A project I did several years ago with model/muse/artist/friend Lore Elizabeth. We wanted to do something with it... but were never sure what exactly. Never got around to taking it any further than these diptychs. The images on the left are self portraits Lore had made several years before I met her in 2007, and the images on the right are photographs I took of her.

Spending hours and hours on a book mock up and in the process going back and reviewing lots of old work. Stuff from hard drives that I haven't looked at in quite awhile. Some pleasant surprises and connections to my more recent work.

AIPAD 2011

Notes on AIPAD 2011... (part 2)

Some really fine work on the walls at this years AIPAD show at the Armory , 67th & Park Avenue in New York City. The show starts today and finishes up on Sunday. Here are some more selections from what caught my eye...

Yossi Milo Gallery has some beautiful work by Sze Tsung Leong's Cities series. I first saw Leong's work on the walls several years ago when Yossi Milo presented an exhibit of his Horizon series. Milo also displays some interesting work by Yuki Onodera, Look Out The Window.

Sze Tsung Leong (Yossi Milo Gallery)

A nice grouping of Stephen Shore photographs. Unfortunately I didn't make note of which gallery was presenting these. If anyone knows, let me know so I can give proper credit.

Stephen Shore (AIPAD 2011)

Benrubi Gallery had this grouping of six Lewis Baltz images, some from the Park City series, and others from Baltz's early Prototype series. The asking price for these photographs ranged from $18,000 to $25,000. Total price for all six is $135,500

Lewis Baltz  (Benrubi Gallery)

This was a mesmerizing wall in the Halstead Gallery booth, consisting of work by Arnold Newman, Andre Kertesz, and Aaron Siskind. Halstead has a stellar collection of work by the masters of photography.

Halstead Gallery (AIPAD 2011)

Some interesting individual pieces. Quite a few Harry Callahan photographs throughout the show, and I particularly love this silhouette of Eleanor, 1948 in the Gitterman Gallery booth, priced at $25,000

Harry Callahan. Eleanor 1948  (Gitterman Gallery)

I seemed to see dozens of Andre Kertesz photographs at AIPAD, which was interesting because I walked the floor with Susan May Tell, who spent many hours with Kertesz shortly before he died. I was enthralled by Susan's recollections of reviewing prints in Kertesz's apartment and shooting some of the last portraits ever taken of the great photographer. In fact, Susan May Tell's photograph of Kertesz was used in the New York Times obituary when he died. This photograph, Martinique, presented by Joel Soroka Gallery has long been a favorite Kertesz image for me.

Andre Kertesz. Martinique, 1970's  ((Joel Soroka Gallery)

And this rare photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Two Women Crossing The Street, taken in Cuba in 1963, presented by Throckmorton Fine Art. I spoke to Spencer Throckmorton about this image because it is so similar in style to work I have been reviewing recently by Philadelphia photographer Philip Taylor who did some interesting street photography in Cuba in the late 50's and early 60's. This Cartier-Bresson image is priced at $15,000

 Cartier-Bresson, Two Women Crossing the Street.(Cuba) 1963   (Throckmorton Fine Art)

AIPAD 2011

Notes on AIPAD 2011... (Part 1)

Had a wonderful afternoon yesterday at the press preview for the 2011 AIPAD show at the Armory in New York City. Meeting new folks I had only known through the internet and blogs, such as Susan May Tell and Elizabeth Avedon, long lost high school classmate Andrea Meislin of Andrea Meislin Gallery, fellow blogger Ruben Natal-San Miguel of Art Most Fierce, and nice chats with gallery owners Yossi Milo, Bruce Silverstein, Deborah Bell, Spencer Throckmorton, and others who were all refreshingly upbeat and ready for a long weekend ahead. It was also nice to see some Philadelphia representation from Gallery 339 and Paul Cava. I chatted with Martin McNamara of Gallery 339 about the ever improving state of photography venues in Philadelphia

This is a fabulous photography show with something for everyone. At least for everyone's eye, certainly not everyone's budget. Pricing seems cautiously robust and confident. The air of optimism among many dealers I spoke to regarding a turn around after several down years is tenuous at best, although more than a few galleries have returned to AIPAD after several years hiatus, adding to a low buzz of energy in the hall that we all hope means good years ahead for the photographic art collecting world.

Here are some of the things that caught my eye...

Books! (Some very expensive books!!) There are two photo book dealers at the show, Harper's Books, and Jeff Hirsch Books. I could have spent my entire time at the show browsing through what these dealers had on shelves and display cases. Lot's of vintage Japanese photo books, and a full range from early books such as New York by Alvin Langdon Coburn ($75,000) to the first artist book by Ryan McGinley ($9500). The trio of books below really got my attention; New Topographics ($1500), Anonyme Skulpturen ($9500), and New Industrial Parks (Baltz) ($2750). They would all look great in my library!

Jeff Hirsch Books (AIPAD 2011)

Favorite dealer display was Deborah Bell Gallery. Such a unique and eclectic mix going on in that booth I found myself walking through it over and over. Bell is displaying some very interesting prints by G. P. Fieret, Andy Warhol, Marcel Broodhaers, Marcia Resnick, and a corner devoted to the current exhibit at the gallery in Chelsea, Susan Paulsen: Sarah Rhymes With Clara

Deborah Bell Gallery (AIPAD 2011)

Another solid display was the choice of Weinstein Gallery of Minneapolis to present a one man show of Alec Soth.The display is Soth's most recent body of work, Broken Manual. Big bold prints by a contemporary master was a nice balance to the historical and vintage master works throughout the halls. Alec Soth will be participating in one of the panel discussions to be held on Saturday. Photography Now: How Artists Are Thinking Today will discuss the issues contemporary artists are dealing with. The other panelists participating with Soth will be Julie Saul, Larry Fink, and Shirin Neshat.

Weinstein Gallery (AIPAD 2011)

Wall Space Gallery is doing a magnificent job hosting Life Support Japan, online auctions for limited edition donated prints by numerous and generous photographers.( Crista Dix has been working tirelessly on this project!) 100% of the proceeds for these prints will go to Japan earthquake relief. The money from these sales will go to Direct Relief International and Habitat For Humanity. For $50 you will get an 8" X 10" signed print, one of a special limited edition of ten. And once again, there is no commission fee, or printing costs, or anything else being deducted. All of your $50 will go to a great cause, and you end up with a wonderful print! There are some big name photographers getting involved in this. The Hiroshi Watanabe edition has already sold out, so get moving! I bought the David Burdeny print below, and I'm thrilled to add it to my collection.

Life Support Japan

Wall Space Gallery

Direct Relief International

Habitat For Humanity

Towards The City

Toshi-e (Towards the City)  Yutaka Takanashi

My goal for 2011 is to buy a significant photo book each month. (I would love to buy ten a month! but I've set a budget for one) This means careful consideration and research goes into each monthly selection. One of the best ways I have found over the years to select choices is to look at the Best Of photo book selections on the Photo Eye web site. Each December a number of top photographers, critics & curators provide their list of the best photo books for the previous year. I spend quite a bit of time looking through these lists and developing wish lists for my future collection. My book purchase for March came from Alec Soth's list, Yutaka Takanashi's Toshi-e (Towards the City). Published by Errata Editions.

Yutaka Takanashi’s Toshi-e (Towards the City) is a landmark two-volume set of books from one one of the founders of the avant-garde Japanese magazine Provoke. Published in 1974 and considered the most luxurious of all of the Provoke era publications, its brooding, pessimistic tone describes the state of contemporary life in an unnamed city in Japan undergoing economic and industrial change. Books on Books 6 reproduces all one hundred sixteen black and white photographs that make up the two volumes. Photographer, writer and book historian Gerry Badger, contributes an essay called Image of the City - Yutaka Takanashi's Toshi-e.

I chose the book primarily because of it's connections to my own interests in New Topographics photography of the late sixties to mid-seventies.(New Topographics was my first photo book purchase of 2011) Takanashi's book was published in 1974, the "year of the oil crisis", and the images are about economics, consumption, urban society, and the tensions between free flung consumerism and the resulting price to be paid down the road. Many of the images were in fact taken by Takanashi through the open sunroof of his car while speeding down the road. In his essay for the book, Gerry Badger describes the images as "Robert Frank or William Klein on speed." These are not the careful, quiet studies of Lewis Baltz, Frank Gohlke, Robert Adams, or the other New Topographers who were photographing the man-altered landscapes of America during the same period that Takanashi was recording urban Japan. I like the subtle similarities versus differences that involve the Japanese and American responses to urban landscapes during a time period when both countries were still deeply enmeshed in a post-war economic and political relationship, what Badger describes as schizophrenic (from Japan's point of view).

One really interesting thing about this book... I ordered it from Photo-Eye earlier this week and it arrived in my mailbox on the day of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. I sat in the safety and comfort of my living room paging through this book on a day of terror and sadness for many Japanese. I was amazed by the images below from the book in light of the events that had taken place on that very day.

At times like this we want to reach out and help in our own individual ways. I was pleased to learn that some quick thinking photographers on Facebook have organized an online photo auction to benefit victims in Japan. Photographers can donate a print to be auctioned in a limited edition of ten 8" X 10" prints to be sold for $50 each with 100% of proceeds going to Japanese quake relief efforts. The group is called Life Support Japan, and I will post more details as they develop. I am donating Curtains (Rhawn Street) which was chosen by Larry Fink for ONWARD 11, and will be traveling in a group show to Ring Cube gallery in Tokyo, Japan this coming May. I thought it was an appropriate selection. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering in Japan.

