Animals of Fashion (a concise history)

Edward Steichen. 1935

Richard Avedon. 1955

David Bailey. 1968

Richard Avedon. 1981

"The magical and funny picture is, above all, a great fashion photograph. What better way to sell a dress than to set its elegant sleekness of line and expensive smoothness of texture against the rough, wrinkled hides and ponderous shapes of elephants? It is instructive to compare this picture with what may have been its inspiration: Edward Steichen's celebrated Vogue photograph of 1935, for which he brought a white horse into a white-tiled lavatory and posed three models in white clothes around it-a notion that comes out looking as ridiculous as it sounds. Why Avedon's even more outrageous idea works when Steichen's doesn't could sustain a course in fashion photography".

from A Series of Proposals
Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography: Diana & Nikon
by Janet Malcolm (1980)

There is a nice write up on Sarah Stolfa in today's Philadelphia Inquirer...

Sarah Stolfa article

I first met Sarah a couple years ago at Abington Art Center when she presented a slide show on the history of portrait photography as well as her work The Regulars. At that time she was just about to head up to Yale University for her MFA. I have followed her work ever since, including her group show last year with the other 2008 Yale MFA graduate show.

Yale MFA 2008 Photography exhibit

The Regulars series has now been published in a book, and there will be an exhibition and book signing at Gallery 339 on July 14th at 6pm. If you have not seen the portraits from this series, and even if you have, this is a highly recommended show. The current 2009 Yale MFA group show will still be up at the gallery on that date, so it is well worth checking out.

buy the book

Gallery 339
Walking New York City. 2009

Back in May I posted some gallery exhibits I wanted to see in New York...

Gallery Picks

Last weekend I spent the day with my friends Randall and Lisa walking all over the city and we were lucky enough to hit just about everything on our list. I walked around that day with only my Olympus OM-1 and some Kodak 125 Plus-X film. I am in love with the results I got and am determined to continue using lot's of that wonderful Plus-X film for the rest of the summer. I want to have plenty of negatives to work with when I get back in the darkroom in the Fall.

First stop was ICP to check out the Avedon show I had read so much about. I was pretty sure this would be an excellent exhibit, but I still held onto a general skepticism about it being just fashion photography. How wrong I was! This show is memorizing. Avedon was a master at his craft and the images are just captivating. The gallery room Paris at Night is one of the most beautiful gallery displays I have ever seen, and really shows off the genius of Avedon's work. Do not miss this show if you go to New York.

dovima with elephants. richard avedon

International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Avedon Fashion @ ICP

Next we headed down to Chelsea and caught a really great mix of exhibits.

Chuck Close at Pace Wildenstein Gallery was a display of eye popping tapestry work. This gallery, with it's incredible natural light and dramatic high ceilings, was the perfect venue for the amazing work being shown.

Chuck Close Tapestry

Andrew Bush's Vector Portraits at Yossi Milo Gallery is a really fun exhibit of medium format images shot from a moving vehicle of other drivers on California Freeways. The images are gorgeous and have an ethereal quality to them. They appear completely staged, and yet they are shot at high speed from the freeway.

Andrew Bush. Vector Portraits

Yossi Milo Gallery

We weren't at all impressed with The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in
Contemporary Photography
at Aperture Gallery. It is a group show with little cohesion and nothing new to offer.
But there is a wonderful display of Paul Strand's work in the library room, a gorgeous space with a wonderful view of old Chelsea buildings. I could spend an entire day just sitting in the comfy chairs at Aperture Gallery reading the thousands of books from the shelves. The only thing missing here is a coffee bar.

View from Aperture Gallery Library

Aperture Gallery

The highlight of the day was Urban Stonehenge at Deborah Bell Gallery. Stunning group of black & white photographs of sunsets in New York all taken at precise moments at the summer solstice over a 20 year time span. The photographer, Sid Kaplan, happened to be in the gallery while we were there. One of those fantastic moments when you have undivided conversation with an artistic genius and walk away so grateful to have had the opportunity. Kaplan took the time to carefully explain how he crafted the images in this show, as well as discussed other projects he has worked on over a long brilliant career, including Mummer photography in Philadelphia. He promised to call me the next time he is in Philly for a Mummer's Parade. I can't imagine a more fascinating day than one spent with Sid Kaplan on New Years Day in South Philly.

