Friday, March 25, 2011


©2011 Scott5 Bulger, All Rights Reserved

March 25, 2011 ----- 11:15 AM ----- ISO 400 ----- 200mm ----- f2.8 ----- 1/4000th

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Hippo: Arts and Entertainment Magazine - Best of 2011

I'd like to thank The hippo for these awards, but more importantly, I'd like to thank every single person that wrote my name down. You have no idea how gratifying it is to accept your praise. Thank you.

Scott Bulger Best of 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Top Ten Photography Books on My Shelf - #1

And finally.....

#1 - The Daybooks of Edward Weston; Two Volumes in One: I. Mexico, II. California

The Daybooks of Edward Weston; Two Volumes in One: I. Mexico, II. CaliforniaIt happens all of the time. Do you want to learn about what it takes to become a millionaire? Who should you listen to? Other millionaires would seem like the reasonable answer. Do you want to know what it takes to be a photographer of legendary proportions? Who should you listen to? Photography legends, that's who. Don't be a sucker and pay the latest fly by night guy with a camera good money to buy his coolest Photoshop action that is going to make all of your images look just like the 600 other suckers that just paid for the same Photoshop action. If your only path to mediocre success is to press a button and have your work look like a thousand other peoples, maybe you ought to look into a trade school. Being an artist is not about the mechanics. Being an artist is about inspiration, heart, voice, and thought. I hear that there is quite a demand out there for good electricians. Maybe it's not too late for you to get in on the action. Or, you can listen to what the Masters have to tell you and be inspired.

For over fifteen years, Edward Weston kept a diary in where he wrote down his thoughts regarding self examination, photography, and the way the world looked at it. Rarely are you able to get inside the mind of someone at this level of his craft. He writes from his heart in this stream of consciousness called "The Daybooks". Volume I covers the time he spent in Mexico, while Volume II covers the time following that in California.  True insight is hard to find, and Mr. Weston offers plenty of it in these pages. Pay attention.

"It was as though the things of everyday experience had been transformed . . . into organic sculptures, the forms of which were both the expression and the justification of the life within . . . He had freed his eyes of conventional expectation, and had taught them to see the statement of intent that resides in natural form." - John Szarkowski


©2011 Scott Bulger, All Rights Reserved

ISO 100 ----- 200mm ----- f5.6 ----- 1/40th

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Top Ten Photography Books on My Shelf - #2

Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of ArtmakingGreat things can certainly come in small packages, and weighing in at a minuscule 122 pages, 8" x 5.5", and less than half an inch think, this book is worth it's weight in gold.

Written by two longtime friends and working artists, this book is written to make you realize that you, as someone compelled to create art, are not alone in the void. It will help you understand that we all have doubts, fear, and insecurities with regards to our art making, and this can sometimes be enough to keep you on the path, and occasionally break you from a creative slump just by the sheer glacial force of continuing to move forward. It doesn't tell you how to create whatever art form you are working in, but it does try to help inform you on how to keep moving forward, and sometimes, that can be half of the battle.

While both of the authors are photographers, the philosophy enclosed in this book will apply to any medium or artistic endeavor equally as well. This is a book worth having on your shelf, and worth reading, and re-reading as required. You might want more than one copy so that you can give one to a good friend.

"To make art is to sing with the human voice. To do this you must first learn that the only voice you need is the voice you already have." from Art and Fear, by Ted Orland and David Bayles.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #3

We're closing in on the end of the list, and it's been difficult to arrange the last three entries. Now remember, these are just the ten best photography books on MY shelf, not ANYWHERE. I certainly don't own every photography book ever published.

#3 - Ansel Adams at 100 - John Szarkowski

Ansel Adams at 100Released on the 100 year anniversary of Ansel Adams birth (2002), in my opinion, it is one of the great photographic publications. After beginning with a long biographical section on Adams that contains many rarely seen portraits of Adams and contemporaries, it moves to the photographic section of the book. First up of the 114 reproductions included are some of Adams early images from 1920, and then moving chronologically through his life. It is amazing to witness his growth as a technician and as an artist, The reproductions are immaculate and strikingly beautiful. My favorite section of the book is where on opposing leaves, it compares two Adams prints made from the same negative at different periods in Adams life. In all of the cases provided, the images are very different, but both beautiful, proving that as Ansel was fond of saying "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance."

The book's paper is custom-made, it is bound in linen and presented in a linen slipcase. A heavy book that is a pleasure to view.

