In Pictures: An Introduction to The Photography of martincooney.com

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Some while ago it actually came as something of a shock to realize that over the course of martincooney.com’s relatively brief existence I have amassed a media library containing many thousands of images.

It was however never really meant to be this way. I originally hatched the idea for this website as a way to showcase my sculpture, blog about the life of a Colorado Rocky Mountain sculptor… and that was pretty much it. Nothing too ambitious / time consuming.

But just look at it now, jam-packed with pictures pertaining nothing whatever to do with my sculpture !

Never intending to acquire such a huge library of images the numbers simply grew and grew as I snapped at the world around me with my trusty Casio Exilim camera.

Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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I offer however no defense for the unbridled invasion of photography upon martincooney.com. It was I myself who perverted this formerly logical stone carving website into the eye-popping larger than life picture gallery that it has become today, and you know what, I kind of like it this way.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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You see, I’ve always harbored a rabid curiosity.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Not to mention a roving and enthusiastic eye for detail.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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I do like to look closely at things. Very close in fact.

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Practically everything created by the human hand, worth a second look, is invariably the product of many hours of hard work, motivation, dedication… and at least some degree of mild to extreme obsession.

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Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy

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Much hard work, sweat and toil has gone into the making of this complex world of ours.

Not one for hapless indifference however I will not shy from topics that might just serve to make us squirm.

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Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

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Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

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All of the people assembled in these pictures, and many more, were brutally and summarily rounded-up, randomly tortured, and massacred in the streets, homes and churchyard of the tiny remote village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

You can read my stumbling words on the subject in my Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy dispatch, but soon these pictures will be presented simply as they are with minimal distraction from me, and I’m sure they will prove all the more poignant for it too.

Knowing what we know about the awful, unbelievably shocking events that took place that day in this tiny way off the beaten track village – chosen quite at random apparently and comprising almost exclusively of mothers, their young children, and a handful of old folks.

I think it poignant to remind ourselves from time to time just where raw open hatred has taken us in the past, and will take us time and again – every time in fact, should we allow such poison in our hearts to fester.

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I think now more than perhaps ever it is of vital importance to remember the people of  Sant’Anna di Stazzema, along with everyone who has suffered at the hands of mass evil.

Lest we forget.

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Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

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Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

The Horror ofSant’Anna di Stazzema.

Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

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Sant'Anna di Stazzema, Tuscany, Italy

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The Simon Benson House, Downtown Portland, 1982.

The Simon Benson House, Downtown Portland, 1982.

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Although I do occasionally take to paper in order to capture a particular time or place the camera has long been my preferred medium for this sort of illustrative work.

It just takes so very long to draw!

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Elephant / Pen and Ink

A Wild Bull Elephant, About to be Shot

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I mean, a very long time in some cases ↑

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Gondola Scan

Stairway to Heaven

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I think it important to note at this point that while I love photography I did not come into possession of a ‘real’ camera until shortly after my 1979 arrival in America. Prior to this my association with photography was very patchy indeed, with whole years passing without so much as a click of the shutter. I think it fair to say that during my entire youth even the very thought of wasting precious money on photographs was deemed quite frivolous in the extreme. Annual class portrait photography and the occasional holiday snaps were deemed plentifully adequate indeed. We certainly didn’t throw our money away on silly useless photographs back then, nobody did.

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Author, Family Album 086

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Prior to the purchase of my beloved Olympus XA2 it took something really special to justify the excessive cost associated with print photography. And really, I can say this in all honesty – once I found myself bitten by the photography bug… all those rolls and rolls and rolls of film, all that developing and printing: in modern money would translate to many, many thousands of dollars… something to consider in the merry instagramming snappaway culture of today.

Martin Cooney with a real live New Forest Pony many years ago!

And so, no camera as a child for me. Shame really as I would have loved to peek back and see the world of my early youth captured in pictures.

