as seen: birmingham, alabama



i love this photo, #9

© noah addis

I love this photo by the photographer Noah Addis. Using an 8x10 camera, Addis photographs his subjects using only the light of computer and television screens. The exposures can last 2-3 minutes long, with the result being an interesting combination of contemporary light with traditional equipment. Aside from the color (which Noah doesn't alter), the picture is quite timeless, and makes one think about older photographic practices. There's also the slightly unsettling side to the idea of all this unnatural light illuminating a face, and it made me think of the terrific film Safe.


wish i were still there, #5

© kjm

Two years ago, Marilu and I spent a week in Istanbul. She looking at art and making studio visits with artists, and I spent my days wandering around the city. This picture was made at Suleymaniye, a grand mosque complex dating back to 1557. Pictures from that week ran in a story about Istanbul in CITY magazine.


i love this photo, #9

© kaylynn deveney

I love this photo by the photographer KayLynn Deveney. On a bit of a stressful morning, this photograph was a welcome smile.

I hadn't known of her work, but read a review of her new book, "The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings," this morning on 5B4. Her subject was a neighbor of KayLynn and her husband when they lived in Wales, and she shared photos with him during the process - asking him to share his thoughts in the form of captions for the photos. Also included in the book (which I've yet to see) are Albert's drawings, poems, and family photos.

As photographers, we're used to taking more than giving in our process of making pictures. In this case, though, the act of sharing - both ideas and visual space - seems effective and appropriate.


i love this photo, #8

© david butow

I love this photo by the photographer David Butow. The picture was made while David was working on a story about the 5th anniversary of 9/11 for U.S. News & World Report.

One of the unfortunate things about viewing photography on the internet is the inceasingly short time we give to visual images. Photographs on museum walls, and even on magazine pages for that matter, seem to allow for more time to breathe. I personally think it has to do with television, in that we're used to quickly scanning images that are illuminated on a screen - as opposed to traditional 2-D images on a wall or printed page.

But my point is, that this particular photograph is pretty hard to not examine closely - the amazing composition, and the body language, shadows, and graphic nature of the lines and color - talk about a picture with layers of information...


as seen: an undisturbed passing


I had a portrait assignment Thursday on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin. It's a beautiful part of the state, with lots of rolling hills near the Mississippi River and the Iowa border. While photographing the subject, an amazingly smart and interesting teenager, we came across this small bird in a 100 year-old barn. It was remarkable how undisturbed it's body and surrounding feathers were, and how quiet and beautfiul this little death scene was.


on listening and swimming


Marilu and I went to see the Canadian band Great Lake Swimmers last night at Modified Arts in Phoenix. They couldn't have been farther from a Great Lake, but it was a sweet show, with natural comparisons to the music of both Will Oldham and Neil Young. Recently, John Loomis and Melissa Lyttle both posted interesting questions about the link between music and photography. While watching the band, I was trying to conjure up an image that might represent the sounds I was hearing. The photo would have to be a bit sad, rural, and with a hidden, earnest story to tell. I'm not sure the photo above does the music justice, but I suppose there are bonus points for having been shot in Canada. Maybe if you can imagine a little wind on your face, that'll help.


five, going on fun


Today's my goddaughter Piper's 5th birthday. She may have been a bit bored during her first official portrait (above), but has grown into a smart and funny kid, with a wonderful, playful spirit. We make each other laugh. Happy birthday, kiddo!


wish i were (still) there, #4


Two years ago this month, I tagged along with Marilu to the Venice Biennale and Art Basel. It was my first time to experience the contemporary art world's version of a Star Trek convention. Actually, I've never experienced a Star Trek convention either, but I'm quite sure that the art crowd was better dressed, and the location was prettier. There was art everywhere, and in between trying to photograph around town for my own stock, I was able to take in giant batches of it. The snappy art lover, above, was found at Volta, the alternative show in Basel.


i love this photo, #7

© jason yi

I love this photo, particularly on Father's Day, by the artist Jason Yi. The picture is from a series called, "Truthful Fiction," in which he digitally composes scenes from an American family life never experienced. Jason teaches foundations at the Milwaukee Institute of Art + Design, and works in photography, video, and sculpture. Oh, and he's a great dad, himself.


a long run


If Target is your fun cousin, and Design Within Reach is your snobby brother-in-law, then Goldmann's, a department store on the south side of Milwaukee, is your aging, sweet, wacky Uncle Louie. Who always has a Starlite mint in his pocket.

The store announced recently that they'll close up shop, after 111 years in business. It's an institution in Milwaukee, and visiting Goldmann's is truly like stepping back in time. The photo above, for example, was just shot a few years ago, though it certainly could've been 1973. Stop by for a visit, before it's too late...


search engines gone bad

© harry callahan, left

Ever do a Google image search on Harry Callahan? Sadly, the movie cop (actually spelled Calahan) comes up in the no. 9 spot, guns a blazin'. This should certainly be some kind of art school drinking game...


travel notes: spain


Spain's tough terra for vegetarians, and even for the softer fish-killing variety like myself. Most things have at least some bits of ham in them. I spent my time dancing around meat dishes (aka the "Carne Hustle") - thank god for tortilla patatas.

