Friday, January 22, 2010

about the photography blog

This photography blog provides links for emerging and unknown photographers. I am also trying to include festival and photobook observations. My primary focus here is on fine art photography and some journalistic work. On occasion I like to write about my thoughts on certain photographers and art in general. This blog also currently has a section called "field notes" which is intended to keep folks updated on my current work and news.

(update 8-24-12)

Many new submissions links added - see right side scroll.  It has never been so good. It is a great time in photography it has never been better for unknowns - NEVER! There are literally 50-100+ very easy opportunities to get your work seen. Trust me from 1977 till into late 90s getting your work seen was mostly very difficult. Photographs of photographs (as expensive slides - I spent bundles of money on) return shipping, copies of copies endless effort for 10 opportunities. If you did get your slides looked at, sometimes the gatekeeper might hold them up to a light source if you were lucky. People would mostly not look at work, getting a foot in a door required a personal  recommendation and ad infinitum.

Something has changed maybe I have been under a rock on my personal journey but I am shocked.  It seems the interest in photography has exploded, or is it just the Internet, blogs, web zines, twitter and so on bringing people together. Not sure but it seems there are tons more places everywhere to show work.  This is a great time to be alive.

about the author

George Elsasser holds a BA in Art, had early recognition from Robert Heinecken, Emmet Gowin, and George Krause as juror's in shows at venues such as the Chrysler Museum of Art and NYU. His work received six solo and has been included in eleven group shows. In 1997 he received a 20-Year Retrospective at the Hermitage Foundation Museum.

You can find more about the author below:


to be moved:

"image of cedar tree seen at night", (c) george elsasser
 Art for me thrives in small dark overlooked corners where discoveries seem fleeting and are hard won but nothing is ever finished or cornered, authentic journeys are necessary but not necessarily seen, and things out of reach always call and flicker in a darkness one can never fully illuminate. If one could we would lay, rest and have lost all curiosity.

Thanks for visiting. My primary or longest running body of work has been smallish urban landscapes emphasizing abstract qualities of light and form. These images from 1977 to about 1984 were primarily b&w. Around 1983 I was feeling a strong need to add more emotion to my work and began to work in color. It was very challenging to use the colors found in the world to convey my messages. It was a massive transition having to now create images with all the additional information color brought to the images. The images still held a similar mystical quality as the b&w images, but now spoke with a stronger and more multi-textured voice. This work continues to this day.

"image of oak tree shadow" (c) george elsasser

"image of beach towel in store window", (c) george elsasser

From1994 till about 2001 there was a major shift in my work as I became very interested in exploring the aberrations and distortions inherent in the photographic lens (as asset rather than a thing to avoid) as they broke down areas of focus. To my way of thinking these were certainly part of the photographic language, even if they were a less modulated voice they were still certainly part of what elements came together to create the standard photographic language we are accustomed to. One might think of them as simply voice, tones, or the sounds of a source but not yet words. I wanted to see if I could use the previously unanimously considered negative aspects of a lens's personality as the most dominant voice (or across the entire surface) of an image. 

I wanted to see what kind of images I might wrestle out of working in this manor. My intent was to create an all over composition of flowing lines filled with light and color. The natural landscape was where I worked. The pictures were certainly not “nature photographs” but maybe images that spoke of the energy behind nature. At this time I spent a great deal of time both drawing and painting in an effort to loosen my photographic vision.

"image of twisted vines" (c) george elsasser

Interview: george elsasser (1990)

"image of a snow covered car", (c) george elsasser

the following is:
copyright (c) 2010, The Progress-index . Reprinted with permission.
The original article appeared in the Entertainment Guide Friday, June 22, 1990

'Incidents' on display at art league 
by Katie Thomas
P-1 Staff Writer

Petersburg - “Incidents” an exhibition of 26 recent photographs by Virginia Beach artist, George Elsasser, is on display at the Petersburg Area Art League, 13 Rock St., through July 12.  Elsasser's will be the Art League's last major exhibit until September.

Elsasser strives to create feelings or personal remembrances of incidents in objects and contrasts in his work.  He uses images to “accomplish collective symbols that have been passed down.  Symbols in my work hopefully strike an unconscious cord with the viewer,” he said.

“It's not important to me that the viewer gets exactly what I put out.  I hope that his or her life experiences connects somewhere with the imagery,” said Elsasser.

Elsassers finds he is attracted to unusual rather than common subjects.  He attempts to capture the line between the real object and the symbol or feeling it may be attached to.  “Photographs are our most realistic interpetation of real things.  I like to walk the balance between real things and unreal,” Elsasser said.

