ImageGuy

My photography, my art, my thoughts.

Keep On Bookin’

Adult art ahead.

I just published what I believe is my 15th book. I publish at least one book per year to stay creative as a portfolio piece. This book, like the previous one, deals with nudes. Last year I published two books. Le Femme, a book of portraits of young women, and Le Femme 2, a book of studio nudes, pin-ups and lingerie photographs. I also do a lot of digital abstract art that derives from photographs. This year’s book combines the studio nude with abstract art and digital manipulation. It is titled COLOR NUDES.

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I have spent about three years photographing models in the studio, most of whom are not professionals, but simply young women interested in the experience and in earning some extra money. The images used in COLOR NUDES begin as studio nudes and are then processed though numerous digital techniques and soft wares to achieve an image that pleases me.

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Usually there will be multiple variations of the image altering color and techniques to achieve different looks. Every image is an experiment. I use similar techniques from picture to picture, but the various steps will never be the same from one picture to the next. I am usually always surprised at some point in the process with a sudden change that makes me just say “yes!”.

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I believe most artists must feel similarly when painting, drawing, or photographing someone who is nude that it is a rather intimate experience, a sharing between the artist and the subject that extends beyond cordiality. I have come to greatly appreciate the confidence, the strength, the frankness, the self-assured beauty of these young models. They have offered their bodies as canvas for me and allowed me the opportunity to present them as interpretations of the female form.

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One of the techniques I use creates what I call “digital solarization”.  If you have ever seen a solarized black and white photograph like those by Man Ray, you know what I mean.

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Next year’s book is already underway. It will be different from all the other books I have done. There’ll be more about it as 2019 unfolds.

All of my books (most of them anyway) are available through Blurb.  http://www.blurb.com/user/preparator

All images are ©Imageguy Artbooks and George Cannon

Imageguy ––

 

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I’ve been to the end of the world

This year I took some needed time off for a vacation. I rented a place through Home Away in the upper ninth ward Bywater District of New Orleans. The place needed some attention on the outside, but the inside was exactly what I was looking for.  Mark came down from Connecticut to join me for some pictures, some good food, and some good music, not forgetting sufficient gin and tonics.  On my way through Mississippi I passed through a nearly abandoned little town that called for a brief stop.

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My goal was to drive down to the tips of the delta and see what was there. Urban Landscape is one of my favorite gigs, so we were looking for the real Louisiana Delta. I was expecting weathered fishing camps on the canals with shrimp boats and ice houses and old guys wearing boots. I was highly surprised to find most of it much the opposite.  Ranch land, huge houses built on very high stilts surrounded by large oaks, miles of grassy marsh with little else. But eventually, we reached Delacroix and discovered we had reached the end of the world.  Beyond here lie beasties and calamity.

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We also drove a leg farther west down to Grand Isle. A gulf vacation community and state park on the tip of an island about as far out into the Gulf as you can get. Can’t imagine how they weather hurricanes down here. I would imagine most of these summer places belong to people in the oil and gas industry since they are a huge presence along the highway in.

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We toured the oldest cemetery in NOLA and I learned some amazing facts about the old phrases “saved by the bell” and “I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole”. Saw a pyramid owned by Nicholas Cage and three different graves for Marie Laveau, the voodoo priestess.

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I love New Orleans. It breathes. Our landlord said Katrina was one of the worst and best things that ever happened to the city. He said the city was fading, but the storm brought a big influx of capital. It’s a city of history, and culture, and dialects, and tastes. Frenchman’s Street with the jazz clubs, The Spotted Cat, the beads and the voodoo, the river, and a raccoon named Rick.  One of my favorite cities.

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Good friends and new environments make for the best kind of vacation. The motto in the Bywater is “Be nice or leave”.

imageguy

On Finding Creativity

My back yard is a storage facility. Sounds odd, I know. But several years ago I needed a new place to live. I needed a place with some space. I had a fair amount of furniture already and wanted space, as most do, that would allow for the occasional visitor. I had been looking at apartments, but everything is so boring and unimaginative, and I like my privacy, so not a big fan of big complexes with neighbors like motel rooms. Then I found the ad.

