Sunday, December 26, 2010

Untitled Series - Part Six

Winter Wait
© Larry Torno

I really, really like my new camera. I like that it gets me closer to realizing the visions that I have when I see a potential photograph. 
     Here in the Midwest, when a winter storm approaches, all the local weather forecasters start spreading panic and making their gloom and doom predictions, often a week in advance. The result is that we have plenty of time to stress out over the pending up-to-the-minute snowfall warnings and just enough time to run to the grocery store to buy milk, eggs and bread. 
     On this particular day, T minus 42 hours, I passed an empty park bench and considered this a more peaceful way to await the incoming weather. It seems like the ideal spot to catch a panoramic view of a white Christmas as it comes true.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from St. Louis. The folk lore of this photo is a true holiday tale.
      In 1966, a group of architecture students from Washington University scaled the St. Louis Science Center's Planetarium and left the ribbon as a prank. They would have probably gone undetected, but they left a note tied to a handrail that read "Merry Christmas St. Louis, Washington University School of Architecture."
     No arrests were made, however, because the public's response was so overwhelmingly positive. Planetarium officials made the decision to add the ribbon to their holiday decorations ever since.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trees - Part Four

In the Balance
© Larry Torno

In the Balance was yet another image found in my favorite location. In fact, just to the right of these trees, is the Dragonscape pole. A handicap parking sign has been added to the post, altering the landscape and making the previous composition obsolete.
     These two trees with three trunks, sit side-by-side in a simple, balanced manner. Although they exist separate of each other, in their current state of defoliation, they visually come together as one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Untitled Series - Part Five

December 1
© Larry Torno

December 1 is the first serious image created with my new camera and I couldn't be happier with the results.
     True to its name, this photo was shot on December 1; a cold, ugly, brown day when the sun happened to be shining for a little while. I like the rhythmic pattern of the trees all lined up and barely visible over the crest of a small hill.
     As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Botanica - Part Eight

In Form
© Larry Torno

In Form is another in a series of botanical images that I like creating. There is a simple, understated elegance in the composition of this photo. The balance of form, the repetition of shape and the gentle movement of the leaves, all add to the serenity of this scene.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Compassion Collection - Part One - SOLD OUT

It is with great pleasure that I announce that the first photo of the Compassion Collection has sold out. That means we're sending a check to a shelter for abused women and their children.
     Thank you to the buyers for your generosity and support; you've helped provide a place of healing and a voice of hope for women in need.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Botanica - Part Seven

Aloe, Stirring
© Larry Torno

I've tried photographing this plant a dozen times or so and never came up with an image that I liked. Recently we moved the aloe to a different room and the lighting changed everything.
     Natural southern light gave me a new perspective and makes Aloe, Stirring one of my favorite recent photos.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NEWS - Barbie Goes To Amsterdam

This month, Barbie goes international. 
The Dutch publication, Psychologie Magazinehas selected an image from my series of Barbie doll portraits to appear in their November issue. The photograph, Frankie, Annette and Moondoggie, is used to illustrate an article on fashion and psychology, and answers the question, "What do you express when you're wearing certain clothes?"
     I'm excited to have one of my photos reproduced in a European publication

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sky Painting - Part One

Northern Composure
© Larry Torno

I couldn't have asked for a better sky background than the one I found for the composition of this image. The clouds were already forming as I arrived at the location and I only had to search for a short time to find the appropriate foreground subject to complement the sky. 
     This is my favorite place to photograph and it never lets me down. Recent posts; Dragonscape, Jaws and Ride with Traffic, were all shot within 100 yards of this spot.
     Northern Composure is yet another interpretation of the visual complexity I continue to find in this area.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Untitled Series - Part Four

Bridge 364, Duo
© Larry Torno

Bridge 364, Duo was shot after a disappointing morning of trying to find something interesting about these side-by-side spans that I hadn't seen before.
     As I headed home over the river, I saw the image I was looking for, grabbed the camera, set in on my dashboard and took a chance.
     I like the spontaneity of the composition, the moodiness of the clouds and the motion in the shot.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Untitled Series - Part Three

© Larry Torno

I photographed the opposite end of this building (Spaceship), then discovered another scene around the back that is completely different, save for the repetition of the small square windows. The composition reminded me of the long-shadowed paintings of Bill Kohn.
     As complex as the multi-planed surfaces are from this angle, I found it interesting to see how the light flattened the scene and held the image together.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Untitled Series - Part Two

