Naming New Work & Mighty Nikon Platinum Photograph

The Act of Naming
Like any creative work, my photographs nearly always earn a title, and I view a title as another creative aspect of the work itself, sometimes offering a subtle layer of meaning, like “Fly don’t walk,” “First Light, Winter Solstice,” or even something as simple as “1491.”

Naming new work is always a challenge, because we generally want something “short and sweet” as they say, without being too blunt or factual. It’s a fine line, because hopefully the title is also perhaps a little poetic and a natural reflection of the work itself without seeming to force anything. It seems to me that a lot of the best titles leave something for the viewer’s imagination too, so that they’re able to fill in part of the idea with their own interpretations with whatever meaning they may find in the work.

My son and I did a collaborative photograph last year, which was an adventure for both of us, because he’s way better at various tasks than I am, and this photograph couldn’t have had this look without his input and actual work with the various parts, like the camera, gas mask, and film.

Nikon asked whether I'd be interested in making a photograph last year as part of being one of their International Judges. It was a very gracious invitation, so since the judge's photographs were going to be shared internationally, I make a photograph specifically for them, and used the new Nikon D800 to see how good it could capture subtle details within the photograph.

From the International Nikon website; Nikon asked whether I’d be interested in making a photograph last year as part of being one of their International Judges. It was a fun photograph to make, but went unnamed for nearly a year.

I generally like to name new work fairly quickly, but had way to much stuff going on to name a few of the photographs. Since this was a collaboratively made photograph with my son T’naa, it was only fair that we named it together too. We bounced a lot of ideas around in my office the other day, including why the photograph looks like this, and all of the elements we made to put in the composition.

The gist of what we imagined before picking up the camera was having Raven walking through what appears to be the remains of human badlands. I liked the idea of cameras being amongst the detritus. T'naa and I worked on the production for this photograph over a couple of weeks; it was a true labor of love.

The gist of what we imagined before picking up the camera was having Raven walking through what appears to be the remains of human badlands. I liked the idea of cameras being amongst the detritus. T’naa and I worked on the production for this photograph over a couple of weeks; it was a true labor of love.

At any rate, we were in my school office last week bouncing names around. T’naa played in a metal band as one of two lead guitarists who would sling riffs back and forth, so I asked him to look up the titles of a lot of the metal bands, because they seemed to have the attitude we were looking for. Some of them were “Criminally Insane, Spirit in Black, Hell Awaits,” and so forth. Good stuff. We were inspired, but didn’t want to steal any of their names and were at kind of an impasse.

Just by dumb luck, T’naa is taking a college writing class right now and he explained that some classic writing verses have what’s called an “iambic pentameter.” For an example, Shakespeare used an iambic pentameter which consisted of five pairs of two syllables (or iambic feet). This means that there is a quantified rhythm to the English language (same with the Tlingit language, and most likely others too), so we looked up many of my own existing titles and they were mostly five or eight syllables. I wasn’t fully conscious of using this rhythm for years, so this became a part of our discussion too. T’naa has a natural gift for language, so this was a lively, fun discussion.

Having established attitude, rhythm and meaning, we started writing down a list of words; some humorous, some a bit presumptuous, and some just plain way too serious for it's own good. I insisted on keeping "Raven" somewhere, because after all, he's the one walking around the scene.

Having established attitude, rhythm and meaning, we started writing down lists of words; some humorous, some a bit presumptuous, and some just plain way too serious for it’s own good. I insisted on keeping “Raven” somewhere, because after all, he’s the one walking around the scene. I still like a plain little notebook for brainstorming ideas and have stray notebooks around the studio.

Ready for what we came up with after all this? Drumroll please, and preferably from a Metal band:

      “Sunrise Stroll Across the Wastelands”

We both liked it because the idea of a sunrise is about hope, a literal new day that we can make our own. The word “stroll” seemed perfect because it infers something leisurely and maybe even kind of carefree, like the idea of a relaxed walk through a park or garden. Much like the photograph itself, the words are juxtaposed with the last word “wastelands,” which is what helps add momentum to the idea that the photograph may be a bit satirical. When we tossed this title into the mix it made both of us laugh out loud, so we knew we nailed it.

The meaning of the work and the new title
This photograph was designed to go along with the existing body of work “The Home Planet, Global Climate Change.” The broader body of work is about taking a peek at what’s happening with planet Earth with the human impact of burning a seemingly endless supply of fossil fuels for decades. Hopefully, the work will help people to realize their own contributions to this problem, because it seems that when people do things like buy a new car these days, they’re not giving a second thought to all of the fossil fuel emissions that this new car is going to spew into our atmosphere.