It also must be said that another reason this was the highlight of the day for me is Deborah Bell herself. I have mentioned this before on this blog, but it is worth repeating. In so many galleries, when you walk in, the staff is sitting behind large imposing counters and they barely acknowledge your presence. Deborah Bell goes out of her way to welcome you and there is no doubt that she is delighted that you are visiting her gallery. This is the most visitor friendly gallery in New York City!

deborah bell photographs

sid kaplan. by howard christopherson

here is a nice bio on Sid Kaplan from Icebox Gallery in Minnesota...

Sid Kaplan was born in the South Bronx of New York City in 1938. At the age of ten, he saw a black and white print develop in a darkroom. The experience hypnotized him and he began his life-long career of photographing and printing. Kaplan loves the hunt and the search for meaning that only street photography allows, and he is equally enamored with what he calls "the magic" of making a black and white print.

This exhibit has no particular theme, nor is it a retrospective. Instead, it is an eclectic mix of color and black and white prints created over several decades in New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and on the roads of America. The exhibit includes a variety of framed images along with several stereo pieces photographed in three dimensions. Kaplan refers to these as Ňístereopticon experiments‚ because of the way they are made.

In 1952, Sid Kaplan began his only formal education in photography at The School of Industrial Arts, a NYC vocational high school. At the same time he was going to meetings at the Village Camera Club, which served as a refuge for members of the recently defunct Photo League. His first showing of his photography was there. At one of the photography trade shows he met Weegee for the first time and through fate, they would be running into each other till he died in 1968. After graduation, Sid began his career working in the photography industry. Kaplan paid his dues working at many dead end minimum wage photography jobs. After 6 years he had gained enough skill to be hired by Compo, a well-known custom lab in NYC. There he printed exhibition and book prints for several Magnum photographers; Philippe Halsman, Robert and Cornell Capa, and Weegee. There Kaplan met Ralph Gibson, who later introduced him to photographer Robert Frank. Kaplan began printing for Robert Frank that day, and still continues that relationship.

Sid Kaplan has told me that the biggest highlight of his career was the day when he took a break from the darkroom with Mr. Frank. The two of them walked to a local bar for a beer when they ran into another photographer who lived next door, W. Eugene Smith. They invited him to join them and they spent the evening together swapping stories and comparing their royalties from the Minamata and The Americans. "This reinforced my feeling that photography was best practiced as a gentleman's hobby like Lartigue or Steiglitz. I never wanted it to become just a job where editors' art directors and deadlines ruled; that would make me crazy and demoralized. Printing other people's work gave me the bucks to pursue my hobby and photograph what I want to without

Kaplan sometimes calls his photographs 'snaps'‚ a slang term from the forties. "If I never take another snap again I will still have more than I can print." Sid says with a smile. Images in the show are of people and places, some are shot from a moving car, resulting in blurred and grainy scenes of the road taken in various parts of the country. Other images included where made during repeated visits over the past twenty five years to a single Mummer's club in Philadelphia. Many places are now reduced to nostalgia and may be only a distant memory to the locals over the age of 60. interference." he says with a bearded grin.

Sid Kaplan: Urban Stonehenge

Icebox Gallery
How to Purchase Prints

For the most part, all of my photographs are available for sale as prints. If you see something you are interested in, simply get in touch with me by email at

I have all of my custom work printed at Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints in Philadelphia. They are the best in the business. The resulting work they produce is archival, museum-grade, top shelf,etc etc. I prefer to have my work printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth 305 gsm paper. This is a really heavy cotton based archival paper with a smooth matte finish that produces stunning documents. There are numerous other high quality paper options, including environmentally healthy bamboo and sugar cane based papers.

General pricing guidelines are as follows...(subject to change)

*All work is signed and dated on verso, as well as numbered for any limited editions.