© Larry Torno

I enjoy capturing the moment when simple observations of my surroundings turn into something else. I like creating the transition from what is in front of me to what I hadn't known was there until I clicked the shutter.
     Ironman is a great example of the transformation of reality into perception. At Bishop's Landing along the Missouri River in St. Charles, MO sits a series of flood stage pipes that jut out of the water like large, imposing figures. When seen in silhouette, these massive steel structures become goliaths wading at the water's edge.
     Letting my imagination run wild is a gift I was given that allows me to find things that amuse and entertain me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Compassion Collection - Part One

For some time now I've wanted to do something with my photos besides post and exhibit them. That's why I created The Compassion Collection. Hopefully this will be an ongoing series of photographs offered for sale with ALL of the proceeds going to charity. I say hopefully, because I need you to help me make it work.
     Here's the idea. Today's photo, Esther's Lilies, is the first in a series of images issued in a limited edition of 6 prints. It's for sale at $40.00 for a 5" x 7" image, mounted in an 11" x 14" mat, ready for framing. ALL of the $40.00 will then be donated by me, to a shelter for abused women and their children. You collect an original photograph and together we help someone in need.
     To purchase a print and help save someone's life, send me an email for more details.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Overhead Projections - Part Five

© Larry Torno

When I go out looking for photo opportunities, it's always with an open mind and the anticipation of what I might find.
     In the case of Spider, it started with a sign for a park I'd never heard of. The directions lead through a winding subdivision with plenty of left and right turns that eventually deposit you into a nondescript parking lot. Off to the side was an overgrown ball field with a half-spherical batting cage. That was enough of an impression to get me out of the car and onto the grass to examine the architecture more closely.
     A lone cloud in the sky caught my eye and I waited for it to drift into the composition. It's a simple design with a pleasant balance of objects; just the kind of photo I like to create.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Untitled Series - Part One

© Larry Torno

Dragonscape is an image I found in one of my favorite locations. Two other posts from this same area included Ride with Traffic and Jaws. Each time I return to this spot, I find something new.
     As I exited my car on this hot, humid, summer evening, I was immediately overwhelmed by the sight of what I thought was a flock of birds. Instead, it turned out to be a swarm of 70 or so dragonflies darting back and forth just overhead, in somewhat of a frenzy. Once I got used to them being there, I began to wander around and found this single fly perched on a signpost. I like the silhouette of the insect and the delicate visual balance it maintains with the vertical post; its lightweight body and transparent wings resting on a solid steel pole.
     It is said that a dragonfly symbolizes "prosperity, good luck, strength, peace, harmony and purity." I prefer the myth that "dragonflies will seek out children who lie or are bad, and sew their mouths shut as they sleep."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

LTP | VISION Magazine - Issue 1


LTP | VISION Magazine is a new idea from Larry Torno Photo.
     I wanted a way to showcase my photos and create a design format that allows me to explore whatever catches my attention at the moment.
     Issue : 1 welcomes the return of Barbie as a stand-in model while I experiment with selective focus images.

Look for more LTP | VISION Magazine posts coming soon.

(click on the images for larger versions)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just for Fun - Part One

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
© Larry Torno

Every so often, during one of my photo sojourns,
I come across something that makes me laugh. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is such a moment and the surprise of the location made me take pause and capture it.

(click on the image for a larger view)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sign of the Cross - Part Nine

Jesus Saves
© Larry Torno

This is actually an image I photographed in 
2005 but only recently revisited, re-cropped and re-issued.  
     I like the flatness of the composition and the juxtaposition of seemingly mismatched items. And, since I am a graphic designer by trade, I'm fascinated by the layout of the type. The conservation of letters, by using the "S" for both words, and the idea to fill all of the available space, is an unabashed use of design. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Botanica - Part Six

Mid-Century Modern 
© Larry Torno

Something about this photo reminded me of the home and office decorations of the Mid-Century Modern era of the late 1950s and early 1960s. I don't watch the show Mad Men, but I'm guessing Mid-Century Modern would fit it in quite well on the retro set. 
     Maybe it's the stark simplicity that I recall from those 50s sitcoms or the looseness and graphic layout of the Matisse cut-out leaves, but this image strikes a chord in my heart. Its simple composition, white background and rhythmic pattern remind me of my childhood.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Botanica - Part Five

