Friday, July 26, 2013

Railyard Blues

Trains, Railroad, Nova Scotia
©David Sorcher 2010

What is it about trains that capture our fancy so and drive our creative spirits to production? They have been the inspiration for songs, books, poems and films and a subject for painters and photographers since they first appeared on our landscapes. They have been the fuel of folklore and legend. My boyhood years were punctuated each night with the distant sound of the train whistle as i lay awake in bed, sparking dreams of traveling the rails to new and unknown towns and places. To this day that sound is still a familiar comfort. 
I've been mining old files again. These were shot back in 2010, again in Nova Scotia, in a Halifax railyard. I'm not sure exactly why i let them sit for so long, but since many of them were envisioned in a polyptych format my recent activity with such presentation has finally spurred me on to work some of them up. 

©David Sorcher 2010

This was a little photographic field trip i took with my friend Rob one morning. As photographers are often apt to do we found ourselves trespassing, getting into places we really don't belong because, well, we just have to now, don't we? :-)

©David Sorcher 2010

This particular yard provided all kinds of interesting fodder for photographs. As usual i found myself attracted to rust, decay and disrepair. 

©David Sorcher 2010

I look for images that join moments in time through color, line, form and content.

©David Sorcher 2010

I have a strange attraction to old railroad spikes and will often collect them as i walk the line. These ones were particularly eroded by time and the elements, though i left them behind so as not to weigh down my luggage on the trip home. The visual record will have to suffice. :-)

©David Sorcher 2010

Even if the trains themselves are not really your thing, i wonder how many have ever come across an abandoned stretch of railroad and been able to resist walking along the rusty rails for a time, or if the line is still active, placing a penny on the rail and waiting for a passing train to flatten it under the thunder of it's rolling metal wheels. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Polyptichs in Paradise...

I've been encouraged to continue showing my polyptychs and since the word is also kinda fun to say i will oblige. :-)
These next pieces bring us back to my Future Fossils work, though the "paradise" of the title is still Nova Scotia, one of my favorite places in the world.

Nova Scotia; Deer; Death; Decay; Bones
Yearling ©David Sorcher 2011

The time between captures in this diptych above is about a year. I originally found this unfortunate deer along an open stretch of road near my in-laws home and came back to revisit her on my next trip up. I wasn't sure what i would find after a year, but the site had been relatively undisturbed.

Nova Scotia; Seagull; Bird; Dead Bird
©David Sorcher 2011

This body of work really began back in 1980. I had moved to Rockaway Beach in Queens and the subject matter was consistently presenting itself. Beaches, the Ocean, hold secrets of the cycles of life and death like no other places i know. Nova Scotia beaches are some of the most interesting ones i've traveled upon. 

Skull; Bones; Fangs; Opossum
Rex ©David Sorcher 2012

To be completely honest this one was shot in my own backyard, unearthed when we renovated the garage. You never know what you might find when you go digging about, eh? :-)
Rex gives me a real taste for the paleontologist in me and brings back childhood desires for digging up dinosaur bones.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Triptychs

More than anywhere else, my time in Nova Scotia seems to inspire my polyptych way of seeing. Maybe it's the surf and salty sea, the fantastic and colorful rock formation or simply the rare air and quality of light the place holds, but the majority of these pieces turn up in this particular body of work.

Grass; Seaweed; Nova Scotia; Triptych
©David Sorcher 2010

I don't require that the components of my polyptychs be shot in sequence, but they are always from the same day, the same place, the same series of moments. The order of their arrangement is an afterthought that i may play with for some time before arriving at what feels like the best compositional choice. These are like extremely short films for me, attempting to tell just a little bit more about their subjects in a few quick frames. But like motion pictures, where a single frame out of a movie usually does not satisfy the narrative, all three images must be embraced as a whole to receive the full impact of the work.  

Nova Scotia; Triptych; Rocks
©David Sorcher 2011

I look for lines that will connect the flow of the composition from one frame to the next. A thematic connection is important for me in these works, but the piece will not work as a whole if the eye does not move freely from one frame to the next and allow the mind to read the over all presentation as a single and complete work.

Nova Scotia; Triptych; Sand; Beach
©David Sorcher 2012

When all three single images create a sense of balance and flow the pieces are successful for me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Diptychs & Triptychs

You probably wouldn't know from viewing my work on the web that i often envision my final pieces as diptychs and triptychs. I love these formats for visual imagery, but i have always been hesitant to present them on the internet mostly because i have felt that the size restriction of our computer screens takes away quite a bit from the impact that the formats potentially hold. It's not that i picture these mural-sized necessarily, but they will certainly be much larger in print than any of your monitors are likely capable of holding. But as i slowly work my way towards putting together a show of my work for real-time/space environments i think it's time to start placing some of these ideas out there for consideration and comment.

Diptych; Nova Scotia; Cliffs; Rocks; Sea; Ocean
Dragon's Lair ©David Sorcher 2009

It's not that i don't believe in the power of the single image. I have, in fact, always been a strong proponent of the single decisive moment. Polyptychs simply tell our visual stories in a different manner, linking both thematic and compositional elements together for another way of seeing. I have often presented just the photo on the left as a single image, but it creates a different dynamic coupled with the image on the right. Once joined the two i find that the two are inseparable.  

