Archives for the month of: December, 2008

The photo blog is definitely in a moment of self reflection.  Many bloggers out their are the midst of crisis of faith so to speak, or they feel that the entire  genre needs to be revised. But I think much of their angst comes from expectations.  For me, from day one Ground Glass & WIP have been about community.  I love getting emails from photographers I don’t know and I love that I have made some wonderful friends.  As many of you may know, Amy Elkins and I had never met or even emailed before we started WIP and now she a big part of my life.  The one unexpected result of cyber relationships, is that they often flower into analog relationships.

Another thing that happens, is that I often see work somewhere or come across a name but never quite become really aware of an artist’s work.  And then one day, through my blog or someone else’s, I suddenly find them.  Today I got a lovely email from artist Bea Nettles. I am certain I have seen her hair loss work more than once but somehow never managed to find her.  But I have now had the pleasure of going to her site discovering a unique and talented voice. Her body of work is truly original and very inspiring.  I love seeing people make work that is personal and that seems to exist completely outside the traditional structures of the contemporary art market.  Bea also has an incredible collection of books for sale on her site.

So while they are certainly good and bad things about photo blogging, and there is something to be said for operating outside of the grid, I still prefer to be a part of a system that allows artists to connect and share.  Even if it is not perfect.

Cover of Artist book, “The Observer”

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From “Turning 50″

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Bea Speaks about her Tarot project




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When I first started making my cosmetic surgery work and showing it, people often responded with a quizzical look, as in “but everyone is doing this?” Despite these reactions,  I felt that the obsessive and never ending consumerism that had developed around beauty treatments needed to be examined. I have often been accused in my life of being stubborn, but there are moments in your life when you realize that no matter what other people think, you should follow your own instincts.  I know the tide is changing when the NY Times Style section writes an article like the one below.

What is most interesting to me about the trends in cosmetic surgery is not that women are getting boob jobs to seem more attractive, but that it is being touted as a necessary part of job competitiveness.  That we are cutting back on lipo now that the economy is bad, is quite telling – we now value youth over wisdom in all arenas.

Happy Holidays.

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The New York Times



December 18, 2008
Skin Deep

Putting Vanity on Hold

WITH hindsight, the first decade of this century may come to be viewed as the era of the mass medicalization of attractiveness.

The advent of cosmetic Botox in 2002 posited the eradication of wrinkles as an affordable luxury amid a booming economy.

On television, reality shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “Dr. 90210” normalized vanity medicine, making cosmetic operations seem cuddly and carefree. Meanwhile, lenders rushed in to offer specialized lines of credit for cosmetic procedures.

And, somewhere along the way, the body became the new attire, a mutable status symbol subject to trends in proportion, silhouette, technology and disposable income.

But now, as the country plunges into recession, will financial hardship demote the pursuit of physical perfection?

Will the vogue for a smoothed face in which only the mouth moves, or a mix-and-match body of mature breasts atop boyish hips become outmoded? Will aesthetic values loosen up, allowing the occasional wrinkle to take on a certain measure of authenticity?

“There comes a point when you are putting too much time and money into your vanity,” said Peri Basel, a practice consultant in Chappaqua, N.Y., who advises cosmetic doctors on marketing strategies. “For me, the vanity issue is: Where does it stop? If you are going for buttock implants, do you really need that?”

Indeed, a few indicators suggest that financial constraints are beginning to interrupt the narrative of better living through surgery — at least temporarily. Sixty-two percent of plastic surgeons who responded to a recent questionnaire from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said they had performed fewer procedures in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, according to the latest anecdotal information from the group.

At the society’s annual meeting last month in Chicago, some prominent surgeons said they had openings and for the first time agreed to negotiate fees with patients.

More recently, a quarterly earnings statement from Mentor Corporation, a breast implant manufacturer, reported that the number of breast implants sold in the United States decreased 5 percent during the three months ending Sept. 26 over the same period last year. In the last month, two manufacturers of cosmetic medical devices have closed.

“In Orange County, where plastic surgery is a part of their culture, doctors told me business is down 30 to 40 percent,” said Thomas Seery, the president of realself.com, a site devoted to reviewing vanity-medicine procedures. “That tells me something is fundamentally changing there.”

