Typography Graveyard

Typography Graveyard Slideshow

Rains have come early this year, altering the landscape of paper layers into a fusion of fibers. While pages of colour slowly bleed, leeching their tones into the depths like a toxin contaminating others; new fliers are added as the weekend draws near with the same vigor and speed as before. Just like the traffic that varies little with the hour until much later in the evening, then returns six-seven hours later to start the cycle all over again.

This network of telephone poles which has become the unwilling participants in another form of communications has also become an obsession and though the series has slowed to a trickle in 2007 and 2008 as my visits to Berkeley became less regular, I also felt I had exhausted the subject matter. It became more difficult to find points of interests that differed from what I had previously photographed, yet with my return to cardiovascular rehabilitation that occupied a good portion of this year, I had another closer look.

The renewed interests had me returning to certain street where the concentration of these types of telephone poles where at, continually searching for the exceptional.





An expression of my gratitude

I rose early to arrive in Berkeley as we were engulfed by fog that still had not been burned off by the rising sun, in order to cruise specific streets where fliers are regularly posted onto layers of stables and paper remnants. Once I have found a section of a couple of blocks, I park the car and gather the necessary equipment; all of this feels like I am going out on a safari, hunting my objective, the elusive, random ephemeral abstract beauty. Because I am using my friends’ 1:1 ratio macro lens, I am searching for specific abstracts that are a little larger than a few postage stamps, not easily achieved.

Once a possible section has been found, the tripod is set up, the camera positioned. A few more critical observations and calculations are made before three variable exposures are quickly achieved. A few more adjustments to tripod and camera for another angle and the whole process is repeated for the next set of multiple images. This process is repeated several more times until I have squeezed every possible second I have remaining of the early morning before I have to be at my cardiac rehabilitation class.

And as I enter my third month of dealing with a failed open-heart by-pass graft, I reflect upon the past two and the five to six hours I spend each day I attend the program, the progress has been marginal, suffering a few setbacks, leaving me with no clear answers and still too many uncertainties. However, focusing only on the negative means I am allowing the situation control me and though it is still a major distraction, I have been trying to find a balance.

One of the goals of the cardiac program is to be generally more active, especially accomplishing more walking and to achieve this, we were given a pedometer to guide our progress. So today I looked over the numbers I have been recording in my notebook to see that in seven weeks I have covered 181.53 miles (292.144 km), averaging 25.932 (41.734 km) per week, or 3.70 (5.955) a day, with the most in one day being 8.46 miles (13.615 km) when I visited the Pacific coast.
Now to help pass the time during my walks, I have been combining it with photography; especially focusing on the series I began a little more than five years ago. Walking down Ashby, Haste or Dwight , holding my extended tripod with camera securely mounted, inspecting each telephone pole, searching for the visual gem.

As I continue to cope with the disruption to my previous routine and life style, the past two months have felt like being stranded, isolated in a time warp from which there appears to be no escape. I have missed visiting your blogs, to see what you have been up to and leaving a comment, wile sharing with you my own creative events.

Please feel free to download the full size version of
the bookmark page by clicking here to gain access.

As I bring this update to my ‘Leave of Absence’ to a close, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to those who have sent me letters, cards and emails, checking up on my progress, sending me encouragements and wishing me well, I also desire to say thank you to those who have stopped by either of my blogs, just to see if there was anything new.
I would also like to say thank you to those who have decided to become a follower during my absence and in due time I shall also return the honour and list your blog at my blog roll and resource blog, The DIRECTORY.

I would like to reciprocate by sharing with you a few images of my excursions that I have designed into a page of bookmarks that you can download in full size here, then print out on card stock. You then have the option to punch a hole at the top for a string or ribbon.
If you would like to check out my other version of the books, please visit Four Seasons in a Life.

Wishing my American friends a wonderful and safe forth of July.

I thank you for your visit
and comment . . .



A leave of absence

In the last two months I have fallen considerable behind on many levels, this includes responding to those who have commented and especially my visiting your blogs with any regularity.
Many of you also know of my medical challenges that have been a major distraction, particularly the previous month learning after an angiogram that the reason for always feeling tired and short of breath was due to a collapsed graft from the open heart surgery three years earlier.
Since some of the lateral veins to the artery have tried to take over, the current method of dealing with this is through medication and a three-day a week’s cardiac rehabilitation program that will last for three months,
Because this program occupies a large portion of my day, I would only fall further behind and so I have no option other than to take a leave of absence while I am in cardio rehabilitation.
This does not mean I will not be looking in now and then on your blogs, just that I shall not be posting. The decision was not taken lightly as I have worked hard these passed months building my blogs.

