Keith Johnson Photographs


Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Thinking about Status Quo

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Thomas L. Friedman got me thinking with an column in the Times this Sunday, titled “Making America Stupid”.  I have resisted writing about the campaign because I am feeling bereft and adrift and shaking my head a lot.  But this quote has resonated and stcks not only for what it says about some of the current politics, it also applies to my recent thinking about making art.  “As they say in Texas: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got'”  It is brilliant in its simplicity and language.  He is a really smart guy.

I haven’t posted a picture as I don’t have one I feel is appropriate just now but I will.  It may be something new.

Penland-Day IV

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The rain continues…day IV of the workshop hostage crisis here at Penland, NC.  We got out to shoot for about 2 hours this afternoon but now (9:30pm) it is raining again, a lot.  Clothes from yesterday are still wet.

I am LX Tour

Monday, August 11th, 2008

The LX tour of New England included stops at Stowe, VT, Franconia, NH, Gloucester, MA and Newport, RI.  A notable stop for dinner was The Alchemist in Waterbury, VT (20 min south of Stowe).  Brewmaster John Kimmich makes perhaps the best IPA in captivity.  Food is recommendable too.  Definitely worth a stop.  Our stop in Gloucester included a chest deep ocean meeting with my able web master Steve Brettler at smallfish web deisgn.  There are firsts for everything.

Further nattering about feeling young: Newport Jazz Festival dished up 78 year old “Saxophone Colassus” Sonny Rollins.  This event marked his return to the Newport Jazz Festival stage for the first time since 1958.  The man can play and play.  When I see someone like Rollins still doing what he clearly loves and does so well, considering he has been doing it for more than 60 years, it is truly humbling.

The two day affair was marked with terrific weather, emerging talent (Anat Cohen, Guillermo Klein, Chris Potter, Brian Blade) and established musicians (Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter, Bill Frissell).  It is an extremely well run event in a stunning setting with Fort Adams creating a “natural” amphitheater and Newport Harbor as an awesomely beautiful back drop.

Decade VI or LX+

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Roman numerals (while difficult to figure out) lend a certain ageless quality.

So I turned 60 on 8/2/08 and I have been entertained by comments and suggestions.  The best being “time to fill your pockets with rocks and walk into the bay.”  Though I am not ready it is a marvelous suggestion.  On 8/2 we saw and listened to Dave Brubeck play with his group and listened to an interview with him and Paquito D’Rivera and I felt rather like a teenager considering he is 87 and managing a pretty full concert schedule.  Oh my.  Last summer he played at Newport Jazz Festival and was terrific.

Starry Night

Yale has in addition to the afore mentioned Abe Morell show a small but worthy show of two pictures by Van Gogh:  Starry Night and Cypresses.   it is a solid art experience to have a timed viewing slot to view two paintings in a yellow room perhaps 15 ft. square with 8 other intimate (new) friends.  Who has time to feel 60?

more soon.

Light Room 2.0

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

It is here and it is good.  It answers most all the post shoot needs I have, leaving Photoshop for heavy lifting.  The pundits will build it up or tear it down but it works very nicely.  My guess is that it will even get better.

Fall at CEPA and VSW

Monday, July 14th, 2008

I have been awarded an Artist in Residence position this fall by CEPA in Buffalo, NY.  I will have a month to photograph the corridor between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The area is full of the stuff I love to look at: tourists, industrial waste land, industry and the power grid, kitch and Niagara Falls.  I figure if I simply work my way from Buffalo to Niagara Falls every day on either Niagara Falls Blvd (rte 62) or Military Avenue I can’t miss. There is enough material to share.  On top of the AIR gig I will have available the Leaf 75S Aptus digital back for my SWC.  How could things get better?  Read on.

Concurrent with the AIR gig, I will be Visiting Artist at VSW covering the 1st year photography line and critic with 2nd year students.  It promises to be an interesting 15 weeks.  The students at VSW are square pegs trying to fit (or not) into round holes.  There is a locus of energy and creativity that is palpable that I have known since I was a workshop student there in 1972.  I return willingly and enjoy my time thouroughly.  I love it.

20×200 redux: Rajotte

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

James Rajotte, student and now colleague has also been selected and has nearly sold out his edition on Jen Bekman’s 20×200.  Great for James and great for Jen.   His work is worth a look.

James is off to Frenchtown, PA (read middle of no where) for three weeks of photo concentration.  I’ll post something form this effort as soon as available.

D3 and Me

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

I am test driving a D3 for a couple of weeks and will post some reactions and images as they show up.  First reaction though was surprise at the size of the camera, particularly with the 24-70 lens on it.  Overall it was about 50% larger than my SWC.  The camera has a very high KPD factor (Knobs per Dollar) requiring 45 minutes to tweak the camera into submission before making the first exposure.  Why are there so many buttons?  I shot this past week with my SWC and with only one button still was able to make pictures.  Go figure.

After shooting for two weeks and before I worked with a file; some comments.  The D3 is still big.  And heavy.  I made it a bit smaller by using a Zeiss 25/2.8 Distagon.  I decided I do not need autofocus but aperture prioity is a good thing.  Te D3 is simply too much camera for the way I work.  Having said that and hearing that Nikon has announced a D700 which is a bit smaller, same sensor and having some fewer bells and whistles and  $2000 less this may be getting closer to the answer.

I shot 6GB with the D3 and found it to be reiable and easy to use once you were ready to use it.  There are still about 50 menues I haven’t touched and won’t.  Why don’t camera manufacturers get it?

I’ll add to this as things develop.  Pun intended.

Jackson Hole Workshop

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

One of the great places to take and give a workshop is Jackson, WY. The place is terrific, the people (Jon Stuart and Thomas Stimpson) are terrific, and the ghosts of William Henry Jackson and Ansel Adams are felt everywhere. Making new pictures is the hard part, but with excellent weather, great skies, it is worth the effort.

The workshop is “Photographiing the Contemporary Landscape” and runs July 21-25.

Jackson Hole is a place of immense photographic opportunity. From the Tetons to the county fair, from moose and bear to wildlife of another sort, we will investigate how the natural landscape and the social landscape collide to offer up grand photographic possibilities. Students will discover their vision of the American West. There will be daily lectures, critiques and shooting trips in the area and beyond in search of the photographic holy grail. Bring your cameras and plenty of enthusiasm for a week of looking, seeing and picture making. The emphasis is on having a great time in a great place.

Jackson Hole Art Association.


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