Personal Vision

Some photographs are intended to document what is in front of the camera while others are interpretations by the photographer. I wish to go beyond the documentary, to explore the visual language that brings forth the emotions of the photographer into the finished image. I provide the beginnings of a story, and I want the viewer to complete it.

Finding the photograph is an intuitive process for me. I will scout an area looking for something interesting. When I find a subject that feels right, I select the point of view and photograph it.

My post-production process is heuristic, and I love this discovery process. I make technical adjustments both globally and locally within the image, using optical distortion, color, contrast, and exposure. The final composition is much like when a sculpture is finished – reducing and eliminating all the unnecessary elements and in the process revealing the vision that I saw in the first place.

This is how I approach any subject, whether it’s a nightscape, a detail, a portrait, an architectural structure, or something in nature. My intuition and curiosity guide me to the heart of the story.  Back

Urban Landscapes

As a landscape photographer since my student days, I’ve long been drawn to photographing both rural and urban settings. Here in Los Angeles the urban often has a rustic quality – inclusive of all the types of residential dwellings spread across this big city. Whether it’s the entrance to a drab dingbat, a 1920’s bungalow court, or the finely manicured hedges of a gateway to a mansion, there is an abundance of greenery and flowers.

For me, this series of photographs are what you see when you pause for a moment to wonder what’s behind the windows, up the stairs, or at the other end of the alley. I am curious about what is not seen. What can be imagined?  Back

 

Blink

Dan Kaufman

To paraphrase Paul Simon, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.”


This is a fundamental reason why eye witnesses are often unreliable. From the perspective of neuroscience, eyewitness testimony is an extremely unreliable type of evidence. The first reason is that our vision is vulnerable to all sorts of top-down influences, which alter (corrupt, some might say) the actual inputs witnessed by our eye. This doesn’t mean that our senses aren’t rooted in reality, but it does suggest that we shouldn’t place too much trust in the details of perception, especially when the event in question happened fast, from a distance, and in bad lighting.

And yes, the images We see here happen fast—in the blink of an eye, from an indeterminate distance, and often in bad lighting. Can we trust him? Yes, for as we also know: Art is in the eye of the beholder. We see what we want to see and disregard the rest. I see patterns, shapes, palettes...types and varieties that I like.

I can’t see a forest for the trees, but I do discern an overall pattern from a mass of detail, to see the big picture. I see an appreciation for an alternate reality. I see an appreciation for the disregarded rest for these images aren’t what a reliable witness would testify they saw. These images are, for me, more like my clear memories of last night’s dream.

Dan Kaufman

...happened fast, from a distance, and in bad lighting. Los Angeles
8 May 2012  Back

 

Quotidian

Nancy Roth

Joel Mark is a sophisticated professional photographer, a master of the many techniques of film and digital photography

One of the problems for the serious artist at an advanced stage of proficiency is to find artistic challenges in the medium. Photographic images have now become so apparently easy to create that many sophisticated techniques of the darkroom which were once the province of the professional or dedicated amateur have for the most part been greatly simplified.

In Mark’s current body of work he captures quotidian images with the simplest of methods, means that could even be called primitive, allowing elements of chance to intervene in capturing the image. Mark transforms them with subtle manipulations of color and printing techniques, and these ordinary objects take on mysterious, otherworldly qualities.

The current work suggests a connection with traditional fine printmaking. Here the photographic paper is more than a substrate for a photographic image. As with an aquatint or an etching, the softened images seem to be a part of the paper they are printed on, giving them a tactile warmth.

There is a contemplative stillness in these images of everyday objects. Spending time with them grants access to a transcendent reality that lies within the familiar world.

Nancy Roth  Back

 

Lessons In Love

Karin Pinter

“lessons in love” was born out of a simple request to curate a friend’s photography collection. A novel idea for someone used to curating mostly words.

 

“How do I do this?”

I sifted through six large boxes filled to the brim with prints. I read what others had written before. Yet, being a storyteller and archaeologist at heart, I was looking for hidden gems, so I found the ones that wanted to tell a story.

