Sunday, June 6, 2010

MAGGIE STEBER - 20 years of work from Haiti

Great series from Haiti, shot in the 1980's and early 90's, and turned into a book by Aperture.

Walter Sear - A man of outstanding skill in his field.

Walter just recently passed. He's not a photographer, but a studio sound engineer, and he was a man of a dying perspective. I am posting this article because he shares a similar concern within his own medium, expressed quite well in a 6 part series he wrote in the 90's called, "What Have They Done to My Art?", scroll down a little ways and you will see links to each part in PDF.

Worth reading, they are not that long, they are very funny, and the insight they contain extends beyond the area of recording sound. Though, I'm sure many of us with passionate interests in the visual also have interest in the aural. I do, I'm a stereo nut. At least check out PT 3, and find out how Mr. Sear found himself hiding underneath his mixing console after a confrontation with Mickey Mouse!

Lens - NYTimes photo blog

Always worth checking for daily photographs from around the world, the NYTimes photo blog Lens. They also do good retrospective's of photographers who pass on through to the other side.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Peter Saeker and The Photograhic Babyl

I can't believe a beautiful photographer, and friend of Walker Evans, one might say his 'competition,' Peter Sekaer, whose life's work is held in a museum in atlanta is casually listed in the  New York Times' arts section under 'antiques.'

I am appalled at the state of photography, and collectors, and theorists, not to mention curators-That word is now thrown around to include idiots who aren't even photographers, who run some stupid blog, and consider themselves important, though they know nothing of photography, of its history, its roots, its importance-They know only what they 'like.'  Which is not what a curator is.

Julian Cox is a curator-and she has put together a touching retrospective of a real photographer-not some asshole that thinks using the tools of photography make his products photographs not to mention him a photographer.

What am I talking about?-look at this trash passing for photography at the CCNY (camera club NY) lecture series at the ICP in New York-mocking the integrity of Robert Capa.
A New Landscape: Scanner, Game, Charcoal, and the Nude-What they really mean is-absolute garbage with some overthought 'process' that ought to have included reason at any of its stages, not to mention suicide.  

The language of photography is expanding you may tell me-I may say to you-that it has become illiterate-nothing more than a visual tower of babyl.

Affectionately yours

NYTimes: Finding Other America in Slums and on Farms

If you have the money I would bet on picking up a few of these prints while you can.

From The New York Times:

ANTIQUES: Finding Other America in Slums and on Farms

Rediscovering the art of Peter Sekaer, a photographer who worked with Walker Evans.

Get The New York Times on your iPhone for free by visiting

Gabriel Thompson

Thursday, June 3, 2010

La Blogo theque-The Take Away Shows

Great idea and excellent execution-some real guerrilla shit well executed-check out my personal favorite here!

NYTimes: Peter Orlovsky, Poet and Ginsberg Muse, Dies at 76

Star Of The Great Robert Frank Film-Me and My Brother recently published by Stiedhl- see the book here

From The New York Times:
Peter Orlovsky, Poet and Ginsberg Muse, Dies at 76
Mr. Orlovsky inspired Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg, his longtime
partner, and was known for his own emotionally naked poetry.
Get The New York Times on your iPhone for free by visiting

Gabriel Thompson

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No gold star for effort.

Photograph literally in greek means 'light writing'. Therefore, a good photograph really ought to have two things, a) light, and b) form (helpful if some intentional arrangement is preconceived.) I see very little of either in the galleries or the darkroom that I print in. In fact, most work reminds me of advertisements I see in passing - busy, noisy, superficial, and just generally fake. The photographs seem to have no imminence and signify nothing, not even after careful looking can one give very often a benefit of the doubt and excuse it as an act of self mockery.

Yet, i'ts hanging there on the wall (well, if its one of the fewer and fewer photos that have the privilege of actually hanging on walls, in rooms,) taunting me to find something in it to justify its presence.

What seems to be occurring is a complete lack of criticism, anywhere. Friends shouldn't let other friends out of the darkroom (or, increasingly, allow them to click the OK button), without first having given some serious insight into the work. Is it boring? Say so. Is it liable to cause death upon viewing?! Say so. 

More people need to sack up and start evaluating work in a more critical way. And if you don't know how, then don't say anything at all. Your not helping. Ask them if they want to go have burgers or bubblegum or something, anything but lie and tell them there work is 'really awesome' or 'great' or whatever meaningless thing we say in lieu of meaning. And to those of us working to produce images, through whatever means, need to become brutal and absolutely cruel to ourselves. Better to end up with brilliant work buried under your bed, than scrawling your shit and your name all over the world; because it is about the work afterall, isn't it? That's what is supposed to be important. Everything else should be a secondary consideration.

Ultimately there is no line that one can merely cross in terms of hours worked in the darkroom, or miles walked out in the world, that finally distinguishes good work from bad work. Good work necessitates some reality of distinction in the person making it. It takes real life. So really, we ought to focus on becoming interesting people before we can hope to take interesting photographs.

My seventy five cents.

Airstream Cowboys Available in Limited Edition Hardcover

Marc Garanger and NYPH10

I attended this opening and discussion at NYPH last month-very interesting.

Documents and Modernists

Documents and Modernists

Photography is the easiest thing in the world if one is willing to accept pictures that are flaccid, limp, bland, banal, indiscriminately informative, and pointless. But if one insists in a photograph that is both complex and vigorous it is almost impossible. - John Szarkowski

Anyone concerned by the state of photography today?

Anyone concerned with feigning expressionless self-absorbed color shits on gallery walls?

Anyone tires of stephen shore copycats expressing their own meaninglessness and vacancy?

Anyone tired of digital 'photography,' if we can call it that?

Anyone interested in the return to the image?

Anyone making great work out there that is tired of heartless thinking art?

Anyone out there who has not tired of photography so far as to make it something else?

Anyone out there who still believes in the camera?

I, along with my younger brother Jared, whom I have worked with for years, are finally trying to say something about it.  To give something back instead of complain and drone about what is so essentially wrong about 'workflows' and 'capturing' and the taking the photographer out of the process and making him a tool of the camera.

And most of all the heart that seems to have become lost in photography today.  Altogether too much thinking is engaging the work of today.  Too much shock and repetition and shit passing for what?  For Art? For Photography? 

 No, there are no standards anymore, accessibility has given the hands of photography into too many unskilled and unfeeling people today.

We most welcome those that agree and disagree, as I believe a healthy debate can not take place amongst those that agree.