The house is a Gothic style, added on to, farm house, with hard wood floors, three bedrooms, one of which is big enough for a photo studio, kitchen, living room, dining room, library, laundry room, and two full baths. It was cheaper than a crummy two bedroom in student housing. And interestingly, I knew an artist who owned this house over thirty-five years ago.

But I digress.  This post is really about finding creativity.

We look at the same things every day. These things change ever so slightly day to day, but we are unaware because the pace is very slow.  We notice change when it’s big change. Photographs reveal big change. Jumps from season to season, growth of the kids, the tree in the back, planted on your tenth birthday and now shading the whole patio and filling the gutters with leaves.

When things are familiar, we tend not to pay as much attention. Walking through the same room every day, we lose sight sometimes of the way the sun comes through the window curtain at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Or just how cool the view is looking out the back door at the clouds beyond the walnut trees. We forget to look again, or from a different angle, or to just sit and enjoy what’s right before us.

I like this house. I like the storage buildings. I like the fact that it’s not boring. It has a story.

Finding creativity is like looking for your misplaced keys.  It’s there, sometimes it takes a while to track it down, or just takes patience. Sometimes you have it and don’t even realize. And sometimes it just evolves out of those everyday moments and you have to run with it.

So sitting on the deck, looking out at my back yard in the afternoon sunlight, I picked up the camera. The back yard was looking pretty good.

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See something you like. Then change your point of view. Like walking through a gorge looking up at the canyon walls, don’t forget to turn around and look behind you. That’s when your eye stops at the sky through the small opening in the rocks that you would never have seen if you faced only forward.

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Have you ever tried to limit your looking to only parts or portions of things. Or looking only at how two things relate to each other. This sign post to that walkway. Or look at a scene based only on the way light plays on the elements. Not the objects, but the light. I believe good writers have the ability to see the intangibles right alongside the actual objects.

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If we are lucky enough and create something that is surprising even to ourselves, then we have had a good day. A creative day. Even If it is only a picture in our minds, or a smile on someone’s face, or a masterpiece. Pause, look, move things around, do something differently, go someplace new, challenge your way of thinking. Then the voice inside says, “oh, there it is”.

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©George Cannon – Images

Read a good book!

When I was young, books and reading were never a big part of my childhood. My parents never read to me or bought me books (not that they could afford to buy us anything beyond the necessities of life). My oldest sister, despite being nearly blind, was a voracious reader. But because of her handicaps, she spent a great deal of time at home, so reading was an escape for her. I visited the public library but was always intimidated by the variety of selection and the hundreds of pages to get through. I, of course, was forced to read books for book reports in school. I resorted to the Cliffs Notes whenever possible to get through the basics of what I considered boring time spent reading something that I had no interest in. I preferred to be outside, riding my bike with friends or traipsing through the local woods creating my own adventures or meeting friends at the local drive-in once in high school.

Through much of my adult life, fiction and novels still did not attract me. Like many young people today, TV and movies provided stories and food for entertainment. It was fast and immediate and didn’t take days to work through. And once I was married and working, who had time for such indulgences. I had things to do.

This changed later in life, when my second daughter came into my life. And the pleasure of reading to her at night became not only a beautiful bonding experience, but a new satisfying form of release and entertainment. We relished the entire Harry Potter series and I found joy in trying to create the characters in my voice and add to the drama with my rendition of those imaginative pages.

But even with that experience, it was not until I became a single person again, without the demands of family and pets, and home maintenance projects, that I allowed myself the time to finally sit quietly, without interruption or pressing needs and distractions, and have what has now become one of my greatest pleasures. A good book!

Good writing is such a delight. It is entertainment, stimulation, education, imagination, exploration, and a way to weigh our own beliefs and principles, our history and experience, our emotions and intellect. It keeps your brain active and helps you to experience those things that make us human in ways most people’s everyday lives simply do not provide. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with the day to day requirements of living and miss the observances of people and the world and events that affect us and shape us in ways we are often unaware.

