During the month of February, I will be exhibiting pictures from The Drunken Bicycle- Travels in the Former Soviet Union at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. On February 19th at 7:00, I will do a presentation with Vivian Leskes, author of Lost in Siberia.
“Using the power of photography to promote global awareness” is the tagline for a photo contest that goes beyond the standard parameters of most picture competitions. SDN‘s annual Call for Entries is an open invitation to advance your career as a documentary photographer. Two Grand Prize winners will be awarded $4000 each and each will spend up to two weeks documenting the global health projects of Management Sciences for Health. Yes, instead of relying on the usual network of photography agencies to hire talented picture professionals, MSH wants to give the opportunity to members of the SocialDocumentary.net community. A $35 fee will allow you to join SDN, upload a portfolio, and be entered for the Call for Entries. Your portfolio will be available for viewing to anyone who visits socialdocumentary.net.
There is a $1000 cash Documentary Award for a third winner and a New York City exhibition that will include 2-3 honorable mentions as well as the 3 winners. The deadline is September 28, 2013. Check out more information and details here and here.
In addition to this annual Call for Entries, SDN offers a monthly award of $200 for the best portfolio uploaded that month. I had the opportunity to vote on this month’s winning entry. In support of full disclosure, I am on the Advisory Board for SocialDocumentary.Net. I am not on the selection committee for the current Call for Entries.
Photos by Frank Ward.
The above pictures are from two not-so-recent projects. The top image of an elephant bathing in the water supply of a village in South India was created when I was part of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange photographing health issues in India (1999). The lower picture of a young boy was made from a military vehicle while embedded with the U.S. forces stationed in Kosovo. I was there under the auspices of the Center for Balkan Development bringing aid to help rebuild Kosovo (2000).
Gros Morne, Newfoundland, Canada. All photographs 2013 by Frank Ward.
It is time to fire up The Coruscating Camera blog and begin a semester of photo work. This post is illustrated with pictures from a recent journey to Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland.
Bedsprings, Viking Trail, Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland.
According to my MacBook dictionary, the word ‘coruscating’ means “sparkling, flashing and brilliant in content or style.” When I am photographing and feeling ‘in the zone’, I recognize the world as coruscating with energy.
The most immediate energy available to the photographer is light. Recognizing the most favorable light invites us into the realm of coruscation. This picture and the next were taken in sequence one evening along the Cabot Trail.
Volunteer Fire Department, Cape Breton.
The first view is just to the left of where I made the second photograph. Actually, there was a very nice picture (below) in between the two pictures above.
Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton.
The master color photographer Jay Maisel told me to take lots of pictures of the same stuff, and to bracket my camera settings. I never really know what I will be attracted to after the initial exposures.
Jay also says to photograph before 10 AM and after 4 PM. The light is best in the early morning and early evening. I still photograph anytime day or night, but he is right. The light is best when it is low and sweeping across the world.
Codroy Valley, Newfoundland.
Sunset is a great time to photograph, except that I’m not too interested in sunset pictures. I was attracted to the light reflecting off the white painted surface of this outbuilding along the Cabot Strait.
Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland.
Here is the morning mist on a former fjord in Gros Morne National Park.
I like inclement weather. The pictures above and below were made just after a rain.
Let’s integrate the conditions of the outer world into our inner world of perceptions and preferences.
Recognize the potential in the world around you, and Allow it to become your perception.
I am referring to the acronym RAIN, suggested by Tara Brach, a teacher of present moment awareness. Her first step is to Recognize what is going on in any moment. You don’t need a camera to do this. The next step is to Allow what arises to simply happen without judgement.
Port Saunders, Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland.
Tara then asks us to Investigate, this is where a camera can come in handy. With or without a camera, investigation can lead to insight.
Port aux-Basques, Newfoundland
The last letter in our acronym is for Non-attachment. This is the most important factor for both the person and the photographer. Attachment to our current situation leads to any number of contentious issues. You can get frustrated because you are not getting the results (pictures) you want. Or you can project into the future about the huge rewards you will receive for the brilliant work you are making. My ‘N‘ in RAIN is also for Now. Too many thoughts can get in the way of experiencing what is in front of me and my camera. If thinking takes me away from Recognizing, Allowing and Investigating what is in front of me, I bring awareness back to the Now. A clear mind makes clear pictures.
