Friday, January 30, 2009

Impulse buy

I stumbled onto this image while looking through prints for an upcoming portfolio submission. Made me lament the passing of Polaroid once again. Then I did something impulsive. I went online and found a place that has been hoarding it and is selling it for outrageous prices. So I did what anyone else would do who should be sticking money away for the impending depreession, I bought three packs of 665 for something like triple of what they should have sold for. I have no plans for a particular project or the like, just a strong desire to have some film should an idea arise. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pumpkins and an Ape

Floydada Texas, September 29, 2008

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday morning Fujiroids

I awoke to a light dusting of snow. We've had more snow this year than the previous twenty I've lived here combined.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Citizen Photojournailsm

Citizen photojournalist.

I’ve recoiled somewhat from the notion in the past, fairly confident the power of photojournalism would be diminished if we relied too much on everyday people and their cell phone videos to report the major stories of the day, (and of course concerned about the ultimate affect it might have on my own livelihood). However when I first heard of the crash into the Hudson last week I immediately thought of the citizen photos that would inevitably appear, yet also confident there would be “real” images as well given it was NYC and the home base of some the finest photojournalists in the world. What I’ve found remarkable, and perhaps I just haven’t looked in the right places, is the relative dearth of those “real” images and the relative high quality of the citizen images. In the NY Times for example there are 16 news images and 18 reader submitted. I hate to say it but in many cases the reader submitted images are more compelling.

Check these:

and commentary here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nadav Kander's Obama's People

It’s been interesting reading the comments to aphotoeditor Rob Haggart’s posting of the “real behind the scenes” to Nadav Kander’s Obama’s People shoot and subsequent portfolio in the NY times Magazine, as well as other blogs. Lots of snarky comments criticizing the work, questioning the choice of Kander, the lighting style, and reeking of “I coulda, woulda done better”. I find it telling that the most vocal of these critics posted anonymously. For the most part an examination of the work of those few who did have the courage to post a link to their own work showed them to be artists of a lesser caliber and hardly with the credentials to take their comments seriously.

I found it curious how differently I responded to the printed version of the portfolio as opposed to the web slide show and it reaffirmed my belief that the web is an inferior medium for viewing photographs. Sorry it just is. I found I spent more time and looked at the images with a more curious and open mind, that I actually “looked” at them whereas on the web I “scrolled” through them much more quickly. On that note perhaps the web is an inferior format for serious criticism as well as most commenters seem to have blabbed out the first thing that popped into their heads rather than spending time with the work in question and looking at it in context.

Many people at APE criticized the lighting design, which is rather flat and shadowless and I have to admit I initially found it uninspiring as well. But as I spent more time with the images I began to believe a more shadowed richer light would intrude in allowing the viewer to simply see the person, which is I think the goal of this project. Avedon’s work was always more about Avedon and his own notions of the subject rather than the subject themsleves, something he never denied, whereas this project succeeds by letting the subjects tell their own stories without being burdened by the weight of technique. I suppose many might say the project fails for the same reason.

These images are of course being compared to Avedon’s landmark “The Family” portfolio in Rolling Stone from 1976, which was a purposeful source of inspiration for the Kander's portfolio, as well as Jeff Reidel’s brilliant portfolio from the campaign in GQ earlier this year, and the blog’s critics offer no shortage of suggestions of other artists who should have been given the assignment. Why not Annie, Heisler or Greenfield-Sanders. Hell why not Terry Richardson for god’s sake. The decision who to hire rests solely with the editorial staff of the publication and to suggest they somehow made a mistake only opens oneself to the same criticism anytime your own work is published.

The suggestions that it should have been limited to an American photographer was most ludicrous in my mind and I was reminded of D.J. Stout’s statement he never hired artists by zip code. As if The Americans would have somehow been better had Robert Frank been born in Chicago?

Whether Kander’s portraits live up to Avedon’s is unfair as what could? But I find them to be a compelling, if perhaps flawed, portrait of a group of people on whose shoulders the weight of expectations, hope and desires of the entire world must carry. I can only hope these people receive a better range of consideration than have Kander’s photographs from aphotoeditor’s audience.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Photographer Bailout

I got a chuckle when I heard that Larry Flynt and the Girls Gone Wild guy were calling for a Porn bailout. Naturally I came to the conclusion there should be a photographer’s bailout. Then I read a comment over on Mark Tucker’s Journal “Maybe if we wait a few more months, and things get even worse, the WPA and FSA will come rolling back into town” and I’m thinking why the hell not. In a bailout world of multi-billions a mere $100 million or so could put a number of fine documentary photographers to work creating an invaluable archive of these “interesting” times. I’d sign up. And since I'm dreaming the new crew would only be allowed to shoot film, black and white film, thereby resuscitating another dieing industry.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Couple more from the September motorycle trip. These are slowly appearing at Miscellaneous

South Dakota


Thursday, January 8, 2009

If I had only known it could be so cheap

I found this ad on Craigslist today. If only I had known it was so easy I could have saved so much time, money and effort.

Photography Education - Complete Curriculum - $20

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2009-01-06, 7:26PM PST

"This was originally a correspondence course I took in High School when I wanted to learn photography (I am actually now a professional wedding photographer :). While you could not use the "correspondence" part of this course any longer, there is still a lot of valuable information in these videos. . I am including all the course books at no charge because they do have highlighting in them.

Yes, the video host is not terribly easy on the eyes. It's dated, but he's very good at teaching the fundamentals of photography in an easy-to-understand manner. It also goes into The Business of Photography, putting a portfolio together, studio lighting, etc. It's very thorough and I definitely learned a lot from this course. It was not a cheap program ($200+), but you can have all the videos and books for only $25. I will be happy if a budding photographer can get good use out of them now.

$25 includes:
VIDEOS - The Darkroom, Photographic Light, Photographic Design, The Video Guide to Basic Photography, The Studio, The Video Guide to Basic 35mm Photography.

BOOKS (Free)- The Exciting World of Photography, Photography Basics, The Nature of Light, Camera Basics, Choosing Your Subject, Digital Photography, Business Skills for Photographers, Video Photography, Presentation Skills, Lighting for Photography, Printing Color Photographs and Slides, The Joy of Photography, Printing Black and White Photographs, Image Design, Development and Processing of Photographs, and 6 photographer activity booklets.

If you are interested, please email me and include your phone number, or call Heather at xxx-xxx-xxxxx. Cash only please. I am willing to meet you partway if you are not too far. Thank you."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Terry Toedtemeier RIP

The photography community has lost a great champion and a great artist. Outside of Portland his name was not well known but the impact Terry Toedtemeier had was illustrated by the size of the crowd that came to pay their respects at his memorial service yesterday.
I knew Terry only casually, through mutual friends yet during our conversations I came to know him as a sweet gentle man, always with a twinkle in his eye, always with a mischievous grin, a person I always wished to get too know better. So as I listened to the stories those closest to him shared I couldn’t help but feel an even greater sense of loss.