Monday, January 30, 2012

Spiral Down

We all know the story with the famous line "Down the rabbit hole." That is exactly what it felt like to dive into all my old photos in order to give new life to my past work. I went as far back as 2005, when I first started seriously taking photos, and it was like opening up a time capsule that I made for myself. I was able to re-live several events that helped shape me as a person and a photographer and I discovered lots of work that I had either forgotten about or never realized I had to begin with. The photo I have provided for this story was taken in 2010 in the Vatican Museum and was taken at the bottom of the double-helix spiral staircase that leads out into the grounds from the museum store. I was very inspired by this dramatic space. Not only is it a very large and ornate space, it caught be my complete surprise. I was just getting ready to exit the museum when all of a sudden I run into this amazing structure and immediately became swept away in its elegance. And, as if to complete the circle, this photo took me by surprise when I found it again. I had forgotten about it and I am so glad I found it again. I just hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Preserving the Past

Over the summer I took my Dad's old slides from his European adventures and started to scan them and restore them. It has been a really eyeopening experience because I see a lot of similarities in how my Dad takes photos and how I take photos. These two examples for instance are both detail shots of two iconic structures, but the views that we are given are not the normal views that we are used too. I do the same with my photography, especially when photographing architecture. It is only by exploring different vantage points that meaningful pieces can be produced. Also, when my Dad took these slides he was roughly the same age I am now so this project holds much more significance because of that. I have several more slides to edit but it has never been a better time to take on this project because my architectural thesis project is dealing with the preservation of photography and this is one way to preserve this medium. With that being said I am not only currently designing an architecture to preserve photography, I am preserving photography on my own while I design and I am letting it inform my project.

The Unexpected

As mentioned earlier I have been going through all my old files and have started to pull out some previously overlooked work. This photo I pulled out from my New York archives because one of my fellow students in my thesis class is doing his thesis in New York and I sent him some site context photos to use for his project. One of my trips to New York I exclusively used my wide angle lens and produced some pretty interesting stuff. This photo was taken on the High Line, an urban park that is built on an old train rail line. The reason I pulled this photo out is that after looking at it a second time I noticed that the shadows in the light belong to my Sister and I. An unintentional yet very fun chance happening. Sometimes the unexpected can be very welcome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Why am I always attracted to the structured and the rigid? Why do I like to photograph mundane, everyday things such as bridges and power lines? Why are such things often considered beautiful only when viewed through a camera? Why are they more beautiful when they are vacant and abandoned? What is it about an abandoned or condemned building that is so appealing to photograph? Why is the rustic and unclean often seen as more beautiful than the pristine and clean? Why in this age of advanced technology, which can produce the most crisp of images in full living color, do photographers often use older and more expensive techniques to produce 'lesser' results? Why do people use cheap software to render the same results with their phone in a feeble attempt to look vintage and cool? Why do companies like Kodak have to file for bankruptcy while smaller companies spring up every day and thrive? Why do questions come and go all the time and rarely is an answer found......?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Underexposed Humor

Here is another photo that I pulled from the depths of my old files. This too is from my large format class and it was taken for a still life assignment. All my life I have always been a collector. Not a pack rat, but a collector. I collect all kinds of things though and here we see my collection of these funny figurines given to me by my friend Lauren called the Oddfellows. I have the artist collection which includes Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Salvidor Dali, Picasso, and Van Gogh. I also have two dictators, Malcolm X and Vladimir Lenin. They have always been with me at college and have helped start quite a few interesting conversations over the years.

Southern Gothic

Lately I have been going through all my old files and archives in search of some usable work. I'm in an experimental inkjet printing class this quarter and I really want to start printing some work that I have not used before. I ran across this photo that I took in my large format class last spring and thought it deserved some screen time. For two years I lived at the SCAD apartment complex Barnard Village. I now live at Boundary Village, which is the older of the two but it was planned out better because both the location and parking are more desirable. This photo is of the 'over-flow' parking lot at Barnard Village, which for the two years I lived there was where I parked my car. For those two years this moody scene was where I had to walk in order to get to my car and since I pulled a lot of late nights I more often than not saw it at night. I guess you could say it affected me, but instead of having a negative memory of it I remember it as just another dark corner of Savannah that I have grown comfortable exploring.