When the story was written, it asked to be paired down to its purest form and message – and for those words to be married to their visual partners. The images invite the viewer on his or her personal journey of perception. Sometimes our vision is crystal clear, and sometimes blurred – what matters is how we choose to look, and that we keep our hearts open.

This exploration is a call to simplicity, introspection, and a re-kindling of deep-spirited love. Because this is what we come from, and this is what we return to.


How we choose to expand life and love evolves from the lessons we encounter along the way.

Here are some that I have remembered. With gratitude,

Karin Pinter  Back

 

Joel H. Mark

During the summer of 2013, I asked Karin Pinter to curate a new exhibit of my personal photography for display in the Art Projects gallery of my website.

The body of work that Karin explored consists of images of the places and things that are all around us that we mostly ignore because they are ubiquitous. Unlike the commercial photography that I provide to my clients where detail and resolution are important elements, these images are more concerned with mood and feeling and are made with low resolution cameras. They are presented as “miniatures”.

Once the images for the exhibit were chosen, Karin went beyond the traditional curator’s essay by seeing the possibility of using them to illustrate a book. “As I explored his photographic treasure trove, I realized I was creating a story around my personal meditations on love, partnership and the seasons we experience in life.”

The book, “lessons in love — an illustrated reflection”, provides insights on love and life through words and images.

Joel H. Mark  Back

 

The Card Game

I returned to California in September of 1977 after completing an internship at a photo studio in Saint Louis Missouri. I stayed in Los Angeles with my Aunt Sadie, the oldest of my father’s six sisters, for several weeks before finding an apartment of my own.

Aunt Sadie regularly played cards with three of her friends. I wanted to photograph them playing when it was her turn to host a game. The ladies consented. My aunt is the one with her back to the blue telephone.

It was a good story about four friends enjoying each other's company, and the images remained in my portfolio for several years. Eventually, it was replaced by newer work and faded from my memory. While digitizing my work on film I rediscovered them. I am sharing this story with you because the memory is as fresh to me now as it was then.  Back

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Conversano Addition

Architect Todd Conversano’s 460 SF addition of a second story master bedroom to his mid-century ranch house is designed to reflect the history of the original structure, but with a contemporary twist.

 

Conversano describes his changes and architectural decisions:

“The roof of the addition was conceived to match the existing living room roof for context, so the exact same size beams, rafters, joists, sheathing, and roof pitch was erected upstairs, but the center ridge beam was oriented at an angle toward the corner sliding doors to accentuate the view. Given the corner opening of the doors, a corner cantilevered deck was conceived above which the matching sized roof overhang covers the deck and exposed the wood roof structure to the exterior.”

“The exterior is clad with matching smooth troweled stucco of the same color as the original house, and corrugated sheet metal siding. The siding is not only fireproof, but was selected to be reminiscent of the look of mid-century ranch house wood siding, although with a completely contemporary feel.”

“On the side yard, the existing ridge joist is kept intact and the new face of the upper floor aligns with the fascia, and the siding deflects and takes the shape of that original roof line thus exposing the history of the original structure.”

“The sloped roof also covers the stairwell and naturally falls in unison with the fall of the stair, and unveils itself when walking up to the second floor.”

“Natural oiled oak floors were installed to keep a slightly rougher look to the floor, and custom colored art glass was used in the bathroom to accentuate the main bathroom wall.”  Back

 

Luxury Retreat

Landscape Designer Ted Weiant needed a place to stay when his 1913 Craftsman house was rented. In close collaboration with architect Marcelo Ciccone, a 288 square-foot one car garage, designed to accommodate a Ford Model A, became a luxurious 485 square-foot living space where Weiant could retreat to while his home was occupied by renters.

 

There were several key requirements for the design:

1. An integration of thei nterior and exterior spaces with minimal disruption of the site.

2. A low roofline allowing the structure to “disappear”.
3. Privacy: separation of the site from the front house and yard.
4. A sense of each room being separate to give the illusion of a larger space.