I was amazed to see a video on line of an interviewer on the street stopping people and asking simply, “Can you name the title of a book?”.  And so many replied, “I just don’t read” or “I can’t think of one”. Not even a classic would come to mind for them like Moby Dick or Gone With The Wind or For Whom The Bell Tolls or War and Peace, whether they had read it or not. I worry that young people today will be like I was throughout their lives and miss the beauty of the written word in favor of “tweets” and “you tube” and Netflix. Not that I don’t enjoy a well done movie or series, many of which are born from a well written novel or biography. But the beauty of a book tells the story in a way that allows you to see and create the story in your own mind, in the way you want to see it. You draw the picture, you put a face on the characters, you see the settings, and in that way the experience is yours alone.

I have my ritual now. I sit and read as soon as I come home from work most days. I have my reading chair and my bookshelf has at least ten books in line waiting for me to finish my current selection and pick something new. I love the day I sit down to finish the last chapters and close a good book and say to myself, “that was really good”. Some books fade away over time, but really good books stay with me. I keep a journal nearby and when I find inspirational quotes I record them. So many single sentences by great writers can have such an impact on us. A great example for me came from “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. One of the most powerful stories and character studies I have ever read. In a post-apocalyptic world a man and a young boy, traveling through a deserted hostile world, come upon an old man alone. In their subsequent conversations with him about God and beliefs he says, “where men can’t live, gods fare no better”. It was the kind of statement, so simple and so profound, that made me stop reading and simply sit stunned as I absorbed these words.

I take such delight, and yet feel so inadequate in my own powers of observation (and I’m a photographer), when I read good writing and realize how incredibly observant a writer has to be. The act of writing in a way that truly describes a scene or a person, or an event in a way that you can actually picture it, feel it, empathize with it, be moved by it, takes such skill.

When I was young, I felt like reading was such a waste of time. Now that I am old, I see how much time I actually wasted on things that were not nearly as satisfying or rewarding as reading a well written book.

The musician and poet, Tom Waits, wrote “The world is a horrendous place and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”

Pick up a good book. Take the time to immerse yourself in it. It’s worth the investment.

–– Imageguy

 

 

Apathy!

In a country such as ours, founded on the rights of individual citizens, built on centuries of struggle by individuals to ensure that the rights of individuals were represented and safeguarded and shared equally, our most precious right as a citizen is the right to vote. To have the opportunity to establish the kind of representation that supports and maintains a government that defends all our rights, that safeguards those rights, and that uses our tax dollars wisely and for the purpose of supporting the greater good of all citizens.

In a little over a month I’ll be 69 years old. I have voted in every presidential and congressional election since I was 18. I have been a life long Democrat, though after the last election I thought seriously about switching my vote to Independent. I am deeply troubled by the apathy among voters. That in our last Presidential election, approximately 40% of those eligible to vote either didn’t bother or were, in some way, prevented from voting. I am disturbed by young people who seem not to care enough that their voice be heard since those in elected office have a huge impact on their lives and their future every day through the decisions they make and the actions they take in our government. Youth culture today seems to be so caught up in their cell phones and their Instagram accounts that, when stopped on the street and asked, they cannot even name recent presidents from their pictures or recognize the name of a cabinet member or name their own congressional representative or senator.

The most recent mass school shooting in Florida brought a surge of teens to the stages to appeal to the citizens of this country to stop being apathetic, to have the courage and the willingness to speak out and vote and help the young citizens that will be our future to survive every day. I hope these young people will be a wave of new non-apathetic involved young people that understand not only their responsibility, but their power as voters.

The up coming mid-term elections may be the most important in our history. The current congress is overloaded with aging white men that owe their years of service to the wealthy and the corporations that have poured billions of dollars into their campaigns through donations and super pacs. They spend millions on negative advertising designed to keep people fearful of change and believing that they are doing what is right for their constituents. They do not represent the public. There is a huge discrepancy and inequality in the balance of women vs. men in congress. I am delighted to see so many younger women being elected in local races. We need desperately to replace many of the long term die-hards to bring new energy and new ideas to our government. Certainly there is something to be said about experience. But too many in congress spend their lives and their integrity to garner the financial support that keeps them in power. And that is the key word. “POWER”. This is what they, too often, seek to protect when they have been in congress too long.