8 X 10 prints/ $30 each

11 X 17 prints/ $75 each

20 X 30 prints/ $120 each

Larger and custom sized prints can be made upon request

You can order prints directly through the option below. Indicate what photograph you want in the special instructions to seller box. If you prefer to use a different payment method just send an email to

Order Prints

Rough draft for First Person America: In These Hard Times
(can't use more than 100 words of narrative per photograph)

I have been a self employed contractor for the past twenty years; designing and building kitchens and bathrooms. My business revenue dropped considerably starting in late 2007 and continued to decline throughout 2008. In the past twenty years I had seen several economic downturns, but always managed to make it through the down cycle. This recent recession was quite different, and every contractor I know was in the same situation. People just stopped spending money on non essential home improvements. Towards the end of 2008 I was seriously considering a career change or a part time job.

In January 2009 I was lucky enough to find a part time job as a Lab Courier for a major hospital. My job is to drive around picking up specimens and cultures and bring them back to the lab. Decent pay, stress free, hours that allow me to continue running my own business, and a great work environment. I tell people I found the perfect part time job. The current recession continues to negatively affect my finances, but this part time job has really helped to stabilize my cash flow.

I have had to endure the snickers and laughter of a few friends when I explain that essentially what I do every afternoon is drive around picking up urine, feces, and blood samples from doctor’s offices and nursing homes. In recent weeks I have hand delivered quite a few cultures to be tested for the Swine Flu
Virus. I have learned to more or less ignore what I carry around in my car, although I am now a fanatical user of hand sanitizer.

I spend about four or five hours in my car every afternoon driving approximately 60 miles each day. My route changes from day to day, but more or less follows a general circular pattern around the Philadelphia suburbs. What a wonderful opportunity for a photographer! I am able to spend my afternoons observing the constantly changing landscapes along my route. I bring my camera bag with me every day just in case a photograph presents itself.

One of the most striking images I see every day is the overwhelming number of empty retail buildings. For Rent and For Lease signs seem to be everywhere I look. So many automobile dealerships have closed down. Each of the images in this series are of buildings I pass by every day on my route. The impact of the current recession is clearly evident along every mile I drive. What is not as obvious is the fact that each of these empty buildings represents dozens or hundreds of lost jobs. People who are out there fighting for economic survival.

Submit your Writing, Video, or Photography...
First Person America: In These Hard Times
Deadline has been extended to July 15th
This is the first photograph my mother ever took, a portrait of her grand parents taken in 1941, when she was 5 years old...

first portrait. 1941

... and this is the first photograph I ever took, a portrait of my parents taken in 1962, when I was 3 years old...

first portrait. 1962

I am certain the camera I used for my photo was a Kodak Brownie. I wish I knew what camera was used for my Mom's photograph. I love the vague similarity in these shots taken twenty years apart. The child's eye view is so evident.
This is a call for you to sit for an environmental portrait that could become part of the documentary art project: Documentation: I Am Black

Documentation: I Am Black

Documentation: I Am Black is an exhibition and book project about what is meant when we say “ I am Black”. We say it to ourselves and we say it to others, but when it comes time to define what it means, we have to pause and really think about it. This is because It means something different to almost everyone who has ever referred to himself/herself as such.

Some think that it’s a state of mind, others, owing to the notion of Essentialism, think that it’s just an empty phrase, devoid of any true meaning. So, I am asking you, regardless of your social, cultural or economic background, to please join me in the exploration and documentation of one of the most controversial topics in the United States, and perhaps the world: the notion of what it means when we say “We Are Black”.

Your participation in this project is to sit for a portrait and submit your own definition of what is meant when you say “I am Black.”

self portrait. h eugene foster. 2004

h. eugene foster
Cultural Worker, Artist
Born: 1946, Brooklyn, NY

When I say, “I am Black” it means that I recognize and accept being a descendent of indigenous African people. It also means that I recognize as family others who recognize and accept themselves as being descendents of indigenous African people. This is not because there might be a blood connection but because I believe that all Black people share, at least since the invasion of Africa by Europe, the common experience of racism and disenfranchisement. It is this common experience that allows people, who are raised under every psychosocial cultural configuration possible, and who may otherwise share no experiences, to come together as “Black People”.

H Eugene Foster
Cultural worker, artist photographer; work widely exhibited; faculty menber and digital media lab manager and program coordinator at the International Center of Photography in NYC.

Interview with H. Eugene Foster (March 11th, 2009)

CHP: Could you tell me something about your documentation project?

