Recently I shared a new series of photographs called Occurrences. This is the newsprint edition. There are 1,000 copies of this.
It’s approx 11×14.” 56 pages.
Email if you would like one, $8 signed and shipped in the US.
They should also be available at Dashwood Books in NYC.
Occurrences is a new book of 44 photographs. It is 58pg in length, sized 11×8.5,” printed on an archival acid free matte paper, and bound in linen hardcover. This hardcover edition will be extremely limited at 6 signed and numbered books and one A/P. However, an edition of 6 isn’t many, so I may do a newsprint edition later.
This quick little video shows the A/P. There will be a few very minor changes made to the finals, but nothing major.
And a big thanks to, Aaron Binaco for the help editing this work.
Update: this edition is sold out.
Walker Evans is one of the cornerstones in the history of American photography, and while a few of his seminal images are in the popular canon, the heft of his oeuvre is, I believe, oft passed over for more accessible photographers like his contemporary H.C. Bresson. Yet, Evan’s work to me is nearly on a different plane – not above or below, more far to another side – unsentimental, demanding, lasting, and intensely intelligent. Indeed, Bresson wrote himself in a letter to a colleague in 2001, “[i]f it had not been for the challenge of the work of Walker Evans, I don’t think I would have remained a photographer.” Needless to say, if you haven’t, you should find a book on Evans. He did a lot. A lot. Or the Met has an immense Walker Evan’s archive online, and the MOMA also has a succinct collection of his work.
I’m mentioning Evans b/c recently I’ve begun to look at his still lives and interiors. They leave me enthralled and immersed and nearly stunned. No hyperbole. In these I see everything from Pop art to Roger Ballen. This isn’t exactly internet work, so to speak, not wow work I guess: it’s quieter than that, but still, do not underestimate it.
The William Kentridge exhibit at the MOMA (see this!), notably the stop motion movies,
video: excerpt from Stereoscope (no sound), ©William Kentridge
Valerie Belin’s work, incredible black and white prints,
David Godblatt’s work, notably this portrait,
and also Blossfeldt’s uncanny resemblance to Dash Snow…
Finally, Nicholas Nixon‘s new book, Live, Love, Look, Last, which shows a 4 decade dedicated vision and Nixon’s adherence to something akin to a poetic form, showing how the singular becomes expansive, and furthermore how in the specific resides the universal,
And then this is a portrait of Lucia by her husband and photographer, László Moholy-Nagy. Both of these pictures are really something else.
At nearly the same time as the Moholys, the painter Balthus was in Paris reaching a stride that would define his work as controversial, erotic, and, I think, brilliant. It’s great to read his biography revolving around his early years in Paris and the circles he ran in, including, Giacometti, Many Ray, Camus, Miró, Picasso, Lacan. The heavy hitters of culture, those that shaped our modern and even our post-modern sensibilities. Which brings me to a discussion I was having last night w/ a friend in regards to movements in the arts and culture, those little sparks that ignite and burn and sometimes manage to change everything thereafter. Namely we talked about how they’ve always been geographically based and how the internet has changed that old need to actually be somewhere and in a physically community to participate (Post-war Paris, NYC in the 50s and 80s, as two modern Western examples). Does physical dissipation lead to cultural dissipation? I think so. Does that kind of ruin, or at least make much more difficult, the chances for those paradigm shifts of culture, the arts, and how people think? Maybe. Sure, it’s an over simplified view, b/c I really don’t know what I’m talking about, but I figure it’s something to roll around in your head while we have this discussion. (Over our computers…oh, the irony).
Anyway, there’s an excellent portrait of Balthus by Irving Penn, w/ Balthus in a chair wearing a robe and a belt made of simple rope, with that infinite air of human-ess reaching into eternity that Penn instilled in so many of his sitters. I’d seen it in one of Penn’s books, and thought it’d go nicely here, but can’t find it online anywhere, so I guess for now the internet does have it’s limits.
