{sunday} Leon Williams ~ Dune Grass

Bohren & Der Club Of GorePiano Nights (Full Album, 2014)

Lord, let my ears go secret agent, each 
a microphone so hot it picks up things 
silent, reverbing even the hum of stone 
close to its eager, silver grill. Let my ears forget 
years trained to human chatter 
wired into every room, even those empty 
except of me, each broadcast and jingle 
tricking me into being less 
lonely than I am. Let my ears forget 
the clack and rumble, our tambourining and fireworking 
distractions, our roar of applause. Let my hands quit 
their clapping and rest in a new kind of prayer, one 
that doesn’t ask but listens, palms up in my lap. 
Like an owl, let me triangulate icy shuffling under snow as 
vole, let me not just name the name 
when I spot a soundtrack of birdsong 
but understand the notes through each syrinx 
as a singular missive—begging, flirting, fussing, each 
companion call and alarm as sharp with desire and fear 
as my own. Prick my ears, Lord. Make them hungry 
satellites, have your way with their tiny bones, 
teach the drum within that dark to drum 
again. Because within the hammering of woodpecker 
is a long tongue unwinding like a tape measure from inside 
his pileated head, darting dinner from the pine’s soft bark. 
And somewhere I know is a spider who births 
a filament of silk and flies it to the next branch; somewhere, 
a fiddlehead unstrings its violin into the miracle of 
fern. And somewhere, a mink not made into a coat 
cracks open a mussel’s shell, and with her mouth full 
of that gray meat, yawns. Those are your sounds, are they not? 
Do not deny it, Lord, do not deny 
me. I do not know those songs. Nor do I know the hush 
a dandelion’s face makes when it closes, surrenders, then goes 
to seed. No, I only know the sound my own breath makes 
as I wish and blow that perfect globe away; 
I only know the small, satisfactory 
popping of roots when I call it weed and yank it 
from the yard. There is a language of all 
you’ve created. Hear me, please. I just want to be 
still enough to hear. Right here, Lord: 
I want to be. 

Prayer to be Still and Know by Nickole Brown

Happy Sunday.

The Very Early Days Of Pixels and the Global iPhoneographic Movement, Part 2 ~ December, 2009

If you haven’t read it, here is The Very Early Days Of Pixels Part 1.

The Giorgi Gallery. There is an apartment upstairs I would give my right arm to live in. Well, not really. You can see the Claremont Hotel in the background—the white building.

So we left off in Part 1 where we had come up with a name for the show and were about to begin promoting the show.

Before we get into the the next month or two leading up to the show opening, we should talk about Rae Douglass for a moment.

Rae was the proprietor of the Giorgi Gallery on Claremont Avenue in Berkeley at the time Maia and I were getting obsessed with iPhoneography. When I was growing up in the neighborhood, it had been a fire station, with room for one fire truck. In the early seventies, the fire department moved to a new building at College and Russell and the building was sold to a rug dealer.

It’s a wonderful little building tucked underneath the Claremont Hotel at the foot of the Berkeley hills. It was Persian rug store for many years. At some point, the man died and his widow and her daughter turned the space into an art gallery. They would periodically travel to France, where they had a house, and would stay there for a year or two, renting the gallery space to people like Rae.

Rae Douglass, on the right, with Marty Yawnick, of LifeInLofi.com fame, on opening night.

Rae is an architect and artist and a very cool guy. He has done a number of beautiful large-scale permanent art installations around the country. He has won numerous awards for his architectural work and is an accomplished artist, in the sense of drawing with pencil and charcoal, as well. He is also an inventor, holding a number of patents from the U.S. Patent Office.

Truly a Renaissance man. You can get an idea of the scope of his broad creative talents at his website, Lightrays.com.

I have already told the story of how Rae agreed to host the very first juried gallery show for iPhone photography in Part 1 of this series.

Suffice it to say that we owe Rae Douglass a huge debt of gratitude for his willingness to mount the Pixels at an Exhibition show, committing his space, time, and money to the enterprise. In retrospect, I will say that Rae was as instrumental as Maia was in the launch of Pixels and, therefore, everything that followed.

If you are reading this, Rae, thank you very much.

