Author Archives: Stu_C

Big, Blue, and Glossy

The pictorialist movement was a group of photographers who helped define photography as art in the early part of the 20th century. We have a special connection with them through the Photographic Section of the Academy of Science and Arts of Pittsburgh because many of the pictorialist pioneers were from here and exhibited in the annual salon.

One of their themes was one that had intrigued me for a long time: “Big, Blue, and Glossy.” I had noticed that many of my works leaned heavily on the blue portion of the spectrum, so when I was researching the pictorialists and encountered this concept, I was inspired by to pull together my own collection based on this concept.


Simple, minimal, spartan – words that convey the idea of distilling life to its essence. I love Mari Kondo’s philosophy: hold onto that which brings you joy, and remove the rest from your life. Photography is a subtractive art – it is up to the photographer to subtract from the frame those things that distract from the story, even if the story is simply about beauty. As a travel photographer with a day job, my life is anything but simple. These images are some of my favorites that remind me to slow down and enjoy the simple beauty that we so often miss in our daily journeys.

IEEE tour of the Carrie Blast Furnace

The local chapter of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) regularly tours interesting sites within the Pittsburgh area.  This time we visited the Carrie Blast Furnace which converted coke, iron ore, and limestone into pure iron that went across the river to be converted into steel. As always, a great time was had by all and we learned a lot about our Pittsburgh heritage.  Despite the fact that these furnaces are closed, Pittsburgh still produces an impressive amount of steel – technology has leveraged the ability of updated plants, such as the Edgar Thompson Steel Works (built by Andrew Carnegie himself) to be many times more productive than the older plants that are now in disuse. 

The Pumphouse, which, along with the Furnace is curated by Rivers of Steel, is also important because it was the site of the Homestead riots of 1892, which is a story unto itself.  You can view some of my images in this gallery: 

Photograph? Painting? Does it Matter?

I’ve recently encountered several images that seem to work better as paintings (or drawings) than photographs.  Thanks to the digital darkroom, the distance between the two is a question of which tool to apply.  At what point is it no longer a photograph? If the intent is to create an appealing image, then does the medium matter?