Monday, December 28, 2009

Parting shot

Last view of Oregon, taken with my blackberry on the way to the Redmond airport. Heavy fog left moisture that coated everything in tiny ice crystals.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas at Crooked River Ranch

Christmas in Oregon. Not taking any photos, even snapshots. Suttle lake was covered with small glittering cubes of ice that made celebratory clinking sounds as the waves moved and crashed onto the shore. Today all the trees and grasses are covered with ice. For our traditional Christmas workout we ran the Deschutes river trail. Because of Oliver's obsessive love of super heroes, there has been an ongoing joke about the special powers of certain family members. Rough-Estimato Man, also known as Approximato Man, (his motto is "More or Less!")-duking it out with Overly-Precise Man..
Photos above taken by brother Nathan with his plastic Hero action camera from Smith Rock, looking out at the Cascade Range.
I'm signing off until the new year. Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making up

This shot was done a couple of weeks back when I had Toto over to model. This past weekend I had a studio visit with that wizard of spacetime, Adam Magyar. I'm not entirely sure, but I think there was a wormhole shadowing him. Shot some photos, too but the results were iffy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It is time for my post about Dekotora! These are the "art trucks" of Japan as seen by California based photographer Roger Snider. Roger says the Japanese art truck movement started in the late 70s when this movie came out.
The truckers cite the movie as their primary influence to design the rigs.
The trucks have evolved over the years, first being designed to look like ships then evolving towards the spaceship look.
Color schemes in the murals reflect what part of the country they are from. Muted tones are from the colder Northern area and the brighter ones are from the south.
Large companies shun the trucks when they pull up to pick up loads and sometimes won't let them in the yard in they are too garish. The truck owners have to take off all the decoration to pass the DOT inspection once a year. Japanese truckers love the American rigs and refer to any American truck simply as "Convoy".
The lights require multiple generators under the truck, and they can only run for about 30 minutes before the whole rig needs to be shut down. They do not drive on the road with the music-synchronized lights running.

Roger Snider shoots all things truck.
He also has books for sale.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Andreas Rentsch

I first saw an Andreas Rentsch photo in an ICP course catalogue. I immediately looked him up and was gratified by the images on his website. I'm wondering if I might be able to use his images in an upcoming article about time travel.

These images reminded me of questions surrounding cave paintings- were these made for human eyes, or as a kind of communication with the spirits? They also reminded me of some of my favorite Anselm Kiefer images.
Andreas Rentsch has an interesting history, growing up on prison grounds as a child of the warden. If you are interested in hearing more about him and his process, check out this recent video. The above images are from his "Figure Series", and were made in the American southwest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mr. Semolina-Semolinus

This photograph was inspired by a children's book called Mr. Semolina Semolinus. The pertinent parts go like this: There once was a princess who liked none of her suitors, so she decided to make her own. She mixed together almonds, sugar, and semolina, formed him, and then prayed over him for forty days. Mr. Semolina Semolinus comes to life. He is "five times beautiful and ten times kind". After some adventures the princess and Mr. Semolina Semolinus live together blissfully, but no better.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Heirloom China

This is the first time I've put to use these teacups that belonged to my grandmother. From the shoot with Toto last weekend. I've got a model scheduled for this weekend, and I'm excited to do some more shooting.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"This Train is Bound for Glory"

The current Justine Kurland show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash takes its title from an old folk song.
This is an impressive show featuring western railroads and trains. Somehow Kurland has managed to sidestep making patronizing archetypes out of the people in her photographs, unlike many of the photographers that seems to be following a bit closely in her footsteps. The flat light that all the photographs share helps tie together images of different sizes that might otherwise seem random, including portraits of her own son, photos of drifters, and landscapes both formal and informal..

I loved seeing the van that Kurland was traveling with- and the bed in it that she and her son seem to share. There is a lovely photo of her sleeping child inside it that is absolutely gorgeous, without being sentimental. These more intimate images add a personal dimension to the story and make it all the more engaging, even while I felt the vulnerability of the mother and child all the more strongly for the indifferent surroundings.

