Saturday, June 28, 2008

since i paid $6.95 for internet access, i should go ahead and do something with it before i catch my plane

more to come, but a few things I love about Chicago:

New Catalog


the fact that I ate deep-fried macaroni and cheese while sitting across the table from Paul D'Amato (Justin, I chose this one for you)

potato pancakes from Manny's

Brian, of course


Jason Lazarus


and the Git

oh, and I've got no time to properly attribute or link, but add Karsten Lund, and the other fine folks at MoCP, Amy Stein, the brown line, and crunchy french toast to the list and you've got a pretty good idea of how great my last couple days have been. even so, the best part is that I'm almost home... all these great people around have me really excited to get home and make some pictures.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

l.a. today, chicago tomorrow


Among the weirdest aspects of my current trip is that the rooftop where I hang out each morning affords this view of the plane hitting the building, over and over again, about every fifteen minutes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

it has been argued that the main distinction between humans and animals is self-awareness


In an odd twist on my previous post, I had a magazine I'd done an editorial job for request an urgent headshot to run on the contributors page. The problem though, is that I'm currently a single parent in a hotel room with limited light and no tripod... that's where one's kids come in to the rescue. I had the kids shoot numerous pictures of me this morning. Here's one with that rare combination of being semi-sharp and me not trying to tell them what to do. In fact, the head turn with angelic tilt upwards, something I've had subjects do on occasion, was Max's idea. I didn't send it to the magazine, but he's on to something. That something being to make me quit staring into the lens in such a stern fake way. I swear, they all read like I'm either really intense, or that I'm just trying to pretend that I'm not.

I think Aaron, in his comments on my previous post, is on to something. Maybe the best way to deal with it is to go back to the old school methods of reportage. More on this later...

Monday, June 16, 2008

my heroes have always stared out windows (oftentimes while smoking)

A good friend pointed out the other day that my blog really sucks lately. Yeah sure, I'll take that. Just awfully busy answering to tasks that have deadlines and/or pay. But, that said, all of a sudden here I find myself done with school for the summer (well, I still need to post grades), and down in Los Angeles for the next week. Not a lot of free time, but still, I'm going to try to build up a little blogmentum here. But that said, I just realized that I've got about twenty minutes and then have to leave for the day. I'm going to cut through the bullshit and get to the core…

Yesterday, after my breakfast partner left me at the hotel restaurant to finish my coffee, I had a long and awkward moment with myself. The hotel's mirrored walls left me in an empty restaurant, staring at my remarkably egg-shaped head. Though it wasn't exactly fully conscious, I realized that I kept picking up my coffee cup and staring out the window, while trying to peek back and watch myself doing so. Here it was, that awkward moment my subjects feel when I'm doing an editorial job, only I was there as both photographer and subject, confused in both roles, trying to figure out what the other wanted, painfully self-aware the entire time.

This moment brings up one or two incomplete thoughts that I'd love to just throw out for discussion:

• band photography: is there a way to photograph a group of painfully self-aware 20 somethings in their hipster finest and not have it reek? Please, let's talk about band photography- show/share. My favorite band photo of all time is the inside jungle hippie photo from an old Three Dog Night album, but I can't find it online. I just remember it had a pregnant woman and a watermelon in it and, in a sense, is somewhat reminiscent of Justine Kurland's contemporary work.


• I recently came across something where a curator said that they did not want to see "disaffected young people staring into space." The phrase has stuck ever since… I think it's certainly one of those contemporary clich├ęs, but again, one that I lean toward defending. By keeping the gesture ambiguous, don't we (photographers), create a sort of space for projection? I don't know, it's a hard line to tread. Maybe overused because it's so effective?

Hmm, we'll come back to this. Gotta run.
Robert Frank, the Americans

Anton Corbjin from the film Closer


Justine Kurland

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Dearest Darling,

yet more google image searching... forgiveness


I know, I know, our relationship's a little out of balance lately. I feel like we really need to have a talk. Early on, when we were just getting to know one another, we fueled each other. You certainly excited and inspired me, and hopefully, at least occasionally, I did the same for you. But lately, work (in its varied forms) has just got me wiped out, I'm not getting any exercise, I'm eating all this shitty food (don't tell my wife, but I've gone to Taco Bell at least 3 times in the past 2 weeks), and in terms of this, our relationship, I realize that I've become a taker and not a giver. Don't think that I don't know that it's been little more than the occasional foul joke and witty photo-related banter, but I know that if I can't give you what you need, you'll go find it elsewhere. I promise, I'll try again. Soon. It'll get better, I promise.

In the meantime, and I know it's asking a lot to ask for more help when I give you so little these days, but still if you can find a spark of what we used to have...
for the life of me I can't figure out how the hell to copy multiple layers in Photoshop and paste them in place within another document as an Action.

As a gesture of how much I appreciate your tips, and how much you mean to me, I'd love to send you a copy of Michael Bishop's incredibly popular postcard book Michael Bishop's Views of the NYS Barge Canal. I remember how much you liked it.

Love,
Shawn

p.s. Thanks Liz, Mel, Jacinda (& Kelli & Betsy), I'm still working on my plans, but hope to book it all tomorrow.