In a hotel room on Sutter Street, a few blocks from the Hyatt, a young photographer and graphic design duo fabricate a fake pass to the SPE conference. The pass has my name on it. I can now go anywhere.
There at the bar, curiously enough, is the braintrust of Duncan Channon Advertising. What are they doing here? All the guys I photographed in a fight HERE are there. For a moment I'm confused by these worlds intersecting.
Then...at 7:00pm, we gather to hear Sally Mann speak. The mother of all mother photographers, here, and everyone acknowledges her contribution. Enthusiasm is high as the masses fill the ballroom.
She is introduced, she speaks. Photographs dot the lecture, a reading from a memoir she is writing, with a series grouped at the end. Last slide, thank you, the lights go up. No questions, no answers.
Why would she not want to hear from the masses? They adore her. She has no enemies. This is the shape the lecture had taken. We accept it. We exit.
Stylist Shannon Amos and I have collaborated for years now, really to the point where we simply brainstorm our concepts and then she runs with it. No one needs to really "sign off" on anything...it's all about trust, history, and a shared and evolving aesthetic.
Yesterday we did our first shoot together at Amos Studios in Emeryville. Bagels pulled out of the oven, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in the fridge, high ceilings and drive up parking. What more could a jet setting photographer want?
Trying to spend time weaving together various images to make a PDF portfolio to work as an easy email-able introduction to my work.
A series, a book, a story- all of those projects typically are easy to edit. A portfolio is more like a greatest hits type of collection, and is always much less satisfying for me. I can never really hit it right or weave the elements together to make a bigger statement.
But I'm trying...
Here are some screen shots from my attempts. Enjoy.
When Guillaume Ferrand, editor of Veine Magazine approached me about being included in The War Issue, I actually thought he had the wrong photographer. Perhaps he was looking for James Nachtwey?
What transpired was an insightful interview that opened my eyes for sure. Here is a chunk to give you a taste of what he is up to:
GF : For me, this project fits with the theme of war, because of the way you decided to represent your relationship with your son. Is it a fair point of view?
TA : War is a powerful metaphor, and surprisingly I feel it is accurate. War is a broken relationship, one where each party is certainly not harmonizing with the other. Was I at war with my son? Well, that sounds more like a place you 'd find yourself in with a teenager. But I 'd agree that he and I were not understanding each other, and this was our attempt to have that understanding.
Really, I don 't care about autism. I 'm not interested in it at all, but it is the fuel that really fueled this project. What I do care greatly about is the power of relationships. For whatever reason photography here worked as the bridge to let us understand each other, learn about each other, and suddenly, due to the very democratic nature of a camera, we could work as peers together.
GF: Did you want to show the beauty that all those moments can bring ?
TA: I was one who always said that raising kids is totally impossible for me. But just because it's hard doesn't mean I don't like it. ECHOLILIA shows the tension and the struggle and the feeling that there is a channel he is on that I am not on, but I can see it and respect it and still look at him with love, but acknowledge our difference. So sure, the process of raising kids is filled with beautiful moments. But for these things to seem real, the beauty also has to have an acknowledgement of the struggle, the tension, the chaos as well.
Read The War IssueHERE.
When SF advertising agency Duncan Channon commissioned us to create a group portrait of their team for their forthcoming feature story in CA, we left the meeting a little confused.
Should we get risers for people to stand on? How are we going to get everyone to smile? Oh...I have an idea: let's get the really crazy people up front...can we do that?
In the end, the agency wasn't really able to tell me what this experience would be like, and I was totally unprepared to address what we'd find. Let's just say it was more of a large scale collaborative performance art piece than an executed photograph really. It felt like creativity, like live performance in the most immediate way. And in the end we all were in awe of our epic creation. Art direction by Anne Elisco-Lemme and retouching by Faye Champlin.
This whole dialogue is so powerful and so priceless. I rarely want to be a link source, but it's really so great I had to share it here.
Little Brown Mushroom took on the issues of photography and motherhood in a late February post. Carrie Thompson, Greta Pratt, Beth Dow, Paula McCartney, Danielle Mericle, Amy Stein and Linda Rossi share their thoughts and viewpoints.