10/30/08

Bond Street Gallery closing

Did you hear? Bond Street Gallery, after only three shows, is closing its doors. Which is a shame--it was a fantastic space and the first exhibit (the only one I had a chance to see in person, unfortunately) was amazing. The energy of the space felt vibrant, smart, and right on the money. Director/curator Amani Olu gave a brief interview to PDN which you can read here, and Timothy Briner (one of the artists in the current show, which will close two weeks early) has a Gmail chat with him as well posted up on his blog here. Amani is one to watch and I'm sure will be on to other great projects--in addition to his work with Humble Arts Foundation, Made by Brown, and being an all-around nice guy--but it's sad to see that a forum for contemporary photography has shut down.

Call for entries: Critical Mass rejects


© Liz Kuball

Depressed because you too didn't make it into Critical Mass? Liz Kuball has a panacea: You can be part of the one-time-only group show that she'll be putting up on her blog. Here are the details per Liz: "Send me your favorite photo from your Critical Mass entry, the one you’re thinking rocked it so hard that the Critical Mass jurors must be blind not to have chosen you. The deadline is Thursday, October 30, at 8:59 p.m. Pacific time (11:59 p.m. New York time). The next day, I’ll post every photo I’ve received. Spread the word."

That's tonight, so send those jpegs to liz@lizkuball.com (72 dpi, measuring at least 500 pixels on the longest side). Thanks, Liz!

10/28/08

Well, shoot

uneaten cake from the back of the fridge © Kevin J. Miyazaki

I've had a busy week without much time for posting. Some good projects going on that are coming out soon, but the rejections still hit hard. I'm starting to feel like interest in my work is picking up, which is a wonderful feeling, but I held out high hopes for Critical Mass and, alas, it's a no go. Sigh. It never gets easier, wanting something and not getting it, despite how nice the notification email from Shawn Records was:

"If you did not make the final group, please remember that everything, especially assigning a numerical value to art, is subjective. The important thing is that you are working to get your work out there, and as most (all!) of you know, it is a constant process. Even the fact that you are doing the work to begin with is commendable, and that is why we exist as an organization - to support your endeavors as much as we can."

Looking at it that way does feel like sage advice, and reminds me to focus on the fact that I'm submitting, and most importantly, creating the work in the first place.

Check out the list of finalists here, and many congratulations to Cara, Suzanne, Will and Kevin.

10/23/08

Lay Flat needs your help

© Yann Orhan, Lay Flat artist

From Shane Lavalette:
From the beginning, it was important to me that photographers were able to submit their work to be considered for Lay Flat free of charge. During the first "call for entries" period, a number of photographers expressed that were very pleased that there was no entry fee involved. I am too! Because of this, however, I have to ask for your help now. At this point, Lay Flat is just shy of the funds necessary to print and distribute the first issue but, with a little help from all of you, we can easily cover these costs!

If you're a photographer who has submitted or simply a lover of photography, I urge you to take this moment to consider donating to Lay Flat. As a donor, you can know that you are supporting an exciting new publication that celebrates photography in a way that is unique from other publications. There is no minimum amount accepted - every penny counts! - but donors that give more than $20 will be thanked in print and will receive an advanced e-mail regarding the release of the publication.

To donate, just head to the website and find the "donate" button:

www.layflat.org
Help out if you can. Now I'm off to pick an outfit for Amy's opening tonight...

10/22/08

Amy Elkins opening tomorrow night

Amazing work by Amy Elkins, should be even more amazing in person.

Serendipity, continued

I forgot to mention in my last post that 5 days after Tim mentioned Munro to me Colin Pantall had a post entitled "Margaret Atwood on Alice Munro," continuing with the synchronicity theme. Colin quotes Atwood writing for The Guardian, and I'm going to cite the same passage here because it feels very pertinent to the process of art-making and finding an authentic voice:
"Dreariness of spirit" is one of the great Munro enemies. Her characters do battle with it in every way they can, fighting against stifling mores and other people's deadening expectations and imposed rules of behaviour, and every possible kind of muffling and spiritual smothering. Given a choice between being a person who does good works but has inauthentic feelings and is numb at heart and being one who behaves badly but is true to what she really feels and is thus alive to herself, a Munro woman is likely to choose the latter; or, if she chooses the former, she will then comment on her own slipperiness, guile, wiliness, slyness and perversity. Honesty, in Munro's work, is not the best policy: it is not a policy at all, but an essential element, like air. The characters must get hold of at least some of it, by fair means or foul, or - they feel - they will go under.

