I wish I had the time and discipline to do an hour or so of spontaneous mixed media work like this on a daily basis... it's not unlike meditation for me.

spontaneous collaboration
Great photography on TV alert...

Lately I've become more and more aware of the photography of films... ok, cinematography to use the correct terminology... but I just see it as a form of photography, and I find myself paying much closer attention to this element of film than I ever have in the past.

Tonight at 10:30 (eastern) the Independent Film Channel (IFC) is showing Gus Van Sant's 2003 film Elephant. This film is beautifully photographed and visually captivating. It is poetic and dreamy, and yet the subject matter is horrifying.
Weekend art picks...

Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gee's Bend Exhibit

This exhibition takes a fresh look at the quilting traditions in the community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, introducing new artists and motifs in works dating from the early twentieth century through 2005.
Presented are approximately seventy-four extraordinary quilts that demonstrate how the artists play upon the structure or "architecture" of traditional quilt patterns. Each quilt is unique, yet shares a common visual vocabulary with others made in Gee’s Bend. With newly discovered work from the 1930s to the 1980s, as well as more recent designs by established quiltmakers and the younger generation they have inspired, the exhibition documents the development of key patterns—such as housetop, courthouse steps, flying geese, and strip quilting—through outstanding examples.

Linda Day Clark: The Gee's Bend Photographs

In conjunction with Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, the Museum is presenting an installation of approximately twenty-five photographs by Baltimore photographer Linda Day Clark, who has traveled to Gee’s Bend annually since 2002 when she made her first visit on assignment for The New York Times.
Clark’s photographs capture the richness of the rural landscape as well as the strong sense of community forged by the women who are carrying on the quiltmaking tradition in Gee's Bend. One image, titled The Road to Paradise (shown here), shows a narrow lane of red clay earth surrounded by pine trees that leads to a vista known as Paradise Point among locals. Also included in this exhibition are powerful photographic portraits of the artists such as Mary Lee Bendolph, Creola Pettway, Arlonzia Pettway, and Annie Mae Young, whose work is featured in the Gee’s Bend exhibition.

Linda Day Clark
Playing around with translucent vellum prints and a scanner and a well used moleskine journal. Been trading the moleskine back and forth with another artist for two years now...

seeing a girl

Who was she who made love to you
in your dream, while you slept?

Where do the things in dreams go?
Do they pass to the dreams of others?

Pablo Neruda
I've become somewhat obsessed with the photography of Ryan McGinley in the past few days. His website is stunningly gorgeous,filled with images of nude folks having the time of their lives.... climbing trees, running through exploding fireworks, wrestling with bears, and other assorted activities.

Ryan McGinley's Resume
Get educated...

"All photographers are voyeurs
Admit it and get on with the looking
Everyone is narcissistic- anyone can be photographed".
Charles H Traub

"I have this funny thing which is I am
never afraid when I am looking in the
ground glass".

Diane Arbus

Untitled, by Yann Faucher

I love stumbling upon fresh new photo blogs, and Twelve July is very fresh, having been up only a few months now.It is also visually gorgeous. I discovered it following Yann Faucher's work. It appears to be a collaboration between two photographers...

Ryan McGinley

Pascal Renoux

and a group of photographers from Gallery 5bis
New Photography 2008
Josephine Meckseper and Mikhael Subotzky
Museum of Modern Art
September 10, 2008–January 5, 2009
Exhibit Details

Two photographers to represent what is new for the year 2008? If that is the case, the choices should be the right ones...

Mikhael Subotsky
... yes, without question.

youngest photographer to be invited to join Magnum Group

Featured in Aperture Issue 188

This is new, interesting, and important documentary photography...

Josephine Meckseper... Huh?, someone needs to explain this choice to me. Meckseper's exploration of the "media's strategy of mixing political news and advertising content" just seems like an uninspired and odd choice to me in terms of it's representing new photography for 2008. Key word is seems...I haven't seen the actual installation at MOMA yet, and I will edit this post once I have seen it.

New York Times Review of this show
Highly recommended!...