After we decided on the name of the show, I told Rae I would make an image for a flyer. On December 11, 2009, I went down to the hat store on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and bought a costume bowler hat. I think I paid $10 for it. I still have it. I went home and took about forty shots of myself in a cheap plastic handheld mirror using the ToyCamera app. As always, I had the image capture settings set to random, so even if the picture was right, the edit might be weird and so so I had to keep shooting until I got one I liked.

I remember it was cold that day. I was shooting outside and the sun was going down, but I finally got this shot and a few others that were okay if Rae didn’t like this one.

You know, I think Rae used a different picture for the flyer, now that I look at it! Oh well, I spent a half-hour looking for this one, so it stays! It’s the one that actually ended up in the show and also has been the basis for all subsequent logo designs.

This was the postcard-sized flyer Rae created for the show.

At this point, with the website built, I began researching the iPhone photography scene in earnest, looking for ways to promote our exhibition.

I went on Flickr, of course and found a number of iPhone photography groups, so I joined and began uploading photos. I’ve already posted some of them, but you can see all 298 I posted over the next year or so here. Kind of painful to look at, but a few are pretty good, still. I hope!

I went to the various iPhone groups on Flickr and posted calls for submission. I contacted all the iPhone photography blogs I could find. Obviously, Glyn Evan’s iphoneography.com and Marty Yawnick’s lifeinlofi.com were at the top of the list.

There were a few other blogs who are long gone now, but they all posted announcements. It was at this time a very small community. It was barely a community. But everyone had a part. The tsunami was rising up out of the Zeitgeist.

There was one guy, Tony Cece, whose iphone photography blog I found, who never responded to my emails. I have always thought he was a tool for that: I don’t like bad manners. I have replied to every single person who has ever written to me on Pixels, even if they were rude. We will get to that later, one’s responsibility to the community.

I just googled Mr. Tony Cece and he has a Facebook page identifying him as a “Humanitarian Photographer.” That says hustler to me. Take it from a geezer: if you must announce that you are a humanitarian, or that you are kind, or that you are a man of integrity®, I am certain something else is going on there. No posts on FB from Tony since 2017, so I don’t know what that’s about. I see he worked for Operation Blessing International, which is a non-profit founded by by TV evangelist Pat Robertson, so you know it’s a straight-up grift.

You might wonder why I mention Tony Cece. Well, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to try to tell it all. For whatever reason, I’ve not forgotten the snub.

He was just the first opportunist I had encountered. There would be many more, whose actions would be far more egregious in their impact on the movement. At this point, we didn’t even know there was a movement! And, as I said, I just correctly surmised he was a tool. Haven’t changed my mind.

A small sampling of submissions from December, 2009.

The reality is that, over all, these early days, weeks, and months were a truly magical time. We would learn about a new app. Had to have it. They were buggy and the iPhone cameras at the time were awful. What were we shooting with? And iPhone 2? Yes. A 3GS? Yes. They were buggy too and you had to app the pictures to make anything interesting, most of the time. It was great. Many were the nights I would fall asleep sitting in my easy chair, phone in my hand, just trying out a different edit on picture. Or realizing I had to start over … because something needed fixing to be okay at later stages of editing.

We did get our first bit of press from Oakbook Magazine, a local glossy print and online presences. On December 8, the published our call for submissions on their website:

There are more than a 100,000 photos on Yahoo’s popular photo sharing site, Flickr, that have been taken with an iPhone. And most of them are way better than you expect pictures taken on a phone to be.

“A folk art form has unfolded where the depiction of reality and spontaneous events has been assisted not through the sophistication of the camera, but through its ubiquitous presence in our everyday lives,” writes Oakland-based architect Rae Douglass, who runs a local art gallery – Giorgi gallery.

With that in mind, he and Knox Bronson, a local musician/graphic designer/ photographer, are collaborating on a show that will only exhibit photos taken on an iPhone.

“The iPhone’s camera is a pretty basic camera,” says Knox. “Other phones have more advanced cameras. So, in my mind, if you can take good photos with the constrains of an iPhone – it doesn’t even have a zoom – that’s interesting.”

Here’s their call for submissions for Pixels at an Exhibition. They’re inviting artists and non-artists alike to send in their iPhone photos. The deadline is January 15.

