Friday, March 11, 2011


Photography, perhaps the most ubiquitous form of imagery we have.
The medium not yet two hundred years old has been a transforming device in our lives in too many ways to count. It informs, it sells, it records, it reveals us to ourselves. There are as many ways in which photography is utilized as there are people who "push the button" to save a moment. So image saturated is our culture that it has pushed the art photography to a select audience of those who study and appreciate it on any level. Anyone can do it, right? The push of a button on your 4G smart-phone and an image is made that would astonish Mr.Daguerre,
H. Fox Talbot and friends.
Another button pushed and the image is gone "deleted", forgotten, on to the next instant.

For me, photography is . . . more.

Some may ask, why write another blog (w/images;) on photography? There are times in life when things need re-introduced or reacquainted with us as to their importance to us, for us.
I believe in the power of photography, of art for that matter, to teach, to communicate, to illustrate our time and possibly show those in the future the good we have done and our mistakes to. Photography teaches. The power exists in many ways to reach beyond our time and show us who we were, are and may become.

Photography is . . . an observation.

Although photography is rooted in the literal, the documentary, it should be eminently capable
of dealing with ideas thoughts and feelings.

A document.

Pictures can offer us three verities as quoted by Robert Adams. " Geography, autobiography, and metaphor.
Geography: is if taken alone, sometimes boring.

Autobiography: frequently trivial.

Metaphor: can be dubious.

But together . . . the three kinds of information strengthen each other and reinforce what we all seek to keep intact- an affection for life."

Photography is . . .an experience.

"Photography need not be concerned just about simple formalism, simple propaganda, or simple sociology; it might carry all the complexity of an artist's internal musings upon the nature of culture and human experience.

Photography is . . . an act of love.

"I'm always looking outside, trying to look inside, trying to say something that's true. But maybe nothing is really true except what's out there, and whats out there is always changing."

Photography is . . .an act of respect.

"There is nothing more mysterious as a fact clearly described. Photography is a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium and respect for the subject. I photograph to see what things look like photographed."

Photography is . . . a quest.

Photography is . . . a compulsion.

Photography is . . an adventure.

"The world we live in is a succession of fleeting moments, any one of which might say something significant. Look harder at our world, to see more and to feel more."

Photography is . . .an obsession.

"One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind . . . to live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. But when the great photographs are produced, it will be down that road . . . I have only touched it, just touched it."

I posted a fragment on facebook last week(photography is . . .)
I want to thank all those who responded. Enjoyed them all. Highly rated on my list of those comments , thanks Pat H. and JRW you hit it the nail on the head.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I was trying to put together a post of my "pictures of the year" but after several hours of editing, well, I need a photo editor. There is just too many images that I like and want to include. Sorry no pictures of the year for now.
A key reason that aided my decision in not doing a pic of the year post was the several stories I kept running into about Youngstown and all its troubles, with the acompaning videos or images of closed mills and urban blight and etc.etc. blah, blah blah, I have seen it enough and so have all of you. we know that we have our problems, what city doesnt'? Why is there such a lack of content of what is GOOD in Youngstown? Let me state that this is just one persons, my view, on this topic. Perhaps if we illustrate more of a positive image to ourselves of ourselves those who hold on to a negative outlook may begin to change their thinking and just maybe so will the rest of the country. I am proud of our past and embrace it but life is a forward moving thing and if you look back to much how are you supposed to see were your going, (stole that line from Abe Lincoln). When I was a photo student at YSU I fell in love with Youngstowns industrial heritage, it's in our marrow, all of us know someone or are related to someone who made a living from the steel industry in some way. The first image you see here I took in 1996, at the time I had no idea what "jenny" or who jeannette was. I just knew it was part of our history and I loved walking around those sites in awe of its past and the shear scale of it all. I could go on but that is for another day. This post is about positivitey. I see artists from the, here is the term that is sometimes touchy to some, Rustbelt who use that imagery and reclaimed material and sites to recreate and help reinvent our city! And I love it, in a sense its turning a negative into a positive, you know, that lemons to lemonade thing. But wait, theres more, so much MORE!

Youngstown, OH 2010

A non-profit arts organization had local artists create banners to help beautify
local vacant lots (Artyoungstown) is just one of the good things that good people are a part of.

The steel industry is still alive in Youngstown and its past is being
saved by the "Youngstown steel heritage foundation"
You can meet the man responsible (Rick Rowlands, pic above) who is usually there on the site, when he's not off somewhere in Ohio or PA. reclaiming old steel industry artifacts to bring back to life and back to Youngstown for future generations to see. His museum that is a continual work in progress is a lesson in history that is priceless.
Another positive in Youngtown!

Iron work is alive an well and in the hands of some highly skilled artists like
Chuck Hughes(above), Tony Armeni and Daniel Horne to name just a few.
These artists take steel and form it not into buildings but sculptural artworks that beautify our city.
There are plenty of other visual artists who are aiding in the rebirth of our fair city by utilizing the endless supply of industrial imagery and retooling it and showing a new generation what and where we came from.

Sculpture by Tony Armeni
in Millcreek Park.

A beautiful summer at the historic B+O Station.
A great place to meet and enjoy art festivals, musical events or just sit at the bar in the BOXCAR Lounge and enjoy a homade Rustbelt brew!
Another positive.

The world renowned USAF Thunderbirds have even returned
to the valley. What an awesome event it was, can't wait for their return.

"The Little Steel Derby Girls"
Youngstowns own roller derby team!!
Derby love!

The Peace race.

For our race fans we have some of the best racing just up the road twenty min.
from downtown Youngstown, Sharon Speedway were some of the best dirt track racing can be seen every Sat. night throughout the summer, yeah thats Tony Stewart and Dave Blaney
going at it during the Lou Blaney Memorial race.

Theatre fans have a plethora of choices!
The new RUSTBELT THEATRE CO. who's home is in the Calvin Center, once a school now a place of artistic entertainment of all kinds.
The Oakland Center for the Arts
is still producing some of the best shows in town!

One of the coolest places for guys to get their act together!
William Leonards Extraordinary gentlemans Salon.
Yeah, Just one more positive right in the heart of downtown YO.

Speaking of a positive, If you don't know this guy . . .
you should! A true ambassador for Youngstown.
He and a few friends are at the core of this cities reinassiance.
He brings a real Shout Youngstown attitude everywhere he goes.

Earlier I said something about lemons and lemonade.
This once empty store front seen getting reborn has become
a hub of excitement and fun for many who frequent the downtown.
The Lemon Grove a place with a bit of culture for everyones tastes.
Keep it up Jacob!

Youngstowns music scene is such an asset to the vibancy of the city.
There is something for everyone. From local acts just performing here at home to bands that tour the region/country and make Youngstown a stop or a place to call home.

There are a ton of interesting places to visit all year round in Youngstown.
From the wonderful natural landscape and wildlife within Millcreek Park. To the nightlife thats jumping everyweekend downtown.
But the truth is its the people that make this city what it is.
We are all we have in this short time we have in this life and its up to us to care and respect one another and try to make our home a better place for our future generations.
I could write captions for each photo but its simply about people and the places we share that make our hometown what it is. I've talked to many who have moved back here recently, myself included and it always comes to this place were people treat you like family, making you feel, at home.

Next time someone starts to bash Youngstown, speak up and let them know of the good
that is here, better yet take 'em and show'em what we have to offer.
Raise you glass and toast to Youngstown, Your home!

No lookin back!