Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colin Asks Some Questions

from "Sofa Portraits" by Colin Pantall

Psyched to see WIRED magazine's Rawfile take the time to shine a light on Colin Pantall's blog a few weeks back. "Get To Know Our Favorite PhotoBloggers" by Pete Brook directed all those not in the know to all that is Colin.

I was happy to answer some questions Colin threw at me the other day in the wake of ECHOLILA...and having worked similar photographic territory over the years, I knew he'd have some insights. We engaged and I learned something upon exiting. A snip of it below:

One thing someone did mention on the NYT’s letter section was that people shouldn’t romanticize the images. The story of a dad building an emotional bridge to his Autistic son is a very attractive one, but the reality of the relationship, how challenging it is on a daily basis, how it can still drive me crazy, is something I wish the project acknowledged a little more. The other week I found myself telling my wife that I wanted it to be more like the photographs were: dreamy, romantic, quiet, poetic, organic, this whole inner emotional journey where I was in control and he and I were equals.. She laughed and reminded me that it never really was like that. That was a fiction made out of the conflict….and it made some intriguing photographs. But the reality was always harder and messier. ---Interview with Colin Pantall 11/30/2010

Read It HERE.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fake Banksy / SF

On the wall at 16th and Hoff someone spraypainted a crude Banksy copy. Rough stencil, no real charm, but even in its copycat form it still did something for me. The image is like an exhale and carries just enough unanswered questions to allow you to project your own stuff into it.

At home I grab the Banksy book, Wall and Piece and look up the image. The caption reads:

When the time comes to leave, just walk away quietly and don't make any fuss.

What does it mean? It is one of those things that can relate to everything. Ending a project...realizing you are done. Starting something....that is hard...that's like giving birth...that is like pushing a rock up a hill. That is where all the effort is. Ending something....that should be like this. The thing has a life of its own now...now you need to let it go.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After Thanksgiving

Big Dave, Wilson + Cheri, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 at the home of Thomas and Mercedes Broening. Is it an important chapter in the history of photography or is it simply a family gathering? Time will tell. Some of the history was made public HERE.

Why this now? Oh...I dunno. So much time is spent trying to push this ECHOLILIA thing...this elaborate family photograph that I'm trying to sell as Art. On the day after Thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to simply share some family snapshots and see what that was like.


Seating Placards By Emma Broening, 2010

Chloe back from Georgetown University, 2010
The Last Supper, 2010
Six Kids Watching Cake Boss, 2010
Total Eclipse Of The Moon Cheescake, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Wilson's Hair, 10/2010

I thought this was a work week...and for me it was, but really the holiday kicked in for everyone on Monday. The market was packed, kids were home from school ( not mine thank god ) and people were not picking up their phone. I have a massive spam campaign just waiting for the moment everyone lands back at their desks, FYI.

What are you thankful for? That's a question for Facebook, where instant gratification works it's charms most successfully. There is a restaurant here in SF that asks you a question like that before you order...and it always takes me by surprise...always makes me think. No answers here today.

Everyone by now has seen Damon Winter's Hipstamatic photographs from Afghanistan in the post Finding The Right Tool To Tell A War Story, on LENS correct? Even the most anti - Hipstamatic folk seemed to love these images. Take a look and read the dialogue HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fingers 11/2010

Fingers, 11/2010

TA: What happened? It really was so easy for like, a long time, wasn't it?

CS: Yea...it was.

TA: I liked it all better in the photographs...it all looked so romantic and dreamy. I want that...

CS: It was never like that. I told you you were doing this to try to make it better for you...you thought you could control the whole thing in the photographs. Make it like you wanted it to be. You forgot what it was really like.

TA: What about that guy who solved all his kid's problems with photography? Its in the paper now.

CS: Nope, thats just the story. This is what its really like. You just forgot.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Interview with Myself 11/2010

Q: Why did you publish a photo of a kid doing his homework?
A: That's my kid. He's not doing homework, he's signing the book we are selling. We both sign them when we sell them. He signs his name, I sign mine.
Q: I thought you guys already signed a bunch. What up?
A: Oh, we published 20 books, figured we'd sell 7 of them and then have the rest hanging around for Xmas gifts or something. We sold all of them!
Q: How did you do that?
A: We got lucky. Discover Magazine did a beautiful spread and story in their BRAIN issue. Then TIME did an online book excerpt and then the next week NYT's did a story on LENS, written by Jane Gross. News of the book spread out of the photo community and into the mainstream and we started to sell a bunch.
Q: Any memorable moments with all the media?
A: Yah. The most fascinating thing is all the response I've gotten from other parents who really see their own kid in the images Eli and I made. People sent me photographs of their kid, things their kid created, and these shots could have fit directly into my book. It was the same channel, the same manifestations.
Q: Did it make you think about this differently?
A: Yea, for sure. I think that really this ECHOLILIA thing I made photographs of is going on in every home of every family that has a kid like Eli. All I did is operate the camera a little more elegantly than the average parent who has a snapshot camera. I was there to document it, but all these other parents are seeing these things and feeling these things too.
Q: Any low points?
A: One Sunday afternoon CNN was promoting TIME's book excerpt and had turned my photograph " The Tooth Fairy, 2008" into a click here button.
Buy the second edition of ECHOLILIA/Sometimes I wonder HERE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Football Legend Jim Plunkett

Had a good time with Stanford Magazine creative director Amy Shroads and writer Mike Antonucci at the home of football legend Jim Plunkett last month as the summer skidded to a halt. Read Mike's story "Heart Of A Legend" HERE.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chuck Close Up Close

