Creativity Squared

Writing + Art Photography

Writing and photography are competing and complementary pursuits for me. Until now, their competing aspects kept my workspaces separate and distinct; writing here, developing photographs and printing there. Two sides of the same creative force divided into two creative spaces. Until today.

Writing is impossibly difficult and immensely rewarding. While it costs far more in time and effort than anything I have ever done, it compensates with learning, discovery, and understanding.

Photography is also difficult, yet opens me up to the world, other lives and remarkable stories in a journey of discovery that makes me a better person and, hopefully, a better artist. Always has. Blotched and imperfect daguerreotype images from 1838 France, then England, and later from the U.S. Civil War captured my imagination during rainy afternoons among the stacks in the village public library. Large format impressed me with the mystery of glass, solution and light. Then medium format seemed to perfect the beauty and authentic documentary truth within the confined borders of a print. The spectacular advances of 35mm, Polaroid, film to digital, and DSLR photography seemed essential and worthy. If I could learn enough, I might just be able to translate my innate curiosity and empathy for certain subjects into meaningful works that support others’ interests. This is how we discover the truth, by gathering fragments, piecing together theories of reality. Evolving.

The world is large and diverse, yet most of us live within walking or commuting distance of our day jobs. Most of us grow up thinking small, grateful for a paycheck, fearful of the loss of that paycheck, amazed when we find friendship, humbled when we discover love. Decades fly by as we prepare for our life’s great aspiration. Time passes, and we find out that as we made plans our life spent itself. We were focused on job, family, house, and taxes while time focused on… time.

Today, I break through the wall that separates my writing and my visual art. Writing and Photography. A new beginning for both.

I am pleased to present a series of my images of tall ships, each of which captures a sense of story that I strive for in everything I do. And each of which inspires new stories in my imagination.

Debut: Tall Ships

I have been photographing boats for longer than Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours required to become world-class. Yet I still feel I am only beginning to understand the truths to be found at the intersection of time, skill, and insight.

Flying Jibs and Euterpe - The Star of India

Flying Jibs and Euterpe - The Star of India

Discovery is a fundamental quality of the sailing experience. No two moments afloat are alike. Every ocean, season, and transit is a one-off. Each tack, reach and run is unique. And the human skills that developed over thousands of hours learning and eventually mastering the ability to navigate all this newness are fragile and fleeting, for we are here for only a blink of an eye in the scheme of time. Yet the more one discovers, learns and masters, the more opportunities present themselves to challenge us. In this way, we find out the soul of nature, weather, seas and the vessels we build to walk on water and take flight on ever-changing winds.

Whether writing or shooting, telling a story about the history in a 2,000-year-old tibia or documenting time’s stresses in a 178-year-old whaling ship’s arthritic rib, my goal is the same: to capture meaning itself, inspire the viewer’s imagination and touch the timeless in everyone who looks upon them.   

I invite you to visit my gallery and view my new Tall Ships collection at markrogerbailey.com, and while you’re there, please stop by my Gallery Shop.

Until next time,

Mark



Fine Art Photography

Can Photography Be Considered Art?

Yes, art photography exists. It is rising in influence across cultural boundaries and is growing in sophistication among established and emerging collectors.  

WHAT IS FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY?

Art photography is photography that is planned and executed as fine art. The art photographer uses his or her knowledge, skills and aspirations to express his/her perceptions and emotions to viewers and collectors. In this sense, the camera becomes what John Steinbeck described as an "extension of mind and heart."

Just as impressionist paintings were considered to be experimental and at odds with traditional art norms at one time, photography - now nearly 200 years old - has also suffered the growing pains and critical resistance that other emerging art forms experienced. Selected styles and forms of photography have experimented, matured and tested themselves against traditional styles and forms of visual fine art.

View from the Window at Le Gras (1827) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

View from the Window at Le Gras (1827) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

Earliest surviving camera photograph.  Louis Daguerre's image of a man receiving a shoeshine on a Paris street utilizing his daguerreotype process occurred in 1838.

Rebecca A. Moss, Coordinator of Visual Resources and Digital Content Library, via email. College of Liberal Arts Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota. http://www.dcl.umn.edu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107219

Just as there are many styles of artistic painting - abstract art, surrealism, conceptual, pop, photorealism, hyperrealism, minimalism, futurism, impressionism - there are many kinds of photography. Purely objective photography, such as scientific and documentary. Photojournalism, such as Mathew Brady and Dorothea Lange. Candid or Street Photography, such as Cartier-Bresson. Art, such as some of the work by Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams.

The Steerage  (1907) 19.7 x 15.8 cm by Alfred Stieglitz

The Steerage (1907) 19.7 x 15.8 cm by Alfred Stieglitz

In his book, Road to Seeing,  Dan Winters cites The Steerage as an early work of artistic modernism that many historians consider to be the most important photograph ever made.  

Fashion by Horst and Rodney Smith. Portraits by Brigitte Lacombe. And waterscapes by Gerard Bret

Insolite  by Gerard Bret (France)

Insolite by Gerard Bret (France)

Many of the most striking, accomplished and individual works have emerged as enduring forms of visual representation that are rightly regarded as art. The best among these have risen to a level where they engage, connect and are valued, respected and collected as fine artworks. The arts and art goods markeplace is growing, as indicated by consumer expenditures on arts and cultural-related goods in the United States in 2013 (the last year for which comprehensive statistics are available) were $151.7 billion, which was up 17.6% since 2000. Visual art is but one aspect of culture-related goods, yet an increasingly significant contributor.

Most importantly for me, fine art photography improves our environments - our work, social and living spaces. Art of all kinds, including fine art photography, supports the best in ourselves and others, communicates across cultural divisions, records history-in-progress, and shares stories in compelling ways that free us to experience new pathways to personal development. Art helps us discover our 'best self' in the Emersonian sense. Fine art - including fine art photography - gives form to our vision and aspirations.

Support art.