Monthly Archives: January 2023

Proteus X-Ray

If you ask photographers what is most important to them about their photography you may well get an answer like “revealing things that are otherwise hidden” or “showing the world in a new and different way.”

If these are one’s goals, what could be more fitting than the x-ray, which literally records using a spectrum that is not visible to our naked eyes, and reveals hidden structures within. 

Proteus X-Ray © Harold Davis

In the spirit of revealing hidden structure, I used medical x-ray devices to capture this image of a Proteus in collaboration with my friend, the photographer and radiologist Julian Kopke.

Posted in X-Ray

Talisman

I like to photograph found objects—“talismen”—that I can think of as magical objects with power. Those shown here are a mixed bunch: an enamel box with the apotropaic symbol for warding off evil (an example of this symbol on a door in Vietnam here), a collection of cookie cutters, and hearts within hearts.

Each image was photographed on a simple black background. I used bracketed low-key captures with exposure blending—the inverse process to photographing flowers for transparency using a high-key HDR layer stack.

Talisman © Harold Davis

Cookie Cutters © Harold Davis

Hearts Within © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Young James

This is my grandfather James Young Palmer at age eight in about the year 1900, found while going through things in my parent’s home. James was of course young once (as in this photo), but when I knew him he was relatively old: he lived well into his hundreds and the 1990s. I always thought it odd that a person who seemed so old to me should have a middle name like “Young”. But then, as we grow older, we learn that the world is full of ironies.

James Young Palmer © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

2022 Stamp Yearbook

Images created from my Tulip Pano and Sunflower Bouquet decorate the United States Postal Service 2022 Stamp Yearbook. I’m pleased with how my images look. Click here for info about my stamps.

2022 Stamp Yearbook – Slip Cover (Image credit: Harold Davis)

2022 Stamp Yearbook – Wrap-around Cover (Image credit: Harold Davis)

2022 Stamp Yearbook – Section Divider (Image credit: Harold Davis)

2022 Stamp Yearbook – Stamp Page

Posted in Photography

Memorial Mandala

I constructed this free-form mandala on my light box from flowers in the condolence bouquets that kind folks sent us for the recent loss of my parents. The practice of my light box work in this case helped to serve as therapy, although there is of course nothing that can make this loss whole.

Memorial Mandala © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Remembering Martin and Virginia Davis

My parents Martin and Virginia Davis both died on Sunday, January 1, 2023. They were in their nineties. My father had been sick for a long while and in a great deal of pain, so in some ways his death is a relief. Martin and Virginia had been married for 71 years, and Virginia said she didn’t want to live without Martin.

After the hospice nurse confirmed Martin’s death, Virginia kissed him and then went back to bed. A short time later she was gone. I think she died of a broken heart. Both were peaceful looking in death. It was as if Martin held out his hand to Virginia, and said, “Come on. Let’s go!”

Martin and Virginia in 2011 © Harold Davis

My parents soon after they met (circa 1951) 

Both my parents were remarkable and unconventional people. Here’s what my brother Nathan wrote about Martin’s professional career:

Martin Davis  was considered a pioneering figure in the history and development of the computer science field. In his last decade, he was regarded the primary world exponent of Alan Touring’s seminal work in logic and computability theory (they shared the same same thesis advisor at Princeton University—Alonzo Church—though my father attended a decade later). My father coined the phrase “computability,” per his first and seminal book: Computability and Unsolvability. His work towards the solution of Hilbert’s Tenth problem is another factor that places him historically in transitioning the theoretical mathematical field of symbolic logic to the advent of computer science.

You can learn more about Martin’s professional life here.

Virginia was a fiber artist who exhibited widely, was the recipient of many awards, and was dearly beloved by a wide circle of colleagues. Here’s how her website puts it:

After studying art in London and at the Art Students League in New York, Virginia Davis has had her work in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally. She uses ikat, a technique of applying color to threads before they are woven into a textile, not only for the dimension it gives her work, but also for its historical and ethnographic aspects. She teaches, lectures and writes on this and other subjects. Her awards include an Indo-American Fellowship to India, two fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, two individual Visual Artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA sponsored residences at the Cité International des Artes in Paris and in Mexico City, and most recently, a grant from the Ruth Chenven Foundation. In addition to private collections, her work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of North Dakota, and Hewlett-Packard.

Martin Davis as a young man

On a personal note, while the past year has been unequivocally difficult, I miss them both tremendously. I keep find myself wanting to share something with one or both of them, and then having to remind myself that I no longer can.

Martin taught me to play chess, to program computers at an early age, to enjoy Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and what the Hegelian dialectic has to do with Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (on the last one, you can ask me if you are curious).

From Virginia I learned to trust my intuition, to explore art as play, and to appreciate some of the finer points of craft.

There are no tears deep enough, but it is some consolation to know they are together and at peace at last.

White Anemone © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography