Last Friday morning we spent time walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Afterwards, we made our way around the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where I shot this panorama. The Brooklyn Bridge is to the left, while to the right is the Manhattan Bridge. Once we finished photographing along the waterfront, we went over a couple of blocks and had an incredible New York style pizza at Grimaldi’s, which is famous for their pizzas.
For a number of years, a colleague from the Art Department has encouraged me to join him with some of our photography students on his annual trip to New York City during our spring break. This year I finally had time to take him up on his offer. We started recruiting students during the fall semester and when our trip began, we had 14 students (9 were photography majors). It was a five day/four night trip and we were based in mid-town Manhattan, just a couple of blocks south of Central Park.
Using the subway system allowed us to easily navigate from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn. Times Square was visited a few times in the evening for great photo ops. We also did the typical tourist activities, such as going up the Empire State Building, standing in the center of the Grand Central Terminal, visiting the 911 Memorial, and dining in Chinatown and Little Italy. Since I’m a food photographer (and foodie!), sampling international fare was on my list of quests. I managed to sample Irish, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish cuisine that would be impossible to find locally. The Spanish tapas and seafood paella in Greenwich Village at the Spain Restaurant and Bar were by far my favorite indulgence!
From a photographic standpoint, we saw lots of great images, both historical and contemporary at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the NYC Public Library, and the International Center for Photography. Names such as Frith, Baldus, and Atget were some of the more historical work viewed, while Weegee and Grey Villet helped transition to more contemporary imagery, which included Cindy Sherman, Greg Girard, and Francesca Woodman.
Below are a few of my favorites from the trip, enjoy!
This is just a short post about a new blog I started over the summer. Nearly two decades ago I started collecting 19th century photographs and developed a keen interest in the history of photography. In 1995, I launched a business focused on collecting, researching, and dealing in 19th century images. I called it Antiquarian Images, Ltd (AiLimited). The collection grew rapidly to include: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, melainotypes (aka tin types), cartes-de-visite (CDV), cabinet cards, and miscellaneous albumen and carbon prints.
By the end of the decade I shifted the focus of my career from photographing advertisements to teaching photography and consequently AiLimited was placed on an indefinite sabbatical. Although during the intervening years I never stopped collecting interesting 19th century images, mostly CDVs and cabinet cards from different states and territories within the U.S. and especially from the Civil War and Reconstruction Era of American history.
This summer I took AiLimited out of the mothballs and launched a new blog devoted to researching and writing about images within my collection. This fits nicely with my doctoral research, which focused on how photographic images can be used to construct or reconstruct an individual’s personal or social identity. From a visual ethnographer’s standpoint, this becomes an exciting challenge…much like detective work except it’s all in the historical past. One unique aspect of this type of research is that it allows me to use my past training as a professional genealogist when recreating the life story of either the patron posed in the photograph or that of the photographer that created the image.
This academic school year I finally get to teach the photo history course here at the University of Central Missouri. I am really excited to teach a subject for which I have a unique passion. For anyone who may be like-minded or even mildly interested in photographs from the earliest years of the photographic era, I would encourage you to join The Daguerreian Society. I originally joined in 1995 and had great experiences discussing with and learning from other Society members around the country. The Society’s annual symposium and auction is coming up soon and this October it will be in Florida’s Gulf Coast city of St. Petersburg. Hope to see you there!
Check out Antiquarian Images, Ltd. blog at http://ailimited.wordpress.com
Over the course of the past year, I have given my readers updates regarding the progress of my book project about a vineyard. Specifically, it’s about Baltimore Bend Vineyard, near Waverly, Missouri and the seasonal changes and activities over the course of a year. It’s been a fun journey!
Technology has certainly come along way since I started photographing three decades ago. But more importantly, this technology now allows the photographer or writer the ability to publish their books without the hassles and expense of finding a publisher willing to advance your work. On-demand publishing brings to anyone interested in publishing their work the ability to do so without printing thousands of copies. This new technology and business model allows one to print only one copy of their book, or hundreds. The author is total control, which I find very nice.
Below are the front and back covers of my second monograph: Journey Through The Vineyard: A Photographic Year At Baltimore Bend.
© 2010 Terry Ownby
Lately on Friday afternoons after my grading is finished (most of the time), I’ve been trying to head out on short photo safaris with my colleague Wilson Hurst and the occasional student. Last week the lighting and weather conditions were great, so we took off to the northeast from campus, about a half-hour drive, to a beautiful reservoir just outside of Concordia—Edwin A. Pape Lake.
The low angle of the sun was creating interesting light patterns throughout the well-manicured wooded park and I found some interesting fungi to do some macro work. I pulled out my trusty Nikkor 55mm f2.8 MICRO lens and proceeded to lie on the ground for the extreme close-ups.
Sometimes photographers wonder what’s the difference between lenses that have Micro or Macro stamped on their lens barrels. At the university’s photography equipment check-out gage, we have a number of Canon and Nikon lenses, with the former stating MACRO and the latter stating MICRO. Turns out, both verbiage is correct, provided of course the lens is capable of photographing an object at a 1:1 ratio. In other words: life-size. If the lens isn’t capable of this type of rendering, then you are simply doing close-up shots and not life-size. So what’s the difference between the terms? It’s just marketing ploys between camera manufacturers.
The great thing about these types of lenses is that it allows the photographer to explore intimate, miniature worlds that commingle with our perceived “normal” world of human beings.
© 2010 Terry Ownby
© 2010 Terry Ownby
© 2010 Terry Ownby
Clear skies and a warm afternoon were a perfect combination for getting off campus Friday and photographing in the nearby state park of Knob Noster. So my colleague and friend, Wilson Hurst, along with one of our dedicated UCM Photo students, Phil Williams (who helped me extensively on my vineyard book project), headed off to visually explore the temporal moments of the waning days of summer. This semester is slipping by incredibly fast, as in just a few days we’ll experience the autumnal equinox, the day my Celtic pagan ancestors celebrated the turning of the seasonal wheel back in east central England and Wales.
Our first encounter was a lovely grove of pine, possibly red pine. As we photographed in this beautiful setting, the drone of vintage propeller-driven fighter planes loomed overhead, as the flight of aircraft practiced aerial maneuvers for an upcoming air show at the nearby Air Force base. Immediately the combination of the vintage aural message from above, the heat and scent of the pine grove below, transported me mentally into the Spanish Civil War scene of Hemingway’s 1940 novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls; one of my favorite reads while attending grad school at Webster University in Saint Louis.
Next, our adventures took the three of us into the deciduous forest and peninsula extending out towards the lake. Here I encountered beautiful mushrooms and fungi on the forest floor hidden in its decomposing organic detritus. Fortunately, due to my thinking ahead, I switched lenses to my Nikkor 55mm Micro 2.8, for some extreme close-up portraits. This fantastic lens allowed me to focus on the fungi within less than 10” (0.25m). As I lay there on the moss and leaves, I expected to see at any moment little gnomes or faeries sitting on the brightly colored woodland thrones. Instead, suddenly my thoughts turned to Jefferson Airplane’s classic hit, White Rabbit with visualizations of Alice going down the rabbit hole into a surreal experience of the psychedelic Other World. This led me to experiment with temporal shifts in my image making by slowing down the shutter speed to around two seconds at f32 and moving the camera in varying directions and speed.
At one point the three of us rendezvoused next to the lake and ended up in a heady discussion on Sartre’s existentialism and Barthes’ semiological notions of myth and orders of signification. Had any of the rural locals overheard our philosophical discussions, they surely would have thought us all to be a bunch of crazy idiots babbling non-sense! C’est la vie, such is life for the never ending visual academic!
Pine Toll, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Throne One, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Throne Two, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Alice’s Rabbit Vortex, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Falling Forrest I, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Falling Forest II, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Leaves Falling, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Summer Ice, © 2010, Terry Ownby
Fish tacos have to be one of my all-time favorites! Living on Colorado’s Front Range, one is exposed to fish tacos everywhere. I must admit, when I first moved there and heard about these incredible tacos, I was a bit put off. It took me a couple of years to warm up to trying fish in taco shells. I’m glad I finally came to my senses and tried them!
Throughout the Front Range one can find an eclectic eatery called Wahoo’s Fish Taco. These restaurants have an interesting story and a unique fusion of Mexican, Brazilian, and Asian foods, combined with an eccentric surfing culture. You can read more about the three Asian brothers from San Paolo who created this awesome dynasty in California, Colorado, Texas, and Hawaii on their corporate website. But, on to my story!
