Tag Archives: history

You’ve Got To See This Classic Car.

This is the 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Roadster.  In early December, I had the pleasure of seeing this beautiful car parked in a local park.  The result is a classic car combined with the art of modern photography.

Built as the deluxe luxury model of the Confederate BA line in 1932, Chevrolet created only 8,552 of these fine cars.  A”Stovebolt Six” 194 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine produced 455 hp thanks in part to an upgraded carburetor.   The top speed was a blazing 70 mph.  A special transmission featured easier shifting and a free wheeling mode rounded out the specs of the car.

The gas saving mode allowed the wheels to continue to spin when the driver released the fuel petal.  The unfortunate side effect of this economic idea was a lack of engine braking.

1932 Chevy Confederate Roadster
1932 Chevy Confederate Roadster

It also supported 4 wheel brakes, a rumble seat, and a set of “Town and Country” styled horns to let people know you where there.   One of the more fashionable signature features of this car was the use of louver doors and not vents on the side of the hood.

Oh, and one more fascinating historical trivia fact was that there are no turn signals. They hadn’t been introduced for use on cars yet.   However, a parking light and brake lights were available for purchase .

As for the photograph itself, I decided that such a classic car needed representation in the art world the same way it was in the 1930’s. I wanted a classic film look that was both black and white and approximated the tonal qualities of a 400 Kodak film popular in the 1930’s.

The burnt edges of the picture are also something that occurred in many examples of film from cameras readily available to the public. Whether these markings were intentional or the result of unfortunate film developing I couldn’t say.  In the end,  I wanted the look to closely mirror what your grandfather or great-grandfather saw when they looked at their photo books.

 

Be The First To Read What The Artist is Saying About This WWII Fighter

I became interested in military aviation in the fall of 1976 when I watched my father work on a large plastic model kit of the Chance Vought F4U Corsair. This WWII fighter plane excited me; everything from the strange cigar looking long fuselage to the gull wings gave the impression that this was a different kind of fighter.

Born in WWII, the Corsair fought in the Pacific theater against the Japanese Empire. This aircraft was a star performer in the hands of many a pilot. Thanks to Hollywood and actor Robert Conrad, no one was more famous for flying Corsairs than Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. He was a Medal of Honor winner and commander of the VMF-214 squadron known as the “Black Sheep Squadron”.

When I eyed this beautiful still operational museum piece at an airport after a nearby airshow, I remembered the old legend of the Black Sheep Squadron and promptly went about capturing the idea.   Baa Baa Baa was born. The conditions for the picture were not to my advantage, however.

Baa Baa Baa
Baa Baa Baa

In artistic photography light is your paint, reality your canvas, and the camera your paintbrush. All three parts must combine and work together for a work of art to coalesce. The aircraft hangers in the background coupled with another fighter just out of the frame proved to be a challenge thanks to the glaring afternoon sun. The only thing to try was constant repositioning and checking the angles for the shot that obtained the most dramatic effect.

Later during processing, I decided to try my hand at creating a more historical looking piece. The traditional black and white imagery proved to be too bland and the way the brilliant sunlight plays on the undercarriage shadows and shiny metal wings became muted. So I started experimenting with the pale browns and yellows of yesteryear type film. The result is a unique blending of techniques and filters allowing the picture to retain its historical feel and yet have the punch and crispness of modern-day photography.

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

[shopify embed_type=”product” shop=”a-a-photographic-arts.myshopify.com” product_handle=”baa-baa-baa” show=”all”][shopify embed_type=”product” shop=”a-a-photographic-arts.myshopify.com” product_handle=”baa-baa-baa-canvas-print” show=”all”]

Getting Chinese Art By Hook Or By Crook

When I was in taking Egyptology in graduate school at the University of Texas at Dallas back in the ‘90’s, I learned of an Egyptologist by the name of Zahi Hawass.   This man was, at that time, the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in Egypt. This made him the undisputed king of Egyptology.   No one could get an archaeological permit without his approval.

But that is not what made him different. No, He was more interested in bringing back Egyptian artifacts that sat in foreign museums back to his homeland. These artifacts were always precious statues, frescoes, jewelry and other various art forms of the Egyptian culture.  He was, and still is, a catalyst for what came next.

There is now an understandable trend among international governments to reacquire lost art artifacts of their respective culture.   After all, it makes good politics.   It swells the nationalistic pride coffers of individual nations with physical proof of the greatness of a person’s culture’s or national history.

