Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tabletop Candle

I worked most of the day on Sunday in the house shooting. Mostly dairy products- milk and butter again were my subjects. I'm working hard to get this one milk shot right, hopefully I'll have a version I like enough to post soon. Sunday was hot as hell, and with no air conditioning all the milk and butter seemed to go sour immediately. Despite the crazy heat and rancid dairy, I was glad to have a chance to work. This candle shot is a redo of an earlier version, shot this weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Magnum shooters

I had a great time yesterday meeting with two Magnum photographers in succession, as they were in town for the annual meeting, this time located in NYC. First came Peter Marlow and then Stuart Franklin. I'm impressed by both of these super charming guys. Neither of them brought portfolios to the meeting- why would they? Stuart left some beautiful published books, including "Hotel Afrique" published by Dewi Lewis. They were both such a pleasure to talk to- engaged with the world and totally bluster-free.

Peter Marlow recently shot some lovely photos for Discover in London. I was so happy- he took the job seriously, did research, he helped me with getting the location set, and made such beautiful portraits and scene-setters, and with several options for me to pick from. And he did it inexpensively. All this from a guy who could be resting on his laurels. Two images above from the shoot about scientist John Coates whose research deals with men and women, hormones and traders.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Boy Art from Santa Fe Review

Seeing this work by Las Cruces based photography student Christopher Mortensen (that's him in all the photos here) was a breath of fresh air. I find I'm getting tired of set-up photography that seems too belabored. Somehow that takes the fun out of it... These are well done enough to be good to look at without overdoing it.
After seeing the giant color light boxes at the Rodney Graham show at 303 yesterday, I am still thinking about this business of overdoing it. In that case, even when the image is meant to be funny, somehow it isn't. For example Graham's one-liner "Dance!" showing the artist tap dancing under duress. I'm not saying I don't think execution and craft are important, I just think the original energy seems to dissipate with too much fussing and perfection.
Another reason I liked Mortensen's images is that they deal with sex in an interesting way. I think that there isn't enough good or clever photography about real sex, but I'm always hoping to be surprised.
One of my favorites here is Mortensen instructing an audience of stick figures about his own pictures. I think any art student can relate to this one..

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More from Santa Fe: Lane Collins

Nearing the end of my reviews at Santa Fe, Lane Collins sat down and surprised me with a lovely body of work titled "Alchemy", shot on the beach in New Zealand while she was living there. About this work Lane writes " When you gaze out at the ocean in New Zealand, it feels as though you are staring at infinity. The isolated geography of New Zealand is tangible even in the light and the position of the sun; it's shores feel like a doorway to the edge of the world. The photographs in Alchemy were created in this threshold, a boundless looking glass into the mind's eye."
Some of my favorites are above. I recently assigned a story on modern alchemy, and had recently seen hundreds of historical alchemical prints and drawings, we had plenty to talk about. I found myself wishing I had known about her work earlier.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some Totally Refreshing Favorites from Review Santa Fe

I was so pleased to see Adam Ekberg's work. Well, mostly pleased. It is a little alarming to find someone who is working with some of the very same ideas as you are- and in some cases, executing them better. I found some flashlight images of his that are almost identical to the sketches I did recently. Damn. I guess it is bound to happen. Eckberg on his own work " My images function as traces of a presence. The photographed interventions range from very simple gestures to elaborate stagings; what they have in common is an implied trace."

I just love his disco ball in the woods. And the vacuum cleaner? It kills me. I am going to try and stay in touch with him, and keep up with his work.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Got back from Review Santa Fe late Sunday night. I'll be writing about that experience a bit more in the next post. For now, here are two of my own images from the weekend before last. These were afterthoughts, and I never thought I'd like them-they are more typically still life than I usually allow. I'm reminded of a Muppet head, somehow..

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At Last

At last! Time in the studio. This weekend Ollie went out of town with his dad, and I had the run of the place. Monday I spent the whole day shooting. After working through a slow start I did make some images I'm happy with, and this test is an example of one..
I was reminded why making pictures is so important to me.