Communicating Arts

From Black Box to Fieldwork — Still Cookin’!



It’s a lucite paperweight with the artwork etched in from the back.

I, James S. Oppenheim AKA J.S. Oppenheim, and Communicating Arts have enjoyed it as emblem.

Properly lit, it’s striking.

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Among the early dreams for Communicating Arts in 2006 when the move was made to Hagerstown, Maryland, a county seat in the western panhandle — and a terrific location in the mid-Atlantic collection of states — was that of shooting small objects: jewelry, inkwells, candy dishes, alabaster statues, glass eggs, and so on.  That offering continues.

As good as our cell phones have gotten with recording, much in commercial and fine art continues to recommend studio-level control.



As energies decline, and, alas, they do, some things remain more inviting as work than others.  Communicating Arts has had the privilege of spending some quality time with a very special cat, “Graycie”.

Graycie, Koch Family, November 20, 2015

Such efforts involve connection, empathy, and patience.

I’ve no idea how the catfood people wrangle or direct their talent, but method is very simple: set up, sit still somewhere, and pray.


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Communicating Arts has also enjoyed getting band work.

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Still, there may be nothing quite like an intriguing face.

Sitting Portrait, April 2012

I may have developed too much consistency in style.  Perhaps Communicating Arts should be shooting more exterior portraits and directing and producing more atmosphere and look.

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And then there’s the more cared for snapshot: “Fieldwork”, I call it.


I know I would tired of being stuck indoors with objects hour after day after week on end — but gardens and fields (add the drive, add a glass of wine, and when the light is no more, work in a restaurant for reward), they are the best places, rain or shine.


All things countryside continue to attract my attention.

It’s generally good just looking and sometimes looking twice.

White Spring


# # #

Getaway! I May Have Overdone It

101017-a-070-2The adventure in cyberspace that began for me around 1995 got a boost around 2006 with blogging ability and access to foreign newspapers in English or English translation.

At first I thought what a cool chance to show off my photography, poetry, and short stories.  That led to Oppenheim Arts & Letters, a Typepad blog, one that I am obviously continuing to support.  In turn, dabbling on the old blog, as I like to call it, supported a new kind of trouble: one mouse click and you were in Somalia, virtually.

Or Pakistan.

And so the commenting on political matters developed along with an in-house orientation and education in the field — conflict, politics, culture, psychology, language . . . all of that — not that I recall all that I have read, but I do recall enough to reach for or reference books I have read when opportunity arises.

So it came to pass that “OA&L” (Oppenheim Arts & Letters) would beget BackChannels, which has achieved its 501st post, developed about 100 subscribers, among them “listening post” robots, I’m sure, and a reach out to readers in about 65 nations each month (if I work on it a little bit).

Meanwhile, anchored by my Communicating Arts e-mail address, I chose to develop a Facebook community around politics, that to the effect of reaching out to or accumulating about 600 Facebook Buddies and a small roster of additional followers — and these days, I’m more inclined to follow than friend personalities I like unless or until we chatype together somewhere for a while.

That e-mail address had then been associated with then conventional web hosting and a frames-based web site, which bones reside only here today on my local desktop.

That arrangement, which cost a little more too, also after several years led to this web-blog, on which account I have re-seller powers (looking into the crystal ball, I may see some CSS in my future — or terrific short story writing).


Before transitioning the business’s e-mail address, however, I had gotten involved with WordPress via the main WordPress portal, and so had created Communicating Arts–The Journal (for business) and J.S. Oppenheim–Altogether (as a cozier live journal).

I’d always thought I’d wind up landed, and in the virtual way, I have: I have made myself the owner of a small Web Estate that includes four business or personal blogs, three e-mail addresses (with more in reserve, but I’m ready to close them) and several business and social networking accounts plus the home-based resources to support them with image-creating ability and thought.

Still, for all of that effort and exploration in cyberspace (plus Skype-ability), not much has changed around here since 2006 — but the position’s pretty good for a facility promoting editorial, photography, and research capabilities (this setting aside the life in music that is by its physical character seems more bound to real space singing and playing out, at least unless or until that too becomes a media-creating recording art in this space).

There’s a summary of the structure (plus a link to my Amazon Wish List) on this weblog’s J. S. Oppenheim page.


I’d like to fold the studio’s journal into this presentation, but with the goal being to provide services to other people’s projects, I’m not in a hurry to work that issue.

At the end of each day, there really is just one me, however multifaceted, and one sole proprietorship, which is Communicating Arts.  I’ve split manufacturing — making pictures, writing short stories, writing folk songs should I return to that — ffrom providing services (general editorial, photography, and research functions) — at least I differentiate between the tow — and I think I’m ready to  tie off the packaging.

I did not want Windows to become The Window through which I would see the world.

Books are windows too.

And windshields are windows that still work Out There, as do shoes (and eyes), where the world is three dimensional and arrives equipped with weather.

* * *

I got to take a road trip over the weekend — and this noted with many thanks to those who drove and hosted me in Cambridge, Maryland (I don’t know whether they want to be mentioned by name here or not) — and got away from so much computer-based communicating, media parsing, and the online development of image and presence, which has all gotten to be too much or, perhaps, just about completed.


I am ready to work.

I am ready to retire.

The two dimensions — presence and service / retreat, restoration, and composition — blend well these days.

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ISO –> Cool Free WordPress Theme Supporting Favicon!

CA_Logo_256sqIs that so hard?

Communicating Arts has switched web hosts and held off on moving the old frames-based site while looking around for a fresh WordPress start, but it’s not looking good: I want the firm’s logo to appear in the URL, and I’m finding that comparatively few starter themes support that feature.

And I don’t want to invest hastily in a favicon-supporting premium theme I may not like!

Another possibility: associating or importing Communicating Arts–The Journal with this location and using it as the kernel for e new web.

At this point too, I may not need the sprawling groovy cool central web site to promote design, editorial, and photography services: a few static pages plus a blog would seem to me plenty for talking less about my business and more about other people’s businesses, challenges, and needs.