There is a paperback version available, but I have not personally seen it and have heard reports of a lack of quality in some of the printings, so I cannot vouch for the paperbacks quality as I can the original hardcover.

Friday, March 18, 2011


©2011 Scott Bulger, All Rights Reserved

ISO 400 ----- 60mm ----- f4.8 ----- 1/30th

Sea Breeze

©2011 Scott Bulger, All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 18, 2011 ----- 6:48 AM

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Top Ten Photography Books on MY Shelf - #4

My choice for #4 steps away from my bookshelf again, and lands on my DVD rack.

#4 - What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann - DVD

What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannThis 80 minute documentary film, directed by Steven Cantor, was released on DVD in April of 2008. Focusing on the period of Ms. Mann's life after Immediate Family, while she absorbs the success of that work, and struggles to put together her next body of work, all the while working her horse farm, being a mother to three children, and a wife to an ailing husband.

This film captures the essence of the artist, displaying her strength and her frailty, her pride and her insecurities, and her family life and thought process. This film is not for the squeamish or for the judgmental, but neither is Mann's work. Many of the images from Immediate Family are included and discussed in this film, and the new work from What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann can sometimes be difficult to look at, but look at it we must, to gain perspective on our own existence, and lessen the fear of what is inevitable for all of us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thermoregulatory Plates

©2011 Scott Bulger, All Rights Reserved

ISO 400 ----- 60mm ----- f5 ----- 1/30th

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #5

I know that the title of my list refers to the Ten Best "Books", but #5 on my list is a periodical that can't wait to get my hands on each month.

#5 - B&W: Black & White Magazine

B&W: Black & White MagazineOne of the few photography magazines that I find worth reading (along with View Camera, Blind Spot, Photographers Forum, Lenswork, and Aperture)  is B&W: Black & White Magazine. It is a beautifully put together magazine that is a joy to hold with heavy paper, beautiful reproductions, and inspiring photography from as many styles as you can name. Featuring Artist Profiles, Portfolio Reviews, Artist Spotlights, and other regular and semi-regular features, the collection of imagery in each issue is stunning.

No page after page of mundane ads from every camera store in the country hawking their wares, no equipment reviews, and no junk. Every page of this magazine is for serious black and white photographers. Galleries and individual artist ads are included in their own sections, front and back in each issue, and they aren't interwoven every other page with the articles and portfolios, creating a much more pleasing viewing experience.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #6

#6 Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow

Brett Weston was one of four sons born to photography legend Edward Weston. An extremely popular photographer during his lifetime and 60 year career (beginning to photograph in earnest at the tender age of 12), Brett Weston has lost some of his popular steam since his death in 1993. Not attending any formal schooling after the age of thirteen, Brett learned his craft under the wing of Edward while in Mexico in the 1920's. Even though Brett had his first major international exhibition at the age of 17, and a one man museum retrospective at the age of 21, he was always concerned that his work would not be taken seriously or he would be accused of  imitating his famous fathers work.

This catalog accompanied the Brett Weston traveling exhibit, "Out of the Shadow", that made four stops around the country, ending in January of 2010 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. With over 130 images, this was the largest showing of Brett Weston's work since 1975 and "Voyage of the Eye".

The exhibit itself was something special to behold. Beautifully seen and composed black and white images, subtly nuanced, and printed with a masters hand. From the abstract ice, broken glass, and cracked mud images, to the natural forms of plants, sand dunes, and underwater nudes dapples with light, each image piled upon the previous to build a massive body of work. The sheer volume and quality of the work took multiple viewings to truly absorb.

The reproductions in the book are outstanding and richly printed, and there is much interesting information regarding Brett and his photography included in the pages. This volume would be a welcome addition to any photographers bookshelf.

"I note Brett's interest in photography. He is doing better work at 14 than I did at 30. To have someone close to me, working so excellently, with an assured future, is a happiness hardly expected." - Edward Weston

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #7

Today brings you photography book #7 from my shelf, it's up and to the right of my chair where I can always reach it because I refer to it often.

#7 Tao of Photography: Unlock Your Creativity Using the Wisdom of the East - Tom Ang

Tao of Photography: Unlock Your Creativity Using the Wisdom of the EastOftentimes, it's difficult to drag yourself out of a creative rut. Sometimes, you just want to sit back and gain some understanding about why you do what you do; see inside yourself a little bit; or maybe even just understand a little different approach to looking at things. If any of this sounds right, then this book will suit you just fine. Learn to embrace your creativity instead of fighting it. With 135 photographs included in its 144 pages, there is plenty of visual stimulation to make this an easy read. Pick it up and put it down as many times as you want, it's as if you can start anywhere and read a couple pages and glean important creative strategies that you had inside you all of the time, but maybe just failed to recognize.

