Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Secret Story for ESPN

So we meet at the hotel in Fisherman's Wharf at 7:15am. The man in the mask is not there yet.

He phones in instructions for us to meet him at his residence, then caravan to the undisclosed secret location where the training will occur. We obey.

Again at 2:15 we meet in the hotel lobby. We repeat the drill, driving out to an undisclosed beach locale...something that will never appear on Google Maps. We arrive at the location. Medicine balls are handed out and we drudge thru the ankle deep sand to the training ground. The man in the mask stands on top of the hill, we stand below with our gear. Why argue? We submit to the master, we just do as we are told.

Curiously, the day ends with a full blown TV crew setting up on the ocean's edge. We go from cryptic to public, all in the course of the day. This is a curious story producer Chris Bloxom and writer Andy Katz of ESPN are putting together and brought us along to shoot the stills and try to make sense of it all. Of course, we can disclose nothing.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

When The Gods Of Photography Smile ...

Recession ?
Mill Valley photographer Mark Richards lands the biggest job of 2009, if not his entire life, documenting the ancient and not so ancient relics hidden deep within the caverns of The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
What recession?
m m
If calculations prove correct, M.R. will be bunkered in until early 2010. I've seen some of the artifacts and it's good stuff: think pop culture, think computers, and think retro everything...and you'll realize why this stuff is so important. Gotta respect the privacy of the collection, so we can't leak anything...but here is a keeper from the collection shot by MR before the bubble wrap comes off.



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Juliana Beasley Gets Aaron Siskind Fellowship

Good news for someone else: Juliana Beasley is one of the six recipients for the Aaron Siskind Individual Fellowships of 2009!
The other photographers are:
Eric Gottesman, Cambridge, MA
Deana Lawson, Brooklyn, NY
Andrew Miksys, Seattle, WA
Oliver Nowak, Elmhurst, NY
Lori Waselchuk, Baton Rouge, LA
Why should I care? Do I know J.B.? No, I don't, but her book Lapdancer answered some questions I had about men and women at a time when I needed some was deeper than anyone knew. And her current project The Rockaways is one of my favorites and its exciting to see it grow in real time before our eyes on her blog and her site. Also, she lives in Jersey City, N.J. which is where my dad is from. No, I've never been there either, but I always thought it sounded like a curious place. Sometimes you just find yourself rooting for a project that seems destined for good things. The Rockaways is that project.
Above :"Glamorous Isabelle", Rockaway Park, NYC, 2006, by Juliana Beasley

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Afraid To Title This Post

So this whole Echolilia project has been shot on digital...even an early model mediocre Cannon 5d in the early days. I always regretted the use of the digital but kind of accepted it as part of the process : I wanted my son and I to see the shots we were working on right away and work on them together. We've been trying to shoot together with film now and it has changed the's kind of been a curve ball but in a good way. But the shots we've been doing: creamy and milky with all the wonderfull tones the film provides are more lucious...more sensual, but I don't know if that is really better.
For some reason I got fixated on The Ninth Floor, a photography book by Jessica Dimmock. It chronicles a collection of heroin users she befriended in a building in NYC. I guess I heard that she shot it with a mid level digital camera, but I've tried to find confimation on that and can't. None the less, its all digital grainy static-y pushed to 6400 asa looking digital and its just killer. Ugly tension and hard colors and hard everything and it just fits the feel and scraped raw emotions of the project. It seems like it was, probably by default, the perfect medium for that subject.
Looking at my shots with film...oh, I'm afraid it's looking all sensual and Jock Sturges-esque, Sally Mann-ish, or like some color Keith Carter experiment. Love their work, but not the right feel for this project. It seems like times have moved in a way the film looks...romantic, sensual, luxurious...and digital looks more frantic, stressed out, functional. Anytime I'm shooting film the results are feeling ...nostalgic and friendly. The digital work is colder, more analytical, more about dis-passionate observation. Is this real or just some large collective lie I'm imagining? I dunno...but I feel like the dis-passionate clinical recording quality might be best for this project.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A friend pointed this out to me yesterday: some attention and a curious poem type of thing from Multimedia Muse titled "Do You Hear What I Hear?". Always interesting to see what image people start gravitating towards when a project starts getting some attention. I never know whether to steer this type of thing or you let your most sensational image be the one, even if it's not indicative of the project? I dunno...sometimes you need to just let things happen.
Interesting stuff on Multimedia Muse. Photographs with a photojournalistic bend, and then it looks like they are selling for them. I'm thankful for their attention.
Here is an excerpt from the poem:
Behind your eyelids watch a flashlight through a water bottle set like an ocean sunset, embrace a pale yellow light wrapping around your face as you inhale a floral bouquet, and hold a doll sweetly in the fog under a large black hood.
And then find your breath when it gets taken.
See it all HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Lost Nerd Convention Image