Even a few celebrities, those early adopters of appearance technology, have started to deride the plasticized look that sometimes accompanies cosmetic interventions, a harbinger perhaps of a new climate of restraint in which overt augmentation seems like bad taste.

Call it a Botox backlash. Last month in interviews with different magazines, the actresses Courtney Cox and Lisa Rinna said that they did not like the look of excessive facial injections.

“It’s not that I haven’t tried Botox — but I hated it,” Ms. Cox said in an interview in Marie Claire. “You know you’ve messed up when people who are close to you say, ‘Whoa, what are you doing?’ ”

Meanwhile, Ms. Rinna, late of “Dancing With the Stars,” said that she had gone overboard with skin-plumping injections and planned to cut back.

ACADEMICS who study body image and body modification said it is too soon to know how financial constraints might alter attitudes toward beauty maintenance. But several researchers forecast how consumers might reappraise the idea of appearance upkeep in light of basic needs, family obligations, romantic aspirations, professional status and personal values. Although a recession may propel some people to seek more procedures, many consumers will reduce or forego cosmetic treatments, they said.

In uncertain times, people tend to re-evaluate their priorities, dismissing aspirational purchases as frivolous, said Victoria Pitts-Taylor, a professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

“Cosmetic surgery is going to become the new S.U.V., something that you can do without, that is less justifiable for you and your family,” said Dr. Pitts-Taylor. She is the author of “Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture.”

J. Kevin Thompson, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, theorized that people might reduce spending on their appearance after reassessing their immediate needs. “It would be a rational decision to put the safety of your home first,” said Dr. Thompson, who has studied body image disorders and obesity for 25 years. A psychological theory called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in which physical necessities like food, health and security trump conceptual needs like self-esteem, may account for people who choose basics over beauty, he said.

Dr. Thompson, who emphasized that he was speculating in the absence of survey data, suggested that people may also make decisions about their appearance by scrutinizing the grooming practices of their friends, acquaintances, and even celebrities, a behavior called social comparison.

“In terms of body image, they look around at their friends,” Dr. Thompson said. “If everyone is cutting back, they may change the norm based on what others are doing.”

Meanwhile, fence-sitters who were contemplating but had never undergone a cosmetic procedure may now lose interest.

“Looking at the economy and their bank balances, they might now be saying ‘No’ and be glad to have a reason to resist the beauty imperatives of cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Pitts-Taylor said.

And what about people who already consume cosmetic medicine on a regular basis?

Ms. Basel, the practice consultant, said she had amended her beauty routine, but had not relinquished her desire to manage her appearance.

“Let’s face it, if you don’t look great, you are not going to your reunion and you are not going on Facebook,” said Ms. Basel, who blogs about beauty at itsthelatest.com. She described her cosmetic cutbacks: out went the personal trainer, in came the gym classes; antiwrinkle injections are a must, but major operations have gone by the wayside.

Amy Krakow, the president of Propaganda Marketing Communications, a public relations firm in Manhattan, who had been interviewed for an article in 2007 about high-maintenance beauty routines, has also made some concessions. She recently changed her hairstyle to include bangs — a camouflage technique that allows for fewer Botox injections, she said.

“I’ll change my hair colorist,” Ms. Krakow said. “I’ll give up my crazy Japanese hair straightening. I’ll stretch out my Botox. I’ll even go for fewer plastic surgeries. But I do have to look good in my business. I look younger, therefore I can represent younger and hipper clients.”

Although economic constraints may cause some people to hit the pause button on beauty interventions, financial uncertainty may impel others to try it.

After all, body modification is more than a desire to increase attractiveness. It is an attempt to impose control over life by molding the flesh.

Deborah A. Sullivan, a sociology professor at the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, said that people who feel forced to forgo cosmetic medicine might experience a loss of control in their lives.

“I think it will intensify the sense of downward mobility: ‘I can’t even get my wrinkles treated,’ ” Dr. Sullivan said. She is the author of “Cosmetic Surgery: The Cutting Edge of Commercial Medicine in America.”

Against a tide of people eschewing cosmetic medicine in the new economy, she also predicted a counter current of consumers having procedures to feel proactive.

“People who would not have considered it, when they get laid off at 45, 50, 55 and are back on the job market, might consider it as they try to enhance their human capital,” she said.