I don’t have a single friend or acquaintance who has purchased an electric car yet, they’ve all opted for new gasoline powered cars, knowing full well how bad they are for the environment. Same here, I have a gasoline powered car, and am looking for a way to get rid of it after being a bicycle commuter for over five years. It means that from a real life point of view, people still really don’t care about what’s happening with our global climate crisis, because their actions speak louder than words as they say. And millions of cars still emit mass quantities of carbon dioxide every day, with hardly any hope of it decreasing, even as we’re in the midst of an ecological meltdown. It means that most of humanity is already doing the metaphorical “Sunrise Stroll Across the Wastelands,” blissfully enjoying the new day without considering the dire straits in which we live.

 

Transforming the digital photograph into platinum

This Nikon photograph was designed to be in both color and made into a platinum print. There are a multitude of variables with making the transition to a digital negative, but in my opinion, it's way easier to make the shift into digital negative form when the photograph itself originated from a digital photograph, as opposed to scanning actual film.

It’s way easier to make platinum photographs with a digital camera than it is to scan film. I found that I didn’t have to give up image quality while using a Nikon D800, as opposed to scanning something like 4×5 film. After importing the Nikon photograph, I simply applied a curve, converted it to a negative (Command-I in Photoshop) and printed out the negative with Pictorico Ultra transparency material to make the large negative (in this instance, for an 11×14 platinum print).

This does not mean that film is quite dead yet, I still love the look of a darkroom photograph printed with skill and artistry, such as the mural prints made by our good friend Sage Paisner. Shawna Hanel, Sage and I have been printing scanned medium format negatives for months, and they look great. In the meantime, I’ll be shooting more photographs with this Nikon D800 for future platinum prints.

This high resolution Nikon D800 makes stunning digital negatives for platinum prints!

This high resolution Nikon D800 makes stunning digital negatives for platinum prints! The 36 megapixel sensor makes highly detailed photographs that can easily rival a large format scanned negative. The problem with scanning negatives is that you also pick up lots of grain, even with a fine grained film, and of course, since digital cameras have zero grain, there is no transition from film to digital media, and as a result, you end up with extremely high quality digital negatives from high resolution digital cameras, such as this mighty Nikon D800. This snapshot of the D800 was made with a Coolpix by the way, handheld at 1/5 sec. with window light at a Tokyo hotel.

By using the professional grade Nikkor lenses coupled with the Nikon D800, you’re essentially able to make photographs with impeccable sharpness. One of my favorite lenses is the Nikkor 24-120mm F/4 with ED glass (extra-low dispersion elements), which renders photographs that rivals the sharpness of a prime lens. When I need photographs that are as sharp as a 4×5 lens, I pull out one of the Nikkor prime lenses, and lately I’ve been partial to the lightning fast 85mm f/1.4 lens with the stunning bokeh (SHARP image area juxtaposed with a beautiful bokeh, or blurred background). At any rate, this is a knockout combination of using the D800 with Nikkor lenses.

Nikon_Digital_Neg_McNeil2014

The moment of truth! Checking the negative’s fine details on a light table with a high resolution magnifying glass. This is the most critical step for going from digital media to a high quality negative that is all ready for being made into a platinum print with a great dynamic range and detailed information.

For most photographers, they generally don’t need to transition their photographs back into analog form; there is little reason, because their photographs usually get used via a digital file. What I’m doing with the digital Nikon cameras and lenses is pushing their capabilities to the very edge, and pulling as much quality out of them as possible to successfully emulate what was formerly made with a 4×5 camera and film to make a 19th century process platinum photograph. I love the look and am looking forward to making more platinum photographs with this extraordinary D800 and Nikkor lenses. In reality, it’s going to make my platinum printing faster without compromising image quality, which is what us photographers are constantly chasing around the planet. With ravens.

PS, this photograph is going to be included in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian exhibition “Indelible: The Platinum Photographs of Larry McNeil and William Wilson” later this year.

 

Story and Photographs Copyright Larry McNeil 2014, All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Read more.. Friday, March 14th, 2014

2012 Apocalypse, Coffee & White Raven

Well heck, I had to go down to the pyramid at Chichén Itzá to see for myself what all this Mayan prophecy stuff was about & share it with you.