Layers of Petals
© Larry Torno

A fellow artist commented of this photo, " Your botanicals are always your most emotional images"; a true and astute observation.
     Nature provides us with an abundance of linear, spherical and cylindrical shapes that are the basis of all art forms. I like extracting compositions that I consider to be pure design and I have an emotional attachment to the process of finding beauty.
    With the staggering heat wave that's hit our city, I find myself confined to a smaller radius of exploration and dwell upon what is nearby. To paraphrase a quote from Georgia O'Keefe, "One shoots what is around." This hydrangea came from my backyard and was sitting on a desk in front of a window with sheer curtains. The softness of the light falling on the complexity of the petals caught my eye and started this image.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Botanica - Part Four

Dolphin Devours Tulip
© Larry Torno

It's probably not the best title I've given to one of my photographs but it sure was fun to write.
     A curator once told me, "When you're ready to title your work, think about what you were feeling or what you were seeing at the moment you created the photo."
    Consider this; the coloration in the bowl of the flower, as seen from below, has a soft luminescence that emanates from the base of the stem and fades into the shape of the petals. The unfamiliar cropping makes the black negative space as much a part of the composition as the invasive shapes of the tulip, stem and leaves.
     It would have been easy to keep this image in color, but when viewed in black and white, we see much more than what is obvious and expected. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Botanica - Part Three

Recomposed Lily
© Larry Torno

It's back to the Botanica series for me.
Note: a new feature on the blog will allow you to Google my site for additional Botanica images (or any other subject for that matter, by using keywords; check it out. Try the Search this Blog).
     Our neighbor wanted me to photograph this Calla Lily growing in his backyard before the
St. Louis summer melted it away. I obliged and thought that was the end of it, but sometimes I can't let things go.
     The unique shape of this flower and the great contrast of the early afternoon lighting, made me go back to the original photo to see if I could reform a different composition. The final triple image layout provided the look that I wanted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Midwest Cliché - Part Seven

Forest for the Trees
© Larry Torno

Last week I posted a photo of two trucks that I found near the Big Muddy Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Before coming across the side-by-side trailers, I took a short hike in the woods and discovered another image for the Midwest Cliché series.
     Forest for the Trees illustrates the idiom that Midwesterners are simple people who don't look far beyond the small details of their lives to comprehend the bigger picture.
     While I understand the meaning of the adage, I don't agree with the premise that small details should be overlooked for the sake of the larger effort. These saplings stand alone as individual elements, yet are an essential part of the total growth and uniqueness of the area.
     Not only do I see the trees, but I see the forest, feel the breeze on my face, smell the dampness of the grass and hear the birds in the distance.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Simply Irresistible

(click on photo to enlarge)

Two Trucks, Fish and Wildlife
© Larry Torno

A gallery owner once commented that he liked my work best when I simplified my compositions to 2-3 main elements; part of my observe, select and eliminate the rest, philosophy.
     Something struck me as simplistically wonderful about this scene. The repetition of shapes, the contrast of light and dark, the textured surfaces, and the depth of the evening sky drew me to this parking lot that borders the Big Muddy Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
     I didn't set out to create a photo of two trailers but when inspiration calls, it's a good idea to answer.
     For feedback, I usually forward samples of my favorite images to a fine art photographer friend of mine in California for his thoughts. "Ahhh, the power of simplicity!" was his response and I couldn't agree with him more. I have always responded to the simple things in life and relish the beauty of shape and form in my photos.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Trees - Part Three

(click on photo to enlarge)

Broken Heart
© Larry Torno

This tree at Creve Coeur Lake was the focus of my attention on a cold, rainy morning in May. I was tired of waiting for a bright, sunny day to take photos, so I set out to see what I could find during a dreary spell of gloomy weather.
     The literal translation of Creve Coeur is "broken heart" and it seemed appropriate to find a stand of lonely looking trees at the water's edge. Isolating this one against a background of incoming storm clouds, captured the eerie calm that I felt was present. Although it was only 9:30 a.m., the feeling you get from this image is that it's much later in the evening.
     As is usual with my photography adventures, the shot that I like the best is one of the last images that I created. I think I'm getting better at knowing when to quit.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

NEWS - On Exhibition

(click on photo to enlarge)

The Pyramids of St. Louis
© Larry Torno

Bruno David Gallery presents Recession Rejuvenations, June 11 - August 28, 2010. The opening reception for this group show is Friday, July 9, 6 - 9 p.m.
     One of my images, The Pyramids of St. Louis, is on exhibition in the Project Room. To see more of the series, follow the link to the Overhead Projections post.

