welcome, ghosts

Here is a wonderful photo blog I recently discovered...lot's of great Polaroids, and I especially love the way the photo above works with the green curtains in the previous post.

when the curious girl realizes she is under glass
Road trip photography today...

Patty Cake Melting

Janice, aka Patty Cake Melting, is on a road trip through the desert south west and Route 66, posting photos each day to her flickr site. The image above just grabbed me immediately. It has such a Stephen Shore quality to it.

Arizona Road Trip
Street photography today....

Stroll by J Randall Updegrove

To me, this image captures the classic elements of traditional street photographers like Harry Callahan or Lee Friedlander, using movement and geometry to create an almost lyrical composition. This modern version adds the element of color in a way that is both subtle and bold at the same time, adding a level of complexity to the song being played...
Collected Horizons book...

This is a home made mock up of a book idea for my Collected Horizons series. I think the only way a book of this collection would work is in a fold out format. The Moleskine Classic Japanese folio was perfect for this. It is a tiny 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" book, but it opens up to almost eight feet in length when folded out.

The inspiration for this book format comes from Ed Ruscha's 1966 classic Every Building on Sunset Strip. I saw it a few years ago at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was in a glass case fully opened up and I was fascinated by it.

Ed Ruscha Every Building on Sunset Strip (1966)

So, I need some help... does anyone know of a self publishing service that can do a fold out format like this? I would greatly appreciate any information on sources.
The Tao of Simplicity...

“In common with other artists the photographer wants his finished print to convey to others his own response to his subject. In the fulfillment of this aim, his greatest asset is the directness of the process he employs. But this advantage can only be retained if he simplifies his equipment and technique to the minimum necessary, and keeps his approach free from all formula, art-dogma, rules, and taboos. Only then can he be free to put his photographic sight to use in discovering and revealing the nature of the world he lives in.”
-Edward Weston, Seeing Photographically

“Having the bare necessities makes you more agile in body and mind. The very limitations of the equipment force you to work harder. The fewer visual tricks you can rely on, the cleverer you have to be about the basics of composition and timing.”
-Tom Ang, The Tao of Photography
Thirds by Laura Kicey

laura kicey's website
Many thanks to Photo Review for including Vero Beach in a group exhibition called On The Line, curated from the 2008 Photo Review Competition entries. This was the first image in my Collected Horizons series, and is the baseline for all of the other images in the collection.

Vero Beach. 2008

On The Line Exhibition

Collected Horizons Series

Hey, Hot Shot! Contender
Collection #2 Same but Different

Continuing the series of quickly curated* photo exhibits.

the horizon by guckstdu

horizon by generalnoir

the same horizon by Norma Desmond

(*) These will be quickly assembled collections based on simple themes, to be presented here as a mini photo show curated in less than 30 minutes of Flickr browsing. Themes will be arbitrary and random, just whatever I am into at the moment. I welcome theme suggestions and guest curators who would like to take a crack at this.
Here is a fun site to check out.... The Photographic Dictionary

"The photographic dictionary is dedicated to defining words through the literal, figurative, and personal meanings found in each photograph."

Urine u*rine (yoor in):

David Semeniuk

The Photographic Dictionary
Happy Easter!

On the back of this photo my Grandmother wrote... "two sad sacks"


Anyone who has been lucky enough to meet Zoe Strauss will confirm that you walk away with the sensation of having known her forever and that you have a new best friend. For me, that was the closing day of her 2006 Ramp Project exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. I had promised a friend who was already a diehard fan that we would go see the ICA exhibit. By dumb luck we unknowingly went on the final day of the show and Zoe Strauss was there taking her work off of the walls. My friend and I were the only people on the ramp and we had Zoe all to ourselves for well over an hour while she discussed her work, to which I was mesmerized.

My admiration and attention to her work has grown stronger ever since, due in large part to the almost daily posting of works in progress on both her blog and Flickr site. Strauss is an open book, artistically and figuratively. Nothing is held back. Images are posted to Flickr; good, bad, or indifferent.( almost 4800 images as of the date of this writing) Readers of her blog follow first hand her selection and editing process leading up to every exhibit, as well as her recent photo book publication, America. Following her blog on a regular basis has a profound effect on the impact of her exhibits. Seeing an image on the wall triggers the memory of other versions that were not selected, or the image comes to life in context to the narrative event Strauss discussed on her blog the week the photograph was made. The gallery visitor becomes an invested participant in the exhibit instead of an outside observer on opening night.

Zoe Strauss is at the forefront of an artist/art fan relational fusion that was impossible even five years ago. We know the raw and unedited version of not only her work process, but her personal life. There is no filter, no publicist. There is no illusion. The art is real and so is the artist. Strauss follows the tradition of the great realist photographers such as Walker Evans, Helen Levitt, and William Eggleston, while at the same time she paves a new course in simultaneously presenting herself as a realist work in progress.

