Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays and New Year!

Posting can be a bit slow for me this time of year, as it's my busiest so signing off until the new year.  Thanks for another great one.

Looks like it's going to be 72 degrees on Christmas day.  I love LA.

These are from my favorite Facebook "like" of the year, Vintage Los Angeles.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peter Bohler for NYT Magazine

I apologize for the NYT Mag back-to-back blast but be sure to check out Peter Bohler's series on California sand dune racing in this week's edition here.

On Photoshop

Wow, a fair bit of Photoshop went into making this image by Mark Peterson into the cover of the NYT Sunday Magazine this week.  I found it interesting that they showed the original right after the click-through on the cover.



Copyright Mark Peterson/Redux

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WTF Quote of the Week - White Cube

Copyright Jeff Wall

"In the ground-floor gallery, Wall will show, together for the first time, three documentary pictures of Sicilian landscapes. The composition of Hillside, Sicily (2007) imbues the picture with a powerful downward motion, emphasized by the truncation of the slope, while the scale of the picture and stippling of the flora puts the work in dialogue with Modernist abstraction."


Translation: Jeff Wall can do whatever the hell he wants, even show a bland photo of a hill, much like many that can be easily found on Flickr.  He's gangster. That's why he chose a hill in Sicily.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Feature - Historic LA

So that other new feature isn't going so well. I just haven't come across any egregious statements these past two weeks so it's probably going to be more like a monthly feature that a weekly one.

I'm going to try my best to keep up with this one, though.  Introducing: Historic LA.  I'm going to feature a new neighborhood each week through vintage photos found in the excellent Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. From what I can gather, many of the photos are from unidentified photographers.

First up: My new neighborhood, Echo Park.  Did you know that Ayn Rand, Steve McQueen, Woodie Guthrie, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Huston, Jackson Pollack, Elliot Smith, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Babe Ruth, and Richard Neutra all called Echo Park home?

Here we go. Click each one to view larger.

Turn of the century - Echo Park Lake

 Fishing Rodeo held at Echo Park Lake, 1967

 Learn to canoe class @ Echo Park Lake, 1965

 Flag Salute, Elysian Heights School, 1964

Dance Practice at Echo Park Clubhouse, 1963

Take Cover Drill at Elysian Heights School, 1962

Anyone else remember that?  Ours were for earthquakes but this is in case of a "national emergency."

Students practice "drop drill," George O'Day, 1962

You can tell by the rear-end's facing the window that this one's for an earthquake.

New moving mountain slide, 1958

Model yacht races at Echo Park, 1956

Huck Finn day at Echo Park Lake, 1954

Evidently, a lot of fishing went down.

Illegal Fishing At Echo Park Lake, 1949

There was a season for it, though, and you could get in trouble if you fished out of season.  That was a motorcycle cop.

"Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Heagle, children Geraldine and Floyd Jr., camping out in Echo Park on July 24, 1946. They join Los Angeles' ever-growing legion of those evicted from their homes, 1946"

These guys occupied LA before anyone.  My guess was that they lived in Chavez Ravine and were among those forced out so Dodger Stadium could be built but this was twelve years prior.

"Prayer services began in Angelus Temple's Prayer Tower soon after the news of the pastor's death was received and continued throughout the night with weeping, grief-stricken followers pleading, "Bring her back!" "May it not be true!" "Take her home." 1944 at Angelus Temple.

 Even Schools were at war in 1943

You have driven up Baxter, LA's steepest street, haven't you?  1939

Remember the lotus flowers? 1932

Evidently, they're coming back once the draining project is complete.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Benjamin Lowy on the Daily Show

It's pretty cool that a photographer was the guest on The Daily Show last night.  Benjamin Lowy, who lives in New York (but this is no time for discrimination, right?) was John Stewart's guest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quote of the Week - Charles Saatchi

"For professional curators, selecting specific paintings for an exhibition is a daunting prospect, far too revealing a demonstration of their lack of what we in the trade call "an eye". They prefer to exhibit videos, and those incomprehensible post-conceptual installations and photo-text panels, for the approval of their equally insecure and myopic peers. This "conceptualised" work has been regurgitated remorselessly since the 1960s, over and over and over again."

- Charles Saatchi

From this.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Opening Sat. - Elger Esser at Rose Gallery

Elger Esser: Voyage en Egypte opens at Rose Gallery on Saturday with a reception from 6-8pm.  I'm looking forward to this one.  

Images can be seen here, which is of course a poor substitute for seeing the prints, especially his.

Copyright Elger Esser

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2012 Palm Springs

 The website is live for the 2012 Palm Springs Photo Festival.  While I'm not sure it's the "America's most talked-about photography event," there are certainly some interesting things going on.  Sadly, if you're like me and have a day job, you won't be able to attend any of them since they're scheduled during the work week but if you're a freelancer, take a peak at the offerings.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weegee: Naked Hollywood at MOCA

In 1947, the tabloid photographer known as Weegee relocated from New York City to Los Angeles. In moving west, he abandoned the grisly crime scenes for which he was best known and trained his camera instead on Hollywood stars, strippers, costume shops, and naked mannequins, sometimes distorted through trick lenses and multiple exposures. “Now I could really photograph the subjects I liked,” said Weegee of his life in Los Angeles. “I was free.”

Show info here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Opening Sat. - Hedi Slimane @ MOCA

It's probably no secret that I'm a Hedi Slimane fan, having given him the only double feature thus far on here. I spent $320 bucks I didn't really have at the time on a copy of his Anthology of a Decade so I could have it signed when he came to LACMA.  His first LA solo show opens at MOCA on Saturday at the Pacific Design Center space.