2012 Apocalypse Story, from an indigenous perspective. Larry McNeil at the pyramid of Chichén Itzá, in the heart of Mayan country.

Each one of the Mayans I talked to were a bit amused by all the fuss, so I just went down to the beach to talk to the Mayan fishermen. The real ones, not the tourist sport fishermen; the ones like me who fed their families on what they caught. As I stood on the beach watching one of them unloading his catch of the day I walked over and introduced myself as another indigenous man who made a living catching fish way up north. He smiled and we had a conversation very similar to the ones I had with fellow fishermen back home in Alaska, and as it turned out, we spoke the language of fishermen.

“How were the tides? What did you use for bait this time? When was the best time to set the gear? How long did you let your hooks soak?” Of course, my number one question was “What’s your favorite fish recipe for around here?” He said the most heavenly dish was boiled barracuda heads in a broth with mild spices and fresh vegetables from the garden.

I told him that the best recipe from my village was boiled salmon heads with potatoes, onions and just a few spices. If you put in too much stuff, the delicate flavors will be overpowered. We both laughed at how non-fishermen families don’t really know what good fish is actually all about.

What is a journey without including a Coffee Quest? I also have an eternal quest for the most perfect mug of coffee. Oh my god, did I ever find it, and confess to nearly falling to my knees, welcoming the salvation of partaking an earthly gift from the holy spirit. Well, actually from hard working Mayans who grew the finest coffee beans high in the mountains using traditional farming techniques.

If you look carefully, you can see white raven enjoying this sublime coffee too. White raven comes from our own creation story and is the ultimate shape shifter who appreciates fine fish head stews and coffee.

So it went. I’m back home now, dreaming of luscious fish heads, monumental pyramids, totem poles, coffee and freshly sharpened fish hooks.

Story and Photograph copyright Larry Mcneil, 2012 All Rights Reserved. Steal this & you’re bait, man. Fish bait

Read more.. Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Tonto's TV Script Revision (not your usual Disney ride)

“Tonto’s TV Script Revision” was a television script where Tonto reached the end of his rope with all the simpleminded stuff he’d dealt with over the years at the lone ranger set. Tonto chuckled to himself at the visual of the lone ranger throwing a hissy-fit about a scene they shot that morning. Apparently Tonto didn’t say “Yes Kemosabe” with enough enthusiasm and the lone ranger nearly cried about it to the director.

Too bad the lone ranger didn't know that Kemosabe translated to "you egotistical shallow peckerhead." This in itself made Tonto laugh to himself again, because he'd been calling the lone ranger "Kemosabe" for years on camera, for all of creation to see.

It was just after midnight and the whole world seemed to be asleep. ”Well heck, screw this,” Tonto whispered to nobody in the darkened room at his middle-class LA home. Kemosabe was about to get a little indigenous makeover, if you get my drift. Tonto was sitting before a typewriter with a blank sheet of paper, quietly meditating about the idea of bringing at least a small measure of meaning to a new Lone Ranger script. “All this shit wears me out, man” he said to his shadow with another chuckle. And he got up to stretch, sat down, took a sip of fresh coffee, then typed relentlessly until it was nearly dawn.

At first light, Tonto paused and stared at the keyboard. There was a slight glow on the keys that he took as a good omen, and finished the last page (Photo Copyright Larry McNeil, 2012)

The producer laughed when Tonto handed him the new script. “What’s this shit? Are you kidding me? We’ve already got all the scripts to the end of the season.” Tonto just gazed at him silently for a few moments and said cooly, “Either you produce this and get everyone to buy into it or I’m walking. Today. If you don’t keep that Kemosabe’s dumbass out of my way, I swear I’m going to kick it right into last week. That’s what this shit is.” They just stared at each other for a few tense moments until the producer said “What the hell, give it to me and I’ll run it by the director.” Tonto simply replied, “No. Try again, Kemosabe.”

Within two weeks, they were shooting Tonto's TV script revision. The aggravated producer blurted out, "The fucking Lone Ranger will lay an egg if he sees the title credits. Not only that, you're not in the writer's union, so we'll have to put in a stinkin' ghost writer. Now get the heck outta here before your contract disappears." Tonto let out a hearty laugh because he could easily visualize Kemosabe with an egg dropping out of his ass.

