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Pour yourself a coffee, sit back and take a wander through photo stuff...from technology to gifts and classics...hope you enjoy pondering and doing some looking
 

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art -- John Lasseter,  American film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, voice actor,

Of all the art forms, photography may be the one most tied to technology (perhaps music comes in a close second place, today). From glass and chemicals, to film, to color film and to digital, the mechanics of making a photograph have been subject to numerous technological changes.  One of the early arguments against photography as an art was that photos are generated mechanically – dependent on the camera, a machine that evolves with technology.

Last month I wrote about painting and photography and how software can now make a painting from a photograph. Technology's impact on arts doesn't stop there.  Let's look at another art and technology development -- making art, in this case, photographs, from text.  The underlying technology to achieve this is Artificial Intelligence (AI).  We all thought artificial intelligence and automation would replace repetitive labor with machines.  Robots would replace truck drivers, warehouse workers and retail cashiers. Artificial intelligence is part of the technology underlying automatic driving cars.  However, AI is also finding its place in a number of scientific and research activities, as well as applications in the creative field, such as generating images or music. 

Currently, AI makes it easy to edit photographs in Lightroom/Photoshop.  In the digital darkroom AI can select the sky, a building or person and automatically apply a series of changes to those selections -- including removing them all together from the image, as if they had never been there. 

However, AI is becoming more than just an editing tool, AI is now being used as a generative tool on its own. For example, Stability AI is developing open AI models for Image, Language, Audio, Video, 3D and Biology.  You can read more about how it's stirring Silicon Valley and others here (article gifted) – not just because it is AI but because it is open sourced meaning it is free to use and open to abuse. On the matter of abuse, sites where this AI is used often contain a warning, “Despite how impressive being able to turn text into image is, beware to the fact that this model may output content that reinforces or exacerbates societal biases, as well as realistic faces, pornography and violence.”   For example, when I entered “man on a balcony” all I got was white men on balconies.

AI applications, like this one here, which is based on Stability AI, can generate photographs based on text as an input.  It can do the same for painting.  Beyond generating art work it can be used to redesign a building or room.  AI can be used to generate backgrounds and characters for video games. You can read more about AI in the Creatives’ Toolbox here (NY times article gifted).  Others can be found here.

Here are two examples. One is "train tracks along a river at sunset with mountains"; the other is "abandoned truck stop"

This year, at the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition, one of the winners was an AI-generated picture (NY times article gifted).


Jason Allen’s A.I.-generated work, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,”

Whether AI is the death of artistry as some suggest or simply another new form of artistry, I will leave that up to you to consider or chat about with friends. Either way, human creativity is required to come up with the right text prompts and see the vision through to a final piece of work.

“However advanced the technology may become, life is impossible without humanity, and that's why we need a combination of science of thinking and art of living! - Narendra Modi, author

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Behind the Scenes: Chasing Stories 

The Work Behind the Images: A couple weeks ago I went on a day trip to chase some stories to photograph.  I had 8 locations mapped out.  The first one, a segregated black boarding school on an old plantation, was fenced and gated with a lot of No Trespassing signs.  The second, I couldn’t find anything to represent the story which was about sacred native American ground.  The third, a slave chapel, I found. The fourth, a slave auction site, I found. The other 4 I never made it to.  And, along the way, I found several other gems – an abandoned drive-in theatre, an old train depot and an old trading store. It's how the work gets done -- hit and miss, and going looking.

Let’s look at some new images (click on images for larger views)….and in keeping with the theme of generative art, thought I would offer you some side by side comparisons.  The abandoned Drive-In is at Fork Union, The Slave Chapel is at Bremo Bluff and an old Train Depot at Cohasset, all in Virginia. 

Till, the Movie: The movie, Till, opens everywhere this weekend.  It tells the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14 year old son, Emmett Till, who, in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.  Here is the trailer and another. Get your tickets or find a theatre near you here

As you know, the story of Emmett Till’s lynching and the failure of justice during the subsequent 67 years is a story that began my “Scarred Places” project. Some of my Till work and related stories are collected here on Flickr, including captioned stories. Here is another one, related to Mamie
 
This is the abandoned Webb, MS train Depot. Mamie Till-Mobley — the mother of Emmett Till was born in Webb, Mississippi and moved to Argo, Illinois in 1924 as part of what is known as the Great Migration.  The Webb Depot was built in 1909 by the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad as a combination passenger and freight depot. A central part of life in this small Delta town for decades, the station was the junction of two different railroads coming from three directions. Trains once carried freight, agricultural products, and passengers, and connected these little towns with the rest of the world.  (Source: https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-mississippi-delta-20-webb-and-webb.html)

Looking for New Photographs? The Website now has new work:  Not everyone is on Instagram or Facebook where I post new work several times a week.  There isn’t really a place on the website to just be posting day-to-day new images.  The site is more formal with the portfolios and selected/curated limited editions which are priced etc.  But, at the website is a blog, which I have ignored for a while.  I am now getting into the habit of when I post on Instagram, I also post on the blog at the website.  Most of the images relate to the two projects, Roadside America and Scarred Places, so the blog also now has those as categories. Check it out when you can.

