Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

what remains: the life and work of sally mann

i guess my interest in sally mann has waned over the years. i've bypassed this documentary on the shelves at the rental store many many times. the other night i couldn't find any movies that i was interested in seeing, and somehow i found myself at home with three different art documentaries. what remains was among them and it was by far the best of the three films i rented (including the meandering eggleston in the real world). in this film, steven cantor was able to both shed new light on her pictures for me and also transcend the work by presenting a fascinating portrait of the creative process and an artist's life.

one of the my favorite moments of the film: sally mann learns that pace macgill has cancelled her upcoming exhibition of "what remains." she had been exceedingly excited about the show, and when she hears of the cancellation she spends the entire day sobbing. so here she is, this artist of international acclaim, essentially as famous as any photographer can hope to be, and upon learning that pace macgill has cancelled her show, she is totally paralyzed. we watch her second guess the body of work she has painstakingly built over the course of 4 years. the scene struck me as such a clear illustration of how universal the plague of self doubt is, and that doubt will wash over all of us in vicious waves over the course of our lives.

sally mann is helplessly articulate. just one quote of many that grabbed me, in this case in reference to her landscape series:

"there is magic in the landscape. the question is whether i can get at it."

(p.s. all i wanted to do when this movie was over was grab my camera and shoot something.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

kaffe med kaka/ 1

photo double

i was browsing google images today and saw the above image by imogen cunningham.

two thoughts occurred to me simultaneously:

1/ i had seen this picture before. i can't recall exactly how long ago it was that i first saw it. but i recognized it immediately and intensely. i know i spent a lot of time with imogen's images when i was in high school. and i remember using her work as the basis for a history assignment freshman year of college.

2/ not only did i recognize the image, but it reminded me of not just one, but several of my own photographs (example below). i can say with certainty that i was not looking at imogen's work when i took the below picture. i was studying in prague and looking at sudek and koudelka and reading kafka.

proof, yet again, that pictures will stew in my brain for untold periods of time before i draw upon them for one purpose or another.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

january (take 2): william eggleston's guide

i went to see the eggleston show at the whitney on sunday. it was packed. the show was pretty good. i really liked a lot of the images he took in the 80s actually. but i bought william eggleston's guide while i was there, so my new years resolution seems to be off to a good start.

i love how her hair obscures nearly her whole face, the way the sliver of light hits her hand, and the neatly folded money she's holding gently between her fingers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

a flying saucer landed in my kitchen last night

i finally bought a point and shoot. i got the panasonic lumix lmc dx3. i am in love.

ilia_ovechkin/ 1

Sunday, January 4, 2009

january: self portrait by lee friedlander

cover of self portrait by lee friedlander

ok. i don't generally make new year's resolutions because they always feel sort of arbitrary to me.

however, this year i thought of a particularly good one so i am making an exception. back in my school days, i would go to the library several times a week to sit in the quiet with the photo books. i also worked at a barnes and noble where i had books at my immediate disposal at all times (as well as a hefty discount). unfortunately i don't have convenient access to a great photo library anymore. i have settled instead for logging books in my amazon wish list. as a result, my list has grown exceptionally long while i have made no attempt whatsoever to add any of those books to my actual library.

so: every month this year i resolve to purchase at least one book from my list and post about it here.

for january, i have decided to start with a classic. i just ordered lee friedlander's self portrait book. i haven't looked at it in quite some time (and it will be a while before it comes in), but it's a charming yet smallish paperback full of quirky indirect self portraits.

i chose it as the first selection of the year for two reasons:

1/ i feel like this book is sort of a staple for me and i return to it frequently for inspiration.
2/ as it's a paperback it is relatively inexpensive, so i felt it would help me ease into this process with a little less trepidation.

i always think of friedlander as a photographer's photographer because of the complexity with which he balances elements that are uniquely, well, photographic. his compositions are so meticulously pieced together. i was studying the cover image of self portrait earlier and realized i had never noticed the row of crescent shaped lights (or what i think might be lights) at the very top of the image. they mimic the loops in the garland and the trophy. today i noticed it with the clearest understanding of how that detail affects the photo. what gets me is that every single picture of his is full of this kind of attention to detail.

recently i've been revisiting a lot of photographers who shoot very formally in black and white: friedlander, callahan, koudelka, morell, robert frank etc. i also discovered roger ballen a while back although i haven't seen a large amount of his work yet. i expect the first round of purchases to be in this vein. but i can't wait to see where the year takes me. i am however quite nervous that my bookcase will not support the additional weight of twelve coffee-table-sized books. i proceed with fingers crossed.

post script added january 28th, 2009:

i was entirely surprised to learn they republished this as a hardcover.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

three o'clock

three o'clock : the concept :

"we -- capucine bailly, kelly shimoda, neil harris, and paul fittipaldi -- each took a photo at or around 3:00 p.m. (local time wherever we were) every day in 2008."

my reactions (in no particular order):

1/ this project is amazing.

2/ each of these photographers is really talented so there are 4 amazing pictures for every day of 2008. that means 1460 pictures total.

3/ it's amazing when all four images are working together perfectly, but it also only takes one image to throw off the whole set.

4/ portraits seemed to throw off a set the most easily because my eye would inevitably get stuck on that single image. however most of the portraits included were quite wonderful, so...

5/ at first i was looking at each image just as a piece unto itself, but then i started mentally tracking each photographer's individual journey and i started to get to know each of their idiosyncrasies. this i found to be especially fun.

6/ i wish i had known about this as it was unfolding.

7/ i wish my friends and i had thought of this first.


i never realized this was both a surname and a noun

main entry: saw·yer
function: noun
date: 13th century

1 : a person who saws timber for a living
2 : an uprooted tree floating in a riverbed but held fast at one end
3 : a large longhorn beetle whose larvae bore tunnels in the wood of injured or recently felled trees producing an audible chewing sound