One of my favorite images (above) is titled "Keddie Wye", a location in the Sierra Nevadas. Image courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Necklace

Toto modeled for me again this weekend- it was great. She is really more like a collaborator than a model, and she is patient. Here is an image from the shoot.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Put Down

I can't get enough of these landing images. Parachutes are some of my favorite things to look at- whether landing over the dust of Kazakhstan, in a splash down over the Pacific, or in a wind tunnel test, they never fail to wow.
Caption: View of main parachutes lowering Apollo boilerplate spacecraft BP-23 after successful Apollo Max-Q at White Sands. December 8th, 1964.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Shake Up

The first issue I worked on at Discover was a special issue called the History of Space Travel. After working the news cycle for so many years, at Newsweek and elsewhere, it was eye-popping. The archive photos at the Russian agencies like Novosti and NASA are almost too good to be true. This vintage NASA image shows an astronaut training. The cosmonaut training images are even better, but I don't have the rights to show those here.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The weekend before last I took some absolutely terrible pictures. I actually might throw away the film and contact sheets. I tried something different, something new. It didn't work at all. I've been telling myself that sometimes bad pictures have to happen in order to get the good ones, but I'm not sure I'm convinced. I really hope this means there are some fantastic images coming next. This weekend in the studio I was still in the pall of those awful images. I was afraid to take photos again. So I drew in my notebook and planned some new shots, and thought over who might be willing to model for me next.
This photo is an older image, one from a series of talc shot moving in air currents.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This past weekend found me solo parenting round the clock, with my usual studio work day cancelled. I did find time to buy some props for a shot I'm planning that involves swiss cheese. It looks like I'm working my way through the dairy section here- I've done butter, milk, and now maybe cheese is next.
This shot is maybe my second favorite from the frozen milk shoot- it is a lot more restrained than my first pick that shows the slashed container. I get criticism sometimes that the work is too feminine, too subtle, too polite. I'm trying to respond to that criticism in a way that makes sense to me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shoe final

After reshooting this three times, I finally got the shot, with the help of friend and heroine Carolyn Drake. It wasn't easy to shoot this myself, while laying under the table with my feet in the air. I tried using others as models, but no one else fit the shoes or could get their legs in quite this position. All those pilates workouts paid off unexpectedly here. In the end, after lots of fussing and repositioning, Carolyn took the photo for me. I'm happy with it, and look forward to printing it big soon.
I bought those shoes while having an overheated fling this spring and summer. In this photo the shoes themselves of took on a comedic role as an embodiment of desire. Lust had turned me upside down, and perhaps now, the silly shoes were in charge..

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Satomi Shirai

I first noticed the work of Satomi Shirai in the ICP catalogue of student work "SHIFT" from last year. She was not one the students I'd reviewed, and her photo "Breakfast" (above) totally knocked my socks off. I suggested we use it at Discover magazine recently, to accompany an article that discussed the case of a woman who suddenly developed an abnormal sex drive. This image caused quite a reaction in the meeting- in the end it was vetoed for being too racy.
Satomi told me the following about the work: "In my current work, titled 'New York in My Life,' I am exploring assimilation which, I think, is a psychological process of change of a person's mind-set and identity, and which leads a transformation of a culture today. In each image of my work I usually set lighting and arrange objects to photograph a story, and don't really do photoshop except for color correction and changing contrast."
She also went on to say that the guy in the photo was Polish, and the she had included Greek products to reflect her neighborhood in Queens. I don't see this work as being primarily about assimilation. Who cares if the guy is Polish? And is anyone really looking at the food? For me the tension is between the man and the woman, and the hilarity of the scene. Cramped domestic dimensions are a repeating theme in Shirai's work- she is squeezing herself into preposterously tiny spaces, disappearing and reappearing. The effect is a little like someone doing a striptease with a banana peel. Funny and sexy, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Old Flame

These are two details from the big scans I recently made from my negatives. I was excited to see these so big on screen. Since my gallery closed I have sort of given up on printing- what is the point of having a lot of big prints around taking up space? This means that I'm never seeing the images full size, and I don't know what kind of detail is there, and therefore can't really make final selects. These are an example of two images where the texture and focus is important. So far my favorite is the one with the candle out of focus, and the curtain behind in focus. It leads the eye deeper into the picture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Justine Reyes

I stumbled upon Justine Reyes's blog last fall. It was the inspiration for the creation of my own blog. I had never seen a blog anywhere like hers, and the format was revelatory. At that time she was in residency at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and was working on and blogging about a series of lovely still lifes that incorporated objects that had belonged to her grandmother. Above are some of my favorite images from that series. I recommend taking a look at the rest of the series and her other finished work.

This past weekend Justine very generously helped me scan some of my recent work, and showed me all kinds of useful tricks. It was very exciting to see the images up close. This summer I've just been shooting so much, I can't even remember the last time I was in the darkroom. I realize I am going to have to spend some time now with post production- committing to seeing the images though, not just stockpiling contacts and negatives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Is Black Hole Art So Shiny?

You would think, that with something that no one can see, there would be more variety in the visual representations. Apparently there is consensus, at least at NASA, about what black holes look like. Here are two that show black holes with gravitational waves.
Images courtesy NASA

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zachary Zavislak

Now that I've mentioned Zachary Zavislak, this seems like the time to post some of his gorgeous images. I'm a huge fan of his work, and hope to hire him to shoot something for Discover soon.