Cosmetic surgery has weathered other cataclysms. For example, consumers cut back on beauty operations after the terrorist attacks of 2001, a year in which procedures like liposuction, tummy tucks, nose jobs and eye-lid procedures declined, according to estimates from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Dr. Pitts-Taylor predicted that cosmetic procedures will experience a resurgence when the economy eventually recovers. “It is absurd to suggest that cosmetic surgery is dead or will not be used by the middle class in the future,” she said.

Doctors and manufacturers are counting on it.

On Dec. 1, Johnson & Johnson said it planned to buy Mentor Corporation, the breast implant manufacturer, for about $1.1 billion.


If you, like me, are being bombarded this year with emails advertising sales on top of sales with extra discounts on top, you may want to take a moment to read this short article by Anne Quindlen on Newsweek.com.  It is right on target.  With these offers, I can’t help but get sucked in and seeing those discounts makes me almost think I have money to shop, almost. But it also makes it harder to not indulge, sort of like working at a chocolate factory.  This little tidbit from the article helps me put it into perspective:

Hard times offer the opportunity to ask hard questions, and one of them is the one my friend asked, staring at sweaters and shoes: why did we buy all this stuff? Did anyone really need a flat-screen in the bedroom, or a designer handbag, or three cars? If the mall is our temple, then Marc Jacobs is God. There’s a scary thought.

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The Christmas Spirit reaches some Transient Flats children after Christmas via the city dump. (Text courtesy of the California State Library)

“Prints and Negatives,” c. 1935 – c. 1960
Department of Social Welfare
F3480:2–71N
California State Archives
Sacramento, California

Check out our new show at www.wipnyc.com

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I came across this very effective use of photoshop and multimedia technology on the nytimes.com.   While the current economic crisis has most people feeling pretty down, one can only imagine what the holidays must be like for America’s military families.  It may sound like new age mumbo jumbo, but until we are finally free of the dark shadow that has hung over this country for the last 8 years, we will not proper as a nation.

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© The New York Times


One good thing that has come from the digital revolution, is that the average person has access to cameras that can make stunning images.  I stumbled across these online, from the Butterflies of Africa Centre. The center is devoted to the study and protection of the butterflies and other animals.  And the images on the site are just plain beautiful.

Looking at this work makes me think of the future of the vernacular photograph. One of my favorite examples from the past being Kinsey, photographer.  The popularity of the Disfarmer work, and many other books that have used vintage everyday photographs, show the incredible and surprising value that this type of work can possess.  But now that we have gone “digital” will all of the billions of jpegs being created be “discovered” someday in the future?  Will people come across discarded or past down external hard rives, memory sticks or dvd’s at garage sales and flea markets? Will they be able to piece together the same kind of visual records?  And what of websites?  Once their hosting service expires they simply cease to exist for all intents.  As a photographer still shooting film, and making physical prints and books, I suppose I am a bit of  Luddite.  But there is something to be said for a photographs ability to travel to through time.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

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Well the clock is ticking, the Daniel Cooney iGavel auction ends tomorrow, so these are your last few hours to get your bids in. For those of you not here, I have to say the internet does not do it justice, the print I have in the auction is rather beautiful in person.  And also available are great Will Steacy & Noah Kalina images and many others.

Good luck to you all.

A preview of some of my new UV work.

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And below is available now at iGavel

Ultraviolet Beauty #28

Edition of 8

20×24 inches

Silver Gelatin Print

Ultraviolet Beauty #28, 2008


The Review Santa Fe deadline is fast approaching and I have been trying to decide if I want to enter this year.  It seems worth it because it would give me the chance to introduce my new UV work all at once.  I wrote last year about my devastation over being rejected.  In retrospect my edit could have been much better.  And I am now much less emotionally involved in contests. I guess I have entered enough of them, and gotten to win, (I worked much harder on my Critical Mass top 50 entry) to have a healthier understanding of them.  Portfolio reviews can be a great way to make jumps forward in your career and to foster relationships.  I asked two photographers who were lucky enough to attend last years review to share some insights on applying.  Also, APE also has a good post up on contest entries.   I will say there are a couple basic things I have learned from WIP that are important for entries, especially online.

EDIT, EDIT, EDIT!!!!!!!!

Then edit again. Some very basic rules:

If an image is in your edit because just because you personally love it, dump it. If it is an image you always have to explain to people, dump it.  If you have it in because you think it is important for content, dump it.  If you have to keep trying to find a way to make it “work in the edit,” dump it.

