Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Predictable And Hackneyed To...

The Old Testament of the industry, Communication Arts Magazine, did an easy breezy interview for no apparent reason a month back that got released to the masses this week online. Here are some of what we spoke about:

Aside from your camera and lighting, what item could you not work without?
My toothbrush is a deal breaker. I carry extras in my glove compartment and my camera bag. I really can’t focus on a photo shoot without having my mouth clean and minty. Brushing your teeth before a shoot is like brushing your brain—it clears everything out.

From where do your best ideas originate?
The good stuff comes when you’re not trying really…when your brain is occupied with something else. That is when the raw idea bubbles to the surface. But then, it all gets polished and solidified when you bounce it off your peers. The collaborative moment is when something goes from predictable and hackneyed to utterly inspired.

How do you overcome a creative block?
Drinking coffee and taking pseudoephedrine. Collaborating on projects with my kids always seems to allow me to see things anew.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career?
This whole idea of a career in the arts is fascinating, and really only works, because it doesn’t have a map available to guide you. The idea of wandering with a flashlight, in the dark, to find your path is terrifying, but it leads to these things feeling so special when they work out. So of course, I like to say I wish I had a map to guide me in the beginning, but honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So it's pretty clear I love to talk. About myself. Duh.

Read the interview in all its splendor HERE.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Special Holiday Issues

The holiday is here.

It arrives like a brick thrown through my office window. Sometimes I duck. Sometimes it hits me in the head.

So much going on in the months ahead that I'm excited about: working on an audio spoken word piece for Daylight Books for the forthcoming book "The Photographs Not Taken", curated by Will Steacy. Then there is a photography/design neutron bomb being cooked up by Kate Osba at This Is The What. Of course we don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but we want to get you all curious.

Yes, print times. And sometimes better than ever.

Then still building the Stereoscopy Project, curious name and all, on my elegant new Tumblr space. Please join and follow it at or HERE.

Things may be quiet around the holidays...but ya never know...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guy Walking In Nature With Technology

Guy Walking In Nature With Technology was essentially what we needed to create for this think-piece in Forbes last month. The wetlands off 101 in Palo Alto really could not have been kinder to us, as was Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turn Your Dial To Tumblr

It is dark so early these days. I needed something to get me through the winter.

I wanted a place to collect images I am playing with and I wanted to see them with size and splendor.

When ECHO became this viral entity that was shared among the visually hungry high school / young adult tumblr crowd, it led me to their visually savvy world. The kids are using tumblr as an art gallery, a mood board, a way to toss things out and see them and think about them. Kind of like push pinning your photographs to your wall so you can think about them and keep them or kill them. This is what I need.

Now it's called .Stereoscopy Photographs.

It is located at

Why did you call it that?

Follow it and find out. See it grow and evolve HERE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Royalty Time Machine

Got a strange thrill the other day when I got word from Process that there were royalties headed my way from my book Sex Machines : Photographs and Interviews. In this day when artists are paying greatly to have their monographs published, this simple note and check from an esoteric book seemed like something from another era.

I had long written off that project as something that did many things to define me and alter the shape of my career, but never really was a publishing success story. I cherished the collaboration with the publisher Process / Daniel 13, and did feel bad that they didn't have the home run on their hands that we all had hoped for. But together, we did makes something we all thought was special.

See the book/buy the book Sex Machines : Photographs and Interviews HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ERFINDER : Zeit Magazine 12/2011

Ever since shooting The Nerd Convention a million years ago, these inventor stories always seem to find their way to me. I almost always welcome them.

Spent a totally enjoyable few days meeting inventors at TechShop in SF and Menlo Park last month. Everybody wants to know, of course, about Team Phoenicia. Here are some pages from the photo essay in Zeit Magazine, Germany.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wilson Archibald : born 12/11/2004

The boy with the spirit of adventure deep within him.
The one who teaches us all how to chase and catch a cat.
Happy Birthday Wilson Archibald, age 7!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Last Letter To The Editor.

