Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quote of the Week - Jeffrey Beebe

Friend and artist (not photography) Jeffrey Beebe's answer to the question, "How do you see the art world now?" for his interview with the Chinese magazine, Vision:

I can’t see myself in the text based, critical theory-type stuff that I seems so prevalent here in the art world. It seems like there is a very tightly interlocking structure now between curators and a lot of conceptually-based artists. The artists speak a specialized language that the curator understands and the curator then—having formal training in this specialized language—the promotes the work artist in question because it justifies the labor put into the formal training. It find the whole thing a little boring because a bit of a closed loop, a kind of call-and-response song that I don’t have the sheet music for and I don’t really have any interest in learning the song by ear, you know?

Personal day

Click to view larger

Breaking a bit from protocol, I have three personal bits of news to relate.

1. Canon sucks. The estimate to repair my 5D and calibrate 2 lenses comes to $1,150. What, are they not selling photocopiers these days? This means I won't be able to shoot for a while, which does not make me happy.

2. Some good news along with the bad. I was selected for the Carmel Art & Film Festival and so will have these two shots up in the show. Let me know if anyone else is planning to check it out.

3. Fellow MadridModern artist José Javier Serrano (alias Yosigo) was featured over on The Exposure Project. Well deserved.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

52 Editions / Aline Smithson

Copyright Aline Smithson

So it appears the West Coast has it's answer to 20 x 200 (you know I love the coastal rivalry). Run by Arnaud Gregori, co-founder of local lab Paris Photo, 52 Editions offers an edition by a photographer each week at the very affordable price of $45 unframed and $125 framed. I think the saying goes: Art is cheap. Framing is expensive. Right?

Last week features a print by Shawn Gust and up this week is friend and local photo blogger Aline Smithson with this gem. Pick one up for yourself!

Pro'jekt LA Summer Series

Sorry for giving such short notice but I only just saw you're supposed to RSVP for this event before 4pm today.

Emily Shur, who I've previously featured will be showing work for the Lucie Foundation's Pro'jekt LA series tomorrow night at 8pm at Space 15 Twenty.

Photos will be projected in their courtyard with live music by the Lost Library and Modern Memory.

Other photographers who will be showing their shots of the music world are Dan Monick, Piper Ferguson, Aaron Farley, and Greg Watermann

RSVP via email:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Film Grant - Too Much Chocolate + Kodak

Jake Stangel, founder of Too Much Chocolate, which is an excellent site geared to the emerging photographer, was kind enough to answer my questions regarding a new grant he has arranged with Kodak to provide 10 photographers with film of their choosing to complete a project.

The judging panel for the film grant will consist of:

- Marcel Saba, Director of Redux Pictures
- Clinton Cargill, Associate Picture Editor of the New York Times Magazine
- Conor Risch, Features Editor of PDN
- Andy Adams, Editor / Publisher of Flak Photo
- Alison Morley, Chair of ICP’s Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program
- Audrey Jonckheer, Director of Worldwide Pro Photographer Relations at Kodak
- Jake Stangel, Founder / Editor of too much chocolate

Best of all, the entry fee is just $10!

JWB: How did this grant come about? Who contacted who first and why a fim grant in the age of the digital revolution that's been so embraced by the emerging photographers TMC caters to?

JS: I got the idea of doing a film grant a couple months ago to address two things: my desire to grow the site in a constructive and helpful way for 'emerging photographers', and also my own frustration in not being able to shoot project ideas- no matter how big or small- with the frequency I'd wished to. Inspiration wasn't the issue, I just couldn't afford much film, which is predominately what I shoot. I knew there were plenty of people out there just like myself, and I wanted to leverage the site to address the issue.

So I got in touch with Kodak, and gave them the proposal that you pretty much see today. The site has grown alot since I started it in December, and has since grown beyond this kind of small, young, film-shooting group of photographers it began with, for the better. But I presented it to Kodak as a way to really connect with a predominately young group of loyal film shooters... many of whom shoot Portra almost exclusively because it's such a great film (and I'm not paid to say that).