In a contest situation you need the best possible group, each image should be able to stand alone and be part of a harmonious group.  One picture that is less strong is enough to sink you.

So here are some thoughts from two of last year’s reviewed.

Sarah Sudhoff

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Tips for Review Santa Fe:

I applied for Review Santa Fe two years in a row with the same work. The first year I sent digital files and was not accepted. I read the reviewers comments on the CENTER website and noticed many of the judges preferred to review prints. So when I applied for the second time I sent the exact same project but as prints and got in. Actually, I never got the official email from CENTER that I had been accepted, it got lost somewhere in the ether. Luckily I called Maggie to check in and she relayed the good news.

I also suggest you carefully read over all the reviewers biographies and pay close attention to what they wish to see and not see. I knew there might be specific reviewers who would be uncomfortable reviewing my work due to its content. Surprisingly everyone I met with gave my work the attention and respect it deserved.

I attended Fotofest earlier in 2008 and so when I attended Review Santa Fe I had very specific questions about my work which I posed to gallery directors, editors and my peers. Having a list of questions about your work helps the reviewer understand what it is you wish to walk away with. You only have 20 minutes so it never hurts to get straight to the point.

Aside from showing work, reediting my sequence several times and bringing along leave behinds for editors, museum and gallery directors and all the wonderful photographers I met who were also attending the review, I recommend being prepared for altitude sickness. I saw several people suffering in different ways. I myself had terrible headaches, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite. One girl had nosebleeds. This is not to deter you from attending but just be prepared so you can make the most of your meetings.

Above all else have fun and be confident and passionate about the work you are sharing.

Eric Percher

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My advice: wait* + shoot**

Two years ago I pulled the plug on my application at the 24th hour.  Sitting at the computer, everything ready to upload for REVIEW, I realized that my group of 20 fell well short of communicating my vision.  I decided then/there to set the following year’s REVIEW as my deadline for getting everything about that project out of my head and into the portfolio.

Caveat Emptor: But dont take this advice the wrong way (fuel for your procrastinator).  When I saw the work that made it to Santa Fe this year (and learned about all the projects that didnt) I was humbled-without the extra time and work I just wouldnt have made the cut.

Time at reviews is time not shooting-maybe this is obvious but sometimes it seems that we have all gone review crazy.  Some of the best advice I got in Santa Fe: “dont become a regular on the review circuit”.

Thanks to Eric and Sarah for sharing their experience. And if you are looking for a review closer to home, this weekend is the SPENE conference.  I will be speaking on a panel about photo blogging, with Amani Olu, Amy Stein & Laurel Ptak on Saturday at 10:30.  Artists Zoe Strauss & William Lamson will be speaking at the event and there will be a portfolio review.  Info is below

SPENE REGIONAL CONFERENCE: STATE OF THE ART
Hosted by FIT in New York City
December 13, 2008

The Northeast Conference: State of the Art is rapidly approaching. Early
Registrations must be postmarked by December 7th. Please find below the
conference schedule and list of portfolio reviewers. For registration and
other conference info Please see
http://www.spenortheast.org/conference08.html.
Conference Chair Allison Wermager, Co-Chairs: Brad Paris and Jessica Wynne

For more information contact allisonwermager@gmail.com

Schedule
8:30 Registration Begins

9:30 Image Maker Presentation – William Lamson

10:00 – 12:00 Portfolio Reviews

10:30 Panel Discussion – Photo Bloggers: Amy Stein, Laurel Ptak, Cara
Phillips

12:30 Members Meeting

1:00 – 3:00 Portfolio Reviews

1:30 Panel Discussion – State of Photographic Education
Ann Chwatsky, Moderator, NYU Steinhardt Studio Art Dept.
Susan Johada, Professor of Art, U of Massachusetts
Susanne Nicholas, Associate Director of Education, International Center of
Photography, NYC
Nancy Goldring, Professor, Montclair State College, New Jersey
Peter Clough, Graduate MFA Student, NYU Studio Art Dept.

3:00 Image Maker Presentation- Sasha Bezzubov

4:30 Image Maker Presentation – Craig Kalpakjain

7:00 Key Note Speaker Zoe Strauss

Portfolio Reviewers

Chris Ehrmann
Deputy Photo Editor at Blender Magazine

Michael Mazzeo
Photographer, educator, and founder of The Michael Mazzeo Gallery.

