Happy Birthday Ground Glass!

Today is Ground Glass’s one year birthday, I can’t begin to express how much this endeavor has meant to me.  Not only has it help me grow as an artist, it has brought some amazing people into my life who have become real friends.  The internet has profoundly changed the way we shop, love, think, meet, and experience life and most dramatically how we share the minutia and most intimate moments of our existence. So in honor of the blog’s special day, I am going to use images instead of words to express my thoughts and feelings about today.  After all this is a blog about photography.

Thank you all!

Myth Making Continued

Funny when you google John Kennedy, you get almost as many Barak Obama hits. Lately, how photographs function in our culture has been on my mind. After looking at the way that Damon Winter captured Obama fever, and after Obama’s speech, I started to think about how the ways in which a candidate is photographed affects our image of them.  It is very interesting to me to see these pictures from JFK’s campaign and compare them to how Barack Obama is being photographed.

Best Day of My Photo Life So Far!

Today I was checking the stats for Women in Photography, I always find it fascinating to see how many sites around the world pick up the shows and write about them. I assume they say good things since I can’t read the many different languages we have been featured in.  Today, I saw Aperture.org and clicked on the link. And there in black and white on the Aperture website is the write-up for the Women in Photography Panel in September!  I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels see my name on the Aperture site and to be in such illustrious company. Truly, it is honor to speaking at an institution that once seemed so far out of reach. Thanks Laurel!  I hope you all can come to out talk, and help us make it a success.

New York, New York

Women In Photography

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
6:30 p.m.

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

On Second Thought

I have received several emails from fellow photographer/bloggers in support of Mr. Laforet and his new blog so I feel the need to reconsider. He and his blog unfortunately showed up just I was thinking about blogging’s successes as an alternative to the traditional forms of making your mark in the ever competitive field of photography, both commercial and fine-art. So I apologize if he got the brunt of my concerns.  Based on his generous and thoughtful comments, he is obviously a very smart and very nice man, and to be fair, he has only just started. I hope that we get to know more of him (and his work) from the blog as he goes on.  I think there is a great opportunity for an Alec Soth of the commercial photosphere just waiting to be taken.  My post earlier today was more about the my fear of the format itself getting gobbled up by the “big boys.”  I really value the open environment of our little world which has given voice to many people we might otherwise have never heard about. To me, that is something worth protecting.

Blogs Go Commercial

I recently discovered Vincent Laforet’s blog via the Jackanory, I know I am a few weeks behind the curve, I have found myself unable to motivate myself to do much more than read, go for walks and eat in the midst of such beautiful surroundings and weather.  But I did take a peek over the weekend, to see if I had missed anything.  I have been thinking quite a bit about blogging up here, strange how as you remove yourself from something your feelings and perceptions change.  When Shoot the Blog launched, I understood that the photo blog would inevitably be co-opted by mainstream media outlets. However Rachel Hulin has managed to maintain a relatively corporate free attitude and I never read it and think “this is an ad for Photoshelter.” A very smart decision by them and to Rachel’s credit.

However, when I clicked on the first Olympic photo on Laforet’s blog and was taken to the Newsweek site, I knew that something had shifted.  Laforet’s blog is absolutely a commercial endeavor, and it is backed a major media corporation, even if they are not paying for it (as most blog hosting companies are free).  When you click on the images and texts on his blog, they are hyper-linked directly to the Newsweek blog. The sites exist both as the Newsweek blog about their assigned photographer at the Olympics and as the blog by a Newsweek assigned photographer at the Olympics. Confused yet?  There is definitely something really interesting about Newsweek site, it is rare that a major news magazine lets a photographer write about his experiences. It is a very successful addition to their website, and similar to the NY Times blogs, it functions as a place online to feature mini stories.

Laforet’s blog in contrast, is a miss. Part of why the blog disappointment to me, is that I have always found his work to be the most visually interesting and whimsical of the NY Times photographers.  So, I want to see the pictures Newsweek doesn’t pick. The ones that are too racy, too weird for publication. Or his favorites, or the ones he thinks failed and why. I already know that Vincent Laforet is an amazing, successful and talented photographer and I know he has to protect his status, but why start a blog to just show images that are already so accessible in other venues. On the Newsweek blog, he is giving us an edited and professionally produced “inside view” of a super successful magazine photographer, which in that context works very well.  But in the context of the personal artist blog, it functions like an infomercial for him. I think this raises some very interesting issues about the nature of the photo blog. So far, the most successful blogs, have either been very personal in nature or curatorial.

My fear is that big companies will see blogs succeeding and will jump on the bandwagon to create what they deem as safe replicas of the blog genre.  I think there should is a definite line between a blog sponsored by a major media conglomerate and the blog of an individual artist.  When the two are blurred, something is lost. Even though I know the change cannot be stopped, to me the blog should remain the wild west. A place where artists can meet, share information, show their work, and connect with the world around them. If that helps their career, great, but please leave the unremitting self-promotion for your website, or for dinner parties.