Typography of the forgotten - series

As the medical center is in Berkeley, I will have the opportunity to continue a series on telephone poles that I have been observing and photographing these passed four years. Their abstract appearance has intrigued me, even influenced some of my paintings, and now I have a chance to capture with greater frequency and regularity their continued temporary change and evolution.

I look forward to my return in August, sharing with you stories and images I have been working on.

Thank you for your visit


Trial by fire

Much of my abstract inspirations come from industrial sites where corrosive elements coincide with fabricated structures, however this time I found myself in a parking lot, behind Barnes & Noble bookstore, admiring a dumpster.
What made it different from the usual ‘beat-up, graffiti spray painted’ and just trashy dumpster was, that at some point it had endured an internal fire. This caused the exterior to undergo some very interesting and dramatic changes to its surface and over time nature’s elements added to the outcome of the fire, including that of the refuse collectors and the stores personnel.

Full moon rising among planets

Though the dumpster is in plain view, I am sure little attention is given to its presence, except for someone in need of boxes for shipping, storage or a move, for the stores stockroom person has broken down and nicely folded their shipping boxes and deposited them in the ‘paper and cardboard only’ dumpster.

Blistering steel

The garbage container with its two metal covers swung back and filled to the brim with cardboard boxes appeared of no special interest at first glance, especially from a distance. After a second look, one that was more direct and focused to its mid and lower section, I was dragged into its seductive trap.
Upon closer examination it became clear that it was time to pull out the tripod and camera from the trunk of the car, grab myself a couple of the shipping boxes from the dumpster to serve as ground cover to sit upon and I begin taking pictures for the next forty or fifty minutes.

Innate combustion — Into the inferno’s abyss

What I had discovered was a wonderful abstract realistic palette of only the primary colours, including a host of varied textures, all of which were interacting with the random marks of human intervention.


Each image was carefully framed in the viewfinder until it satisfied personal compositional sensitivities and what I saw and tried to illustrate before pressing down on the shutter release. While with each passing minute the metal surface began unfolding more and more of its encrypted stories like a good book. There, in the depths of the pages, the Shamans hand points to the petroglyph, where the sun’s rays bless the land, there the buffalo and antelope roam plenty along the a river that empties into the lake.

Warnings too are foreshadowed, for when the full moon rises among the planets, from the depths of the inferno’s abyss, the land will shifts, erupt in a combustion of energy and its force will swell to the surface, unleashing a tsunami that travels the seas until it reaches the land of blistering steel.

The Tsunami

If we let our imagination be free to interpret what
our eyes have witness, we will see so much more.

For “the job of the artist
is to always deepen
the mystery

—Francis Bacon.

Thank you for your visit



The letter ‘L’

For about a week I have been debating if I should post a set of photographic images based on random destructive typography or a more recent illustration I had created as an expression of love for my wife. As you can see I decided in favor of the illustration because I wish it to act as a bridge to a forthcoming post, since calligraphy and typography are very dear subjects for me.

Not too long ago, provided twenty-two months can be considered a brief lapse for someone at my age, I wanted to create a single declaration of affection and present it to her on her birthday. At that time we had been married for nineteen years, celebrating our anniversary just thirty day earlier.

Statement of Love, May 2007
Pen and coloured pencil on 100Lb. Bristol, 11 x 14” (27.94x35.56 cm)

Sketching a single letter L, one on top of another several times until the structure stood with strength erect and yet delicate, the following statement and phrases were added:

A huge mass of letters are forged to fabricate the
words that weave about the page of a lexicon,
Yet I am unable to find a single
phrase that will describe how my
heart feels for you . . .

A single word, a single phrase,
Love letters, a mass of letters
. . .

I would like the welcome the many new followers since my previous posting and note that having reached this momentous milestone of one hundred followers, I am thinking about a Give Away to celebrate this occasion. I am contemplating a work of art that I shall be creating for this event, so please stay tune for when it is going to take place and how you will be able to win.

Thank you for your visit


Illustrations as background surfaces


All of Friday we faced numerous periods of heavy rainfall with intermittent showers, but in the late afternoon the sky broke open, revealing a low setting sun and with ones back to her, the hillside before me became alive. Bathed in a pale soft golden light, the new years growth drenched from the rain sparkled, while off in the distance the sky was a dark turbulence of grey, a dramatic contrast and I wish I had stopped and taken a few pictures. Yet some things are best remembered, treasured in our memory as an experience randomly recalled when something irrelevantly triggers the past.