The gist of the script had Tonto in the role of the new sheriff, authorized by the First Nations Tribal Court to arrest the criminal child abuser Richard Pratt and to bring him to justice. Pratt had started the Carlisle Indian School and it was patterned after indian prisons that he’d worked at while in the army. Tonto knew many of the people who survived these schools and wanted to do an episode about them.

Tonto's TV Script Revision, photograph by Larry McNeil, 2006.

Tonto displayed a remarkable professional restraint while processing the despicable Richard Pratt into the justice system for his crimes against humanity. Pratt's philosophy was "Kill the Indian in him, and save the man." Unfortunately, Pratt did not live by this philosophy, because many of the innocent Indian children were indeed killed at his school, and for generations, many other Indian Schools were patterned after his. Pratt was in denial and hardly blinked. Tonto knew this dark scene would never make it to the audience of kids, but insisted on shooting it anyway. One of his deputies looked on in disbelief that the scene was allowed to be shot, and it was quickly finished in one take.

The Indian boarding schools are a tragic part of American and Canadian history. Australia did a similar thing with their aboriginal people too. There is a more comprehensive story about this at various websites, including the one here at NPR, titled, “American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many.”

Unfortunately, this episode of the Lone Ranger never aired and was censored out of the series, but Tonto got it filmed. The Lone Ranger series continued for another year until America became bored with the cartoonish theatrics of the lead actor. Tonto’s film was 60 years too early and would’ve scored well at the Sundance Film Festival in the darkly humorous drama category, because it was a gritty, yet honest look at ourselves.

I seem to have forgotten my old Leica on the table and have captured myself in the mirror from this still from the film.

“Tonto’s TV Script Revision” has been published in various books and exhibited at a number of museums and galleries. Hopefully, Johnny Depp will bring a measure of significance to his portrayal of Tonto in his own film due to be released next year, and Tonto won’t be portrayed like the dopey yet lovable character from Depp’s wildly successful pirate films. In the bigger picture of the universe, this is kind of trivial, but on the other hand, myths do count.

Is it just me, or does Depp look kind of bonkers next to the regal and heroic Lone Ranger? Spirit warrior? Doesn't Depp's Tonto look a bit demented and wimpy next to the rugged and debonair Lone Ranger? What's that all about? Was it just a bad camera angle or something? Anyway, I'll hold back on any prejudgements about Depp's Tonto until I see the film. Until then, here's to you Depp, I hope you do Tonto justice on this Disney ride.

Story and Photos Copyright Larry McNeil, all rights reserved 2012.

Read more.. Friday, June 1st, 2012

2012

On this auspicious first day of 2012, I wish you an extraordinary new year and the hope that things improve for the people, and for our home planet. It seems that the global state of gloom and doom has gotten everyone’s attention by now.

I can’t help but be reminded that it is the struggle that defines humanity, and we are at our best when things get rugged. My advice is to remain flexible with whatever you encounter this year, especially if it’s challenging. Sharpen your wits to a razor’s edge and don’t forget the coffee.

Ice lens.

As for myself, I’m going to add a new camera to my bag of tricks, just in case. It has a built-in monopod that not only shoots cool photos, but can double as a zombie flail if need be. I call this my 2012 Digital Camera, because it takes five digits to grasp it properly.

My new custom-made camera setup for 2012.

Nothing freezes the zombie action like this 2012 Digital Camera. You realize I’m just kidding, right? It’s really not a flail at all; it’s just a camera for the upcoming year.

Have a great new year and remember, the magic words for 2012 are flexibility, preparedness and quick wits. Think like a raven.

Story & Photos Copyright Larry McNeil, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Read more.. Sunday, January 1st, 2012

First Light, Winter Solstice

First Light, Winter Solstice (lithograph)

Back in the summer of 2007 I made a collaborative print with Brooke Steiger titled “First Light, Winter Solstice.” Brooke did a beautiful job and I really love this print, especially now at First Light, on Winter Solstice.

Raven steals everything that isn’t nailed down. Heck, even some stuff that is nailed down, so it was perfectly natural that I in turn “borrowed” Edward Curtis’ flagship photograph that he dubiously titled “The Vanishing Race.” Sorry Curtis, it’s mine now. Only it is changed to reflect a scene more grounded in reality. Rez cars.

Curtis made a high art out of constructing inane stereotypical scenes about Indians, such as this one with them riding into the sunset as a poetic farewell. The photographic scenes were a mix between what appeared to be museum dioramas and staged photo sets, complete with actors, costumes, makeup, and of course fine photography and lighting. In the midst of his photographic project on Indians, Curtis did in fact work for Cecil B. Demille as a Hollywood cameraman.