Serendipity

I recently posted some images by Tim Carpenter, and in our email exchanges he mentioned that my work made him think of the stories of one of his favorite writers Alice Munro, who he said "can put a novel's worth of detail into a short story." I was very flattered by his words, especially because I'm an avid reader, and a lover of short stories in particular. I had to admit to him that in all of my reading I hadn't ever sat down with Munro, curiously enough, though from what I know her writing is akin to two of my favorite authors, Flannery O'Connor and John Cheever. The mention of her made me feel that there is going to be something in store that will have an impact on my image-making, though what that impact is of course I don't yet know.

Tim told me to take a look at "The Dance of the Happy Shades" so today I walked over to the library and stood in front of the Munro section, taking in the particular earthy smell that a roomful of books holds. "The Dance of the Happy Shades" collection wasn't on the shelf, but a large volume of Selected Stories was, which contained "The Dance," and as I perused the other titles in the volume, I saw "Chaddeleys and Flemings." A sweet moment that again seemed significant.

To tell the truth, lately I've been feeling a bit stuck--I've been procrastinating more than usual, and am generally unmotivated, sometimes with an undercurrent of unnamed anxiety over my procrastination--an often vicious circle. But what I love, and what always saves me, is these moments of synchronicity--the light of coincidence that breaks through my apathy, these creative gifts that get me motivated again. It may be time to step away from the computer, sit down with a book, and see what the words on the page can teach me about how to hold fast to the grace contained within the contradictions--that as always beauty and melancholy can exist in the same day, in the same space, and need not be mutually exclusive, and that the things I need will find me if I remain open to accepting them.

10/21/08

Poor baby



My little June had her first trip to the ER this weekend, poor baby. She's just fine, and I'd say all-in-all James and I--and especially Edie--were more upset than she was.

On Saturday morning she was sitting on the arm of the sofa and as James was about to go get her down she fell and hit the back of her head on the edge of our TV stand (she took off some of the finish she clunked so hard). I was still asleep, and James ran into the room where I was sleeping with June in his arms to wake me up--at that point she was just whimpering but seemed generally OK, so we were able to examine the cut and decided she probably needed stitches.

I really wanted to go to the hospital to be with her, but Edie had just gotten up and was quite upset by the sight of the blood, and was also very concerned about her sister, so since I was in my pajamas we thought it would be better if James took June on his own and I stayed home with Edie. If it had been a bigger emergency of course I would have run out the door naked if I had to, and I have to say it was very difficult to watch them go. As a mother the protective instinct is stronger than anything, and I felt such a physical tug as the car pulled out of the driveway. But Junie had a lollipop and a book, and said "bye Mama" like she and Daddy were simply off to the supermarket, so I knew she was going to be fine. She had two staples put in the back of her head and apparently was a trooper, and she was as full of energy as ever for the rest of the weekend.

I'm grateful that it was so relatively minor--when they do get hurt and it turns out to be a quick fix it really does make you appreciate how healthy and hearty they are. June really is one tough cookie--no wonder two of her nicknames are Bruiser and Stinker.

Financial support

I forgot to mention that Cara could also use some financial support to help with the expenses for her UV project, see all of the details here and help out if you can.

10/20/08

Cara Phillips



All images © Cara Phillips

Anyone who's been paying attention to the various blogs and show announcements will have noticed Cara Phillips' name popping up all over the place, and rightly so. What strikes me about many of the shots in her series Singular Beauty is how insular the spaces are, particularly the ones featuring examining chairs. I find that she's turned the concept of "the gaze" in on itself, in the sense that the chair is empty yet I as the viewer feel like the doctor staring at a patient, and then conversely I squirm in my seat as if I'm about to sit in that chair and be scrutinized. There is a certain unnerving claustrophobia--in some of the images I even feel like I'm viewing the interior of a space ship in some futuristic, frightening world. Her Ultraviolet Beauties series also hits on this otherworldly quality, making for a nice complement to Singular Beauty.

