to copy nature to manipulate the environment around him. I want to capture not only his success of angles, glass and light, but also the monsters of machinery, the decay of forgotten days and failures we made in the hopes of out doing our surroundings.

Then I want to take that perfection or failure, that mathematical formulation of color, contrast, shape and form and place its picture on a wall.  Let the magic of the design dominate the room or blend in with the trappings of humanity that people find in their houses. When you pick an industrial or historical decor for your room or office, it only makes sense to work with art that highlights that aspect.

Why not start your own artistic journey ?  Sign up to be a friend of A&A Photographic Arts today!