Had the pleasure of editing together a video of personal work for the photo collective MJR. As they describe:
“…We also forget that in the act of trying to justify the click of the shutter, much of what we do takes on real significance in hindsight. We do not yet know the purpose and long-term consequence of what we do with our camera and if each frame and movement is classified by “project”, by “client”, by “assignment”, the possibilities that begin now and end far into the future of our collective visual history will no longer have the same authenticity or gravity that it might have had if we had just allowed ourselves to be more free with our vision. We place too much stock in our prescience and our ability to judge what may be important for photography in a world that we will no longer be a part of generations from now…”
This entry was written by Americans, Cinema, Commissioned, Industry, Multimedia, Personal and tagged Editor, MJR, Personal, Photo Collective, Video. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Getting ready to start a new project for Leica.
This entry was written by Americans, Cinema, Commissioned, Industry, Leica Project, Street and tagged Chinatown, Cinema, Leica M9, Rain, woman. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
A video on Naoya Hatakeyama I helped produce for Wired a few months back:
Limestone Blasts and Tokyo’s Underground.
This entry was written by Commissioned, Industry, Landscape, Multimedia and tagged Japan, Landscape, Naoya Hatakeyama, Video, WIRED. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Recently did an interview with Valeria from Love and Dishwasher Tablets who managed to get me to open up about some photos. Take a peek at their site, plenty of great material including an interview with Efe Cakarel of MUBI and a write up on Allison Schulnik, whom I adore.
This entry was written by Industry, Personal, Writing and tagged Interview, Love and Dishwasher Tablets. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
This entry was written by Cinema, Industry, Leica Project, Street and tagged Fetish, Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco, Sex, Street. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
This post is the 5th in a series for the Leica Blog:
In late May I drove from San Francisco to Charlottesville to attend the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. LOOK3, which is the festival that offered an award that began my relationship with Leica, is probably the most intimate and intense photo festival in America (For example, this year they coordinated the rare event of Sally Mann interviewing Nan Goldin on stage). Prior to the festival, Leica placed me in a five-day workshop with Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson, who has been a long time inspiration to most younger photographers I know, including myself. My time with Chris and the rest of the class turned out to be a wonderful, inspiring experience. I absorbed every idea, detail and feeling I could during the workshop. By the time I left I was mentally and physically exhausted, but creatively rejuvenated. I’m still letting the advice and insights I gathered during the workshop and festival settle where they need, but in short, my time with Chris and all the other talented and inspiring people at the festival restored some of my excitement and faith in the power of photography.
Unexpectedly, on my way to LOOK3, I was asked by Leica if I would be interested in going to Paris to attend the Antoine D’Agata Magnum workshop, Leica M9-P announcement party and Magnum partnership announcement and other Magnum festivities. I thought the email was either a mistake or sent to the wrong person. Lucky for me it wasn’t. I spent eight days in Paris and needless to say, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of photographers that inspired me and helped me rearrange some ideas. And again, my time with Antoine D’Agata, although brief, gave me even more insight on the medium and my place in it.
After the past month I feel really refreshed and inspired about the power of photography and my future with it. Which is an ironic statement considering its contrast with the feelings of my last blog post. I wouldn’t disagree with anything I’ve written in the past, but the clarity and understanding I have on using the role of photography as a personal tool instead of a self-imposed obstacle in my life have greatly improved. I’m still in a state of processing, so a few pictures will have to do for now. I will say though, that I’m incredibly grateful to Leica for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had over the past month. What I’ve realized is likely to shape the next several years of my photographic and filmmaking endeavors.
This entry was written by Industry, Leica Project, Personal, Street, Travels and tagged Antoine D'Agata, Charlottesville, Chris Anderson, Leica M9, LOOK3, Magnum, Paris, Workshops. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
5/21 San Francisco
5/24 Los Angeles
5/28 New Orleans
6/2 Chapel Hill
6/3 Charlottesville (LOOK3)
I’m off to meet the wizard! (And if you happen to be going to LOOK3 this year, I’ll see you there).
My Evangelism images are on the Russian Esquire Magazine’s photo blog, take a look.
I went to a used bookstore to sell some books, one being a photojournalism textbook. Something in me felt strange, so I took a goodbye snap with my iphone. “That’s ironic,” says the store clerk. “Yes it is,” I say. “Well, doesn’t look like we have any need for this book,” he says. “Bummer” I say. “You selling any lenses?” asks the clerk.
