More of Gil Scott-Heron

Some photos of Gil taken by the amazing Hilary Sol Allen, AKA Sol Exposure, lover of grain and grit, desert dust, and concert sweat. Sol Exposure is best known for her incredible ongoing photography of The Roots, as well as many other musicians. She also produces some beautiful mixed media art work known simply as blocks, and I'm proud to say I have a couple of them hanging on my walls. Check out her work via the links below. This Polaroid portrait of Gil is so beautiful. Taken in January of 2010, it captures a lighter side of Gil rarely seen in other photographs of him. To me it shows that Gil Scott-Heron found a level of peace and happiness in his final years.

Sol Exposure || Musicians

Sol Exposure || Blocks

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on scag and
skip out for beer during commercials because
the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by
by Xerox in four parts without commercial
The revolution will not show you pictures of
Nixon blowing a bugle and leading a charge by
John Mitchell, General Abramson and Spiro
Agnew to eat hog maws confiscated from a
Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be brought to you by
The Schaeffer Award Theatre and will not star
Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle
and Julia?
The revolution will not give your mouth sex
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs
The revolution will not make you look five
pounds thinner
The revolution will not be televised, brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie Mae
pushing that shopping cart down the block on
the dead run
or trying to slide that color tv in a stolen
NBC will not be able to predict the winner at
8:32 on reports from twenty-nine districts
The revolution will not be televised

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
on the instant replay
There will be no slow motion or still lifes of Roy
Wilkins strolling through Watts in a red, black
and green liberation jumpsuit that he has been
saving for just the proper occasion

Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies and Hooterville
will no longer be so damned relevant
and women will not care if Dick finally got down
with Jane
on Search For Tomorrow
because black people will be in the streets
looking for
A Brighter Day
The revolution will not be televised

There will be no highlights on the Eleven
O'clock News
and no pictures of hairy armed women
and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose
The theme song will not be written by Jim
Webb or Francis Scott Key
nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny
Englebert Humperdink or Rare Earth
The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be right back after a
message about a white tornado, white lightning
or white people
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
the tiger in your tank or the giant in your toilet
The revolution will not go better with coke
The revolution will not fight germs  that may
cause bad breath
the revolution will put you in the driver's seat
The revolution will not be televised
                      will not be televised
                    not be televised
                          be televised
the revolution will be no re-run, bothers
the revolution will be LIVE

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Rest in Peace GSH

Gil Scott-Heron
April 1 1949 - May 27, 2011

GSH performing at B B King Blues Club
November 4th, 2009 in NYC

Very sad to hear of the sudden loss of Gil Scott-Heron. The man was a long time favorite poet and musician. I first discovered his music in the late 1970's with the release of the album Secrets. I first saw him perform in the early 80's at a small jazz and blues club in North Philadelphia, and continued to listen to his music through the years. Somewhere along the way I lost my vinyl copy of Secrets. Years later, in the late 90's, I saw an import copy from Japan on sale at 3rd Street Jazz in Philly for about $30 and I didn't buy it because I thought it was too expensive. Bad decision, because for years after that I would search the internet for copies of Secrets, never finding anything. Those searching years applied to Gil himself... Time in prison... years when no one knew his whereabouts... was he alive?... living on the streets? I would follow a couple web sites devoted to Gil and his status.  In the final years of his life Gil had a nice come back. Performing on a regular basis, and releasing his last album, I'm New Here. I had the supreme pleasure of seeing him perform at the B B King Blues Club in New York City in November of 2009. Although I was shocked at the way the years of hard living had changed him from my memories of the Gil of the 80's,  I am so grateful for that last chance to see him on stage. The body had withered but the voice was still there. 2009 was also the completion of my search for a copy of Secrets. Soul Brother Records reissued the album from original master tapes, and I quickly bought a copy. The songs I could still play in my head... Angel Dust... Angola, Lousiana... Cane... all sounded as good as I remembered from thirty years earlier, but  songs I had completely forgotten about... Better Days Ahead... Three Miles Down...Madison Avenue... were a joy to hear again. That album remains for me the core Gil Scott-Heron... the first and the last of his albums I purchased. There were other songs for which Gil is more famous ... The Bottle... The Revolution Will Not Be Televised... Home Is Where The Hatred Is... and many others that I will always love, but the memories and sentimentality behind Secrets will never fade for me. Rest in Peace Gil... you were loved by many.


