Friday, July 20, 2012

Field Notes-2 (2012)

"kids on ferry" (c) 2012 george elsasser

Field Notes - will be a place I post new photos I am considering, studying & so forth. These are not presently images you will find on my website. If you missed them here are Field Notes-1.

One of the things going on in most images below is a concentration on using the patterns, shapes, positions, repetitions of arms and hands. While I am posting this stuff I thought it might be of help to others if I tell you what I am after.

(So info in these will be intended for teaching, - hopefully some people will find the information of value) 

Please drop me a comment and let me know if this helps anyone.  I do not know everything about photography, but am happy to pass on things I have learned.

"american flag and beach goers" (c) george elsasser

 "beach patio' (c) 2012 george elsasser

(I enjoy the sense of mystery I get from the man in the black suit, it to me is as if he dropped in from another place maybe an agent. Why is he here in a tranquil setting?  I have enjoyed the hand full of times a person has shown up in a photo they seem to not belong too.)

Liked this one initially, but I am about to reject it. This "mind changing" "post post letdown" will be part of  the "Field Notes"  personality.

I find it interesting when the compositions utilize multiple triangles in the structure, certainly not a conscious thing on my part, these events happen much to quickly for that.

"family at the beach" (c) 2012 george elsasser

'bike riders" (c) 2012 george elsasser

(Sometimes the Gods do help us. "Neptunium" Bicycle?)

"people walking" (c) 2012 george elsasser

 (Another person who seems dropped into the photo for me (it must be his stillness next to the movement of the others that increases this sensation I get). I enjoy studying the stride of people in my images. It is crucial to me from one frame to the next which one has the tension or spring in the movement.)

"girl posing" (c) 2012 george elsasser

(I enjoy the diagonal line implied by the boys arm but more so the subtle reinforcement of that diagonal by his turned gaze. I often hope and try to tie together like colors running from front, middle and rear ground together.) 

"people photographing sculpture" (c) 2012 george elsasser

(Here I enjoy the triangle created between the foreground women's arm and body and the one created by her head and arm forcing a triangle to appear top left.  If it was not for the triangle created by the man (RT) by his elbow and arm the image would fail for me.  It is nice luck, serendipity or synchronicity (chose your poison) that his bag is red and there are red shapes in the mid ground by the column. As an image maker I ask myself what would happen as I begin to remove  these things from the photograph. The man white tee shirt (RT) on beach and his forward lean and movement also help to pull the eye to the (RT) side of the image, especially important because the image is loaded heavily left. White also pulls the eye strongly to itself.  The other thing that works here is the blue shirt (LT) side and the blue stripped shorts (RT) side.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

LOOK3 (event pictures)

"Look3, Lynn Johnson's opening" (c) 2012 george elsasser
People chatting at Lynn Johnson's opening
"Look3 Paramount Theater" (c) 2012 george elsasser
Paramount Theater

"Alex Webb at Lynn Johnson's opening, Look3" (c) 2012 george elsasser
Alex Webb enjoys Lynn Johnson's opening

"Camille Seaman talks with colleagues Look3" (c) 2012 george elsasser
Camille Seaman talks shop with colleagues

"Bruce Gilden at Johnson's opening at Look3" (c) 2012 george elsasser
Bruce Gilden enjoying the Johnson opening

"Bruce Gilden installation at Look3" (c) 2012 george elsasser
Gilden meets Evan's sign

Other Look3 info here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Field Notes-1 (2012)

"beach family and body board" (c) 2012 george elsasser

Here are some recent images I am pleased with. Similar style images are found here in Field Notes-2. My thoughts at this time are to include some candid street type moments (which in artistic concerns are on a similar wave length as my largest body of work in incidents & intersections) into my current book which of course means I just signed up for a ton more work. 

 "hula hoop" (c) 2012 george elsasser

The book currently involves work from 2005-2010. I am thinking I might be pulling from 2001 to present, not sure yet, but it has become a wide open project. 
I am thrilled to mention, I am going to release some control and get another set of eyes on my greater body of images to see if it can not be a little more holistic in scope of pictures used. I have chosen to work with Mike Davis for his excellent skills as an photo editor, graphic sensibilities and especially because his background is slightly different than mine. All the better to bring new things to the table. 

So I have made my ambitions for my book considerably larger. I am trusting the process and plan to take the revamped one with me to photolucida next April.
some background on my candid work:

Sans a few late 70s NYC street images, I guess some of the first of my street images were made in December of 2001 in NYC at the WTC site. Hopefully the best of those will surface on the blog eventually. To pay for a roof I did candid-journalist wedding photography from 1996-2008, which began to make me attracted to candid moments in general and this eventually got me working on that in my personal work.  I thoroughly enjoyed capturing the energy emotions and movement at those events, trying to move and flow in and out of situations was very challenging and fun. It reminded me of childhood little league and sports in general. The physicality, rhythm and timing needed to be developed were a joy to work on.

Now doing this kind of dance in public is entirely different,in public I am not given "cart blanch-right of way" as I had at weddings. It has taken me a few years to develop some techniques to get interesting images in the public world in a sea of moving people.

It is the same energy and unfolding and collapsing of events in real time that excites me. Finding ways to ebb and flow through an ever changing situation is a blast. It reminds me of younger days when I surfed, because in that sport one moves with and on the surface of a constantly changing form.