5. Storage space.
6. The interior design should reflect Weiant’s eclectic taste.

7. Quality fit and finish.

 

When I photographed the result of the Weiant/Ciccone design team’s effort, I was impressed by how successfully all of the key design requirements were achieved. Check out the photographs below or click here to see all the photographs of the project. You can judge for yourself if the project’s requirements were met.  Back

 

Sears Modern Home

While on vacation in New England during the summer of 2013, I was introduced to a professional muralist who has restored a 1923 Sears Modern Homes bungalow. She graciously gave me permission to photograph it.

Because I was on vacation, I had no equipment other than my camera and a travel tripod. By combining multiple exposures, High Dynamic Range Imaging, I was able to capture the feel of the house when only lit by the available light, and I’ve been very pleased with the result.

Normally, these photographs are highly staged, but in this case, leaving in place artifacts of normal living–books, cooking supplies, the dog on the sofa (a lucky touch!) added a warmth that reflected the personality of this unusual person, and made the home, although a challenge, a pleasure to photograph. I hope you enjoy seeing the surroundings of this creative artist and collector.  Back

 

Hollyhock House

I was confronted with time and access limitations. I had to work around plastic sheeting protecting open areas from the elements. With the assistance of Advertising Director William Bush, I was able to make six photographs in and around the location’s living room that show the architect’s intent for the interior design of this area of the house.

With the recent reopening of the newly restored home, and with its naming as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, interest in Hollyhock House has been renewed. I hope that you will find these pre-restoration photographs an informative addition to the visual documentation of Wright’s design. 

Back

 

A Perfect 10

November 10, 2003
PROGRAM (abridged)
The Jazz Bakery Tenth Anniversary Celebration And Tribute to Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz”

 

ARTISTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

Henry Johnson’s Organ Express

Henry Johnson – Guitar & Vocals / Greg Rockingham – Drums
Peter Roothaan – Saxophone / Chris Foreman – Hammond B-3 Organ

Nancy Wilson Kenny Barron Stefon Harris Marian McPartland Bill Douglas – Bass

 

Champagne and dessert reception on stage following the concert. (for those with preferred seating)
Music by Spotlight Award winning pianist Gerald Clayton
with Dan Lutz — bass and Kevin Kanner — drums  Back

 

Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required is Mark’s response to the many Jazz artists he saw and heard on The Bakery stage; to the performances he documented here from August 2002 to January 2003. These “composites”, as the artist calls them, represent his latest creative work and perhaps a new direction for Jazz photography in general.

Joel H. Mark’s fine art production reflects his continuing interest in landscapes and architecture. He began using digital technology to alter and fuse multiple perspectives on natural and built environments. The resultant photographs achieved a more vital representation of Mark’s subjects. The works that comprise Some Assembly Required benefit from these earlier landscape and architectural experiments.

Photographing at The Jazz Bakery for the last six months, Mark used an automatic “point and shoot” camera, exposing many film frames while sometimes changing his perspective on the stage, musicians and audience. Later, the photographer scanned his negatives into a computer enabling him to digitally assemble “composite” images. Products of this effort, the Some Assembly Required photographs are virtual Jazz performance landscapes.

The evolution of Joel H. Mark’s imagery since 1981 from Audible Images to the recent “composite” landscapes of Some Assembly Required is a realization of Mark’s ambition to find a visual equivalence for the experience of Jazz.
 

Joseph De Mario
Curator

Bakery Art Exhibitions  Back

 

Ken Pivak’s ‘The Janitor’s Daughter’ BTS

“I find myself more and more these days posting images about my shoots. Not so much because I personally want to do so, but more for the audience I’ve collected as a commercial photographer. Social media does play a big part of my work now, so to have someone there to take care of it, do it professionally, and deliver the images timely and to perfection; Yeah, that’s Joel for you.

He’s there with you and yet you feel as if he’s not there at all. Exactly how one would want someone to be, doing this work. His fine art photography background, along with his past life of being a chemist, does give Joel an advantage to this kind of work. He understands how a process works, and especially the details involved with each project. No explaining, no how-to’s or anything to tell Joel before a shoot, just let him work around you and you end up with much more than ever expected by the day’s end.