HEF: This project is about what is meant when we say "I am black". We say it to ourselves and we say it to others, but when it comes time to define what it means we find that we have to pause and really think about it.
Everyone has a different answer. We grow up as black people, we grow up learning that that's who we are. We grow up learning to say “I am black", but no one ever puts a definition on it. We kind of take it for granted, because many of us were raised under the notion that there were only four racial types, Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid, and Australoid and we accepted that we were Negroid. We don't stop and think that what it is for us is a far cry different for someone else. I mean the subject does come up, but we don't make a big deal out of it, we just pass it off as that's the way you were raised. No one contests anyone else, as far as their definition goes. Even in my own family we run the entire gamut of what it means to be black. I could do this project with just my own family, and have quite a controversy going! It is very interesting and that is why I am enjoying doing it.

CHP: This subject has come to the forefront in the media, especially in the recent presidential election. There was much discussion about Barack Obama's "blackness". And recently Attorney General Eric Holder suggested we are a nation of cowards because we are afraid to discuss race. Is your project a reaction to these current discussions?

HEF: No, my project has nothing to do with Barack Obama, or any recent events. I had thought of this project before I even knew who Barack Obama was. Race is a topic that I use consistently in my work, and I'm always trying to find ways to talk about it. I do think it is pertinent, and that it is one of those "right time at the right place" things. People are beginning to talk about race. It is coming to the forefront, the issue of race, and people are now willing to talk about it more. This project was conceived about six years ago, in 2004.

CHP: In your project statement you welcome anyone, regardless of social, cultural or economic background to be a part of the project. So this is open to people who we would not ordinarily think of as black?

HEF: Oh yes, definitely. My mother was half white, and could pass for white, and in fact got angry when people thought she was. So yes, I definitely want people who we wouldn't normally think of as black simply because they don't fit the physical description.

CHP: Are these traditional studio portraits?

HEF: These are all environmental portraits. I want the subjects to be shot in an environment that they themselves have created or helped create. Just to get a broader sense about them, more than just what they look like or who they think they are, how people define themselves within their own environment. How they relate to the furnishings and objects they place in their homes.

CHP: And you ask the subjects to provide an essay of their own definition of what it means to them to be black?

HEF: Yes, I would want them to write up an essay, which I will discuss with them, but I would leave it up to them to write a statement. This has been the most difficult thing about the project. It is hard to get people to write the statement.
Another part of the statement is name, place they were born, year they were born, and where they live now. And I think that is very pertinent information. Age is especially important, because at one time it wasn't even acceptable for black people to be called black, and that is an older age group. I am expecting to get much different answers depending on the subject's age.

CHP: Do you have any completed portraits?

HEF: Yes, I have several portraits with text, completed.

CHP: What type of equipment do you use in your work?

HEF: I am using a Mamiya 6 X 6, medium format film camera. And using a single flash with an umbrella, trying to get even light.

CHP: Is there any historical or comparative work that has influenced this project?

HEF: There is an artist, Adrian Piper, whose work is centered on a racial nature, and she is also a black woman who could pass for white, and she has based a body of work around that. Her work inspired me in this project. She did a video project that asked a question "what would you do if you discovered you had black ancestry?" That video inspired me, and I started thinking of more ways I could address the question of race.

CHP: Are there any photographers whose work you admire or have been influenced by?

HEF: In addition to Adrian Piper, my work has mostly been influenced by three photographers who all happen to be women and who all happen to be Black. They are Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Clarissa Sligh. I like the way they incorporate text and pictures as well as the fact that their work deals with race, gender and sex. Others are Garry Winogrand, Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, Larry Fink, and Nicholas Nixon. I could, of course, keep going.

CHP: Will this project be limited to a particular geographic area?

HEF: I would love this to be a worldwide project. Starting out regionally, and spread out as far as it will take me. I really do not see an end to it. I don't expect that the question will ever be answered, at least not in a way that would allow for some sort of statistical analysis or consensus.

CHP: How have you gone about finding people to participate in the project?

HEF: I have used several methods with varying degrees of success. I have tried to find people through Craig's List. I got some responses from people who were too far away to travel to. I am now handing out leaflets on a street corner in New York City where I live. Just talking to people and trying to get an immediate response right there on the street. It took some emotional challenge on my part to be able to do that, because I didn't know what kind of reaction I would get. And I have gotten both anger as well as joy from people. Some people I have found do not appreciate me doing it. I do not think that has been the best way to find subjects, and I have not found any willing subjects that way. On Craig's List I found several willing participants, but they were difficult to work with, we were always having conflicting schedules, and they didn't want to be photographed in their own environments. That is a big issue for me. If they are going to be honest and straight forward, it is essential to be photographed in their own environment.