Zachary Zavislak emailed me the above version of my own image today. He cleaned it up and added the line as a continuation of the idea of the tension or connection between the hands. He says:" For me the hands were trying to contain/suspend something. Photographing the forearms/hands floating on black continues to support this idea. The magenta line represents a liquid pour..... couldn't do the real thing. liquid always taking on the form of its container...The hands can't suspend, or contain the liquid in that position."

This is the first time anyone has ever done anything like this with my images. He clearly understands what I'm after. It feels like a spontaneous collaboration. I am going to think about the idea of a vertical line inserted, instead of horizontal ones. I will work on refining.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Took these photos of my friend Toto a few weekends back. I shot these with the idea of adding in some hokey lines between the hands, but I'm not sure if they are better with or without. Any comments?
I realize I may need to work on the look of the lines between the hands- maybe something softer looking would be better than the scratches that you see here. Her hands and arms were really perfect for this scenario, and she even had a ring on that could plausibly have been worn in a parlor of spiritualists.
Part of what made Toto such a happy model is that she is an artist, too. She understands my work and has seen it over many years- and I think she had fun being an actor in these photos. I also tried to take some portraits of her, but I wasn't as happy with how those came out. Check out Toto's work here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Whole Milk

You could say I'm milking milk. I'm just going to keep on shooting it until I'm done. I shot this a few weeks ago, and the memory of the smell of rancid milk still lingers. It was a hot day and my studio got stinky, and my equipment got funky, too. During the freezing the fat separated out and was congealed around the top and sides of the ice. It was a lot like shooting a butter coated popsicle.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Flower Cure

After declaring what my blog is about in the previous post, I find myself almost immediately compelled to rebel. A week into my vacation in Santa Barbara, California, I'm thinking this blog's topic can be all the things about California that drive me mad.

As I was buying an expensive chocolate bar at an upscale grocery store in Santa Barbara, the words "Emotional Eating Support Kit" sang out at me. I irrationally examined and photographed this item. The box claims, among other things, that "rock water helps when you push yourself too hard trying to set a good example." Now all those SUV drivers with environmental stickers on their bumpers could ease out of the parking lot thinking "rationally and clearly and calmly" while feeling better about any physical imperfections.

I noticed that the bottles contain 27% alcohol. At .35 fl oz per bottle, it would be an expensive way to get drunk, but you could be the most rational and sanctimonious drunk ever, telling anyone who would listen that you were "protecting yourself from change, and that you had learned to observe your mistakes objectively, etc. etc."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soul Searching

After almost a year of keeping this blog and looking at other blogs, my ideas have crystallized somewhat. Rebecca Horne Photography is mostly about the creative process. This includes sources of inspiration, where ever I can find them. It includes the thinking, looking and repetition that goes into making successful images. So far I've avoided the sometimes overwhelming impulse to post about photographers I've hired in my role as Photo Editor who have been spectacular disappointments. Or to write about work or trends that I am exclusively critical of. By now some kind of Internet halo should have formed around my blog, to encourage my good intentions.

The photo/artist blogs that I find most interesting are ones that share my interests in the art-making itself, and those that are engaged with the world of ideas. My latest favorite is Critical Terrain, by Alan Rapp. Don't let the weighty sounding name scare you off. His sharp looks at wide ranging topics so far include Norse Black Metal, surveillance and other zones where the meaning of photography is contested, like the recent Edgar Martins dust-up. Alan also happens to be the new Associate Director of Hey, Hot Shot!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Carolyn Drake's Watershed Moment

I'm sad from saying goodbye. The super talented photojournalist Carolyn Drake, who is also my good friend, just headed off the airport. Luckily, she stays at my house on her biannual trips to NYC from Istanbul, where she is based. These visits are always great for me. We get to catch up and talk about photography, look at each other's work, and my young son gets to bask in her attention. Also I get a running and swimming partner- Carolyn is a bit of a jock, just like me.

Of her new projects, one is a ravishing series that traces the rivers of the Great Pamir watershed. The photos here top to bottom are from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan (2), Uzbekistan, and the last one is Tajikistan. The woman in the photo is a bride, dressing in her wedding clothes. On the wall behind her are her wedding gifts.

Carolyn Drake's own words about this project:
"While working in Central Asia for the past few years I've been drawn to the Amu Darya and Syr Darya - two rivers that flow from the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, crossing ragged borders until they dwindle at the Aral Sea.

By using the rivers as an organizing principle rather than roads taken by foreign travelers or political lines separating nations, I hope to place emphasis on the region's topography."