Photo Eye Best Books of 2010

Errata Editions

Life Support Japan

Call for Entry: Photocentric 2011

Jurors: Larry Fink & Stephen Perloff

Deadline is June 15, 2011

Poetry of Nowhere  (2011)

Cuba (1960)

Philip Taylor. Cuba (1960)

I received this print last week as a gift from my friend, photographer Philip Taylor. The image was taken in Cuba in 1960. The woman in the photo was from Mexico and her name has been forgotten. I can't wait to get this photograph into a frame and on the wall. Phil Taylor turned 85 last month. We meet for coffee every other week to discuss photography, politics and economics, among a dozen other topics. Phil spent his entire working career as a commercial printer, and he is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about photographic printing techniques. Every time we get together, one of us brings a photography book, and we not only discuss the aesthetic value of the images, we also analyse the pages under a loupe and Phil teaches me exactly how the book was printed. I have learned so much about the printing process of photographs as a result of our meetings. Philip is still semi-actively shooting and he prints his own work in a kitchen darkroom set-up. He is quite a guy, and I value his friendship.

The image at top is a new photograph taken in Hatboro, Pa. and I think it is a nice companion piece for Popeye's Chicken, with a similarity not just in their color tones, but also the sense of fluidity they exhibit. Movement is a very important unifying theme to the images in the Poetry of Nowhere series, it acts as the meter of these poems. Pictures have no syllables to provide patterns of sound; we translate what we see into visual poetic meter by use of themes and unifying sequence.

Popeye's Chicken recently sold for $500 at the Missoula Art Museum 39th annual benefit auction, held February 5th, 2011 

Missoula Art Museum

A gallery of all of the images in the ONWARD 11 exhibit has been posted...

ONWARD 11 web gallery
"It is said that the poetic part of a person's life is when he is young, but the mature part of the artist is when he is old. I think I have begun to understand that now, and I know it relates to my own photography."
             Harry Callahan

I am wondering what Callahan meant by this. The quote comes from a book published in 1996 as a companion to the exhibit Harry Callahan at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Obviously we mature with age, gain wisdom through life's experiences. But is the poetic nature of an artist limited to youth? Did he mean that the poetry matures, or does it fade away? Harry Callahan was 84 years old in 1996 and died three years later. This quote is at the start of a section in the book labeled Later Work 1972-1992, work he did between the ages of sixty and eighty years old. I wish I could find an explanation to the full meaning of this quote. Callahan's work is very poetic, and it would be very instructive to know how that sensibility changed for him as he grew old.

False Mountains

I have no idea where I am going with these False Mountain images. They just continue to hold a strong attraction and fascination for me. Every time I pass by a pile of dirt, or gravel, or snow imitating a mountain I have an immediate knee jerk desire to photograph it. I rarely end up doing so because the composition is usually flawed in some way, or I have to wait for the right light, etc. The image above works for me in several ways... the light is fantastic, and the yellow line on the horizon provides a slight nod to a John Pfahl Altered Landscape . (The image below has that Pfahl-esque quality as well, something I welcome in any of my images). I've tried working these images into some of my other project groups and they just don't fit in, even though I think the basic emotions behind these images are very similar to much of my other work. The isolation and sense of despair that is represented in Poetry of Nowhere and Roadside Memorials are just as strongly present in these photographs.

John Pfahl (Previous post)

John Pfahl (website)

I'm working on a book for the Poetry of Nowhere series. Three years of images which began as a documentation of the recession, (In These Hard Times), has evolved into a statement that moves beyond temporal economic conditions. The Poetry of Nowhere is a study of the nuances and subtle connections between beauty and repulsion in the ordinary landscape.

Poetry of Nowhere
Coltrane House

Call for Entries:
A Love Supreme: 2nd Annual Contemporary Photography Competition and Exhibition

Juror: Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is excited to announce A Love Supreme, 2nd Annual Contemporary Photography Competition and Exhibition. This year's title refers to the dramatic transformation in John Coltrane's creative process and sound in his legendary recording. Moving away from jazz standards to a spiritual and instinctual way of making music, Coltrane forever changed his medium. In this spirit, today's photographers are creating new visual languages, pushing the medium in unprecedented and unpredictable ways, forever changing how we define photography.

Winning entries will be exhibited at PPAC from June 9 - August 27, 2011 and will be included in the exhibition catalog. First, second, and third prize winners will receive $500, $200, and $100 in cash prizes plus a $50 gift certificate for PPAC's digital services. The competition is open to all subject matter and photographic processes. Work must have been created in the last 3 years. The entry fee is $40 for a maximum of 5 images. Enhanced lab members of PPAC do not need to send entry fee. Entry fees are non refundable. All entries must be delivered or postmarked by Tuesday, May 10th, 2011. Entries can also be submitted online, for instructions go to

For more information please email: info@philaphotoarts.org

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center