Remember when your bike was like your horse? Total freedom - no helmets and no hands back then. This year, my horse of choice has been a recently purchased 1981 Honda Passport scooter (read: really lame version of a midlife crisis). The beauty on the right (above) is for sale, by the way, if you happen to be near Suttons Bay, Michigan. $8200, with new tires...
During the one-day family reunion stop in NYC recently, I was able to see a great installation at MoMA by the artist Dan Perjovschi. Marilu and I had seen his work at the Istanbul Biennial in 2005. That work was shown in a raw, unfinished industrial space, and the drawings had a very underground, visceral presence. But at MoMA, Perjovschi's drawings (up until August 27th) run from floor to ceiling (a four-story high wall) in the museum's atrium space. It happened to be a free afternoon at MoMA, so there was a big crowd there. The work is meaningful, direct, and uniquely accessible. From the upper floor overlook, I watched as a mass of people stood still, looking up, smiling, nodding, pointing, and laughing.
Labels: don't miss it
Marilu left for Brussels today. We were there together a few years ago - for just one day - but had a fantastic meal of moules y frites at an outdoor cafe and heard a classical concert in the old town square. The photo above shows our booty from a Sunday flea market there - her, a snappy, jewel-shaped bakelite ring; me, a postcard for my collection. Until she returns, I'll be humming the Luna tune, 23 minutes in Brussels.
Here's the beginning of occasional entries which will feature tiny little vignettes of my hometown, Milwaukee. In the last few years, change seems to be happening quite rapidly here, with lots of new restaurants and boutiques, condos everywhere downtown, and of course, a snazzyish new museum. But in general, the good and bad things change rather slowly here.
In one way, at least, I appreciate that slowness. In today's HomeDepotStarbucksChilisEinsteinsPaneraTargetBestBuy landscape, Milwaukee still has plenty of dusty charm, and little bits of character are not hard to find. So stay tuned. Today's first installment: The rooftop of a closed-down tire shop on West North Avenue.
I have a backyard that I haven't stepped foot into all summer. Well, it's not really a backyard, by American standards. For one thing, it's in back of a warehouse building. And there's no lawn - just overgrown grasses and weeds, a few geriatric flowers, and a pop-up camper from 1970. The camper, which really has some cool potential, was bought two years ago, with hopes for a rehab job. It had some use initially (nice place to sleep + wifi-ready cabana/office), but not much since. I suppose I should be happy that I've been working too much to get at it.
Anyway, here are two good reasons (neighbors may disagree) to maintain such a crazy backyard. 1) It's natural greenspace (better known as the Al Gore Argument). And 2) The weeds are so tall that this (above) is the lovely view out my back window at dusk (the It Makes A Nice Picture Argument).
N. Lake Street Location @kjm
I made a new picture for my Fast Food series today, after an assignment in Madison, Wisconsin. Thanks to photographer Jeff Miller, who alerted me to the closed-down McDonald's (hint: all tips welcome!). I've now shot lots of these places, but this was a bit different in several ways.
1) I actually encountered people working on renovating the place - usually the restaurants are abandoned and pretty desolate. The workers scratched their heads a bit when I told them about my project, but they had no problem with me taking pictures. 2) The restaurant space was becoming - get this - a post office. There's a joke there somewhere, but I can't think of one right now. And 3) Because of the renovation, I'm sure I missed lots of good shots. But it was still kind of exciting in that I just had the front windows and doors to photograph. Had I been there a few days later, I may have missed it all.
Donkey Grazing, Road to Miranda 1995 © Mark Klett
Perhaps my only bright spot in the darkness of the last presidential election was this lovely picture by the photographer Mark Klett. It was won at a small auction/fundraiser for the Arizona Democratic Party held at Segura Publishing. If we only knew at the time, how ironic that lonely donkey would be...
Mark's a photographer who's work I really respect, and he's had a wide influence on lots of young photographers through his teaching and projects at Arizona State University. His Third View project is really engaging and important work.
Labels: my so called collection
I just returned from a wonderful family reunion in New Jersey - a gathering of uncles, aunties, grandparents, cousins, spouses, second cousins (or is that cousins once removed?) - with lots of food, kids running around, adults drinking wine, old stories being told, and lots and lots of laughing.
We spent some time at my Uncle Tom and Auntie Jan's house (above), which, like my own childhood home, is largely the way I remember it as a kid. I love that my young nephews can experience (and later remember) these places in largely the same way that their parents and I did.
In our quickly changing visual landscape, that seems precious to me.
Highway 85 Location ©kjm
I'm working on applying for a project grant to help fund a new body of work (more on that to come). Whether or not it's successful, it's been a good way to organize my thoughts and the photographs from other ongoing projects, mainly the Fast Food and Early Places series. Here's another image from the Fast Food series, one of four pictures which will be in the American Photography book this November.
While scanning some old slides today for an upcoming family reunion, I came across this wonderful picture of my mom, dad, and sister Cheryl. It's likely taken on a Minnesota lake, and I love the obvious things: how happy my folks look; my mom's hipster shades, and how her jeans are rolled up; the fact that my dad, who I never saw with a cigarette, is dangling one from his mouth like Keith Richards.
Finding this photo really made my day. At some point, you assume that you've seen all the old family photos, so a new discovery is an exciting thing. It's for this reason that I take rather seriously the act of photographing my friends' kids and families. A simple family photo I take may some day bring a child or grandchild the same happy surprise I felt today.
Labels: personal work
There's a chapter titled, Temperature, in the bestselling "Marilu and Kevin's Guide to Long Distance Relationships" (keep you finger's crossed - we're up for a Man Booker!). It's a short chapter - in fact, it's really just this sentence: "In the summer, Marilu shall travel north, and in the winter, Kevin shall travel south." (Accompanying colorplate, above: Marilu's pool, left, and Kevin's studio window, right.)
The forecast calls for a high of 115 in Phoenix today, so it's a good thing that Marilu will be here twice in the next month. Dry heat, Schry heat, I say.
Labels: personal work
When I bought this small, framed illustration (a book plate, I assume) of three bird eggs, I knew nothing about bird egg prints. I still know nothing about bird egg prints, but I love the picture's blend of sweetness and science. If it were a person, it'd be the skinny, cool, and a bit nerdy indie drummer who works at the public library. And the large egg belongs to a bird called the Ruffed Bustard, which coincidently would be a great band name for said library employee.
I digress, but this was a cheap flea market find, and when I went to visit my brother Kurt, shortly afterward in Ohio, I discovered he had a nearly identical print on his wall.
Labels: my so called collection