020818: Stranger Things (Rock Version)

While putting images together for an upcoming project I ran across the opening image of plant fossils that seems to have an almost calligraphic feel to it – a sort of written signage from Nature itself! All of today’s images come from days of shooting several years ago during the summer following Hurricane Irene. The tumult from the flooding tore apart Schoharie Creek and uncovered many amazing things. Some of the images are plant fossils (with a few marine invertebrates if you look closely), some are very strange looking rocks and markings, and some are a total mystery to me.

Funny how so many of these images seem more alien than all of last week’s post – seemingly earthlike landscapes of Mars!

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Thanks for the visit.

 

011818: From the Museums

Snow and cold outside. Another opportunity to dig back into the archives. The last two posts contained images from museums and they obviously contained fossils that were finished to the finest standards – very different from my usual finds. I like the aesthetics of each for different reasons.

So this week I decided to continue an exploration of my museum shoots and see what I might have missed the first time around. Most of today’s images are newly worked and there is much more there to be mined!

Here are five sets of images – three in each – from five different museum collections. The first three images (above) are from the collection of the Paleontological Research Institution in Trumansburg NY.

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The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven CT

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The New York State Museum, Albany NY

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The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France

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The Natural History Museum of Florence, Florence, Italy

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Thanks for the visit.

0130: More Design

IMG_7549_01a_LR_10Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Paris

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I continue to pour through my libraries, finding new and interesting ways to group various images. One topic that I simply cannot ignore is the amazing opportunity provided by fossils and rocks – capturing the designs in Nature never cease to amaze me. I have put together this selection of images that, I think, is a good example of this thought.

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IMG_0303_01a_LR_10Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven

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IMG_2306_01c_LR_10Crinoid Ossicles, Chazy Reef, Vermont

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This next group of five images are plant fossils from Schoharie Creek, ranging from one to three feet across.

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These last four are representative of the places I find myself in – fossils or not, these are the wonders I often find myself amongst.

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Schoharie Creek, Gilboa, NY

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Kaaterskill Creek, Catskill, NY

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Trace Fossils, Catskill, NY

IMG_2772_01a_LR_10Ausable Chasm, NY

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Two personal comments on the way out.

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It was exactly fours years ago when I first exhibited my fossil images at the GCCA Gallery in Catskill. Unsure how the work would be regarded, I was ultimately gratified by the response. And I remain especially thankful to my good friend, Fawn Potash, for having faith and giving me that opportunity. Much has happened since that show!

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Much of the upside of being a working photographer, to me, was always the notion that the camera was a ticket (or a pass) that allowed one into a world of experiences that few other occupations could ever match. I have many fine memories of unique and special encounters.

seegerv3_lr_12A number of years ago I had the good fortune of spending a day photographing Pete Seeger at his hilltop home overlooking the Hudson River. I was shooting for Bill Moyers’ production company. Bill was there to conduct an extended interview. As we strolled through the neighboring woods Pete spoke about everything from the Spanish Civil War to the blacklists of the 1950s. But it was talk about the Vietnam protests and their respective individual roles that produced one of the most amazing conversations I have been privy to. While Pete was one of the major figures protesting, Mr. Moyers was President Johnson’s Press Secretary. What each side knew and did not know about the other at that time was fascinating.

Mr. Seeger was a true giant who very few could ever match. You could feel his presence. It was palpable. And it was truly special. Rest in Peace.

Thank you for visiting.

0123: Plodding Along

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Winter sunrise through my bedroom window this morning. It’s during those early morning hours, with temperatures as low as they have been, that I find it particularly challenging to break free from my warm and cozy bed to face the day! That’s more a simple observation than it is a complaint (or even an irritant, for that matter). During the worst that Winter offers, I live in a warm home. Unfortunately, that is not the case for far too many.

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I’ve been busy lately with applications and proposals for the upcoming year – a task that has me sitting at the computer (right next to my indispensable portable heater) – trolling through my photo libraries and previous posts, looking at fresh combinations of images to piece together.

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Early results are promising. These two images sprung from a series of scientific devices I photographed at the Vatican Museum.