The Spanish love their "polybagging" - and no, that's not a swinger's term. As a magazine junkie, it's fun to see fashion magazines wrapped in plastic pouches along with things like bikinis and purses, a GQ magazine with mini iPod speakers, and a version of Men's Health wrapped up with a bottle of water. You've got it easy, American letter carriers.

I spent an hour watching the Republican candidates debate - it probably would have been more palatable, had it been dubbed into Spanish. But I'm a firm believer in knowing thy enemy.

I made a pilgrimage to Cafe Commercial, my brother Kurt's favorite haunt during his time spent in Madrid. Over café con hielo (above), I watched two well-dressed women (sisters?), likely in their nineties, sipping tiny afternoon beers. The last time I was there, I saw the exact same thing. I think they just might be the same two ladies, as Café Commercial is certainly not a place that changes very quickly. I also think that if Americans spent more time relaxing in cafes, the whole world would be a better place.


vendettas, webcams, and icebergs missed

©jens sundheim

In Madrid, the annual PhotoEspana festival is going on, and there are photography shows everywhere. I didn't make it to the Andres Serrano retrospective (oh, well), or to see shows by Slyvia Plachy and Lynn Davis (argh!). But I did see a fantastic exhibit of Sebastiao Salgado's work. I was a bit deflated upon entering the gallery space, which was in the basement of an office building. But the work was powerful and moving, of course, and the space ended up being perfectly appropriate. In the tight quarters, you were forced to be close to the images, and close to those around you as well. Further, you were somewhat moved along with the crowd, which in context with some of the images of displaced people, seemed fitting.

I also was able to see terrific work on display by Americans Susana Raab, Matthew Yates, and Amy Stein, all of whom had their work reviewed as part of the festival. At the same group show, I loved the work of the German photographer Jens Sundheim. With the help of a partner, he captures images of himself posing in front of webcams.

Lastly, I loved an installation of photographs by Guillaume Herbaut, who exhibited a powerful group of text and images titled, Vendetta. In my opinion, a combination of words and photos is hard to pull off - here, they balanced well, both visually and in terms of content. The photos relate to a 15th century civil law that calls for avenge killing, and the people effected by it in Northern Albania. Disturbing subject, beautiful photographs.


sunday morning


I spent this morning photographing at El Rastro, the large Sunday flea market in Madrid. Antique flea markets have been a favorite subject, ever since my first one in Kentucky about 9 years ago. No matter where you are, there are always delightful similarities - this picture reminds me of a photo I made of clocks in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.


don't miss it, #1: dumbo arts center


Marilu has curated a show that opens tonight at the Dumbo Arts Center in Brooklyn. The two-person show will pair the Milwaukee artist Santiago Cucullu, who I photographed a few years ago (above), and the Phoenix artist Melinda Bergman. I'm sure it'll be amazing, like everything Marilu does, and I wish I could be there...


as seen: arte pública en madrid


I'm in Madrid for a few days, having finished up my assignment in La Rioja, the wine region in northern Spain. I'll be editing, deleting, and captioning 1500 images from the past week, catching up on sleep, and visiting the current photo exhibits that are part of the PhotoEspana festival. I'm not really able to post images from assignment work until they've been published, so you'll have to take my word for it: the wine was a lovely shade of red and the skies were mostly blue.

For now, just some pretty graffiti found today on the side of one of those Pod storage containers.


i love this photo, #6

©mike slack

I love this photo by the photographer Mike Slack. Mike lives in Los Angeles and has published two volumes of his work, "OK, OK, OK," and "Scorpio." I found his pictures from a link on Allison V. Smith's blog, and his website is a real joy to experience. Believe me, you'll get sucked in.

Polaroidness is easily lovable, but Mike to me is a Polaroidist's Polaroidist. His graphic imagery, the way he isolates elements, and his use of color - all add up to the perfect fit for the whole process. Not too many photographer's eyes embody the soul of the equipment they use, so I sure hope Mike has a fridge full of SX-70 film.

The website flashfilm.com interviewed Mike how he works.


as seen: sidewalk, nájera, spain


Working hard in La Rioja - making good pictures, drinking tasty vino - and missing Marilu.


as seen: somewhere over ohio


In defense of the window seat.


small things once large


I'm leaving today for Spain, so will be missing my mom's annual rummage sale.

It's pretty serious sport - certainly no 'Saturday afternoon baby toys on the lawn' event. This is Thursday and Friday only (the days of the serious rummagers), with an ad in the local paper ("you don't want to miss this one!"), and lots of things, from both our family and her friends.

The process begins each year when items start appearing from nowhere, for review and pricing. I'm called on to evaluate the value and origin of odds and ends - old mechanical parts ("what's this?"), posters from my college dorm, shirts that my brother wore 20 years ago. There's always some surprising finds, like my glow-in-the-dark superball a few years ago, and the Matchbox car shown above. It's a Mercury Cougar, and was my favorite - mostly for the fine features like a cushy suspension and doors that actually opened. And who doesn't love a red interior?

Good luck, mom - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for sunny skies...