My small urban landscape thing is much more akin to snow skiing where the mountain does not move, I move and it stays the same.  Well in fact this analogy is bent. With every movement the photographer or skier makes what is seen or occluded changes quite a bit. On the street with people it is all motion at once, it is fantastic, moving water not frozen.

Strangely enough the rate of successful images seems about the same, even when one setting seems to me an easier situation. Which leads me to believe there are things going on beneath the surface of what I perceive. Taping into this flow no matter the work or approach is a lot of what I am about. As I said before after so many years photographing and living life I feel more like an instrument being played than someone playing an instrument.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Exhibition Review: Intersections: 20 yr. retrospective of photographs by George Elsasser (2of2)

"river grass" (c) 1994-2000 george elsasser

The  following is:
Copyright (c) 2010, The Virginia-Pilot. Reprinted with permission.
The original article appeared in Port Folio Weekly December 7-14 issue, 1997.

From Stark To Lively, Photographer Captures Life
By Catherine Dorsey

Over the past 20 years, the work of photographer George Elsasser has made the progression from stark black and white photos to painterly Polaroids to brilliantly colored and dreamlike abstractions.  Each stage holds it’s own fascination: Elsasser’s multi-faceted talent is evident in a retrospective on view at the Hermitage Foundation Museum in Norfolk.

The earliest photos in black and white demonstrate the beginnings of Elsasser’s exploration of contrast and form over content, a journey which culminates in the artist’s most recent images called the Colorfield series.  The 1980 image Window isolates one section of a steamed-over glass pane.  A few water droplets course through the intricate pattern made by the steam, leaving their snail-trail on the heavily beaded surface.  The patterns in the corner of a stainless steel kitchen sink become the subject for Sink. The interesting curves and reflections of the slick steel, spangled with a textural coating of shimmering water droplets, are focal points while the object becomes secondary.

Elsasser’s images become more complex as they progress chronologically.  Objects arranged in odd and unexpected settings create a surreal atmosphere.  The trompe l’ oeil effect achieved in the 1992 image No Fish is uncanny.  A pot holder shaped like a fish, at first startling in it’s lifelike appearance, rests in the seat of a molded deck chair.  The simple composition sets a complex chain of thoughts in motion by altering our perceptions of reality.  While the photograph is a color image, the delicately tinted fish provides the only color against the stark white plastic chair.  The viewer tends to first perceive the photo as black and white, which it is not, and the fish as real, which it is not.

Three black and white portraits from the early 90’s are quite natural and have a frank quality that is refreshing.  A series of spontaneous manipulated Polaroids retain the surrealism found in several of Elsasser’s larger images.  In Apple, a bright red apple is blurred into wavy lines while it’s reflection in a stainless steel toaster remains crisp and clear.

Intense color and thoughtful composition are hallmarks of Elsasser’s new large-scale Colorfield photographs, which utilize focus rather than light as tools to shape the image to his mind’s eye.  A few sharply focused details emerge from the blurred and often incomprehensible organic subject matter.  The eye struggles to discern individual objects in these brilliant tapestries of color. Two withered stalks of grass and a pine cone stand in stark contrast to the soft green and brown wash of blurred greenery in Colorfield-56. The viewer becomes a voyeur in Colorfield-72.  A stockade-like row of slender tree trunks are in focus in the foreground, while the sunlit landscape beyond flirtatiously eludes the eye.  The golden vista tantalizes by remaining forever just out of reach.

Catherine Dorsey was in the art gallery business for 12 years. She is a native of Norfolk and has a degree in Art History from University of Richmond.

The Colorfield Series is now called Particle Pool

Different review of intersections
Information on Particle Pool

Sunday, July 1, 2012

website galleries

02-21-14 (update)

These links lead to my current portfolios and information about them.  If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email.  

I am continuing to improve my new site hopefully making things much easier. I apologize for any inconveniences.  Thanks for visiting.


observing liberty

Mammals at the beach

In Step

After 10 years of photographing weddings in a candid style I became interested in street photography. It seems to be a combination of some of my current landscape concerns along with trying to get me into a position that locates people in positions I find pleasing as they visually interact with the landscape.  working portfolio flickr

plane encounters


fencing flora

Effigies  (2004-)

Photographer's Pencil  (drawings:1997-2000)  

Particle Pool  (1994-2001)

Incidents & Intersections (1983-)

Excavation  (1977-1983)

arrivals & departures  2013-
working portfolio flickr

"reflection in old glass" (c) george elsasser

Leela  2005-
working portfolio at flickr

"outdoor stairs on rock wall" (c) george elsasser

Current b&w  1994-   
working portfolio at flickr          

Still Remains  2005- 
working portfolio at flickr        

PAINTINGS  (1992-2000) 
portfolio - not shown at this time

This group includes both mixed media, works on paper and paintings on canvas. They as the drawings, were made to aid in loosening and further informing my photographic work. At the time I begun these paintings I felt photography was not giving me the visceral or emotional impact I sought at the time. In addition I really felt a strong attraction to the surfaces of paintings and that language mostly is non existent in photographic prints. When I stand next to a painting (particularly modern ones) I often want to inspect them with my hands in addition to my eyes. Sculpture is almost irresistible in this regard but unfortunately I know better. I wanted a heavier hand so-to-speak with a more blatant emotional energy and wanted to shake my photographic history somewhat. These were the first paintings I had made while not pursuing a formal education other than some I had made during my childhood.