CHP: Is there anything else you would like to say about this project?

HEF: I hope that this project goes beyond being just another aesthetic exercise in photography but will carry within it a little therapeutic value as well.

h eugene foster's website

Documentation: I am Black

If you or someone else you know would like to participate in this project, please contact H.Eugene Foster at the following email address:
messages to Ashley. 2007

Gallery Project
215 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Exhibit: Shrines and Altars
July 8th- August 16th, 2009

Artist Statement:

The four images chosen for this exhibit are from my ongoing documentary study of Roadside Memorials from the greater Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware). Within these memorials I see folk art with multiple historic influences. All Roadside Memorials have roots in the Hispanic tradition of making small crosses and monuments at the places where pallbearers rested while carrying coffins from the church to the burial grounds in Mexico and the American Southwest. These were called Descansos (Resting Places). Many of the contemporary Roadside Memorials found today in the Western United States still show a strong influence of early Hispanic folk art, as well as Native American influences.

The Hispanic and Native American influences on Roadside Memorials are not as visually evident in the memorials found in the Delaware Valley. (With the exception of urban Hispanic neighborhoods)
As I photographed memorials of the Delaware valley I began to notice in many of them a connection and similarity to rural folk art of the 18th & 19th centuries, especially folk art of rural Pennsylvania and the hand carved tombstones and fractur art of the Pennsylvania German artisans.

As my project has developed, I have become more interested in the type of memorials that evolve into what I refer to as dynamic shrines. These are the spontaneous memorials that are established immediately after a tragic death, but are then visited and tended to on an ongoing basis, sometimes for many years after the event. The photographs Sister and RIP Bity!, included in this exhibit are both examples of this type of dynamic shrine. Sister is the memorial site of Ashley Nickerson, a 14 year old girl who was killed by a drunk driver while walking along the road on August 20th, 2004. The site has been visited and tended to on a continuing basis since that time, and her friends have written her messages to wish her happy birthday and to commemorate events such as the Prom and High School graduation on the back of the metal sign installed by MADD. RIP Bity! is the memorial site of Byron Handy, a 33 year old man who died in a vehicle accident on March 28th, 2007. This site has been modified and enhanced each year on the anniversary of his death.

Most of the traditional rituals that surrounded death in our society are now performed by hospitals, funeral homes, and morgues, instead of being performed in the home by family members. This results in an emotional void that hinders the grief process. I believe that artistic expression is highly beneficial to the grieving process, and may represent the fullest source of healing and closure for those without traditional spiritual or religious connections. Much of society today has lost touch with the creative and hands on aspects of grief and death, and Roadside Memorials may represent a return to those roots. This is the direction of study I am taking as I continue my documentation project.
Two must see exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art...

Spectacle: Photographs from the Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art
June 20, 2009 - September 7, 2009

Mummers Parade. Burk Uzzle. 1978

From the PMA website...

"Comprising more than 40 photographs from the Museum’s collection, this exhibition explores the manner in which photographers from the nineteenth-century through the present day have documented spectacular scenes and events along with the curious spectators who observe them.

Images of rapt sightseers taking in natural and man-made wonders, participants in tightly orchestrated civic or religious productions, and impromptu moments of drama or self-display demonstrate the camera’s unique ability to capture the immediacy of a spectacle as well as the excitement, raw emotion, and even the boredom sometimes exhibited by its spectators.

Photographs by Eugène Atget, Robert Frank, Gordon Parks, Diane Arbus, David Graham, and more than 30 others point to the fundamental relationship between a spectacle, its audience, and photography itself. These images reveal that photographers repeatedly seize the opportunity to record the intense yet fleeting sights, acts, and emotions on public display during spectacular events".

Exhibit details

Skyscrapers: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs of the Early Twentieth Century
Philadelphia Museum of Art
June 6, 2009 - November 1, 2009

Skyscraper. Howard Norton Cook. 1929

From the PMA website....

