Featured Photographer

by Ian on September 16, 2010

I have the distinct honour of being the Featured Photographer on the website (PN) this month. As part of being the featured photographer I was interviewed and the interview plus a small selection of images are posted for public comment and discussion. You can easily click on the link from the right-hand side of the main page or here’s a direct link.

Ian Cox-Leigh: Rosy-Fingered Dawn

I have been an active member on PN since shortly after I took up photography seriously in 2006 and have benefited greatly from the feedback and critiques of some of the people whom I’ve met there. One of the most helpful individuals in my time on PN, has been Fred Goldsmith. He has been as much of both a friend and a mentor as is possible online. You can see some of his work and read the ensuing discussion back when he was the Featured Photographer last year (Here).

I was most pleased when I found out that he had taken over the job of selecting and conducting the interviews for the Featured Photographer. I think his questions yielded an engaging and interesting exchange and I hope you might find the time to read some of the, admittedly lengthy, interview.

Ian Cox-Leigh: Toward Cape Sebastien

Ian Cox-Leigh: Mt Andromeda

Ian Cox-Leigh: Sentinel (from the Portlands series)

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Chip Hooper

by Ian on August 28, 2010

Chip Hooper

Chip Hooper: Northern California Coast, Pacific Ocean

So, I have been back from NYC for a while now. I was only away for four nights as I had to be back for work. Since returning I have been unable to get back to this blog as I would have liked. Just as I finally got some time away from work and other chores, I got laid low by a cold for most of this last week. I have also been busy participating in an interview about my work and process (more on that soon).

My trip itself was full of many highs and lows. Among the lows, the heat and humidity in NY were intense and caused haze and smog that obscured any attempt at images of the skyline and sapped my energies for much else regardless. I had planned on a day in the country on my way home, maybe even a chance to see the Perseids from somewhere in the Adirondacks, but then my car lost all electrical power while on the I-87 north of Albany and I had to spend a night and a day in the tiny town of Pottersville, NY waiting for a new alternator and its installation. Then I spent just shy of three hours at the border. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Among the highs, were lovely dinners at Mary’s Fish Camp, and at Eleven Madison Park as well as engaging exhibits at both the Guggenheim at a private gallery in Chelsea, the Robert Mann Gallery. I had gone to Robert Mann Gallery largely in order to see Michael Kenna’s images that were part of a group show. I have long been a fan of Kenna’s work and seeing it in print was truly a delight. In fact, it was everything I could do not to spend $5000 and buy one of the prints on display.

The most pleasant surprise of the exhibit, though, was discovering Chip Hooper’s work. The image above was on display and grabbed my attention immediately. His choice to allow the power of the clouds and the waves to recede slightly through a somewhat longer exposure, and, therefore, to have the sun and the shadow dominate the scene, makes for an engaging and interesting image. The backlit seastack and its black shadow anchor the composition and grab the viewers attention, yet the texture and lightness of the sunlight reflecting from the surface of the ocean transport the viewer up and into the photograph. The work is at once both enticing, beautiful, and a touch foreboding. After looking at the two prints on display, I quickly asked to see the books of his work behind the desk at the gallery. I bought both and I have really enjoyed spending quite some time with Chip Hooper’s images.

On first impression, Hooper’s work might seem to share a certain aesthetic with the coastal images of Hoflehner, Kenna, or even Burdeny’s earlier Shorelines images. However, his photographs have a style all their own. Much more emphasis is placed on the natural elements in Hooper’s work: man-made structures are entirely absent from the images and, in many instances, exposures are kept short so as not to obscure the dynamic forces of the ocean and its waves. There is also a wider variety of weather conditions represented in the photographs, with some truly compelling images created in the fog. The resulting images have a delicacy to their presentation with lower contrast and more gently structured compositions. This may make Hooper’s work less immediately engaging and certainly less dramatic than other photographer’s approaches; however, I feel it allows the viewers to bring more of themselves in response to work. As a result, I find that I can spend a great deal of time with these photographs without exhausting the open possibilities within them. In the end, Hooper’s work reminds me, in a way, more of John Sexton’s approach with trees and forests than of the coastal images of the photographers I mentioned above.

Links and a couple of images after the break:
[more . . .]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Hiatus – Gone to NYC!

by Ian on August 8, 2010

Ian Cox-Leigh: Guggenheim – Distort

This is just a short note to say that this blog will be quiet this week because I’m off to New York: Monday until Thursday.