Every Wednesday for over two years I go to the eighth floor of this building to pick up some blood, and today I finally remembered to bring my camera in with me.

Indie Photobook Library

Larissa Leclair
Indie Photobook Library @NYPH11

Making my way through the New York Photo Festival last weekend I happened across the Indie Photobook Library display, with numerous tables and book shelves filled with an amazing collection of independently published and distributed photography books. As I browsed through the books that caught my eye, I found myself instinctively turning to the back covers to look for a price tag, and had to keep reminding myself that this was a library collection, not a book store. In a world of art photography where everybody is selling or self promoting something on a 24/7 basis, it is extremely refreshing to realize the concept behind the Indie Photobook Library (IPL). Founded in 2010 by Larissa Leclair ,the IPL is "an archive that strives to preserve and showcase self-published photobooks, photobooks independently published and distributed, photography exhibition catalogs, print-on-demand photobooks, artist books, zines, photobooks printed on newsprint, limited edition photobooks, and non-English language photography books to be seen in person through traveling exhibitions and as a non-circulating public library. Having a specific collection dedicated to these kinds of books allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted in years, decades, and centuries to come". A truly worthy and important endeavor with ambitious long term goals. Leclair would like to see IPL someday considered the Library of Congress of the independent photo book genre's historical archive, with an eventual donation of the entire collection to a large university or museum for permanent storage.

Indie Photobook Library celebrated its one year anniversary on the weekend of NYPH11, and has already amassed an impressive collection of approximately 400 books, with an open and ongoing submission policy that encourages artists and independent publishers to add to the growing permanent collection. IPL participates in self described pop-up exhibitions throughout the year, such as the display at NYPH11. Another pop-up exhibit is scheduled for Center's Review Santa Fe on June 4th and 5th. The first feature-length exhibition of the IPL's collection is scheduled for September- November 2011 at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. The exhibit will be curated by Larissa Leclair, George Slade, and Shane Lavalette.

Indie Photobook Library has a nice web site that documents each incoming book to the collection, as well as maintaining a searchable database of books by artist name and book title.
Those interested in submitting books to the collection can find the IPL submission page here. Doing so ensures becoming a part of photobook history!

How to submit a book to Indie Photobook Library

Indie Photobook Library

Recent Acquisition

Words Without Pictures
Edited by Alex Klein
Aperture Books
Paperback, 510 pages
ISBN 978-1-59711-142-3

500 + pages of photo theory, pure text. I've already read a couple of them online... Jason Evan's Online Photographic Thinking, and  Sze Tsung Leong's A Picture You Already Know... and I can't wait to dig into the rest of them. This book originated as a year long web based project consisting of monthly themes. An essay for the monthly theme was published on the web site, and then solicited and unsolicited responses were collected. An editorial team complied the year long results first into a print on demand book, and then it was published by Aperture for this edition.

Newly added to my Library Thing catalog

You can buy it from Photo-Eye

Portfolio Reviews

Friday and Saturday at the New York Photo Festival there were portfolio reviews taking place in three hour segments consisting of  five 20 minute one-on-one reviews from a large and diverse pool of industry professionals. (List of the reviewers with bios is here). On Saturday I was walking through the Gallery Row building on 111 Front Street checking out the exhibits when I noticed the reviews in progress. I took a quick walk through the room and was captivated by the intensity and focus happening between reviewer and presenter. Not a single person in this room looked up from their conversations as I went from table to table taking  photographs.

Portfolio Reviews at NYPH 11
(click images to enlarge)

If anyone knows the identity of any of these photographers or reviewers, please let me know! I would love to get some feedback on their experience of the review process.