Binhammer Photographs Website

The Holidays
The Gift of Photographs 

 

As the holidays approach and we think about others, a work of art can be a unique and wonderful gift.  It is a more personal gift than a tie, sweater, gift basket or kitchenware.  If you or someone among your friends or family loves photography, here are a couple ideas.

Prints and Gifts: If you are interested in original photography for your home, or even having a little collection of photographic art, you can find some tips on what to consider on my website.  Here is the link to the pdf.  In a previous newsletter, I shared thoughts about buying art for others.  If you don’t want to go out on that limb of making a choice for someone else, I’m happy to generate a gift certificate for you to give, and then work with that person to find an image they love, whether it is on the website or in my archives.  Just email me and we will organize it.

I often work with folks to find them what they want, whether it is in a gallery on the website, something they saw online or it is in my archives and not seen by others.  For example, maybe you or someone wants barns or landscapes or doors, I will pull together numerous images fitting your criteria and we work from there to get an image you love.

Explore the images at the limited editions web page or Instagram or on the blog or just email me and we will figure it out. 

Roadside America, the book: The Roadside America Book, in color or black and white infrared, are available for sale on Blurb. You can preview both them fully to be sure you are going to be happy with them.

Photo Exhibits and News
Around the Web 


Legacy of Bill Eppridge at Monroe Gallery: Bill Eppridge (1938-2013) was one of the most accomplished photojournalists of the Twentieth Century and captured some of the most significant moments in American history: he covered wars, political campaigns, heroin addiction, the arrival of the Beatles in the United States, Vietnam, Woodstock, the civil rights movement, (notably the funeral of James Chaney, who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan), the Olympic Games, America’s Cup races, and revolutions in Latin America, and perhaps the most dramatic moment of his career - the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles. Over the last 60 years, his work appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic, Life, and Sports Illustrated; and has been exhibited in museums throughout the world.  The exhibit presents an overview of his career, including many never-before-seen examples of his early work, and many of his photographs of Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 campaign. More at Monroe Gallery, YouTube Video, article from Blind Magazine

Elton John Curates a show of Peter Hujar’s photographs at Fraenkel Gallery: a fifty-photograph survey of Hujar’s celebrated career. Bringing together the sensibilities of two remarkable artists, the exhibition provides striking evidence of how one artist’s eye can shed light on another. Elton John’s selection includes works spanning nearly two decades, featuring portraits of Hujar’s eclectic circle of friends, his landmark nudes, and atmospheric landscapes. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  Fraenkel Gallery and Artnet Story and Blind Magazine story.

The James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s successor, has turned its infrared eyes to a cosmic landscape called Pillars of Creation. The image is of towering mountains of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula, one of the most productive star factories in the Milky Way galaxy.  In the new view of the Pillars released earlier this month, cherry-red streaks and waves are jets of material squeezed from globs of gas and dust — baby protostars — as they collapsed and heated up toward stardom. New York Times story gifted. or Webb Telescope page

Paris Photo, November 10-13, 2022.  is the largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium and is held each November in the heart of Paris. Since 1997, the fair’s mission is to promote and nurture photographic creation and the galleries, publishers and artists at its source. Discover the program at their website and download the fair’s catalogue or visit their online visual glossary of photographic techniques.

The Return of Film Photography: In a report shot entirely on film, NBC News’ Gadi Schwartz tells us about the growing demand for vintage cameras as photography shoots up in popularity. The boom has been fueled by younger generations, social media and a desire to slow down in a hyperconnected world. When setting out to report this story, Gadi realized there was only one way to really do it justice. Take a behind-the-scenes look as Gadi shoots a few rolls with photographer Jason Kummerfeldt in Los Angeles, with their journey captured on a film camera.

William Eggleston: The Outlands.  William Eggleston is one of the great pioneers in color photography.  We talked about him in the June 2021 newsletter.  David Zwirner will present The Outlands, a selection of photographs by William Eggleston, the majority of which have never before been seen publicly, on view at the gallery’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street locations from November 10 through December 17, 2022. Check it out at the Gallery Website.  There will also be a new book, William Eggleston: The OutlandsSelected Works from David Zwirner Books, which you can order online or join them on November 11 from 1–3 PM at 525 West 19th Street in New York for a book signing with the artist. 

I've got the fall colors and the cool air.  I think it may be my favorite season. Listening to a little Buddy Guy blues and some Staple Singers.  Just back from the Till movie as I set this up to send to you (Yes I loved it). Hoping you are well.  Hoping you Vote. Hoping you found something a little fun and interesting here.  And, a big Thank You for being here.
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www.BinhammerPhotographs.com
Richard@binhammerphotographs.com | 512-422-6867
5807 Harbour Hill Place, Midlothian VA, 23112
Copyright © 2018 Binhammer Photographs, All rights reserved.

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