Big Bend Postcard No. 1

This is the first in a series of retro styled postcards I’m producing featuring imagery from the Texas Big Bend region. I remember seeing postcards like this with scenes of the Southwest as a kid. It is something that was echoed in the actual landscape of the Western US. My eyes were trained by that landscape to see near or far but not middle distance.

Another influence for my postcards is the work of Ed Ruscha. His highly graphic designs using bright colors, sweeping lines and text has always appealed to me. In particular his use of text to overlay graphics and photorealistic images is very interesting.

These postcards are not copies of an existing style and do not emulate the work of any artist. They are inspired by commercial art, advertising and fine art but the synthesis of ideas for the works is down to me. All the postcards will derive from photographic images modified to get the look and feel I’m after. For instance they will have linen like texture as seen in old postcards and reduced color palettes which will limit detail. All will combine text and images.

The individual postcards will be released as free calendars as they are created. Once completed they will be available for sale as a printed set of postcards. As you might imagine a considerable amount of time and effort is required to produce this work.

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Nature

This photograph was made in Big Bend National Park a year ago on one of the officially undocumented trails that originate along the perimeter of the park. Many are commonly used by visitors who know how they exist and the park service even has entry signs at some of the trailheads. They are somewhat hazardous to hike because you are unlikely to encounter any other people. For that reason you don’t want to get into difficulty.

Along this trail there were huge boulders weathered by wind and water into bizarre shapes. Many were marked with petroglyphs. Stories of the unknowable past left by native peoples. The valley floor was covered with ancient fire rings and stone mortars. A ghost world.

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Friday Photo Calendar No. 14 – North America

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Texture

Mining Company Office - Study Butte, Texas
Mining Company Office – Study Butte, Texas
I spend as much time in the less civilized parts of Texas as I can. There is something in those places that makes me feel alive in ways that modern safe environments do not. I want to inhabit the West of my childhood imagination. That version of the West didn’t exist sixty five years ago and is even more unreal today. My imaginary world is not about cowboys but rugged individuals boldly making a stand. It is my American dream. To be clear it is a narrative of men, because it was always about men when I was a kid. Not inclusive and a little embarrassing given what I understand today. But there it is.

Of course a hundred years ago those so-called rugged individuals were dreaming of a better future for their families. They didn’t see themselves as living some ideal life of great moral courage. I don’t know whether they looked back to earlier times with nostalgia. Probably not, they had to work hard every day so no time for such nonsense.

There is risk in photographing ruins of the past. We see the remnants of former lives but not the context of those lives. Collected history can provide some of the missing pieces if it exists. The lives of common folks are small history, passed across generations by word of mouth until forgotten. A generation or two then gone forever.

Mostly we photograph the physical remains of the past in a friction free way devoid of social history . Ruins survive outside our modern context. We can imagine them in any way we wish while being mindful that our imaginings may exceed the realities of the past.

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Friday Photo Calendar 2017 No. 11 - phototrice.com

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Weeks starting on Sunday.

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Weeks starting on Monday.

Friday Photo Calendar No. 11 – International