Friday, February 29, 2008

Feeling Lucky Punk?

Ready to test your mettle? Anyone feel like submitting their ego to be stomped on, violated and spat out yet again? I remember once getting a notice stating that my photo submission had been accidentally thrown out with the recycling! Thank you very much... (puh rum pum).

Anyway, for those brave, ambitious souls amongst you, the nice people at Pause/To Begin and The Griffin Museum will be more than happy to consider and judge your work...

And Good Luck with that!

Which reminds me- with all the galleries in NYC that exhibit photography, and all the photographers and photobloggers throughout the five boroughs, how come there's never been someone, anyone that posts small reviews on at least a dozen shows a month on a regular basis? One paragraph each on three shows a week is all I'm asking from a town that hosts hundreds of photo exhibits on any given day (you get August off, natch)...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's "Fun" Fact...

I remember how my mind first reeled when I learned that the US had dropped more bombs on Viet Nam than all the bombs dropped by the combined Allied and Axis powers in all of WWII! How could one little country of rice farmers who quoted our Founding Fathers in their own quest for freedom and independence merit such depraved hostility from the world's greatest super power? It still boggles the mind, statistically and morally.

I remembered that little tidbit while reading the fascinating interview with Philip Jones Griffiths in the Spring issue of Aperture magazine. He related how the length of the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, DC is 150 yards long- should the Vietnamese build such a monument for their lost with the same density of names, it would cover... 9 miles!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Republicans Have Turned This Country Into A Goddamn Banana Republic...

For those who missed the 60 Minutes segment on former Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, click here to see how they can throw a governor in jail just for belonging to the wrong party! Let me repeat, when they can throw elite, powerful, white people in jail on trumped up charges... Whoa!

And as they say on TV-- but wait, there's more... The aforementioned piece on Don Siegelman was never even seen in a large part of Alabama-- apparently the signal went mysteriously blank during the airing of said segment!!!

PS- Credit where credit is due- one of the stand up guys in the whole affair is, in fact, a Republican (one small faint whisp of hope at the very least).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Inexplicable Art Hoax?

So I (like hundreds if not thousands of others, I suppose) get this chain email showcasing the enclosed artwork- pretty cool stuff! Then it turns out that the museum that "featured" it, never actually did- and that the show, unlike the actual work, was in fact, a hoax. The artist, Peter Callesen, apparently already has gallery representation, so what is the motive for said hoax? Enlightenment appreciated...

PS- Supposedly, Les Krims, when he was starting his career, wrote vehement anonymous tirades to the local papers objecting to the subject matter of the work about to be featured in the opening of his own show just to drum up publicity. That I can understand!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Square America

Sometimes you just want to free yourself of all the formalities and constraints of so called fine-art photography. No better place to do that than here!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not Quite the Bechers...

But definitely worth a laugh and a look all the same- and so's the rest of Roadside America for other countless, invaluable sights of wonder! May even inspire a photo essay or two...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Our All-American Terrorist

His name is Luis Posada Carriles, and he is personally responsible for the deaths of 73 people in the terrorist bombing of a civilian airliner. He's also been implicated in several other bombings and assassination attempts when he isn't torturing hapless civilians- including pregnant women. And since our president has valiantly vowed to pursue terrorists unto the farthest corners of our globe, I guess he can be excused for overlooking this one mass murdering terrorist (and CIA operative) living quite comfortably right here in Miami, Florida.

The Obvious Made Eloquent...

These days, the obvious isn't always so errr... obvious, particularly when we have so many people yelling at us (eg- FOX News) to divert our attention. Fortunately, there's always Keith Olbermann for that occasional, oh so needed reality check.

And for a never disappointing daily dose in written form, click on Welcome to Pottersville on the sidebar; and The Mike Malloy Show on radio- not quite so eloquent, but oh so very, very, cathartic...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where Are They Now?

Photos: Grant Mudford

I was more than fortunate in catching so many good photographers in the pre-internet, NYC galleries of the '70s, '80s and '90s. And yet for a handful of names, how much of that top notch work is readily available for viewing today- especially in a time so dominated by digital and color, which is often of such similar style? No knock on either, the same could've been (and was) said of B&W back in the day. It would just be nice to have a broader balance of old and new, color and B&W, film and digital, etc, etc... How I only wish that I had simply written down the names of all the photographers whose work I saw and admired.

I've recently tried to find work by James Hamilton (portrait photographer extraordinaire for The Village Voice in the '70s) and Robert (Glory) D'Alessandro, all much to no avail. I had more success with Charles Gatewood, but could find precious few examples of Grant Mudford's work from that era. I originally caught the latter's work at Light Gallery in NYC, the premier photo gallery in heaven and earth at the time- ascending the elevator unto its hallowed white halls at 724 5th Ave was nothing short of catchin' some serious religion. And Mudford's prints (above) did not disappoint- they were the largest 35mm prints I had ever seen! The grain was absolute pointillism, but the tonal values held up and the resolution remained tack sharp. I didn't think it technically possible at the time- and two decades later I would see 35mm prints twice their size at James Nachtwey's exhibit at ICP.