Painter’s and photographer’s makes me think of George Bernard Shaw’s quote that if Velazquez was alive today he’d be a photographer. I mean, could you imagine! Conde Naste contract. B/c the guy sorta was doing what Leibovitz does, except he did it over 300 years ago w/ a paint brush
Shaw, now there is a mind! The guy must have been a photographers dream: self aware, smart, and, the icing, the cliche look of a wise man. I mean, he was someone who believed death was only real b/c it was an idea put in our head, an idea that one really didn’t have to abide by. Faaarrrrr out. I guess he took the Nietzschian ubermensch literally. If you want to get to know him, his plays Major Barbara and Man and Superman would be the two I’d suggest as seminal.
The threads holding this post together were thin to begin with, and they’ve completely disintegrated by this point. So I’ll spare you any more of what was on my mind and will instead bid you adieu.
The work of Agnes Martin and Cy Twombly had, or rather, more surprisingly, stole my full attention this evening. Both took my mind to another place. If you haven’t, I’d suggest looking for their work.
It was the painter, Alex Steckly who I who had a nerd-out over art today, that brought them both to the conversation. He currently has a solo show up at Fourteen30 in Portland OR, showing some really impressive new sculptures.
On a side note, on a long weekend out of the city for the holiday, hiding out and working on some new web stuff with Benjamin Diggles that I’m really looking forward to sharing here. Hopefully soon.
And really exciting, reading Roberto Bolaño’s book 2666, which is really really worth picking up and going head first into. Goddamn good Lit.
This picture of Minor White’s is the best argument towards the existence of G_d that I’ve ever come across:
It is a photograph that poses ineffable questions while at the same time offering inherent answers. One risks vanishing into it.
Il Conformista, by Bernardo Bertolucci, is one of the most amazingly shot films I’ve ever seen.
I see in it everything from Lynch’s central oeuvre to Missoni’s FW09 campaign.
photo: still from Il Conformista
photo: still from David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
photo: still from Il Conformista
photo: still from David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
photo: still from Il Conformista
photo: Missoni FW 09 campaign, ©Steven Meisel.
I did a quick yet idea provoking walk through the MET’s exhibition “model as muse” yesterday. The exhibition’s been getting a lot of press, rightfully, as it’s both excellently curated and art directed. Two things struck me while walking through the show. First, how incredible Dior has been in the history of fashion (duh), and how it remains to be under Galliano. The recent Dior Couture they had on display was incredible. It’s the sort of stuff that makes me want to photograph clothing. Second, I was amazed at both how many people were at the exhibit and how interested they were in it. Which seems like a silly thing to say, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many people so interested in any exhibit I’ve been to. It was a reminder of how fashion and this aspect of our culture really is mass, and while it feels like it can become isolated to the little bubbles of NYC, Paris, London, etc, it’s so much larger than that. Maybe Penn summed it best in stating, to paraphrase, I take photographs for the housewife in the mid-west.
The museum also posted it’s curator talks in 9 parts, which are a nice history of models and fashion’s social/cultural functions in general:
1 of 9:
2 0f 9:
3 of 9:
4 of 9:
5 of 9:
6 of 9:
7 of 9:
8 of 9:
9 of 9:
I think Roger Ballen‘s new book, Boarding House, takes the previous themes he’s explored and winds them into the most coherent vision of his work yet. It’s dark stuff. It’s scary stuff. It digs deep, surfacing forgotten recesses of the psyche, troubled archetypes your mind does it’s best to loose in the furthest and deepest mine shafts of your soul. But it’s also brilliant stuff, some of the most real and touching work I’ve seen in a while, all at once sublimely terrifying and terrifyingly sublime.
photo: “Fragments, 2005″ ©Roger Ballen.
photo: “Cornered, 2004″ ©Roger Ballen.
photo: “Boarder, 2005″ ©Roger Ballen.
