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!













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.


The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven CT




The New York State Museum, Albany NY




The Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France




The Natural History Museum of Florence, Florence, Italy



Thanks for the visit.

0130: More Design

IMG_7549_01a_LR_10Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Paris


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.


IMG_0303_01a_LR_10Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven


IMG_2306_01c_LR_10Crinoid Ossicles, Chazy Reef, Vermont


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








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


Schoharie Creek, Gilboa, NY


Kaaterskill Creek, Catskill, NY


Trace Fossils, Catskill, NY

IMG_2772_01a_LR_10Ausable Chasm, NY


Two personal comments on the way out.


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!


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


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.


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.


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




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:


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.


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


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:









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:







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.



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.

IMG_0975_01_LR_10 IMG_0244_01_LR_10 IMG_0914_01_LR_10_______________

The old and the very old.

IMG_9937_01_LR_10 IMG_0974_01_LR_10 IMG_0116_01_LR_12I’ll have more images from both of those trips in weeks to come.


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.


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.











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.


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








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.




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

_MG_1019_01_LR_12Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

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