The upcoming I-95 exhibit by Zoe Strauss is the ninth year in a ten year project of public and openly accessible art. If you have not attended an I-95 show, you owe it to yourself to get there this year. If you really want to experience the full impact of Zoe's work, I would highly recommend spending some time reading her fascinating blog and looking through her substantial archive on Flickr prior to seeing the show.

Zoe Strauss Blog

Zoe Strauss on Flickr

Zoe Strauss: America

ICA Ramp Project : Zoe Strauss (2006)

This is something I worked on over a year ago after noticing such a strong influence of Walker Evans in the work of Zoe Strauss. Some of the similarities are uncanny. I have been wanting to write an essay on this topic, but the words have not materialized yet, so I am posting these here...

A Study in Influences: Walker Evans & Zoe Strauss

The Zen of Film

from a brilliant essay written by Doug Menuez and posted to his blog today...

"The state of mind required to shoot film is one of heightened, intense concentration and analogous to the mindset required for Zen meditation. It’s pure zen in fact. You are truly living in the moment, electric with anticipation, open to life unfolding before you.

The state of mind when shooting digital is more relaxed, more easily distracted. It’s more like everyday life, nothing that special is required. Especially if you are in fact trained as a photographer and have some skills. The camera does leverage your abilities, no doubt. But while you have your head down checking the LCD guess what? You just missed your pulitzer. That LCD is crack. You just can’t get enough. We all want instant gratification and here you have it. Bliss. Yet the act of constantly checking the back of the camera is taking your head out of the game. You gain a useful bit of knowledge but at what cost? I know it also can save time we used to spend covering our asses with brackets and snip tests and whatnot but if it’s moments in time you are after, I now believe it’s the disciplined Zen mindset you need."

Doug Menuez 2.0 Go Fast, Don't Crash
Spirituality of Photography (part 1)

I have been giving much thought in recent weeks to the concept of spirituality and mindfulness as they relate to the process of photography. This is not a new subject for me, as I have been working through these concepts for several years now; my Tao Project and Wabi Sabi blog have been attempts to formalize a spiritual and meditative approach to daily photography. However, these projects are primarily literary and journalistic. The Tao Project involves matching existing photographs to relevant chapters of the Tao Te Ching. The primary work of the project is editing and curating, and does not involve what I am referring to as active photographic spirituality.

Harry Callahan said that he believed a picture was like a prayer. The photographer offers up a prayer to get something, and if that prayer is answered it is like a gift from God. Callahan felt he had little or no control over his images. Minor White often began his photographic wanderings with the question “What shall I be given today?”, and went far beyond Callahan in his belief that photography was an inspired and even mystical act.

This subject resurfaced for me during a recent weekend trip to Montana to celebrate the 50th birthday of a lifelong friend. Three photographers spent a Saturday driving 350 miles through the Big Hole Valley of southwestern Montana. We were on no specific photographic mission, and I personally had no pre-conceived ideas of what I wanted to shoot that day. I have driven thousands of miles along the scenic hiways of Montana, but the Big Hole Valley was brand new territory for me. I was experiencing the rush that comes with gorgeous new surroundings and I was open to whatever gift I would be presented with.

At several different stopping points that day the three of us experienced simultaneous mystical moments even as our cameras almost always pointed in three different directions. None of us were seeing the same things, and yet we were all in a state of ecstasy. What Minor White calls “moments of intensity or lucidity when one feels as if one is an instrument of transmission like a narrow channel between two oceans”. (We were between two mountains!) We all felt it. The giddiness. The rush. We were speaking in tongues. We were drunk on images.(Sontag)

An interesting sub plot to the Montana trip was a conversation I had with an eccentric gentleman during a bumpy flight from Denver to Missoula. The fellow was returning from a six week solo journey to Australia and New Zealand and that might explain his nonstop stream of conscious story telling throughout the flight. One story involved the car he had bought and sold in Australia, and centered around his belief that machines have “feelings” and if you treat them right, they will treat you right. I didn’t give this idea much thought until after returning home and reading a 1957 essay by Minor White in which he discusses the ideas of a German writer, Roman Frietag, who felt that each camera had a subconscious. White equates this concept, in typical eloquence, as the “still, small voice”. He places the act of photography at "the service of an outside power, so that when I photograph an outside (or inside) power may leave it’s thumbprint”.

My prayer is to remain ever mindful and ready to receive photographic gifts, and to always listen to the still, small voice within my camera...

When we look at things in the light of Tao,
Nothing is best, nothing is worst.
Each thing, seen in it's own light,
Stands out in it's own way.

-The Way of Chuang Tzu

Harry Callahan, from Inside the Photograph: Writings on Twentieth Century Photography. Peter C Bunnell, Aperture Foundation, 2006

The Camera Mind and Eye, Minor White. from The Education of a Photographer, edited by Charles Traub, etal. Allworth Press 2006

Found Photographs, Minor White. from Photography: Essays & Images, edited by Beaumont Newhall. Museum of Modern Art. 1980
Springtime Haiku...

I could not see him
That fluttering
Fly-off Bird...
But the Plum-Petals...