horses to the right. philly photo day 2010

This is my submission to Philly Photo Day 2010. I wasn't really happy with anything I shot yesterday, and I was only within the actual city limits for a couple hours. I decided to walk through Pennypack Park in Northeast Philly. For several years now I have been intrigued by the concept of 'wilderness in the city'. There are sections of trails throughout the Fairmont Park system that seem like true wilderness even though you are surrounded by a large metropolitan chaos. I went in there looking to shoot something that would convey a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, but I just couldn't find a composition that made it in the short amount of time I had. But walking back to my car I came across this interesting signage and it just feels right to me as representative of something you wouldn't expect to see in a large city like Philadelphia. It's the best I came up with and will have to do.

Chelsea Ewing Updegrove

It's Philly Photo Day!

Grab your camera, take a picture anywhere in Philadelphia and submit it to the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center website by 8pm on October 31!

Guidelines for participating in Philly Photo Day:

1. Photographs must be made on October 28, 2010, between 12:00 am and 11:59 pm.

2. Each participant may only submit one image.

3. Photographs must be taken within Philadelphia city limits, though you don't have to live in Philadelphia to participate.

4. Any camera can be used but the image file must be digitally submitted.

5. Images must be submitted digitally at 3200 pixels x 2400 pixels (10.5" x 8" at 300 ppi).Dimensions may vary due to camera format. Files must be submitted as a JPEG or TIFF,no other file format will be accepted. Files that are smaller will be resized to the above dimensions.

6. All images must be submitted online by 8:00 pm on Sunday, October 31, 2010.

7. Digital files can be uploaded at No images submitted by email will be accepted. Participants must accept agreement terms as detailed.

Philly Photo Day is a celebration of Philadelphia and photography, as well as of PPAC's one-year anniversary. We are asking anyone and everyone to take a picture in Philadelphia on this day and upload it to the PPAC website. Then on November 11, 2010, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center will hold an opening reception for the Philly Photo Day exhibition in the Grey Area of the Crane Arts building.

For more information and for uploading instructions, visit
I heard this Jazz/Rap piece today called Where Y'all At ? by Wynton Marsalis, and while the musical style is all Marsalis, the lyrics take me back to Gil Scott Heron's spoken word style of the 1970's. Gil would be calling everyone out regardless of which side of the street they lived on.

You got to speak the language the people
Are speakin'

Specially when you see the havoc it's wreakin'
Even the rap game started out critiquin'
Now it's all about killing and freakin'

All you '60s radicals and world beaters
Righteous revolutionaries and Camus readers
Liberal students and equal rights pleaders
What's goin' on now that y'all are the leaders

Where y'all at? (That's what I'm talkin' about)
Where y'all at? (Where y'all at?)
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at? (Lord have mercy)

Don't turn up your nose
It's us that's stinkin'
And it all can't be blamed on the party
Of Lincoln
The left and the right got the country sinkin'
Knocked the scales from Justice hand and
Set her eyes a-blinkin'

All you patriots, compatriots, and true
Blue believers
Brilliant thinkers and overachievers
All you "when I was young
We were so naïve'ers
Y'all started like Eldridge and now
You're like Beaver

Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?

We supposed to symbolize freedom and pride
But we got scared after King and the
Kennedys died
We take corruption and graft in stride
Sittin' around like owls talkin' 'bout "WHO?
Who lied?"

All you po' folks victims of rich folks game
All you rich folks gettin' ripped off in the
Same name
All you gossips cacklin' "It's a dirty shame"
And whistle blowers cryin' 'bout who's to blame

Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?

Well, it ain't about black and it ain't about
The white
They'll get together to make your pocket light.
When you just keep on payin' do your jaws
Get tight?
Taxes, that's your real inalienable right

All you afro-wearers and barbershop experts
Cultists, sectarians, political disconcerts
Big baggy pants wearers with the long
White T-shirts
The good man that counter what the
Bad man asserts

Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?

After 9/11 the whole world
Was ready to love us
Now everybody can't wait to rub us
We runnin' all over the world with a blunderbuss
And the Constitution all but forgot in the fuss

All you feminists and mothers, fathers
And brothers
I guess you'd pimp your daughters if you
Had your druthers
All you "It's not me" it's always others
You watch the crimes, you close your shutters

Folks watchin' Fox and CNN News
Seekin' a cure for the Red, White, and Blues
Well, it won't matter which side you choose
If we end up payin' international dues

All you "In my day it used to be" frauds
All you "So what"s and "Leave it to the Lawd"s
All you "I'll just deal with whatever cards"
All you extend adolescent American Bards

Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?
Where y'all at?