When I moved back to LA after a decade of living elsewhere, it struck me that people would ask where I was from and when I'd answer that I was from here, they'd find that odd.  There are so many transplants in LA and Hedi is one of our finest adopted photographer sons.

Related NYT article.

The Museum of Contemporary Art presents Hedi Slimane's California Song, the first West Coast solo museum exhibition of the photographer's work, on view at MOCA Pacific Design Center from November 12, 2011, through January 22, 2012. California Songspans the photographer's "California period" and traces his explorations of cycles of urban youth culture and artistic communities, through installations of photographic essays, exhibitions, and publications.

Copyright Hedi Slimane

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quote of the Week - Edward Steichen

"Photography is a major force in explaining man to man."

- Edward Steichen

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Saturday Openings

Allan Sekula, California Stories opens with a reception from 6-8pm at Christopher Grimes.

Copyright Allan Sekula

Scot Sothern, Lowlife opens at DRKRM Gallery with an opening and book signing from 7-10pm.

Copyright Scot Sothern
Jane explains to me that she is really a model. She's going to stop the ho stuff real soon and get a job as a dancer or maybe doing television commercials. She wants my phone number, so if the pictures are good she can use them in her portfolio.

We burn through two rolls of film. Afterward, I give her another fifteen bucks for a quick dip. We do it the old fashioned way with me on top, her looking up. She turns her head away, closes her eyes and curls her hands into hard fists.

Six months later Jane calls me. She says she is working as a dancer and has a boyfriend who takes care of her and can she buy the negatives from me for a hundred dollars? I tell her no but promise never to show her face. I suggest we get together to take some more pictures. She calls me a scum-bag and hangs up. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Required Reading

Debra Klomp Ching posted a link on the Flak Photo Network to this piece in Frieze, which more eloquently discussed the thing I alluded to held in common by many of the photographers in my In Rainbows post. I recommend a read.

WTF Quote of the Week - Gagosian

""The diverse and sometimes abstruse nature of Ethridge’s imagery -- vintage movie posters, fashion models, a pink rose, a mop bucket, a concrete mixer -- originates from his direct experience of the world, which oscillates between the spontaneous and the staged with such subtlety that it is often difficult to ascertain his elected approach with regard to individual images. His oeuvre melds conceptual photography with commercial work, including out-takes from his own shoots and borrowed images already in circulation in other contexts. With this democratic attitude, Ethridge works to capture the vivid and intimate details of his shifting locales within photography’s classic genres of portrait, landscape, and still life."

READ: There is no rhyme or reason or coherence to Etheridge's photography.  It's just a hodgepodge of random imagery. This show will leave you asking, "WTF, how'd he pull this off?"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween - Photos of Terror

Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls has the best attraction photo booth I've ever seen.  The raw emotion on everyone's faces is authentic and fun - one of the best photo series I've seen in a while, even if it's vernacular.  I'd say these tell us a lot more about humanity than most sterile, straight-faced portraiture we see on gallery walls.

Happy Halloween everyone.

Visit their flickr for more.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jocelyn Lee at Rose Gallery

I'm a little late on this one but there are still three weeks left to see the show.  Jocelyn Lee (who triggered the first WTF Quote of the Week) by no fault of her own has what looks to be a great portraiture show up at Rose Gallery through November 19.

WTF Quote of the Week

So I'm introducing a new feature, the WTF Quote of the Week.  Where the normal Quote of the Week is meant to be taken seriously or speaks to something I find interesting or inspiring, the WTF quote will be something I've seen in an artist statement or critical piece that's pure art talk nonsense.  Knowing myself, the WTF Quote of the Week will probably be more like every other week or maybe I'll just drop it at some point all together, but I think it will be fun to try for a while.  Without further ado, I give you the first:

"Posed indoors as well as outside, the women look toward as well as away from the camera."

- JZ, in a review of Jocelyn Lee's show at Rose Gallery in ArtScene.

It's an artspeak cliche to say something is or does both one thing and it's polar opposite, which results in saying nothing at all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Opening Friday - Ejen Chuang's Cosplay @ The Icon

Ejen Chuang, who runs the all-encompassing photo resource blog for LA, Pix Feed LA, traveled all around the country to comic conventions shooting cosplayers. He even managed to make a 272-page hardcover book, which is a steal at $40.

His show's opening reception is Friday, Oct. 28 at the Icon Projects from 7-9 but there's an after party also, where there will be lots of cosplayers in attendance.  Info on the night is here.

Project site is here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote of the Week - Sebastian Smee

"Still, there is a basic reticence about his approach that feels refreshing in today’s culture of maximum exposure. Brandt did not go to great lengths to turn people into icons, nor did he presume to show their “true nature” in something so transient as a photograph. Instead, he used photography’s special qualities to suggest intimate things about his subjects, things that cannot be put into words, and may not even be possible to put into pictures."

 - Sebastian Smee


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feature - Andrew George

"Several years ago, when I met one of the models that I ended up photographing (and who inadvertently inspired this project), I began wondering why an attractive, healthy model in this famously glamorous and trendy city would choose to rid herself of the individual trademark of hair that seems to play such a central role in how we are defined.  She explained that she wanted to overcome the stereotype of how most of us express -what she believed to be- a very conventional and predictable definition of beauty, and opt instead for something more striking where the expression of her face and the look in her eyes would be clearly seen.  I found her decision compelling, vulnerable and yet quite bold - she was exposed, and in that exposure there was something very distinct and real beneath her gaze.  I was struck by the extreme choice she had made in presenting herself to the world.  There was nothing for her to hide behind with her shaved head; even clothed, she looked naked."

- Andrew George

See the whole series here and Andrew's other work on his website here.