July 1, 2008

Overheard on Bowery and Stanton

Guy: I think it's over there.

Girl: I think it's over there.

Guy: Do you really want to go?

Girl: Not really.

Guy: Let's go back to the hotel.

Girl: Lets.

Guy: Where are you going?

Girl: To the subway.

Guy: The subway is over there.

Girl: No it's over there.

Guy: I'm sure it's over there.

Girl: Well I'm sure it's over there...

July 3, 2008

Hin Chua

While not all the images in the series work for me, I admire the ambition that goes behind a series with a title as grandiose as After the Fall. And many of the individual images do speak to me. I wish more photographers would try tackling such projects of impossible scale. Chua is Malaysian by birth and is currently based in London.

July 3, 2008

Christoph Niemann

I love this piece titled The Boys And The Subway by artist/illustrator Christoph Niemannon on the New York Times website. If you have kids who ride the subway you will too. (via Jen Bekman on IM across the office)

Aside: I wish the Times would give us an option for bigger pictures in art pieces like this one and in photo essays. The Boston Globe has a clunky but simple and functional space for photo essays with larger pictures called (appropriately, The Big Picture). How great would the above NYTimes essay be if the images were of decent size?

Also make sure to check out Nemann's book 100% Evil.

July 6, 2008

Things I know about Night

Nights in LA smell of sweet, like honeysuckle and jasmine,
Nights in Harbin smell of coal and cabbage.
Nights in Monterrey smell of smoke from a grill.

Nights in the desert smell of dew and dust.
Nights in the mountains smell of starlight.
Nights by the sea smell of salt.

Nights in New York smell of silver and burnt electricity.
Nights in Los Vegas smell of old smoker's smoke.
Nights on the moon smell of fresh gunpowder (or so I hear).

Nights holding a newborn smell of piss and lime.
Nights in my grandmother's arms were full of vanilla and cinnamon.
Nights holding my wife are ripe with plums.
Nights alone are full of other nights remembered.

July 6, 2008


"I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deeprooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest." - - The Moon and Sixpence, W. Somerset Maugham
(via my wife's tackboard)

Semirelated: A Quote by H.G. Wells

July 6, 2008

Adrien Missika

Adrien Missika's portfolios hold many haunting landscapes both real and created as well a few super looking limited editions books (Less interesting are the portfolios of natural history museum-like backdrops which have become the new parking garages of photography). I like that Missika prints small as I'm a fan of the intimacy of small prints, but some of these would be spectacular large. No? (via Ned in Toronto who wrote, "You are going to love this guy.")

Related: Oceanscapes

July 8, 2008

Virgilio Ferreira

Portuguese photographer Virgilio Ferreira's portfolio Daily Pilgrims is one of those projects that sort of snuck up on me. I looked at it a week or two ago and have kept coming back to it. I'm not sure if this will make sense to you (it does to me), but the portfolio evokes the memory of the memory of stepping off a plane into a new and foreign city full of too many new sights and sounds to be processed. When you remember back everywhere there were fleeting glimpses of untold stories, but in being a memory of a memory wires get crossed—in the overload details blur leaving an evocative impression without actually describing the specifics of the place.

(via his Hey, Hot Shot! entry)

July 9, 2008

Kate Orne

It's hard to image a more hostile working environment for a Western female photographer than a Pakistani brothel, and yet photographer Kate Orne has managed to make a series of compassionate even tender photographs in red light districts there. Powerful stuff.

July 12, 2008

Overheard in the Elevator at 195 Chystie

Girl on phone: Why? So you can go home and read Vonnegut and be depressed?

Girl on phone: (Long Pause from 9th floor to 4th floor)

Girl on phone: Oh. My. God. Martin you are not being artistic you are being antisocial and gloomy. LIKE ALWAYS.

Girl on phone: You stay home with Kilgore Trout. I'm going to a party. I'm eating ice cream. I'm going to join the human race. Goodbye Martin.

July 12, 2008

Eric Newby on Meeting Thesiger

When I was a teenager my heros were great travellers like Eric Newby and Sir Wilfred Thesiger. The Guardian has a short account by Eric Newby of meeting Thesiger on the road. Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert who pointed to this link also provides his own account of meeting Thesiger as well as many good links.

Related: Eric Newby

July 15, 2008

Erica Cho

Are You Me? (03 Hangul) from aufdemweb on Vimeo.
My wife's cousin Erica is a video artist. I love this video which is part of a set video poems between herself and the artist Xana Kudrjavcev-DeMilner.

July 16, 2008

Approaching Coney



July 18, 2008

George Eastman House Autochrome Collection

The George Eastman House has joined the flickr commons and has included a set of early 20th Century autochromes which have been a source of fascination and inspiration for years.

Flickr Commons is a fantastic idea. My wish is that the whole thing could be taken further. Imagine an open source version of flickr dedicated to showing artwork and photography from public institutions in which users had the opportunity to contribute scholarly work or to group images into collections.

Note I did a quick and dirty color correction to the images I've posted above.

Related: Early Color Photography

July 23, 2008

6AM with Gabriel


1. Bite the apple.

2. Pass the apple.

3. Wait for a bite.

4. Receive the apple.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 until done.

6. Break open the core.

7. Consider each seed.

8. Go start the day.


The same but different: First Hour, Eating Apples

July 25, 2008

Richard Pare, Russian Avant-Garde Architecture, and the Melnikov House

richard pare


Every year or so I look for an excuse to blog about Konstantin Melnikov's architectural masterpiece, his own home. This year's excuse is that house now has it's own website: Melnikov House and that Melnikov's wikipedia page has been considerably beefed up with many good links including one to the Russian Avant-garde Heritage Preservation Foundation (which led me to the excellent Russian Utopia Depository of Paper Architecture). This web meander started because I was looking at Richard Pare's work online. Pare spent 14 years shooting architecture in Russia for his celebrated book/exhibition The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–1932.

You can read more about Pare's work in the NYTimes or via this interview. Also of interest for Melnivkov fans is this obituary of his son Victor who was a well known painter. Now off with you until next year when I'll be back with more Melnivkov updates.

July 28, 2008

RFK coda

funeraltrain.jpgUntitled (Baltimore) by Paul Fusco

kn9.jpgby Martin Johnson

As sort a quiet coda to Paul Fusco's profoundly moving RFK Funeral Train Exhibition which closes this week at Danziger Projects, Square America (a photographic ephemera site) released a set of found pictures of RFK's funeral as seen on television which the the site has titled What Was On (June 1968). I was one year old in 1968 but the pictures evoke images of my childhood living rooms, some of my first memories. Both sets of pictures in very different ways evoke the emotion of that year and need of the photographers to hold on to those emotions.

If you didn't get a chance to see the Fusco exhibition first hand, Aperture is re-releasing an expanded version of his book. It is available for pre-order. I can't wait for mine to arrive. The Square America guys are releasing their own book titled "Who We Were: A Snapshot History Of America", no pre-release link yet.

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