And speaking of Ultraviolet beauties, you can be part of Cara's project by getting your own UV portrait made. She'll be shooting this Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th from 10am to 5pm, at 14th St & 9th Ave, across from the Apple store. If James and I can wrangle the girls we'll try to head in and have Edie and June's pictures taken, I think it would be really uncanny to see a child in the UV light.

Also of note is the Blurb Photography Book Now meet-up which is happening tomorrow (Wednesday, October 22) from from 6:30 to 8:30pm at The New Museum, 235 Bowery. Cara's book Singular Beauty won 1st runner up in the Themed Category and will be shown along with all of the other winners. Register to attend here, tickets are free.

I wish I could go to the Blurb event but I'm planning on heading over to Amy Elkins' solo show at Yancey Richardson the next night (Thursday the 23rd from 6-8pm, at 535 West 22nd Street) and you know me and going out two nights in a row, it just doesn't happen...But I'm really looking forward to seeing Amy's work in person and getting into the city on a weeknight.

10/17/08

Pause, to Begin on Flak Photo

© Sonja Thomsen
© Thomas Prior
© Hin Chua
© Erika Larsen

Andy Adams got in touch to let me know about his latest Flak Photo Feature which is showcasing the work of the 15 photographers chosen to participate in the multifaceted endeavor Pause, to Begin. David Wright and Ethan Jones, founders of the project, are releasing a wide variety of multimedia and photographic content on their website in the coming months and have teamed up with Flak to help present a selection of images.

Current highlights from Pause, to Begin include a recently completed trailer featuring clips from their travels across two countries (and 10,000 miles ) as they met and interviewed the selected photographers, and a retooling of their website which now shows 10 images from all of the participants, along with artist statements. The work is truly inspiring, and it's great to see Flak taking part in the promotion of David and Ethan's endeavor.

The multimedia interviews that they created on their trip in May will be shown throughout the remainder of the month, and they will also be releasing the interviews in conjunction with Flak, along with the daily feature of each Pause, to Begin Photographer, weekdays from October 13-31. You can sign up for daily emails so you can get each Flak photo sent to your Inbox and won't miss out on any of the pictures, see the website for details.

In the coming months Pause, to Begin will be announcing the completion and sale of books that will be produced in two versions: a limited edition, hand-bound book, and a catalogue edition, which will be available for purchase in December. There will also be an international traveling exhibition and book release celebration TBA. It's quite a unique project, and in particular I'll be quite interested to see the interviews and hear about how each of the photographers approaches their craft. I love this statement from their website, so well put:

"An aspiring photographer can, without too much difficulty, find methods for improving his or her technique at capturing an abstracted physicality of the world. In other words, one can learn to record shapes, surfaces, and light, but what one may never learn is how to bring across poignant emotion in his or her photographs. To get to the point that a photographer is making emotional photographs with a clear unique voice, one must embark on a journey of exploration and understanding of the medium while maintaining a nearly implausible balance of experimentation and control."

While we're at it, here's the list of participating artists:

Matthew Gamber (currently in the Bond Street show I mentioned here)
Tealia Ellis Ritter
John Mann
Colin Blakely
Shawn Records
Thomas Prior
Hin Chua
Sonja Thomsen
Brea Souders (part of the Graphic Intersections project from my previous post)
Timothy Briner (also currently in the Bond Street show)
Alejandro Cartagena
Erika Larsen (past Women in Photography featured artist)
Matthew Eich
Shannon Johnstone
Shawn Gust

And for those who aren't familiar with the wonderful Flak here's the gist, from their website:
Flak Photo is a photography blogzine featuring distinctive work from an international community of contributors that promotes interesting visual approaches to seeing the world and celebrates the art of exhibiting quality photography online. The blog is produced by Andy Adams and features work from new photo essays, book projects and gallery exhibitions from established and emerging photographers. Flak Photo is updated frequently, attentively edited and open to submissions from the general public.

Be sure to check it out!

