I took this picture a few days ago while on a walk with my friend +Henry Domke. Curious what the Prisma app would do with it, I ran it through a few filters (below). While looking at one of the resulting images it occurred to me that someone with the necessary skills and tools could create such an image from scratch. Either digitally or in some more traditional medium. Seeing the image, one might reasonably describe it as “art.”
If that is so, when does the “art” happen, and by whom? I’m reluctant describe a common smartphone photo as art. At least not this one. So did the art happen on the Prisma servers as their secret algorithm turned my photo into something art-ish? If yes, who’s the artist? The smart kids who wrote the code? They never saw my photo so I can’t comfortably call them artists in this instance. Can some lines of code create art (or anything)? Must there be an artist before we can have art?
My pal Henry Domke takes beautiful photographs and then sells them to hospitals and clinics (Photo above is the MRI Room at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago). And as I understand it, they don’t just buy one or two. They use his art throughout. (ch-CHING!).
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that my friend Henry turned his blog (Health Care Fine Art) into a book. He didn’t try to sell the book but gave it to the best customers of his art. Some call it “vanity press,” Henry calls it marketing.
A year later… Henry has been invited to give a talk about his book in New York. Last week he did a series of presentations in Boston. In a couple of week he’ll be in San Francisco and next month, San Diego.
It’s a beautiful book and nobody know more about this kind of art than Henry.
My friend Henry has self-published a book (Picture of Health, Handbook for Healthcare Art). The term usually applied to self-published books is “vanity press,” but there’s nothing vain about my friend Henry and the story behind the book is interesting.
With a little help and encouragement from me (and others, I’m sure), Henry started blogging a couple of years ago. He wrote about health care art (his specialty). He was a natural but a little more serious than your typical blogger. His posts were more like essays than blog posts and took more time to write. He clearly saw the blog as a complement to his art business.
Somewhere along the way, I told Henry about services that convert blogs to books. He was immediately interested and began researching the idea. The result is Picture of Health.
The book is beautiful. Henry spared no expense. Heavy paper, embossed cover. It felt like it weighed five pounds. God (and Henry) knows what it cost to print.
Now here’s the part I like: The book is not for sale. At least not on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble (I see that you can purchase a copy from his blog). Henry published the book to give it away. Of the thousands of names in his client database, Henry selected just over 18-hundred to receive a copy of the book. (Do the math)
Henry is using the book to build on his relationship with important clients. By keeping the book (relatively) rare, he hopes to increase its value. It’s an expensive gamble and he has promised to share the results.
The part that I found most interesting about this blog-to-book story is that the book is the ONLY book about health care art. I couldn’t believe that when Henry told me but he insists it’s true. Not one book about a multi-million dollar business. Somebody else is writing one but Picture of Health is one of a kind for now. This blows me away. I mean, how many topics don’t have at least ONE book about them?
DALLAS, TX: Becky is making her mother’s chestnut stuffing recipe. She had Chris scoring the chestnuts before roasting (actually baking). Chris cut his thumb (as it turns out not seriously). Then Becky over roasts the chestnuts so when she takes them out of the oven, one explodes into her eye while she’s holding the hot pan (no permanent damage to the eye). I tried to take the pan from her but the rag I have doesn’t completely cover the pan, so I burned my finger. My finger still hurts. This better be good dressing is all I can say. We miss you here. — Barb
Henry and Lorna invited me to join them and their family for dinner. All the TG basics, topped of with Lorna’s special pecan-with-just-a-little-rum pie. Yum. It was a very pro-Obama crowd so there were toasts to the new president. Sammy and Pete were clearly thankful to be part of the Domke family. Here’s Petey in post-dinner repose.
I had a feeling Henry might enjoy making a few videos. He’s a gifted digital artist (that’s a photographer who doesn’t have to take assignments) but has always focused on still images. The video above (4 min) is a walk around the lake at the Prairie Garden Trust with Pete, Sam and Boots.
I think this is only Henry’s second video and I predict we’ll see some very cool stuff once he gets the hang of a different medium.
My favorite part is when Sam stops to take a leak.
Barb’s really too busy with work to spend as much time with her yard as she’d like but she still manages to plant some flowers. This year she planted about 300 tulips but the deer got a bunch of them and the moles probably got their share. But the ones that survived were very fetching in the late afternoon sunlight.
I’m no kind of serious photographer (that’s my man, Henry). But I’m not bashful about taking photos and sharing them with the world. I know some very good amateur photographers that never put their work online because they don’t think it’s good enough. At least that’s the reason they give and I tend to believe them.
I snapped these photos with my little Casio and they came out "good enough." Think of all the beautiful flowers that were never shared because someone thought the photos were not "good enough."