I was in the library with my kids this weekend and found this book in the children's section: Chuck Close Up Close, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. I grabbed it for them, but when I got home I realized it was really for me.
Maybe because its a kid's book, it really distills things down to the basics, but the important basics. How he started making art, the drive to make art, the drive to make art after adversity, and the hunger for the creative process. If this was a book for adults, I think it would devolve into gossip, name dropping, who he was getting it on with, who he partied with, etc. As a kids book, it really is in its pure state.
There is really nothing more I want to say...I don't want to do a review...I just want to share my enthusiam here. I'd recommend any creative out there to grab it and dig in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fantastic Sensory Spaces / Review

Found this review tonite on the blog The Beaker Kids, with a title so appropriate I wish I wrote it myself:

Fantastic Sensory Spaces #2 : ECHOLILIA

Timothy Archibald's haunting photography of his son creates fantastic sensory spaces for our imagination.
Archibald's lastest book, Echolilia, is a play on a word often heard in Autism circles: echolalia, the mockingbird speech that substitutes for original language --"What ice cream do you want?" "What ice cream do you want?"

As an artist, Archibald easily slips into that half-world of alternate reality --the space between the echos-- appreciating and documenting where vacuum hoses are likely telephones and metal trash bins are ironic space helmets incapable of protecting us from loud alien appliances.

The photography became a mode of communication between father and son: ecolilia, Archibald's play on the word:

Around the time Elijah turn 5 we started making photographs together. I’d kind of initiate it with some direction, he’d do something that seemed unexpected…something I’d never have been able to think of…we’d look at the images together on the digital camera and try to refine them…try to improve them, try to take them in other directions. The idea of turning the creative control over to a child, while I operated the camera, allowed me to make images that seemed to have this sense of discovery to me. There was also alot going on at the time with Elijah…behavior things that we couldn’t make sense of.

"Play" is the operative word, because even though much of Archibald's work appears somber and dreamy, this is exactly the kind of play enjoyed by many kids with heightened sensory perception. By incorporating Elijah's self-chosen scanned images of himself and everyday ephemera, the collaboration becomes a high-concept floortime "circle of communication" exercise.

Archibald and his son capture the visual vocabulary of spectrum life. I've always felt autism's gift was the redefinition of language, and I've never seen if so beautifully expressed than here.

Visit The Beaker Kids HERE.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo Nerds Out Of Control, Redux

SZ, Susanna and TA behind the camera, 9/2010

Last year I created a post titled Out Of Control Photo Nerds...see it HERE.
I've always been a big fan of the work of Brian Ulrich. When we came upon this empty Circuit City outside of Minneapolis, we could not resist the chance to geek out as only photo nerds can.

Circuit City, 2008 from Dark Stores by Brian Ulrich

Monday, November 8, 2010

There Are Times

E.A. + T.A. after Live Worms Opening, 11/7/2010

There are times when you are invisible...no matter what you do you can't get any attention.
We discussed that on this blog HERE.
Then...there are times when you are a magnet. This is one of those times.
Here we have the Tidepool sponsored Taking Liberties show we were preparing for where we created a sort of ECHOLILIA installation...preceded by a book excerpt on TIME.com, followed by the neutron bomb of the NYT's story written by Jane Gross on the origins of the ECHOLILIA project. Jane cut to the heart of the project in a story so perceptive I can't deny I learned from it. Then we have all the ECHO books selling like never before and we realize CNN is promoting the book and the Tooth Fairy image from the project is now a button on the CNN homepage. And in this internet age these things hit like a grass fire and then stop in a minute and everyone moves on to the next thing...

But its not really the attention that is the thing...its the feedback. Hearing how the project hits people around the world in the Internet and in a gallery in North Beach is really an invaluable experience. So it's not just a sugar buzz, caffeine high...there is substance there...stuff to be learned. More on that in a future post. Just checking in for now and wanted to share these shots from the weekend.

Taking Liberties at Live Worms, 10/5/2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

New York Times / ECHOLILIA

New York Times' photographer Jim Estrin and writer Jane Gross put together an insightful story about how the ECHOLILIA project got started. Jane gets into my home and head in this story like no other writer has while Jim delivers the edit. Enjoy it on the New York Times Lens Blog HERE.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Taking Liberties : Friday 6:00 pm

Pals Suz and Wes help create the Echolilia installation earlier today...Michael Tompert and Diane Eames have share some secret art below....

Taking Liberties: Erik Almas, Timothy Archibald & Michael Tompert
Friday Nite Big Bash at Live Worms, 1345 Grant in SF at 6:00pm on.

Lots of parking, nice cheap lots and street parking a plenty....we were there today and scouted it our for ya! Come to the bash and say hi...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taking Liberties, this Friday!

So much going on right now, I dunno what to say.
I hate sports, but love to see my kids embrace the SF Giants...its like youth all over again. The whole family loves Brian Wilson, his beard, and the naked S&M guy who walked behind him in an interview. I love San Francisco. My wife pulled them out of school to experience the parade today...home schooling!
Giants win the World Series, ECHOLILIA first printing selling out as we speak, and now we are putting together the pieces for TAKING LIBERTIES, the Tidepool Reps sponsored exhibit at Live Worms Gallery in North Beach. Genius Michael Tompert, myself, and photo god Erik Almas bring forth the love Friday night, and then again Sunday afternoon....its a party! Good food and bev, great art and a chance to witness the debut of the ECHOLILIA kind of installation. AND, the ECHO kid himself will be at the party!