The current administration is awash in scandals, investigations, incompetence, lies and deceit. The congress has lost sight of their responsibility to protect and defend the constitution and the laws of this country. They turn a blind eye and have given up their integrity for fear of losing votes from what is actually a minority of the country. It is shameful, and it is dangerous.

If you know people who can vote and don’t, if you know young people who are not concerned enough to vote, if you know someone who cannot get to the poles or register without assistance, help them. Encourage them to be active. And don’t neglect your own responsibility and and precious right. Don’t be apathetic! VOTE! Our lives and our nation depend on it now more than ever.

Time to get serious!

It’s time to get back to my blog again.  I have a lot of things I want to talk about. Not tonight because I’ve had too many Gin and Tonics. But the time has come to get back to this journal of thoughts, art, ideas, and images. See you soon!

Getting in touch…..

As I get older I am sorely aware of how fast time passes. When we are children we cannot wait to get bigger. When we hit our teens we can’t wait to be able to get driver’s license and our own car. Then it’s reaching 21 and being “legal”. Time is like molasses and we are anxious for it to shoot by, we are immortal and will live forever. We tempt fate and do dangerous stupid things without regard. Then one day you find yourself looking back with grown children and grand children and great grandchildren and three divorces and signing up for Social Security and Medicare and realizing that time has somehow sped up to an alarming pace and with every cherished weekend ending and going back to work on Monday that you’ve gotten old somehow and wishing you could just slow the clock down.

Time gets very valuable when you have less of it. We don’t realize that when we are very young.

In the past year, three people I was close to have died.  Last March, just before his birthday, my brother passed away. Died in his sleep. He had diabetes, was a smoker all his adult and teen years. He was a wonderful person and mostly I will miss his laugh.  A few weeks ago I found out that another person I knew very well had died. We were good friends for years. Played cards together, worked together, shared a lot personally. We had a big falling out about five years ago and didn’t speak for two years, but then mended fences and tried to be close again. Then a year ago, another falling out. And again we haven’t spoken since. What I will remember most about him was how much he loved his kids. This week I heard that one of my best friends from high school had passed away.  We were very close for years back when I lived in Georgia. I had heard from mutual friends that he had been ill for a while but didn’t know the nature of his health problems. Now he too has died.

I am at the age where every day brings that possibility.  That I will hear that someone else I knew has died.  I know people that have survived serious illnesses, cancer, accidents, have lost children. And as we age and see that life is only a breath away from ending for us and everyone around us, we begin to finally get very selfish at wanting to hold on to every day, to drag our feet and slow the whole run away train down.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my brother more often. I wish I could have stayed friends with Frank, could have survived his temper and his irrational mind. I wish I had made the effort to contact Jim and just talked with him about old times when he was still alive. I can’t go back and change those things. And I know there are other things I would wish, but don’t know that I will do anything in my remaining days to save myself the regret I will feel when they present themselves to me.

But I do know that every day means more to me with each passing day. And the people who mean a lot to me need to hear it more often. Opportunity, like time, is fleeting and fragile. Carpe diem!

Time To Catch Up

It is amazing to me that it’s been about eleven months since I posted to this blog. Life slips away much too quickly and the days fill with things to do. But I will post a couple of catch up blogs to get back to current, though they can’t possibly cover everything.

Things got a bit crazy last September when my wife and I decided to separate. Unexpected for me, but not surprising. Long story that I won’t elaborate on here. So I began looking for a place to rent and assembling some furniture that I would need since splitting households always leaves one lacking in some of the things you’ve been accustomed to. I know this from experience (long story again).

In the mean time, still working some part time projects at the Art Museum and doing my photography. I was approached in late October by Linda Harris to produce a book to be a gift for her Dad documenting his records of his time in the military. She persuaded him to give her access to many of his documents and photos under false pretenses, then allowed me to photograph them and prepare the book.  I shot his dog tags and designed a cover, laid out the book including some stock photos of ships he had sailed on. It was printed in time for Christmas and was a huge surprise.

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I took a short photo excursion to Elmira one weekend in early October that yielded some nice images. A few of these later were processed using Topaz Labs software and included in my new TOPAZ II book. The deer were in a field with some horses outside of Horsehead.