"Icons of modernity and testaments to human achievement, skyscrapers rose to towering heights in major cities across the United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. These technological feats of architecture and design furnished necessary solutions to the problems set by rapid urban growth while simultaneously providing exciting new material for artists. Skyscrapers offered the contemporary artist a way to document a city’s development, a pretext for experimenting with modernist aesthetics, and a subject on which to project personal or collective ideas and emotions.

More than fifty prints, drawings, and photographs chosen from the Museum’s collection demonstrate the many ways artists chose to portray the new giants in their landscape. Roughly spanning the years between 1905 and 1940, the works will reflect a wide range of styles and practices. Among the famous skyscrapers featured are Chicago’s gothic-ornamented Tribune Tower, New York City’s Art Deco Empire State Building, and Philadelphia’s modernist PSFS Building. The exhibition includes prints by John Marin and Charles Sheeler, photographs by Berenice Abbott and Alfred Stieglitz, and drawings by Earl Horter and Abraham Walkowitz"

Exhibit details
Architectural influences...

Browsing through some of the many architectural books I own and use for my interior design work, it occurred to me that many of these images of 20th century architecture have had a huge influence on my own photographic style. What appeals to me in design and style carries over to what I look for and what catches my eye in the world at large.

Robert Venturi & John Rauch. New Haven, CT. 1974

Musche/Bauhaus Archive. Berlin. 1928

Arthur Erickson Architects (Simon Scott). Alberta. 1972
Architectural Minimalism...

I suppose the current economy presents an advantage to photographers who like to shoot minimalist images. I would never be attracted to photographing these buildings if they were active retail spaces. But the white paper over the windows and the empty parking lots brings out the pure lines of the cheap minimal architecture of modern day retail structure. I am driving by places like this on a daily basis...

prime retail space for rent. 2009

pontiac dealership. 2009
Hallowed Place. Oreland, Pa. 2009

Four Elements of Roadside Tragedy

1.The Event. What was just a random spot along any highway or intersection, without special meaning, becomes the location of significant violence or tragedy, and the place of sudden death of a person or persons. The site now bears the physical evidence of the event. Damage or scarring to the ground, damage to trees or telephone poles, debris from the parts of vehicles involved in the crash, debris left from emergency workers (caution tape, medical supplies, etc) and possibly some contents of the vehicles involved in the accident.

2.Hallowed Place.The Site now becomes a hallowed or sacred place, with the significance of being the last place that a person or persons were alive on earth. It is the place that the person(s) passed over to another world or state of being. Friends and family visit the site within the first 24 hours of the event and gather together for the first time to begin the initial stages of grief (shock and disbelief). This state of sacred or hallowed ground remains as such forever regardless of whether or not a memorial is created. It will always remain a significant place for the family & friends of the dead, as well as those who witnessed or responded to the event.

3.Spontaneous Memorial. A spontaneous memorial is erected at the site to commemorate the event and honor the dead. This is usually created by the friends and/or family of the deceased. Typically this spontaneous memorial is erected within the first 24 hours after the event and serves as a gathering place for the mourners to connect with each other and pay tribute to the victim, as well as begin to make sense of and process the event as reality. The spontaneous memorial make take many forms; from simple mementos and flowers brought to the site by mourners during their first visit to the site, to the placing and arranging of rocks and or parts of the vehicle found at the site. Candles and personal items are often part of the initial spontaneous memorial. The site now becomes visibly identified as a place of death or tragedy.

4.Dynamic Shrine.The Memorial is tended to on a continuing basis. Many times the spontaneous memorial is left as is, with friends and family returning to visit in first months or year after the event, but the memorial is not tended to or revised in any way. Eventually the site is no longer visited, and the memorial eventually deteriorates in the sun and weather. But many memorials are visited by friends and families for many years after the event. The initial spontaneous memorial may be revised or improved upon. A purpose built cross or plaque made be installed at the site. The memorial is decorated seasonally and for holidays; the annual birthdays of the victim are commemorated, and small mementos are left from time to time. The memorial transcends from spontaneous memorial to permanent and dynamic shrine. The location is typically now identified with a name or initials of the victim, and a date of the event.

