Monday, August 31, 2009

First Photo Of A Molecule!

I'm gonna assume it's not "photoshopped" and very much a photographic first! But I still wanna see those electrons buzzin' around... (via HuffPo)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Richard Learoyd- Unique Camera Obscura

I just saw one of the most incredible portraits in all photographic history in a group show at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. It's a very large print with an almost surreal and very luminescent quality to it, taken by a unique camera obscura, and absolutely one of the most beautiful works of art (of any kind) I have ever seen. Unconvinced? Don't blame ya- posting this woefully subpar online reproduction to illustrate what I've just said is like trying to explain what it was like to watch Michael Jordan play by watching a video of me on the court...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Truly Lousy Week...

Addendum: The Doyle Drive Project has written to state that the Pet Cemetery will be restored in three years, as if they have any idea whatsoever where the broken headstones belong- let alone where any of the bodies are buried. Translation: the whole place will be sodded over, a few decorative saplings planted, and a plaque will be installed noting that here stood The Presidio Pet Cemetery...

A good, dear friend who has already suffered enough is now riddled with cancer. And so I go where I often go when I seek a place of solace and solitude- the pet cemetery in The Presidio. It's a unique little sanctuary secluded under lush pine trees, not very imposing- but sincere in the best way possible.

Arriving, I almost have the wind knocked out of me as I see every single tree gone, tombstones disturbed and broken. A barren, bombed out wasteland left in its wake. Yes, as if an overwhelming cancer had ravaged it...

I pray my friend so many miles away somehow, someway miraculously pulls through- losing one old friend so close to home has been enough this week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aaron Huey- Wounded See

Interesting coming upon this incredible photo essay by Aaron Huey on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation just after hearing that Leonard Peltier, who is in failing health, was denied parole yet again. I remember reading over a good decade ago how the FBI fully well realized that Peltier was not guilty of killing any FBI agent as convicted, but is being kept in prison simply because he knows who did and refuses to give them up.

This essay is not exactly your positive outlook on rez life, and I certainly won't make believe I know anything about living on one, let alone speak on behalf of their inhabitants- except that although you'll always have some kind of deep rooted affiliation for the hood you grew up in (no matter how bad the ghetto), it's always one of strongly mixed loyalties and emotions. And of course, showing only the positive and inspirational to be found would just as profoundly be open to accusations of being cliched and one sided- which is why it's so necessary to empower people from these communities to author their own documentation.

That said, this essay does in fact, offer some incredibly strong and resonant imagery from a photographer obviously on top of his game. And if you take a real long, hard look at these photographs and look past the obvious depression, you'll see a people struggling to survive and endure the most challenging of living conditions in the remnants of the land that was so brutally taken from them- along with so much else...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Simon Roberts- We English

All Photos: Simon Roberts

Recently Mark Page alerted us to the incredible Sergey Maximishin, and now points the way to Simon Roberts latest: We English. And, as usual, it's up to the individual viewer as to whether they approve of the people at a distance motif- or not. Personally, I think it definitely works for some, others...

Seems he restricted the project to his preconceived concept for this latter endeavor, while Motherland was more... improv. And while I don't have a copy of We English to judge more fairly, I think I'd definitely have to go with the more varied Motherland, despite some very exquisite imagery in the latest.

Threatened? More like Killed!!!

Why are we still talking about whether or not we threatened prisoners when we actually killed them- as our own military has admitted!!!

1,000 Cameras Solve One Crime!

Total Security and Cost Efficiency!

Monday, August 24, 2009

To A Friend

You'd think you'd have pretty much paid your dues when you get your arm literally torn off in an everything that could go wrong accident trying to help a neighbor fell a tree. Yet, a few years on, this sad trip called life has the same person battling The Big C- hard. Hang in James- Good Friend!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two Shows To Catch in NYC

Right now at The New Museum- the David Goldblatt retro...

And later this October at the Sputnick Gallery, make sure to catch Oleg Videnin. In the meantime, do yourself a favor (in full screen)... Dang, it's getting hard keeping up with Lens blog (hear that Magnum?).

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Sunny Day In NY

Four and a half hours under what was a rare June summer sun this year in NY, and the very last frame on the last roll was all she wrote... (I'll take it).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blake Andrews

Blake Andrews has a keen, perceptive eye for the small idiosyncrasies of everyday life. Check out his many small essays (faves incl: Sincere Messages, Line Ups, and Circus Circus)- as well as his blog... (incl Guaranteed Conversation Killers).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Triumph of Livin' Large

Can't help but think this kinda puts the whole Annie L spending zeitgeist into proper perspective (Part II below also a must see)- Can't wait to see who does a photo essay on this joint...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Follow Your Passion?

I know successful artists mean well when they advise young artists and photographers to damn the torpedoes and follow your passion! The part they don't verbalize, and take for granted that those young emergents hopefully, somehow, instinctively realize- is that ninety-eight per cent of those who follow that very advice will still fail. Of course, if they innately knew that- why would they ask for the secret to success in the first place? And so many, many times, it has nothing to do with their "artistic" talent. Luck, connections, business acumen, more luck (and connections) have as much to do with it as all the hard, repetitive, backbreaking work they will no doubt have to endure.

Consider the lot of these three women- all came up around the same time, all incredibly talented, all "successful" in their own way. One has continued to pump out personal work while leading a fairly comfortable living, one has barely eked out a living through no fault of her own, and one has reached the commercial financial stratosphere, only to recently experience the downside of self imposed gravity.

