12/30/10

PHOTOGRAPHY 101


And now for a lesson in portraiture, no wait...ummmm...still life...ummmm... photojournalism....oh man...okay, FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY! Yeah, that's it. Here is a lesson in fine art photography.

Wikipedia says:
"A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant.

Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism that creates images in order to tell a news story. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, social documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of:
  • Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events.
  • Objectivity — the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict in both content and tone.
  • Narrative — the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level.
Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created in accordance with the creative vision of the photographer as artist.
Like I said, this here is an example of fine art photography. The photographer had a creative vision. An avant-garde vision for sure. But if they call it art who are we to question their vision? Who are we to ask, "Ummmmmm excuse me, but exactly what was your focal point here?"

Oh, I know, if the mucky mucks in the art world put their stamp of approval on this thing, had it framed in a huge frame, hung in a prestigious gallery, we could get all sorts of fools nodding their heads, jabbering to each other about the masterpiece, and isn't it a shame that the artist has passed on leaving such a small amount of work.

* This is bad photography 101. Do not do what this person did. This photo has bad fung shoe-ie. This shot gives me a headache!

12/29/10

ONE MAN'S CHRISTMAS: Part 4


And on the last day Ernie rested, unsure if anyone appreciated anything he'd done. With all the toys he bought his son it ends up the kid prefers the hassock. Oh well, tomorrow he goes back to work where he knows he's not appreciated.

And so we come to the conclusion of One Man's Christmas here at Sepia Saturday.

12/28/10

ONE MAN'S CHRISTMAS: Part 3


Ernie with his amazing gift, a Polaroid camera. Now for some quiet time to sit and read the manual. Ernie is content with his Christmas...for the moment, until the manual becomes too complicated.


This is part 3 of a 4 part Sepia Saturday post.

12/27/10

ONE MAN'S CHRISTMAS: Part 2


This fellow, we will now call him Ernie, is trying so hard. The child in snapshot 1 was sitting and staring at the bedsheet covering the table beneath the Christmas tree. We now find Ernie trying to give her encouragement that domestic toys are fun.

Come back tomorrow to see more of One Man's Christmas.

This is part 2 of a 4 part Sepia Saturday post.

12/26/10

ONE MAN'S CHRISTMAS: Part 1


Was your Christmas good or bad, or are you still trying to figure that out? Sometimes it takes time to digest not only the meal, but the emotions of the day.

Starting today I present to you One Man's Christmas in 4 parts. I know nothing about this fellow other than the prints were made in 1966. It's possible this is his 1965 Christmas.

I will let you figure out the story.


Be sure to come back the next three days to see his story unfold.

This series will be my contribution to the latest Sepia Saturday.

12/25/10

A TRADITIONAL MERRY CHRISTMAS


Now my own Christmas tradition. I pull out this shot each year.


Hoping none of you received a pink bunny suit from any of your relatives.

Merry Christmas.

12/22/10

The NUTTER FAMILY


This photo is a holiday tradition at this place. I repost it every year because gosh darn it just says so much about the holidays.


The one thing I have never posted is the name of the family. I felt I might be crossing the line, but now I'm stepping up and over and want you to know, and I'm not kidding, on the back it says "The Nutters." This is not a joke. That is their name. THE NUTTERS!

12/20/10

It's a ROCKIN' CHRISTMAS EVE!


Okay, it's not Christmas Eve yet, but since my mind will be elsewhere that day I thought I'd post this now.

Perhaps it's just me, but I've always thought the fella on the right looks like a young Dick Clark. Early American Bandstand. Philly Bandstand. There's a whole slew of people who will have no idea what I'm talking about.

Click on image to see it larger.

Santa has a slight Bob Hope look going on...for me. I can almost here him say, "...but I want to tell ya..."

The woman...so familiar, but I can't figure it out. She reminds me of an actress from the 1940s. Anyone think she looks like someone? Maybe it's just me. I can accept that.

To see a few photos from the past of questionable Santas:



12/17/10

CHRISTMAS JOY with Christmas Toys


This lovely little girl was found in the bottom of a box at an antique store. Who knows how long she had been there, smiling, waiting to be acknowledged. Who could resist her for only $1.00?