With the day mostly gone by now, I am sitting back in my favorite chair, drinking a new tea that I have not had since my early twenties and contemplating about what to write, even though I am also yearning to get started with my first artist trading card (ATC). However I have been struggling with not only style and subject matter, but also my personal demon, fear. The fear of not being able to draw as I did years ago, when I last held a pencil or a fine tipped Hunt’s pen in my hand.

Rainbow Trout
Pencil, watercolour on illustration board — 1998-99

At the time I had worked for more than a decade photographing fishing flies for various books and calendars after the success of my first book in 1988, The Art of The Trout Fly, a collaborative effort with author Judith Dunham. Since these flies were tied by master fly-tiers and placed into very small elaborate sets and not a tying vice, I was always looking for another way to interpret their art with my creative vision.

California Golden Trout
Pencil, coloured pencil, and watercolour on Bristol — 1998-99

Previously the sets were recreations of scenes found in nature or on a fly tiers bench, in which the very books, tools and materials that created the fly, now surrounded them. Though I was content with the method I had established, I began to explore the idea of developing illustrations as background surfaces on which a fishing fly would be placed and then photographed.

Only a number of drawings were made and I do not think that even a single frame was ever shot. A combination of economic shifts and my own needs, these drawings lay hidden in envelops that are tucked away in artists carrying cases and though not forgotten, I now look upon them with a sense of pride and an unwavering apprehension. Maybe once I get started with my first miniature drawing, fear will no longer seem insurmountable.

The Art of The Trout Fly
Second edition, Chronicle Books 2003


The art of my childhood

Every time when I walk into the converted guest bedroom that serves as my office, I see two pieces of art hanging on the wall from when I was a child. It was not until today when they were removed from the frame for scanning, did I discover a third, a smaller drawing, hidden behind the larger one. These drawings with watercolour were done when I had just turned five and six years of age and are the only ones I have of my childhood as a budding future artist.

October 8, 1954, 156 x 116 mm

I remember little surrounding these drawing, except for my insistence to paint the clouds blue and the flowers in this smaller illustration represent sunflowers. I would be speculating, the artwork could have been done after a visit to the countryside to see my grandfather, since we lived in the city. Though I was only five, I remember clearly a row of houses to one side of the street and empty farmland on the other, where the soil was being tilted and in the distance a number of large mounds of harvest debris were smoldered, leaving a trail of soft grey smoke against the afternoon sun.

August 88, 1955, 215 x 180 mm w/o support

Each one in its own way tells of a story, a reflection of the times. Not the time we live in, but rather a snapshot of my little universe within four walls, one without the presence of a father. He was away for weeks on the passenger ocean liner Italia, crossing the Atlantic between Hamburg and New York. The ship was built in 1928 for the Swedish American Liner, at which time the vessel was named Kungsholm. She changed ownership several times during its lifetime operation and it was during the years when Home Lines acquired her in 1948, renaming her SS Italia where my father served on board as a maitre d’.

Postcard images of the SS Italia

Little did I know at the time, that within two years we would cross the Atlantic Ocean for America, pulling up roots and temporarily planting them in New York, where we stayed with my aunt. Within a few months of our arrival, we left the ‘Big Apple’ and crossed America in a burgundy Chevrolet two-door coup my father had brought. With our destination being Hollywood, we traveled in part on the legendary Highway 66 and though the landmark highway has been replaced, I have from time to time longed for a trip down memory lane, to see what is left of the true American architecture and the people still living there. For I am sad to admit, any memories from the 1957 road trip are lost, as any recollection of my time in Arizona or Nevada are fuzzed together in a blur of one big endless adventure.

September 14, 1955, 246 x 180 mm

I do not know if any other drawings or watercolours were ever saved, only to be lost when we moved, I am very happy to have these three to pass along to my children. I hope will cherish and keep them safe along with all their art that we cherished and saved, marking the different stages of their individual progress.


Earlier last month I launched my third blog, The DIRECTORY that is not only my blog roll, but also serves as an artists resource with numerous links to other sites on a variety of subject matter. If you have not done so already, please do have a visit and add yourself as a follower in order to receive monthly updates.


We are not alone

Dreams taking flight, #N004232 — May 1, 2007

Today a heavy fog has blanketed the area as it lingers, filtering through the landscape with the stillness of a dream; winters melancholy soon shall pass, bowing out to an approaching spring that slowly rises from the darkness. Though morning light has crossed passed the mountains ridge, there are no shadows but in my room, as candles flames flicker to the slightest movement, as its warm amber light baths the surroundings with solace.

Though I am alone physically, I am not. Your words to ‘Life’s Fragility’ have given me company and turned an ordinary day into one filled with compassion. It was a difficult post for both the reader and the author, as any obstacles were overcome by courage.