10/16/08

Graphic Intersections

© Irina Rozovsky
© Drew Kelly
© Chris Mottalini

I was very excited to hear that I have been chosen as one of 20 artists selected to take part in The Exposure Project's new venture, Graphic Intersections. Here's the idea behind the concept, as explained in their call for entries:

"In the spirit of artistic collaboration, The Exposure Project is pleased to announce the unveiling of a new, somewhat experimental photographic endeavor. Graphic Intersections, loosely inspired by the old Surrealist and Dadaist game Exquisite Corpse, is a project that will attempt to unite disparate artists in an interconnected, photographic relay of images inspired by one another. For those unfamiliar with Exquisite Corpse, it is succinctly described here:

'Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.'

...The first photographer will be given a prompting word or concept to work from and will subsequently make photographs inspired by this idea. They will send us their favorite and most representative image from this session which we will then send along to the next artist. The succeeding artist, based solely on their visual, emotional, intellectual, or philosophical response, will in turn make photographs in artistic reaction to the one they were given. The artists involved will not be given any written material to accompany the photograph, nor will they know whose image they're responding to. This is designed to propagate randomness and avoid preconceived biases. This process will continue until the chain has been completed...

As visual artists, our creative decisions are largely affected by a myriad of personal, social, political and aesthetic issues, all of which impact the photographs we make. With a such a diverse array of artistic identities included in one project, we hope that Graphic Intersections will facilitate greater communication and solidarity, not only between the photographers involved, but between the images produced."

I love the collaborative concept, and am very much looking forward to having the opportunity to think outside of the box a bit, and to be inspired by the work of another photographer.

Here's the list of artists, congratulations to all:

Ben Alper
Anastasia Cazabon
Thomas Damgaard
Scott Eiden
Grant Ernhart
Jon Feinstein
Elizabeth Fleming
Alan George
Hee Jin Kang
Drew Kelly
Mike Marcelle
Chris Mottalini
Ed Panar
Bradley Peters
Cara Phillips
Noel Rodo-Vankeulen
Irina Rozovsky
Brea Souders
Jane Tam
Grant Willing

tinytinygroupshow #7

Many thanks to Kevin J. Miyazaki for asking me to be part of his latest tinytinygroupshow #7, with the theme of Fall; it just went up today, see it here. You can also see past group shows here, and check out Kevin's own photography here. I'm happy to be in the company of such a wonderful group of artists, here's the list: Brian Widdis, Aaron Schuman, Dennis Darzacq, Meggan Gould, Kelli Connell, Susana Raab, and Li Wei.

10/14/08

Sleep-deprived/Bond Street opening

© Angie Smith
© Brian Ulrich
© Jon Feinstein
© Michael Vahrenwald
© Matthew Gamber
© Justin James Reed
© Timothy Briner

I'm running on empty today. Saturday James and I went into the city for date night, where he surprised me with a very very early birthday present (I don't turn 34 until February) by taking me to see "Equus." I'd mentioned I wanted to go and he was afraid the run would be over in a few months, so it was a wonderfully unexpected gift. A lovely evening all around, though we agreed that the production lacked a certain amount of passion, especially considering the subject matter. Now I can say I've seen Harry Potter naked.

Long story short, we got home at 1 am, which for these homebodies is insanely late, and then for the two nights after that June has been on a sleep strike, howling for so long that we gave in and went to her, which meant taking turns sharing a bed with a squirmy, whispering two-year old who, when asked, "why won't you sleep?" replied matter-of-factly: "'cause." I'd laugh if I weren't so tired.

All of this is my way of saying have fun at the Bond Street opening tomorrow, but this zombie will not be in attendance. I have a lot of shut-eye catch-up to do. Congratulations to Justin and Timothy, all-around great guys, and to the rest of the artists as well. (Note: the images above aren't in the show itself, they're just some of my favorite shots by the artists included.) Those who are capable of partying, here's the info:

REVISITING AMERICA

CURATED BY amani olu
Exhibiting photographers: Timothy Briner, Jon Feinstein, Matthew Gamber, Justin James Reed, Angie Smith, Brian Ulrich and Michael Vahrenwald

Opening reception: Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Press preview: 4 – 6 pm | Public reception: 6 – 9 pm
On view: Wednesday, October 15 – Saturday, November 15, 2008

BOND STREET GALLERY
297 Bond Street | Brooklyn, NY 11231 (Carroll Gardens)
718.858.2297 | Directions: F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union St.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday | 11 am – 6 pm

10/12/08

Speaking of...

