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.
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.
There are few fish that are as atheistically beautiful as the koi fish. The koi is a variety of carp that began its relationship with man in a dubious position. Originally they were simply bred for food to help supplement the almost completely rice diet of poor peasant farmers in the Far East.
However, this historical story cannot but help explain the sheer power of art and beauty over the human mind. Or in this case the stomach. For some reason, one we may never completely understand, there was a mutation to a few of these fish that produced the incredible variety of colors found in some of the fish today.
People began to see this lowly food source as more than just something to eat. Because of their beauty they soon become ornamental and even started to have legends being told about them. These legends include how they are brave, purposed fish who through the sheer power of determination can swim upstream and even in some case up waterfalls.
Since koi fish represent such positive energy of purpose they are also given to a belief that their presence will increase other attributes. They whisper energy that brings:
Wealth and prosperity
Success of goals
Relationships of long-lasting love.
Symbol of strength
Power of purpose
Freedom from distraction
At first these eye-catching color are fish natural subjects for art. However, it was not for the brilliant colors that I captured their tranquil lives. I noticed that the scales of the koi would reflect light almost like a shiny metallic type of armor. Since one of the finer aspects of black and white photography is about lighting a subject, this work remains a perfect opportunity for artistic enhancement.
The result is consists of swirls of creamy abstract whites on some fish and scaled elements of contrast on others. As the colors change into their respective shades of gray and creams, they gain a definite balance of minimalist quality. It’s just fish, but with their deep visual meanings of artistic display and centuries of eastern influence these simple koi take on a much more elegant and balanced display of nature’s beauty.
Black and white photographic art remains as powerful today as any past era in photographic history. The crispness of duality cannot suffer any doubts and there is no greater duality than that of untainted black against the pure white.
It grabs the eye with a tenaciousness of a large dog locking its jaw on a favorite chew toy you are holding. It is an event you cannot help but notice not only through mere imagery but also tactile sensations.
Artistic photography is no different. Once you see the results of artistic imagery founded in black and white you are permanently changed. The primordial dance between sterile whites, subtle grays and powerful blacks leave an impression on the soul that is not easily removed. It takes us to a special place in our thoughts that influence our emotions and response.
Indeed, this power to influence our internal emotions allow such an image as Rose Petals to reach into the very fabric of our being and calm our idealization of beautiful art. This is a rose that, devoid of color, does not lose any of power for expression on any level. On the contrary, this simple rose only gains the power of influence over our minds and hearts when its striped of color. The color of the rose no longer portrays an endless cycle of distraction from the lines, shades and integral power behind the image. It’s very soul is laid bare and we are the happier for it.
Did you know that today I sent out a pre-release email of our next hit work of art just in time for Christmas? No?
Well, that’s because our Friends can see our newest works of art, when they are not released to the public yet.
Here is a hint. – It presents the primordial dance between sterile whites, subtle grays and powerful blacks. There is no greater duality than that of untainted black against the pure white. Curious?
Our holiday orders are up 200% over last year, that means that our Friends have the best chance of ordering that perfect gift. Why let them have all the glory? You can become a Friend also. It’s easy and we don’t spam or sell your information.
Most people played with pinwheels as a child. It’s a whimsical toy consisting of a windmill type device pinned loosely to the end of a small stick. As the wind blows, the multi-colored paper or plastic spins creating a mesmerizing display of colors and movement. It’s simply captivating to a child or adult.
Perhaps that toy is the orchestrated result of some influential pinwheel flowers viewed by some forgotten toy maker in history. The long powerful floral petals form curvasive fingers out from the center as if to catch an imaginary wind and perform some impossible bouqueted ballet. Drawn to these whimsical yet vibrant shapes, a sublime reminder of childhood reaches back from the echoes of our half remembered past. Can you imagine the petals spinning like a toy of your youth?
Only now, as adults, with greater experience and perhaps a more cynical eye, we understandably view the pure white petals as a quantitative measure of purity in our lives. A view of grandest desire and design. For who does not like to think themselves pure? Yet this view is not without it’s own danger.
The exciting glowing petals suddenly take on an air of smallness. The blackness surrounding each petal pure and full of vibrant life represents our own bleak mortality. Indeed, aware that these pinwheels will not spin with the cheerful abandon of our youth, we wishfully attempt to view them with the hopeful ideal of mobility.
However, the persistent lack of motion results in our metaphoric experience that as we become older we indeed become more fixated and inflexible in our ideals. A view soon encroaches portraying each of us as pinwheels no longer able to spin with the winds of passing time. Yet each of us remains a flower. Our capable beauty exists in a dignified and artfully desirous form, if only for those briefest of moments that make up our lives.