Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feature - Simone Lueck

Aline Smithson kindly brought to my attention that a fellow Angelenographer (can I trademark that?) will also be in Madrid as part of the Descubrimientos reviews and show, which form part of PhotoEspaña 09. I'm excited to show her around my old stomping grounds.

Here are some photos from Simone Lueck's series, The Once and Future Queens:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Doom plus Gloom

It's official. The rumor I posted last week is true. The Getty museum just laid off roughly 100 employees. Read about it here.
FASCINATING post here on the blog mentioned in that LA Times article. Definitely worth a read if you know about or are interested in how museums function

Monday, April 27, 2009

Feature - Gilda Davidian

I previously interviewed Gilda Davidian regarding the local collective From Here to There, to which she belongs. Here are some of Gilda's excellent photos:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

MOPLA pics

If you'd like to see what's been going on during the Month of Photography Los Angeles, Koury Angelo been covering it for Resource Magazine and has posted shots from a number of events over on his flickr.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This weekend: Fresh Fair

"FRESH FAIR brings a new audience to photographic work. Fresh Fair is a juried photography fair designed to showcase both new and established artists. This one of a kind event allows collectors and the public to purchase art directly from an exclusive selection of innovative photographers. Fresh Fair provides a glimpse of the most cutting edge trends in photography."

This means studio prices, people! Go and get some great art and make sure to stop by Ryan Schude's booth while there.

I'm off to the opening reception. Have a great weekend everyone.


Word on the museum street is that the Getty Museum is to lay off some 100 or so employees or roughly 25% of its workforce next week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Turner Prize

Total and utter crap.

"We are the gatekeepers. How dare you go straight to the public."

Broad Art Foundation

Copyright Gregory Crewdson

I just found out yesterday via a work friend that the Broad Art Foundation can be visited by appointment by "museum and art professionals, art scholars and other qualified individuals..."

Of course, you can always visit the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, but it seems a greater selection of his impressive collection can be viewed if you take the time to call up to arrange a visit.

A visit to the website surprised me as to the depth of his photography collection, which can be viewed online (wait 5 seconds or so for the large images to become sharp). For instance, I didn't realize it was Mr. Broad who had paid the highest price ever for a photograph. It appears some Gursky's are currently on display but I'd call ahead to be sure.

Jean-Marie Perier opening tonight at Fahey Klein

Tonight from 7-9 is the opening of music and celebrety photographer, Jean-Marie Perier's show at Fahey Klein.

While it would be nice to see less photo shows in LA about celebrities, Mr. Perier has some very nice images.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Presentation - Hiroshi Sugimoto's portraits

Yesterday I was able to benefit from one of the perks of working a day job at LACMA. The museum's upcoming collector's committee event is coming up, where members of the committee each donate to a fund that is used to acquire a piece or pieces that were selected by curators. The members see the works after the curators talk about each and then vote on which to acquire. Unfortunately, the works on display are closed to the public but staff get to walk through.

One of the works up for consideration is a collection of seven of Hiroshi Sugimoto's "portraits" of wax figures of old british royalty from Madame Tussaud's, which were in turn modeled from old paintings - a portrait of a portrait of a portrait (maybe I should shoot Sugimoto's photos Richard Prince style and turn them into GIF's?).

They are truly gorgeous and I recommend you go see them if ever on display in your neck of the woods, but what really caught my eye and got me thinking is the way they are presented. The photos are in a narrow, rectangular space with walls that are painted dark with lights shining directly on them at the exact size and in the same shape as the frames. I'd seen this lighting before at the Reina Sofia and was impressed by it then, but seeing it illuminating these photos with a strong dark element to them in the dark space was truly impressive and the presentation screamed, "Buy me!"

I'll think long and hard for my next show in terms of the presentation of the space and lighting. After all, if we as photographers take such care with framing and lighting for our images, why not for the presentation of our work also?

Friday, April 10, 2009

MOPLA continues tonight with projected photographs titled "Tis of Theee: Visual Language of American Faces and Landscape" featuring the work Douglas Adesko, Hyers+Mebane, and Estevan Oriol, who has some pretty incredible shots of Los Angeles gangs.

