Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Posts tagged “iron oxide

August on the Vermilion River, 2019 Version

September 16, 2019

Leptothrix discophora was in splender when I drove out to the Schoepfle Garden August 11. I didn’t see huge patches of it, but enough medium-size patches to satisfy me. The handiwork of L. discophora and other iron bacteria was also in evidence as great gushy trails down to the water. Along my walk I dallied over some rocks I considered first among equals. Number 9 is mudstone that held some kind of salts that left pits as they washed out in the river.














Old Boats Are Best—1

Old boats are the best boats—at least to photograph. While we were waiting for latecomers to join the tour that Karen Bell was to give of the A.P Bell fish house, Karen told me she loved the look of old boats. I said (of course) that I did, too. After the tour Karen drew me a map of where I could find nearby old boats to photograph. Below (way below) are the boat photographs I took that day.

The other day I happened upon the work of Richard Alan Cohen, who also photographs old boat hulls. His web site includes a link to a review of his work by Kat Kiernan, editor-in-chief of the photography magazine Don’t Take Pictures. It’s short, and I’ve pasted it here:

“I never want to see another abstract photograph of a distressed surface. Camera lenses pointed close enough to a subject will turn almost anything into an abstract photograph. A camera is unable to produce a true abstraction—it can only record what is in front of it. This forces the conversation to revolve around what the subject matter is. Most photographers making abstract pictures will say that the what doesn’t matter and that their image is only about line, form, texture, and so on. Too often, these types of photographs feel like a cheap way to get the look of an abstract painting without having to actually paint. And too often, they feel flat—lacking the depth and texture needed to pull off the illusion. Richard Alan Cohen takes a different approach.

“In his series Waterlines, Cohen makes no attempts at abstraction for its own sake. His “what” is right there in the series title and is a perfect subject matter for the “why.” He photographs distressed boat hulls not with the intention of reducing them into just lines, shapes, and colors, but instead explores the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye. He is not trying to hide the fact that these photographs are of the undersides of boats. Instead, he uses their waterlines to create an entirely new one—one that only exists through Cohen’s careful framing and our own psychological search for recognition. In Cohen’s photographs, the waterline becomes a coastline, corroded fiberglass becomes weather, and the footprints of barnacles become stars. He embraces the subject matter beautifully by making a strong conceptual connection between the subject—a boat—and the final image—an abstract photograph reminiscent of a seascape.”

Well, ouch.

Kiernan may have based some of what she writes about Cohen’s work on what he says on his website:

“Pausing to study this evidence of where the boat has been, one perceives that the waterline provides an horizon. Above and below that are details of imagined landscapes, perhaps those that could be seen from the boats themselves when they sailed on the water. In developing these images, I share my own imagination and provide the seed for each viewer to form their own remembered landscapes. This project is ultimately an exploration of the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye – the waterline as coastline, the texture as weather, the footprint of barnacles as stars.”

And later:

“The color and forms introduced by the interaction of the pollutants with the boat’s bottom paint provide iconic symbols of man’s disturbance of nature, and are inescapable evidence of the downside of the sailor’s voyage upon the sea.”

I urge you to read more of what Cohen says in his recent Lenscratch interview.

Here are some questions Kiernan’s review has prompted me to consider. I wonder, dear reader, what you think.

  1. How much do we miss out on a larger conversation about photography because we don’t think deeply enough about what we are doing?
  2. How can we learn to think deeply?
  3. Can we even learn to think deeply, or is that an ability we either have or don’t?
  4. How much do we hold back our work from greater exposure because we aren’t willing or don’t know how to talk about it?
  5. I absolutely don’t mean to impugn Cohen’s work, which I admire along with his stated intent, so forgive my cynicism (or not): How much verbiage about art, especially photography, is based on associations discovered or devised after the painting or photograph was made? And would this practice be legitimate?
  6. If we are not deep thinkers or writers, can we nonetheless entertain hopes of making noteworthy photographs?




