At any rate, Curtis passed his Vanishing Race photographs off as truth and did it with a flourish, because after all, he was a highly trained photographer; certainly good enough to get J.P. Morgan to provide seed money, to have President Theodore Roosevelt to write the forward to his books and have Cecil B. Demille hire him as a part of his own Hollywood myth making team. See the pattern here with myth making? I would put forth the assertion that Curtis’ work is ultimately about White Man, not indigenous people. Curtis’ photographs are telling a story strictly from the standpoint of White Man, plain and simple. It’s a romanticized Western story that has little to do with reality.

The young Edward Curtis trying to look mysterious. He was using his mom's hat in the lighting test and forgot to put his own back on.

Curtis was indeed a very talented photographer who made beautiful work about real people too though; the photographs were just not very honest much of the time, that’s all. I would have liked his work a lot better if he photographed the indigenous people as he actually found them, like in front of their cars, talking on the telephone or studying with electric light bulbs. Or better yet, with them riding by an old Rez car that was fading back into the landscape.

This takes us to First Light Winter Solstice, where I wanted to make the characters more grounded in reality, like them going to a Winter Solstice ceremony at first light, passing an old beat up pickup truck along the way. It’s about continuing ancient ceremonies, not fading into the sunset. Raven transformed the scene with a bit of magic, digital tools and good old artistry with a master Tamarind lithography printer. We had to solve a lot of very challenging creative and technical tasks too, and even had to recruit master printer Bill Lagattuta to help solve some of the more extraordinary technical roadblocks we encountered.

This Rez car was remarkably difficult to make and was where we had to pull in another master printer to get the look I was looking for.

It is only here at the first light of the new winter solstice that I again fully appreciate the teamwork that allowed us to make the lithograph I had envisioned at the beginning of our collaboration at the Tamarind Art Institute. It also took an entire team of organizations to make this project a reality, starting with the State Department, where the Arts in Embassies program resides. It also took the National Museum of the American Indian, the Tamarind Art Institute and many other key people behind the scenes to make it a reality. I send my heartfelt thank you to them all, including the other artists who participated at the time: Jaune Quick-to See Smith, Norman Aikers, Marie Watt, and Mario Martinez.

I love the idea of making art that was designed to act so specifically as an ambassador for our people. I was thinking of who we really are as Americans, both Indigenous and the proverbial ‘melting pot’ that forms our collective identity. I was thinking of early Cowboy and Indian films that formed the world’s perception of who we are, especially as a mythical place.

Raven the transformer never stops shifting things around, we are in a constant state of change.

I wanted a heroic Raven pictograph for the background because he is from our own creation story and frequently amuses himself with the often-subliminal nature of a quasi-educator, a poetic rascal. By using a sepia toned photograph I played with the perception that Indians were and are only in the past, and brought them into the present and did it with a bit of a sly joke that we can chuckle about. If we can take outdated stereotypical ideas and laugh about them, we acknowledge that they were indeed a bit absurd and we can move on in a good way. Especially at the first light of the winter solstice, which is also about transformation and continual shifts everywhere.

Art in Embassies website at the State Department. McNeil's editions may be tracked as to which Embassy is exhibiting a lithograph.

Story Copyright Larry McNeil, All Rights Reserved, 2011

Read more.. Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Raven tries to figure it out. Or Nature Redefined, Earthscapes & Kimowan.

X’áant xwaanúk Tléil yee ushk’é, I’m angry you are bad is from my body of work about the global climate crisis.

Artists try and make sense of the world. It doesn’t always work because sometimes the world simply doesn’t make sense. So we end up capturing the lunacy.

I assembled this collage around two core images. Raven was first. I was looking for an authoritative, stately posture that would be an iconic black silhouette with a rich, pure charcoal feel. This raven went through the heat and was slightly carbonized, so he was perfect for a cheerful black day at the power plant. Our creation story involves raven and carbon emissions.

I'm Angry you are bad.

I’m Tlingit and we take shit from nobody. If it weren’t for us, Siberia would extend into North America. Either that or Canada would extend west into what is now Alaska. We drove both groups of colonists out of our homeland at the loss of many lives and I mention this only because it is this warrior philosophy that drives nearly everything I do, especially as an artist. The triangles on the right are stylized Killer Whale teeth and there is a faded Chilkat robe pattern in the decayed wall.