And then this came in on Thanksgiving, of all days:

Hello Mr. Archibald,

My name is Jacqueline, I'm 17. Just like your son, I am autistic. I was diagnosed as moderate to severe when I was around three years old. I just wanted to say that I am touched by the National Geographic photograph of your child in the living room, it was truly astonishing. And the curtains was a nice touch.

You have truly crossed a threshold that people have been trying to cross for many years now. This is exactly how we see the world. All of us are caught behind this bubble with white and grey fog. Please, if you can, I would like to speak to you more about it. But I understand if you can't, you are quite a busy man.

Read other Letters To The Editor HERE.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Frank Gehry 11/2011

Q: Have you ever shot Frank before? Do you know what it's like?
A: No, I haven't. What can you tell me?
Q: Well, he'll just walk in and you'll push the can't really be more complex than that.
A: I think we can handle that.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Elijah Archibald : born 12/3/2001

You never know who will teach you the big lessons, do you?
You never know who is going to be on your path with you either.
Happy Birthday to Eli!
Ten years old tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Hole And A Wall

Let me show you what I'm working on.

Sure. What is it?

It's a hole and a wall.

The deeper we dig the hole, the taller the wall will be.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working For A Living

Great time at Studio 308 yesterday.
Sz, Micah, Erich putting it all together.
Coffee filtered thru a napkin makes the day on this foggy morning shoot ...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankgiving Gift

Had a quick trip to LA last month where I got to visit with Jonathan Saunders.
Time passed and life caught up with me.
On the day after Thanksgiving I discovered his gift to me.
On 11.11.11, a date that echoes itself.
Thank you.
See the gift HERE.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Buy ECHOLILIA / Sometimes I wonder, the award winning book that has been celebrated in more places than we can enumerate and traveled to more countries than we could ever hope to visit.

Eli and I sign every book. 

We both write in cursive.

We are open 24/7 during this holiday season.

Now available via Photo Eye and directly from us as well.

Buy it HERE.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letters To The Editor

If you do a project and it gets in National Geographic, the audience it hits is massive. Not just people in the world of photography, but Moms and Dads and teachers and students and doctors and friends of friends finding it in supermarkets and waiting rooms and on and on and on. ECHOLILIA was in the November issue and the letters came in from all angles all month. I'm used to people not liking what I'm up to, so criticism is really always part of the bargain...and that is there for sure. Curiously the high school photo students have grabbed onto it and embraced it and shared it in their Tumblr world...and that felt good to see that spread around. Screenshot above from Cheers, Butterfly by Sam.

But in fairness, here is a collection from the mailbag:


I work as a behavior therapist and when I saw this photos you took of your son, it was very disturbing. Don't you wonder what these photos will do for him in the future?

Being a behavior analyst, we all who have seen these photos find it appalling that you would even consider taking these photos.

Bernice D-----


Mr. Archibald-

At kuala lumpur airport I am reading your article in photo journal coupled with Eli's photos. My heart goes out to you and am impressed by your courage and how you have managed to deal with the situation.

The one thing I didn't like maybe it is solely because I am a very sensitive person, is the fact that the photos are quite disturbing! Pliers in his mouth and his bare body... Another one where he is completely naked and in a plastic box was more disturbing than any amount of words can describe!

Where he has the vacuum cleaners hose next to his ear is appalling - again his chest is bare and he is laying on dirt... Am thinking any small insect can crawl up his neck, go in the ear... Bit his lip or ear....

I applaud however your confessing in the National Geographic and saying working with him, I find myself questioning boundaries! Am I his parent now or his collaborator?

I think enough with realizing and about time to act and do something about it! You are a parent first, and you honestly don't need a random reader to remind you that fact!


Hello Timothy

My name is Joshua and I stumbled across your website via a blog site. I'm an aspiring Photographer and not much work truly catches my eye but your set following your son is beautiful. I felt almost intrusive scrolling through such personal photographs.
To me, and I could be wrong, it felt as if this was your form of communication and understanding of one anothers lives and the connection between photographer, father and son is literally breathe taking. The way you capture each fragment of his life is amazing, thank you for sharing those.
Joshua J--------
Hello Mr. Archibald -

I just wanted to contact you and let you know how moved I was by your photographs. As soon as I saw the spread in National Geographic this month I went to your website and looked through the rest of the "echolilia" collection. The work is absolutely stunning in its composition and your relationship to and love for your son comes through in each print.