So it should come as no surprise that there is a new movement among the Chinese art collectors in the world to reacquire artifacts that once belonged in China.   These artifacts were sometimes looted from palaces and homes in times of war and revolution.  Indeed, the Chinese cultural revolution of the ’50’s seems to be over.

Normally, when a government or an individual collector of precious art finds such a work of art, they usually go through a long drawn out formal process of buying the piece back or negotiating a reasonable trade with the museum so that everyone gets something out of the deal.  Even if it’s nothing more than good public relations.

Male Foo Lion
Male Foo Lion

But, and it’s no secret, the Chinese government does not do things the way western nations would like them to be done. When normal repatriation of the lost artwork fails, they start bidding wars at the auction houses to get the pieces back. There are some very rich people in the world, but very few can outbid a corporation bankrolled by the Chinese government for the sole purpose of acquiring these lost works.

However, there is strong speculation that several rich collectors of Chinese art found an even more lucrative way of getting their art fix.   They steal it.   According to The New York Times , at least 65 works of art disappeared in 5 thefts in the past 5 years.

“Chinese laws, on everything from theft to intellectual property, are very different from those in the West, and therefore stolen or forged artworks find a market far more easily there than abroad,” Noah Charney, an art crime expert said after the Norway thefts.”

It will be interesting to see how this entire affair works out in the end.  The jobs are obviously done by professional thieves and the chances of capturing these guys is very slim.  This is why there is only speculation and no real factual information as to what became of the pilfered art.

In fact, this crime wave reads like something right out of Hollywood. If they make a film on it, think blending the movie Mission Impossible and the modern version of the Thomas Crown Affair without the sappy love story. If any would be directors out there like this idea, I happen to know a certain photographic artist with some Chinese inspired artwork that can hook you up.  Just saying….

 

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

Before DART: The Texas Electric Railway

For this next piece, Blue Texas Railway,   I took the image of a historical railway sign and added some modern flair.  The Texas Electric Railway was a streetcar rail line that existed in Dallas in 1917.

According to the Texas State Historical Society, “The company operated three routes out of Dallas, one to Sherman and Denison, one to Ennis and Corsicana, and one to Hillsboro and Waco. With a length of 226 miles, the Texas Electric was the longest interurban between the Mississippi River and California.”

The company finally stopped service in 1948. The cause of the failure was the increasing competition of people owning personal cars and trucks. A strange twist of fate because one of the leading reasons for  Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART is the heavy traffic and desperate need for a metro line in Dallas.

The image of the rail sign and indeed the sign itself  is originally black and white. While this would provide great contrast to the image alone, I couldn’t let it be.  Like a child with a new toy, I’ve been looking for the perfect image to try out a new yellow and blue filter process that would give an image an electrifying tonal change. The stark contrast of the filter applied over a slightly underdeveloped original produced the extremes I was looking for.

Blue Texas Railway
Blue Texas Railway

 

My feeling is that while black and white art is much more traditional and classic, there are plenty of occasions where a burst of color will produce a much more satisfying emotional response in the picture.

 

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

 

George C. Werner, “TEXAS ELECTRIC RAILWAY,” Handbook of Texas Online(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqt13), accessed April 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Understanding our Latest Work: The Alamo

If you live anywhere in the state of Texas then the subject of their new work really needs no introduction.  Visiting the Alamo at some point in your life is almost a culturally required pilgrimage.

Staying in a city like San Antonio with over 1.4 million people has a profound effect on the things you notice day in and out.  I love to take shots of unusual historic buildings to send a unique message of mankind’s progress, or lack thereof, in its continual struggle to understand science and ward of the effects of nature.

A historical structure of slowly decaying history, such as the Alamo,  speaks volumes to me about the impermeability of man and his toys.

Alamo
The Alamo

With the Alamo, I chose to focus mainly in black and white. The tonal blacks give a definite age look to this magnificent structure. The real color of the mission is various stony shades of brown placed against a stone tiles that people walk on. The picture in color loses some of the definition as the dominant historical feature that it truly is.

The features of rough stone, brought out to the viewer using the classical ideas of dodging and burning, are then coupled with a more modern approach of adding slightly colored filters to give it the final characteristics I was looking for.

( Artist Note:)   San Antonio is fabulous historical city to visit and the nearby Menger Hotel is literally within walking distance.  It’s the place to stay on your Alamo adventure.

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