More a regurgitation of a conversation, but after all, it’s a blog: so: while having lunch in Tompkins Sq. yesterday with photo-friend, Aaron Binaco he gave me some, how should I put it, neat shit. My first sun-drunk-enthusiasm was for that by now well known moment when Avedon went to take Freidlander‘s portrait at his home, and how Freidlander, being a really real photographer (see note), also took Avedon’s portrait. I said I could find the Avedon picture, but have yet to be able to find the Friedlander. Well, Aaron found it and sent it to me. I imagine a sort of stand-off of great personalities, great wills face to face, and even if they were cordial and kind on some level it must have been profound-intense. Either as a matter of attrition of neither ever giving in, or maybe rather of two old masters being able to wink and nod, knowingly.
photo: from Aperture #188, Lee Friedlander by Richard Avedon (left) and Richard Avedon by Lee Friedlander (right)
Both Aaron and I grew up racing bicycles, so then he started on about this Scottish trials rider, saying, “he’d ride up that tree over there and just chill out,” while pointing at this giant bloody elm that a cat could maybe climb. I called, hyperbole!, but then he emailed me this link and jesusmurphy…if you’ve ever ridden a bike you should be able to appreciate this video:
And, yes, I am in fact posting on extreme sports youtube video…sigh, probably a slippery slope, so I’ll post this to balance it out:
photo: Corvette I saw in soho which I voted best possible prop of the day and sent it to a fashion editor with a synopsis of a story involving Death Valley, Bottega heels, and a Camio by Dennis Hopper (as eminence grise, naturally). Fashion editor responded, I weep.
Note: “real photograher”: I was shooting on 5th ave by Tiffany’s on Saturday morning, and I saw this old timer shooting people fast with an old Nikon. I guessed maybe he was part of the old-Magnum-guard. I said, hello, asked his name, he said, Bill Cunningham, didn’t ring a bell. I asked him if shot there much, if he’d seen Bruce Gilden out, he’s always shooting on this corner. He said, I have seen him in the afternoon; how is Bruce? I said, I’ve no idea, I just see him, can’t catch him. He said, now that’s a real photographer. I liked that. Since there was truth in it. We chatted a bit more, then he took off after this super chic blonde to photograph. I thought, huh, mildly-licentious, but, yeah! It wasn’t until I mentioned it later in the day in passing that someone explained to me who Bill is. Love it. Before he ran of he waved and said, keep snapping kid. I offer the same good-bye, keep snapping, Bill!
I know I’ve been mentioning films a lot here, but movies are very influential to my work, as I think they can be for many photographers. So bear with me…but, I watched Andrei Tarkovsky’s, Stalker last night and my jaw was like hanging to my lap for the entire 2hrs. Geeked! Remarkable…no, a brilliant film. I’d never seen any of Tarkovsky’s work and had no idea what to expect, so it totally side-swiped me. Yeah, it’s sorta an old-arty film, so it takes some gear shifting, but it’s not French New Wave, so don’t drug yourself just yet.
photo: still from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film, Stalker.
Now I need to see Tarkovsky’s, Mirror and Solyaris.
photo: still from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film, Mirror.
Still, I appreciate that it’s not for everyone. Talking movies while on set today I lit up and got really excited about having seen Stalker and I could tell pretty quickly nobody cared to hear me wax on about it, let alone log into netflix for it…
…so if it’s not your bag, here’s a link to some crackin-beats: Pete Tong Essential Mix. (FYI, download button is towards bottom of the song list.) Thanks Mr. Diggles for that link; he’s my defenitive line to all things techno and all things Hi-Tech.
Saw this gorgeous Lanvin look in the windows of Bergdorf’s the other day and immediatly sent it to a stylist on messanger:
“Me: LOOOOVE this Lanvin look!
Her: Love it and love each and all things Lanvin.
(BTW, feel like you’re a photographer that gets the photos but is dumb on the clothes, well the Bergdorf windows are about the best crash course in fashion you’re going to find.)
There is a lot of art I love, most of what is considered good I can manage to find some bit of sanctuary in, or come to some sort of terms with, but on the other hand, when I consider owning art, or decorating with it (a completely hypothetical consideration, as I neither own nor decorate with it in any manner as of yet) there’s really remarkably little I’d be genuinely interested in. (Of course this is aside from photography). So it is surprising even to myself to admit that I could enthusiastically imagine a Jeff Koons‘ “Balloon Dog” in my foyer…or front yard. (A glorious (and gloriously priced) middle finger to nearly any neighborhood association).
photo: Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog” on the roof the the MET, ©Lloyd Ziff (in NYMag, here)
I can’t help but marvel at most of his larger installations. They’re beautiful in their grotesqueness. Adorably troubling. Like a child’s dream after going to Coney Island then watching Gilliam’s, Brazil.
photo: still from Terry Gilliam’s film, Brazil.