Heron, Nova Scotia, Rocks, Beach, Bird, Bones
Heron ©David Sorcher 2010

The heron is a cross-over in my bodies of work since it belongs to both my Nova Scotia images as well as my Future Fossils series. Some ideas just follow you wherever you go. :-) The impact of this triptych would not be possible as a single wide shot as each component of the whole involves a different angle and shooting distance on the same subject, but placed together these separate images unite to express the visual ideas i had in mind better than any individual photograph ever could.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dreaming of Nova Scotia

I have found myself rather busy with the commercial side of the biz this past week and haven't had time for a new post. Though i did throw a little of that work (concerts, events, restaurant tours, etc) into this blog before i really am trying to reserve this space for my personal work since it gets the least amount of viewing.
I spent some time stressing the virtues of shooting close to home recently, but today we are going to take a little trip abroad. Summer has just begun and i am already looking forward to my annual visit to Nova Scotia in September, so i thought i would share a few of my favorite images from that ongoing project. One day, like most of my personal projects, i hope to turn this into a book.

Boats; Chains; Shipbuilding; Nova Scotia
©David Sorcher 2010

If there is one thing that comes to mind when i think of Nova Scotia it is boats. Shipbuilding, fishing vessels, sailboats, tankers...they are all an integral part of the landscape. I was raised by the sea and have always had a fascination for all things nautical, even if i have found myself landlocked for the past 15 years. I am especially drawn to the wrecks, old boats in ruins whose voyages long ago came to this final resting place ashore. In some ways i suppose that is simply an extension of my love of things in decay and how nature works it's transformational magick.  

Boats; Shipbuilding; Nova Scotia; Dory
©David Sorcher 2010

I try to keep in mind the three "C"s, color, content and composition, whenever i'm out shooting. Nova Scotia provides a wonderful color palette, from the brilliant hues of sea stones by the shore, to the bold hues used in the painting of the local structures. I like my color relationships to speak to the viewer.  

LaHave; River; Church; Nova Scotia
©David Sorcher 2010

And then sometime the sky just sucks away all the color leaving only the graphic appeal of monochrome. This is early morning along the LaHave River. I made no color adjustments to this image, this is just as it looked to the eye. The only color that remains is the small red buoy barely visible in the shadow of the opposite shore. 

Nova Scotia; House; Red; Green; Laundry
©David Sorcher 2010

Of course the color always comes flying back at you in all it's bold glory. I have often been asked about this one in regards to it's intensity. I do use a polarizer when i shoot this kind of stuff almost religiously. In fact i kind of feel lost without one in these conditions. That combined with this late afternoon light is the key to the saturation here. But i have not jacked these colors up in photoshop. In fact i had to desaturate the reds a bit to pull back some detail in the folds of the laundry. I think we all know how digital tends to over saturate the red channel. This is my in-laws house in Riverport and my wife's laundry btw. It just happened to be the day for the red wash. :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Grand Parade

Fourth of July; Northside; Cinncinnati; Parade; Flag; Classic Cars
©David Sorcher 2010

Everybody loves a parade, right? The marching bands, baton twirlers, floats and costumes, classic cars and hand-shaking politicians...well, maybe not the politician part. 
I must say that there is no parade i look more forward to than the Northside Fourth of July Parade. We take a certain pride here in Northside (that's in Cincinnati in case you are not from around here) in presenting one of the most eclectic, wacky and weird Fourth parades around. It's not that we don't have the usual patriotic flag waving (see photo above), but perhaps we just don't take ourselves quite as seriously as some and our parade provides plenty of room for the left-wing and underground elements that thrive so well in our little off-beat community. 
Fourth of July; Northside; Cinncinnati; Parade, Bodybuilder
©David Sorcher 2012

I usually shoot this parade as a personal assignment so my approach is a bit casual since there is never any pressure to get "THE" shot. Still, i guess i always hope to anyway. I shoot it most years and on the occasions when i have chosen to leave the camera at home that decision has generally been accompanied by regret. It is true that we do often get the "usual suspects" marching along the avenue every year, like our bodybuilding friend above, but there is always something new to see. This Thursday's parade should be interesting as we have a bit of celebrity scheduled to appear. Gabby Giffords will be in town and apparently made a specific request to march (i guess they've heard about us even in Arizona). This should draw more people to the parade and probably a bit more security so i'm not quite sure how i feel about it yet.

Fourth of July; Northside; Cinncinnati; Parade; Band; Marching Band
©David Sorcher 2012

Most years i stake out a spot near my friend house, for the friends and party of course, but also for the fun shots i can get at marchers cool off in the walk-through sprinkler system he sets up every year. 

Fourth of July; Northside; Cinncinnati; Parade; Band; Guitar
©David Sorcher 2012

Advice for those serious about shooting parades; don't try to shoot them as a spectator from the sidelines. You will rarely get any good shots that way. Step into the action. Confront the parade. March along with it, back-peddle as you shoot it. Swim upstream a bit, then drift back downstream with a section you find interesting. You may have some trouble doing this if you are un-credentialed in something like the Macy's Thanksgivings Day Parade in NYC, but in a small town affair like this it is doubtful that authorities will kick you to the sidelines. One other suggestion. Remember that often both you and your subject will be in motion as you are shooting so use a higher shutter speed when you can to ensure sharpness. 

Fourth of July; Northside; Cinncinnati; Parade; Flag; Classic Cars
©David Sorcher 2013

So have a safe and happy Fourth folks. And if you are in the area come on down to Northside and we'll show you how it's done... ;-)
Oh and just for fun, a gratuitous shot of my wife at the after-party sucking on an ice pop. :-D

©David Sorcher 2012