sweet home

© kjm

I had a great architecture day in Chicago today.

First off, from a conference room before a portrait shoot, I had a sweeping view of downtown and Lake Michigan. Due to a few unfortunately placed construction cranes, I was left to snap the picture above, looking down on a neighboring building. After the shoot I saw the Building Pictures show at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. My favorite work was by Dionisio González, who makes smart use of digital tools to combine photographs of Brazilian shanty town buildings with sleek, modern architecture. And lastly, I stopped by Prairie Avenue Bookshop, which I'd passed before, but never had a chance to visit. It's an architectural bookstore, with an amazingly large selection. I just brushed the surface, but found some texts relevant to my Camp Home series.



© kjm

Today, the blog is one year old.

To celebrate, a few numbers:
12, 571 Total number of visits to the blog
4,970 Individual visitors
1:58 Average time per visit
81 Number of countries that readers have visited from
8,370 Distance to my farthest-flung reader (hello, Lower Hutt, New Zealand!).


glad, not bad

© kjm

A had a nice, brief visit with my nephew Kale while in Minneapolis for an assignment. Having just visited South Dakota (a few weeks before this uncle), Kale came home, and with the help of his artist mom, recreated the Badlands on his bedroom walls. Only in Kale's 5-year-old, upbeat head, the name didn't seem to match such a beautiful landscape.

So he's taken to calling it the Gladlands. South Dakota Tourism Board: Your thoughts?


free flak

(thumbnail details from the Flak Photo gallery)

Andy Adams at Flak Photo has given me a nice, gratis promotion for the booklet. If for some reason you haven't yet seen Flak Photo, it's a great site, with lots of content, a focused vision, and a beautiful design. Be sure to add it to your Reader list, as Andy posts a new main photo per day (and check out the submission guidelines while you're at it). Thanks, Andy!


earth day

hawaiian rainforest
© kjm

I try my best, but my air travel makes me Mr. Evil Carbon Footprint.


as seen: lone

tree near wall, south dakota © kjm


don't miss it: promised land

Left:"...planting seeds of God's love."
"...Praise God for Paintball." © mel trittin

Tonight the MARN Mentors show opens at Hotcakes, and I'll be showing some new work from the Fast Food series. And I'm thrilled to say that Mel Trittin (my mentee in the program and my mentor on all things blog) will be showing work from her project Promised Land, a fantastic set of photographs taken at a Christian paintball park.


running, not walking

© kjm

Last week I photographed a brilliant embryonic stem cell pioneer one day, and a neuroanatomist holding a real human brain a few days later. Today I photographed at the site of 25,000 year-old mammoth remains in South Dakota. Next week I'm shooting travel stories in Scottsdale and Chicago and starting a series of portraits on a Native American reservation in northern Wisconsin. Whew.

I love my job.


four times fast

Kingshighway Blvd., S. Grand Ave., and Jefferson Ave. Locations
© kjm

After shooting an assignment in Indiana, I made a side trip for an incredibly productive pit stop in St. Louis. I was able to shoot 4 abandoned restaurants (tally: 2 Burger Kings, 1 Wendy's and 1 McDonalds), all frighteningly close to each other.



Michigan cherry pie © kjm

Driving through southern Indiana yesterday, I was listening to the Patty Griffin song Making Pies, and thought of my friend Lali. I've known Lali since my Cincinnati days, and her wedding to her husband Doug was in a beautiful, rural southern Indiana setting. The ceremony was special and uniquely their own, but one thing sticks in my memory. Rather than a wedding cake, there was this enormous table of homemade pies. So many so, that someone had constructed a tiered structure to lay them all out on the table. 

So the scenery and the song reminded me of an old friend - one I haven't been in touch with for quite a while.  Time to pick up the phone.


within reach: routine

Ring on the bathroom sink © kjm


as seen: a museum

© kjm

When I was a kid, Liberace, a Milwaukee native, attempted to buy an old mansion not far from my house, in order to open a museum. The neighbors protested, I think, for fear of big buses and big hair - or possibly there was a law on the town's books outlawing the public display sequined hotpants. Anyway, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin lost out to Las Vegas, Nevada.

We visited the museum recently (Marilu scored with a really good floaty pen - ringed hands moving across keys), and it was well done - with his collections of pianos, cars and, of course, stage outfits. The strip mall location, though, was a bit less than grand. One outside wall of the museum is designed to look like a gigantic page of sheet music for the Beer Barrel Polka.

Which proves, you can take the boy out of Milwaukee, but you can't take the Milwaukee out of the boy. Even if that boy is Liberace.


i love this photo, #19

© kevin german

I love this photo by the photographer Kevin German. German is a young photographer who recently left a newspaper job in California to freelance in Vietnam.

Describing the photo, German says, "I was in my last year of college doing an assignment for the Spokesman-Review about an organic chicken egg farm in Deary, Idaho. I got such a good vibe from the family that I drove the 5 hours back to their farm the next morning to shoot some more photos for myself. I brought only black and white film. This photograph is special to me because it was the first time that I ever shot a photograph solely for myself. I took my time and watched as Olivia chased her favorite chicken, Steve, around the farm. A strange gust of wind blew up and brought the frame together. The funny thing is that I didn't see this frame right away during the editing. I was drawn towards a different frame and couldn't let it go for some time. After a month or two, I came back to the neg sheet and clearly saw this photograph."

I think the story of this single picture says a lot about the photographer. From reading his blog, it's clear that German is passionate and deeply introspective about his photography.  That, along with hard work, enables him to create beautiful things. Lots more to come, I suspect, from farther East.



© kjm

Since I do some work for news publications, I'll refrain from any grand political opinions here. I did, however, witness this little transformation on the back of a '98 Honda today, quite near the house.



Jones Blvd. Location, #1 © kjm

Taking up the challenge to find me a restaurant for the Fast Food series, my friend Don emailed me about this McDonald's in Las Vegas. Marilu and I jumped at the chance and made a spontaneous trip north to visit he and Mindy. Don had already ordered a booklet and print, but I'll be sending something photo-related his way. The system works! Anyone else?


point, shoot, publish

Last fall, I posted about leaving my Canons behind on a backpacking trip to the Cascades in Oregon. I did, however, admit to making a few pictures of my friend Steve (who was also sans pro gear) with his point and shoot. The photo above was one of four snaps, and appeared in this past Sunday's NY Times travel section. I love Steve's quotes - they capture him, and the moment, perfectly.


as seen: wildless

© kjm

Two recent sightings: Convenience store near Clint's Well, Arizona, left; Mexican circus truck, Las Vegas, Nevada, right.