A men's magazine in Russia reached out to me last week about running a series of images from my project The Nerd Convention which was shot in 1999. I think the editor mentioned that their story had some working title called "The Future" or something like that. Sounds kind of funny, sounds kind of grim.
While scanning the prints I came across the image above I had forgotten I had taken. Not as good as the rest of the shots...the characters were just not as right on...but it seems strangely relevant right now. The swap meet guys, the pawn shop guys, selling off all of our useless computer hardware for cash.
It's odd to me that I still show those images ten years later. Is this pathetic? My reps avoid the shots, they aren't in my shiny new commercial portfolio...they just have no polish or craft, but they still make me feel good looking at them. I recall showing them to my Dad when I made them. He laughed and said " This looks like Photo your first photography class. "
I think he put his finger on it...they just look really simple and innocent...something you can sometimes rely on when the subject matter is all right there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Marla Rutherford / The Character Project

Amidst the masses at the crowded gallery I see her, holding a digital camera out at arm's length and pointing it at herself. It's like her Facebook page has come to life, before me. She stands a foot taller than myself. She is supported tonight by a wooden cane in one hand, limping among the crowds. She has a posse. Always grouped around her, they seem to be her support system, physical and otherwise. I ask her if I can photograph her and she pretends to be intoxicated. She is L.A. based photographer Marla Rutherford, in SF to celebrate The Character Project exhibition.

With her tonite is stylist Shannon Amos, Superstar Lenora Claire whom I met a few years back in the basement of a church in L.A. during a Sex Machine lecture.., Angela Aaron, Hiroshi Yoshida..oh, there are so many people in the posse I realize I haven't even met them all. Here is her brother from Monterey, asking her if she has found a is her Dad, calling on the cell phone. More posse members and their friends arrive... the evening ends and I'm bidding farewell to people whom I haven't yet met. This is the life of Marla Rutherford, at least for tonite.
What's behind the work? Here is the opening paragraph of M.R.'s statement on the work, I think she nails it here:
You can't walk up to strangers on the street, ask them to lunch, and expect them to tell you their life story in detail. But you can ask people to model for you and then, during the photo session, get them to reveal their history. Photography gives you a golden ticket into other people's lives, a chance to venture beneath the stranger's facade. That's what I love about it.

See her work HERE.
See The Character Project HERE.

top: M.R. acting crazy for the camera middle: Shannon Amos and Lenora Claire bottom: M.R.'s images

Monday, May 4, 2009

Uh Oh

How Not To Photograph:
I've Got A Scanner And I'm Going To Use It.

If you work in an office, you may have attended an office party. At the office party, you may have drunk excessively and acted inappropriately. You may have photocopied your body parts, and displayed the photocopies around the room. The next day, there is good chance you felt embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated.

What you didn't do is put all the photocopies of your body parts together into a portfolio turn it into an end of year exhibition. You didn't make a book of your photocopies or enlarge them and frame them. This is because you, like all right-thinking people, know that a picture of an arse is a picture of an arse is a picture of an arse.

What scanners almost never do is present anything profound. They are two-dimensional in every way, the artificial flavoring of the photography world. The apparent speed, ease and fun results in something cheap. And the best word to go with cheap. Nasty!

- Colin Pantall from his series How Not To Photograph.

Read it All HERE.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chair Accident Redux

Chair accident re-enactment with cereal bowl and spoon, 4 /2009