Plans, such as they are:

[more . . .]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Night Works (2)

by Ian on August 5, 2010

Ian Cox-Leigh: The Park (Vines)

Here’s the third image from my recent night explorations that I promised a short while ago.

During the summer heat of late I have been taking my dog, Sety, down to Cherry Beach even for his last late-night walk of the day. Sety is border collie and full of energy; he needs 3-4 half-hour runs a day. In this heat, if I go anywhere else that doesn’t have water, he gets overheated before he really gets tired-out and then, once he cools down, he is still wanting of more exercise later. Since walking Sety is an involved activity I usually do not even think of bringing a camera along. However, for several days I had noticed this brightly illuminated patch of vines in mixed lighting on the edge of the parkland and so I brought along my rig one night and tried to make of the scene what I had envisioned.

I very much like this photograph, in the end — as I said, it is currently my favourite of my recent output. However, it isn’t quite what I had pre-visualized. I failed to pack a long enough focal length to frame the branch and vines in the way I intended. I might have to have another go some other night depending how this image feels to me in a while.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Inspiring Work: Kent Budge

by Ian on July 31, 2010

Horse Trailer Heaven – Kent Budge

Kent Budge: Horse Trailer Heaven

When I first took up photography seriously in 2006, I had no idea what I really wanted to photograph. I started out photographing the things in my backyard: water-lilies, lotus, dozens of butterflies and bees, all sorts of native flowers, and so on. When I got more serious about things, I began to do the same in the wider world too. I remain interested in, and actively creating, landscape images and, although I have been inactive in the nature field recently, I have no plans to formally shelve it from my interests. However, what has changed is my relationship with other forms of photography. I was initially uncertain of the sort of ‘observational’ photography of the everyday world that I now do myself (although I mostly do work at night).

This change in perception and appreciation came from a variety of places: I subscribed to a variety of photo publications that challenged my tastes (like Aperture), I bought books by, and researched, photographers like Stephen Shore, and I explored the portfolios of photographers on where I was very active at the time. Among those photographers whose work really struck me and helped change my mind and expand my perceptions of what held creative potential as a subject, was that of Kent Budge.

He, like me, seems to have become absent from, but there is still a handy, easy to visit portfolio of his work there. The site also had him as featured member one month and posted an interesting and illuminating interview with him. I wonder if Kent ever found out that I was at least one person who suggested to Josh Root (the site admin.) that he be a featured member?

Kent was kind enough to allow me to post a few of my favourite images of his here. The image above, “Horse Trailer Heaven”, is definitely one of my favourites. It is also the cover of Kent’s self-published book Coloring Outside the Lines which is available through blurb. As a person who really values non-back-lit, prints of images, I highly recommend the book as a chance to see Kent’s work away from a screen (alternatively, his early, cheaper, smaller soft cover A Few Clicks Down the Road is good for a briefer taste – or in addition).

Here are a few more of my favourites from Kent’s recent work:

Crossing Silos – Kent Budge

Kent Budge: Crossing Silos

No Diving – Kent Budge

Kent Budge: No Diving

(Two more, plus links, after the click.)
[more . . .]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Night Works

by Ian on July 28, 2010

I have recently been in a very long dry spell creatively. I have not shot a significant new image in many months. There is no denying that this is partly due to the fact that this past spring has been extremely busy. I worked two TAships while also prepping for, and then writing, my comprehensive exams for my PhD programme. I managed to find time to participate in, and win prizes at, my University photography club’s annual exhibition, launch this blog, and to get a publication in B&W Photography Magazine. However, there is no denying that I have been sorely lacking in the sort of day to day creative inspiration that gets things done with regard to creating new images. This is not good and I have been endeavouring to get off of my lazy butt and get to work.

I have a variety of plans for future projects of some significant scope. However, I can’t seem to make the time to get into these at the moment. So, I have returned to familiar grounds, packing my camera and tripod in my car’s trunk and stopping to photograph in the quiet of the night after I take my dog out for his last run/swim of the day. I would prefer a project, but simply working on art and being creative are important and help keep you in the right frame of mind for future creativity, at least in my experience.

So here are a few of my recent returns.

