Friday, February 27, 2009

Everybody Else : Andy Freeberg

Andy Freeberg's Guardians project is a winner of the 2008 Critical Mass/Photo Lucida book award! The first show of Guardians will open at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, next Thursday, March 5, with a gallery talk on Saturday, March 7, at 3pm. I was psyched for him and thew out a question. I kept my mouth shut and just took notes:
TA: So did you transition from being a work-a-day editorial photographer to an international contemporary artstar?
AF: When I started out, editorial photography was my art, and I gave it my everything. After a while, they just became assignments for me…I tried to please the editors, please the clients...I mean if you want to keep working that’s what you need to do. I really dug shooting assignment work, but most of the time I came up with shots I thought were great but they never got used. Why am I wasting my time? Around that time the revelation started to hit me...something was missing in all of this assignment work. When I started doing my own projects, I never felt like I was wasting my time...and that felt great.
Assignment work taught me how to move thru these projects, how to execute them and really get them done. And then when you get the positive affirmation, man it really makes you want to keep going. These projects are expensive...I'm not really making money yet, but I'm getting attention, I'm getting exhibitions and now this book. But the electricity rubs off into the commercial work too: the last 5 months have been the best 5 months commercially for me in 6 years. The attention the art has gotten has made my former clients excited….they are just that much more excited in working with me because they know they are helping further the project just by hiring me. Photo editor Eric Godwin saw the first shots of Sentry and he called it right there…he said: Andy, this is a show…you must do this. And he’s hired me in support of this. He’s into it. He's known my work when its gone downhill and I was phoning it in…he’d call me on it. With this project he saw its' potential and really pushed me to do it before anyone else did. He’s been like a coach on this….and I can trust him, he won’t bullshit me.
My first personal project was an Edward Weston-esque series called "Human Nature"...nudes in nature. That was my learning curve on the art world. I thought I could take this traditional style and push it further. I took it to Photo Fest and I just got crushed. They said it was well done, but this subject matter, forget about it. It was eye opening. I realized if I wanted to move foreward in the art world, I needed to drop that subject matter. And I did.

First came Sentry. I had no idea it would do what it did…I thought it was great but I didn’t know it would open doors like it did. Conscientious wrote about it, and then boom, it hit and spread on the Internet. The next day Danziger contacted me and he had an opening for a show in 2 months. Foley Gallery was interested and Peer Gallery was interested…then the reactions started. I thought the project was a metaphore about how humans aren’t connecting….but the reactions...the New Yorkers thought it was about the gallery world, that was the surprise reaction but it resonated. I needed a follow up to that...and I had some momentum. That's when I got the idea to do Guardians.

See more of Freeberg's projects HERE.

Read and interview with Freeberg on Zoum Zoum.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everybody Else : Arthur Tress Bookshop

Legendary photographer and personal inspirator Arthur Tress has embraced BLURB and essentially opened up his own bookstore. Seven new titles of Tress' work are now available.
The range is astounding: early documentary work such as The Disturbed Land, work I've seen previously such as The Presidential Cabinet and new projects such as Wheels On Waves.
Totally exciting to see this artist linking up with the technology and making all of this work available to all of us who have been following his path over the years. I had the good fortune of seeing Tress give a talk about his work and creative process when I was 16 and never really made a photograph the same way again. So many of the shots I've been working on in Echolilia involving my son role playing with an object come directly from the Tress vocabulary and sense of imagination. If ever anyone got into a child's brain and made it tangible, it is Tress.

Visit the Arthur Tress Bookshop HERE.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Everybody Else : Kalina Magazine

Brooklyn based photographer Noah Kalina launches Kalina Magazine.

Kalina got Internet famous/artworld famous with Everyday, a project of such epic proportions and simple execution that it really couldn't be ignored. And of course it wasn't. Kalina dropped me a note last year:
To this day I still get 2-3 emails from people telling me how much of a profound impact 'everyday' the video has had on them. As much as I love it, I fear that it is the only thing I will ever be known for. When I complained about that to a friend once, they said, 'at least you are known for something'. I got even more depressed.

Now out and available for purchase is Kalina Magazine.