Here's another shot of my work in Melanie Flood Projects' Show Number One that I never got around to posting...

Show Number Two

Melanie Flood Projects Show Number Two is opening soon with photographs by Maximilian Haidacher. I think his work is amazing so I'm looking forward to seeing it in person. (Hôtels des Alpes III and Kur are my favorites.)

Here's the info:

Opening Reception: October 30th 2008 7:30-9pm
186 Washington Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11205
RSVP: mfloodprojects@gmail.com
www.melaniefloodprojects.com

10/10/08

Less is More

Another shout-out to James, he's finally joined the bandwagon and started his own blog, Less is More, see it here! It's only a matter of time before Edie and June are old enough to become mini-bloggers, and then won't I feel old. 

10/7/08

Shout out to my husband

Sitting on the subway, skimming over the ads when your eyes fall upon the truly fantastic photo seen above? Well it was taken by my very own husband, James Worrell. Read an article about the campaign to help people watch their weight in the Daily News here, and see more images from the campaign on James' website here. I'm very proud.

Motherhood and photography

© Robin Schwartz
© Elinor Carucci

I promised to write about the Women in Photography lecture at Aperture, and with such an extensive talk it's hard to know where to begin. Co-curators Cara Phillips and Amy Elkins did an excellent job of explaining the impetus for starting the project (which I won't get into as they describe it themselves extensively in an interview in Pop Photo which you can read here) and moderator Laurel Ptak also posed intriguing and thought-provoking questions to keep the discussion going. But what I was the most inspired by was hearing from two of the site's artists themselves: Elinor Carucci and Robin Schwartz were there to discuss their photography, and I felt particularly lucky that I was able to hear firsthand how they balance motherhood with their creative drives.

Carucci is known for highly personal work in which she documents various family members in an intimate and vulnerable light, along with her penchant for revealing and intense self-portraits. Starting off with her earlier work she spoke of photography as a form of communication, that her images became a platform for her family to be able to talk back to her, to speak the unspoken, particularly with her husband. Then four years ago Carucci gave birth to twins, and she showed never-before-seen work that I have to say practically made me cry (none of it is available online as of yet, but I hope it will be soon). As the first slide went up she said: "How complicated it is to photograph your children"--these words really reverberated for me. She spoke of wanting to show the beauty and the pain and how needy children are; "need" was a word she repeated often. I think it's a state of being that any parent can relate to, the sometimes relentless demands of your children, coupled with how to integrate their desire for things to be done right now with your own needs as an individual.

There was such a palpable rawness, a certain courage in her ability to show all of the cracks, chinks, and sheer physicality of motherhood. Images of breastfeeding, giving her son antibiotics, her daughter's runny nose, and the like were such recognizable moments from my own life, shot in Carucci's own "here it all is, no holds barred" manner. She did say a big issue for her was "will they be grateful or will they hate me? Probably both." I think this question is raised less often for me perhaps because of the fact that I do have a level of censorship in my own work--there are definitely images that I hold back. I see my photography as a mixture of both personal and allegorical--my work is about authentically representing my version of motherhood, and some of that for me is a certain privacy that feels in keeping with how I approach the world in general, but certainly when one makes work involving their own children the question can't help but come up. For Carrucci I feel that her vision of things is about exposure: there were a few shots of her children that were quite explicit, and for her work this seemed right--she continues the trajectory of laying everything bare.

Ptak asked how the highly personal role of motherhood impacted the work, and Carucci replied that she didn't feel it was a decision: it was just what she saw and wanted to photograph. I often feel this way--that this is my life, it's what surrounds me, my children are the most interesting, complicated, perplexing thing about my day-to-day existence and it has seemed only natural to interact creatively with what is most important to me. As I mentioned above, I do withhold a certain amount, but this, in and of itself, is part of what I'm addressing in my work, and I felt privileged to have Carucci show her own personal vision of motherhood.

Schwartz followed by presenting photographs from her series "Amelia’s World." I had only been familiar with her imagery through WIP, so it was interesting to hear another photographer who is a mother talk about her engagement with her child and the passion behind her work. Her original fascination was with animals, and after her daughter Amelia was born she began involving her in the process. She also spoke of intimacy and mentioned that her photographs were an attempt to "cheat time and death," which is right up my alley--I was sold from that line on.

