Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Bird and Four Cats

I took an early stroll yesterday morning on my way to Manhattan.



Tom Cat Bakery Truck, 7:30 A.M



Yellow Warbler In Brooklyn? 7:35 AM



Invoicing, Auto Shop, 7:45 A.M



Perp Walk. Waiting for terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi to arrive in Federal Court, 8:00 A.M



Some Guy Heading To the Vet With Two Cats, Second Avenue Station, 8:40 A.M

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dirty Harry

Last weeks televised biopic about Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz was a big success for the Lifetime network. It's not surprising that a movie about these two would make for good television drama. They were both dramatic, ego maniacal, narcissistic, driven, talented, insecure and, in the eyes of the mainstream populace, "eccentric." Of course there are many other art world / photography world couples who found it difficult to work together while keeping their clothes on. It's unlikely though that the lives of all of them will have contained the requisite drama to be suitable material for future biopics. So, in assuming my typical contrarian stance, I thought why not celebrate one of the more seemingly quiet, and less "dramatic", but very often naked, couples of photography; Harry and Eleanor Callahan. As far as I know there aren't that many naked pictures of Harry Callahan, or Alfred Stieglitz for that matter, floating around. But you can be damn sure that they were taken. Perhaps this would make for an excellent book project for some industrious individual? Nudes of photographers who are well known for making nudes of others. Has that already been done? There is very little about the personal history of Harry and Eleanor Callahan that I know, or care to know. In the end, as with the lives of all artists, the only thing we have to consider of their lives that is of any real and lasting value, to us the public, is the work itself.









All of the above pictures are by Harry Callahan and are of Eleanor Callahan

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Chelsea Field Trip






I did a recent gallery weave through the streets of Chelsea to check out the current offerings. As always some of what I saw was terrific and much of it... not so much terrific. What's always most curious about these visits is to re-witness how 90's Soho has completely recreated itself in the once gritty streets of West Chelsea. It's as if, having attempted to kill the tacky beast that Soho had become, the art industry succeeded only in creating a larger, hipper and more fortified monster. If a fuzzy line once existed that separated the presentation and distribution of art versus commerce that line has now fully and gleefully dissolved. I spotted a few new furniture shops and book stores which I suspect will soon be followed by shoe stores, poster shops and kiosks offerings souvenir trinkets. One of the more interesting "galleries" that I visited was the Tesla gallery/car dealership. Tesla Motors has a large street level space where you can check out and purchase their gorgeous and fast $105,000 fully electric Tesla Roadster. It's a true beauty but I couldn't help but wonder how I was going to fit the Richard Serra piece I just saw in it's tiny trunk?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Tin Eye


I caught wind yesterday of a very cool new image search engine called TinEye. Actually TinEye refers to its self as a "reverse image search engine." With Google you type in a word and hope to find an applicable image. Tineye works by actually examining the image, and then running it through it's servers and finding similar or like images that are on the web. At this point they have only crawled a small part of the web. 1 billion images! Their goal is to eventually crawl and stay current with the entire content of the web. It's worth checking out. What it means is that soon anyone who has a web site with images, which these days is almost everyone, will be able to regularly track and follow their images to see where they end up on the web. Let the games begin!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Atget and Abbott Have A Chat

It's well known that Berenice Abbott championed the work of Eugene Atget. She is credited with first introducing his work to America and American photographers. Most obviously Waker Evans. It's also well known that after reurning to New York she began to wrestle with the scope of Atget's achievement by doing an analogous body of work. During 1929-38, she photographed New York City and documented the morphing city before it was torn down. The body of work was published as Changing New York in 1939. It's a fun and valuable exercise to see a few side by comparisons of their work. Of course you could also toss any number of Walker Evans' pictures in to the mix as well but I suppose that's another post for the future.




Eugen Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott



Eugene Atget



Berenice Abbott

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toasted

video

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today Is The Last day of Summer

"Let the lamp affix it's beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream."
Wallace Stevens, 1923







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Friday, September 18, 2009

Cadaver Show to Be Dedicated to Sex ?



Really. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried. "ZURICH — German anatomists plan a new show dedicated solely to dead bodies having sex as part of the Body Worlds exhibitions." Stephen Colbert breaks it all down below. I sense an iphone app coming soon!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Found At the Science Fair

I'm guessing that more pictures have been created in the service of science than have been made in the service of art. It's comes as no surprise that these images are often a more interesting to look at. Because they were typically made to serve a function and purpose, rather than as an expression or exploration of the delicate sensitivities of an "artist" they have a sincerity and candidness about them that is difficult to find in the world of fine art.



Various Medical Imaging Techniques, Including X-Ray, MRI, and CT Scans. Scott Camazine/Photo Researchers, Inc.



Card X, Hermann Rorschach, Published in 1927



Motor Oil On Asphalt, Adam Jones/Photo Researchers Inc.



Lost 8 Out of Ten Toenails, from blogmyruns.blogspot.com



Excised Knee Joint, A Round Musket Ball in the Inner Condyle of the Right Femur, William H. Bell, 1866, Metropolitan Museum of Art



Ichnographs from the Sandstone of Connecticut River, James Deane, 1861, Collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art



Dandelion Seeds, William Henry Fox Talbot, 1858, Collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Just the Facts, Ma'am"

Like every photographer I am constantly wrestling with my own notions about photography and how it might relate to my work. Lately I've had one particular mantra in my head and I've been trying to use it like a compass. Writing about Atget, John Szarkowski mentions Atget's ability "to describe facts of such surprising character that they might seem almost miraculous." What could be more simple? And difficult! One of the best photographers to do just this for well over thirty years has certainly been Robert Adams. He's the photographic equivalent of Dragnet's Joe Friday. His work is often, for many, not the easiest to get excited about. While that's not terribly surprising it is unfortunate. After all there are many compasses these days and they are pointing in many different directions. There are few, however, that regularly point to true north, as opposed to magnetic north.









All pictures above are by Robert Adams

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