When I accepted a professorate position at a regional university in central Missouri, little did I know the withdrawal problems I would have by not getting my regular fix of Wahoo’s fish tacos! There’s one local Mexican joint (sorry, no website) in town that I frequent, which serves fish tacos, but still, just not the same! So a couple of years ago out of shear desperation, I tried my hand at creating my own version. I’m fairly happy with the final dish, although since it’s impossible to get the correct fish (Wahoo or Mahi-Mahi) in this one-horse town, I had to settle with tilapia.
This affair with fish tacos reminds me of a similar story from one of my PhD colleagues from Colorado State University, and her quest for Mexican food in her new home in England. You can read her story (and great recipes) on Laura’s blog. Meanwhile, here’s my version of fish tacos. Enjoy!
Tacos de los Pescados de Colorado
(Colorado Fish Tacos)
Recipe by Terry Ownby, © 2007.
• 1 pound white flaky fish—Tilapia (wahoo or mahi-mahi if available)
• 1 lime, quartered
• ¼—½ jalapeno, finely diced (more if you like spicy hot)
• ¼ chopped cilantro leaves (fresh)
• shredded white cabbage
• shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
• corn tortillas
Marinade for Fish:
• Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Packet
• ¼ finely diced jalapeno
• ½ chopped green onion
• coarsely chopped cilantro
• 1 garlic glove finely diced
• red onion, finely chopped to taste
• ½ lime, juiced
Pico de Gallo:
• diced Roma tomato
• a few slices of red onion, diced
• cilantro, chopped
• ¼ finely diced jalapeno
• ½ lime, juiced
Place fish in a medium size dish or mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine Old El Paso Taco Seasoning with water (amount indicated on package). Add remaining marinade ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture slightly thickens. Remove from heat and pour over fish. Let marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove fish from the marinade and cook. This could be on a BBQ grill, oven, or in a lightly oiled (or non-stick spray) skillet. Cook until opaque white and fish easily flakes with a fork. Fish should flake into chunks.
Heat the corn tortillas. Steaming is great and easy. Take a 10” skillet half filled with water and bring to a boil. Place a metal splatter screen (used to keep grease from splattering while frying) on the skillet. Place tortilla on screen and steam for a few moments. Using tongs or a fork, flip tortilla and steam other side until soft. Remove.
Place fish chunks and flakes on tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese, then cabbage, followed by Pico de Gallo. Give a fresh squeeze of lime, fold and bon appetite!
Just a quick update. The vineyard book project that I’m shooting at Baltimore Bend Vineyards is still moving along. Since the project visually investigates life in the vineyard over the course of a year, winter is no exception for photographing. Fortunately just a few days ago we had a nice snowfall, so I ventured north for some shooting. Since the university is on winter break, my students working with me on this project were off on vacation. My colleague and friend, Wilson Hurst, came along and we decided to try our hand at shooting star trails that evening. This was my first attempt and I have a ways to go before I’m comfortable with type of shooting. But it was fun!
Here’s a quote from my working project journal: “The vineyard was snow covered under a nearly full-moon, with crisp, cold night air at about 18° F, accompanied by beautiful white and black snow geese on the wing overhead. Enchanting evening to be out photographing the vineyard.”
© 2009 Terry Ownby
© 2009 Terry Ownby
© 2009 Terry Ownby
Last week Wilson (photography program coordinator and colleague at UCM) and I headed down to Joplin, MO to pick up our images that had been displayed in the recent Photo Spiva show. Since the day was young, we decided to head over to Springfield, my old stomping grounds when I was a college student. We made our way downtown and started looking for the galleries on Walnut Street. Imediately we found the Elite PhotoArt Gallery, where one of our student’s work was on display…Robert Weston Breshears. He had a set of his journalistic style images from Afganistan and Pakistan, which were on stretched canvas, prominently on display. Stepping next door, we entered the Art + Design Gallery, which is hosted by the Art + Design Department at Missouri State Unveristy, where I earned by bachelor’s in photography and media. The senior exhibit was hanging, so that was great to see current student work. I wish we had a gallery this nice when I was a student there! While in the gallery, I was talking with the gallery director, who turned out to be a good friend and former photography classmate my those early college days…a day of surprises…I hadn’t seen her since the early 1980s!
Eventually Wilson and I wondered down the street to make images. Downtown Springfield has changed somewhat since I was there years ago, but I recognized the buildings. This image below of the Gailey’s Cafe and former drug store (part of the Seville Hotel) was located just down from Ozark Camera, where I used to hang out as a college student and where I bought my first Nikon.
© 2009 Terry Ownby