"I observed that a photograph can be the object of three practices (or of three emotions, or of three intentions) : to do, to undergo, to look. The Operator is the photographer. The Spectator is ourselves, all of us who glance through collections of photographs- in magazines and newspapers, in books, albums, archives...And the person or thing photographed is the Target, the referent, a kind of little simulacrum, any eidolon emitted by the object, which I should like to call the Spectrum of the photograph, because this word retains, through it's root, a relation to "spectacle" and adds to it that rather terrible thing which is there in every photograph: the return of the dead".

Roland Barthes Camera Lucida

These four photographs from my Roadside Memorials series will be included as part of an exhibit called Shrines & Altars, from July 8th - August 16th at Gallery Project, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

the gallery project
Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950-Today

Tate Liverpool

In conjunction with the exhibition Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today Tate Liverpool invites you to contribute your own colour monochromes to this group. Photographs submitted to the group will be shown on Tate Online, and 36 images will be used to make a glossy Colour Chart poster.

Colour Chart group on Flickr

rabbit in grass . 2009
Sun Ra

From the ICA web site...

"Jazz pioneer, bandleader, mystic, philosopher, and consummate Afro-Futurist, Sun Ra, (born Herman Poole Blount 1914, Birmingham, Alabama, died 1993) and his personal mythology have grown increasingly relevant to a broad range of artists and communities. "Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968" presents a collection of paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, ephemera, and video produced by and about Ra and his associates—much of it previously unseen. This exhibition examines how Ra and his dynamic, continually-evolving ensemble, the Philadelphia-based Arkestra, crafted both their otherworldly image and fiercely independent approach to self-production.

Highlights of the exhibition include original drawings for their 1960's albums Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow and Other Planes of There, and five newly discovered typed and annotated broadsheets. Until recently, only one such broadsheet was known to exist—the one that Ra gave saxophonist John Coltrane in 1956. The show will also include the unpublished manuscript, The Magic Lie, a book of Ra's poetry, which has become influential in the nascent Black Islamic movement. In addition to these documents, the film Spaceways, by Edward English, will be on view. The film documents Ra and his Arkestra (a deliberate re-spelling of "orchestra"), in 1968, as they prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Early in his career, Sun Ra spent virtually all of his time and energy on Chicago's south side, identifying with broader struggles for black power and identity, and saw his music as a key element in that struggle. As well as Sun Ra's connection to the incipient grass-roots Afro-Futurist movement in Chicago, he also has a connection to Philadelphia. In 1968, Sun Ra brought the Arkestra to Philadelphia, where his band mate Marshall Allen inherited a house on Morton Street in Germantown. The house served as band headquarters until Sun Ra's death in 1993. The Arkestra continues to perform under the leadership of Marshall Allen, who still resides at the Germantown house."

ICA: Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968
First Person America: In These Hard Times


A national competition seeking the best videos, photographs, and stories describing how individuals, families and communities are managing during these hard times.

One of the unexpected outcomes of the Great Depression was a decade of creative outpouring that covered the U.S. map. Under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), thousands of artists fanned across the country documenting the experiences of everyday Americans as they worked to maintain their families, their communities, and their way of life in the face of a national economic crisis.

Now, as Americans are again experiencing financial hardship and uncertainty, First Person Arts invites artists to document how this generation of Americans is coping.

Inspired by the artists of the WPA, who documented the experiences of Americans in every part of the country, First Person Arts is asking artists to help craft the first draft of the history of our era by capturing, in photographs, on video, or in writing, the stories of America and its people during these difficult times.

Our goal is to gather stories from all 50 states.

First Person America details

Cadillac Dealership. Jenkintown, Pa. 2009
Distortion Number 70. Andre Kertesz 1933

"The technical side of photography was a complete mystery to me, a real puzzle. I just had to work it out for myself by experimenting. My dark room was never dark enough, for instance, but it never worried me. I persevered. The technical side of photography is only meaningful if it enhances your art. Good technique on it's own is meaningless. A child may have beautiful writing but it's what he writes that's important. In my interpretation the Group f/64 were people who had learned to perfect the calligraphy of the medium. They could produce the alphabet of photography beautifully. They were calligraphic photographers. I, on the other hand, have never been obsessed with sharpness or with depth of field. My pictures are constantly on the move,in the same way as life itself".

Andre Kertesz (1983)
from Master Photographers, edited by Pat Booth