Notes on NYPH 11

New York Photo Festival
May 11- 15, 2011

Down Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Overpasses is where the annual New York Photo Festival is held, and my first visit to this part of NYC overwhelmingly confirmed the significance of the letters DUMBO in naming this neighborhood. You can't go anywhere in DUMBO without being fully aware of the massive and beautiful bridges looming overhead. Even the Manhattan skyline pales in the presence of these overhead structures. Loved the old converted warehouse spaces, easy parking, Brooklyn Bridge Park, lot's of great looking restaurants in the neighborhood, and a four day photography festival all within an area of about six square city blocks! 

Enjoyed meeting Larissa Leclair of the Indie Photobook Library, and Andy Adams of Flak Photo. Andy gave one of four lectures I attended throughout the day. Martine Fougeron spoke about her Tete-a-Tete series and presented a 30 minute film Teen Tribe based on the complete series documenting her adolescent sons in New York and France. Andy Adams presented his lecture Photo 2.0, discussing the present and future issues surrounding digital media and photography. Penelope Umbrico spoke about her ongoing projects such as Sunsets From Flickr in context to the release of her new Aperture monograph. And the final lecture I attended was a panel discussion led by James Estrin, an editor of the New York Times' Lens Blog, leading a discussion of current trends in photography blogs and online magazines. Other panelists included Kira Pollack, of the newly minted Lightbox blog from Time Magazine, Holly Hughes of  Photo District News,  Photographer David Walter Banks of Luceo Images,  and Adriana Teresa of Foto Visura.

And obviously lots and lots of photography. Too much to absorb in one day, and yet strangely, seemingly not enough. Beyond the traditional indoor gallery exhibits, there was only one open air venue,  the Tobacco Warehouse, which housed several exhibits, including Dreams, Hopes and Hard Times. I would have liked to see this festival attract a few (or even many) independent artists setting up temporary sidewalk tables and displays. I like to see not just what is officially included in an art festival, but also what is on the fringes. There were no fringes whatsoever at NYPH 11 and that was disappointing

Dreams, Hopes & Hard Times
Tobacco Warehouse. NYPH 11

Here is a quick run through of things that caught my eye throughout the day. As always, clicking an image will enlarge it to full screen for a better view...

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, photographs from the 54 story apartment building in Johannesburg, South Africa called Ponte City. Every time I look at this image I think the girl is suspended in the air... it is mesmerizing.

Mikhael Subotzky. Ponte City

Clemence de Limburg, photographs from the series Dwarf World Games, started in Chicago in 1993 and held every four years, Limburg's square format images are gorgeous. I wish there had been more exhibited.

Clemence de Limburg.  Dwarf World Games

A Yin, photographs documenting the transformation of rural Mongolian culture to one of urban influence. The series of images shows a pair of photographs, one black and white image of an individual or family in traditional Mongolian setting and clothing paired with a color image of the same person or family shown in modern urban context. Very thought provoking, and I had a hard time being convinced in some cases that the same people were in both images, that is how dramatic the transformation reveals itself to be.

A Yin. Mongolia Transformed

Ethan Levitas, photographs from the series In Advance of a Broken Arm. A series of post 9/11 images taken in public settings such as subway stations, all cleverly shot with a police officer or security guard looming mysteriously behind a wall or obstruction. This series, along with it's ominous title was fascinating and disturbing at the same time.

Ethan Levitas. In Advance of a Broken Arm

Lisa M Robinson, the first exhibit of her new series Oceana at Klompching Gallery.  I was very interested to see this work because I love the series Snowbound (2008).  Oceana has the meditative qualities of Snowbound, with the additional wild chaotic nature of the sea captured in every image.

Lisa M. Robinson.  Oceana

And it was nice to see the work of Marta Gonzalez on the walls of the Pratt Graduate Show. Gonzalez is a fellow participant in ONWARD 11, and the image Torso (below left) is currently on exhibit at Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo, Japan with all of the other images chosen by juror Larry Fink for ONWARD 11 from Project Basho in Philadelphia.