Anyway, I think the two samples above hold up just fine. Anyone really serious about resurrecting a "B&W Revival," would do well to seek out and research just how varied and diverse monochrome had become pre-Eggleston and Shore, and take it from there...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents' Day...

Top photo- Presidents' Park, bottom- Mt Rushmore restroom; SD, USA 2007

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Taxi to the Darkside

Taxi to the Darkside, a compelling documentary on the current state of American morality, notes that out of more than 100 enemy combatant deaths in U.S. custody, 37 have been officially declared homicides- by the U.S. military itself.

And as for the ultimate torture excuse-- Even a former CIA interrogator (those humble international emissaries of goodwill and kindness) pointedly asks, "When in the last 500 years have we ever had a ticking time bomb situation that was resolved through the use of torture?"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bruce Gilden

Looking at Bruce Gilden's work makes me embarrassed to be even seen with a camera. But think "romantic pictures," and this guy's not likely to rise to the top of anyone's list. Rightfully so, for his name conjures up the grittiest, in your face, street scenes of surreal, hyper-real quality. If you want to know NYC up close and personal, this guy will take you there.

That said, the couple above is far from young, or sexy, but this damn photo (like no other I've ever seen) manages to capture a love that goes well beyond mere romance, a love that will endure and transcend anything thrown it- in this mortal coil... or the next.

Happy Valentines' Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stephen Berkman

Can't say I'm a big fan of his ambrotypes, but some of Stephen Berkman's installation pieces are incredible- incredibly brilliant, beautiful, and humorous!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Unidentified Rational Consequences...

A little over a year ago several airline employees at O'Hare Airport in Chicago spotted a UFO hovering over their restricted air space before vanishing, literally leaving a hole in the cloud cover. Reports were taken, followed by the usual jokes and denials. If all the observers (in such a security conscious field) were hallucinating or promoting a hoax, why weren't they put on immediate medical leave, investigated/suspended or outright fired?

More recently, several witnesses in a small Texas town saw strange lights, and a certain machinist and cattle rancher had a very close experience with something in the sky at least three football fields in length! Although this man sounded incredibly sober, rational, and intelligent when interviewed, lets assume he's playing with half a wagon wheel- then why are helicopters and F-16s buzzing his property at all hours of night and day after the fact?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Operation Northwoods

Fortunately, Operations Northwoods is a matter of official record, otherwise, eyes would be set to rolling should mention leave your mouth- you're not really buying into that c-o-n-s-p-i-r-a-c-y theory crap are you?

Why of course not, I believe everything in The Warren Commission, everything in the official 9/11 Commission Report, James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, Jr. and there's no such thing as global warming...

You think this present president would have turned that offer down?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Phil Ochs

It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life. (via Rick Guidal)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Charles Gatewood

Whenever I think favorite photos, this one immediately comes to mind. It epitomizes so much of what this medium (limited as it may be) can achieve- its graphic sense of scale and composition, its primordial light descending upon the solitary everyman on his epic journey to survive just one more day. Sure, there are countless similar images taken of urban America (I've taken one or two myself), but never one so heartfelt in its understated eloquence, like a recurring dream which we strive to create, and are ultimately entrapped by.
Charles Gatewood's appropriately named Sidetripping was the first photo book I ever bought- back in a time when you could count all the then current photo monographs on one hand, including: the Diane Arbus monograph, Robert D'Alessando's Glory, Bruce Davidson's E100 St, and the proverbial Ansel Adams book to be sure. You can see his vintage photography, along with his more current sexually oriented work, first hand at The Robert Tat Gallery this February.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow was the Executive Director on the official 9/11 Commision Report, and the top inside man for personal buddies Condi and Rove. Any questions?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Mardi Gras!

I guess it shouldn't be too shocking that even adults have no idea what constitutes fun. But things would be a lot happier (a whole lot happier) at least for some New Orleans residents if they were no longer living in mold infested, formaldehyde ladened trailers with no apparent relief in sight from an administration that would much prefer that either of the aforementioned hastened their demise, and memory.
At least we can celebrate that this time next year, that administration will be out, and maybe, just maybe, the new one will set to make things right in this town- and country.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Veteran Assclown Supreme

Sometimes I really do wish there was a fire and brimstone kinda god, so that assclowns like Bush and O'Reilly, and pure evil like Cheney, Rove and Limbaugh could burn and suffer forever...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Juan Francisco Casas

Even if they are traced via some current day camera obscura, the images by Juan Francisco Casas are still pretty amazing- coming from a blue Bic pen...