In these last weeks I have visited your comments often, I feel we have become closer, as you so graciously shared your thoughts and something about your own life or of the ones you love.

A spirit set free, #N004778 — May 4, 2007

Recently I came across a quote that expressing what many of us who blog have come to experience, myself included. They are of the German romantic poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), who’s ‘Trauerspiel’ and accompaniment of Beethoven’s OP-82 that I was ceremoniously named after. The translation is not perfect, though multiple sources seem to agree on the words, it is not perfect as translations go, it still retains Goethe’s thinking.

Goethe in the Campagna, 1786
by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein

The world is so empty if one only thinks of
mountains, rivers and cities;
but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant is close to us in spirit,
this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.

I have been deeply touched by everyone’s visit and with what you wrote, more so than I could ever express and I hope, I had replied to each one of you individually as promised.

The images of the iris flowers are from our garden and I wish you to have one for yourself as a reflection of my sincere appreciation for your presence. If you would like a digital file at high resolution to print out for your home, please send me an email and tell me which one you desire, also make sure you are able to receive a PhotoShop electronic file that is 15-17 MB in size or if you prefer a much smaller JPG document.

I wish you all a wonderful day,


Life’s fragility

Yesterday I lit a candle to mark the fourth birthday in my second life, commemorating the day I was to have passed only to cheat death, when doctors performed a triple-by-pass open-heart surgery. The residual consequences have been mixed and though I am grateful to be alive, the side effects of the surgery have become an almost daily battle. Especially the bouts with depression have become more numerous these last one and half years, lasting longer and becoming more sever, that I have even begun to question if the quality of life gained has been worth this daily struggle.

Following the months after the surgery I was very optimistic, looking forward to a better life. Knowing I had better chance, more then most men, to possible live beyond the national average. I would like to regain that optimism, making whatever few years I do have left seem like a lifetime. As the candle celebrating the birthday slowly burned, its light flickered now and then, to unseen currents, when a little hot wax dribbled down the tapered shaft, marking the beginning of my forth year, which was now more important than ever before.

As I reflected, I could not help but also encompass the events that are unfolding by the hour ever since an earthquake had struck the city of Port au Prince, Haiti. It is events like these that we are reminded how fragile life is; unfortunately it takes a disaster or a personal crisis for most of us to understand this.

The arrival of winter as autumn passes
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California - December 27, 2005, #22281

In many ways this series of photographs reflect life’s fragility. They were taken one week after my collapse, which was later determined to have been a heart attack, and two weeks prior to the open-heart surgery. To this day they are some of the most personal and best work I have produced in the last four decades. Not only do they represent a pivotal moment in my then fifty-six years, they also reflect life’s last will and testament that was voided on January 16, 2006. And so whenever I think about the surgery or the month of December or the month of January, the mind recalls those several days in which I visited a small stretch of earth with tripod and camera in hand, searching.

If you were to ask if I knew what it was that was being sought those last days in December of 2005, the answer would have always been met with a blank gaze, then followed with utter silence. I just knew that regardless of the weather I was compelled, no driven if you would, to capture an image. Only months later did I come to understand that the image was the message and that it was meant for me. It was nature letting me know that my life was like the many leaves that had fallen and now represented my very existence that was about to expire. Yet I am here, facing doubt and an uncertainty, while still trying to make sense of it all.

Though I considered January 16 to be my second birthday and not just an anniversary, I did nothing more than light a candle, watching its bright amber flame slowly burn, while the candles scent began to settle all around the room. Though birthdays are meant to be celebratory, I did not wish it so, besides no one remembered and I did not say a word. It just seemed that some birthdays are best spent with ones self.

A last hurrah
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 28, 2005, #22294

The inevitable hope
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 29, 2005, #22326

December’s blanket
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 30, 2005, #22349

Rain-washing away the sins of the day
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 30, 2005, #22351

Technical Notes:

Camera: Sony DSC-V1, 5MB, Full Frame
Computer: Macintosh G4
Post work: Photoshop v8 (CS-I)
Post work notes:
Levels, Curves were all individually set.
Channel Mixer for all images at R+40/G+50/B+20/Constant-5
Afterwards converted to Duo-tone for secondary colour
Gaussian Blur was applied to all images


A reason for my absence

The past few several weeks since my last posting, your comments I have embraced, for they were emotionally uplifting, as a ray of sunshine on a cold and cloudy day, even here in Northern California. I also cherish each new follower and will return the compliment in due course. It is for this reason that I ask you follow this link and discover what I have been up to these last three weeks.