I'd say she dates back to the early 1940s, possibly late 30s. Leaded tinsel. Raise your hand if you remember it. Raise your hand if you have a box of it. Okay, my hand is raised. I'm looking around for the rest of you.

To see another image of a leaded tinsel Christmas tree check out this older post called "LEADED, not unleaded." You'll understand why I have a thing for the toxic leaded stuff.

And now the challenge I pass along to you. Can you name the four dolls this little angel has next to her? If you can let me know what you think.


And to see some past Christmas posts:






All of this brought to you for another wonderful Sepia Saturday.

12/15/10

A SEABEE READY FOR ANYTHING During World War II


Another image from the box of Uncle Roy's snapshots.

I know nothing about this shot. A typical vernacular photograph. Okay, not so typical. I believe it's the only one in my collection of a guy chewing on a stogie, with a knife plunged into a table, holding a pistol in one hand and booze in the other. Oh, and also has apparently considerable reading matter displayed on the bench in the foreground. Me thinks these boys were goofin' around. But then I don't know. The story is whatever we make of it.

Click on image to see it larger.

12/14/10

A SLEEPING SEABEE


My father has always said how tough it was being overseas at Christmas. He still chokes up when he hears Bing Crosby singing White Christmas and remembers how there were times they were told not to play the recording because it made the fellas so homesick.

I have no idea when this snapshot was taken. It is from my Great Uncle Roy's box of photos when he was a Seabee during World War II while stationed in New Guinea. Have no idea who this sleeping fella is.

Click on image to see it larger.

When you crawl between the sheets tonight think of those far from home sleeping in something like this and how much they miss their families during the holidays.

To see more from Uncle Roy's box of vernacular photographs click here and here.

12/10/10

DOUBLE EXPOSED Rosa and Rodrique


Double exposures are a category. There are collectors who search for these. This one fell into my lap with all of Rosa's photos. The strangest thing is that I never even noticed it in the stack until the other day. It's a gem.

Rosa and Rodrique looking at fruit on a tree, perhaps in their own backyard.


Click on image to see it larger.

Double exposures can often be a lot of fun. Mistakes, nothing more than mistakes. Wonderful mistakes. The film simply didn't advance and it was exposed a second time. I have one that was exposed three times. I have one that is purely haunting. Others that are quite funny. This one is wonderfully sweet. And to me it's perfect. Two views of Rosa and Rodrique taken probably moments apart.

Now think for a moment about future double exposures. Yes, you can make them creatively in Photoshop, but who cares? It's these mistakes that are so magical. Images not meant to happen. Double exposures simply won't happen in this digital age and that's a shame.

If you're new to my site take a look at my past two posts where I provide more images of Rosa.

This is my post for this weeks Sepia Saturday. Cherish images from the past, even those that are "mistakes."

And again, my net access is nil. I apologize in advance for not being able to visit all the wonderful Sepia Saturday sites. I am pulling my hair out as I write this.

12/9/10

Seeing Rodrique THROUGH ROSA'S EYES


I think it's safe to assume Rosa took this shot of her husband Rodrique. So for a moment, we see him through her eyes.

Click on image to see it larger.

12/7/10

A bundled WOMAN OF MYSTERY


Raise your hand if you remember Rosa.

Okay, 1…2…3…sorry, I can't tell if you in the back have your hand raised or are swatting flies.

I thought it time to bring Rosa back for a few days.

Rosa in the snow. Not the first time I've shown her in snow, but that's at the end of this post.

Click on image to see it larger.

I have no idea where this was taken. Obviously not at her home in National City, California. Rosa is a woman of mystery.

If you remember, Rosa was from France, an immigrant to this country. She was married to Rodrique. To see the older posts click on the following links:





And a little surprise for those who have been following along here for the past few years. I posted a shot of Rosa long before I did the lengthy post. You can see that image here.

12/6/10

Do the SCRUNCHIE!


Once again, back to the Three Buck Big Box of Photos and trip through Margaret's world.


Click on image to see it larger.

I will allow the photo and copy on the back to say everything necessary.
April 8, 1955
Friday

The sun was in Johnys eyes
Margie was crying &
Michelle was all scrunched up

Evelyn
boy & girl
& Carnelles girl
And here we have the lovely scrunched Michelle, scrunching as only Michelle can scrunch.

Scrunch on Michelle, scrunch on!


