News & Updates

SPILLING THE BEANS—012018

A fresh blend of news, about photography.

I recently wrote a piece about black and white as an artistic palette, and how my passion for that palette developed during my now-finished digital photography days. Finished…that’s a word that carries a lot of weight. It leaves no room for doubt—its terms are absolute—and it implies closure. Finished, as in “my photography days are done.” Or so I thought.

The issue that caused me to part ways with digital photography was simple: perfection. The work I created with my iPhone was nearly flawless (granted, it’s the best point-and-shoot camera on the market). And when I tried to degrade the image, in the camera, it looked sloppy. That’s what caused me to leave digital photography, I think. But recently, and as a result of all the drawing that I’ve been doing, I found myself once again drawn (pun intended) to photography, which was shocking. So, dear readers, let me reminisce a bit before I dive into my latest epiphany.

AROUND 11 YEARS AGO, I shot with a Polaroid camera for a period of time, and I loved it! It produced a soft, imperfect image within a cozy 3.5″ x 4.25″ space (with border). Since the camera didn’t have a preview screen, you never truly knew what the final photograph would look like…at least not until you survived the 30 seconds or so for the image to develop. How wonderful that was! With a DSLR (at least the low-end professional model I used), there was in fact a hairline-wide window of camera settings—a combination of exposure compensation, lighting, and natural blur—that, when used just right, could somewhat replicate an analog look. Somewhat. Of course, I eventually put down my cameras, even the point-and-shoot iPhone, but I never lost my appreciation for imperfect images.

So here I am, four years or so after my last formal attempt at photography. And only days after I posted a journal entry about being done with that discipline. What does it all mean? That’s easy: I’m returning to photography.

Shriek! Gasp! Oh my!

But my return does not carry with it the intention to produce polished images or digitally simulated imperfection. Oh no, those days are truly behind me. What I want to do with the medium is much different, and will actually be influenced by an approach I tried only once during my DSLR days (the final product was fantastic!) alongside the fun I had during my foray into Polaroid photography.

I’m going to print raw photographs (shot with my iPhone) onto newsprint and other nontraditional papers, while employing a small format (around 6″ x 6″, possibly a bit smaller). And of course, they will be in black and white.

I’ve said before that I love the black and white palette for artwork, and I still feel that it’s my artistic destiny, so to speak. And as someone who writes and draws—by hand—I’m naturally excited to create work that serves as an homage to the imperfection and handicraft of yore. Because it does me no good—as an artist who values craft—to print a perfect photograph onto polished paper. You can take that to the bank!

(Deep breath)

This is a new and exciting chapter in my work so stay tuned for updates, because this might take a while!

© 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

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I observe life through steaming coffee and an energized imagination. When that's coupled with my rich background in writing, visual communication, and concept development, I become a barista of words and art. A craftsman. Someone who combines creative thought with meaningful substance, thereby allowing valuable messages to rise above the noise of our fast-paced society. Although my work employs anything from copywriting and haiku to drawing and illustration, the inspiration is always the same: curiosity and creativity, with a caffeinated kick!