Volume One is titled "Why Won't You Love Me". The magazine is all in B&W. The photographs don't even look like his...they have the author-less feeling of stock photography. Here is a pretty woman, in her twenties. Cute in a real healthy type of way, sharing an easy laugh and a smile with the photographer. She likes him, trusts him, they're all in this moment together. At first it looks like the photographer is looking at his girlfriend, trying to capture her smile, her laugh and all these things he adores. The viewer is waiting for them to connect...for her to share something with him, some intimate insider smirk or smile. Years go on, time progresses. She looks a little older. The relationship never changes, it never gets intimate. Here she is, image after image, looking like the photographs that come included in a frame when you buy the frame at the store.

I'm all into trying to photograph a relationship...that's what I'm wrestling with in Echolilia. Kalina has kind of done it in a high concept type of way. This is the relationship you want to go further, the friend you want to get to know better, deeper, but it just never gets past the surface. By the end of the magazine you are frustrated by the relationship he portrays but kind of wowed by the artistic experience you just witnessed. Good stuff. It's a challenging high concept work that reaches far and delivers. It's not really fun to look at ...not at all. It's just so much more cerebral than that.

Buy it HERE

all photographs copyright Noah Kalina

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Everybody Else Week Haiku

Photographer escapes life , goes to Yaddo.
Sends forth a silver print with Edgar Allen Poe on it.
He is enjoying himself way too much.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Everybody Else Week

Ok, so I'm wrapped up having fun putting together a kind of production heavy shoot for Discover Magazine with stylist Shannon Amos and finishing up a glammy and unexpected portrait series for Kathryn Roach of 7 x 7 Magazine here in SF. I can't share any of this stuff yet, but there is good stuff all around me. So this week will be dedicated to everyone but me. No spam, no weird pics of my kid, no scans of pharmaceuticals...this is the time for sharing!

Everyone already knows about the karmic link between NYC photographer Jonathan Saunders and Ponzi scheme criminal Bernie Madoff by now. If you don't...oh, don't's been covered by no less than The New York Times. You can read about it but the cliff notes essentially states that as Madoff falls Saunders gets exponentially richer and famouser...or more famous. It's about time. One never knows who their fortune will be linked to now, do they?

Read some media frenzy HERE.

Read about it in The New York Times HERE.

See the photograph by Saunders below:

photograph by Jonathan Saunders

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Optic Blast Redux

Tartine in SF hosts the final week of Suzy Poling's exhibit Zone Modules And Monoliths, shutting down on the 26th. Poling is a bud, but this show is not is part exhibition and part installation and all the parts added up together delivers the optic blast. Cyclopsian structures, chakra pyramids, static wave pattern landscapes and 3d space debris inhabit the walls. All blacks and whites and grays...kind of reminds me of pictures from the moon where there is no color, no sound...but a powerful pallete of everything else. Find Tartine HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Playland: the only 3-d glow-in-the-dark, black light pinball room in El Cerrito, CA

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Massive Spam Campaign

Had a strangely busy week last week shooting a bunch of portraits for a bunch of odd bubble to occur amidst this struggling economy. When you are shooting a bunch you can get into a groove....sometimes the pictures just seem to present themselves to you. Gimme dat, I'll take 'em.
Amidst all of this I was trying to get my head around sending out my first email advertising campaign ( spam...). Technologically tricky thing to figure out for someone like me, but finally got it out today. The first response I got, within seconds of it launching, was from a Creative Director in N.Y. A strangely double edged sword, his/her response was this:

Hi Tim - Love this shot and even put it up on my wall. :) One question ... what service do you use to send your emails out? I'm getting upwards of 30 of them from artists and photographers a day, and while I appreciate seeing all this great work, as you can imagine, it's a burden to my inbox. Thanks for any guidance you can give.