Carrie Levy
Carrie Levy is a photographer and teacher based in New York City.

Tim Soter
Photographer

Allyson Torrisi
Photo Editor

Priska Juschka
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art in Chelsea

Susanne Miklas
Deputy Director of Photography Newsweek

Prim Chuensumran
Art Director

Wendy Olsoff
Owner P.P.O.W. Gallery

Jill Waterman
A photographer and writer based in New York City, Jill Waterman is the
editor of PDNedu, the ASMP Bulletin, as well as a contributing editor for
many other projects with PDN Custom Media & Events.

Devon Dikeou
artist, editor/publisher of ZING Magazine and collector.

Chad Griffith
NYC based portrait photographer.

Yelena Yemchuk
Photographer

Mei Tao
Photographer

Rudy Archuleta
Photographer
http://www.rudyarchuleta.com

Darrick Harris
Photo Editor, Cookie Magazine
Peter Hay Halpert
Peter Hay Halpert is an art dealer, with exhibition spaces in New York and
Philadelphia.

Laurel Ptak
Independent curator, educator and photographer

Alana Celii and Grant Willing
Independent Curators

Amy Stein
Photographer


If you had to ask me what has meant the most to me so far in my pursuit of photography, I would say two things. First, it has allowed me to step away from myself and to become stronger and more able to accept and utilize criticism. Second, it has brought some of the most special, intelligent, and talented people into my life.  For that alone, the toil, money and sacrifice is worth it.  I think that is why early photographers formed movements and groups, they were all like-minded individuals who wanted to spend time together.

One person who came into my life almost at the outset of my photo journey was photographer Jesse Chehak. When I was in school, even before I started studying with Joel Sternfeld, I was lucky enough to get an internship at a newly launched photo agency, Redux Pictures. One of my first jobs there (of many) was to go through every magazine that came in the door, pick out good work and then cold call photographers about stock representation.  Well Jesse Chehak was one of my first picks.  And in a strange twist of events he had recently studied with Joel, who I had just begun classes with.  I vividly remember looking at his portfolio for the first time, even at that stage in my photo knowledge, I recognized he had something special.  My instincts were right because shortly thereafter he was selected for PDN 30, signed with a top agency and has not looked back since in his photo career.

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Near Palmer, Alaska. 2007

So it has been lovely for me to see his career grow and run into him from time to time, as I finally made my way as a photographer.  One thing that has always stuck me about Jesse, is what a positive and sunny attitude he has, so often those of us trapped in the cycle of taking our work out and waiting for our turn at bat (that may never come) bad mouth everything and everyone and get caught up in a negative cycle.  I certainly have done it myself on occasion.  I often have conversations about the process of going from making a great body of work, to being offered a solo show.  Sometimes it seems like some sort of magical line that is impossible to cross. So I asked Jesse to answer some questions about how his first Chelsea solo show came about, and what the experience was like. He very generously took the time to share his experience.

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Near Three Rivers, California. 2007

GG. How did you meet your gallerist? By appointment, portfolio review, or did they see your work and contact you?

JC. I met Bruce Silverstein after a chance encounter with one of his gallery assistants at last year’s NY Photo Fest in Dumbo.  She is an old friend of a friend that I hadn’t seen in ages, but was always fond of– a real smarty pants and a total sweetheart.  She asked me to come and show Bruce some of my work and so I did, hoping for some good feedback and a chance to practice talking about my work, something that always makes me sweat.  That day I met with Bruce and his staff, including his director Elizabeth Shank who I adore.  The appointment was positive, and really I just sat back and watched them argue a bit about my work, adding bits here and there and answering some basic questions about how and when the photographs were made.  I left feeling good about having met with a new group of obviously serious people, no more no less.  I rushed out of town that evening, starting work on a two week project in Iowa that totally consumed me.  I had forgotten to follow up with Bruce and send requested additional materials because of how busy and isolated I was at the time.  One of his assistants sent a polite email reminding me of this and I answered promptly.  The next evening Bruce called me from his home and asked if I’d be interested in putting together a show with him in his new space on 20th Street.

GG. How many group exhibitions have you been in before your solo show?

