A tiny patch of forest near my house with gorgeous old oak trees that produce some of the prettiest and subtle fall colors I know of...

Baederwood. 2009

Baederwood. digital triptych. 2009

Baederwood. polaroid panarama 2007
Goodwill, Warminster, Pa. 2009

Five images from my Hard Times series will be on display at the Painted Bride Art Center, beginning November 4th, as part of the First Person Festival. The photographs will be on display through the end of December.

First Person Festival Details

These Hard Times (photo series)
pink spring. May 2009

orange fall. October 2009

One of my favorite concepts is returning to the same places at specific intervals in time. These images were taken almost exactly six months apart, representing the seasonal debris from the same tree. Pink flower petals in May, and Orange leaves in October.
Untitled, by pearlyblue

This one goes into my file labeled "Photos to use if I ever give a slideshow lecture called What Makes a Great Picture".

This image has nothing to do with technical skills or image quality and everything to do with gut feeling and emotion. I'm certain this was taken with a relatively ordinary point and shoot digital camera, and this is a pure spur of the moment snapshot. There are things in it that slightly bother me compositionally, such as the white paper obstruction in the lower right corner, but this is an amazing photograph never the less.

What makes it great? This is one of those images you could look at on the wall for an hour studying all of it's nuances and meanings. It's a photograph that immediately triggers questions. What is going on here?

On first glance I assumed the child in red was a boy, and it took me quite a while to realize by her hair that she was in fact a girl. In contrast, the other child has her back to the camera and yet is without question a girl. The child in red has most likely just turned around and diverted her eyes in a moment of camera-shyness, but it comes off as an expression of sadness or shame. She is tied up...hands behind her back...her gold crown, the Wild Things.

More questions... more implied meaning... we keep staring and wondering.

Picturing the Depression

New York Times book review of

A Life Beyond Limits
By Linda Gordon
Obama Family, by Annie Leibovitz 2009

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House, Sept. 1, 2009. (Official White House Photo)

Photo by Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office

With the release today of this official White House portrait of the Obamas, I thought it would be appropriate to re-post something from last year that I posted during the height of the election. I have no idea if any of these were made as the official family portraits, but it's a nice grouping.

Calls for work... Philadelphia area photographers.

Here are four high quality juried events for local photographers, in order of submission deadlines.

Works On Paper: Arcadia University
This exhibition is open to all artists residing within a 40-mile radius of the University. All techniques executed on paper may be submitted, included drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, photographic and digital techniques, handmade paper, three-dimensional and non-traditional formats. Each artist may submit up to three works.
Deadline: October 29th
Entry Form

ONWARD '10 : Project Basho
Project Basho is pleased to announce ONWARD ‘10, an annual juried photography competition exclusively featuring the work of new and emerging photographers with unique vision and talent. The theme for ONWARD is open, and any photographic medium from historical processes, traditional silver prints, chromogenic prints to digital prints can be submitted for consideration. Debbie Fleming Caffery, noted documentary photographer and Guggenheim Fellow, will judge this year’s competition
Deadline: November 13th
Onward Details

In Depth: Mainline Art Center
As part of Philagrafika 2010, an international festival to be held in the region, this exhibition presents thought-provoking and excellent examples of contemporary hand-pulled prints, photography and digital images by professional artists. Main Line Art Center has invited three notable jurors, Cindi Ettinger, Master Printmaker, Toni Rosati, artist and teacher and Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, to select artists from the region who are pushing the boundaries of printmaking and photography.
Deadline: November 21st
In Depth Details

Abington Art Center: Annual Juried Show
Abington Art Center celebrates the talent of our neighbors and friends with an Annual Juried Show in December and January. Over 50 works of art by local and regional artists are featured. A number of awards provide recognition to the artists for Best in Show, Ceramics, Jewelry, Works on Paper and more. Each year the show is juried by a different art professional — a gallery owner, curator, art writer, etc..
Deadline: December 4th
AJS Prospectus 09
from Plastic Life by Vincent Bousserez

I follow lot's of highly creative blogs, and my favorites are linked on the right hand column of this page under Mandatory Reading, but the one that I rush to every day is John Foster's Accidental Mysteries. This online arts magazine is, as described by Foster...


...and that pretty much describes it, it's about everything and anything that Foster finds interesting, and John Foster has a magic touch for finding things of interest.

Today's post about photographer Vincent Bousserez's amazing macro work with little plastic people includes this wonderful commentary about growing up "Artistic".

