At what point do you stop asking the question why?

I thought on my way to work:

When a perception I have is put into words it is my responsibility to analyze my inner dialogue and hold it up against what else I know before I voice it . However, I am a biological creature and do not have a view of everything and can only know what my limited view has shown me. I embrace this attitude of humility because although I have given much time and thought to the question – why our world is, like it is, I cannot presume to know, without deeper questioning the extent of another experience. Or the extent of the ancestral histories that add weight to the experience. I see a lot of deeper histories left out of dialogues, often in order to add gravity to a particular experience. So with that in mind I think the real solution is not to control the narrative by powerful policy but to share on a big scale a searching and open dialogue. It is easy to find reasons to discount another voice, it is much harder to find love and allow another to explore the depth of their experience. Real, honest thoughts are fragile, tenuous and easily destroyed, and destroying a heart causes anger and frustration in that heart. Some say anger and hate is inevitable because we are emotional creatures, but how do we choose what perception gets all the emotional passion? It is part of responsibility to take a deeper look at what is hurting a fellow man, not searching for reasons to hate and create emotions too hard to quench with love.

In the age of internet media.

Rhizome has supported innovation and artistic exploration on the internet for about 13 years. Founded in 1996 as only an email list subscribed to by some of the first online artists, Rhizome created a space for artists working in emerging technologies to exhibit work, critique and define this new media and archive the work which is quite ephemeral as dot com time limits can expire.

Rhizome is a non profit and this month are holding a benefit: Rhizome 2009 Benefit There are still many spaces left on the $50,000 web page. Buy a pixel or a ticket to the event which will include works by innovative artists.

Mission

Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Through open platforms for exchange and collaboration, our website serves to encourage and expand the communities around these practices. Our programs, many of which happen online, include commissions, exhibitions, events, discussion, archives and portfolios. We support artists working at the furthest reaches of technological experimentation as well as those responding to the broader aesthetic and political implications of new tools and media. Our organizational voice draws attention to artists, their work, their perspectives and the complex interrelationships between technology, art and culture.

Rhizome is located in the New Museum.

the new museum

Myth and Modern Culture

Darren Mahuron is a photographer in demand. He and his wife Lisa work in Fort Collins, Colorado creating commissions and artworks that are highly imaginative and metaphorical. Darren’s friends describe him as a passionate artist who is unpretentious, unstoppable and a natural at visualizing his imagination. I first saw his work when Gabriella Louise showed me the photograph he had done to promote her as a musician.

This piece (below) MEDEA 3 illustrates an interestingly modern interpretation of an ancient greek myth, the tragedy of Medea.

medea-3

Darren lent me his ear and answered a couple of questions about what inspires him and a little about how he achieves the beautiful textures and colors within his photos. The Mahuron’s work can be seen at the online gallery, Darren Mahuron: Photographer.

Sounds like you’ve been a visual storyteller for some time now… what is it about our world that inspires you to create?

I am inspired by many things; Music, Literature, Film, People, Places, Relationships. I love to travel, I enjoy conversation, most often topics that go well below the surface. I am passionate about life and death. I rarely look at other photographers work so as to not be influenced.

Looking at your web gallery I see a lot of metaphor in your work. Can you talk about the inspiration for this kind of storytelling?

Many of my ideas come from listening to music or reading. I love pre-christian history, Greek Mythology and politics, they all play a part in my storytelling I suppose. I typically have the idea as a visual first and then begin to understand it’s meaning later or sometimes never. Some of the ideas in my work have also come from my wife Lisa or the subject or as a collaboration.

In discovering digital photography what struck you first about the medium?

I really discovered Photoshop first. It was very intuitive for me. Digital photography was a tool to get a file into Photoshop to mess around with. That’s how it started for me. I like photography more now that I understand it better, but I still consider myself more of a digital painter than a photographer.

In your photographs, the first thing I sense is your grit and texture, it seems that you use high contrast lighting to start achieving this effect. Can you talk a little bit about why you frequently choose this pallet?

I try and create a consistent world that is dirty, or gritty, a little edgy maybe as a way to communicate my ideas. Not sure why I started down this road, it just resonates with me.

One distinction in your photographs are the shadows and rich colors, it seems that you shoot above the ambient with the strobes… or do you achieve the depth in post?

I’m not completely sure what “above the ambient” means actually.  I’m self taught, and I just do what I think looks right. One way I’ve learned to improve on my contrasty look is to shoot with brighter lights. This saves me time in post. It also allows me to shoot at say F22 rather than F2.8 which gives me a larger depth of field and more detail to work with later in Photoshop.

As far as advertising, I really enjoy the Exist campaign. The photographs illustrate the fears we see in our minds as we are driving around the city, and also the fears of biking around the city.  To create events like those must require a bit of pre-production, are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of photographer or do you plan ahead meticulously?

I’m a pretty meticulous planner. I always have the shot in my head before going on location. I typically know how I’m going to light it as well. I sometimes will also loosely draw the image so that I know the composition will work.
I definitely try and allow for some spontaneity while on location, but that typically has more to do with allowing the model freedom inside the controlled set and lighting.

I tried to learn from your techniques in this photo of my husband Brooks could you give me a critique? He wanted all of his freckles to show and we were trying to recreate something similar in detail and texture as this cover of Wired Magazine because it is so the opposite of airbrushed perfection.

wired

bb_style_portrait

Sure. By comparing the photos the number one issue keeping you from getting the look that I think you are going for is the lighting. I think you’ve done some interesting things in post, but without strategically placed, high contrast lighting, it will end up a little flat.

If you were starting over again, what flash/strobe would you start with?

I started with Alien Bees actually because they were the least expensive lights that were still getting positive reviews. I still use them.

If there is anything you would like to say other artists please do.

People often ask me about short-cuts. I don’t really know of any. I spend 4-12 hours on each image. Also, the best way to get better is to try and shoot or photoshop ever single day. I think work ethic is more important than just about anything else art related. If you want to make a living doing photography or art, it’s simple, just work longer and harder than your competition.

Understanding our physical world.

First it was Schrodinger starting with one proton, then Maxwell with his light equations, then Time Dilation from Lorentz Transformation – Timespace and then finally Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – our recognition of free will. CHOICE – choose a particle or a wave, but not both.

What of the universe will they uncover next?

Coraline artist panel at Nucleus.

Gallery Nucleus has recently hosted a Coraline Production Artist PanelSteve Lambe has posted most of the event which Sean Szeles recored during the talk. The talks are also viewable on YouTube.

MEET some of the PRODUCTION ARTISTS that worked on the movie as they drop by to discuss their contributions to the film, along with the production and artistic process for this highly anticipated visual masterpiece.

Nucleus, located in California, hosts many emerging artists, illustrators, animators and interactive work.

coraline talks at nucleus

Coraline was done in stop frame animation, all of the finish work and pre-production that went into it though are enormous contributions and art in their own right. The original story was created by a favorite of mine, Neil Gaiman, directed by Henry Selik renound for many films such as the “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Social media for disease control.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has taken the social media model and in doing so has made it so much easier to find current information on product recalls to infection outbrakes.  The recent peanut butter recall is highlighted here. The blogs that keep outbreak news updated, the webinars to allow bloggers to stay up to date on outbreaks and recalls and to ask questions of FDA and CDC subject matter experts, the searchable databases where information on products can be found and much more are available to anyone with access to a computer.

This kind of information is pertinent in our fast paced, multifarious world.