And then, there are the countless others (M&F) whose names we will never hear, or have long been forgotten...

Claudio Edinger- Madness

Madness is one of my favorite photography books of all time. And you can criticize his incredibly "beautiful" and artistic images all you want in regards to the subject matter. Point is, at least Claudio Edinger made the effort to expose and publicize said conditions- he, at the very least, fulfilled his obligation as photographer. And if you're going to pull the morality card and challenge- "Sure, but what did he do to better them." Remember, morality is a double edged sword. The question being, now that you know- what are you doing about it?

-- and Comment#20 on Lens blog is not to be believed...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Future Of The Street (In B/W & Color)

Photo: Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Stating that street photography (that generalized, all encompassing term which is more misleading than identifying) is passe, is not unlike stating that portraiture is dead, or landscape, or... The term "street photography" can, in fact, encompass portraiture (candid or otherwise), (urban) landscape, or those often surreal juxtapositions and "decisive moments" that only occur in crowded, chaotic urban environments.

These shows attest to all the above, and while street photography in all its variations has long been dethroned from defining and encompassing the vanguard of photographic art- it will continue to help define our humanity, history and culture... and be limited (like any other art form) only by the creativity of its practitioners.

PS- It's also refreshing to see how a certain blogger now attests to having little preference as to B&W or color- it wasn't that long ago when he stated that he didn't much care for B&W "except in extreme cases." Perhaps as he evolves he may even develop a certain fondness for art wherever its made, even when it passes him on the street.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Truly Humbling...

Over 100 billion galaxies (each with millions of solar systems totaling untold trillions of planets- more planets than the grains of sand on our own earth) in our universe (which may, in fact, be part of a mulitiverse). Astronomers by their own admission can't even account for 90% of what makes up our known universe. And yet, many of these "learned" men of science will look you straight in the eye and proclaim that we are the best and the brightest in all of it...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bill Jay- RIP

Coming upon a plethora of bound back issues of Creative Camera magazine (after only being exposed to the commercial rags) in the library stacks of my community college was an unparalleled revelation (art photography in magazines!?) of near other worldly delights to these then young eyes back in the seventies (when you could count the photographic art galleries in NYC on one hand).

You can read Bill Jay's seminal On Being A Photographer online...

Jackanory To The Left...

The Jackanorizer, Andrew Hetherington, will be in San (don't call it Frisco) Francisco this Thursday at the MacDaddy store @ 1 Stockton St., 7pm- where he will regale us with his world wide, photographic travails.

In the second half he will lead the town hall discussion on the benefits of socialized health care...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mitch Epstein- Granta

Mitch Epstein has a nice selection from his American Power series in Granta issue #107. He also has a small essay on what it was like photographing that subject in these recent times of increased "security" and paranoia- including the time he was stopped for carrying a missile launcher. Yup, you guessed it- a tripod...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Remnants Of The Ice Age

Scenes of relative solitude are exceedingly harder to find anywhere in New York these days...

Thursday, August 6, 2009


You can argue all you want about whether photojournalism and/or documentary film making still have the power to change anything, anything at all. Meanwhile, those on the front line will continue to get the job done and then hopefully proceed to somehow coax the best from humanity.

The makers of The Cove have already succeeded in stopping the Japanese from feeding their children tainted dolphin meat, and now pray the movie's release can save the dolphins themselves...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bruce Haley

5. The editors of the major magazines really don’t give a rat’s ass about the latest war and famine in the hinterlands of East BurkinaTimorLanka... you’ll never get an assignment to cover this unless Leonardo DiCaprio becomes a rebel commander and Tommy Hilfiger designs his battle fatigues....

I was reading Utne Reader at the library when I came across an article with a list citing Bruce Haley's words of wisdom concerning life and war photography- mostly how the latter can affect the former. As I've mentioned before- how does anyone come anywhere near taking even a technically proficient photo with bullets, shrapnel and body parts flying all about, let alone create the occasional "art" photo? All I know is that if I had ever tried to play war photographer, I'd have been the guy who gets the first round to the head as soon as he stepped outside the bar, the foxhole, the...

But as absorbing as his war imagery may be (and it is), the work that most fascinates me is his other worldly Disfigured Landscapes (even more so if I ever get to see the actual prints rather than these measly two inch facsimiles). What a testament to man's legacy- an in your face photographic record of how man has tortured, maimed and single handedly executed not only his fellow man, but the very planet that fed, nurtured and gave birth to him...

Murderous, Blackwater Bastards

Let's hope we can (at the very least) nail these arrogant, murderous, Blackwater bastards. And let's see what kind of (corporate) media attention it draws...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Annie Get Your Gun

Photo: Jill Freedman

Don't like getting my jollies when someone's down and out- but hard feeling sympathy for someone who amassed multiple million dollar properties and all the publicity, work and prestige one could possibly ever dream. Jill Freedman never lived anywhere near as large.

Still, when a third party can actually lay claim to your very images, that does strike a nerve. Although it seems the original plan all along was to buy time, cut the deal- and then raise the drawbridge...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Seeing, Knowing, Trusting, Lying...

As expected and obvious as the work itself-- one massive, convoluted dump of an excuse! How can we trust what you show, when we can't trust what you say? Now flip it for symmetry-- How can we trust what you say, when we can't trust what you show?