The first image, above, is of Riverside Missionary Church on King St. E. between the Eastern/Richmond/Adelaide bridge and overpass and Cherry St. I have long been interested in this building as a possible subject for photography because of the strong horizontal lines of brick and the glowing red cross above the entrance way. To the human eye, that cross glows solid red in the night air. Unfortunately, while our eyes can continually adjust their sensitivity to light, camera lens can’t be quite as dynamic. I knew that the sign would either blow-out mostly to white or I’d have to stack images to get the solid red. In the end I am quite happy with the mostly white result and feel no need to try and piece-in more red from another frame.

When I first arrived, I tried a variety of compositions with the building and a neighbouring house across the street to the right (basically behind the pillar which is the focus of the posted image). This house had a blue wall and emerald cedars all illuminated brightly under a very green/blue-white light. Unfortunately I could not overcome awful flare from where I was and all other vantage points would have put me in the middle of the road. I tried for quite some time but, even in the middle of the night, I couldn’t get an uninterrupted window in which to take the exposure from on the street-car tracks.

Feeling a little dejected, I began exploring to try making a photograph of the overpass above me (see below, after the break). While doing so, I stumbled across these interesting marks on the concrete support pillar nearby. I was struck by the implied violence of the marks which had clearly been made by something hitting the pillar with force. The marks and the iconography of the church seemed a compelling juxtaposition and drove the composition along with the strong, crisp geometrical lines of both the church and the roadway support pillar and guardrail. In developing the image, I tried to work with the surprisingly pretty light as a counterpoint to the other elements.

(One more after the click.)
[more . . .]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Walk Across America – Levi’s Ad

by Ian on July 23, 2010

I am impressed by time-lapse photography. I like even the clichéd shots of clouds on the California coast rolling in, or of flowers emerging and blooming. I have even bought intervolemeter cable releases in the past and my current camera can do time-lapse intervals internally. However, I have never had the time or the dedication to put something together. So, I remain an admirer. Unfortunately with the advent of time-lapse capable cameras I see a lot more poor work than good.

That’s why even if this was shot as advertising, it is worth sharing. It is done so very well.

(Watch it in the full 1080HD if at all possible.)

Behind-the-scenes and more, after the click.
[more . . .]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Big Bang Big Boom — Street-Art

by Ian on July 20, 2010

BIG BANG BIG BOOM – the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

What an amazing feat. I can’t begin to imagine the level of planning, pre-visualization, group cooperation, and dedication a work like this would take. The cost in time and effort alone must have been immense, but the paint wouldn’t have been exactly cheap either.

I don’t follow street-art closely. It isn’t a particular passion or a fascination of mine. Sure I have a copy of Wall and Piece, I plan to eventually see the Banksy movie, and I follow the occasional street-artist on flickr or the like (such as Mobstr). However, it isn’t a subject or a genre I have been particularly taken with in the past. With all that said, the fact that I have spent more than an hour exploring the other works of this same artist through their blog and website should speak volumes to the quality and impressive scale of their work. Check out some of their other videos (including videos of the process of putting these up) or have a look at some of the static painted walls they have done.

I am definitely considering buying the hardcover book of some of their projects. Anyone out there have it? Is it nicely put together? Also does anyone have any suggestions of other similar artists worth a look?

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


by Ian on July 12, 2010

Welcome to ars photographica, my new photography-based blog.

There are a variety of reasons I wanted to start this new blog. First and foremost, I am interested in sharing some of the photography, art, and ideas that inspire me and my own photographic endeavours. For the past year I have been haphazardly blogging and following others on tumblr. However, this has been a sporadic and disorganized effort and I have never been happy with the poor SEO, and limited possibilities for customization of a tumblr-hosted tumblog.

Through this experience though, I have come to enjoy the process of sharing and discussing art that inspires me with others. I plan to share discussions about, and link to work by, various photographers whose work I have been following or whose images have inspired me. I am particularly interested in landscape photography, natural studies, infrared work, urban and industrial scenes, night photography, and minimalist work. I could give some well known examples here, but I am sure you’ll shortly see exactly what I mean.

At the same time, I have been long considering establishing a blog where I could post news and updates about my own photography. I hope to announce special print offers, discuss various book projects with which I’ve been involved, show new work and discuss old favourites, as well as post about updates to my online portfolio.

I hope to keep the site updated fairly regularly (more than weekly). However, I as well as an aspiring photographer, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto in Egyptology and work and studies will sometime steal my time. Anyways, welcome and we’ll see what the future holds.

Ian Cox-Leigh

{ Comments on this entry are closed }