Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to pay for art school

Kitty and Horsefisherman 2007 Corey Arnold

Mama don't let your babies grow up to be artists. Corey Arnold has an interesting story to tell (This image slays me. I have a cat, a horse, and I get seasick). Gallery representation here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Kevin Miyazaki is having a "tinytinygroupshow" (click on the group, when it opens in a new window click on the images to zoom) on his fairly new blog. Talk about coming late to the party and leaving some of us in the dust....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Boonville, USA

The Choir, Milbrook, NY 2007 Timothy Briner

Boonville, USA is a project being undertaken by Timothy Briner and underwritten by Cannery Works. They are advertising that the launch will take place August 1. Since I've been working on my small town, I am interested to see what form Boonville takes. I certainly find the construct, "targeted support and professional platform for artists", interesting. FSA for 2007?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ok, so this just made me laugh

I love dry British sarcasm, especially when it's combined with dry American sarcasm. It's win, win.

How to charm me

Christian Patterson and David LaSpina are on a road trip. This video was yesterdays post. I have always swooned to Samba Saravah from Un Homme et Une Femme. Road trip, photographers, a dog...I'm charmed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Art & science

From StopGeek pictures of an interesting installation.
"Richard Box, artist-in-residence at Bristol University’s physics department, got the idea for Field (2004) – 1,301 fluorescent tubes powered only by the electric fields generated by low overhead powerlines – after a conversation with a friend. ‘He was telling me he used to play with a fluorescent tube under the pylons by his house,’ says the artist. ‘He said it lit up like a light sabre.’ Box decided to see if he could fill a field with tubes lit by the ‘waste’ energy emanating from powerlines. Box denies that he aimed to draw attention to the potential dangers of powerlines, ‘For me, it was just the amazement of taking something that’s invisible and making it visible,’ he says."
I feel that way pretty much every time I pick up a camera.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Self Publishing

Iceberg Detail, East Greenland 2006 Camille Seaman

Camille Seaman has won the Critical Mass hardbound monograph from Photo Lucida for 2006 for her The Last Iceberg series. In a case of sending coals to Newcastle through researching her I discovered she is also founder of Fastback Creative Books. From the site it looks to be the answer to the many Internet book publishing options that are less than what one would hope for. The prices are competitive and they offer PERSONAL service. Let me know if you have used them or seen their work.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

60 Years of Magnum

"Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on, and a desire to transcribe it visually"
Henri Cartier-Bresson

The summer issue of Aperture has arrived and includes an essay by Gerry Badger on Magnum. It makes me miss the days when the photo essay was part of general culture but motivated me to spend some time at Magnum in Motion again to view the various essays, current and historic (Elliott Erwitt's Personal Best is particularly delightful). Reading Badger's history I am impressed by the Cooperative's ability to survive and transcend the various disagreements and "squabbles" in order to adopt the above quote as their mission statement just last year.

As to the Art vs.Photojournalism debate, I refuse to be put in a position to choose and generally find the people pushing it to be self serving rather than enlightening. Although it seems Art believes it has the upper hand at the moment, as long as quality is the inherent motivating factor for Magnum photographers, I expect they will continue to be the gold standard for another 60 years.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


September 30, 2006 8:41 am Amy Elkins

Amy Elkins has posted a further edit of a video of her Beyond This Place: 269 Intervals and Halfway There projects. I have followed this project for over a year and the video rendition (with its inherent frenetic aspect) is a completely different experience than a photo a day. I wonder which is truer to her experience.

Friday, May 18, 2007

20 X 200 a response

I posted just a month ago on Jen Bekman's 20 X 200: Art for Everyone project. I have not received notification of an actual sale yet but Julian Thomas of The Bartender Never Gets Killed has posted his take on the idea. It will be interesting to see where this project goes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The worst thing

San Pedro Channel, 2006 Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel was asked by a young master class student, "What's the worst thing you can do as an artist?"

"Try to get people to like you." (John Seabrook, Masters Voice, The New Yorker May 7, 2007)

Sage advice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

White walls

Shane Lavalette has posted on an exhibition he has going in Washington D.C. and writes, "And it was a relief to show work in a more casual venue, without intimidatingly white walls.". Zoe Strauss had her annual I 95 show and sale a week ago in this non-traditional venue.
Food for thought as I continue to consider what to do with my new space. There is no doubt in my mind that, while one hopes that the work can transcend any room (or freeway overpass) it is hung in, a connection is made and one can influence the other. If I can figure out a way to emulate the experience most people report having had in my kitchen I might be onto something.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No, tell us how you really feel...

Mike Johnston, over at The Online Photographer has a very helpful post on what to tell all your friends and family when they inevitably ask you which digital camera to buy. You might just want to print off copies to hand out just to save time and aggravation.