Kind of sweet, but certainly makes one question their motives. It wouldn't surprise me if this is all made illegal in a few years. But for now I wanna try it and see what comes of it. My apologies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mother Jones

Here is a portrait I really liked when I shot it this summer of Laura Allen of The Greywater Guerrillas. Shot for Mark Murrmann, p.e. at Mother Jones Magazine....I suspect the story has been killed.
But we get to share it here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nerve : The First 10 Years

Just got this book in the mail last week, Nerve: The First 10 Years, published by Chronicle Books. Kind of beautiful with this pink plastic glow-in-the-day cover jacket...and the design is challenging in all the right ways.
Back before Rachel Hulin was the voice that we all know as Rachel Hulin, she was the photo editor at Nerve. Somehow we crossed pathes as I was trying to promote my book Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews. Nerve published an exerpt that led to great publicity around the time of the exhibition and the rest is photographic history...or something like that. Seeing the work now in this anthology feels kind of like watching a rerun of The Brady's familiar, kind of fun to see it packaged a little differently...but there is ennui...I've seen it before and the sense of accomplishment just isn't there. Last year two images from Echolilia were published in the Hijacked Volume One anthology and I was life for a new project! Let's see if it looks different on the page than it does on my wall! I just lingered over it and would revisit it over and over. I couldn't put the book away.
So what's the lesson? I guess it is obvious: pushing the new stuff is exciting, the sense of discovery when something is recognized is addictive...the uphill battle is more fun than coasting downhill....all of those things at once.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Born Again

Rancho Thatchmo, previously thought to be blog history, quietly re-started dropping the posts a few weeks back...same non-stop gauntlet every day, no sleeping or sick days.

Take a look...feels the same but something has changed I think? It's not about youth and living forever anymore, it now seems to be about history: his, his family, archival photographs, artists, outlaws and more close ups of scars for all the freaks in the audience.

So I dunno...maybe it is still about living forever. Revisit it HERE.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1985 Facebook Time Travel

Lots of postings in the photo blogosphere about the power of Facebook....and I never understood why it merited such attention. TB wrote about it's false optimism here and WTJ wrote about it and embraced it here. To me it just seemed like annoying computer thing to put time into.
Got a bunch of photographs posted on Facebook last week from a friend from 1985 ( some posted above and below) , pics we made together, or were both in, or had relevance to our lives at the time that she saved. It felt like time travel....I had forgotten this chapter, these places, these objects and here they were, in front of me on my computer, silent, made of pixels....and it just seemed like it made life richer. Personal anthropology, the power of the snapshot, and why all of these things are so important. For whatever reason, this upload / download defined the week. Made me want to shoot more snapshots of everyone, shoot more home movies of everything, appreciate everything just as it is.

"Looks like snapshots from a True Crime novel set in a working class town. You'd not be the killer, but the killer's best friend. Everything looks dirty....the curtains, the pillowcases, the i-love-jesus bumper sticker..." a writer friend responded when I sent him the shots. I kind of viewed them the same way, like it wasn't really my life...but memory keeps things warm. It automatically edits out the bad stuff, it edits out the dirt that photographs capture so well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pseudoephedrine Pattern

The first pseudoephedrine tablet of the season brings you everything. You can see thru walls, easily close the sale and just truly enjoy the sun, the power chords of the music, your all seems so easy and so approachable. Your wife is your best friend. Your friends are your support one is annoying, no one is a negative energy drain. It is power and it is happiness, and it takes away your stuffy nose. I swallowed that and a cup of coffee. Eli is eating breakfast and talking. I sit at the table and listen :
The BART train that we took to Milbrae was the 10:14 train. While we were waiting, there was another train that came into the you recall? Now do you think that was outbound or inbound? I think it was a Richmond bound train, but it did say it was on the Yellow line. Which was the endbound bus that connected? Was it 77? I think it was 77 or 74. If it was the 74 line, that is the one that we can take to connect to the Caltrain system and we got the 23rd street line, and that is an 11:49 arriving bus. Four car train for San Francisco now approaching platform four. Bvvvvvvvvv! That was the Caltrain line, thats what it sounds like. You know what is funny? There isn't really a color line for the Richmond to Milbrae line. It is a train, but it doesn't have a color. It is not even listed on my map. Richmond to Daly City is Red. Millbrae to SFO does not exisit anymore, its not on the new map or on the maps on the train, but it is on a Fares and Schedules map that I used to have. The green train is Daly City to Fremont. The orange train is Fremont to Richmond. Pittsburg Bay point to SFO is Yellow.
A friend from high school was catching up with me, telling me about her daughters, how they remind her so much of herself. I explained to her that I really never see myself in is like he is from Mars or something. He looks like my wife and I, but he just so clearly is wired in his own way. I tell her this and she responds with an answer that seems to make sense:
You always were attracted to that which was different...don't you think Eli came to you like this for a reason?