Black & White vs. Color

Awhile back I posted a few photos with the tag line Film vs. Digital. This post revisits that debate but with a slight twist. This time around its Black & White vs. Color. This is actually an ongoing debate among a lot of photographers. Several photographers prefer black & white over color but ever since technology allowed for color it has steadily gained popularity. At its first introduction it was regarded as tacky and not professional but now it holds just as much importance if not more than black & white. The above photographs were both shot on film but one was shot on black & white film and the other on color film. The black & white version is now one of my more famous photos and to honor it I decided to revisit the site and experiment by shooting it on color film to see the difference. Either way I think it is a powerful photograph but it was an interesting experiment to say the least. What do you all think? Do you like the old black & white version or the color version?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Acceptance of a City

For the past 15 some years I have lived near Jacksonville FL and only now have I started to fully understand it. If you have been to Jacksonville you know there is not much going on downtown, especially not on a game day. It is mainly office oriented with a few exceptions that include The Landing, MOSH, MOCA, Chamblin Book Mine, The Florida Theater, and a handful of others. Jacksonville has struggled to gain more interest over the years with mixed results, but it has had some highlights such as the super bowl back in 2005. Yet even that was fleeting. My personal illumination of the city came in the form of my mother's 1975 Minolta 35mm camera. She gave it to me to use in my black & white photography class last year. Channeling my love for architecture I decided to photograph bridges for my class, but I ran out of usable material in Savannah. It was then that I made a weekend trip home to photograph bridges in Jacksonville because I remembered how many bridges are in the city. You have probably seen some of these bridge shots since I have posted some before and even entered a few into contests, but instead of just being beautiful images they represent a photographer's journey towards understanding a city he had almost written off. By venturing out into the depths of Jacksonville I was able to discover all the hidden treasures it had to offer and I brought them to life via the photographic medium for all to see. After 15 years I can finally say that I know the city and how to navigate its infrastructure. All it took was the spark of interest and a 35 year old camera.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bridges - Now In TechniColor!

Last weekend I went home for my Dad's birthday. While home I revisited some of the sites I photographed for my bridge project that I started this time last year. I was armed with the same camera, but this time I had loaded it with color film instead of B&W. I was interested in seeing the comparison between the two. I only shot one roll but the results were superb! Up to this point I have been shooting my portfolio of bridge photography only in B&W, but after this experiment I believe I will start to use color film as well. Especially if I keep getting results like this! What do you think?

Aint-Bad Magazine Party

Hey folks! This past Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending a party/fund-raiser for my friends' magazine aint-bad. I had a great time hanging out with friends old and new and even got to see some professors there, which was actually quite nice since its very rare you catch your professor outside the classroom. They are doing a kick-starter for their magazine so follow the link above and support them if you like what you see. I was able to pick up issue two at the party and I was very impressed with what they are doing and I hope they are able to continue with their publication. I have been told issue 3 is ready to go so go to their site for more information.

PhotoMuse - Thesis Blog

As a part of my architectural thesis project I started a blog dedicated to it. Its called PhotoMuse and you can follow the link there. You will be able to follow my progress on the project and receive up-dates. You can also offer comments and suggestions at your leisure. Any and all feedback is highly encouraged and appreciated. Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PhotoMuse - Jacksonville - Thesis Project

I just completed my first few days of my new classes for the new quarter. I am in my second quarter of three to complete my masters in architecture. I am proposing / designing a Photography Museum in downtown Jacksonville for my thesis project - PhotoMuse. As I mentioned in the previous post I was home this past weekend to visit with my parents, but also to visit my site again. While I was home I went out at night and took some night shots of Jacksonville. It always amazes me how beautiful Jacksonville is at night with all the lights lit up and the river running right through the middle. This photo here was taken on 35mm color film and it captures all the power of Jacksonville at night. Having lived near this city for the majority of my life I have grown rather fond of it. It is this fondness that led me to pick a site for my thesis here because it is well known that Jacksonville needs more activity and I believe my project can help stimulate that. I will be posting more about my thesis from time to time so be sure to check back for more updates, but in the mean time enjoy the photo and thanks for reading.