The Pyramids of St. Louis is available as a limited edition print through the Bruno David Gallery.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Portrait of a Moment - Part Nine

The Artist Robbie
© Larry Torno

After a long hiatus, the Portrait of a Moment series continues. This time it's the artist, Robbie.
     We shot a lot of photos this day, trying to find the defining pose. As we were about to wrap things up, Robbie relaxed a bit and rested his head on his hand . . . that's all it took and the last few exposures captured the portrait I was looking for.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Photographic Memory

Reflecting on a Weekend
© Larry Torno

Rickie Lee Jones said "You never know when you're making a memory" but in this case, I took a memory and made a photograph.
     Several years ago my wife and I spent a tranquil weekend at Kentucky Lake. I was impressed with the stillness of the water and the isolation we felt . . . at one point we were the only people on the water. Before we left, I bought this model sailboat to remind me of our peaceful trip.
     Recently I brought the boat into my studio to see if I could capture the feeling of serenity I get whenever I see the souvenir. It worked.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Welcome to the Relaunch

Solo Calla Lily
© Larry Torno

Welcome to the relaunch of the TORNO Photo blogspot.

Today's post marks the beginning of a new approach to displaying my images. Not only will the photos have a different look to their exhibition, but the images themselves will represent a more concentrated effort to capture an impression.
     Before I begin clicking the shutter, I have a basic idea of what I want to accomplish. Once I get started, the concept may shift a bit according to what I discover as I start visualizing. From there, the photo reveals itself as I see it from different perspectives. I continue to work with the edited images until I find the one exposure that remains true to my original vision.
The new posting schedule will be the first Sunday of every month, so we'll see you with a new photo on May 2, 2010.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Direction

The tornophoto blog is changing. Beginning April 4, 2010, the tornophoto blog will start posting entries on the first Sunday of every month only. This schedule will allow me time to concentrate on creating new images and exploring ideas that I've been wanting to work on.
     Thank you, as always, for your continued viewership and I look forward to presenting the first of the new Torno photos next week. Keep watching!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo Spiva - Part Two

Reformed Spiral Lily II
© 2007
Larry Torno

Reformed Spiral Lily is the second in a series of photos that I worked on in 2007. I enjoyed the possibilities of reforming the composition by adding multiple exposures within the same frame. Although this image was not selected for exhibition, I consider it one of my favorites.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo Spiva - Part One

Reformed Hosta Variegae
© 2007
Larry Torno

In 2007, I was fortunate enough to have two of my images selected by artist/juror John Paul Caponigro, for the annual photoSpiva exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts.
     I had been experimenting with the concept of multiple images, abstracted and reformed, within the same composition. In Reformed Hosta Variegae, I already liked the sinewy line created along the edge of the hosta leaf and wondered what the potential was for defining a new shape. The resulting composition was reminiscent of a multi-petalled, sensuous Georgia O'Keefe floral painting.
     Next week I'll present another reformed image that takes on a similar but distinctly different composition.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Midwest Cliché - Part Six

Crystal Cross
© 2010
Larry Torno

Another image from the Midwest Cliché series brings together several personal interests. First, I continue to explore the notion of stereotypical assumptions about the Midwest, then combine that with my interest in real and imagined visions of the Sign of the Cross (first presented on April 26, 2009).
     I wasn't looking for a cross when I came upon this decaying shed but was pleased to discover the subtle shape defined by the horizontal and vertical supports of the door frame. Real or imagined, it's part of the accidental observations that I like to make.
     In case you're wondering what this has to do with the Midwest; the area is considered a safe place to live, where it's not necessary to always lock your door.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Midwest Cliché - Part Five

