Sunday, March 30, 2008


These two pieces are printed from a found negative of a bride. I soaked the first print in motor oil. After it was mostly dry, I put it in between two pieces of paper so it wouldn't get anything icky. When I peeled the paper off, some of it stuck. It's mounted on a black board.

The second one was printed on a piece of really old fiber paper. I don't know why this happened, but over time the paper turned all metallic-looking and crazy. All I can guess is that it had something to do with the paper being something like 30 years old. It came with a bunch of darkroom equipment my dad bought from some monks, who hadn't used it since the 70's. Maybe they cast a magic monk spell on the paper or something. I have no idea why these monks had a darkroom at one time, but... photomonks? Now there's a profession I could hang my hat on.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I was messing around with my grandfather's old digital camera, and I found a setting called "White Board". I'd never heard of such a thing before. This is what it does. That's my brother.

Here's what happens when you take a picture of old ladies playing Scrabble..

You could easily get the same results in Photoshop, but I think it's pretty cool that the camera does it on its own. The more I can avoid using the computer to manipulate images, the more satisfied I am with them, generally. I guess that having the camera manipulate the image is not much different than doing it on the computer. But on the other hand, whereas you can only work with what you've got on the computer, you can control exactly how the effect will affect the picture when you're looking through a camera. That's a big difference I think. I also think it's pretty awesome that I just used "effect" and "affect" correctly in the same sentence!

There was also a setting called "Black Board"..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rock & Art: Chris Cornell

A comment in one of the previous posts reminded me that I made this last year. It was for Rock & Art at the Bank of America Pavillion. For each concert during the summer, they choose an artist to make a 3-foot x 3-foot piece, which is then 1) put on display backstage during the show 2) possibly signed by the musician or musicians 3) displayed around the venue all summer 4) auctioned off in the fall. In my case, only one of these things happened.

My piece was for the Chris Cornell show. It's a series of darkroom prints mounted on the 3'x3' gesso board they gave me. The text is
some Chris Cornell lyrics that I thought fit with the visual theme. I wrote them in sharpie, which is either visible or invisible depending on the angle you're looking at it.

Almost all the other pieces were paintings. There were a couple collage-y type things. I was the only one who did photography... great idea. The whole thing was a total nightmare. When I think about the whole experience all I see is the Easter Bunny from the last post. Everything that could possibly be frustrating and demoralizing happened.

It actually was in the auction, so that was good, even if nobody bid on it. Plus I got to be right up in the front for the Chris Cornell show, for free. He and his band played a lot of Soundgarden songs. He's still an amazing singer. Hey, how do you think he learned how to scream like that?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter bunny

This is my grandmother's idea of something that is festive and adorable. It's as tall as me, and greets you when you walk into the house. It probably watches you through walls.

My grandmother's front hall has a rotating cast of horrors that has included a 4-foot tall fiberglass penguin, and these 100+ year old stuffed bobcats:


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

cinnamon boy

The black strips are electrical tape. The print is a manipulated photo of a photo in a book. It's nailed to a board. The board was soaked in mouthwash for a week. It smelled really good for a while.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Woods, RIP

My band, The Woods, ended yesterday, a year to the day after we started. It consisted of James on guitar, Luke on drums, and me on bass. I'm not sure how to describe the music other than it usually rocked. Luke is moving to the other side of the country, so that's that.

The first image is a collage I made out of paper illustrations from various sources. I just tacked some text on it for this post, but maybe we'll use it for album art if we ever narrow our songs down to a listenable few and put them on a CD.

The second image is a collage of the "album art" I made for each of our recording sessions. Luke is a music producer, and he recorded all our sessions in his home studio. We typically got together once a week and jammy-jammed (but I swear we weren't a jam band). It was very unstructured, and we never really "practiced", although there are many songs that we ran through numerous times. I'd always hoped we'd get it together and really nail some songs down, but in the end that's not really what we were about.

We ended our run with around 400 songs recorded, all live in the studio. All guitar, bass, and drums. We never played out anywhere. It was definitely one of the best things I've done with myself in the past year. I went in having never played the bass before, and came out knowing what a bass is and how to hold it. Although I wish we had written more complete songs, I'm really happy that we created the ridiculously bloated and noisy body of work that we did.

In the wake of our rock 'n roll death (bandicide?), James and I are looking for a drummer to start a new band. I'd also like to try adding a second guitarist to see what that would sound like. If you/your friend/your gramps play(s) drums, or guitar, or any other instrument (but not bass!), give me a holler.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

deconstructures pt. two

After a few months of scraping negatives with the intention of combining them, I decided to see how single negatives would look on their own.

Hey, they look pretty different. Instead of the dense, compacted hustle and bustle of the combined buildings, the single ones seem very empty and still. Whereas the combined buildings were deafeningly loud, these single ones are totally silent. It's like the buildings exploded, but a second later time and space just stopped. That's how it seems to me when I imagine them in the real world.