Where Y'all At?
Wynton Marsalis
I received confirmation in the mail today for a portfolio review I signed up for on November 7th in Bethlehem, Pa. It's part of the InVision Photo Festival. I really like the fact that they included a set of guidelines, and I think most of these would be helpful for anyone who is presenting their work for review...

A few tips for a successful review

- Your portfolio should be a solid body of work with no more than 20 images. Continuity of subject matter or a series is best for this type of review.

- If you are showing prints please make sure that they are high quality prints. Because of time constraints it's best if you can show it to the reviewer as efficiently as possible.

- Be ready to talk about your work in a concise way.

- Have a few questions you'd like answered to ask the reviewers.

- Please have a business card or leave-behaind ready to give the reviewer. Make sure it has your contact information!

- Take notes right after all your reviews are done.

Simple guidelines and most are commonsense, but easily forgotten during the hectic stress of presenting your work.
driftwood sculpture. 2010
afterglow. by J Randall Updegrove. 2010

Spectacular nightscape of Brule Lake, Minnesota by J Randall Updegrove. Living on the metropolitan east coast, I am always astounded by the night sky whenever I travel to a place with true nighttime darkness. There is virtually no light pollution in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and on a clear night the stars fill the sky completely down to the horizon line. This image captures the surreal calm and clarity we experienced for almost the entire week we were there. This is the moment when the stars are literally appearing by the thousands per minute. Excellent landscape work!
home cooking. 2010
Personal Style
- A shooting and critique class to hone your own unique way of working

henry horenstein

During the weekend, we will examine your best pictures to date and discuss how they fail or or succeed in defining you as a photographer. The workshop will balance in the field shooting assignments with critiques and lectures back at the studio. Much of the first day will be spent shooting and processing. The following day, this work will be reviewed as a group along with your past portfolio.

Conversation and critique will touch upon aesthetic, technical, and professional issues. How do I make better prints? How do I learn to see better? How can I strategically get my work out there and start to build an audience.

Digital cameras are necessary to critique work after the field trip, however, students can choose to shoot film, as well.

Two-day Workshop:

1305 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19122

Saturday & Sunday, 9am - 5pm
November 20 & 21


Henry Horenstein studied history at the University of Chicago, before turning to photography. Horenstein earned his BFA and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1971 and 1973 respectively. His teachers were Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Horenstein has published over 30 books include monographs (Animalia, Honky Tonk, Close Relations, Humans, Creatures, Aquatics, Canine, and Racing Days) and some of the most widely used instructional texts in the field (Black & White Photography, Beyond Basic Photography, etc.). His most recent books are Show (2010), a look at the myriad worlds of burlesque, drag, fetish, and sideshow, and Photo One Digital (Forthcoming). Now a professor at RISD, Horenstein lives and works in Boston, MA.

Workshop Registration
IN VISION Photo Festival
Bethlehem, Pa. November 5-7

Experience “The Vision” in this annual festival focused exclusively on photography.

InVision will welcome some of the nation’s most esteemed photographers for dynamic presentations and workshops, showcase exhilarating exhibits and bring the world of photography right to your doorstep!

Portfolio Review November 7th

Have your work critiqued by top industry professionals including American Photo magazine Executive Editor Russell Hart, Lehigh University Art Galleries Director Ricardo Viera, Rebecca Norris Webb, Ian Summers and Patrick Callery.


InVision Photo Festival Details
"I mean, there's no denying the real pleasure that you get from having the things you do appreciated. For one thing, it tells you that you're not entirely crazy, you know? Because there are plenty of times that you just wonder. What am I doing out here, pointing this camera at things? What am I doing?"

An Interview with Frank Gohlke (1978)
From Thoughts on Landscape
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
rent #1. willow grove, pa. 2010

rent #2. willow grove, pa. 2010

brule lake, minnesota. 2010

HumanKind - A visual exploration of the human condition

Throughout history, every generation of theorists, scientists and artists has grappled with the ultimate quest: to understand and define the human condition.

Now our turn has come: We are looking for images that encompass the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. Images that tell the story of what it means to be part of HumanKind - the bad, the good, the beautiful, the ugly, the exotic, the mundane, and everything in between.

Drawn from online submissions, 120 images will be selected and exhibited at The powerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
HumanKind - presented by the New York Photo Festival - will be on show from December 17 to January 20.