Marta Gonzalez. Pratt Graduate Show

Last but certainly not least, Martine Fougeron, images from the series Tete-a-Tete, intimate portraits of the photographer's adolescent sons and their friends from the ages 13 to 18 in New York and France. As I mentioned above, Fougeron presented a lecture on this work and showed the premiere of a 30 minute film based on this work titled Teen Tribe.  I find the work beautiful, but I was disturbed by the film on multiple levels.

Martine Fougeron. Tete-a-Tete


Looking forward to attending the New York Photo Festival in Brooklyn tomorrow. My plan is to check out lectures given by Andy Adams of Flak Photo (Photo 2.0 at 1PM), and The Phenomena of Online Blogs & Magazines, moderated by James Estrin (4 PM), and throughout the rest of the day spend as much time as possible checking out the many exhibits in the area, with these being at the top of my list to see...

Indie Photo Book Library

100 Portraits

Hopes, Dreams & Hardtimes



Hollywood Video  (2010)

I drove by this building late last week and saw that demolition had just begun on it, and today it is completely gone. Nothing left but some rubble. I thought briefly about trying to shoot something while it was coming down, but I  decided not to. A few miles away from Hollywood Video is the abandoned Exxon station with the Edge graffiti on the service doors, and that too is being demolished as I write this. Definite signs of economic activity and change taking place. At least some of the abandoned ghosts are being removed. But it's still a bit sad to see these buildings go; if only for personal nostalgic reasons.

Edge  (2010)

Recent Acquisition

Lonely Boy Mag. (No. A-1)
Alec Soth's "Midwestern Exotica"
Little Brown Mushroom (2011)
Edition of 1000

Alec Soth's first venture into erotic publishing, issue number 1 of Lonely Boy is a men's magazine nicely fashioned in the format of vintage 70's style. Funky and different and worth collecting.

Available from...

Photo Eye

Little Brown Mushroom

Nothing Inside

Willow Grove, Pa.  (2011)

I've shot virtually nothing in the past month. I take my camera out with me every day, but nothing catches my eye. Several times on a day off I have thought... "I should go drive someplace and find something to photograph"... but no inspiration comes to me. I've learned to just let these periods of nothingness pass on their own accord. I see a similarity to baseball here. Hitters can go into long slumps. They get frustrated and try too hard to get hits. They swing at bad pitches, making things worse. The only way out of a slump is to relax. Get your head away from the game. Stay focused on the long term. (Insert cliche) You get the idea.

But I also know that sometimes change in routine is necessary. I think I am at the end of certain creative paths and in need of taking some new direction. Photography has seemed uninspiring to me lately. I get urges to begin working in other art forms... painting, sculpture, writing poetry or short stories. I'm not a painter, or a sculptor, or a writer. I'm a photographer. Just in a slump.

I need to finish out some previous projects. By that I mean finish the artist statements I have been putting off for way too long. I can't begin any new work without completing my existing projects. I have a book dummy in progress for Poetry of Nowhere that is now sitting languid because I can't find the words that go with the images. The only way the book will make any sense is with a decent essay (or two) and a concise artist's statement. And that is the source of the block. The slump. The dread before getting back into the batter's box. The constant nagging inside my head to write the statement. Getting great ideas and thoughts, only to have them slip away into amnesia hours later.

Cheyenne Glasgow

Tennis Court   by Cheyenne Glasgow

I'm a big fan of Cheyenne Glasgow's work. It's everyday family life documentation with a gorgeous style and sensuality to it. She shoots a mix of analog and digital equally well. Find her work on Flickr where she is known as Cowboy Montgomery, or on her web site... links below.

Cheyenne Glasgow's website

Cowboy Montgomery

Calls for Entry May 2011

Two upcoming photo competitions worth considering...

A Love Supreme

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.

All entries must be delivered or postmarked by Tuesday, May 10th, 2011.

Competition Details

The Photo Review

This year's Photo Review International Photography Competition will be juried by Robert Mann, Director of the Robert Mann Gallery, one of New York’s leading contemporary photography galleries. The Photo Review Competition enables thousands of people across the country to see the accepted work in our 2011 competition issue and on our website. Also, the prize-winning photographers will be chosen for an exhibition at the photography gallery of The University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

All entries must be received by May 31, 2011

Competition Details