Sunday, June 29, 2008

Aglamesis Chairs

Cincinnati has two world-class family-run ice cream companies, Graeter's and Aglamesis Brothers. Those of us who grew up there are happy to engage in enthusiastic arguments over which is better, especially if a side-by-side comparison tasting can be arranged. But for ambiance, Aglamesis wins hands down. While the hot-air balloon wallpaper of my childhood is gone, the pressed tin ceiling, glass cases full of chocolates, round marble tables and tulip-shaped lamps all remain. Burly guys balance themselves on the wrought-iron chairs with their heart-shaped backs, digging into banana splits. I love the interplay of black lines against black and white tile in this photo. The circles of pink give some solidity to all the lines. Whenever I see this color combination, it sets off a Pavlovian response that results in the urge to consume ice cream.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beauty Bush

When we lived in Pennsylvania, our yard was home to a Beauty Bush. Now I visit the ones in our neighborhood. When they burst into bloom, there are not enough names for the number of shades of pink that share space on each branch. Unlike last week's post, color is important in this photo. As with my previous photo, the strong verticals and even spacing of a fence are an important part of the composition. But the curve of the branch and the soft shades of pink work together to make this photo seem very feminine. This photo makes me think of the ideal garden many of us dream about, and a perfect spring day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Picket Fence

This fence surrounds one of the beautiful homes in the historic King William neighborhood of San Antonio. I first shot it in color. It looked fine, but switching to black and white helped me to really see what had drawn me to this view in the first place. The strong vertical lines are now the most important element. The spacing of the pickets-farther apart in the foreground and closer together in the distance-set up a rhythm. The straight lines and even spacing encourages you to notice the curvy tops of the pickets and the post. In black and white, there is nothing to distract from an arresting composition. Most digital cameras have a built-in black and white mode. Why not try viewing your world in black and white?

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Last June, at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, Dorothy Caldwell taught a five-day class titled "A Book of Marks". One afternoon, each student attached a brush to a long stick. Dipping these awkward-feeling instruments into paint, they first painted one large paper as a group, then did individual sheets. As historian for QSDS, successfully photographing a moment like this fills me with absolute glee. I am serious about documenting the event, but my ultimate goal is to capture the spirit of creative experimentation and fun that most of us associate with QSDS. Shooting people is hard for me. Unlike with flowers or buildings, I am hesitant about intruding upon people. What or who do YOU avoid photographing?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What Is This?

As a person who often uses narrow strips of sewn fabric to make art, it is very easy for me to get excited at the sight of something that appears to be a ready-made, almost completely refined and developed composition---- just sitting there minding its own business. Keep your eyes open and you will discover such wonderful gifts in unlikely places. This particular image also makes me want to paint the crenelated edges of paper torn out of a spiral bound sketchbook. Have you figured out what the photo is? They were two stacks of traffic cones, loitering next to a rest stop in West Virginia.