Submit your work
I'm considering a series called Pharmacino, structured on our current economic model that seems to run entirely on pharmacies and casinos. Seriously, are there any non pharmaceutical or casino jobs out there? Maybe some construction jobs... construction jobs building new pharmacies and casinos.

pharmacy. 2010
One of my North Wood's obsessions is beavers. They are everywhere and impact upon every inch of lake shoreline. For the most part invisible. In four trips to Minnesota I have only seen one beaver, and that was late at night when I happened to see one hauling a huge branch past our campsite and we watched him by flashlight. Other than that their presence is more or less purely circumstantial. Beautifully constructed dens line the shores of every lake, always on the north shore to take advantage of a full day of sunlight unobstructed by shade. And their chew sticks are literally everywhere. All night long the beavers cut down young birch trees into roughly two foot lengths and spend hours munching off the bark. In the morning the shorelines are littered with bright yellow birch sticks floating along side the long weathered gray sticks of meals past. There is no need to cut fire wood in the north woods. Every day I go out in my canoe and gather up drift wood and beaver sticks for the evening camp fire. Our saying is... "Why chop wood when the beavers will do it for you?"

beaver made. minnesota. 2010

man gathered. minnesota. 2010

My mother bought this book for me at the Harvard Bookstore while I was in Minnesota. Gohlke was one of the participating photographers in the 1975 exhibit "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape", which represented a turning point in American landscape photography.

The photographers in this exhibit, such as Robert Adams, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Stephen Shore among others have been highly influential on my style of work. In fact, I spent many hours around the North Woods campfires discussing all of these names and the New Topographic movement in particular. I am less familiar with Gohlke's work, but he is a highly skilled writer as well as photographer. I've just started this book. It is deep and reflective, and so far an excellent read.

Thoughts on Landscape
Yesterday I picked up the film from my Minnesota trip. Five rolls of Kodak Plus X 125 shot with my Olympus OM-1. That was all I took with me into the woods. No digital camera at all. On previous trips I have taken as many as five cameras with me and all sorts of different lenses and film. It ends up being way too distracting to me and I end up with no visual focus or unity. This year it was just my simple little OM-1, such a wonderful gem of a camera, and only one type of film...Plus X 125. I brought my standard 50mm Zuiko and a 28mm wide angle lens. The only lens I ever shoot with on my digital camera is a 50mm. I have written about this in the past; I feel very strongly that a fixed focal length lens is essential to obtaining a unified point of view and consistency of images.(not to mention higher quality optics) My sequence photography depends almost entirely on one focal length. I reluctantly brought the 28mm along purely for the longer landscape views on the lakes of Boundary Waters, and it took me several days to adjust to looking through the viewfinder at such a wide angle of sight. But it was a refreshing change to work with something different, and it was definitely worth bringing along. Limiting myself to a single film type and only two focal lengths forced me to concentrate on the images that would work best for those parameters. I ended up doing more focused visualization than I have ever done on one of my wilderness trips, and I am very happy with the results. Here are a couple examples from the first day...

dawn. minnesota. 2010

dusk. minnesota. 2010
I did a quick drive by re-visit of Edge today to do some test compositions. I'm looking for a companion piece to compliment Goodwill, and none of my existing work does that right now. During my portfolio review on Saturday at Hous Projects, Ruben Natal San-Miguel suggested I go back and shoot Edge as a vertical composition in the same style as Goodwill. I think it's a great suggestion, and since I pass by it every day, I got a chance to do it today. I'm not sure if this is a final version yet, but I do think the lighting and sky/clouds today match up fairly nicely with Goodwill. I'll shoot it several more times as the Fall foliage colors develop. It's important to the shot that the trees be a variety of color instead of just green. I shot the original horizontal version of Edge almost exactly a year ago, and the reds in the foliage were key to the image success. Edge is not as tightly composed as Goodwill, and never can be, but I do love the small green shrub in the lower left to compliment the girl's position in Goodwill. I like these two images as a pair. This kind of critical eye and constructive thought process was exactly why I'm so glad I went through the portfolio review process. I wish I could do something like that on a monthly basis!

Driven by this at least a couple hundred times and never noticed it until today. I love it. Picture me standing on Rhawn Street almost getting run over so I could get the right framing with my 50mm. A fixed focal point lens requires legwork to zoom in and out... De rigueur in my opinion to achieve a unified visual style, but hazardous to one's health when zooming out means backing up into city traffic.

northeast philadelphia. 2010

This will be the fourth annual ONWARD for Basho Gallery, and it is becoming the premiere juried photography event in Philadelphia for emerging artists. This year's juror is Larry Fink. Don't miss a great opportunity to present your work. Deadline for entries is November 19th.

Onward 11

Larry Fink
Influences.... (continued)

Tadao Ando

Pattern Language

Jerry Mander
Good cheap fun is hard to find these days...

Working on a selection of images for an upcoming portfolio review in NYC. I don't know how many of these will make the final cut, but they all interest me in terms of sequence and context.