We might be swept up in an 'age of digital' but film is not dead nor should it be dismissed. Plus, it's my own opinion that the younger photographers, like many readers of the site, are the ones wholeheartedly embracing or even sometimes reverting to film. Very few of the rotating gallerists, for example, shoot digitally.

I try not to get engrossed in the good ol' film vs. digital thing; there are clearly parties who work best/stand behind their respective medium. And that's great. But I will say this about film: it's a technology that's been refined for over a century and is this totally amazing, very faithful, colorful, charismatic way of preserving exactly what comes through your lens. It's a 1:1 chemical reaction- what comes through the lens is exactly what's etched into the emulsion (figuratively), as opposed to a sensor/computer doing its best to capture the light hitting it. That's a big reason why I shoot it. Plus, there are all sorts of non-technical reasons for shooting film- a preference for the style you shoot film with (vs. checking the LCD after every shot), the commitment to each frame that you can't get back, the lack of a "safety net", the color profiles... I could go on and on.

JWB: I see you have some interesting names on the judging panel. How did that come about?

JS: I had wanted to get a diverse group of judges that each represent a certain facet of the photo world, from reps to professors/teachers to curators. Aside from looking for judges whose photographic aesthetic and vast industry/portfolio knowledge I really respect, I approached people I had good existing relationships with already- Marcel, Clinton, Conor, and Andy. Of course, Audrey and I have been working on this grant from the beginning and it was a given that she would on the panel. Alison, who is the chair of ICP's documentary photography and photojournalism program, actually came on recommendation from two judges; I was quite happy to welcome a chair of a renowned photography institution/school/gallery.

JWB: So how would you say TMC is going thus far? Anything new planned going forward that you can tell us about?

JS: Great question. Well first, I never would have imagined that I'd have a film grant in place with a company like Kodak six months ago. The site started as a little experiment back in December, with a goal to focus on "how to I transition into a career as a professional photographer". But I quickly recognized all these opportunities to leverage the site for the benefit of an entire (very targeted) photo community. I'm just very focused and excited about the community potential of things- be it the rotating galleries or the open invitation for readers to contribute to the site/interview photographers they really love, like Alec Soth or Dan Winters (that interview is in progress). I like how all this content is created from within, with many back-and-forths from several parties, as opposed to one single person directing information outwards.

It wouldn't be far from the truth to say I'm developing the site one month at a time at this point. I couldn't do much in the way of progression this summer since I was on that bike trip (rode cross-country this summer over three months), which cut into my time to develop the site more, do more interviews, etc. But now that the trip is done, and I've been thinking pretty critically about all of these massive opportunities on the web for our little social group, in terms of connectivity, original content, site leverage, partnerships, and blogs' transition from single-source to perhaps a mini-magazine staff/output. Lots of ideas... (but for the record I'm a photographer first, site developer second!).

As for new plans... I'd like to try to help readers break through the door of magazines/agencies and into the offices of the people that matter. I've got something in the works, an assignment/contest of sorts, in partnership with a magazine, where a 'simulated' assignment is given out to readers (something like "shoot a portrait of a stranger"), top 15 submissions are put in a hyped-up web gallery for viewing by all, and the best-of/single winner then gets shoot an actual assignment for the magazine. The simulation of photographing a stranger makes perfect sense, in this case, because when shooting a subject on assignment, you're pretty much doing that anyway.

Thanks, Jake!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Contemporary is the new Contemporary?

Well, it was destined to happen. "Contemporary Art" will have to continue being, well, contemporary. In 2050, you certainly won't be able to call something from 1950 contemporary, right? It will have to move to "Modern" and then older Modern works in turn will have to move into "American," "European" etc.

It appears LACMA has already moved Contemporary up so that the period begins in 1968 and no longer in 1945. So long, Pollack! You're now Modern.