I'd recommend a visit to all of their sites and believe me, Douglas Adesko is an American photographer. His project Family Meal documents well, family meals.

I'll be there so shoot me an email if anyone wants to say hi.

A&I - 933 N. Highland Ave
Los Angeles. CA 90038
Free with live DJ and drinks

Copyright Douglas Adesko

Copyright Estevan Oriol

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Feature - Dan Busta

Continuing with features of local photographers, I present the work of Dan Busta. The last shot below should have been included in the East vs. West gansta shoot out post from a few days ago. Dan's focus is on advertising and fashion and he did the unthinkable a couple of weeks ago when he convinced me to get on the other side of the lens for a pitch he was shooting for. Click each shot for a big, nice view.

Madonna Photoshop Magic

Wow - Some photographer's going to be in a lot of hot water (and their assistant or retoucher is never going to work again). Found here.


This article details how digital technology's allowed photographers covering politicians to read top secret papers they are carrying from accross the street, such as one carried by a British minister warning of a 10% drop in the housing market one year ago.

UPDATE: Britain's chief terrorism official resigned today after being photographed holding sheets detailing plans for an anti-terrorism operation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

MOPLA cont. - Opening night exhibitions at PDC tonight

Copyright Mark Edward Harris

Copyright John Delaney

Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA) continues tonight with an opening exhibition party at Pacific Design Center. There will be 7 different shows up at once, including one with work from the newest crop of PDN's 30 emerging photographers to watch. I'm most excited to see the Mark Edward Harris and John Delaney shows. Check out the whole calendar of events.

Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Ave.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Artworks Magazine - Spring Issue Spread

(Click to view large)

I try not to make this blog about my own work, but rather photography in Los Angeles and the left coast and photography issues that interest me (and I hope you) in general. That being said, when something really exciting happens for me, I'll post here and hopefully not bore you all to death.

My work is currently featured in the Spring issue of Artworks Magazine. They chose my photo of the Sheppard Fairy Obama poster for the table of contents, as he is also featured in the issue and then I have a 7 page spread starting on page 57. The only place I know that carries it for certain is Barnes & Noble, so take a look if you're in the store. In the meantime, a PDF that does the actual spread no justice is downloadable here.

The first person to leave a comment below will receive a signed copy in the mail in a few weeks. Just include your address a separate email to me (Sorry, Eric, but you're disqualified. So are Josh and Ryan).

East vs. West

In homage to Michael David Murphy's Same but Different posts over on 2Point8, I present a little east coast vs. west coast photo gansta face-off:

Shannon Taggart:
(found today via conscientious)


Alex Prager:

Start shooting.

Blog Shout Out

Copyright Colin Pantall

The latest blog I've been enjoying is Colin Pantall's and I've added it to the blogroll on the sidebar. He is currently posting a series titled "How Not to Photograph" in which he takes art photographers to task for falling into a rut and shooting "acceptable" subjects in "acceptable" ways. Such things include shooting beds or deadpan subjects or empty landscapes. I know I've been guilty of many of these sins and it's nice to see someone openly questioning the art world norms we feel we must comply with in order to be taken seriously as art photographers. Each post is illustrated by one of Colin's own photographs that commit the sin at hand, which I like because it shows he's not above reproach and also the fact that this is a photographer who loves to shoot and shoots often and a variety of subjects. I like photographers who are obsessed with photographing.

You can view more of Colin's excellent work here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

MOPLA - Fresh Look Review update

I have to be honest and say I was a bit surprised to see this comment from the founder of MOPLA on my post where I expressed frustration with the first-come, first-serve wait list for the portfolio reviews:

We are open to ideas and suggestion to make Fresh Look better. I thank you for your suggestion. I will run it by other photographer that signed up and see if they would like your idea. If they like that we will implement it. We want to make sure that Fresh Look works for all of photographers and they benefit from it and they are happy with the process.

