Monday, April 30, 2007

Pictures from Home

I'd love to get a project off the ground that all takes place in my home.
Does this sound lazy or really challenging? I dunno.
These images above are some shots that are starting to speak to each other a little...and then one straggler.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Out of the Czech Republic? Who would have known they were paying attention?

These folks did a very kind interview about my work this week that is so flattering and is almost embarrassing. But...I stand by my story, can't take it back now. They also put me in the company of great artists Thaniel Ion Lee, Polly Chandler, Kate O'Brien, David Scharf and Gregory Euclide. Thaniel Ion Lee's interview and images are burned in my brain. Talk about throwing down... Read it all HERE, but don't say I didn't warn you .

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Notes to a retoucher

The guy who handles everything once it leaves the camera and makes it look so good is Adam, the guy behind Sugar Digital.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

T Mobile / Publicis West Billboard in NYC

I keep forgetting that the point of this blog was to try to promote my new work and career stuff. I'm easily distracted. It's just too much fun writing about other photographers. Ah, well...

None the less, Hippyhippy Red of Publicis West sent me these shots of the T Mobile "Don't Drop Your Girl" Campaign we shot back in the fall, hanging over a Planet Hollywood in NYC of all places.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Photographer: Brad Troemel

The time has come that any photographer who is claiming to take this photo thing seriously should most certainly have written his own Manifesto. What is a Manifesto? It is a statement of your beliefs, the path you walk, the rules you follow. Photographer Brad Troemel of Aurora, Illinois, born in 1987 has the most fascinating autobiographical's like his life and personality all there, with enough projects and images to fill the Guggenheim. Looking at his work I picture him drinking in all his influences and just vomiting out photography in the best way, and totally fearless. And, of course, he's got a Manifesto titled "Thoughts On Photography".

It starts off:
"With the onset of high quality digital imaging and the Internet, the printed photograph is no longer a necessary way of displaying or editing work. Books are now the least efficient way of showing work, as they are limited by availability, the publisher's discretion over content, the the economic status of the viewer. The website allows the artist complete control over what and when their work is seen. 98.9% of public libraries in America have access to the Internet, making it possible for virtually anyone to see a website."

He continues:

I would like as many people as possible to see my works and think about the ideas they raise, if not to just enjoy the pictures aesthetically. Additionally, because humor is one of the most important aspects of being alive, I would also like to bring laughter and happiness to as many people as possible. But the internet is a source to view, not own. Everything on this LCD screen we stare at isn't actually real. In photography's case, every image you see on the internet is an image of an image of an image. Seeing art should not be an elite club, the indulgence of owning it should be. The ownership of a photograph is something I would like to keep as sacred and personal as the ownership of any other medium of art. For that reason, I will limit all prints to editions of one.

Now is the time to begin looking at photographs on the Internet as being as valid as those on the wall. ... I no longer think the print is a necessary tool in critiquing work as I look at digital imagery as being of equal validity. The physical manifestation of a photograph's only purpose is for its sale as an object to whoever is most invested in it. For these reasons, I will never print for a review or interview again."

I can't say I agree with Brad, nor do I think he is totally serious...but I totally respect it. Read it all HERE and get to work on your own Manifesto.

all photographs by Brad Troemel

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Photographer: Leon Borensztein

In 1988 I stole an invitation to an exhibit off the wall of the Penn State University Photo Lab. It was a photo that looked like a Sears Photo Studio portrait, but it was done in the subject's home. I think it was of a kid with some trophies, and then there was another shot of a tall, skinny, Native American man, posed shirtless with a gun, in front a a backdrop. looked like a Sears photo, but had the feeling that the photographer dragged in his gear, set up a backdrop in the subject's kitchen, but then somehow made a truly powerfull photograph. Bill Owens meets Sears Portrait Studio meets Richard Avedon, but the vision was all this photographer's own. I hung that card in every apartment I had after that time, but there was no internet, I didn't know anything about the photographer, just his name: Leon Borensztein. The card was an invitation to an exhibit titled Leon Borensztein: October 11-November 7, 1984, Blue Sky Gallery. This blue photo, below, is a bad reproduction of one of the shots, I just found on the web:

Years later I met a photo dealer in Berkeley, California. She took a look at my work, told me it was essentially not sellable, but then we got into pouring over the prints of that photographer, Leon Borensztein. She pulled out a copy of LIFE magazine that had a giant photo essay Leon did on his daughter. It was like Eugene Smith but way more intimate. I went home, Googled him, and came up with next to nothing.

Then 2005 brought the publication of the book One is Adam, One is Superman: The Artists of Creative Growth by Leon Borensztein. Here Borenszstein creates portraits of artists with emotional, physical and developmental disabilities with their art...but with the same vision ( and maybe even the same backdrop) as the images I saw back in the 80's. The work still looks contemporary and still is as strong as ever. A friend was trying to describe it to me and said " It's got the look and structure of Roger Ballen's work, but it is so very human and so very empathetic. "

All photos by Leon Borensztein

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Man in Pig Suit

It always feels good to have an editor choose one of your most odd-ball images to illustrate their story. You just never know how someone is going to respond to something. I think I can predict it...but never really can. This shot of a man in a pig suit seemed like a totally dada-ist effort when we shot it back in October for the series "The Last Mascot". Character actor Alan Dale showed up at the shoot, cup of warm tea in hand, and jumped into the pig suit like he had done it a thousand times. And then...he just stared back at me with all of this disturbed dignity...all I had to do was push the button.

I can't explain how thrilled I was when Amelia Hennighausen, super perceptive photo editor at Discover, approached me about using this and 6 other images in a feature about the growth stages of the brain back in December. Just got the issue today and had to share.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Photographer: Kimberly Sobanski

There is no question in my mind that Kimberly Sobanski is the most curious photographer in Mount Clemons, Michigan. What really surprised me is when I discovered that she currently works as a photographer at the local Sears Portrait Studio. The idea that her photographs are fascinating to people around the world is not surprising to me at all.

I came across Kimberly's work a year ago and thought it was whacked out, super real and had a great energy to it. A few month's back the photo editor at Esquire Russia approached me with a neat assignment. They wanted me and other photographers to go thru Flickr, find some great work, and write about it. Kimberly had a ton of work on that point it was hard deciding on what image to focus on, she had so much good stuff. See for yourself on her Flickr page HERE.

As you'll see on her page, she's got alot to say and seems to be a fountain of photography. She is able to find a photograph anywhere, or make one up out of herself and nothing else. Lock her in an empty room and no doubt she'd produce a fresh body of work, given enough time and film. It has been a while since I saw the work of a photographer who seems to be so strongly connected to the work of Lucas Samaras. His spirit is alive in her self portrait work for sure.

A couple of quotes from her page:

Photography is my life and everything in my life seems to revolve around it. I don't think I've ever been so passionate about anything.

If I wasn't going to school for photography... I would have liked to study medicine. I guess it's because of my bizarre infatuation with human anatomy. Bodies are so fascinating... so bizarre. I probably wouldn't mind working in a morgue... I think that would be an interesting job- being a medical examiner...

I hate to admit it but now I am working at Sears Portrait Studio and I have the grueling job of taking portraits of drooling babies and bratty 2 year-olds. Oh well... it's a job right?!? As long as I am doing photography I am happy.

all photographs by Kimberly Sobanski

Monday, April 2, 2007

Out Takes: Visalia, California

Just another portrait of a kid and a lap top...though this one I really like. This is Eric Cranston, age 18, photographed in his parent's home in Visalia, California.
An out take for a story originally shot for photo editor Scott Mlyn at Business Week magazine.