"I think you have to use your eyes as well as your emotion, and one without the other just doesn't work." - Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #8

Today's entry on the Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf is #8.

Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern ArtOne of the simpler books on my shelf in format, and one of the most educational. A collection of 100 black and white photographs from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, accompanied by a typical one page critique written by Mr. Szarkowski. For nearly 30 years, from 1962 until 1991, Szarkowski was the Director of Photography for the Museum of Modern Art. One of the great intellects and champions of photography as fine art, Szarkowski put together this book to help teach photographers and other artists to look at photographs critically, with intelligence and understanding.

The photographs are arranged chronologically by date of creation, beginning with an 1845 Daguerreotype and continuing on to a 1968 silver print. Some of the images being discussed are by more recognizable names such as Steichen, Weston (Edward), Man Ray, Modotti, Moholy-Nagy, Kertesz, Arbus, Strand, Cunningham, Bresson, Winogrand, and Caponigro, while others, although giants in photography, may be lesser known to the non-photographer public, such as Bennet, Hine, Boubat, Giacomelli, Krause, Metzker, and Koudelka.

Szarkowski's knowledge, patience, and passion for photography sings clearly through in each essay, opening the eyes of anyone that takes the time to really look at any of the images included. This is a "must read" for anyone that wants to really understand and appreciate the craft of photography.

"Photography, if practiced with high seriousness, is a contest between a photographer and the presumption of approximate and habitual seeing. The contest can be held anywhere - on a city sidewalk, or in a scientific laboratory, or among the markers of ancient dead gods." - John Szarkowski

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #9

Continuing with my list, today I bring you #9.

A Shadow Falls#9 A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt

Unlike On Photography, my #10 selection which was all words and photograph free, this book is a beautiful collection of large images of the vanishing animals of East Africa. Eschewing the traditional thought of recording these animals in the golden sunset, or embraced in the continuous life and death struggle, Brandt chose a simpler, more stately method of honoring these creatures. Flipping through the pages of this book is as if seeing these animals for the very first time. Beautifully rich black and white images detail the everyday life of elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, rhinoceros, and more. Giraffe necks entwined in an embrace, elephants pausing for a drink of life affirming water, lions relaxing in the midday heat, and zebras looking over their shoulder to guard against the ever present dangers that life provides them with.

This book also reminds you to look at your subjects in a unique and interesting way. We've all seen countless images of these same animals, but none of them quite carry the weight of these beautiful photographs.

"I'm not interested in creating work that is simply documentary or filled with action and drama, which has been the norm in the photography of animals in the wild. What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist. This world is under terrible threat, all of it caused by us. To me, every creature, human or nonhuman, has an equal right to live, and this feeling, this belief that every animal and I are equal, affects me every time I frame an animal in my camera. The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes." - Nick Brandt

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Ten Best Photography Books on My Shelf - #10

Mud season is upon us here in New Hampshire, so the next couple weeks will be spent catching up on office work, some long delayed interior projects, and gaining inspiration by reading some of the books on my shelf. This post will be the first in a series of posts highlighting my ten favorite photography books. Some of them will seem obvious, but hopefully, a few of them might be new to you and gain you some additional insight or inspiration into this art that you hold so dear. I'll provide you with these books in ascending order, beginning with today's entry, #10.

#10 - On Photography by Susan Sontag

I know that Crash Davis finds "that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap" but I love this collection of essays written over several years and published in 1977. On Photography won the National Book Critics' Circle Award for 1977 and was selected among the top 20 books of 1977 by the editors of the New Times Book Review.

Very few books written today talk about photography in such a deep, analytical, and thought provoking way, and for a book devoting its words totally to photography, there is not a single photograph in it. This is not a book for those that un-endingly concern themselves with apertures and shutter speeds, memory cards and files types, film speed and processing speed. This is a book for those that want to look deeper into the craft, and deeper into themselves, analyzing what they do, and why they are doing it.

Rereading this book periodically allows me to re-evaluate what I perceive about my work, gleaning another nugget of understanding or knowledge from the page, making me more self aware, and allowing me to ask myself important questions.

"Whenever serious photography is felt to have been purged of outmoded relations to art and to prettiness, it could just as well accommodate a taste for pictorial photography, for abstraction, for noble subjects rather than cigarette butts and gas stations and turned backs." - Susan Sontag from On Photography.