I am a college student currently studying autism spectrum disorders; I feel that "echolilia" has captured something about ASD and the family members of people with ASD that every other piece of writing - in the field or creative/personal writing - has not yet encapsulated for me. In addition to studying the disorder I have two cousins with ASD, and your work touched me on both a personal and intellectual level.

I've never been compelled to contact an artist before but I wanted to briefly share with you how deeply your photographs affected me.


Jessica L------

Friday, November 18, 2011

British Journal Of Photography / Collaborations

Any story that starts with the line " Timothy Archibald used photography to escape from real life..." and ends with the line " ...or will I be putting Eli into a three-ring circus?" is um, well...very ambitious?

It certainly isn't pulling punches. And that intensity is so appreciated when done intelligently, as it is done here. Written by Colin Pantall in the November 2011 British Journal of Photography.

Great story with new insights on everyones work it seems. The story focuses projects by Tony Fouhse, Chris Cappozziello, Arlene Gottfried, Klaus Pichler, Anthony Luvera, T.A. and We Are The Youth.

People suspect that Tony, Colin and I party together all the time. But truth be told we really have never met. Except for that one time...oh, never mind.

Enjoy some spreads from the series below.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seasonal Favorites

There is the peppermint stick ice cream, the pumpkin pie ice cream, the harvest ale, the yams with know, the seasonal favorites? Only for a limited time?
I shot these images last year, put them in the freezer, and am bringing them out for a month only.
See the Seasonal Favorites HERE.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Real Life Science Fiction

Spent some days last week working on a story for a client in Germany. Details and communication for the subjects were few and far between...they kind of needed me to track down the subjects to an extent and work out the details myself. After shooting the story I felt this one subject had something special in his shop we really had to go see. He had a window for me to visit last nite and this is what I saw.

There is something special about raising my camera phone and pointing it at something otherworldly. Suddenly I'm the astronaut who landed on the moon, realized he forgot his camera, and just takes a snap with what he's got.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tales Of The City / PDN

Photo District News came out with their City Guide on San Francisco. Essentially it is supposed to spell out the pros and cons of the local and national market from the perspective of those living and working here. In the end it read like a big puff piece to me, but from the vantage point of Manhattan, I guess it seems like The Garden Of Earthly Delights out here. Happy to see new Dad Jeff Singer grab the opening spread with a great portrait as well.

I'm super thankful to have some images included in the story, very thankful that I'm remembered as a commercial photographer with projects shot for Duncan / Channon and Crispin Porter in the mix . But of course, you can't look thru the story and not think of all the killer talent the bay area is packed with who are living and working and kicking ass here on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Print Lives.

Happy to get my hands on the elegant October issue of UCLA magazine designed by Charlie Hess. Big beautiful images printed on thick coated paper and it feels good when you hold it. Inspiring work by Amanda Friedman, Everard Williams and Max Gerber as well. No links, nothing on line...this is all about the printed piece. Amen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beautiful Boy, 11/2011

My son Wilson with spray color in his hair...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Atlanta : Immediate Family

I find myself crammed into the back seat of a Lexus sedan.

Driving is Mary Catherine Johnson from the Emory Visual Arts Department, Brian McGrath Davis, the show's curator and brain behind this experiment. To my left is photographer Sandra-Lee Phipps, to my right is Jefferson Holt, a man of all sorts of artistic endevors. On my lap, all 105 pounds of him, is my son Elijah Archibald. As often occurs in the worlds of art, we all seem to form immediate family. We are here to discuss ECHOLILIA.