Our shoot, called, “The Janitor’s Daughter” was about empowerment of women. This shoot was created as a test idea for my portfolio, and to create a story about how this power girl shows us who’s really the boss. We had a great time, and Joel was there covering the day, the whole time. It was quite a surprise for myself when I saw all the images he had created, and to my delight, loved all of them.

I’ve had Joel on a few shoots with me now, and each time I enjoy the surprises and different camera angles he gets. Sometimes I love how the set all looks and in the end, allows me to have something to talk about and in certain times, I also have material to use when I teach, and mentor other photographers.

He’s a great friend to have work by your side. And even good for tech advice along the day if you need. Overall, Joel creates a nice added value to my shoots.”  Back

Ken Pivak 

Millicent & me
Millicent and me and the Apple Tree

I had the pleasure of working with Joel, throughout the shoot of my short film, “Millicent & Me and The Apple Tree”. Being that this was a musical short film, there were many elements to coordinate as we set up and rehearsed what was to be an evening shoot on this stark rooftop. As we transformed the space into a magical area for the lead character, Ella, to perform in, Joel was there silently but seamlessly creating a wonderful storyline of the day, & definitely enhanced the materials we later used to submit to film festivals! He also created a slideshow video of the Behind The Scenes pictures that I have been able to post as a through-line to show Industry people of what our process was that day.

Joel captured fantastically detailed pics of every facet of what was happening on-set. His profound experience was obvious as he worked around all of the chaos that was swirling about that day, and into the evening. I was thoroughly pleased that he captured the wonderful sense of humor of the piece in his images, since the magic of the story is based around a fairytale-type story that asks you to suspend our normal beliefs, and take the journey for the length of the piece, into the world of fantasy.

In the end, I enjoy looking back at his work of all we accomplished that day; not just as a reference for my film, but simply, a wonderful memory of the day!!
 

“Ella, (Heidi Schooler), an impoverished chimney sweep in Hollywood, finds Millicent, a lonely mouse puppet on Hollywood Blvd. Ella’s realistic world is brought into musical fantasy as Ella is inspired by Millicent to explore her biggest wish ever: her wish of becoming a ... movie star!”  Back

 

Cirque Bezerk

“Conceived in the grey cement sprawl of industrial downtown Los Angeles and birthed in the dust & glitter of Burning Man Cirque Berzerk has been described by the LA Times as “the sort of phantasmagoric spectacle Tim Burton would dream up, if he quit film making to join the circus.” Cirque

Berserk

In June 2009 I was invited to a press preview of Cirque Berserk’s tent show in downtown Los Angeles. Besides having access to the main tent, I was able to photograph in the performer’s tent giving me the opportunity to create a well rounded visual document of the evening’s performance.

Back

 

Post-production

My post-production process is heuristic, and I love this discovery process. I make technical adjustments both globally and locally within the image, using optical distortion, color, contrast, and exposure. The final composition is much like when a sculpture is finished – reducing and eliminating all the unnecessary elements and in the process revealing the way I see.

 

This is how I approach any subject, whether it’s a nightscape, a detail, a portrait, an architectural structure, or something in nature. My intuition and curiosity guide me to the heart of the story.  Back

Limited Editions

Limited edition prints, also known as LEs, have been standard in printmaking from the nineteenth century onwards. A limit to the print run is crucial, as many traditional printmaking techniques can only produce a limited number of best quality impressions. This can be as few as ten or twenty for a technique like drypoint, but more commonly would be in the low hundreds - print runs of over a thousand are regarded as dubious by the serious art market for original prints, even though with many techniques there is no loss of quality.

A limited edition is normally hand signed and numbered by the artist, typically in pencil, in the form (e.g.): 14/100. The first number is the number of the print itself. The second number is the number of overall prints the artist will print of that image. The lower the second number is, the more valuable and collectible the limited editions are likely to be, within whatever their price range is. A small number of "artists' proofs" may also be produced as well, signed and with "AP", "proof", etc. Prints that are given to someone or are for some reason unsuitable for sale are marked "H. C." or "H/C", meaning "hors de commerce", not for sale.

Source: Wikipedia  Back