I bet MOCA isn't so quick to reclassify. They'd have heck of a lot of deaccessioning to do!

"We are pleased to announce the appointment of Franklin Sirmans to the position of Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art. Previously, Sirmans served as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Menil Collection in Houston and Curatorial Advisor at PS 1 Contemporary Art Center.

With Sirmans’ appointment, we will readjust the boundaries between Modern and Contemporary art with the latter focusing on works created during the last four decades--art since 1968."

I'm pretty excited about having someone from PS1 on board.

Review LA Resistration Opens Tomorrow

Coinciding with Photo LA in January, the second year (I believe) of Review LA will give photographers the chance to get feedback from reviewers and to show their work to the public through a portfolio walk. Resgistration opens tomorrow.

Here are the details. I'll be honest - the 240 euros that my 9 review sessions at PhotoEspaña cost me are looking like quite the steal.

3 reviews = $355 members/$395 non-members
6 reviews = $555 members/$595 non-members
9 reviews = $655 members/$695 non-members

CONFIRMED 2010 REVIEWERS subject to changeWe will host approximately 35 reviewers total. Confirmations are coming in daily so check back.


Dr. Claudia Bohn-Spector, Independent Curator, Writer
Ciara Ennis, Director/Curator, Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College
Virginia Heckert, Associate Curator, J. Paul Getty Museum
Walter Mason, Director, Haggerty Museum of Art
Carol McCusker, Curator, Museum of Photographic Arts
Karen Sinsheimer, Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Art


Anthony Bannon, Director, George Eastman House
Sara Terry, Founder and President, Aftermath Project


David Bram, Editor and Co-Founder, Fraction magazine
Christy Karpinski, Editor, F-Stop magazine
Amber Terranova, Photo Editor, Photo District News


Crista Dix, Director, wall space, Seattle, WA


Leslie Rubinoff, Art Adviser
Aline Smithson, Independent Curator, Writer


Marilyn Cadenbach, Director, Marilyn Cadenbach
Carol LeFlufy, President, Eye Forward, Inc.
Maren Levinson, President, Redeye Represents


Darius Himes, Co-Founder and Editor, Radius Books
Joanna Hurley, President, HurleyMedia; Co-Founder Radius Books

Introducing - A Photo Student

Copyright James Pomerantz

Photographer James Pomerantz decided to go back to school and is beginning a two year MFA program at SVA in NY. In looking at his work, I'm not sure he needs one, necessarily, but James has started a new blog to discuss his experience and it will be interesting to see where the program takes his work. If you're like me and can't afford a program or already have a masters degree in something else, it looks like you'll enjoy his allowing us to be flies on the wall as he relates his experiences and even posts some of the program's readings and assignments. Or maybe you'd like to compare your own MFA experience to his. I know I'll be curiously following this one. He just posted a recap of his first two weeks. Go check it out. (Added to the blogroll)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quote of the Week - Ansel Adams

"A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words."

Chris Jordan at Kopeikin Gallery

Don't miss Chris Jordan's show over at Kopeikin Gallery. Chris makes super interesting, impeccably photoshopped work about US and global consumption. Make sure to check out his site to see what I mean. His new book, which shares the same title as this exhibition can be purchased here. Make sure to check out his site to see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Win a Special Portfolio from Bruce Haley!

Big Sur-based photographer and Robert Capa Gold Medal winner Bruce Haley is currently hosting a contest, "Where's Waldo" style, in which you have to find 11 hidden people and one dog in his The Post-Apocalyptic World series. Go read the rules and get cracking - after a good amount of looking I'm up to just 6 people and zero dogs and there are only 3 portfolios remaining. They're going fast!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Andrew Bush - Vector Portraits @ M+B Gallery

Well, aren't we lucky? Andrew Bush's Vector Portraits are on view at M+B Gallery through Oct. 15th. I'm a huge fan of these and even have my own car window mount tripod, but that's a story for another day. Can't wait to check this one out. Be sure to look at other series by Andrew on his site. He's no one trick pony.