Thanks again, Hossein Farmani

Then, today in my inbox:

We've changed the sign up process for Fresh Look. It will be a first come first serve, but online a week prior to the review. Thanks for your feedback on your blog!

I applaud them for their willingness to improve the format. An ideal lottery system would probably have been too complicated to put together this late in the game and this seems like a pretty acceptable solution. The list of reviewers is quite impressive so if you're interested, don't miss tomorrow's deadline to register.

Feature - Katie Shapiro

Katie Shapiro is a fine art photographer living in Los Angeles and is part of the collective, From Here to There.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Re: Flickr Stigma comment

The following comment was left on the Flickr Stigma post:


Part of the reason Flickr is not respected has to do with the fact that nobody is in control of what is "pronounced" good.

It is not 1963 or 1985 anymore. One curator in London or New York cannot make a photographer.

The web rules.

My response:

I'm not so sure I totally agree with that. Ryan McGinley was "made" by his solo show at the Whitney. Now, that was 6 years ago almost and things certainly move quickly when it comes to the internet but I don't doubt yet that a solo show at a major museum can make a photographer. The problem is, none of the curators are trying. Does anyone know of a solo show at a major institution of an emerging photographer since McGinley's?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


It was just pointed out to me in the comments on my last post that I totally fell for Joerg's April Fools. I've always been gullible, but I'll stand by my rant just the same.


Joerg just posted the following over at Conscientious:

Word on the street in Berlin has it that there's a massive reorganization going on in Düsseldorf. Apparently, the students were required to sell all their large-format equipment and to instead use Holga toy cameras. Several people independently told me about this, and over the past few days I have been trying to get this confirmed in Düsseldorf (where I know some people). All I managed to find out is that in all of Düsseldorf, Holgas are completely sold out! Apparently, some students are trying to figure out whether using a "Colour Sampler" camera will do - I guess habits are hard to break?!

I've always had an issue with blurry photography, including that which comes out of toy cameras. My eyes don't see that way. In fact they see much more crisply than my 5D. Photography for me is a way of entering an alternate reality, but one which is believable. My mother took it a step farther when we were at Photo LA and said, "I don't like these photos where part of the image is blurry (DOF). My eyes don't see that way." I tried to explain that they do actually, but she was having none of it.

Roger Ballen said in an interview that I read recently that he shoots around f8-11 because that's how the eyes see.

It seems odd to me that Dusseldorf would be rejecting new technology and large format in favor of hazy images. I have a deep hunch that the next great generation of photographers will comprise those who embrace the new technology and innovate with it as never before, not reject it. After all, isn't the history of the medium one of innovation and an embrace of that? Then again, daguerrotypes are amazing but they're a far stretch from images made with a Holga.

Quote of the week - Paul Graham

Nice to see this coming from the man who just won photography's most prestigious award. From an interview over at PDN:

My point is simply that the art world is traditionally attuned to perceiving what the artist “created,” which in photography usually means that they pick up more on work with a synthetic quality—constructed scenes, Tableaux Vivants, staged pieces—these fit neater into this expectation and fit into the broader art world model of “what artists do” much easier. However, the great photography which operates at the core of the medium—from Frank to Eggleston to Shore to Winogrand—doesn't fit that model, as it is taken from life directly, unscripted and unforced.

I've always had an issue with some of Wall's images, particularly Outside a Nightclub. I think it may be a product of belonging to a new generation in which technology has made capturing a similar scene almost possible; at least, it's just around the corner or perhaps even attainable not with a 40k Hassleblad. I also never understood why he didn't just hire the actors and shoot them over a few hours outside the actual nightclub that inspired him for the shot, leaving at least the identity of the place, if not the scene intact.

The whole hiring assistants to painstakingly recreate the nightclub to shoot it in a studio thing always seemed like a gimick to me - a way of getting away with demanding higher prices for the work, producing less work in a given year, and pandering to what Graham speaks of - people's understanding of the whole set-up thing and harder time grasping what finding great photos entails. It's hard for someone to really grasp that without having shot thousands of photos and gaining the intuition that the great documentary photographers possess.