Wednesday, April 30, 2008

for today's ramblings

i'll defer to the fine folks who fart on thunder. thanks guys, that was fun.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

here's your chance to come to portland

July 26th & 27th, 2008

FYI: We just announced this and opened registration this morning. Now, three hours later, it's already half-full. Crazy.

By the way, what the information page doesn't tell you: Blue Sky, where the reviews are being held, is just blocks away from Voodoo doughnuts, a great 24 hour donut shop where you can get a wide variety of adult doughnuts (well, on further thought, that wide variety may just be the standard two, maybe three), and doughnuts covered with a wide range of excessive toppings, like Oreo's, Cap'n Crunch, and though I've never come across it, I hear there's a bacon-covered maple bar as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

some pictures off the card in my camera. some words written about thirty hours ago.

Though I won't have internet to post this until I get home, I actually type from the airport in Athens, at the tail end of a twelve hour layover. I took advantage of arriving early enough to catch the Metro in to see the Acropolis at dusk, but was too nervous (and cheap) to do anything but walk around for an hour and then take the train right back to the airport. Now, I just need to stay awake for the next hour until the plane boards. The rest of the night was spent with coffee and listening to this song over and over.


I guess the details were kind of vague, but due to unexpected events, our reviewer for Blue Sky was unable to make it to Thessaloniki, Greece to review portfolios at their Photo Bienniale. I got a call last weekend asking if there was any chance that I could fill in at the last minute? You know I'm always glad to help.

A few lessons learned:

• Exchange money at the airport, before you head into town after the banks are closed.
• Bring a healthy supply of Tylenol pm. Two pills and a beer helps with the adjustment.
• Travel with a sandwich. In fact, I've still got a sandwich in my bag that I bought about 16 hours ago. I think it's still alright. I wonder if I can save it until I get home.

• My understanding of the history of photography is woefully Ameri-centric. It's really pathetic. But the connections were great. I mean, I met with a really good b&w street photographer who was doing work similar to Nathan Lyons, around the same time, but had never heard of Lyons.
• I am no street photographer. Maybe with some balls and practice, but I lack the courage and reflexes to really pull it off. I did spend a little time shooting from the hip on my one day off. note the bad focus:

• Of course, there are other lessons learned, about the business side of things- the painful necessity of self-promotion, but honestly, it's all stuff I've heard/read/said before (you know, Mary Virginia Swanson's got loads of great advice). But in case you haven't:

• Know your audience. Before you show work to anyone (at least if you're paying for it), know where their interests lie. Don't waste your time showing work to someone from a gallery/magazine/publisher that won't have any interest in your work. If you're honestly just looking for feedback, that's fine, but you're probably not going to get a very positive response if you're showing black & white art-school conceptual nudescapes to an editor from an agency that represents photojournalism.

• If you're not going to label the cd, at least write your name on it. And make sure it works.

• Don't give the reviewers anything more than a cd, or maybe a postcard. Baggage is an issue. I brought everything that works back with me, but I've heard stories.

• Installation views make a big difference.

• I don't know that it's necessary to bring lots of big prints, but at least make sure that the prints you bring don't have chemical stains and scratches on them.

• Meeting people in person actually works. I came away with at least three or four projects I'll bring to the exhibition committee. Actually, I've been on both sides of the table, a few times now. I've reviewed for Blue Sky at Photolucida a couple times now, and have shown work at Photolucida, Santa Fe, and SPE. Of course, it's ultimately about the work, but if the work's good and you meet the right person who recognizes that it's good, then time will make something happen. But don't come in expecting to find solutions for work that you're unsure of. If you meet 5 different reviewers, four will have differing opinions and the fifth will find something else in a picture to talk about (location/weather/politics) to fill the awkward silence because your work is so far out of their range of interest.

Photolucida normally does our reviews every two years, but we've got something smaller and more regional in the works for this summer. Get on the mailing list if you're interested in finding out. In the past these things have filled up really quickly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

talk about a good week (for me, anyway)

• first, there was this

• then came this

• and now, through an unfortunate turn of events (for someone else), I'm on my way to this, while I should be doing this:

I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty lucky right now. Even though I'm nursing a mild nosebleed in a McDonald's in the midst of a five hour layover in Frankfurt. Reports to come. Hey, anybody know of an easy good way to make a slideshow I can embed in my blog?