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This trolling managed to also take me through my recent Italian images, giving a second look at some of the more offbeat images I had already passed on. Here are a couple that require a closer look:

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In keeping with my Street Shrine series I couldn’t pass up this version of the Madonna – a childlike pencil scribble – the simplified version, if you will.

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And then there was this street sign – I’m not exactly sure what it represents. But I’m sure it means something to someone.

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This next group of four images are the result of nervous energy, I am sure. While waiting to give a talk at the Natural History Museum, my back-and-forth pacing in the back rooms led to these:

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I’ll finish off today’s post with a few more images from my sessions at the Museum of the Earth and PRI‘s immense collection:

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Thanks as always for the visit.

0530 – More from the Peabody

IMG_0021_01_LR_12When I first saw this fossil grouping of crinoids on my recent trip to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History all I could think about were the bronze reliefs on the doors of the Florence BapistryI have often referred to the “sculptural beauty” of the fossils I photograph. And in this case I saw the trees in the panel landscapes.

IMG_8358_01_LR_10For their beauty to be appreciated these invertebrate fossils need no comparisons. In their own right they have a visual significance that is as important and meaningful as is their age and history.

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A few days ago, while driving through central New York, I came across a very large antique/junk shop. Acres surrounding the main building were filled with objects everywhere, some placed deliberately, others strewn haphazardly about.

IMG_0917_01_LR_10The more I looked about the more I could see random still lives.

IMG_9888_01_LR_12So, since notions of mood, composition, tone, etc. run through my work in a similar fashion I thought I’d intermix the Peabody fossils with some of my recent finds.

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The old and the very old.

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Thank you very much for the visit.

In The Beginning…

_MG_1792_01_LR_15The first full week of the new year has been a busy one. Seeds planted long ago are beginning to bear fruit (metaphorically, of course). I’ve been chained to the computer arranging schedules for upcoming shows this year. And, despite the dreariness of snow covered landscapes and endless gray skies, I am excited at the prospects and grateful for the opportunities.

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I decided to spend time going through my library, organizing, cleaning out the digital “stacks” of outtakes, etc. – like an early start to Spring Cleaning. In doing so I came across some of my earliest fossil images. I’ve been photographing them for six years. Much has happened to the project over that period of time. Style has changed and evolved. My approach has changed substantially as I have learned more about the subject. And new locations have led to wonderful new discoveries over time.

It seems like a good time to display some of these earliest images. They haven’t seen the “digital” light of day for some time now. And, like old friends, they are worthy of a visit and a fresh look.

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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris

IMG_7682_skullsMore from this fascinating museum. At every turn there were visual surprises of all types – from the wonderful architecture and embellishments to the many, varied collections. And, while I have many other images from this recent trip as well as new local work to get busy on, I find it hard to break away from this particular treasure trove of images.

IMG_7642_01_LR_12For brevity sake, I had previously referred to this museum as the Paris Natural History Museum. To be precise, it is officially titled the “Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy,” one of fourteen sites (four of which are in Paris) that comprise the French National Museum of Natural History.

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The view from the third floor, looking down on dinosaurs and other extinct animals. That third floor balcony displays the invertebrate collection.

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IMG_7441_01_LRA side room on the third floor filled with ammonoids. In fact, that large object on the wall, next to the massive moose antlers, is an equally massive ammonoid,

IMG_7451_01_LR_10A fine example of the architectural detailing present throughout the museum. The organic plantlike stair details are a fine segue into these lovely crinoids.

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And one final view from another museum, the Musee D’Orsay.