JC. I have participated in a handful of group shows, but none with much art world-cred.  I am pretty reclusive and cautious about promoting what I consider my serious work.  While I realize this hasn’t helped me woo the hearts those assembling the group shows, it has kept me away from a lot of the fluff.  To be totally honest, I am not a huge fan of group photography shows unless all of the artists are working and thinking together towards a common set of ideals– like the f64 group or the Photo League.  That said, I have signed on to a group documentary project that is taking place next year that will hopefully produce some interesting results.

GG. Is this your first solo show ever, or just in NYC?

JC. It was my New York debut, however I put together two solo shows in Los Angeles that got very little attention.


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Cody, Wyoming

GG. How involved was the gallery in selecting the edit, framing choices and installation?  Were you happy with the final result?

JC. The edit for Western Views was mutually decided upon between Bruce, Elizabeth, and myself.  We discussed at length this edit because it is a slice of a larger body of work, Fool’s Gold, that is nearing completion.  Fool’s Gold addresses a myriad of issues pertaining to the American West, and because of the size of his space and how I print this work, we could only fit about 6 or 7 pieces.  So we focused on photographs that discuss non-human dominance despite what impact we have made.  I have very specific and worked out printing and framing ideas for Fool’s Gold, so Bruce had little input on this front.  Thankfully he is a very respectful and trusting individual and so I just had the pieces delivered a day before the show opened.  We were all delighted with how it turned out.


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Installation view | Bruce Silverstein Galllery,  September 4 – October 11 2008

GG. Did you enjoy your opening or was it overwhelming?

JC. The opening was great but I’ll admit I was pretty overwhelmed and nervous.  Luckily I had my wife there with me to hold my hand and to crack jokes with.  Oh, and my outrageous father to entertain the crowd and keep things light.  I have an amazing support system of friends and family that keep me grounded because I have a tendency to float off into the clouds at times.

GG. Did the experience exceed, meet, or miss your expectations?

JC. Let’s just say I am still recovering from what was an amazing experience.  I look forward to future opportunities to share my work with my audience in this way.

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Climax Mine Near Leadville, Colorado. 2007

GG. What would you do differently?

JC. I would spend more time in the city when the show was up, inviting people to visit the space with me.  I think it is really important to be available to discuss and promote the show in person.

GG.  Have other opportunities opened up to you as a result of the show?

JC. I have been approached by a gallery in Paris that wishes to distribute some of my other work in a sort of 20×200 way.  We are working on the details now.  Also, the Western Views work is traveling to Art Fairs with Bruce, offering it to a greater audience.  It is at Art Miami now.

GG. Do you feel a part of a “club now” you are a Chelsea solo exhibited artist!

JC. Hilarious Cara!  First rule of exhibited artist club…

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Primm, Nevada. 2007

GG. How long have you been out there as an artist/ photographer?

JC. Both of my parents are committed working artists so I grew up surrounded by it.  I studied music and performance in my youth, convincing all around me, including myself, that playing in touring bands was my calling.  After two years of frustration and disillusionment in college, I took off for half a year in the Cascade Wilderness with NOLS.  It changed me forever and it was there that I decided to dedicate myself to the outdoors and to protecting it.  Later that year, while training to become a wilderness EMT, I discovered that my casual photographs were affecting people so I started getting serious about it.  I returned to school to study with Joel Sternfeld at Sarah Lawrence College and I am extremely fortunate to have such incredible mentors pushing my practice and challenging my ideas.  It’s all been about patience and dedication despite the ups and downs.  Oh, music is still very important to me and I use it as an outlet whenever I need to.  It brings me great joy.

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Tombstone, Arizona

GG. Can you talk about your work a little, process, influences?

JC. My process is always changing and often catches me off guard, however I can say that I am very much an experiential learner.  This means that I don’t always see things clearly until I at a breaking point and physically in front of what it is I am seeing.  Ansel Adam’s identifies this as a “visualization” and it is what keep me chomping at the bit.  Getting there is usually the biggest challenge and it requires a willingness to get lost while knowing it always leads somewhere new.  In other words, I would consider myself in my element while I am shooting or in hot pursuit, not in the darkroom, during the editing process, or while trying to explain the results.  As for influences, I’d say it’s risky people that are not afraid to go down the rabbit hole.

GG. How long did you work on the project you showed?