It is truly embarrassing that in New York City there are dozens and dozens of high end photo galleries, and in Philly we have a meager handful...although Gallery 339 is our very worthy standard bearer. It's a gorgeous space and hasn't missed a beat with it's selection of exhibits. David Graham is not just an extremely talented photographer, he is also a genuinely charming person who is a strong advocate for the art of photography. I had the good fortune of attending a full day seminar given by Graham last year at Yo Darkroom, and it was outstanding.

Gallery 339

David Graham
Best Art exhibit of the year.....

Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors
September 19, 2008, through January 4, 2009

Morgan Library & Museum
Exhibit Details

High standards in journalism...

From David Levi Strauss on the Aperture Foundation blog Exposures in his coverage of the GOP convention...
"The youngest Palin daughter did her plucky best, appearing briefly onstage in a brown sack, looking like Joan of Arc, but it was too late".

It's so good to know Aperture had the kiddie fashion police on the scene.

Pine Blur by Jim Brandenburg

In four weeks I'm heading off to the great North Woods of Minnesota for a canoe and photography trip with my good friend J Randall Updegrove. This will be my third visit to Boundary Waters Wilderness area, a spectacular place to visit and get away from it all. The last two times I was there, it was primarily a canoe and portage trip. Very rugged conditions and pushing for travel distance every day. We did circular routes, staying at a new campsite each night. Some of those campsites were the best I have ever experienced, and some were less than enjoyable. The photo at right is the site that will always be known as Camp Desolation. Conditions were so bad that day that we were literally blown onto a rocky island point, with no way to proceed any further on big bad Brule Lake. We hunkered down and prayed for the rain and wind to die down so we could move on the next day.

This year is primarily a photographic trip. We will stay at one camp site the entire week and then do day trips with only our cameras in order to capture some of the incredible October beauty of northern Minnesota. We will probably have 8 or 9 cameras between on on this year's trip, including a Calumet 4X5, a Hasselblad, a Rollei, 2 Canon 5D's, some sort of mystery set up that Randall just got, and the Linhof Technica shown at left. I'll also be bringing along a few old Polaroid cameras and my Olympus OM1, to be used primarily for the 3000 miles of road trip photography I will encounter on my round trip between Philadelphia and Ely, Minnesota. (Randall does his own 3000 mile round trip from his home base in Missoula, Montana)

The unquestioned king of North Woods photography is Jim Brandenburg. He has spent years photographing the entire area in all seasons. He also has specialized in photographing the Wolves and their remarkable return from near extinction. At right is one of Brandenburg's images from his Wolves series, and at the top of this post is his image Pine Blur from his North Woods series. Most of Brandenburg's work is very nature oriented, National Geographic style photography, which isn't really my thing. I'm more intrigued by work like Pine Blur, which is not typical of Brandenburg's usual style, and is exactly the type of nature images I do like. His entire body of work is certainly gorgeous though, and captures every element of the North Woods.

Speaking of Wolves... the last time we were there, both of our dogs got caught in Wolf traps on the final day. These were traps set just along the portage trail to catch wolves for tagging and release, so the traps had rubber jaws and did no harm to the dogs.But my dog literally freaked out as soon as he got caught, and since he was out of sight at the time I thought he was being attacked or something worse. When I reached him I made the mistake of reaching straight for the jaws, and my beloved best friend bit me hard on the back of my left hand. With no way to properly clean the wound or get medical attention, I spent the rest of the day and 1500 miles driving back to Philly with a very swollen and painful hand. The only plus side to the story is that after I had loaded my canoe and was driving out of the lake area to head for home, I saw two wolves running along side of the road. I kind of think they were thanking us for setting off those traps!

Trees in Water, C H Paquette (2008)
Presidential family photography...

Patience and diligence...