Stylized killer whale teeth. I am from the Tlingit Killer Whale Fin House, and the teeth have their origins in some of our ancient spruce root basket designs.

Chilkat robe pattern chipped into an eroded wall with a white raven peering into the empty head of a human.

I felt filthy from photographing coal-fired power plants around the country and actually got a nasty nasal infection from being around them. I feel bad for the people who have to live on the same planet as these thousands of massive coal-fired power plants scattered all over Earth. I also feel bad for the home planet and how badly humans have brutalized her. It makes me rethink the definition of humans and whether it is natural for us to ruin our environment because we do it so well. In that sense, it also has me rethinking the definition of the term “nature,” especially when describing humans and what we make, how we treat our environment and each other. It may mean that a Styrofoam cup is as natural as a buffalo, which kind of scares me.

Earthscape #31 is from the Rocketship Chronicles series. When the Apollo astronauts viewed Earth from the moon, they had a profound revelation. Earth was magical. It also had no borders. They knew from a glance that humanity, all the life there, and the planet were one. This is precisely what every Native tribe has been saying since long before they first met White Man. We are all one; you cannot separate just one element and treat it differently. If you pollute the land and the air, you pollute yourself and all other life, we are all connected. It almost seems gratuitous to say this until you look around and realize that most people don’t get it, especially political leaders and industrialists who only care about their most recent earnings statements.

My Earhscapes are about strengthening the notion that our home planet is indeed all we’ve got to live on and we’ve got to start treating it like it’s a home planet and not a colossal waste heap. It’s a little playful in that there is a quasi- yearning for finding another planet where we can find refuge. Then we come to our senses and think, “Wait a minute. This is OUR home planet. It’s the polluters whose damn asses should be on rocket ships out of here, not ours…

Earthscape #31. I made this photo last year from my rocketship, over the coast of southern California after assisting MFA Photography students at Brooks Institute.

Hasselblad Moon film back from a NASA camera. For real. This is so perfect for my Rocketship Chronicles photos.

I have a portfolio of photos regarding my Rocketship Chronicles on facebook. What’s really cool about it is the feedback I get from friends.

My Rocketship Chronicles portfolio on facebook.

Kimowan’s Journey

One of the most profoundly beautiful, sad and mysterious experiences I’ve had this year was when our sister Hulleah and I went to say farewell to our brother in art Kimowan Metchewais up in Alberta late this summer. I’m reminded that we meet many gentle spirits on this journey of life and the journey is so short, painfully beautiful, and so damn hard sometimes. We ease the journey with each other, at least this much is clear.

After Kimowan started his journey into the spirit world that morning, a series of peculiar events started to unfold. Hulleah and I tried to be unobtrusive as Kimowan’s family went about taking care of Kimowan’s passing in the hospital that morning. Antje was beside herself with grief, as was everyone else. Kimowan’s mom was so gracious and offered to ride with Hulleah and I up to Cold Lake later that morning.

In a moment of silence, Kimowan’s hospital room was vacant, even as people gathered in the guest suite next door sipping coffee and talking quietly, giving each other hugs and tender assurances. There was a feeling of peace and calm amongst the sorrow. Someone laughed gently and gave us the Cree translation for “strong coffee.” I wish I could remember those Cree words. I stood at the window looking out at the view as his family went about taking care of business. I noticed a few young ravens playing right outside his window. One in particular was hopping on the roof, doing what was obviously a shadow dance. He was very taken with his shadow and was clearly enjoying it’s presence. It’s shadow looked like a rocketship. Without even thinking about it I pulled out my camera phone and shot off a bunch of photos, smiling at raven’s oblivious playfulness. It made me wonder if perhaps Kimowan was having a bit of fun on his way, and nature couldn’t help but play along. Kimowan would’ve smiled at the camera phone too, I’m sure. We don’t need no stinkin’ fancy pants cameras, we wing it quite well, thank you.

"Raven Rocket from Kimowan's Window." It's stylized a bit, but is essentially what the scene looked like outside Kimowan's window. Raven loves rocketships even more than me I think.

I have a portfolio of photos that I made on that journey, including many other instances of nature living it up that day. Way more than usual. Here’s to you Kimowan, we miss you.

These are the three prints that I have in our 2011 Biennial Art Department Faculty Exhibition today at the Visual Arts Center. Come and check it out, I’m in some most excellent company.

Story Copyright Larry McNeil 2011, All Rights Reserved

Read more.. Friday, September 2nd, 2011