Friday, April 11, 2008

i once was lost

Wakaba Noda, from Making a Map

Yesterday, my copy of Wakaba Noda's Making a Map arrived and I've been swooning over it ever since. I have to admit, I want to spend a little time with it and see how I feel after the initial blush. I must acknowledge that I'm swayed by this really great statement/publisher's description:

Trying to create a perfect place by assembling photographs of small wonders, Noda makes a map of a world not defined by geography, but by the possibilities that photography offers.

Kind of reminds me of another favorite statement, the preface to Some Twenty Odd Visions, a book put out by Blue Sky Gallery all the way back in 1978.

Robert Di Franco, from Some Twenty Odd Visions

The preface:

These photographs are maps to get lost by. They are not instruments to guide our travels through the unknown. Rather than making new territory familiar, they make familiar territory new. As children, we never quite knew what was going on, and the world was filled with mystery. Now that we have grown up and found out what things are, we have forgotten how to imagine what else they might be. We are creatures of habit, and have come to an agreement about how the world looks. However, in these photographs the normal everyday objects and spaces that we take for granted lose their familiarity, and the world regains the richness and mystery that we once saw.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

things i really like this week

• this photo (and the book it comes from):

Andrew Phelps, from Higley

• the fact that Ed Panar made it into APE's recent slideshow/showcase. In truth, I haven't watched the whole thing, just the first of four parts and afterwards found myself thinking that I wasn't really into much of anything there except for a few images. When I checked those out, I realized two of them were Ed's. Congratulations, Ed.
Ed Panar, from the series "Golden Palms." Boy, this would sure make a pretty great t-shirt, too, wouldn't it?

• this photo and the whole series of photographs from art classes:

Kyoko Hamada, Town Paintings, from the series "Apples and Bananas"

I've had quite the art crush on Kyoko Hamada for some time. Go to the Bill Charles site and you will too. I came across this series on this disc of the Critical Mass 2007 submissions. One of the tasks I've been trying to accomplish in my free time is going through each of the Critical Mass entrants and plucking the pictures of interest out for... I don't know, a slideshow, fan clubs, who knows, maybe it'll build it up to curatorial ambitions? All I know is that there's a lot of great work there.

• Two films that really inspire, for completely different reasons (and perhaps audiences):

Just the other day I read somewhere in my google reader that all photographers really want to be filmmakers. I don't necessarily buy that, but I certainly envy the way that film actually has an audience (let's face it, the fans of photography are other photographers). I also envy filmmakers like Randy Walker and Jennifer Shainin who've made a film that's slow, quiet, smart, and like so many independent films, a labor of love that required an enormous amount of patience, planning, and, compared to photography anyway, money. Lately, I've been whining about how hard it is to get a weekend free and hotel & gas costs to go shoot. With this film in mind, I'll just shut up and figure out how to make it work.

The other film is Hot Rod. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are that I didn't hate this.

If you're going to put your money into one, make it the former. If you're exhausted and just trying to make it through the end of the day, the latter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

more t-shirt fodder

hmm... maybe? Michael Northrup, from Beautiful Ecstasy

my valentine's photo made in a Mexican restaurant somewhere in Washington

Alec Soth, Untitled 47, from Dog Days Bogota

or any of these polaroids from Mike Slack:

Friday, April 4, 2008

right around here (yesterday afternoon)

My good friend Danielle's visiting for her show at Blue Sky and while giving her a tour of the house, we came across this mystery:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

right around here

click on it... isn't it a beaut?

Do you think there's really some kind of software out there, like that I see in the cop shows, that allows one to lay a photo like this over satellite photographs of an area and determine the exact location it was made from? I want to know where Carleton Watkins was standing. Then I want to do the same thing with my grandmother's photos of her trip to Yellowstone. Hmmm... maybe we could all start a blog/group and rephotograph landscapes of shared interest. I'm kind of busy these days. Somebody go set that up, will you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Find me a photo where one of these titles actually help and I'll gladly send you a copy of Michael Bishop's 1981 postcard book Michael Bishop's View of the NYS Barge Canal:

Tortured Soul
In Darkness

Please, bring 'em on... add to the list.