I have been head scratching a small problem with this camera for a couple months. The spring that is essential to calibrating the rangefinder focus had broken and popped out. My buddy Randall

One of the worst reactions to last night's Sarah Palin speech that I have seen is on the blog Conscientious, in which the writer accuses the Republicans of using Palin's Down Syndrome baby and pregnant daughter as stage props. Stage props? Seriously? As in, let's go out and find us a mentally challenged baby to help us look better to voters?
This is a truly disgusting accusation...and a slap in the face to any parent of a mentally or physically challenged child.In the 1950's the Down Syndrome child would have likely been in an institution and never discussed in public, let alone proudly held in his father's arms on stage. The pregnant daughter would have been sent away in shame to live with a distant relative, and the story would be hushed up.Should we return to those times? Would that help simplify our political choices?

The Palin family is what it is... and there they sat in all their realness, to support their wife, daughter, and mother. Everyone was included, regardless of their faults. To say that they were somehow used as stage props is as revolting as hearing those who are insisting that Palin has too many children to be a dedicated Vice President, and all of the other sexist remarks being spewed about.

Edit...Joerg Colberg, who writes Conscientious, deleted the offensive post, so don't bother clicking the link. I sent an email to Colberg this morning, telling him I thought his post was insensitive and heartless if looked at in the context of families with disabled children. To his credit, he immediately wrote back with an explanation, and ended his message with...But it's probably better I stay out of politics, since things have become completely ridiculous now. It's like a freak show that for some odd reason everybody takes seriously.

Well, I don't think it's odd that people take this election seriously, because there is much at stake, but I totally agree that American politics frequently borders on the Freak Show, and maybe that is what makes it so captivating... it's the original reality TV.

I have a continuing problem with camera bags. I really prefer to just leave the house with a single camera and no bag at all, and most of my cameras do not even have straps. I like the feel of a camera in my hand, and not dangling from my neck. But going bagless and carefree doesn't work when traveling or carrying multiple cameras. The typical backpack style made by LowePro at right, is a decent choice. I've crammed up to four cameras in there, and they all stay fairly well protected. Maybe I'm weird, but when I'm walking around a city, I don't like to look like a typical tourist with all the photo gear in tow, and so I really want a bag that doesn't scream camera bag!

With that in mind, I got a messenger bag from Manhattan Portage. I like the way I can walk with it slung across my back, but then quickly swing it around front without having to take it off like you must do with a back pack. I can also keep books and notebooks in this that would not fit into a dedicated camera bag. The biggest negative about this bag is camera protection. Everything just bangs around inside for the most part, so while it looks good on the streets, it isn't very practical.

The bag I always seem to go with in a pinch is my 15 year old North Face day pack.This bag has been everywhere with me, and I really find it hard to believe it has held up so well with all the abuse it has received over the years and many miles. It has the same camera protection issues as the messenger bag, everything just gets piled up inside, but it is so broken in and weathered, that it doesn't even whisper the fact that it contains high priced equipment. There is certainly no perfect solution to carrying photo equipment, and if you ask a dozen photographers about this, you will get a dozen different answers.

I would love to hear what readers use for their own gear... comments are welcome.

One of the few sane comments I've heard in the past few days came from Barack Obama...
I have said before and I will repeat again: I think people's families are off limits. And people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. This has no relevance to Governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know, my mother had me when she was 18. And so how family deals with issues and, you know, teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics. And I hope anybody who's supporting me understands that's off limits.
The Power of Fashion...

In case you missed it, the above photo is from the Vogue fashion shoot in India, where unidentified poverty stricken citizens were used to model high priced clothing and accessories, causing quite a stir, and of course, great publicity for Vogue. Vogue India editor Priya Tanna’s message to critics of the August shoot: “Lighten up,” she said in a telephone interview. Vogue is about realizing the “power of fashion” she said, and the shoot was saying that “fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful,” she said.“You have to remember with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously,” Ms. Tanna said. “We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world,” she said.

My advice to anyone who would now even consider buying a $100 Fendi baby bib is to immediately seek really good psychiatric therapy. For all the rest of you, and especially those who, unlike Vogue India, actually would like to help save the world, why not start by helping save some of India's children? There are currently 5 million people displaced by the floods in the Indian state of Bihar, and $100 would go a long way in helping with food, clothing, and medicine.

Save The Children: India Flood Victims