When I was kid in grade school, I would often be singled out for day dreaming, when all I was doing was thinking about, say, the pencil trough on my desk as... a long trench for an imaginary army. “Wha-a-a-at? Oh-h yes, Miss Ammons, oh... I’m sorry, read the next paragraph? O.K. Let’s seee-e?” I was clueless, and busted. It happened all the time. Am I going to blame it on ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)? Nope. I blame it on the fact that I was born, like many others, with a different way of seeing the world.

Doctor: “Mrs. Foster, we’ve completed the tests on your son. Why don’t you have a seat.”

Mom: “Well-ll, is he O.K? Why the look? Wha-a-at?”

Doctor: “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Foster. Johnny was born............ artistic.”

Mom: “Oh-h my Gawrd! Can he be cured?”

Doctor: “Well, Mrs. Foster— though rare, a few of these children often grow out of this affliction and lead successful but frustrated lives. We think the best course of action is simply to leave Johnny in the public school system. There, some of these kids like your son—we call them “artistic children”— will learn to conform, to understand math, and eventually perhaps— find a job in industry, or sales. Now, I have to be honest and tell you that some never do come out of this. Our research has shown that a large percentage of these children actually enjoy being artistic—they enjoy being different! I know, I know, don’t cry... there, there Mrs. Foster. We could try electric shock!”

accidental mysteries by John Foster

plastic life by Vincent Bousserez

The First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art is the biggest event of the year, and the only festival in the world dedicated to memoir and documentary art! They promise to feed your soul and your stomach, entertain and engage your spirit, and take you beyond the borders of your own life experience - with artists as your guide.

For the past two years I have attended at least one of the events during this festival, and I always ended up wishing I could attend everything on the schedule. This is without question the best arts event in Philadelphia.

This year's festival includes a preview dinner with Ruth Reichl,and a folk music concert, Songs for any Depression with Sarah Lee Guthrie, (granddaughter of Woody Guthrie and daughter of Arlo Guthrie) along with Philly based folk duo Kim and Reggie Harris, presenting songs that inspired and empowered common folk through the hardest of times.

Other festival highlights include Salon du Festival, the exhibit Shelter, workshops, book signings, and several Films, including the Philly premiere of William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

First Person Festival details

Buy tickets!

Unseen: A Photographers Salon

"Unseen is an introduction to some of New York’s most promising, hard working, and creative minds in the photography field whose bold ideas, themes, and techniques work to transcend the history of photographic art.

Adam Krause, a third generation Holocaust survivor, creates portraits of Neo Nazis. Nicola Kast, A German, explores and deconstructs German History. Cara Phillips Singular Beauty is a haunting social critique on modern surgical rooms while Phil Toledano’s portraits of plastic surgery patients is a classic aftermath of the surreal. Portrait work by Chad States, Natasha Gornik, Eric McNatt, Richard Renaldi, Bon Duke, and Ryan Pfluger examine the notions of self and the other. Leah Oates and Megan Cump visit serene, painterly landscapes while Nadine Rovner sends us back to retro the seventies through feel and color. Elizabeth Fleming examines the simplicity of the moment in a child’s world, Clayton Cotterell documents his brother now serving in the US military, and Alex Leme searches random urban settings.

As an Art Collector, I address the challenge that most art lovers constantly face… the search of new art and the issues of acquiring work for small spaces. By using the salon style for this show I demonstrate different themes and techniques, presented in a very traditional manner, that work within a confined space. Space should not limit your desire for collecting…the sky is the limit!"

Ruben Natal-San Miguel
Art Collector and UNSEEN curator

Randall Scott Gallery

Randall Scott Gallery
111 Front Street, No. 204, 202.332.0806
October 22 - November 21, 2009
Opening: Thursday, October 22, 6 - 8:30 PM
these hard times continue...

I discount what I read and hear with a well earned pessimism.
As a photographer, I trust only my eyes.
Irving Penn (1917-2009)

"He was a purist who mistrusted perfect beauty, which brought an engaging tension to his fashion photographs as well as his still lifes and portraits."

from Penn's obituary in the Los Angeles Times by Mary Rourke

...and one of my favorite photographs

...sat in the parking lot for a few moments listening to the Phillies game. Hot Dog ... a Water Ice...and the wild October wind blowing clouds past a pink mountain. The only thing missing is Harry Kalas...baseball on the radio just isn't the same without that voice.

like listening to a Red Sox game....