The idea was essentially to create a series of lectures that put ECHOLILIA in front of a variety of disciplines....the least important of which was photographers. Eli and I busted out the slide show and fielded questions for The Department of Ethics, The ILA Colloquium, The School of Medicine, The Visual Arts Department, and then a public lecture as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography, all based around an elegant exhibition in the Emory School of Medicine. Rather than any insights from me at this point, I thought I'd run this story written by Alfred Artis for The Emory Wheel:

Echolilia by Timothy Archibald. The exhibit is displayed in the Emory Medical School lobby until Nov. 30.  The pictures, featuring Eli Archibald, the photographer’s son with Asperger’s, focus on what he deems the dreamy aspects of the autistic mind, while alluding to the relationship between father and son and artist and subject.

The photographer and subject are even more engaging than the photos. In a series of six lectures culminating with a talk at the Emory Medical School, the Archibalds brought wit, personality and whimsy to an otherwise fantastical and captivating exhibit.

“At first I asked why Emory wanted me to bring [Eli],” Archibald said. “Now I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

Eli’s presence brought to life aspects of autism that film could not capture. He was given a laser pointer, which he shot at audience members and shined in the eyes of the sign language interpreter during the lecture. The interpreter ignored it, but audience members winced. These distractions occurred during the first part of the lecture when the elder Archibald discussed previous work.

Archibald explained his philosophy, found in a newspaper clipping, reading, “If it doesn’t seem like an interesting story, that’s the failure of the listener. I was fascinated with the idea of using the intimacy of photography [to listen to stories],” Archibald explained. “And there was a story in my own home, and I just had to listen.”

Enter Eli, subject and co-creator of the exhibit. He sat on a stool and faced the wall. His father asked him to face the audience. He tapped his microphone to see if it was working. He asked, “Is this thing on?” It was. But with startling aplomb, he said, “Boy, I’ve done this a hundred times.”

The effect of seeing the subject of the pictures candidly discussing himself brought a new dimension to the work. The exhibit features a maze with no ending that Eli drew. Eli, aware of the flaw, pointed out that “It’s a weird maze because it doesn’t have an ending.” He claims, “I just drew it because I was bored.”

His father, seeing a metaphor, scanned the image. This maze exemplifies their creative process. Eli would do something, whether drawing an endless maze or picking up a stick that looked like a gun, and his father would see a deeper meaning or a good picture and photograph it.

But not every image is spontaneous. Referring to a portrait of an early morning scene Eli said, “My dad didn’t just wake up with the camera on him. He made me recreate it.”

Subtle frustration is present, but it is not the focus, “[just as] it isn’t the focus of any parent-child relationship,” Archibald said. A scanned note reading “I dote like you” and “I hATE you,” written by Eli, captures the tension present in any family, stated in the unpolished voice of a little kid who, due to age, cannot grasp the gravity of his words.

In another picture of Eli, clad in a white oxford shirt, no pants, bending over, face obscured, arm inside a cardboard cylinder propping him up, one sees the surreal that is Archibald’s daily life. The camera’s lens not only shows Eli, but it indirectly shows the father, who was captivated by this pose. In knowing the father is the photographer, the image challenges the viewer to look not only at the picture, but back through the lens at the photographer.

This relationship gives the real weight to the pictures. These are not just slick, fascinating photos, they are a strained view into a dreamy landscape, that, like the father-photographer, the viewer cannot enter but only see through a lens.

Their chemistry displayed this connection. During the lecture, Eli leaned his torso over a stool while talking, unaware of his body, making an L shape. His father, watching off to the side, leaned his torso over the podium, making the same shape.

Their mirrored body language echoed the relationship shown in the pictures. More than any words, this pose brought to life their bond forged with photographs.

-Alfred Artis, The Emory Wheel, October 31, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Anonymous Computer Hacker & Ninja, 2011

Back from all of our ACP/Emory events of the week in Atlanta on Saturday night. As we rode the BART train home from the airport we realized that Halloween was waiting for us upon our return.

More on ATL later this week, but needed to share the splendor and curiosity of these wonderful costumes our kids dreamed up: Wilson is a vicious Ninja, and Eli is a member of Anonymous, the computer hacking entity / civil dis-obedience entity that took over SF a few months back.

Any questions?