JC. I started work on Fool’s Gold long before I knew what I was doing.  It’s not quite finished and I am currently seeking grants to travel to a few more places to wrap it up.  It’s taking me a while but that’s only because I work slowly and have exhausted most of my resources.  It’s tough out there right now but I have never been more inspired by my surroundings.

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Near Albuquerque

GG. What are you working on now?

JC. I have a few nascent projects in the works.  One is about a painfully transparent town in Eastern Iowa where my entire family is from.  It is a collaboration involving many very high-spirited creative people and will include a film, book, and hopefully an exhibition.  We are slated to continue work in late January and hopefully wrap it up by the spring.  Also, and more importantly, I have been loosening up a bit and shooting a lot in black and white with a Leica here in New Mexico and processing my own film at home.  With all the changes going on in the country, I feel it’s time to go back to the basics.  It’s been amazing and totally liberating in that it is a reminder of how simple and immediate photography can be.

For more information on Western Views contact Bruce Silverstein or to see more of Jesse’s work visit his website.

I am very excited to have one of my UV images featured as the PDN Photo of the Day – a new feature on the PDN Pulse blog. I wrote a post some time back about my concerns about the “big boys” getting into the photo blog business. After reconsidering the idea a bit, I think that mainstream media employing the blog format is both inevitable and ultimately good for the public, which in this case, means photographers. The PDN Photo of the Day is an example of a very nicely done version of the blog/magazine mix. The images are the star, they have an open submission policy and they are featuring work that ranges across the spectrum of the genre.

And in honor of the Holiday season, I came across perhaps the weirdest Santa photo ever taken. It can be yours for 75.00.

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A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log“) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketches (sketchblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting), which are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging, one which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.[1] With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning — that of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.

My good friend and blogging/photo partner in crime Justin James Reed, is launching his first 20×200 edition at 2pm today. I know just about everyone under the sun is selling prints this holiday, and people’s apartments are in danger of looking like this:

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But there has to be room for just one more special print in your life.  And let’s be honest at $20 bucks how can you say no, it is practically the cost of a Starbucks triple venti, soy, vanilla, whip, latte!  And sometime soon when Justin’s solo show hits town and you see the prints for 20 times the cost, you will want to hit yourself for not buying one now! (see Mickey Smith 20×200, sold out, now at Invisible Exports)

So get your credit card out now and start watching the clock.

**This is not his 20×200 edition, that is for Jen & Justin to know and for you to discover at 2pm**

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© Justin James Reed

There are certain moments for photographers, when universe aligns, and there work suddenly is the right work at the right time. When I saw Hannah Whitaker’s rainbow bunny on the cover of Blind Spot, I knew she was on the cusp of having that moment.  And as the past 3 issues of New York Magazine have been dominated by her images, I think I was right.  So yesterday when I got a link to the new issue of Triple Canopy, a super interesting online project if you do not know it, I was not surprised to see her photo colleges paired with Tim Davis’s poetry.

Think of a number between thunder and money
I buy you a matchbook with ink and flint on it
that costs me a piece of lung
You could live months on fast food ketchup packs, In fact
in America, freedom is lemon slices at the diner
and a tattoo of what I weigh adding
ink, but taking blood away

Fire is nothing special
Think of a purebred beagle named
Don’t Smoke in Bed
Even the inner flap of the matchbook is consciously designed
riling some pre-Socratic wacko who insisted:
“brimstone is the stink of cognition”

- Tim Davis

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© Hannah Whitaker

The editors actually found a perfect match with these two artists. They both employ a combination of visual irreverence and intelligence in their imagery.  Come to think to think of it so many young photographers have gotten caught up in emulating Alec Soth, they have overlooked Tim Davis.  A mistake indeed.  While environmental portraiture continues to dominate the photo world, or completely process driven work a la Marco Breuer, there is a group of photographers creating a new genre that walks the line between the two.  Both entrenched in our world and culture, but willing to bend and break the traditional rules of the photographic image.  Which is a very interesting place to be.

And speaking of this, tonight is the J & L books party at Aperture.  According to the email from Aperture’s head of educational programing, the original photo blogger extraordinaire Laurel Ptak, there will be: kaleidoscopes, overhead projectors, and blind-folded dancing!

When was the last time you saw that at Aperture?


J&L Books

Spotlight

6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

FREE

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