January 2012 program meeting

What: This is the first program meeting for 2012. Due to the holiday season, no meetings will take place in December 2011. As is with tradition, we will be having our 2011 Year-End Awards. In addition, the winning photos from 2011 will be on display in the library through the month of January. Hours are subject to change so stay tuned.

When: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 from 7-9 p.m.

Where: Houston Public Library (Central Library in downtown Houston at 500 McKinney St.)

The Downtime


I’d like to thank the Society officers and chairmen who served us for 2011: Bob Jump, Orlando Morales, Jim Fife, Don Hill, Donna Kleb, Nathalie Brouard, and Les Stessel.

And, I’d like to give a special thank you to Bernie Levy who has decided to hang up his treasurer’s hat after many, many years of service—you leave big shoes to fill!

Thank you all for your service and I look forward to working with those officers returning again next year.

Message from the President
December 2011

Growing up on a farm this time of year was always a very self reflective time. All the crops are in and the equipment is mostly serviced and stored away for the winter. I spent most of my time that wasn’t in school either hunting ducks and geese around the house, hunting deer in the hill country near Leakey, Texas, or building things in the work barn.

For the most part, it was very laid back compared to the spring and summer. There was a lot of time to think and plan for the upcoming year.

I guess those old habits are just ingrained in me now.

I find myself thinking and planning more than doing. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing—it just is.

Click on Thumbnail to view full-size

Plans have been drawn up for a new mini-darkroom and storage area. Detailed CAD drawings, material list, and work flow. It could have been half built by the time I finished all that. Quite a bit of research has been done for diversifying what we grow on the land we live on. The live oak tree business has dropped off with the housing market, so it’s time to re-think what we do.

I’ve moved out of my studio space and looking for a new one. All the gear is still packed on a trailer in the barn until I figure out what I want to do for a new space. It’s busy. But it’s a plodding along kind of busy.

It’s a good time though, too. It’s the time of year where you clean off the chalkboard (okay, it’s a dry erase now) and write down what you want to do, then really think about how you want to fill in the space getting there. That’s what was so great about all those years of long drives to the hill country and hours in the deer stand—it gave you time to think.

At least that’s what I did with the time—just letting the mind wander to see what emerged.

Thinking seems to be under appreciated these days.

Work, work, work. Hurry up. Increased efficiency. Always on. Task oriented flurries of activity.

Sustaining that kind of lifestyle is a dream killer for most. It’s like driving so fast that your GPS can’t update fast enough until it finally sends you off a cliff instead of turning. It’s a road to burn out for what ever it is you’re doing.

Take some time to stop and listen to simple silence.

Get lost in it.

Don’t over think a single issue, but rather, let it wander into a completely new subject. You never know what you might find there.

I know this doesn’t sound like it has much to do with photography, but it has everything to do with it. It’s been said that every photograph is a self-portrait of the photographer. Done right, you bare a little bit of your soul in every shot.

The longer I photograph the more I find this to be true. I think other artists take this as a given truth. I don’t know why it can be a hard connection to make for photographers. Without that time for introspection, you don’t know what or how to share yourself through your photographs.

The time I spent in the hill country and in the fields at home is when I really made my start in photography. My camera saw where my wanderings took me. I wouldn’t venture that my photography was necessarily “good” by any standard. Rather, it was simply documenting where I went and what I did. Trying for “good” would come many years later.

Perhaps it’s because we have so much technical skill to master that we lose touch with the artistic part of what we do. We spend so much effort to get the best shot that we lose sight of what the best really is sometimes.

Work at the lighting. Work at the composure. Work at the printing. Better gear. More efficient workflow. Constant networking. Task oriented flurries of activity.

It can be a creativity killer.

Go somewhere and just sit down and think.

Get lost in some silence.

Go someplace familiar and wander it till you find something new there.

Make a project out of it. If you end up with a record of aimless wandering, that’s okay. You may wander into something special down the road.

The photos I’ve attached with this month’s letter were all taken in the mid to late 1980’s. I was somewhere between the ages of nine and twelve. It seems like a lifetime ago in land far away now. But, what I did then still echos in what I do today.

I just had to look back twenty years later to realize it.

A Grave Situation

HPS Outing from Halloween

Thanks to HPS Activities Coordinator Nathalie Brouard’s time and effort to create and present this video on a recent outing (day before Halloween 2011) for your enjoyment. It features some interesting photos captured by participants including:

  • Nathalie Brouard,
  • John Kleb,
  • Lexi Nemeth,
  • Laszlo Perlaky,
  • and Dwight Theal.

The group met at Houston’s famous Glenwood Cemetery before sunrise and then they spread out for a photo-shoot that concluded around a table for brunch at Benjy’s Restaurant.

Nathalie quipped, “I found it quite fascinating to see the very diverse point of view of the photographers. Lazlo captured the magic of the sunrise light, Lexi focused was on accent of light and colors, John looked straight up to the sky, my attention was on little items and details, while Dwight highlighted the contrast between the Cemetery and the city in the background.”

HPS members and guests are invited to join us for future photographic outings. While the locations pose interesting photographic subjects, the camaraderie is the greatest draw.

HPS members to exhibit at TAACCL

HPS members Lexi Nemeth and Laszlo Perlaky were accepted and exhibited at the Winter Open Door Series 2011 exhibition at The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake (TAACCL). A combined six color photographs were accepted.

In addition to these, Lexi earned a 3rd place award for her body of work. The  “Talk to the Artists” (5:30-6:30 p.m.) and Show opening reception (6:30-8:30 p.m.) will take place December 1, 2011 at TAACCL. The show will be on view through January 5, 2012.

Jamie Laidish – Exhibition

HPS member Jamie Laidish will have some of her works displayed for the Houston ArtCrawl 2011 at the Atelier Jacquinet Art Studio & Gallery at 913 McKee Street in Houston at the Warehouse District adjacent to downtown.

The exhibition opening will take place Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go out and see some wonderful works of art and support Jamie!