My Dad is 60!

My Dad, Frederick Paul Pariani Jr., otherwise known as Rick or my Big Bad Dad, turned 60 this past weekend. I was lucky enough to be home to celebrate with him and my Mom (both pictured here). Both of them will be 60 this year but neither of them look it. Yay, cause that means I got some good genes coming to me. But, in all seriousness, Happy Birthday Dad! Hope you have many more to come. Much love - Mark.

New Car!

So, you might have heard, but just in case you missed the news, I was in a car accident back in October. Jimi the MINI was totaled. Sad, sad day that was for sure. He had a good run - the stuff of legends! Well, I was without a car for about two months and now I am the proud new owner of this! A 2009 Nightfire Red MINI Clubman! Already got it tricked out with my custom checkered board caps and badges and I'm doing my best to keep it looking good. Jimi was like the rebel teenager that had a little too many bells and whistles for his own good. This guy (working name 'Vinny the MINI') is a bit of an up-dated / mature MINI. Longer wheel base which makes for more passenger and luggage space, a half-door (club-door) on passenger side for easy access to back seat, sunroof, butterfly trunk doors, and only 17,000 miles! It is serving me very well and I am happy to be driving again - especially since I'm back in a MINI. My Dad and I found him at a place called Off Lease Only in Lake Worth, FL. This place buys and sells cars that have come off lease so they are only slightly used and they sell them for a lot cheaper than a dealer because they don't have a bunch of dealer fees. We purchased it site un-seen, which was a risk but we lucked out in the end and we were ready to pounce on one after having about 4 or 5 slip through our fingers. As for the photos, they were taken on an old roll of 35mm color film I happened to find at my grandmother's house. I wanted to see if it was any good so I took some random shots and these came out well enough. Pretty cool!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Year In Review - Photo Contest

Hey folks! I entered another photo contest! This one is hosted by the same people who did the Exposure contest that I entered not too long ago. I decided to enter some of my travel photography this time and I picked three that were in the travel series that I had in my Perspectives Gallery back in October. Here is the link so you can vote for me! It would certainly make my day if you did. Thanks a bunch and stay tuned for more up-dates coming soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Been awhile since I posted. I hope you (my faithful readers) are doing well and are already starting to enjoy the new year. I'm still finding it hard to believe that its 2012! Time just keeps flying by. Well, my photo for you today is from LEGOLAND Florida. I had the pleasure of going there the day after Christmas with my family (some of whom are still trying to figure out how the heck I convinced them to go, but they loved it just the same). I have played with LEGOs for as long as I can remember and I still enjoy putting together a set or two from time to time. My roommates in college even bought me a pretty big Star Wars set for my birthday back in September and you would have thought I was 6 years old again from my excitement. I have always blamed LEGOs for my interest in architecture. I love building things and to be able to do that at a young age was pure heaven that arrived in the form of plastic blocks, which were only limited by my imagination. Its amazing that such a simple idea as interlocking toy bricks has become a worldwide phenomenon. The word "LEGO" comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt" which means "play well," and the toys they make have traveled across the globe. There are currently five LEGOLAND parks with two being in the United States. The one in Florida just opened up this past October so it is the newest park and it is also the largest. It stands on the grounds of the old Cypress Gardens park, the very first theme park in Florida. It was famous for its lush botanical gardens and water skiing shows, both of which are still in full swing at LEGOLAND. If you live in Florida, or if you plan on visiting anytime soon, you should make a trip there. The park itself is geared towards kids really, but it is also very fun for adults too and they have four roller coasters that entertain all age groups. All in all I had a great time and I would love to go back one day. The photo above is of a portion of the "Mini-Land" in the park, which is a scale model of different scenes all made entirely out of LEGO bricks. They had Washington D.C., New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, and several other locations represented along with a Pirate's Bay (pictured above). I picked this one because I was able to get the kid pointing towards the model which is priceless. Hope you enjoy and remember to "Play Well."