We still had no idea what was coming. Did you notice the “100,000 iPhone pictures on Flickr” number? Three years ago, people were uploading half-a-billion pictures a day to social networks.

As far as submissions for the show went, pictures started to trickle in, via email. I would show them to Maia. We would talk about about them. I would post them on the site.

It was December, the Christmas season, so we were busy with that, but were both obsessed with making pictures all the time.

On December 28, we got a huge surprise. The New York Times wrote up the Giorgi Call For Submissions in their Venture Beat section. They even published three pictures from the site. Now that I think about it, they didn’t bother to ask permission, but they did credit the photographs.

When photography became commonplace in the late 19th century, it took several decades and pioneers like Alfred Stieglitz before it became accepted as fine art. Today, with ubiquitous cell phone cameras and now mobile live-video streaming, expect the divide between high and low art to become even narrower.

A San Francisco Bay Area gallery is testing that idea with a photo contest that asks people to submit their artiest iPhone-taken pictures. At between 2 and 3.2 megapixels, depending on the model, the iPhone has a weak camera compared to competitors. But Giorgi Gallery, which is running the competition, says, “The eye of the artist is always more important than the technology in the creation of beautiful art.” Two hundred winners will get prints of their photos shown at an exhibition in Berkeley next month.

You can read the article here.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited about that! As you might imagine, the rate of submissions coming in increased substantially.

More images received in December.

I have created seven galleries for all the 200+ images we received in that month. Galleries 3 through 7 can be found here and galleries 1 & 2 can be found here.

Sion Fullana

Beyond the call for submissions for the first-ever gallery show of iPhone photography, the most important thing that happened in the nascent iPhoneographic movement this month was my discovery of an interview with renowned iPhone street photographer, Sion Fullana.

I am aware that many prefer the term “mobile photography/photographer” to iPhone photography or iphoneography, or my phrase, “iphonic art,” but I don’t like it and I will address this in great detail later on in this series.

I do believe that Sion’s interview, on a photography blog from long ago (I can’t find it now) was the first ever interview with an iPhone photographer.

A small sampling of Sion’s work.

Sion is a very talented photographer and artist. His place in our iphoneographic firmament is well-earned. He is a kind, generous, and upstanding man beyond the parameters of his art. I remember those qualities all came shining through in the interview.

But then, the interviewer asked Sion about post-processing his photos. Sion mentioned a couple apps. I can’t remember which (there were hardly any back in those days!) and then he mentioned that he also did some post-processing on his Macintosh computer.

While the remark was innocent enough … millions of photographers did image processing on their computers, I had spent the last two months obsessed with what I firmly believed (and believe to this day) was a new artistic medium, images shot and processed on the iPhone.

It is not an overstatement to say that my heart sank when I read this. I really had no idea who Sion was, nor was I aware of the Flickr pecking order at the time. Flickr iPhone groups were dominated by street photographers and Sion was the rightful and undisputed Godfather. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him in late 2010 and, also, I got a wonderful interview with him for iPhotographer Magazine a couple years ago.

Back to the interview: as is my wont, I blithely posted a comment to the effect that Mr. Fullana’s pictures would not be, unfortunately, eligible for submission to our show. No one knew who I was. I’m not sure how many people noticed the comment, but I know some did, including Sion.

And so, battle lines were drawn that day. The battle was for the very soul of iPhoneography.

I wasn’t aware of this at the time: I was just asserting what I knew to be true and mandatory if we wanted to maintain the purity of the medium. I instinctively understood that the art form was already under assault from the photographers who wanted to make iPhone photography a subset of “real” photography, and were therefore willing to allow off-device editing and I was going to be damned if I would allow the movement to devolve into another bunch of Adobe Photoshop websites among thousands of others.

The battle over off-device editing would get very heated over the next eight months or so. And it was Pixels (me) against the world. I shall address this issue, along with final outcome (Pixels and, therefore, the whole iPhoneographic movement, won.), in great detail in a future post for this series.

I am going close with this piece I wrote sometime in December of 2009. I am not sure for whom or what I wrote it, but since it refers to “iphontography,” I know it was from that month. I got the new domain, pixelsatanexhibition.com on New Year’s Day.

The piece will convey very clearly my perception of our new medium and what my (and Pixels‘) priorities would be.