12/5/10

SNOW BABIES and I LOVE HORSES


Again I've reached my net access limit. Okay, it's because I'm working on my Tattered and Lost Ephemera Cafe Press shop.

Two new images from vintage turn of the last century post cards are available for gift items. Take a look!

From a vintage card printed in Germany sent in 1911 is an image of children sliding down a snowy hill.

The image of horses also dates from the early 20th century, but no message or postal stamp are on the back.

12/3/10

WE STAND IN THEIR SHOES


When faced with a box full of photos of unknown people and events what is your eye drawn to? A hodgepodge of images, mostly of people just standing center frame staring at the photographer. Do you buy them or toss them back?

I look back on some of the things I have bought and think "What the heck?" My taste has become more refined over the years. I can't say what I buy would be a must have purchase for someone else.

Okay, it's a given that if someone is cutting a cake I'm grabbing it. It's a category. I must find more.

But how to explain this snapshot? The people are slightly blurred. The location is nothing special. So why not toss it back into the pile?



Because of the woman's smile. All of the rest of the weaknesses in the photo disappeared to me once I focused on the woman's smile. She is the story.

Is she looking at the gentleman with love or laughing at a joke?

If you're a collector I think you'll understand this. For each collector it's that certain "something" that draws us in, whether or not anyone else goes on the journey.

I never buy with the idea that any of it will be of monetary value. I am simply stepping into another world for a moment and frankly I could care less if anyone else follows. For this moment I am the eyes of the photographer. I stand in their shoes.

And that folks is my Sepia Saturday entry for the week.

12/2/10

World War II Plane NOSE ART


Here are a few images from Uncle Roy's box of World War II snapshots. I featured a shot of a parachute jump yesterday. Today's is nose art from World War II planes.

It was pretty common for a crew to paint an image of a scantily clad woman on their planes. The ones shown here are all pretty crude in their artistic attempt. My assumption is that all the snapshots were taken in New Guinea.

Click on any image to see it larger.



The history of nose art is pretty interesting. From Wikipedia:
Nose art is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of a military aircraft, usually located near the nose, and is a form of aircraft graffiti.

While begun for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death. The appeal, in part, came from nose art not being officially approved, even when the regulations against it were not enforced.

Because of its individual and unofficial nature, it is considered folk art, inseparable from work as well as representative of a group.It can also be compared to sophisticated graffiti. In both cases, the artist is often anonymous, and the art itself is ephemeral. In addition, it relies on materials immediately available.

Nose art is largely a military tradition, but civilian airliners operated by the Virgin Group feature "Virgin Girls" on the nose as part of their livery. In a broad sense, the tail art of several airlines such as the Eskimo of Alaska Airlines, can be called "nose art", as are the tail markings of present-day U.S. Navy squadrons. There were exceptions, including 8th Air Force B-17 "Whizzer", which had its girl-riding-a-bomb on the dorsal fin.

History
The practice of putting personalized decorations on fighting aircraft originated with Italian and German pilots. The first recorded piece of nose art was a sea monster painted on the nose of an Italian flying boat in 1913. This was followed by the popular practice of painting mouths underneath the propeller spinner, initiated by German pilots in World War I. The cavallino rampante (prancing horse) of the Italian ace Francesco Baracca was another well-known symbol, as was the red-painted aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen. However, nose art of this era was often conceived and produced by the aircraft ground crews, not by the pilots.

Other World War I examples included the "Hat in the Ring" of the American 94th Aero Squadron (attributed to Lt. Johnny Wentworth) and the "Kicking Mule" of the 95th Aero Squadron. This followed the official policy, established by the American Expeditionary Forces' (AEF) Chief of the Air Service, Brigadier General Benjamin Foulois, on 6 May 1918, requiring the creation of distinct, readily identifiable squadron insignia. What is perhaps the most famous of all nose art, the shark-face insignia made famous by the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers, also first appeared in World War I, though often with an effect more comical than menacing.

While World War I nose art was usually embellished or extravagant squadron insignia, true nose art appeared during World War II, which is considered by many observers to be the golden age of the genre, with both Axis and Allied pilots taking part. At the height of the war, nose-artists were in very high demand in the USAAF and were paid quite well for their services while AAF commanders tolerated nose art in an effort to boost aircrew morale. The U.S. Navy, by contrast, prohibited nose art, while nose art was uncommon in the RAF or RCAF.