The 18th Annual Photographic Resource Center Juried Exhibition opens June 6, 6:30-8:00. That is tonight at 832 Comminwealth Avenue, Boston, MA. This Accordion Player is on the high pastures of Central Asia off a road heading from Osh, Kyrgyzstan to Kashgar, China. There will be a half dozen of my pictures from The Drunken Bicycle series at the PRC with seven other selected photographers.
Neither of the above pictures are in the exhibit. You will have to go to see what is included.
My daughter Tobey was telling me about tiny houses. These alternative homes are often no bigger than 500 square feet and are an attractive option for those with the intention to live with a smaller footprint. That’s Tobey and Porgy in the picture above as we walk to Claire’s house, about a mile down a mud road.
Here are Claire’s feet as we stand in her kitchen. She painted the floor with leftover house paint.
Tobey admires the kitchen. The house is off the grid. Claire has solar power backed up by a generator. Her stove is a combination of wood and gas and her refrigerator is propane powered.
Claire’s water system is solar powered. She says she has to drain the pipes if she is away overnight in the winter.
This is Cinderella, she got her at FAO Schwartz in New York when she was a child.
The house is beautiful and well swept.
It could be a museum.
The pictures on the walls are amazing, and she does her own wallpapering.
I don’t mean to give you the idea that Claire lives as if in an earlier century. She has a laptop and today’s New York Times.
Claire doesn’t even have a tiny house. She simply has a small footprint. Her choice of life style reminds me about intention. We all live with intention. We simply don’t ask ourselves what our intentions are. When you think about your intentions, dive past the layers and daily reasons for doing what you do. Look into your root aspirations and you may find that your deepest intentions should not be overlooked.
These pictures from Cape Cod, Massachusetts were made on the morning after my Taunton pictures of the last post. These landscapes are from the Upper Cape, which is actually the lower Cape geographically. Sandy Neck Beach is where my high School sweetheart and I would drive to whenever we had a car for a few hours.
The beach was a target range for the Navy during World War II. We would walk the dunes searching for big bullets and such.
It seems that I am taking the same picture over and over again. Some days are like that. Especially when the pictures are about roads not taken. To get it out of my system here are more Cape Cod walkways, pathways, roadways, etc.
The road not taken in my life upon graduating from high school was my choice not to enroll in the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and not to join the Merchant Marines. I love the ocean, but I’m not a sailor. As a teenager, my idea of being a sailor was based on what I read in Kerouac’s On the Road. Upon visiting the Maritime Academy I immediately discovered that sailors were not a gang of beatniks. I then read Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and had a much clearer fantasy of what I wanted to be.
I decided to follow my girlfriend to the University of Massachusetts. That is where I became a dharma bum, a filmmaker and a photographer.
Back to the photography part, some days it is difficult to get things out of the center of the frame. It’s like walking on a road. It is empowering to simply walk down the middle. The Buddha encouraged the “middle path” of life. My life has been slightly off-center, but I think centering is a good idea in general. I’ll close with the off-center picture below.
For over twenty years I have been concentrating on photography projects outside of the United States. A week ago I returned to my hometown of Taunton, Massachusetts to see what had changed since I left there to go to college in 1967.
The Roseland Ballroom was on the second floor. The first floor was a bowling alley where I would hang-out almost every night of my high school years. Now, the first floor is a restaurant and the upstairs is a banquet hall. The parking lot abuts my old backyard.
The last day I went to this church was the day I was baptized at age 13. I did not feel transformed as I was lifted out of the baptismal water. A year or so after, I began reading about Zen Buddhism and sitting in my version of Zen meditation.
Downtown Taunton has changed immensely since I left. I didn’t remember this building on the corner of Winthrop and Cohannet Streets. I also didn’t get a chance to look for the soda shop on Cohannet where I got my first job as a soda jerk.
The Taunton Green is my standard reference size for an acre of land. I don’t know if it really is an acre, it’s just something my mother told me.
The landfill portion of the Taunton dump has become a methane field.
Across the street from the methane field and the town dump is the stretch of road where teenagers with cars would go parking (AKA “necking”) in the 50s and 60s. Maybe they still do.
I’ll close with another picture from the town dump. My family moved out of Taunton when I went off to the University of Massachusetts. They moved to Cape Cod. I hope to add some pictures from the Cape soon.