Like I said in the last post, these images only came about out of the process I decided to use, not from any specific idea I was trying to illustrate. So it's always been strange for me to look at them and try to figure out what they're all about. I'm still not really sure what these are about, but they do give me a much different feeling than the previous ones. More eerie, but also cleaner and prettier, if those words can possibly apply here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

deconstructures pt. one

I've been scratching up my negatives for a long time. It drove some of my photo teachers and classmates crazy. Some of them didn't really consider it photography, in the "pure" sense at least. Others couldn't believe why anyone would do that to their negatives. I can kind of understand the first point, although I don't see how it matters at all. On the second point... I guess I don't see how that matters either. If an image is good enough to print as it is, great. I won't mess with it if there's no reason to. But when some images just don't do it for me, I try to come up with a way to make them work. Scratching up the negatives is one way I've done that over the years.

Eventually I found that photos of buildings were really conducive to this method. I'd take two building negatives and scrape the emulsion off each of them in such a way that I could fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle, like in the examples above.

When I first started doing these building pieces, it was all about the process. I never had an idea about what they were supposed to mean or anything like that. I just enjoyed the act of working on them and creating weird combined landscapes.

As I printed more and more of these, they started being about the passing of time. And the destruction of old things and build up of new things. They made me think about density and population, and how nothing stays the same or lasts forever. It's super deep and stuff.

Usually the first response I get from people is that these are really scary, and I've been asked if I love destruction and if I'm looking forward to the apocalypse. No, I'm not, just so you know. I'll post more scary stuff tomorrow. IF THERE IS A TOMORROW.

Here's an example of two different stages of one of these pieces (Sorry, I can't figure out how to put images side-by-side on this stupid thing):

Sunday, March 16, 2008

green girl

This image started with a 4"x5" negative, which is pretty much the only thing about it that actually relates to photography. I scraped practically all the emulsion off the negative. The remaining bits of emulsion are the dark areas on the right and bottom edges, and of course the girl's face.

Next, I scanned the negative on a flatbed scanner with a green washcloth on top of it. That's where the chain-link pattern comes from. I increased the brightness and contrast in Photoshop, and there you have it.

I've always enjoyed using series of destructive methods just to see what happens. A lot of my favorite work is the result of ripping, scratching, burning, soaking, crushing, or otherwise ruining a perfectly good negative or print, and then finding ways to build something new out of it. Or sometimes it's just fine all messed up and that's the end of it.

For the next day or two I'll be posting some images that use a similar method to the green girl, but were made entirely in the darkroom.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


In 1999 I had a solo show up at the Concord Public Library. It was all black & white darkroom prints, along with a few color snapshots that I had messed up with bleach. I think it was something like 75 pieces total.

The above piece was used as the invitation to the show. The print itself is pretty small, about 5" tall. It's mounted on black cardboard mounted on red cardboard. I don't know who the little girl is. It's from a roll of negatives I found while digging through some boxes in my grandmother's basement. Also on this roll of film were pictures from a monster truck rally, which wasn't really my grandma's scene as far as I knew. But then I found these:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pretty & Nice

Shot from a show I went to last week. Pretty & Nice were one of the bands. They had a light-up bass drum and did a tarded cover of "Basket Case" by Green Day. Messed up and awesome.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I took this with my Canon PowerShot A640, like most of my pictures these days. I really like the color and composition in this one. And I have no idea how it captured so much detail, especially since I was about 3 feet away and used the flash. BOOSH.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ghost rider

I took this picture in the driveway of my old house. A dirty old bike was lying on the asphalt the night before. It rained that night, and the next day the dirt had dried beneath the bike. I don't know how the dirt didn't get washed away, but when I lifted the bike up, there it was like a shadow. This was taken probably 9 or 10 years ago now, and it's still one of my favorite pictures.

Welcome to the Photo-Go-Round

I'm Aaron. You can see a lot of my work at my website,, located on the internet. It's still a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely and I hope you check it out.

The reason I started this Photo-Go-Round thing is because I'm often creating new work, and I'd like to share it with you.

Why start a blog for my artwork when I already have a website? Because there are some drawbacks to just having a traditional artist site. Don't get me wrong, having a website for your artwork is great in a "portfolio" sense. You can put a lot of your art in one place, and people can go there, get a sense of what you do, and hopefully enjoy it. That's a big plus. However, on the minus side, once a person peruses and digests your work once, they're not apt to go back and look at it again any time soon. It seems to me that most visual artists very rarely update their sites. So once I've visited them, I find that I don't go back for a long time, if ever. I don't want my artwork to fall into the same arthole.

So I started the Photo-Go-Round as a sort of daily dose of imagey goodness. It's a place where I can say to you, "If you come here again tomorrow, there will probably be something new to look at." It seems like a good way to share my artwork in a simple, one-step-at-a-time manner, and I hope it will amuse and interest any and all fine folks who dare to purchase a ticket to this
white-knuckle thrill-ride!! (note: the Photo-Go-Round is free).

My intention is to post an image a day, so we'll see how it goes. All aboard the Photo-Go-Round CHOO CHOO!!