Teaching, Statuary, Augusta Memorial Park, Waynesboro, Virginia, April 9, 2013

Statuary, Augusta Memorial Park, Waynesboro, Virginia, April 9,

Of course, I would like to post commissioned work on this blog, but, alas, as regards the above, I was merely a passenger on someone else’s trip yesterday (see “Statuary, Augusta Memorial Park, Waynesboro, Virginia, April 9, 2013”).

My work has a reliably luminous quality these days, and for that, many thanks to Nikon glass and Adobe software.

Composition: sturdy, formal (most of the time), focused.

Luck: unbelievably good, although I am one of those who believe there is no bad light — in fact, as long as there’s light, there’s visual atmosphere.  Perhaps with what I call “response photography” — the photographer as traveler through an environment — atmosphere x subject x depth-of-field x frame becomes the photograph, and atmosphere itself I interpret as location x lighting extant or lighting design.  That’s why in “constructed photography” — the photographer as producer who imports into a frame the elements of his work — the determination of mise-en-scene (everything in the scene, visual and intellectual) leans so heavily on building a set and lighting it or discovering a location and working with season and day to construct a moment for recording fit to concept.

Back to luck: if you go out to a garden to shoot flowers and encounter heavy gusts, you might be unlucky.  Of course, if you go out without intention other than to find something lovely or worth the film — these days, editing time at the computer — and you catch long colorful stems trembling in the light and blurring here and there at lower speeds, well, you might be lucky after all.

Be all that as that may be, thanks to my friend, I had a good day afield and at times lost among memorials and their elegiac and familiar figures and encouragements.

Augusta Memorial Park, Waynesboro, Virginia, April 9, 2013

ISO: Work!

I don’t know whether the skills — and by inference the capital in equipage and knowledge — exhibited in this space are going to work for me, as it were.

This morning began with my editing a friend’s resume — yes, I can do that too even though approaching my own (there’s a new section on the above tabs) plainly scares me.

Oh my God, what have I done with my life!?

From one perspective, I can answer that without cringing: if deflected, discouraged, or inhibited early on,perhaps, I’ve nonetheless spent my life reading, writing (well, “journaling” at least), playing music, and engaged with photography.


Of course.

From another perspective, I may not be anything like what America’s combined accounting, engineering, and political cultures want.

Had I gotten any kind of smooth launch into music (one with much less other traditional intellectual enrichment), I’d have hoped by now to have transitioned to underscoring films.

In another life — that train needed to take me to Boston.

This other organic thing, less one-track minded, has sprawled a bit, and here am I squeezing it back into form, casting for “tasking” and otherwise molding it, kneading it around projects.

A combination of the two — direct service relationships and income; independent creative entrepreneurship — comprise my needs.

Offered: a terrific broad editorial and research capability bounded by English only and not by geography at all, such may be the “life of the mind” on the World Wide Web; general photography, where one indeed has to go somewhere with a camera, making the same an east coast (mid-Atlantic, New England, southern states) sport from my location close by two major American Interstates: I-70 and I-81.

Troubled manuscripts — academic, business, creative — may be welcomed here!


Also, schedule permitting and pony car willing, speeding with Nikon glass away from this desktop on a client’s mission would be welcomed here too.

It has to happen.

All kinds of things are just ready for it.

In Inventory 3-25-13

I don’t know if I like defects.

I know I don’t like discovering them.

This afternoon’s story unfolded this way:

1. HP’s inks arrived about an hour ago, and, indeed, “Bertha” (infamous behemoth of a B9180 ink jet unit) needed her cyan; powered her up; fed her a full ink cartridge; deleted from the printer’s memory the two earlier jobs on which she stopped for want of her cyan; and started a simple, small job, i.e., the second snow snapshot from the latest post on the more personal blog.

2. Out of paper!  Where did I put the remainder of the Ink Press?  For a while, I couldn’t  find the box, so I rummaged out of the back of a closet a few damaged sheets of Epson Pearl, 11 x 17, and cut that down to 11 x 12, removing some bent corners . . . only to learn that Bertha’s instructions (software) didn’t seem to want me to load an odd-sized paper — and then: the missing package? on top of the printer . . . .

3. Loaded 11 x 14 and ran a print.  Not bad.  A little reddish for a near monotone piece.  So I ran another, an old leaf heavily back lit.

Leaf, Backlit, C&O Canal, Maryland, December 29, 2006

That above came out of the printer noticeably striped.

It made me wonder if I had looked hard enough at my latest prints.