What’s attractive about that, about some subaltern-figment-of-the-psyche getting it’s say in huge colorful steel? Well I’m not sure exactly. Except to say that there’s a lightheartedness to it, a punctuated absurdity, a “b/c I can,” and there’s sometimes not enough of that in life that isn’t fabricated/fed to us, that is honest like art is.
I’m bringing this all up b/c Koons is speaking at Strand bookstore downtown on April 13. Details, here. If you live in NYC, and can sweat the crowd, I’d check it out. (Although, last time I was there Eliot Erwitt was signing books and, maybe, 15 people showed up, which sorta depressed me (is this what it comes to?) but that’s another story.)
Damn, I’m leaving again. Stepped in NYC for a week, shot like one roll on the street, discussed a fashion story with a stylists that we were going to get going, then got called out West for another commercial job.
Will be out for about two weeks. Telling you this is getting old, right…
Now, complaining about any money job these days would be wrong, so I bite my tongue about having to vanish again, and I just keep pics like these open on my desktop, small, in the corner, to keep things legit, to keep sanity legit.
photo: Untitled, 1971, ©Kohei Yoshiyuki.
(Meisel did a play on Yoshiyuki’s park photos for Vogue Italia. Supposedly it was too much, (see it, here). And while I prefer the original, as is most often the case, still a fine fash ed.)
photo: Nude, Seaford, East Sussex Coast, 1957, ©Bill Brandt.
(As far as I can remember, I’ve yet to see a fashion take on Brandt’s work. Ripe to be done though. Ripe. Inez, maybe?)
photo: Brooklyn School Children See Gambler Murdered in Street , 1941, ©Weegee.
All of those are from the Moma collection btw.
Enjoy. Will keep you posted.
Got to shoot in St. Barts for 5 day, a friend’s wedding. Amazing time.
Also read Beckett and chain smoked on the beach. No, not Camus, but still…
Then to London for some of their fashion week parties, meetings with mags. Tried to spend time on the street shooting, but the streets of that city: stoic (read, snore), so I began to wonder if there ever was a seminal London street photographer? Other than the bit of work Robert Frank did (in Wales?), but I couldn’t think of anyone…? Anyone?
photo: from the book Robert Frank: London/Wales, © Robert Frank.
Then home, I hit Penn station out of Newark on Monday eve rush hour and the train station was like firecrackers going off everyplace, felt remarkable to be back in the crazy. Never satiated with that, never ever. Gluttonous for the madness.
IN THE STATION METRO
By Ezra Pound
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
(That’s a well known imagest poem that was part of a one of the more short lived art movements dubbed, Vorticism, which also had it proponents in photography. The photography bit. though ambitious in theory, was to not such great effect I think. The best part was what it was called, Vortography, which would not be, I imagine, an easy moniker to live up to…yeah, in retrospect, the name may have been the origin of the movements failing.
photo: Vortograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn
Update, I just confirmed a job on the W. Coast for next week, fly out today, so I’ll be gone again for a week…maybe two. The blog goes neglected again. Golly.
I guess in the meantime, cruise to the newsstands and take a look at Katie Grand’s (formerly the force behind POP) new mag, LOVE. Maybe not amazing yet, but most certainly promising.
photo: cover of first issue of LOVE magazine, Beth Ditto, photo by Mert and Marcus.
That or – going back to Beckett – read his trilogy if you haven’t. I’d tried twice and never made it much further than Molloy, but I guess I’ve come to a place where I can read it and be absorbed by it, absorbed. Someone said once, I forget who, that you really can’t read/enjoy/understand the greats until you yourself have lived for awhile, lived the things that the books are about. Not that I’m old and wise, gawdnoiamnot, but suddenly the long long winded Russians seem exciting and Molly Bloom’s soliloquy at the close of Ulysses seems, uhhh, doable. I do hope by my 40s I’ll be able to get to Finnegan’s Wake, and even develop the patience for poetry.
[...]you must go on, I can’t go on, you must go on, I’ll go on, you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange pain, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it’s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have caried me to the threshold of my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.
-from The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
That takes me to a different world. Yes it does.