Mechanized Horror

It’s Why I Love Art

I, like everyone, am drawn to certain kinds of art. I generally am drawn to, photography, abstract expressionism, impressionism, expressionism generally. I tend to dislike realistic depictions and prefer abstract, often obtuse allegory. When I go to museums, I tend to spend most of my time in these areas, but I try to spend time leisurely perusing though other galleries seeing what strikes my fancy. I especially tend to appreciate the depth afforded to special exhibits, but I always to the same thing. I see something I don’t care about and start to discard this event as boring. Almost always I push though this and am nearly universally rewarded with the unexpected. So was the case when I visited the Stedelijk and saw this massive collection of animated sculptures and automated art machines by Jean Tinguely! Not only was this show incredibly put together with a HUGE space dedicated to so many of his Machines, it was also interesting to see the decay of these monsters.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 18 February, 2017
  • Focal length: 27mm
  • ISO: 6400
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s
  • Title: Mechanized Horror

Image of a Tree in the Sun

Skeletal Tree

I almost missed the Washington D.C. Mall sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Art. I happened along it after visiting the National Archives and was headed at near the end of the day to the Metro station that pops out in the Mall. As I walked by I was immediately drawn in wondering how on Earth I had always missed this fantastic stroll! This tree sculpture is called “Graft” and it is by the artist Roxy Paine. It’s always interesting to see artists other works when they are this iconic. I noticed on my first visit, another of Paine’s sculptures adorns the entry to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. This D.C. trip I found the skeletal tree at just the right time of evening for a fun shot, playing off the sunset.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 28 May, 2012
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250s
  • Title: Image of a Tree in the Sun



There is a line from some movie that goes a bit like, “and they remain to this day, the most beautiful girls you have ever seen close up.” I am probably recalling that totally wrong, but this is exactly how I felt seeing David. I have always enjoyed sculpture, it’s a demanding and frenetic art requiring so much planning and forethought. I planned an early morning to the Accademia Gallery and once I found him, I stayed for several hours soaking one of Michelangelo’s greatest gifts. David is like no other sculpture I have ever seen.

I hesitated even posting one of the many photos I took. They do no justice to his presence or intricacies. Depending on where you stand, you see his myriad emotional states as he confronts the invisible Goliath. You see his determination, you awe at his enormous hand infused with the might of God, you see the paralyzing fear in his eyes. Every glance and slight change of your location brings a new view into his complex soul. He stands firmly in place, larger than life, but you can feel too, the struggle he faces.

David is the most beautiful man I have ever seen close up and perhaps one of humanities greatest treasures.

Photo Technical Info

Buddhist Wall in China

Haunting Sculptures

There are so many great artistic works created in the name of religion. I don’t know the significance of this sculpture, but it is almost as maddening a work as La Sagrada Familia‘s Nativity Facade. There are so many carvings within carvings and around carvings it’s hard to know what is happening.

I took a HUGE bit of creative license as the room was dimly lit in places. There colors are all mine, but the madness is all Buddhist artists!

Photo Technical Info

Lingyin Temple Buddha Carving, Hangzhou, China

Unknown Purpose

It is said the monk who built Lingyin temple came to the mountain and knew he must build a monastery there. The guide said nobody was sure why, but I know. In all the chaos of people, the noise, the wild energies without purpose, you can feel it there…You can feel the peace of the soul of the world. It is different than Sedona, but I know why so many Native tribes were called to that place as well. The soul of the world is present, all around, IN all things, IS all things. I believe there are places in the world where the vail is thinner, peace is deep in the Earth at Lingyin. One only needs to open up and begin to FEEL, to know that monks calling.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 1 July, 2015
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: Lingyin Temple Buddha Carving, Hangzhou, China

Guardian at Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai China

Ancient Guard

This dog, lion or spirit guards (with its companion flanking the other side) one of the entrances to Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai. You see these statues all over China guarding places from evil spirits or marauding bandits. I always grab a shot of their fierceness and love trying to find new ways to see them when processing.

Photo Technical Info

The Tower of London Baboons

Royal Zoo

At one time in England’s history, the Tower of London doubled as the Royal Menagerie. Court can be a truly dull affair, so one king brought in animals, another used them as specials having various creatures unnaturally fight to the death. Oh the cruelty of the bored. What I loved most about tower…ok…that was the jewels, so what I loved second best about tower was the wonderfully wire animal sculptures. Since real animals cant just roam around, someone did a WONDERFUL job of creating these wire-frame residents of the tower.

Photo Technical Info

Metal Leviathan

Red Letter Date

A few things are significant today. First it’s the start of a new travel year! There are so many places to go, but Southeast Asia (yes I realize its the rainy season) is high on my list for the first part of 2015. This is also my 300th blogged photo! When I happen to notice how many photos I have processed over the years for this site, I am always taken aback. Maybe it’s because processing is SO FUN, it doesn’t seem like work.

Class Five, Maybe Class Six!

On my first trip to Seattle I met up with a few friends. My buddy Justin took me several places to photograph. I had almost forgot about these crazy sculptures by the Ballard Docks. I don’t work with black and white enough, and Justin specifically always says I should more, so this photo seemed like a perfect opportunity so work in tones.

Photo Technical Info

Forbidden City Artwork

Ancient Outdoor Artwork

The thing that struck me while wandering The Forbidden City (after ALL THE PEOPLE) was the vast amount of ancient artwork with was around the palace exposed to the elements. This slab is one of those amazing examples. They do have it carefully blocked off so tourists don’t walk down the delicate stairs, but I found myself wondering about the preservation of truly priceless cultural and artistic treasures that were designed to live outdoors. Does it effect the beauty of something when it is removed from its purpose and placed in a museum? Does its purpose inform it’s value to society? I’m not sure I know that answer. What I do know is these carvings in The Forbidden City are wonderful.

Photo Technical Info

Spine Light Sculpture

Unexpected Art

I found this light sculpture entirely by accident. I had seen Thomas Hawk talk about Spine on his blog but I didn’t expect to see it. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was near Union Square where Pamela and I were staying. We were walking around the area looking for some chocolate dessert when I passed by, stopping dead in my tracks when I realized what I had seen. I had to chase Pamela down as she was half-way up the block by the time everything registered.

Double Unexpected

One of the things I love about this piece was how it is located in a perfectly normal location! People must pass daily under this artistic creation and never suspect it is both art and function. This kind of notion…it makes me smile.