September 4, 2008
"Message to my future self.
You were at Silvercup Studios tonight. It had been a long shoot and nothing much was going according to plan. When the director wrapped you walked up onto the set, a beach scene, took off your shoes and built a sand castle when nobody was watching. In the car home you passed a bar and remembered they had a photobooth. The place was closing up, but you decided to tell the driver to stop. You got out and made this series of pictures.
At home you have three varieties of tomato plants on the fire escape (Green Zebras, Black Krims, and De Pintos); all are in full bloom. You will eat tomatoes like apples before you sleep.
Lately you have fallen into dreams in which your room falls away and you are out under starry mountain skies.
You see beauty all around. Maybe you will read this in 2004 and think it naive. Maybe you will forget it or lose it. Maybe you will read it and remember what it was to be alive on this day.
-September 4th 1994."
September 5, 2008
I noticed that one of Bertien Van Manen's photos, Couple and Painting, Grooves Bar - Shanghai, 1998 (not the image above), is available as an edition via MOCP. If you don't know about the MOCP store you should check it out, MOCP offers prints from a super lineup of contemporary phtographers. Couple and Painting led me to revisit Van Manen's website which has several more pictures from that project which expertly evokes a certain stratum of urban life in late 1990's China. More images as well as other projects over at Yancey Richardson
September 5, 2008
20x200 turns one today. Yay us!
September 9, 2008
In 2007 at Review Santa Fe I got a chance to check out a new body of work by Ferit Kuyas. The project, a series he had been working on for some time on the city of Chongqing had just been renamed City of Ambition, a play on the iconic Steiglitz body of work documenting New York's rising skyline. The images stuck with me and I've come back to them many times. There are scores of photographers trying to capture a rising China, but Kuyas has a poet's feel for the place. His images feel like Chongqing to me. Anyway I wanted to report that Ferit's website has recently been revamped and he now has a full set of images from this epic project online. Even better, if you happen to be in London, you can see his beautiful prints in person at Photofusion where he has a solo show running. Also he will be speaking at the gallery on September 18th.
September 14, 2008
Plot summary of Madeline and the Bad Hat:
-The Spanish Ambassador and his family move in next to Madeline's boarding school.
-The son of the Spanish Ambassador, Pepito, starts to terrorize small animals (and the girls) with his slingshot.
-Pepito dresses up as a bullfighter and invites the girls to see the animals he has trapped from around the neighborhood.
-The girls refuse his invite. This sets him off on a mini rampage.
-The headmaster of the the girls school gives Pepito a toolkit in the hopes it will calm him down.
-He builds a guillotine and starts beheading chickens.
-Later he puts a cat in a bag and takes it out into the countryside so the cat can be attacked by a pack of dogs.
-Pepitio manages to get mauled himself but is saved in the nick of time by Madeline (she also saves the cat).
-A bandaged and repentant Pepito becomes a vegetarian and is so reformed he starts freeing animals from the zoo.
-The girls all love Pepito now and they watch him in his pajamas (and he them) through their adjoining windows.
September 18, 2008
September 19, 2008
Someone named Henry send a short email today saying, "You said you would answer questions, here's mine: What's your thought process when you look a picture? Thanx.
-Henry in San Diego."
The collage evoked both Kelli Connell's work and Hockney's groundbreaking series of polaroid collage portraits:
That thought inspired me to dig up a book about polaroids which I found, but didn't end up reading because I picked up a book about photobooth art which was next to it in the shelf. And then thumbing through that book I thought about how photobooths allow the same sort of interplay of space and time, and how much I enjoyed all the photobooth art books featured on the photobooth blog this week. Here and here for example:
All this reminded me of how much I love photobooths and how, like polaroid film, they will soon be relegated to memory. And then I thought a day in 1975 when I went to a photobooth in Monterrey with my grandfather and how he told me to make a serious face and how he would make funny ones and how he kept half of the strip and I kept half of the strip and how that strip was our little secret. He kept his in the back of his wallet and I kept mine in the bottom of a treasure box. And I remembered how I always felt connected to him across the miles when I looked at my half of the strip. And then I imagined my treasure box rudely stuffed into some larger cardboard box and transported to some storage facility in the middle of nowhere in East Texas. And I thought about the heat and humidity there and how my picture of my grandfather with me wearing my most serious face in that photobooth in Monterrey is probably faded and yellow. And I missed my grandfather who I just realized has been gone for ten years now. I remember how at the end of each summer he and my grandmother would hug me tight and cry and tell me they would never see me again because they would be dead in the new year, and how I would cry too because I would believe them. Then I thought about how our youngest son has my grandfather's ears, and how our older son has his laugh and I felt that tug of a connection across both time and ether, so strong that it hurt. And I thought about how it always comes back to these things.
September 22, 2008
My advice to photographers who want to show off their work is simple:
1. Put your work up on the web. Photographers who don't promote their work online risk being completely ignored.
2. Showcase either tightly edited portfolios or stream work as you make it. If you do both keep the stream clearly separate from the portfolio.
3. Unless you are a photojournalist primarily selling images for web consumption, put up big images. Don't worry about people stealing your images. Nobody is going to make a decent print from something you post online. Look at web images as promotion. Also don't watermark you images. Yes, some of your pictures will float around unattributed, but it's better than looking like a douchebag. Photoshop allows you to include authorship info that will travel with your image, just choose File Info from the File menu.
4. Don't use flash (if you use flash people can't link to your images, and they can't propagate around the web. You WANT your images to travel).
5. Don't worry too much about fancy design. People just want to be able to see your images and to quickly navigate from one to the next.
6. Tell stories.
If you know nothing about how to make your own website use one of these excellent sites to showcase your work:
If you know a tiny bit about the web, use a cms, like tumblr, movable type, or wordpress. Really good gallery themes exist for all of them. Here's a simple tumblr theme that lets you upload very large images that scale to the size of the window.
I look forward to seeing your best stuff.
Updated 10/2009 with some new sites.
September 23, 2008
nothing can save a collection of words
from reading like bad poetry.
September 28, 2008
September 30, 2008
I recently saw the Beate Gütschow image above in person. She creates large scale idealized collage landscapes from scores of electronically grafted together images. The results are both seemless and unreal. For me the images evoke classic landscape painting more than they do other photographs and in thinking about this I realized that her process is probably not much different than tradtional landscape painters who generally either sit out in nature and take in a scene going from detail to detail or they sit in a studio culling details from memory. EIther way the result is idealized nature in which each element recieves more scrutiny than it would normally... These images are part of show/monograph by Aperture titled LS/S which features pastorals like the one above as well as similarly artifical black and white cityscapes. I haven't seen the book yet so I'm curious to see how the seemingly very different bodies of work work together.
More on Gütschow's work can be found on 52 photographers.