"I won't keep you in suspense. Here's the upshot: they're all shit. And I don't mean "shit" as a pseudo-hip way of registering a connoisseur's disapproval of the demotic or an enthusiast's disdain for the democratic. I mean that despite their cunning little shiny bodies and technologically marvelous innards, as cameras they're little stinking turdlets of fresh, steaming excrement. Yageddit? Poo. Stool. Just north of camera phones. And when I say they're all shit, I don't mean most of them are shit. Eighty percent of them are horrible, outrageous, awful, a swindle on the public and a fraud perpetrated on their purchasers. And the other twenty percent are really bad. Bah-dum-pah."
There is a follow-up post here, and a short list of recommendations here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cedric Smith

Bus Stop, 2006 Cedric Smith

I inherited a large number of photographs from a family member and have been mulling over a way to rephotograph them in an attempt to make these objects not just the past, but the present. To give them a life beyond a box in the basement. I came across Cedric Smith's work, particularly these photographs, and the bar has been raised.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


This is the space that is becoming my studio. These were taken Thursday evening before the drywall was installed. Work is moving along and I am still struggling with paint color decisions. I could use some advice.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I am reminded

I came upon these pictures of an elephant hospital in Thailand that are posted on a Russian site (there is no english attribution) and they immediately called to mind the new book by Taryn Simon An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar and the image of Kenny the White Tiger.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

TED talks

C. N. Track No. 1,Skihist Provincial Park, British Columbia 1985 Edward Burtynski

I have come across a set of lectures on the web given at the TED conferences. This one by Edward Burtynski on the Manufactured Landscape is a glimpse into his process. Be sure to take 15 minutes to watch an entertaining Vik Muniz talk about creation and creativity. You can look through a complete list of subjects and speakers by clicking on the Talks button at the top of the page. Click the little square screen icon in the upper right corner of the video box for a larger screen/lights out mode.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Two-fer Tuesday

Abandoned Garage, Old Highway 421, North Carolina 2004 jw lawson

The Window in Cheryl's Room Kevin Miyazaki

I am happy to announce two new photography blogs from fellow Wisconsinites. jw lawson Fine Art and Kevin Miyazaki are sharing their thoughts, process and work. Stop by and tell them Mel sent you.

Good Day

It has been a good 2 days. Yesterday I had Stephen Shore's book The Nature of Photographs: A Primer, second edition delivered. Today brought John Szarkowski's The Photographer's Eye ,second edition and the picture I bought in Chicago a week ago. I purchased one of Jeremy Tubbs' lenticular pieces from his Self Preservation series that he was showing in the Artist's Project space that was part of Art Chicago. I'll enjoy working under his watchful eyes. Art and understanding delivered by the mail carrier, a good day.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Spencer Tunick

18,000 people in Mexico City took their clothes off for Spencer Tunick yesterday. Slide show here. A further assertion that size matters.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Off the radar

In response to Shane Lavalette's post connecting his photographs with Google Earth and Justin James Reed's follow-up I thought I'd take a look at pin pointing some of mine. It would appear that the town in which I live and have been shooting a project is of such little import that anything lower than 30,000 feet turns into a blur. I'm not sure if I should feel slighted or secure. Or does this mean that there are missiles hidden around here somewhere and that's the reason for no close-ups?

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Kitsch n. Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts: "When money tries to buy beauty it tends to purchase a kind of courteous kitsch" (William H. Gass).

Just doing a round up from Conscientious and Alec Soth. The above cartoon is from the May 7 issue of The New Yorker in another weird example of

Synchronicity n. syn·chro·nic·i·ty (sĭng'krə-nĭs'ĭ-tē, sĭn'-)
1. The state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
2. Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Looking for input

I am in the process of setting up a studio space away from home. My current workspace is beginning to strongly resemble the homes of elderly hermits you read about where one has to weave ones way through stacks and piles to move around. It's time for bigger digs. I'm still a few weeks away from painting but I want some input. The image above is a monochromatic color theme made with Kuler with 50% grey as the base color. If you haven't played with Kuler yet then you just aren't trying to waste time. Your job is to go to Kuler, create a color theme, give it a name and let me know about it. I'll post the results and hopefully the one chosen. The space is a 950 square foot rectangle, ceiling is original pressed tin (already painted dirty beige) at 14 feet high. So this isn't entirely about me, feel free to use Kuler whenever you need to play with color.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Personal aesthetics

"are aesthetics something given to you from the outside, or is it latent potentiality, waiting there for you to recognize it as some part of your self?"

the space in between has a thoughtful post on personal aesthetics.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

J. John Priola

15th Street, 2nd Floor J John Priola

Another artist I found at Art Chicago with whom I was unfamiliar is San Francisco artist J John Priola. After what seemed to be mile after mile of large color prints (don't get me wrong, I love large color prints) his strong black and white, graphic intimacies were a sorely needed rest for my eyes. They are simply stunning. Read a current review of a San Diego exhibit here.
Amy Stein posted referring to the event as the "art mall of America". She has a definite point. A marketplace is a marketplace no matter how tasteful and highbrow (the "cafe" areas had square vases with submerged fresh orchids) the table and chair groupings set up to ease the sale at each gallery's space are. But for this Midwesterner who has few and far between opportunities to experience the work first hand, Art Chicago (at least the first time) was a tremendous experience.