The Dumpsters of Sarasota 23 through 38

January 2, 2019

So many dumpster photographs, so little time. I’d rather not post all 16 of these photographs at once, but I am plagued by a surfeit of riches. The outing that produced these dumpster photographs resulted in many goodies, and I want to get through them all in a reasonable length of time. Feel free to quit looking at any point. 🙂
















Iron Bacteria in Florida 2

February 19, 2018

Taken on the same day as the photograph of the previous post, these photos show Leptothrix discophora and its precipitated iron oxide at Jelks Preserve.


Iron Bacteria in Florida 1

My old pal Leptothrix discophora came out to play in the parks earlier this month. This photo was taken in a sweet lagoon of the Venice Myakka River Park.

August 2017 Leptothrix discophora and Friends 4

October 8, 2017





August 2017 Leptothrix discophora and Friends 3

October 7, 2017

August 2017 Leptothrix discophora and Friends 2

October 6, 2017

Dumpster’s Cousin—A Decorative Fire Escape

October 17, 2016


New in Town

October 16, 2016

This dumpster wasn’t around the last time I photographed dumpsters in Oberlin. How nice to meet it.


Ubiquity of Orange 4

September 12, 2016


Ubiquity of Orange 3

September 11, 2016


Ubiquity of Orange 2

September 10, 2016

Here is the sibling of yesterday’s photograph. I wasn’t sure the mark that looks like three fingers on a hand wasn’t obscene, so I Googled, and found three-figure salute. Maybe it’s not a three-finger salute at all. Maybe it’s a puppet with its arms up and head in the middle. Or maybe it’s just a random mark.


Ubiquity of Orange 1

September 9, 2016

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the prevalence of orange-colored objects in the back streets of Oberlin. Many things acquire rust in this climate. And the orange color of these bricks is related: it’s all iron oxide.


In Mr. Schoepfle’s Garden, April 2016—4

May 11, 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a patch of shale riverbank look as colorful as this one did April 17.

04172016 Schoepfle Garden-126

Trash or Treasure in Placida 9

December 21, 2014

Another tank.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-24

Trash or Treasure in Placida 8

December 20, 2014

Another tank.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-20

Trash or Treasure in Placida 7

December 19, 2014

On the marina premises are many metal tanks that may once have contained liquid (gasoline?). Their surfaces are decorated with rust and/or peeling paint.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-17

Trash or Treasure in Placida 6

December 18, 2014

Here’s the side of an old shipping container at the marina. The marks look almost like writing to me. If they were, I wonder what the message—or messages—would be. Like the other weathered surfaces in this series, it’s a palimpsest.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-11

Trash or Treasure in Placida 2

December 14, 2014

Another (formerly) refrigerated truck: here the rust and rectangular forms are what got me.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-6

Trash or Treasure in Placida 1

December 13, 2014

My friend Gerty has known me since we were 10. Yesterday she took me to a marina in Placida, Florida, that she knew would excite my photographer eyes. On the property is a treasure trove of discarded vehicles and other artifacts of human existence. My interest in these objects is not so much in the fact of their dereliction but in their material essence: the shapes, colors, and textures that weathering creates or enhances. More about my intent is in my reply to Vera Ersilia’s second comment on my post R2D2 1. This series of photographs begins with the back of a refrigerated truck, retired. I was especially interested in the shininess of the polished metal, the shapes that dents created, and the marks rust made.

12122014 Eldred's Marina-4

Rocky Vermilion Shoreline 4

September 10, 2014

I can’t imagine how nature makes such a curve of this shale—but I’m sure someone can.

08242014 Schoepfle Garden-78-2

Rocky Vermilion Shoreline 3

September 9, 2014

Some rocks have so much character that photographing them is taking their portrait.

08242014 Schoepfle Garden-64-2

Rocky Vermilion Shoreline 2

September 8, 2014

Here, besides coating the rocks, some iron-oxide-laden water has splashed onto fallen leaves. To the right of the top leaves you can see a snail trail on a piece of shale.

08242014 Schoepfle Garden-50