Monday, March 28, 2005

Run-in with the Law

Light posting last week. I have contact prints from the day on the turnpike, and they look like they're going to be pretty good. Some editing and I'll get to a scanner this week.

Went to Long Island to shoot last night. Not a good idea. I'd forgotten the forecast was for rain and it was freezing. I'd planned to print yesterday, but stupidly, I didn't reserve lab time and thought I could just turn up. I'm guessing ICP must be gearing up for the student show, because as I sit here writing this now before class, the walls are almost totally stripped bare. So it'll probably be a bit hard to squeeze in for a while.

Anyway, I was shooting in the cold last night, not feeling so great about things. I'm staring at a house trying to figure out how I was going to try to shoot it, when a car pulls up in front of me. I'm kind of standing in the middle of the street, and I take a step back to get onto the sidewalk, and I'm kind of staring, when I realize there are three other cars around me, and two of them are marked police cars. The forth was a black Towncar with black tinted windows. You'd think the secret police would come up with something a little more subtle in this day and age, but I guess that's not the case.

Apparently they're received around a half dozen calls because I'd been photographing near the school. I was really nervous and I gave them my ID when they asked for it, something which I did fairly instinctively, although I feel a little bit like a wuss stooge for that today. I told them I was an artist and when they asked me what I was doing in Lynnbrook, I got uncomfortable in that self-conscious way I get when people ask me what my work is about. Really, it was completely absurd, trying to explain to three cops how I was interested in suburban alienation.

Absurd moment number 2: What kind of idiot do you have to be to imagine that someone shooting with a tripod and a Crown Graphic could be up to something sinister? You'd be hard pressed to find a more, ridiculous tool for someone up to any kind of illegal activity. Seriously, do these people not have cameras on their fucking phones? What kind of crook/rapist/terrorist is going to hang around a brightly lit street, middle of the night or no, with a huge camera and tripod and just sit there?

Anyway, thank god I'm not olive complective of any kind.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Seeing Art and Update

I didn't realize that in my last post that I'd forgotten to mention that the woman who I TA for at ICP on Monday nights, Marina Berio, has also been a big influence on helping me look at the blurry hand-held images in a different way. Not, directly, perhaps, but her art definitely looks in that direction.

Last weekend I saw a bunch of art and did a few art world things. First, I went to Chelsea on Saturday with the Sunday ICP class, where there wasn't much on offer, that I can think of, at least in terms of photography. I'm guessing this was mostly because of the Armory show, so what art there was up in Chelsea trended towards painting and higher end stuff. There was a fairly good if somewhat uneven Damien Hirst show at Gagosian (like that needs to be mentioned), and great Eric Fiscl paintings at Mary Boone. LFL had a great Jules De Balincourt show, and I found out my friend Cat works there, so we had a nice, if short, chat. But Chelsea was definitely all painting, which is also definitely how the art world seems to be trending.

Later that evening, I went to an excellent opening of a photo show at the Supreme Trading's Annex Gallery on 93 North 9th Street in Williamsburg. The Sunday ICP class teacher, Katie Murray is in it, and the show is incredibly strong, with good solid work and curated well. I went to a party at the Supreme Trading main gallery space a few weeks ago and I thought the art was much worse.

On Sunday I went to the Armory show, which was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I know it's cliche to say that the commercialism of the big art fairs is disgusting, but let me add my voice to that chorus. What I do find enjoyable is finding work by people I know, which is always a little thrill and definitely says they're doing well, but I feel like that's a little wearing on who you're seeing the show with and makes me look like a huge bore.

I'm entering a contest at the Soho Photo Gallery. I don't usually do this sort of thing, but it's sponsored by K and M, which might not be totally meaningful, and the juror is Richard Woodward, who used to edit Doubletake and I believe spoke at my photo 3 class in college, and who seems like a person who might like my pictures, but again, who knows. Anyway, I need to shoot some slides, which I'm terrible at.

I also submitted images to the White Columns Gallery, which I guess is some kind of artist's registry. That I was able to do digitally, so I put together a submission from materials mostly found on this site.

So, fingers crossed, and maybe I'll try to get my ass in slightly higher gear in terms of getting work out there.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Summer Driving

These pictures are from last spring and summer, taken with my 6x7, out of various car windows. Shooting with the 6x7 is very different than my large format, and I can also use the 400 speed film I used to shoot on. (Fuji NPH 400, by the way, which, I guess, is commonly held to be complete crap.) The advantage of the rangefinder is that obviously I can make a lot of pictures much more quickly and cheaply, and I can to a lot of things that aren't easy with the field camera, at the loss of picture detail. So these pictures are take from cars, which give them a bit of a blurry, impressionistic mood. I'm not completely into these pictures, but I'll be printing a few more of them while it's still cold out.

Yesterday, I went out with my friend Akilesh and shot along the New Jersey turnpike, at the factories and other highway things along the side of the road. We'll see how they turn out. New Jersey looks just about right, since for some reason the turnpike likes to put its industry right next to the road.

Oh, the reason I started picking these car window images out of the old 6x7 contact sheets are that recently I was given a copy of Raghubir Singh's A Way into India, which is a great book based on the Ambassador, the car that's sort of India's equivalent of the VW Beetle in Mexico or the Citroen in China, basically the cheapest and most easily repaired local car. Also, the recent Todd Hido book Roaming, was inspiring as well, with his use of dirty car windows to create an impressionistic picture that still does a great job of evoking that feeling of riding shotgun and staring out the window on a shitty midwest afternoon.

Newtown, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Newtown, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Long Island, 2004

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Another LA Print

Here's the other LA print from the last batch that I didn't have a chance to scan.

I have a few more pictures that didn't fit on the scanner here at work. They're a little more impressionistic, from some older negatives. I really need to get out and shoot some more.

Los Angeles, 2005