© Erik Lunsford
This has been the best year for Fall color that I can remember in a long time. A week ago, I drove through the curves of State Route 394 in Eastern Ohio, with my hands on the wheel and my jaw in my lap. Back in Milwaukee, I've been staring - up at trees, out my office window at sun shining through leaves, at yellow maples illuminated by streetlights, and at wet, slick color smeared on the road. And I've made no pictures to capture what I'm experiencing.
Slightly frustrated, I found these two winners by the St. Louis photographer Erik Lunsford, whose work and blog I find refreshing. When I worked at a newspaper, I never took time to make pictures like this.
© S. Billie Mandle
I love this photo by the photographer S. Billie Mandle. I met Billie at Review Santa Fe this summer, and we had a fun (and for me, enlightening!) conversation about teaching. Billie teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art, and was gracious in her advice about all things relating to students, performance and expectations. Here's Billie's artist statement about the series from which the photograph comes:
These photographs were made in confessionals, the small rooms found in Catholic churches where people confess their sins. Most major religions have theologies of repentance -- what makes the confessional unusual is that it acts as a physical manifestation of an abstract idea. It gives form and structure to the interiority of penance. The walls and kneelers embody the thoughts and prayers of the penitents, and the penitents in turn leave their mark on the confessional. I am interested in how the photographs, as physical objects, might speak to what is intangible and ineffable about these spaces.
Labels: i love this photo
Nancy Spero installation at the Cairo Biennial, 1998 © Marilu Knode
I can't take credit for the fact that Marilu started has a blog, but the fact that she's had to hear me talk about mine for so long ("blah, blah, blah," as we're fond of saying), certainly didn't hurt. But more to the point, the woman has things to say.
Questioning Contemporary Art is a smart and thoughtful site, and if you haven't visited it already, her latest entry is a great place to start, with her thoughts on the recently-departed artist Nancy Spero.
© (clockwise, from top left) Emily Shur, Liz Kuball, Aline Smithson, Timothy Briner, Mark Menjivar/Kate Bingaman-Burt
On the roller coaster fun ride that is freelance income, my rickety car has been rolling (slightly) downhill lately. So I was able to add to my collection of photographs with some recent, superb online purchases. From 20x200, I scooped up work by two California photographers I've admired for a while now: Emily Shur and Liz Kuball. From the new 52 Editions, a wonderful cafe image by Aline Smithson. Photographer Mark Menjivar teamed up with illustrator Kate Bingaman-Burt on a unique food journal, with all profits going to charity - which I purchased at Ampersand. Lastly, Timothy Briner had a fundraising pre-sale from his fabulous Boonville project, and I was able to score an 11x14 fiber print. I can't think of a better way to spend $212.00 - after all, the roller coaster will likely be heading up hill soon.
Labels: my so called collection
Saul Steinberg In Nose Mask, New York, 1966, left,
Paper Cup with Shadow, New York, 1975 © Irving Penn
On hearing of Irving Penn's death, I sat down with Passage, one of my favorite photo books. I was thinking I'd determine my favorite Irving Penn portrait, and post it here - a silly and impossible task, I soon realized. I think what I love about his work, both the portraiture and still life, is that there's such a straightforward and graphic approach to his image-making, and yet the content is always quite powerful. I often think it must be easier to make portraits of the famous and recognizable in our society, but Penn's pictures seem incredibly honest to me. From what I can tell, he approached Tom Wolfe and Pablo Picasso with the same care as he did a Parisian balloon seller or a Moroccan shepherdess. Or ginko leaves and found cigarettes, for that matter.
(partial map of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area)
Something I saw last week that I wished I'd been able to photograph: A closed-down Hardee's in Two Harbors, Minnesota.
Something I saw that would have made a wonderful stock photo: My friend Andy paddling his kayak, silhouetted in the sun and water.
Something that occurred, that no photo would have done justice to (ok, maybe video): A sustained wind for 20 hours, gusting to 50 mph, that kept us stuck on a rocky island for an extra day.
Something I experienced last week that I didn't need to photograph to appreciate: On the last morning of our 5-day trip, a short, solo canoe paddle in the early morning mist.