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In early December it was rehearsal at the Youth Bureau with Running To Places for the upcoming production of Hairspray.

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The day after Christmas I was shooting a family portrait on the Cornell campus. A chilly day, but fortunately it was a winter with little snowfall.

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On January first, I teamed up with my fabulous daughter, Tessa, and her partner, Ariel to shoot pictures for, and produce a book cover for their friend, Dana’s new book. The scene is one from the story and Tessa and Ariel had decided how they wanted it to look, so we set about making it happen.  It was shot in a patch of virgin woods in Trumansburg during the day, then Photoshopped to look like moonlight.  We found some stock photos of blue flames and set the picture on fire.  It was great fun.

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Later in January came the actual Running To Places production of Hairspray at the State Theatre.  I’m sorry I didn’t get up my usual fullblown posts for the last few presentations this season (see my next few posts). I’ve hardly had time to edit the pictures, much less post them to the blog. But needless to say, it was an amazing, fun, comical and entertaining show with great performances.

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I began working full time on January 1st for good friend, Shai Eynav, at his company Spider Holster.  I had been doing trade shows with them and working part time late in 2011, but Shai asked me to come on board full time and I immediately said yes.  Late in January it was off to New Orleans for the Trade Show at Imaging USA. I love New Orleans. It was my third time there and I took advantage of every morning to go out and shoot ahead of the trade show hours.

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The best pictures came from the area down around Frenchman Street in the Jazz district.

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Later in February, it was back to Las Vegas for WPPI. This is one of the biggest trade shows of the season, focused primarily on Wedding Photographers. It always makes for some great antics at the hotel. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….NOT!

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Bob is up for anything!

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No sooner back from Las Vegas, and it was back to shooting Running To Places and their production of Oliver at the Hangar Theatre.

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In March it was back to New York for Photo Plus Expo at the Javitts Center, the big New York photo expo and trade show and in April it was time for me to move into a new place. Back to living on my own (which is fine) and now having some room for office and a small studio, a place to store all of my framed art instead of constantly moving it around every time my daughter came home (I was storing it all in her room) and only a mile from work which is saving me a ton in milage and gas.

That brings me up to Spring of this year. Next post, I’ll catch things up even further.

Glad to be back.

All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.

Images from Running To Places productions are available at http://imageguy.zenfolio.com. 30% goes back to Running To Places.

Senior Pictures with Thomas

I’ve know Thomas’s mother, Sally, for about 25 years. So I was delighted when she contacted me to shoot Thomas’s senior pictures. Thomas is a tall, thin young man with thick hair, a great smile, and easy going personality.  We even happen to have the same birthday so I felt an immediate connection with him. Thomas plays tennis and enjoys hanging with his friends. “A typical boy” according to his Mom.

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Ithaca’s Stuart Park is nearby Thomas’s house so we drove over there to get some shots by the lake under the big willow trees. In scouting the location I had been struck by the view down the railroad tracks that pass by the park and just had this vision of Thomas standing down the tracks, so we made that shot and I’m so glad we did. I think it’s my favorite from the afternoon.

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We did a series over at the arboretum and then moved over to the Arts Quad at Cornell. The afternoon light was beautiful and I’m really happy we postponed a day to get this beautiful fall afternoon sun.

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Thanks, Thomas. It was a great shoot.

All photographs are Copyright © George Cannon – Images.

Great Senior Session with Kevin

I’ve know Kevin  as well as his brother Nathan and sister Erin for a few years because of our involvement with Running To Places. Kevin is a fabulous young actor as are his siblings. He has played lead roles for R2P including an amazing performance as Romeo this year and a stunning part opposite Alex LoPinto in The Last Five Years (see previous post) last season.

Kevin’s family bought a portrait session I donated to an R2P fundraiser and we got together a couple of weeks ago to shoot his senior pictures and a few new head shots.

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Kevin is a really handsome young man with a great outgoing personality. Easy going and relaxed in front of the camera, his stage work helped him take direction like a pro model.

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We shot pictures in his neighborhood, on the downtown streets, and then over at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

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Thanks, Kevin.  You make my job really fun and satisfying.

All photographs are Copyright © George Cannon – Images.

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