Consequently I found myself doing what many children of the era did: I resorted to many happy hours furtively entertaining myself with various sets of water colors, colored pencils, pens, exotically complex ‘Spirograph sets’, seemingly huge paint-by-number’canvas’ landscapes, dangerously sharp compasses, dividers, rulers… basically anything I could lay my hands upon.

Nothing now exists of my endless scribbling by the way… but scribble, doodle, paint and draw I did. I drew after dinner while the family milled around the TV, I drew while cloistered in my bedroom, while riding the bus… and doodled furiously during the endless hours I found myself crammed into boring, stuffy overcrowded classrooms – much to the righteous indignation of my teachers.

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…isn’t she lovely?

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I loved my XA2 – and cried when I used it to the point that it practically fell apart. Tough little bugger it was too – armor plated. With this cunning little semi-automatic manual focus gem tucked it into my backpack I duly set about capturing the world around me.

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I’ve been photographing consistently now for 35 years and counting. Thousands upon thousands of images – cases of slides, boxes of negatives, drawers full of prints.

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Leaning Tower at Twilight, 14x14 Center

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However I must admit, the main attraction seldom manages to captures my camera’s eye for long.

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Viareggio Postcard by MARTIN COONEY

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Parked Scooter Collection Box, 3 x 4 inchPhoto Fridge Magnet

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And so what all this boils down to is……d r u m r o l l

The creation of a brand new series here on martincooney.com

a n n o u n c i n g

In Pictures: The Photograpic Imagery of martincooney.com 

Displayed in simple unadulterated gallery fashion, with minimal information to clutter the screen, just a brief intro and away we go. Each In Pictures post will be appropriately hyperlinked so that, should you find yourself slowly developing an interest in the subject and would care to learn more about exactly what it is that you are looking at… just one click and you’ll be whisked off to the appropriate destination within the martincooney.com website, where all will be revealed.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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These photos, above and below for instance, taken inside Pisa’s Camposanto; soon you will be able to view the whole massive photo file with minimal interruption or distraction from me, save to pass on a tidbit of info now and then. Otherwise you’ll be free to simply gaze at them (the images) and make of them just what you will, which is just how art is supposed to be viewed (minus the “claptrap”).

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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I intend to begin with the ever popular trio of ‘Camposanto’ posts and work my way, in no particular order, through my entire media file, or a good swath of them. So if you are one of the people who have made this particular post one of the most popular ever on martincooney.com then you’ll soon be able to view these absorbing, if macabre, bas relief gravestone images to your heart’s content with hardly so much as a pip from me.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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After the gravestones we’ll take a look at the sarcophagi… a very, very close look.

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

Close enough to identify the tool marks in fact

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Camposanto, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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But it won’t be all dusty fuddy-duddies.

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Roaring Fork River, Aspen

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You’ll be invited for a stroll down along the riverbank.

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Fresh Tracks at the North Star Nature Preserve, Poster Print

You’ll traipse across the snow – without ever freezing your toes!

Roaring Fork River, Headwaters, Lost Man Trail.

You’ll climb snow-peaked mountains and ford rushing streams.

You can even purchase an ever evolving selection of photographs… framed, stretched across canvas, or engraved on rigid, shiny metal prints  by clicking on my 32Darts! Gift Shop, located at the top of each page.

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To be honest there’s really no telling just what, or who, will show up in my pictures.

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I do hope you’ll stop by from time to time, whenever you wish to take a look at the world from another perspective… that of an independent stone sculptor living far from his place of birth, here in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Author, Roaring Fork River, Headwaters, Lost Man Trail.

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and now the slideshow

martincooney.com

In Pictures

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Author, Roaring Fork River, Headwaters, Lost Man Trail.

Thanks for stopping by. Remember to look for In Pictures. Coming Soon !!

Perhaps now just might be the perfect time to click that follow button.

“Cheerio for now”

Μ∂ℜΤ!ℵ

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