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Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

The Paris Natural History Museum

Gare du AusterlitzOur ever ongoing search for fossils led us to the French National Natural History Museum. While not part of the usual list of Paris “must-see” museums, it turned out to be the most fun and the greatest surprise. The metro dropped us off at Gare D’Austerlitz, one of the six large railroad stations in Paris. Originally built in 1840, it, like so much else in Paris, is a sight to behold. And it was easy enough to understand the lure such places held for the Impressionist painters while pausing for a look around.

evolutionA short walk brought us to the Museum, in whose lobby entrance sat this wonderful marble sculpture of Evolution upended! This particular building, the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, housed the largest public display of invertebrate fossils I’ve ever seen. And while I was delighted to see so much in one place I was overwhelmed by its other collections – the vertebrate fossils, the nearly thousand skeletons, the rows of animal skulls, etc. I thought I dropped off into some Tim Burton daydream!

main room, Paris Natural History MuseumThe Main Gallery is a Noah’s Ark of skeletons of all shapes and sizes all moving in one direction.

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I did say we went for the invertebrate fossils, didn’t I? Perhaps not nearly as odd and as gripping as the above images, the fossils alone would have made the trip a success. Here now are some of what we found.

IMG_7463_01_LR_10Subsequent posts will have much more from this wonderful museum. The architecture, the detailing, the many other strange and interesting items on view – all to come.

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We went to the Louvre. It was wonderful.

IMG_7533_01_LR_10 We went to the Musee D’Orsay. It was spectacular.

IMG_7543_01_LR_12We went to the Orangerie. It was delightful.

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But nothing compared to the surprise of this museum. Instead of hushed tones and silent nods of approval we gasped at every turn and giggled at our good fortune to be there to witness all that this museum held for us.

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IMG_7549_01_LR_10Baguettes in the park nearby, a couple of cafe cremes to wash them down and we were off to continue our adventure. We didn’t know what we would find the rest of that day but at that point it didn’t really matter. We hit the mother lode already with these fossils and bones.

IMG_7577_01_LR_12Much more to come.

Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

November

Many overcast days this time of year. Thanksgiving right around the corner. My thoughts are with all my friends down in NYC, and the many others throughout the East, who continue to suffer the ravages of the recent storm. I hope that aid and comfort come soon to all those affected.

I’ll be away for the next few weeks and will not be posting again until the end of the month. Thank you to each of you for taking the time to read, view and comment on these posts. Until next time I will leave you with selections from my ongoing Devonian Drawer series, now assembled in full on my website.

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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

An Eventful Weekend

Last weekend was full of activity, much of which worth noting. I’ll try to be brief. It started with a Friday trip to Schoharie County and a favorite stream bed of mine. The above image and the following one are examples of the plant fossils I continue to find up there. These two in particular are small but visually interesting to me. I often come away from there with back-breaking sized fossil laden rocks (ask my chiropractor about that). But this time the smaller pieces won out and the ibuprofen was saved for another day.

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Saturdays in September are always full of art openings and events. And this year the schedule seemed to be especially packed. The afternoon began with the annual picnic of the Greene County Council on the Arts. For years this fine organization has played a crucial role in the cultural life of the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley. The event was held at the historic Beattie-Powers Place which overlooks the Hudson, directly across the river from Olana, the home of Frederic Church. Great food, fine music, and a large supportive crowd made the event a success.

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From there it was a trip across the river to see my friend and brilliant multimedia artist, Brian Dewan, at a relatively new venue for art. CR10 (named after the county road where it resides in the small town of Linlithgo) is the brainchild of Francine Hunter McGivern, its founder and creative director. This “contemporary arts project space”, tethered both conceptually and aesthetically to the NYC art world, is a wonderful addition to the area. It’s the perfect place for the installation art that currently resides there. Supporting ventures such as this enhances the cultural richness of the area and encourages its further growth.

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A few miles to the north, in the town of Hudson, we ended the day at BCB Art on Warren Street. A not to be missed solo show of new work by the acclaimed sculptor Ed Smith opened that evening. Ed is a Guggenheim Fellow and an Associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors whose work is in the collection of The Hood Museum, Yale University Museum, The Albright-Knox Museum and many private collectors. On display along with his bronze sculptures is a selection of recent monoprints whose power and strength lingers in the mind long after viewing.

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Sunday morning arrived with an email from overseas with great news – which I will share with you next week (I’ve written more than enough today!). I’ll leave you with a handful of fresh fossil images. I just needed to get my hands dirty digging out behind the studio.

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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage https://artandfossils.wordpress.com