He often finds the symbolic image or feeling between real and unreal by contrasting objects.  “I like contrasts between beautiful with ugly, death with life.  Death to me is not the literal appearance but a change or moving on from what I was to the new beginning of what I may become,” said Elsasser.

Elsasser sees photography as the opportunity to understand the object and to anticipate what it might look like when it becomes a photographic image.

“It is my hope that my work will hit them on a feeling level with either comfort or unease,” said Elsasser.

Elsasser has been working exclusively in color in the last six years.  He said black and white describes form, but adding color gives the image a whole other dimension while staying part of the form.

The artist's interest in photography began 13 years ago with a college photography class.  Elsasser was shooting the usual “family, sunset, landscape photos until he saw a long surf board with a strip down the middle on a picnic table in a yard.  “I realized if I could present 'X' amount of information and leave a lot away from the viewer then that image would look like a road.  With that image I understood that this art was limitless.”  Since November, Elsasser has been working full time on his art.

Elsasser's works have been featured in many notable shows to include “American Vision” New York University, New York and “Light Images” at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk.  Several of his works are included in the private collections of the First Virginia Bank and the Kirn Memorial Library in Norfolk.

Elsasser holds a fine arts degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, and has studied at the Zone VI Workshop in Vermont and Sally Mann-Platinum Printing in Newport News.

“Incidents” will remain on display at the Petersburg Area Art League, from 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Call 861-4611 for information.

"image of morning light striking a shirt & jacket", (c) george elsasser
"image of water drops on car hood", (c) 1985 george elsasser

"image of buildings and corners", (c) 1987 george elsasser

"image of empty grave", (c) 1987 george elsasser

"image of a pool, green hose and parched earth", (c) 1987 george elsasser

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exhibition Review: "Intersections: 20 yr. retrospective of photographs by George Elsasser" (1of2)

art & street photography, candid, composition, spirit, nature's energy, abstraction, illumination, inner light, (c) george elsasser

The following is:
Copyright (c)2010, The Virginia-Pilot. Reprinted with permission.
The original article appeared in The Daily Break December 7, 1997.

Fresh approach elevates nature photographer’s work
By Teresa Annas,

From 1992 to 1994, roughly, George Elsasser the long time photographer became Elsasser the painter.

It wasn’t exactly action painting he engaged in, but a kind of energetic Art Brut style inspired by directly expressive painters such as Jean Dubuffet, Karel Appel and Willem de Kooning.  He came back to photography as inspired as ever.

In the 20-year retrospective on view at the Hermitage Foundation Museum, that hiatus from shooting provides the line of demarcation between the early work, much of it black-and-white, and his later color work, distinguished by an extremely narrow depth of field.

After his bout with painting, Elsasser immediately shifter to larger prints- canvas-scale, you could say- and began to fill the picture frame with an overall, abstract, rhythmic pattern entirely drawn from a found natural setting.  Woods chiefly.

The pictures are generally close views, haiku-like, of a mindfully composed arrangement of sticks, tree limbs, tree trunks and leaves.The scene may extend far into the distance, yet only a few inches of the scene are in focus.  The rest is fuzzy or distorted. Often, the background shapes and colors break down into discs of semi-transparent color overlapping one another, and reminiscent of Impressionism, at least in the shared sense of tricking the eye into blending rough bits of color.

The challenge for Elsasser, a Virginia Beach commercial photographer by trade, may be considered as: How do you make an artful image, a picture with meaning, that utilizes your well-developed technical skills without looking too slick?

Color photos of nature are as plentiful as pine straw, and many of them are boring.  Since 1994, Elsasser has hit on a fresh way of seeing that emerged from his searching attitude regarding the technical aspects, and his own commitment to losing himself in his subject.

While the late color work is clearly a mature phase, the earlier black-and-white work also showed evidence of an intelligent eye schooled in the history of art photography.  Even his 1977 photos- shot at age 21- are strong.  One is a mysterious black-and-white image that turns out to be a surfboard reflecting nearby woods.

And there are hints of what’s to come.  In 7609-D of 1981, he captured a column of light on a living room wall, above the couch. Like two wide strokes of white gouache, the semi-transparent light strokes quiver on the surface.  Here, the mystical pops in on the mundane, as it would again and again.

art & street photography, candid, composition, spirit, nature's energy, abstraction, illumination, inner light, (c) george elsasser

There is a second review of the exhibition here.

I have since renamed the Colorfield Series to Particle Pool.

Info on Particle Pool is found here under Gallery-3