Go Left, Young Man
 © 2009
Larry Torno

Today's photo continues the Midwest Cliché series that I originally began posting on August 16, 2009
     Go Left, Young Man was found in a rural area that borders the edge of our city. I thought it ironic and yet, possibly fitting, that there would be warning signs not to proceed straight ahead to the countryside. Instead, you're directed to pass by this area and enter a new subdivision with cookie-cutter style homes and flat, treeless roads. 
     Perhaps it's better that the original rural citizens don't want anyone trespassing on their land as much as the new neighbors don't want to be part of the past. Notice how perfectly straight the silos are aligned in a row and how haphazardly the newly constructed road signs fall out of rhythm. 
     When Horace Greeley borrowed the quote "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country!" from John B. L. Soule, he had no idea that we might one day go so far west that we would end up in the east. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Black, White and Nude - Part Two

Nude 61, Standing
© 2009
Larry Torno

I love the strong diagonal line that cuts across this photo and the way it runs into the circular shape at the bottom of the image. I also like the way the soft figure gently emerges out of the white space and is defined by the crisp, black areas.

Nude 61, Standing is available as a limited edition print through the Bruno David Gallery.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Black, White and Nude - Part One

Nude 35, Standing
© 2009
Larry Torno

Negative space – it's often overlooked as a primary means of creating compositions. In this case, the black background areas come together to mold and shape the white female form within. Instead of the subject taking the emphasis in the image, the negative space holds the important role of containing and defining the model inside the photo.

Nude 35, Standing is available as a limited edition print through the Bruno David Gallery.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Overhead Projections - Part Four

Larry Torno

On December 27, 2009, I posted a series of photos taken in the same location, but over a course of several years, with dramatically different views. In the three images presented here, I wanted to show again, how going back to a certain location time after time, often yields new opportunities for photos.
     The first image, Jaws, is actually a rest station/shelter that overlooks a naturally growing prairie in St. Louis County. There's a bicycle path that runs past the shelter and alongside a two-lane road.
     The second image, Midwest Cliché #4/Ride with Traffic (posted 9/6/2009), was shot about 100 yards from the shelter and interestingly enough, the third photo, Midwest Cliché #3/Roadside Attraction (posted 8/30/1999), can be found about 50 yards in the opposite direction.
     I like the location and I like finding inspiration each time I go back.

Jaws is available as a limited edition print through the Bruno David Gallery.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Overhead Projections - Part Three

Planet Yin Yang
Larry Torno

The St. Louis Science Center has an observatory tower called the Planetarium. It was designed by Gyo Obata, founding partner of HOK Architects. My very first job, after graduating from college, was as a graphic designer for HOK.
     I have always been fascinated by the simple, unique shape of the Planetarium. The shadows constantly change as the sun moves throughout the year and on this cold, January day, the structure practically disappeared in the bright light. The remaining light gray silhouette defined the edge of the building and created an angular slash across the image.
     Although the clouds that day were interesting, I dropped these wispy clouds into the photo for a more dramatic look. Cropped this way, the black sky and white Planetarium ends up looking like the Chinese Yin Yang symbol. 

Planet Yin Yang is available as a limited edition print through the Bruno David Gallery.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Botanica - Part Two

Esther's Lilies
© Larry Torno

These calla lilies were taken from a bouquet at the wake of my wife's stepmother. They portray the quiet beauty of the woman and the sadness of her early death. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Botanica - Part One

Spiral Aloe
© Larry Torno

I've always liked finding shapes and forms in natural elements. There's a certain inherent simplicity and beauty to be seen in the things that surround us. 

     In this case, an aloe plant integrates its natural growth into flowing spiral designs, with soft, patterned stalks and contrasting white, spiked edges.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sign of the Cross - Part Eight

Larry Torno

Real cross, real clouds; saw it and waited for the right balance of composition.
     I like the sweeping curve of the roof line against the angular direction of the clouds. It so happened that the sky was divided between black and white, with just enough black to form the perfect background for the white cross. 
     Throughout the years 2005-2007, I concentrated heavily on photographing crosses as the inspiration for my art. I continue to find instances of symbolic imagery and will be posting more on the blog in the future. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sign of the Cross - Part Seven

Laclede and Boyle
© 2007
Larry Torno

A curator for an exhibition once described my crosses as
"accidental observations" and said that it didn't matter whether the crosses were real or imagined, what mattered was that I took notice and did something about them.