This entry was written by Commissioned, Industry, Portrait and tagged Earthquakes, Fault Lines, The Wall Street Journal, Wine. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I just returned from a two month trip to Ohio this past week. I had great time out there. I assume I haven’t posted on here for some time because I have enjoyed trying to not think about photography these past few months. I took pictures that I will soon share, but they were selfish ones. In hindsight I think I allowed myself to start the process of reclaiming photography as my own by not taking it so seriously and at times, just rejecting it. Also, I finally wrote a 20 page script with someone and made my first legitimate short film which will be in the post-production phase for a few months. It was a really exciting project. It confirmed the feelings I had of Cinema being my true calling. The whole process of making a short was like being baptized into a new purpose in life (but the water was really hot) and I will post some frames from that soon. On 5/25/09, a day of guilt and confusion, I wrote the note below and decided to not post it for the reasons mentioned above.
This is where I ought to apologize for not posting photographs for several weeks. But I’m not sorry. I was watching the television. A show about South American predators. I saw two bright red cranes flying amidst a flock of black cranes. It was art and I wanted to remake it, share it. It caused me to acknowledge the lack of authenticity in us and how we accept this or recompense. The fact I rarely create work with any notions of novelty is a disconcerting reality for me. It is something I feel I must change. I see this dilemma as a sign that I have incurred a shift in intentions or priorities. As of late I have been more concerned with getting what is in my head, out of my head. It is a shift from being a documentarian to being an Artist. It reminds me of moving from Catholicism to Agnosticism. There remains a residue of guilt in the transition. Not to say you have to be one or the other, but for unknown reasons it often does feel this way; You can’t be agnostic and catholic, you have to be a journalist or an artist. Something inside me says this shift in intentions (the capturing of the beautiful and the abstract instead of reality) will create more relative good than my previous aspirations.
If as an “artist” I accept that I can not create anything truly original, then I feel I must attempt to create something absolutely beautiful or honest. In this moment, creation begins to feel like the pursuit of a strange character, an entity that changes often. It morphs from the desire to help others, to the potential of sharing social ironies and truths, to attempting to illustrate the innermost visions of the mind, to preserving fleeting emotions. These are all equally noble pursuits, but along with the desire as an individual artist to visually articulate beauty or truth comes all too easily, in my case, the desires to be different or to be validated. To not be forgotten. I am realizing these selfish desires are unfortunately too often present in the heart of what I do create. When all you are trying to do is express yourself, it becomes quite easy to only be concerned with yourself. My desire to illustrate the inherently absurd beauty of humanity is too often entwined with a subconscious struggle for permanence and validation. It feels like I’m running down a gravel road with no shoes on. As a sensitive person that places integrity at the top of my priorities, I can not create anything of quality with these selfish desires at bay. They, in a way, hold me captive in a creative purgatory. They are contaminates. Impurities.
But even when I am clear minded and have pure intentions and these struggles are not present, there is always a further vacancy in ability, that being the looming cloud of the near impossibility of fully sharing one’s imagination and vision through a tool designed to capture a split second of reality.
I don’t have any solid answers to these confusions so I’m just going to make assumptions and move forward. I assume I can exist somewhere between being an honest story teller and a slightly introvert artist. I am also confident that I can eventually express my imagination more fully as I move into cinema. And most importantly, I’m quite sure that the more I listen to other people (industry) and the more I concern myself with the status quo of “success” — the less personally successful and creative I will actually be. I am my happiest and the most creative when my mind is focused on nothing more than being kind to those around me, living in the now and the unknown, and pushing my limits. Photography is a personal journey for some people, and it needs to feel that way for me to do my best.
Tim Gruber’s second post on making money doing what you love is exactly what’s been on my mind lately:
“It’s about having different aspects of ourselves, having the artist within us but also having the entrepreneur and the businessperson within us as well. And when we can bring all those parts together we can find the people that want what we do.”
- Nick Williams
I guess it really comes down to that, finding people that want what we do. But hearing about Roger Ballen’s career in Geology and how personal and separate his photography is from everything else is still an alluring model to go about life. Some people have the knack of using the pressure of making a living off of your passion to drive themselves and their creativity. I wish I could understand how those people see it.
But relegating photographers who don’t make a business out of their photography to a category of “leisure” is something I disagree with. The idea of being a “professional” only when your income is derived from your photography is inaccurate.
Like a lot of other photographers out there, I really wish I would had spent more time studying business while I was in school. I hope it doesn’t take as long to understand business as it does to learn how to take decent photographs, ikes. But I really echo Gruber’s sentiments, particularly when it comes to setting your own personal goals of success and putting focus on becoming a better human over everything else.