I use a 5,000K CFL for editing (Lacie 320 monitor; Macbeth color charts and other guides; plus I’m “tuned down” about 10 percent or so, and somewhat compromised between ambient interior brightness and print impact — I need a slightly brighter edited “print” to get a good looking real space print for indoor display), but (reminder: I was talking about my office light source), I have it aimed at the ceiling for indirect and dim room lighting (the monitor is everything).

Well . . .

I reversed the CFL bulb (it’s in a workshop reflector), put on the “readers” (1.5x) and looked again.

What I found: light striping and perhaps, in the last few prints, what looks like magenta cartridge misalignment.

One has to really look, up close, magnified, to see this stuff.

Very light, or what I call “faint” artifacts may be ignored — the image impact is such that such have to be pointed out to be “seen”.

And some things may add charm the way a nub or two might a sweater.

Still, I’m not one to send out work with industrial-strength grooves in it.

For the moment, I have half a dozen prints — should they be called “seconds”? — set aside and unlisted.

Of the listed: fine for the wall, but . . . Bertha’s tiring me out.

I’m going to align Bertha’s print heads, run some proofs, and come to a decision about sending her on to my county’s recycling program.

Boutique printing — very limited edition, totally hands-on, also at the mercy of technology or involving some struggle between the artist and the unruliness of the machinery — is not high output lithography.  For some barely visible qualities, some “small shop” artifacts may add to charm.  Such become indicative of a period in a shop’s history.

On the other hand:


Enough said.

* * *

In the order signed:

Black Eyed Susans: 1 – 11×14 Ink Press Luster, 10-1/6 x 12-3/4

Black Eyed Susans:  1- 11×14 Ink Press Luster, 6-1/4×10

Three Susans: 1 – 11×14 Ink Press Luster, 13-11/16 x 9-5/8 slightest banding, invisible head-on

Mumma Farm Outbuilding 1- 11×14 Ink Press Luster 6-3/8 x 9-5/8

Peeling Paint, Mumma Farm Building (first of the three at URL location)- 2 – 11×14 Ink Press Luster, nominal 1/8-inch border, soft

Peeling Paint, Mumma Farm Building (first of the three at URL location) – 2 – 11×14 Ink Press Luster, 8-1/8 x 5-1/16 (soft)

Blue Treetops – 1 – 11 x 14 Ink Press Luster, off-centered 6 x 10-11/16, blurred and textured (very arty)

American Farm Girl: 1 – 11 x 14 Ink Press Luster, no border, slightly stripped, ink droplet, left side.

American Farm Girl: 7 – 11 x 14 Ink Press Luster, bordered 3/4-inch nominal, faint striping, high impact print; some borders smudged.

American Farm Girl: 1 – 11 x 14 Epson Glossy, bordered 3/4-inch nominal, faint striping, some borders smudged.

Shed, Surreybrooke Gardens, Middletown, Maryland, June 17, 2006

Shed, Surreybrooke Gardens, Middletown, Maryland, June 17, 2006

I had hoped my related artist’s blog, J. S. Oppeneim – All Together, would be the more intimate vehicle, but for the past week or so, I’ve been posting on it items like that above as I’ve gone about reconstructing and editing an archive dating back to the build of my desktop computer over the winter of 2006-2007.

It has been nice posting pretty pictures, as they remind me that I can shoot pretty well when I want to give photography proper a little attention.

Now I want to give Communicating Arts a little more attention.

I got a call yesterday to shoot a toddler’s birthday party.

I didn’t jump.

Should I have?  Is all exposure good?  Is all work good?

Instead, I’m thinking about printing, so “Bertha” hasn’t had to have been spitting ink and checking herself out for nothing lo these many years.

Also, instead, I want to package together driving / journalism / research / shooting.


What is that right combination of artistic esprit and freedom, country living, and, not so pretty but light aristocratic pretension?

Condé Nast?  Meredith?

I think I like owning my work even if it is not (today) ginning up royalties like a well pumping oil.

Darn it!

Subjects intrinsically interesting to me: artists and their lairs — I like my Hollywood-in-Maryland down at the coffee shop; environmental portraiture; farms and other elements of the pastoral (no better location for that than mine five minutes from Interstate 81, which cuts down the west side of the Blue Ridge on its haul down to Tennessee (and up northeast to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania followed by a hard left northward to the Canadian border in upstate New York).

Much else is fine too, provided the gear needed (and on hand) fits into the Mustang.

Where is the work?

Is it in the facility for taking “a good picture” — or a great one every time out?

Is it in the hucksterism with big brag and prospect lists to match?

I don’t think I have any “big brags” at the moment — just small ones with occasional weddings, some volunteer work, from which I may post here, and always some moving along in the other arts and in intellectual circles.  Still, my ship remains adrift beside the Great American Economy, my course uneasily navigated.