To see more of Carolyn Drake's work click here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Two more tries with the candle. The shot in the window may be the kind of thing that is too subtle to work onscreen. I think the slightly brighter white of the flame in the sunlight will be dreamy as a big print. The candle on the bed shot is in an entirely different direction, and may or make not make it in the final edit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jackson Patterson

I met Jackson at the Photo Alliance portfolio review in San Francisco, where he showed a solid body of work about horse racing in the Bay Area. His recent work really caught my eye- as a photo editor I am always on the lookout for images that can connote hard to visualize concepts like being in two places at once, notions of time passing, and the layering of time. I responded to the narrative about place, home and family. Also perhaps from a feeling of homesickness I've been having for the big spaces of the west. Jackson made the above image, and the others in the series, on a trip tracing his family's migration.
Here are Jackson's words about the above image:
"Pictured are two modern day photographs. The inset photo is of a barn in Buffalo, Montana and the Fork Road image is on a ranch in the Little Belt Mountains, Montana where the barn was built (circa 1920's) and eventually moved from. The barn was caretaken by my grandmothers family. When the owners of the ranch bought another ranch in the next town over, they moved the red barn. This image to me speaks about the transference of place and time and the journey of migration".

To see more of Jackson Patterson's work. Or stop by the Togonon Gallery in San Francisco to see his work in the exhibit "Liberating Landscape" through August 27th.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter came to mind as I shot my candle images. I love these candle paintings but not as much as the iceberg landscape painting. According the the sales history on the official Richter website, this painting "Candle", sold for $1,039,212 at Christie's London.

"Iceberg in Mist" is one of my all-time favorite paintings. I saw it in person in a vast retrospective at MOMA in NYC. This one was small, only 70 cm x 100 cm, but it had Presence. I stood in front of it sketching and staring, trying to put my finger on what I loved so much about it. It has something to do with mass and volume- and of course the fog that both defines and obscures. There was no sales history given for this painting, only its exhibition record.

Images courtesy of Gerhard Richter

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Candle power

I shot quite a few images involving candles this past weekend. I started with the intention of making a photo of a candle flame burning in the sunlight. The idea was that you would barely see the flame, only after searching for it. I liked the notion of the futility of the candle against the sun. The candle itself has such an old world look, that it dignified almost any absurdity I could dream up. More to come.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I don't know if this is the right version of the milk photo I'm after, but I like it. Milk- the promised land, maternal plenty, nourishment..
According to this hilarious interpretation of dreams website

"If you dream of seeing milk in large containers you will have honor and riches, if your dream is of buying and selling milk commercially, you will have great business success. If you dream that you give your milk away, this denotes that you are too generous and could harm your own finances. If you spill milk, your friends will disappoint you, and if the milk is not pure, you will suffer many small aggravations. If you try to drink milk, and cannot swallow it, this denotes that you are in danger of losing the friendship of a person you have know for a long time."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


My friend Kat came over this weekend and modeled for me in a slew of shots I had planned. It was great- I shot around 15 rolls of film, which for me is a kind of record. She was very kind and generous to give me so much time and effort- she endured standing on a table in three inch heels, having honey dripped on her, and lying on the hardwood floor wedged under furniture for the photos. My scary roommate finally has moved out, so I didn't have to worry about making a mess or any interruptions.

I tried doing some of these shots with a male friend modeling a while back, but it was not working at all. Turns out I really need a female model most of the time. Although I'd like to be able to include men in the work at some point.
This is one of the shots from this past weekend.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cornelia Hediger

I'm picturing a dinner party where Cornelia Hediger, Anthony Goicolea, Francesca Woodman, and Guy Bourdin are the only guests. I'm afraid things don't go well, and food is thrown. In my vision, Cornelia is the one left standing at the end, and she and Anthony go out for a drink and laugh over the events of the evening.

I was lucky to meet the Swiss-born Cornelia Hediger many years ago when we were both studying at Rutgers University. Cornelia is the hardest working artist I know, with awe-inspiring drive and determination. I am posting three images here, two from her earlier work, and one from the latest, the Doppelgänger series. With this latest series, the images start with a sketch that is conceived as a narrative between the main character and her double. She plays all parts herself and doesn't use any digital manipulation to insert herself into the image panels. She shoots each panel separately as a single photo, and then digitally puts them together in the grid as one composition. An average of 120 images are shot for a six panel image. The difficulty of this exacting process of producing work gives us some insight- Ms. Hediger is a perfectionist.

I think of the work as a series of blatantly psychological portraits. In these photos Cornelia unflinching toys with our expectations while exploring this often dark territory, inciting both laughter and sadness. While many of the images focus on experiences specific to women, the work is accessible to all in its forays into the universal themes of madness, lust, loss, fear, innocence and despair.

You can see her work on her website: or on her New York gallery's site:

The first two photos here is from the older series The Future is Canceled, and the panel image is from her most recent body of work, Doppelgänger.