For Schwartz I think the attempt is not only to freeze her daughter's childhood, but also about how animals have a much shorter lifespan than ours--the photographs are a means of capturing their limited time here on earth. In this sense childhood and animals share a kinship: both phases are fleeting, and it occurred to me that perhaps this is why children are drawn to animals in a way that adults generally are not. I got the sense that for Schwartz she never outgrew this kinship, and her sheer fascination with the creatures was palpable. I also loved hearing how in awe she was of her daughter's level of comfort and her ability to interact with the animals; she seemed to admire Amelia's ability to "speak" to them, and for Amelia to be given such an incredible opportunity through Schwartz's photographic endeavors spoke to me of a wonderful, mutually-fulfilling collaboration.

She also mentioned losing her own mother and how beginning to photograph Amelia opened a door for her. In this way she and Carucci are similar--I got the sense that the creative process for each of them is a means of healing and coping with their own emotional landscapes. In response to the question from Ptak about how being a mother impacted the work, Schwartz responded that she wants to be home and record what's at home, or within her immediate vicinity (which, like yours truly, is in New Jersey). I couldn't have said it better myself.

Quotidian sublime, cont.

Here's some of Mike's work:



All images © Mike Fleming

Quotidian sublime

Within days of each other I received emails from Tim Carpenter and Mike Fleming, both of whom seem to have a similar take on the quotidian sublime, so it seemed apropos to show their work together for this post.

Tim wrote to introduce himself and to pass along a link to The Center for Fine Art Photography's 2008 Online and Print Portfolio show. Darius Himes chose Tim's work, along with 15 other photographers--see all of the images here, and visit Tim's website here. I think the portraiture in his gallery "good advices" is some of his strongest work, though I've chosen only one from that series to show here since I liked these four images together:



All images above © Tim Capenter

Mike also wrote to introduce himself and noted he couldn't resist emailing to say hello due to the whimsical fact of our shared last name, "and a similar penchant for details and small moments." Indeed--see more of his work on his blog and on his website. I'm having problems moving images around so I'm going to post his photos in a separate entry to follow in order to save myself the hassle of redoing my text around the images. Sit tight...

10/6/08

Color IQ

I'm procrastinating while June naps and Edie watches TV, and I came across a post by Rachel Hulin about testing your color IQ. I can never resist this kind of thing, so I headed over to the link she provided and dragged those little boxes around until I was satisfied with my order. Well, who knew, I have perfect color vision, see above. I'll admit, I was pretty pleased with myself. It's the little things in life...

10/2/08

Debatable

I'm feeling anxious about tonight's debate--I'm kind of wishing it was going to be between Palin and Miss Teen South Carolina. There will be some comfort in knowing it's taking place at my alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. There will also be much comfort if Palin does an encore performance of her various embarrassing and cringe-worthy Couric interview gaffes

Help Obama!

© Todd Hido

Feel like spending more? Well pull out some of those bills you have stashed under your mattress just in case the economy tanks and head on over to the auction at Art for Obama, which opens its bidding tomorrow. If I had any extra money to spend myself I'd buy the Todd Hido print you see above. Sigh.

Another print sale!

© Justin Visnesky

And speaking of print sales, I just realized I never posted about another photograph being offered by the ever talented Justin Visnesky, apologies for being late on the draw. At the amazing price of $30 this one's not to be missed. See all of the details here.

Print sale! Print sale!

© Will Steacy

Fellow photographer Will Steacy got in touch to let me know about a Limited Edition print sale he's put together in order to raise money. His landlord has just upped his rent by a whopping $600 a month and lacking the funds to cover the costs of a move Will is hoping to get the necessary cash by offering five images for sale in editions of 15 at the affordable price of $150. To see all of the photographs available head over to his blog. Considering that Will was recently awarded a Tierney Fellowship, was a nominee in the much buzzed about New York Photo Festival, and a winner in the prestigious Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Competition--among many other exhibitions and accolades--I'd say it's a good bet these prints will appreciate in value as his reputation continues to grow. So help a guy out!