Okay, here goes:

The iPhone IS a simple, limited, almost awful camera, which is part of its great allure for me personally. But I also love the apps. Almost every iPhontographer I like has a “toolkit” of apps he or she favors. Marty Yawnick, who had three pictures in the show, and flew out from Dallas for the opening, calls it his “camera bag.”

So the images we see are not manipulated as those in advertisements, or fashion magazines, or Playboy, to SELL something, but (and this is my opinion only) rather to bring out the greater truth of the image for the artist – and this is where, after the initial shot is taken, the artist’s personality emerges. And, naturally, the subject of the photo tells us volumes about the artist as well.

I refer you to my own much-manipulated images: https://knoxbronson.com/art/ – lots of experimentation. and every once in a while i get lucky. another couple people who do a lot of creative manipulation and layering, using multiple apps, on the site are Jon Betts and Maia Panos, both of whom are in a league of their own as far as i am concerned … I’m sure there are others but I know a lot about each of their methods, so they come immediately to mind.

The rule for the show was no manipulation on a computer. 

It is a mistake, though an easy one to make, to compare iPhontography solely to traditional photography.

It is a new medium, which simply begins with the photographic process.

I’m not quite sure how everything fits together, but i believe it is also a new form of printmaking (now that Rae and I have demonstrated how lovely the prints look with the gallery show for all to see – and the book will spread the message much further), and of course all the other things you mention come into play as well. 

True, these are images taken in the moment, but sometimes I take forty shots in that moment (I am not the only one who does that) and then spend a long time massaging the image and combining or layering it with others which have also been filtered, sharpened, tinted, saturated, desaturated, vignetted, or whatever … which would be akin to pushing the film and dodging and burning prints in the darkroom in old time analog photography.

This is all brand-new. No one else is doing this, that I know of. People hear iphontography and think of their cell phone pictures from the bar. No one in the real art world is taking this seriously yet. I do, but I am an outsider.

However, it is my goal to push this art form, and the art of people whose work I like, including my own (!) out into the gallery and art world. It’s  going to take some time. And it’s going to be one little show at a time, I think. The book* will help immensely, of course.

But it will happen.

I am going to publish this now. I will probably add more pictures later, but I think it is a long enough read as it is. If you have thoughts about any of this, feel free to comment or to write me at knox@knoxbronson.com.

The next installment will focus on January of 2010 and the opening of the Pixels at an Exhibition show at the Giorgi Gallery.

*A book I have yet to get published, although I have a comprehensive proposal and outline for. Any agents, publishers out there? :)

{halloween} Clint Cline ~ The Fever

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever

Sun lights up the daytime
Moon lights up the night
Captain Smith and Pocahontas
Had a very mad affair Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet she felt the same

I light up when you call my name
And you know I’m gonna treat you right

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever

Sun lights up the daytime
Moon lights up the night
Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
You give me fever

{en vedette} Mounting Telephoto Lenses Onto An iPhone

Originally published December 3, 2009.

Found it looking for something else.

From Cult of Mac:

Through a glass viewed darkly, if not even muculently: the iPhone camera stinks.
To be fair, that’s not entirely Apple’s fault. While there are certainly better camera sensors out there than the one Apple chose to install as the retina in their little iBall, there’s a clear correlation between sensor size and image quality when it comes to digital cameras, and you can only make a cell phone’s sensor so big.
Nothing to be done about the sensor then. But like a fly hovering over hamburger, gadget tinkerer Bhautik Joshi had a seemingly stupid question buzzing around in his brain meats: can you improve the quality of the images the iPhone takes by attaching an old Canon SLR lens?

For the record, iPhontography hopes that Apple never improves the iPhone camera. (Editor’s note: I still feel this way in 2019)

The Phone-O-Scope: Attaching SLR lenses to an iPhone

From the website:

I’ve been trying to learn a bit more about the optics involved in mid- to pro-level cameras, and I’ve been finding that getting out the tools and doing some hacking serves as a great mechanism for instruction. Just recently the idea of optical couplers – that is, a system to transmit light from one optical device to another to make an image – has gotten my attention.

Mainly just to see if it was possible (and to teach myself about optical couplers), I thought I’d try my hand at building an adapter so I could attach SLR lenses to my iPhone.

See how to do it here.

I love it!

The Art of the iPhone

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