Some nose art was commemorative or intended to honor certain people such as the B-29 Superfortress The Ernie Pyle.

The work was done by professional civilian artists as well as talented amateur servicemen. In 1941, for instance, the 39th Pursuit Squadron commissioned a Bell Aircraft artist to design and paint the "Cobra in the Clouds" logo on their aircraft. Perhaps the most enduring nose art of WWII was the shark-face motif, which first appeared on the Bf-110s of Luftwaffe 76th Destroyer Wing over Crete, where the twin-engined Messerschmitts outmatched the Gloster Gladiator biplanes of RAF 112 Squadron. The Commonwealth pilots were withdrawn to Egypt and refitted with Curtiss Tomahawks off the same assembly line building fighter aircraft for the AVG Flying Tigers being recruited for service in China. In November 1941, AVG pilots saw a 112 Squadron Tomahawk in an illustrated weekly and immediately adopted the shark-face motif for their own planes. This work was done by the pilots and ground crew in the field. Similarly, when in 1943 the 39th Fighter Squadron became the first American squadron in their theatre with 100 kills, they adopted the shark-face for their P-38 Lightnings. The shark-face is still used to this day, most commonly seen on the A-10 Thunderbolt II (with its gaping maw leading up to the muzzle of the aircraft's GAU-8 Avenger 30mm cannon), a testament to its popularity as a form of nose art.

The largest known work of nose art ever depicted on a WW II-era American combat aircraft was on a B-24J Liberator, s/n 44-40973, which had been named "The Dragon and his Tail" of the USAAF's Fifth Air Force's 43rd Bomb Group, 64th Bomb Squadron in the Southwest Pacific, flown by a crew led by Joseph Pagoni, with Staff Sergeant Sarkis Bartigan as the artist. The dragon artwork ran from the nose just forward of the cockpit, down the entire length of the fuselage's sides, with the dragon's body depicted directly below and just aft of the cockpit, with the dragon holding a topless nude woman in its forefeet.


Tony Starcer was the resident artist for the 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), one of the initial six groups fielded by the Eighth Air Force. Starcer painted over a hundred pieces of renowned B-17 nose art, including Memphis Belle. A commercial artist named Brinkman, from Chicago, was responsible for the zodiac-themed nose art of the B-24 Liberator-equipped 834th Bomb Squadron.

In the Korean War, nose art was popular with units operating A-26 and B-29 bombers, C-119 Flying Boxcar transports, as well as USAF fighter-bombers.[9] Due to changes in military policies and changing attitudes toward the representation of women, the amount of nose art declined after the Korean War.

During the Vietnam War, AC-130 gunships of the U.S Air Force Special Operations Squadrons were often given names with accompanying nose art - for example, "Thor", "Azrael - Angel of Death", "Ghost Rider", "War Lord" and "The Arbitrator." The unofficial gunship badge of a flying skeleton with a Minigun was also applied to many aircraft until the end of the war, and was later adopted officially.

Nose art underwent a revival during Operation Desert Storm and has become more common since Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Many crews are merging artwork as part of camouflage patterns. The United States Air Force had unofficially sanctioned the return of the pin-up (albeit fully-clothed) with the Strategic Air Command permitting nose art on its bomber force in the Command's last years. The continuation of historic names such as Memphis Belle was encouraged. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Enjoy.

12/1/10

PARACHUTE JUMP in World War II


I found this snapshot this weekend in an old box that belonged to my maternal Great Uncle Roy who died in 1958. In World War II he served in New Guinea in I believe the Seabees.

I don't know where this shot was taken of the massive parachute jump, but find it fascinating, even if it's blurred.

Click on image to see it larger.

I remember Roy's house more than I remember him. And I remember his funeral and the aftermath as family rummaged through his house taking things. My mother and father took very little. My mother told me the way the others were behaving was disgusting. The only thing I got was a small knife that I unfortunately lost a long time ago. The item I most coveted was the rattlesnake rattle nailed to the wall near the back door. I didn't get it because I never spoke up to say how much I wanted it.

Anyway, I have this small box of photos, few with Roy in any of the pictures. All and all a better deal than the rattlesnake tail.

To read about the Seebeas click here.