About this Blog

A place to remember and to share articles, videos, and information about art and culture. My primary audience is students of the arts, with the purpose of expanding the discussion and encouraging research.

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Angora Bunny Pics

I'm not sure what is more surreal, Andres Serrano making photographs of Angora bunnies or the photographs he made. About the shoot Serrano said, "The rabbits were good subjects....They didn't move much. They're professionals."  The photos are beautiful.

NYTIMES - with bonus slide show


Photographs of American Revolution Veterans

Ever wanted to see photographs of American Revolution veterans? Good news. Utah-based journalist Joe Baumam, spent three decades researching the names of soldiers and then tried to find images of them. It's amazing that he found any at all considering the revolution was fought from 1775-83 and photographs did not exist for another 60+ years.


Movie Night

Another cold and snowy night has me home-bound, so it is offically movie night at la casa. If you want to join me, here is a list of 40 Movies about Photography, with a comment section that rattles off a bunch more. Enjoy.


Atkins at the Royal Society in London

We talked about Anna Atkins just last week in the History of Photography. This Tuesday, which is Photo History day in my world, the online show, Objectivity, visited the Royal Society in London, to look at their copy of Anna Atkins book, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, created in 1843.

Anna Atkins is considered the first woman photographer, and the first person to publish a book of photographs, although they are actually photograms. Atkins was an English botanist, and knew there was a real need for scientific illustrations of plants. Her books are also considered the first use of photography for scientific illustration.

For my students, William Henry Fox Talbot's book, The Pencil of Nature, is the first commercially published book of photographs. Atkins' books were handmade for her friends and fellow scientists, and truly a labor of love.

Enjoy the video, it is a rare treat to watch Rupert Baker casually flip through the pages. For more info, read this article at Peta Pixel.



Diamond Head

Last night 13 inches of snow fell in my yard, and today school was closed. I love a free day, and for awhile now, I have wanted to try animating a City Walls image. So today, I sat with a heater on my feet and made this little gem. Enjoy.

Image credit: Rene' West, Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved


AC Students at Library

There is a great exhibition of photographs by AC students currently on display at the Downtown Branch, of the Amarillo Public Library. The show was juried by the photographer and historian, Cindy Wallace, and there will be a reception this Thursday from 6:30-7:30. This is a great sampling of what our students are doing in the program, and I can not wait until the party!

Downtown Branch, of the Amarillo Public Library, 413 E 4th, 806-378-3054.

Image credit: Amy Yearwood


Steampunk Camera Obscura

This is just too cool, and I had to share. Joseph Barone turned an old flatbed scanner into a camera using gold duct tape and a magnifying glass as a lens. The resulting images, and the camera, are beautiful. Click the link to see images.

Photo Credit: Joseph Barone's Camera


Images Matter

When reporting the news images really do matter, and this is a great example of how image and text can sway public opinion. The image on the left is of a protestor throwing a Molotov cocktail, and the other image is of a peaceful protestor begging for answers with police in riot gear in the background. Both have the same headline: "All Hell Breaks Loose." PDN has a great article up about how readers on Twittr disliked the image, which eventually led to the paper changing the picture to the one on the right.

The images reminded me of another controversial trial in America that dealt with race - OJ Simpson. These images of his mugshot were published by Time and Newsweek at the time of his arrest, and were on newsstands the same week.

There is a great deal of discussion about the manipulation of this image related to the ethics of digital photography. It is just so easy to darken or lighten skin, put heads on different bodies, etc. However, through the years of teaching about this image of OJ, I have noticed something else about it. Newsweek has the lighter skin, but notice the caption, "Trail of Blood." Time is the same picture with darker skin and the text reads, "An American Tragedy." In the end, to me anyway, it seems like both point the reader to the same conclusion just in different ways.

The television has been in our living rooms since the 50's, and the camera has been around since the late 1830's. We still only teach our children the alphabet and numbers, and never say a word about images, which are incredibly persuasive. I'm sure this makes the advertising industry really happy, but I think it is way past time that we started teaching media literacy in grade school.

Photo Credit for top image: PDN news via Philadelphia Daily News


Side by Side Exhibition

The "Side by Side" exhibition at the Amarillo Museum of Art closes this Sunday, walking through yesterday; I reflected back on the project. The title, "Side by Side," can be read literally; it is two photographic artists, Christopher Pekoc in the south gallery and Romy Owens in the north gallery. The exhibition is a comparison and contrast of a similar technique - sewing on photographs. The stitches are also side by side, weaving in and out of the paper, and making individual images become one (forever side by side). Both artists have created their own meta-language to tell their story, but this is where the similarities end, and differences begin.

Romy Owens work is subtle and elegant, hand sewn photographs with a stitch that is perfect as a machine. Creating color fields that modulate like a Rothko painting, the images are abstract landscapes sewn together from photographs taken while visiting Amarillo. Owens' installation even mimics Palo Duro Canyon; in the center of the gallery is a large-scale piece that cuts the room in half, much like the canyon divides our landscape. Another aspect of this piece is getting the opportunity to see the front and back of one of her images. This is a rare and wonderful treat because every time she ties a knot, she records the date, time, and what she is doing on the back of the prints. At first, these were just notations to help her keep track of the hours spent on an image, but for the viewer it is like reading someone's diary, and the images become a story of her life.

In contrast to Owens' quiet radiating images, the other side of the museum is the filled with the work of Christopher Pekoc. His large-scale figurative images are visually stunning and at the same time dark and disturbing. His photographs are printed in black and white on transparency, which allows him to place other materials behind the images. He starts by deliberately distressing the materials with hammers and torches and punches, and then uses the stitch of a sewing machine to sew it all together. In the essay, "The Beauty of Damage," art historian, Henry Adams described his studio as "... Dr Frankenstein's laboratory, where corpses are sewn together into strange half-human creatures. This is Pekoc's alchemical laboratory, where bits and pieces of scattered things are fused together into works of art." The sewn photographs are of birds and snakes, hearts and hands, faces and bodies, the palette is filled with gold and red and black, and Pekoc looks for a gesture or emotion in the photograph that resonates. The resulting images are powerful and provocative, and written in a symbolic and highly personal language.

The museum received an NEA grant for the project, which included an outreach to the Visual Arts students at Amarillo College. Students researched artists that sew on photographs, and learned a variety of techniques. One afternoon the students led a Skype interview with both of the artists, they asked some great questions, and the responses were inspiring. In the weeks afterwards, I was fascinated by the students' thoughts and comments about these interviews, they learned a lot about creating art from this experience. AC students also created images that included stitching on photographs, and submitted them to a competition that was judged by Christopher Pekoc and Romy Owens. This work is also on display on the third floor of the museum. While the students were stressed out creating their projects and meeting their deadline, the night of the opening reception they were all smiles - all night. Rightly so, it was a big night for them. Owens and Pekoc both came to the reception and spoke about their work, announced the awards, and afterwards  talked with the students, and of course everyone got pictures.

This was such an amazing project and I am grateful to the museum for giving me the opportunity to help with the planning and research, proud of the AC students for accepting the challenge, and thankful to both artists for sharing their artwork and mentoring the next generation.

This is a must see show, and the last day is this Sunday, Aug. 17. Admission is free.

Media available on line:


Photo Credit: Romy Owens, "Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else" (detail)





Fibonacci Spiral in Action

This image went viral a couple of days ago, and is a excellent example of how to utilize the Fibonacci Spiral in a composition. (Also referred to as the Golden Ratio). The Guardian referred to it as the "Accidental Renaissance," and the article does a great job of explaining this compositional device.