Irving Penn - "Small Trades" at the Getty

Just a reminder that Irving Penn: Small Trades is now on view at the Getty through January 10th (what a long, long exhibition...). There are a number of courses, lectures and events regarding the show coming up with the first being tomorrow. Reservations are required.

Working Class: Irving Penn's Small Trades Series in Context

In order to come to terms with his success as a fashion photographer, Penn needed to photograph other kinds of subjects as well. Colin Westerbeck, director of the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside, explains how these 1950s studies of working-class people in their work clothes were a seminal project for the photographer in the context of his full career.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting Screwed

Back from vacation...

Melissa Rodwell, who runs the excellent Fashion Photography Blog calls out Flaunt Magazine for screwing her royally on a recent shoot here.

"I started this blog to talk openly and honestly about issues that are important to working in this field. And not all of them are pleasant. Politics are ugly. But they’re there."

Sunday, September 6, 2009


On vacation this week so no posts until next week. See you again soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quote of the Week - Edward Winkleman

Opinion #1: No single idea defines an artist of any significance.

Opinion #2: Any vein worth mining as an artist will most likely take time.

Opinion #3: All interests and tastes come back around again.

Opinion #4: The surest way to miss your place at a crowded table is to keep circling it looking for the best place to sit down.

- Edward Winkleman via A Quick Word of Encouragement for Your Ongoing Project

LACMA curates for WIP

Copyright Carolyn Drake

Sarah Bay Williams who is the Ralph M. Parsons Fellow in the photography department at LACMA curated a presentation of photos by California born Carolyn Drake for Women in Photography. Go check it out.

Found via Superluminal

Introducing Superluminal

Another blog added to the blogroll - Superluminal is run by Nicole Lloyd, whose work I previously featured and Cara Nieto (both art buyers) and deals with photography/art/culture in Los Angeles. Go take a look!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rule # 362

#362. Focus

Mistakes don’t make it art. (via Square America)
Mistakes don’t make it art.

Via 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son via Here in Van Nuys

UPDATE: I disagree with #199 - Limit your time in California

Ours is a lovely state.

Los Angeles - 1920-90

Great set of images, complete with captions, over on American Suburb X's Facebook of Los Angeles, many of which appeared in the LAT.

Construction of the 10!

Who else remembers the People Mover?!

Congrats to locals - Arbor @ Michael Mazzeo

Congrats to local photographers Aline Smithson, who runs the excellent Lenscratch blog and Amanda Friedman, whose work I've featured before alongside an interview on how she got gallery representation, for their inclusion in an online show put on by Michael Mazzeo gallery with the theme, Arbor. Go check out the show here (prints are available for sale too).

Copyright Aline Smithson

Copyright Amanda Friedman

Local Legend - John Humble

John Humble is a bit of a legend for me for his night work in Los Angeles, though this is by no means the extent of his talent. John's photos reside in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, LACMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Living in Madrid in 2007, I sadly missed his exhibition "A Place in the Sun" at the Getty in 2007. You can buy the accompanying book here. Works are available for purchase at Jan Kesner Gallery, which sadly no longer exhibits.

The Los Angeles River, Burbank Boulevard Bridge, Reseda, 2001
Copyright John Humble

The Los Angeles River at the Glendale Narrows, Atwater Village, 2001
Copyright John Humble

10425 Venice Boulevard,Los Angeles, 1997
Copyright John Humble

I-105 at I-405,Los Angeles, 1994
Copyright John Humble

I-405 at I-105, Overpass,Los Angeles, 2005
Copyright John Humble

I-405 at I-105, La Cienega Boulevard,Los Angeles, 2005
Copyright John Humble

I-5 at I-91, Elevated View,Los Angeles, 2005
Copyright John Humble